Tag Archives: social anxiety disorder

Why I Let Go Of Labels

Has a label ever really done anything but sit as ink on a piece of paper?

Another good reason: “Scientists SURPRISED to find no two neurons are genetically a like”. 

Really? That was a surprise to you? Dude. IQ of 35 in these researchers.

It’s funny how research that contradicts the current belief that the same type of treatment for the same type of “psychiatric disorders” makes sense doesn’t ever hold weight against the industry. And it’s kind of funny that the researchers for the pharmaceutical companies with shitty, half-assed studies that literally reveal nothing and yet have more weight than the study above.

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Source: Google Images

I’m kidding, this shit isn’t funny, it’s just sad.

In high school I was obsessed with labels. I wanted one. I wanted one so people would believe me when I said I was having trouble–otherwise, no one seemed to care.

I wasn’t good with people, I couldn’t stand in front of the class without fainting, I was super sensitive (a teacher once told me not to put a pencil tip close to my eye and I started bawling because I felt so degraded and stupid), I couldn’t go to school unless I got up at 4 a.m to prepare for the day. I needed three hours, not for hair and make up or whatever, but because I knew the anxiety would hit. Then I’d meet up with a friend, smoke some weed, head to class, and bullshit my way through the day. I’d smoke again at break, then lunch, then after school.

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Source: Google Images

I found something called social anxiety disorder and resonated with it like I’ve never resonated with something in my life. I thought having that would solve my life. I’d see more therapists, correctly this time, things would be better.

Did that. Didn’t work. I was 14 and started thinking maybe this wasn’t the problem. Something else had to be wrong with me.

GAD? I was always anxious, after all. PTSD? I’d been through some shit. Dissociative disorders? I was blacking out, you know, and I couldn’t really remember my childhood. Avoidant Personality? I did skip classes to avoid the mind-splitting anxiety. Anti-social personality disorder? Well, I did have vicious thoughts and I didn’t really give a fuck. Selective Mutism? I never did grow out of my shyness and I always froze up when people talked to me. Higher on the Autism spectrum? Well, I did love routine, I struggled understanding social customs, I stayed in my own world . . .  Agoraphobia? Well, I never went outside of my room, I was too nervous. Paranoia? People were always talking about me and working against me, they all hated me. Or was that just low self esteem? No, it wasn’t, it couldn’t be something that simple. Bipolar? My moods were fucking whacked. Schizoid personality? I rarely showed real emotion and, again, I didn’t give a fuck. But wait, wouldn’t that contradict the bipolar? Hmm, well I did have very active fantasy worlds, I remembered a few hallucinations as a kid and I was totally paranoid . . . oh no: I was totally schizophrenic. Totally.

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Or, I was all of that, and one fucked up teenager.

I was terrified. I was going to go crazy. I had always been a weird kid, I was always being sent into conferences and therapists and teachers were always worried and I brought alcohol to school in middle school and someone snitched on me and I threatened to kill them and they were scared of me until senior year of high school and I knew a lot of bangers and people brought tazers to school and . . . and . . .

And my terror was justified. Because social anxiety was brought up. PTSD.Autistic traits” (Jesus Christ), Agoraphobia. Depression. GAD. Schizotypal. Prodromal Schizophrenia. Schizo this, schizo that, how many words can you put schizo in front of before it loses its luster?

And now, dissociation.

I gave up labels when I was 16 because they all overlap vaguely and the words never gave me the justification I was seeking. I wasn’t really seeking justification anyway. I was seeking help. Hopefulness and understanding. I didn’t really get any of that.

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Hanratty’s asylum

Dissociation isn’t really a label, but it has been brought up again because of what I’ve noticed in myself. The whole, you know, not remembering anything in my childhood. The whole, you know, blacking out and walking into intersections. The whole, you know, going in and out of these states, these states that were thought for a long while to be a precursor to psychosis, where I’m met with a challenge, a thought, stress, flashbacks, e.t.c and suddenly I’m interacting with Thoth, the Egyptian God, which is who I’ve actually spent this last two weeks with, he gave me a message to decode, or battling the impostor in my classmates who has left her body and entered mine, or I’d quit a job at an amusement park because the bosses are also impostors, planning to get me locked up in prison . . .

And what confused everyone was that you wouldn’t know it if you looked at me. And what confused people in the past was that the voices I did hear weren’t causing me impairment and I didn’t hear them every day. I didn’t see things everyday. Was it just stress? Well, I wouldn’t be eating or showering, but I’d look okay too. I’ve babbled before, but I could be focused too. You could have a general conversation with me; I might seem spacey but you’d just blow it off for tiredness or general strangeness. I’m a good trickster, huh?

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hahahahah kill me

There’s been a general back and forth about all this in the world of past psychological services that I don’t talk about because it’s all bullshit.

And my psychologist asks me why I didn’t tell the hospital last October what was really going on. Well . . . I really don’t want to get smacked on a cot and forced drugs, that’s why.  Had I been truthful, I would have lost control and anger would have replaced rationale. They already offered me drugs three times and I was only there for a little over 36 hours.

And when I’m back out of that fog, which could last a few hours, a few days, a few weeks, a month, two, three, whatever, I find I can’t remember what it was that happened before it all. I won’t be able to remember the thought, the stress, the pain, that pushed me to that point.

It’s a protection method, I know this now. After 21 years of bullshit, I get it. What exactly my brain has protected me from the past . . . well, only my brain knows. It must be in a hell of a lot of pain, and have a hell of a lot of empathy to protect me this viciously.

Does that mean I should be labeled with a dissociative disorder now? After all that in the above paragraph? I don’t think so. Keep that shit away from me. Next thing you know there will be a Schizociative Affective Generalized Attenuated Psychosis Post-Traumatic Bipolar Syndrome type IIX and I’ll be the first one labeled it.

I need to know all I needed to know now. It’s all about discovery and healing at this point.

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In The World Without The World.

I’m not an open person. I have been trying to be an open person for the majority of my short life.

missing_something___by_lillele-d31vg49I must be missing something. I’m not understanding the algorithm (I can’t tell a derivative from my ass with the amount of time I’ve been out of math) or I’m missing the software to conceptualize and understand the process.

The possibility of not being encouraged or praised for ideas as a child was thrown out in the air for a reason why I don’t speak up when I have something to say. That’s all fine and dandy, but I feel I lack a connection to the rest of the world. I feel distanced. Not dissociated, but distanced. As if there is a glass wall separating me from the remainder of the human race.

I have empathy. I can relate to people’s pain, I share in people’s pain, and it hurts me when others are in pain. But to connect with someone on a human level, on a personal level, without focusing only on their pain but to then also focus on mine . . .

I’m still struggling with that.

To have a simple conversation . . . that’s a whole other algorithm. How do you do it? When do you know what to say? When do you butt in? How do you not misinterpret their facial expressions or their tone of voice? All I hear are malicious things, mocking, deceit, half-truths, people saying things just to appease me.

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Even in an environment where I’ve been told I’m completely supported, I feel the most isolated. Over the years I’ve learned it’s not them, I’ve learned it’s me.

It’s me who sees their expressions twisted. It’s me who hears their voice tone wrong. It’s me who distances myself because I think they’re just there to play with me. I think they form a little tirade against me where they can gossip and set up tests around the office and the house and coach guests to be a certain way so I have to deal with it, so they have something else to gossip about.

Everything becomes a test. The dishes, the food, the garbage, everything. It happens at every job I go to, any group event I try to take part in. Everything feels like it’s pushing against me.

isolation-1So I isolate. I isolate so far I quit things. I skip classes, I drop classes, I quit jobs, I huddle in my room where it’s safe, and when I come out of it I’m left with just the static noise in my head. Then I get bored and frustrated with myself–why can’t I function like the average human being? Why I can’t I just “ignore it” all?

Then I get some more confidence. I apply for jobs I’m not qualified for because I know my writing takes me places my mouth never could, and when I get them I brag because somehow “getting” a job equates to “maintaining and functioning” at a job in my brain.

Then time passes and I’m the outcast. The anxiety hits and I’m going to work with an upset stomach and headache and returning with the same thing. Then comes the paranoia: camera’s are hidden in places specifically to watch me, and they’re watching as I type this, I feel it. They use it to gossip more. I had to close the blinds tonight so I could look for my paper check no one told me was sent here and I didn’t want whoever was probably watching me from across the street thinking I was digging through people’s files.

I’m aware that’s something people say is not happening. I’m always aware of how I feel.

It’s all too much. I’m isolating again, slowly but surely, ignoring calls to work or not taking specific shifts just to avoid too many people or too much turmoil.

I just don’t want to fail again. And I feel like that’s what’s going to happen. Then I’ll start the cycle all over again.

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It’s nice to get this out in blog form, but to speak it outloud to someone is my goal. I want to be able to freely speak and freely cry all I need without feeling like someone is going to use that information against me or is going to mock me or feel that I’m the definition of insanity. I don’t know how to feel that way about someone.

I can barely say “hello”, how the hell and I supposed to spill my guts to the world?

My supervisor will be here to take over my shift in 45 minutes. I’ve been here since 10:30 pm (I’m off at 8:30 a.m), got an hour or so of sleep, and one of the guests randomly took all of her belongings and left and when I tried addressing her, she wouldn’t speak or look at me. She didn’t help my situation tonight.

Nothing has been helping my situation.

Status Report Update: I feel like shit. 

 

Mental Health Awareness

May is Mental Health Awareness month.

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I believe there are also weeks out of the year dedicated to such a thing, am I right? Well, you all know I’ve got to put my two cents in on the subject because my mouth is huge.

This is when all of us suddenly get a burst of confidence and we blog about it, we “Tweet” about it, we “Facebook” about it, we Instagram pictures of our medications with “#noshame” and we take group pictures with NAMI shirts and celebrate our uniqueness and remind the world who we are, what we stand for, and what we have to go through each day.

Come June, about 80% of us die off.

I’ve said it once on this blog and I’ll say it again: as someone who has struggled with mental issues for the majority of my life I’m a little offended that people think a hashtag, a brief campaign, or a picture is enough to represent a daily fight. 

I am all for spreading awareness and understanding. I am not for spreading awareness and understanding one month out of the year. I’m not for spreading it one week out of the year or a day out of the year.

socialbranding-534x280Social media is a powerful force. It can spread love or hatred, happiness or despair, anger or calmness. It is also a host of one-hit post wonders.

Awareness of mental health and mental disorders has absolutely nothing to do with your pretty hair, your make-up, and your Ativan prescription while you sit in your car with your cell phone camera angled slightly so the sunlight bounces off your skin and makes you look inhumanely radiant.

I agree you shouldn’t be ashamed if you have to or feel that you have to take medication to help manage your symptoms. I agree you have a right to prove to everyone that you’re not ashamed. I do not agree that a picture and a caption is the only way you can make people aware of mental disorders. I do not agree that a post on Facebook that’s heartfelt, gets you a lot of likes, and makes people think “wow, he’s such a caring individual, I’m so sorry for his struggles” is the only way to make people aware of mental disorders.

Because people in the every day world don’t stigmatize those of us who are perceived as “well”, they don’t stigmatize those of us who are supporting ourselves, going to school, and “overcoming” our “problems”. Because it’s not always obvious with those of us who are able to manage our symptoms that we even struggle.

rob-tinfoil-hat-compressedThey stigmatize those of us wandering around on the street muttering under our breath about the CIA tracking them with the chip planted underneath their skin right next to their temple. They stigmatize those of us who can’t get out of bed for months regardless of treatment, who gulp down forty Xanax or slash vertically down both wrists. Those of us who fall into a pit of immeasurable despair after, just recently, thinking we had come up with an algorithm for the cure for cancer by linking words in newspaper clippings and spending all day and all night putting it all together and emailing university departments for their help.

Because when you post a picture of you and your medication with a caption of smiling emoji and a hashtag “#noshame”,  you’re making everyone aware of what they’re most comfortable seeing: people succeeding over great adversity.

The problem is, those people don’t know about he adversity you went through to get there.

So it’s all good and well to post positivity. It’s all good and well to boost your confidence and show how proud you are of your accomplishments: by all means, continue to do so.

But do me a favor, do yourself a favor, and do all your brothers and sisters in the mental health community a favor by not forgetting where you came from and what you went through to be where you are. Don’t forget about those of us on the street, those of us locked up in jail, those of us battling addictions to combat the untreated depression, the mood swings, the psychosis, the voices. 

Don’t just show, educate.

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Help people understand the difference between “feeling anxious” and having an anxiety disorder.

Help people understand the difference between being “totally paranoid about that creepy neighbor guy, like, O.M.G” and experiencing paranoia.

Help people understand the difference between laziness and depression.

Help people understand the difference between being ridiculously tidy and having an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Help people understand the difference between “being moody” and bipolar disorder (for God’s sake, educate some doctors on it while you’re at it). 

The reality of the matter is, although we all span the globe and the majority of us have never met each other, we’re all a family. We’re not a family united against the “normies” or the “neurotypicals”, we’re a family united in our struggle.

The first thing I was told at my new job ( Yes, I’m officially a team member at this place as of today) told me was “we’re a family here”.

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And that was the only line I was waiting to here. It’s not something you’ll hear with sincerity when walking into a mental institution. It’s not something you’ll hear with sincerity when walking into a state rehabilitation clinic. But it’s something you should hear with sincerity.

With only six available beds, and the program being run by staff all with mental health struggles, I knew this was a place that focused on the health of the people, not how fast they could get them in and get them out, not how fast they could find a medication combination for them. It’s about giving them the skills they need to live a productive life.

This place is small. It’s also few and far between.

I am a mental health advocate; always have been, always will be, every day, all day. If you really care to know, “label wise”, I struggle with GAD, Social anxiety disorder, Major depression, Dissociation (fugue states, e.t.c.) and, more officially than I’ve let anyone know on this website for personal reasons, schizotypal personality disorder.

But no matter how successful I become (or unsuccessful), I won’t forget about those of us who don’t yet have the support, the ability or skill-set to pull themselves out of whatever hole they are in.

That’s what awareness is about. It’s not about your #noshame pictures with your fucking medication, I’m so sorry to say. In fact, it’s not about you at all. It’s about all of us, all of our struggles, and the truth of them. Not the nice side of it. Not the media’s view on it.

And it’s certainly not something that can be done in a month with nicely printed shirts. Sorry you wasted $25.99.  

So, if you want to make use of this short, 31 day month dedicated to mental health, go out and educate someone. Help someone. Offer your support, your understanding.

You want to “break the silence, break the stigma”? Try doing it a little more often than one month out of the year.

 

 

 

Healthy Obsession

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These last few days were some crazy days.

But everyone could use a crazy day every once in a while, right? These are the days that remind us we’re alive, that we can live, that we have the right to have fun and to push ourselves.

A few of you are aware that I had an interview with a place looking to hire for a peer counselor. It went great: I’ll make sure to tell about it in a later post.

vcw_d_sjose_t4_winchestermysteryhouse_christysharp_1280x642None of you are aware that I took my boyfriend with me to one of California’s registered “haunted houses”, the Winchester Mansion, for their infamous “flashlight tour”, and one of the actresses scared the shit out of my boyfriend. And managed to creep me out just as well. I’ll make sure to tell that in a later post.

But this post I want to be about fun.

We all deserve a little fun in our lives. If you’re anything like me, you struggle to get through the day, to get out of bed in the morning, to make food, to eat even. Days are often the same with the same cycle of thoughts in your head and the same old coping mechanisms are used to try and stop them. Sometimes with success, sometimes in vain.

Some of us struggle to be around others, some of us struggle to be by ourselves, some of us struggle in telling what’s physical reality and what’s mental fantasy. But the point is, we all struggle.

So whether you suffer from anxiety, depression, a personality disorder, bipolar, schizophrenia, Autism, Narcolepsy, whatever: you deserve to have a little good time in your life.

Even if you don’t feel like you deserve it (talking to all you depressives out there; don’t worry, I know the struggle, I’m not calling you out without having experience with it) you deserve it.

You deserve to have a moment you can look back on when times are rough that help you remember happiness exists in the world and in your life even when it doesn’t feel like it.

That’s why I’ve reserved one day out of every year for the last 5 years to go here:

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And tonight was that one night:

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Now, you’re probably thinking why would someone with social anxiety disorder ever go that far out of their comfort zone to attend a concert.

And my answer would be another very important question: Do you know Tech N9ne?

 

 

If you don’t know who Tech is, or Strange Music, than I suggest you climb out from underneath that 100 year old rock you’re under.

I’ve been listening to this guy since I was 11 years old, almost ten years now, and I’ve seen Strange Music get off to a slow start and steadily climb it’s way to the top of the independent charts.

I haven’t been there since the beginning, because I would have only been a few years old. And I haven’t been there since Tech started rapping because I wouldn’t have even been born.

But that being said, I am a very dedicated fan because I enjoy the philosophy behind their business, I enjoy their music, I enjoy that they explore deep concepts and mix in a little “club”, metal, or “ghetto” hip hop in with their tracks every once in a while, and I enjoy that they don’t sound like Lil Wayne, Drake, Trey Songz, Fetty Wap, or any other motherfucker who can’t seem to understand what music actually is, any motherfucker who is a puppet for the company that owns them, their songs, and their life.

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I don’t know where all of you live, but around here we have a little radio station called Kdon. And whenever a “rapper” or a hip-hop “artist” comes on, I can’t tell their voice from the person who got played just before them. Everyone sounds the same, looks the same, acts the same. That goes for pop stars too.

So I’ve clung heavily to Strange Music once I was saw the direction music was heading.

Now, some people might call me obsessed. I have two of their emblems on the back of my car, I have their license plate frame that says “Strange Music, Estb. 2000” (I was born in ’95), I have three of their lanyards, I have their mugs, I have their attire, and I have their keychains. I listen to Ces Cru, Krizz Kaliko, Rittz, MAYDAY, Stevie Stone, and Murs, and have heard at least one song from everyone signed to the label, and I’m getting a Tattoo of the labels symbol:

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There is only one person who I don’t agree with being signed, and that’s this little motherfucker right here:

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I never dis Tech for trying new things, but fuck man, this guy does not fit with the label’s sound at all. He sounds like Trey Songz and Fetty Wap had a mutant baby together that looks like Yelawolf: how does that even work?

The point is, some people say I’m obsessed. And I’m fine with that because this is something that soothes me when I’m angry, that hugs me when I’m sad, that hypes me up when I’m excited, that makes me calm when I’m anxious walking through a crowd or talking to a cashier: it helps me through the little things most people on the outside don’t get to see.

When I’m having a particularly bad day and feel like I need something or someone to understand how I’m feeling, I’ll listen to “Low” or “Alone” or “suicide letters”, when I need someone or something to understand my life with my family and health problems and memory loss I’ll listen to “Meant to Happen” or  “Fear” or “Mama Nem” or “Show Me A God”. When I want to let loose, I’ll listen to “Beautiful Music” or ” Hood Go Crazy” or “Einstein”. When I feel like being sly and gangster-like, I’ll whip out “RedRags” or “Bitch Sickness” or “JellySickle” or “Check ya Temperature” or “Questions”.

There is always a song for one of my moods. And that’s hard to accomplish because I have many of them several times a day.

It’s my comfort and in a way Strange Music saved my life. Going to the concert every year also saves my life. It’s one night for me to scream and act ridiculous and, even though I’m thinking about the 799 other people around me (we have a small club, alright?) I try to force myself not to care. I focus on who is on the stage, on the way it feels to hear a song that you’ve laughed, cried, sung, or smiled to right in your face with so much energy and heat and sweat.

I lose my voice and a lot of my stress.

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The show sells out a month before the concert every year. The lines wrap around a block in both directions: one line is for physical tickets, the other line is for VIP and on-Call. There are mosh pits (as a teenager, my first Strange concert I got thrown across the room and into the wall and my other friend and I must say, I picked myself up and told the guy who was helping me I was okay and made up my mind that I would definitely be coming back each year) and drunk people, shirts are coming off, people fuck on the balcony, the artists bring smoke machines, so when people start lighting up joints, the machine will cloud over whoever has the drugs so security can’t find the culprits.

It’s a night to go crazy before we all return to school and work and whatever other responsibilities are out there. For me, it’s a night to go crazy and ignore my anxiety and ignore everything else floating around in my head and just feel the energy in the room, feed off it, and let it, for a moment at least, melt my stress away.

Everyone needs memories like that to help them through the bad times.

If you don’t have anything, I’d suggestion going out and finding something to become healthily obsessed over.

Together we are a powerful force

As one mind, body, and soul

Let no evil enter or attempt to reduce us

Because of the beliefs we hold.

And with this love, combined with our strength

we ward off pain and stress,

Technician I am, Wholeheartedly, 

In life and in death. 

 

 

The Willingness To Change

challenge

Here’s a challenge for you all:

Name one person who has never been nervous or skeptical of change.

Take a few seconds, I’ll wait.

.

.

.

Done? Alright, that was a trick question, of course you can’t come up with an answer. It was a joke. We have fun here. We. . . . we have fun.

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The point is when we go through moments of change our entire lives flash before our eyes: our current, comfortable lives, that is. It’s like a death or a near death experience. Change can be good or bad, but it is always traumatizing because one thing is for certain: you won’t be the same afterwards.

That alone is a terrifying thought: where will the old you go? You were so fond of that guy/girl, they always bought you chocolate when you were down, you don’t want them to leave you all alone in some unnamed territory with no fucking chocolate, that’s just rude.

But we’re rational beings and whether you have a religious/spiritual background, a secular background, or are just not quite sure whether your background exists at all, (it could or it couldn’t, who could really know anyway?), we all agree that humans have no other option on this planet than to adapt. Those who don’t . . . well, they don’t really live to argue against me, do they?

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Because we’re rational beings, we also have the ability to make choices. You’re not forced to take a promotion at work. When you have your first newborn, you’re not forced to tend to it’s needs. When that one guy with one pair of sunglasses over his eyes and one pair of sunglasses hanging from his V-neck cuts you off in traffic, you’re not forced to stifle your anger and allow him and his worn out fashion statement to live, you could just as easily murder him. I mean, good deed of the day right?

When you realize your mental health affects your functionality, you’re not forced to put the work into gaining that functionality back.

But you can.

So what we choose is just as important to the way we change and why we change as the change itself is.

What does that mean? That means we have a lot more creative freedom in this life than we think we do. Sometimes we have chains on our mind and we tell ourselves we “can’t” do this, we “can’t” do that, but those are just ways we convince ourselves to choose comfort over change.

We don’t choose to struggle mentally, but we do choose how we react to the struggle. Either it smothers us or we adapt and maneuver and find the advantages hidden underneath all the horror.

If it weren’t for the struggles I’ve been through, I wouldn’t have the interview I do on Friday.

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I’ll be an “On-Call counselor” at a local Respite house for people who have voluntarily signed themselves up for the program. There are six beds in the house run by peer staffing (the counselors), meaning everyone who works there has struggled with their own mental health, whether it be a mood disorder, a psychotic disorder, or a very, very serious or “all consuming fear” (think Severe GAD, OCD, or Agoraphobia). In the cover letter I was required to explain my mental health, as they only hire people with disorders.

The peer counselors need only a high school diploma, a disorder/mental health issue that lasted at least 3 months, and some training of which they provide. I think my degree helped me get a call back within a few hours of me applying.

This is a terrifying situation. On one hand I’ll be working one on one, or one on six depending on how hard they want to push my buttons, with the very people I want to work with once I get my degree: those with heavy psychiatric diagnosis. And I’ll be honest, I could have had the diagnoses they did had I gone to different psychologists in the past and didn’t keep to myself what I keep to myself. They could interpret a lot of things as paranoia, as mood swings, as hallucinations (well, I’ve had a few, but they are audio, far and few in between, and not harmful, so leave them alone #hallucinationlivesmatter). And it’s not as if “Cyclothymia” hasn’t been discussed. It’s not as if “Schizotypal PD” hasn’t been discussed, they all have at one point. 

Maybe I am them, maybe I’m not.

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The difference between me and the people who try and slap their diagnoses where I don’t want them, is that the things I describe I’ve lived with all my life.

I’ve always felt things watching me.

I’ve always felt I was put here with a power no one else has. I have plenty examples I won’t bore you with.

I’ve tried to contact aliens through meditation, in fact I spent months trying it, because I know I have a connection outside of this earth, I’ve felt it since I was a toddler. I was aware of things before people told me about them.

There are personalized messages for me in online ads (well, that’s true, Google tracks the shit out of you), in songs, in commercials, in simple street scenes. They let me know I’m heading in the right direction.

I’m anxious of people judging me as my social anxiety dictates, yet I’m paranoid that they create a coalition against me and lie to my face every day because people are untrustworthy and ruthless.

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I could go on for ages. The thing is, because I’ve always thought these ways, and because I’m one of the lucky few who haven’t disconnected with reality, I can accept these parts of me. I live with them. They are my normality and whether or not anyone else considers them such is irrelevant to me.

My job as one of the peer counselors is to share my story and my experience with those who will share their stories and their experience. Through active listening the goal is to teach each other and learn from each other. And I think that’s a big thing missing from the psychiatric world: there isn’t a lot of time taken to listen anymore.

Those who live in the house have freedom in the kitchen, freedom in the outdoors, and people are thankful they’re treated like adults rather than lab mice in a jail cell.

But this position will be live changing for me. It will force me to be uncomfortable. It will force me to connect with people through the feelings of inadequacy, judgement, and distrust. I know I won’t be the same person sitting at this desk after my first day there. And that’s a good thing. I’m ready for this version of myself to, well  . . .  breathe it’s last breath.

I refuse to accept my lifestyle because it’s familiar. What worked five years ago isn’t going to work today. If I’m going to be successful, I need to be willing to change.

This part of my life will always be in my memory. But it’s time to move on.

 

Moving And College Degrees

Revelations are nice.

one-step-aheadI’ve realized I’ve spent two semesters overwhelming myself due to my insatiable need to be two steps ahead of the rest of the world. It’s part of my perfectionist arrogance. There is that part of me that expects me to be perfect at everything I try all the time, so when I’m not I get flustered and overwhelmed.

Obviously I know no one and nothing is perfect. But academics is all I really have in terms of reputation: I’m not talkative, I’m not socially active, or communally active, I rarely leave my house lest it be for necessity, so I felt the only way to keep people off my back was to show them a 4.0 g.p.a

I could achieve it. But because I’ve been overwhelming myself with the idea of perfection, I’ve blocked myself from it. How ironic. 

But the good thing is I’ve realized that now. It could be my good mood talking (it usually is) but I’ve realized that I’ve been trying to overachieve my overachieving. I made everything a competition. And after doing some extensive reading on one of my favorite philosophies, Taoism, I’ve reminded myself how damaging competition (especially the kind you create yourself) really is.

This has caused me to drop more classes I felt I couldn’t keep up the energy for, and it’s delayed my progress.

However, today, I came across something spectacular.

I will be leaving this town. After this coming semester. 

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Yes, finally, the time has come! To get the hell out of this college and leave behind the basic classes I find so horribly INSUFFERABLE, and get onto the things I want to study, what I want to learn, and be around people like me, hopefully culturally diversified people.

With transferring, comes the 43,000 dollar tuition. The trouble of housing. Setting up tours. Getting a reference for the Common Application.

With completing this last semester comes the Research Methods class I’ve been dreading with the psychotic professor I’ve been dreading. There comes the language class I have to take; I’m doing American Sign Language (ASL) because I know if I had an oral class my anxiety would cause me to forget everything I learned, since we’d have to respond orally in a different language. I can’t even respond orally in my own fucking language.

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I’ll have to take the first ASL class this summer, and the second next semester.

I’ve been looking at positions I could apply for over the hill with my degree and I’m pleasantly surprised that there are actually options for me.

This is the first time the reality of what I’m doing with my life is hitting me: I can actually become what I want to. That’s crazy. 

Unfortunately I have to choose a history course. It’s listed as “Diversity” under the university transfer agreement. It’s so diverse that the only history to choose from is American history, women history, and latino, hispanic, and chicano history. That’s really diverse, right? Damn, I wish I had that much diversity.

Oh wait, I have ten times that amount in the tip of my fucking finger. Pathetic. 

I also have to take an Ancient art class, or something else under “Cultures and Ideas” which really should be “a very narrowed down version of what we think culture is”.

I’ll be doing a creative writing course, which will be nerve wracking and I’ve heard complaints from other students that the professor is biased towards Hispanic students. When I say bias, I mean she’s nicer to them than others. So we might butt heads.

I also have a choice to make. And this ties into my overachieving issues. I dropped another math class this semester because I couldn’t get out of bed these last six or so weeks. That being said, the math classes isn’t “needed”. I was taking it because I wanted to finish out the series for bragging rights.

'Oh yeah? Well yesterday, I caught one this big!'

However, when I transfer, I will need to take it anyway.

So I can either take a cognitive psychology course. Or retake the math course and risk flunking out of it again because of the heavy load of classes.

The other issue is that because I got an “Average” (a fucking C alright) grade in the first class of the series, and I don’t know the exact percentage of that “average” grade, the private university might try to tell me shit. They only accept Average “pluses”. If it’s a regular average or low average (say, 70-75 %) they have a right to reject the class from your transcript and not accept you.

If you do not have a B or an A in a class, they pretty much don’t like you.

So my plan was to take the second class, get at least a B in it, and flip off the university if they gave me the stank eye for the first class. The problem was this semester I was also getting an “average” grade and I would have ended in the 78% range, given I was able to make up the days I had missed in class.

78% Wouldn’t cut it. Not when I already have another C. So I dropped the class because I didn’t want it bringing down my G.P.A.

One C. One C on my entire transcript in the last three years. C’s can haunt you for the rest of your life man.

I wanted to take a cognitive class because it would probably be my last psychology class for a while. When I get to the University it will be Chemistry and Physics and Biology.

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If I take that math class here, I won’t need anymore math, only the rest of those three sciences. That’s a huge perk to me.

Obviously my anxiety is kicking in. It’s a lot to think about, so I know I need to prioritize. Focus on finishing off this semester as strong as possible, as shitty as it looks right now, and make it through that summer class unscathed.

I know my list of classes are going to include a lot of social interaction and it’s going to test me immensely. I know that my mental health is going to cause issues when I move. But because I’ve chosen to leave my fucks on the curb as I’ve stated multiple times, and because the only other option is to flunk out and not get my degree, I figured I’d give it a try.

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On a completely unrelated note:

I hate when the licensed therapists and doctors track me down on this peer counseling site and say “hi” to me and then don’t respond. It makes me feel like they’re stalking me or judging how I’m talking to members or surfing through my account or something.

It’s like when you’re driving in a car, and there’s a car parked on the side of the road, and as soon as you pass them they turn on their lights and pull out behind you. Don’t tell me they weren’t waiting  to follow me, because at that moment I won’t believe you. 

I’m sure my mild paranoia will safe my life one day.

Anyway, College. University. Going to the university where one man woke up to find his roommate standing over him with a knife and then was stabbed repeatedly in the chest and back last February.

One thing about this university is that the academic programs are great.

I’ll say it’s safe to assume the University’s mental health ones are not.

Definitely will not be living in the dorms. 

Mr. Arrogant, M.D Speaking

 

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Everything you’ve ever heard and haven’t heard about Nursing homes is real.

Today was my first day and I must say this company has done such an outstanding, marvelous, stunning job of making me lose all respect for them. Enough for me to decide to terminate my employment after 7 .5 hours. On my lunch I applied for the same position at a crisis behavioral health unit, where I fucking belong.

Lets start off with me getting three hours of sleep last night in order to be at this shit hole at 7 a.m.

I stared around the empty halls looking for the woman the administrator told me to meet up with. I happened to run into a different woman in the housekeeping department who stared at me with wide eyes and said she was told I was coming on Monday. I was told to come in on Saturday.

Great job, fucking pill-popper. First you lose my fucking resume in your pile of donkey shit papers on your desk, then you slur your words through my interview, and now you told the entire department I was showing up on Monday rather then Saturday.

Turns out the woman whose name I couldn’t remember? She didn’t work today. The fucking administrator asked her Twice in Spanish if she was going to be in today. So does she not speak Spanish either? No English, no Spanish, how the fuck do you survive?

.The kitchen staff, the laundry staff, and the housekeeping staff only speak Spanish. No English, only Spanish. And they’re all related. It became relatively apparent to me that I was hired because I look Hispanic. All he had to do was look at my paper where I marked my ethnicity:

“Two or more races (Not Hispanic or Latino)”.

Oh how foolish of me. I forgot, he probably lost that in his dog shit pile desk too.

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Imagine this x10, and you have his office desk.

Is it really that hard to ask “do you speak Spanish?” or “Are you Bilingual?” Fuck it, on the next interview I’m going to walk up to them, shake their hand, say my name and immediately repeat “I do not speak Spanish.”

So while I was following around this one housekeeper who can’t explain the rules, or where the carts are, or what rooms we’re supposed to do, or the schedule or anything to me, she suddenly disappeared. I came out of a room I was dusting and she was gone.

I stood by the cart and waited because what the fuck else am I going to fucking do? I waited for five minutes. Ten minutes. Fifteen minutes.

A CNA came up to me and told me she had taken her break.

Twenty minutes passed.

A RN in red scrubs asked me if it was my first day. I said yes. He asked where the woman had gone and I said “her fucking break, I guess” and shrugged with an exaggeration.

Thirty minutes passed.

Keep in mine, I’m still standing by this fucking cart with no instruction and no one to give me any instruction.

The RN informed me the CNA who had informed me the woman I was working with took a break, was her cousin. In fact, they’re all related in the department. He told me it isn’t right what they’re doing to me and it’s ridiculous and they should have got someone else to orientate. I said I know. He said he’s been working here for ten years and “boy has this place changed”.

31x1esbjuol-_sx331_bo1204203200_A man strolled down the hallway in a navy blue button up shirt and navy blue slacks and he went into a room next to me and the RN who was giving everyone their morning medication and taking note of it in the giant record book. The man was an M.D, I saw it on his name tag, and all he did was wander into a room, crack some jokes, and walk out.

He waited in the wall in front of me, and I was an inch or so taller than him. He asked me if I was new, I said yes. He nodded and took a glance at the medical records the RN was writing in. Then he took off back down the hall.

A woman in a wheelchair was reaching towards the phone but she had spinal issues and couldn’t reach it, nor could she dial. She asked the M.D who walked past if he could dial a number for her.

Keep in mind this guy was just chilling and entertaining patients with his lame ass jokes a few seconds earlier. Now all of a sudden he’s too good to interact with them. He pawned her off on the laundry man. He says “let me get someone to help you” and goes for the fucking laundry man. Not the CNA, not a RN, not the receptionist:

The laundry man who SPEAKS NO ENGLISH.

So what does the laundry man do? He pawns the phone call off on me and says “help” and points to the woman. I have no idea how to dial out of the place and there’s no one around to ask, not even a CNA. The number won’t go through for some reason and the RN had to come help me, barking at the air that someone should have got a nurse for her.

Yeah, someone fucking should have. That piece of shit cocky son of a bitch M.D. I can’t wait until I’m his educational equal. His type are going to hate me.

After thirty five minutes the woman i’m working with comes back from her fifteen minute break. We start cleaning again, in fucking silence, and the laundry guy is trying to get some blankets off the bed of an elderly woman. Once he gets her in her wheelchair, he brings her into the hall and fucking shoves the wheelchair off to the side while he goes into another room for whatever fucking reason. I jumped in front of her before her chair slammed into the wall.

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I straightened her out and glared at the laundry guy’s back. Fucking punk.

By this point I’m beyond pissed off. I was thankful that I got to walk around and break a sweat because it helped whisk away the adrenaline.

Walking towards the Soiled Laundry room to toss in some bags, I see another woman in a wheelchair at the base of a small ramp. The small ramp goes up towards station 2 where the nurses are and where the smoking area door is.

Two feet away stood a RN in grey scrubs. He was just leaning on the counter. Doing nothing. Chilling out. The woman is staring at him and calling for him to help her up the ramp. She’s shouting it very loudly. Not in a aggressive manner, not in a rude manner, she’s just saying “excuse me, can you help me up? Can you help me? Hello? Can you help me?”

So I push her up the ramp and she says thank you and I made her fucking day with that one little act of kindness.

blown-head-gasket-www-deaven-netMy gasket blew. I slam-dunked the laundry bag in the bin and went back to the fucking housekeeper cart and I noticed the woman who I’d said hi to early in the morning and the woman whose chair I stopped from slamming into the wall were following me around the unit. They went where I went. And they always smiled at me.

The woman I worked with was scared of the man with severe Tourettes–I’m assuming that’s what it was. He could have been prone to seizures or something else, I don’t know. They lay fat mats by the side of his bed and he has a pink helmet, so I’m assuming the worst. She gets scared and confused when his tics go off because they are major and a little hard to watch. It’s hard for him to talk during them with his body jerking all over the place.

But abruptly it stopped. And when I saw the floor was dry I went back in to place his mats by his bed and asked him how he was and what his name was. He asked me if I was new and I said yes and he frowned and smiled at the same time, I don’t know if that was on purpose or another kind of tic. But he was nice.

The fact that the woman I was with never took a moment out of her time to at least say “hi” to the people, disturbed me.

Because the people in these departments are all related, they each do each others work. The housekeepers pick up after the kitchen staff, the laundry staff help the housekeepers, e.t.c. The RN saw this and stared at me, angry at them, and told me “don’t do what they do, that’s not your job”.

I saluted him.

They sit in their clique and speak Spanish in the halls, even though they know English is the only language that’s supposed to be spoken on the floor because there are residents suffering mentally who get paranoid and violent and angry when people are speaking other languages–they think they’re being targeted.

The CNA cousin kept talking to one of the residents until she told her five times in a row to leave her alone. The CNA wasn’t doing anything productive, she was just trying to have a conversation and the woman didn’t feel like having a conversation or laughing at your fucking awful jokes. So leave her the fuck alone.

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One thing is for certain, they were talking about me. Smiling in my face and stabbing me in the back. But it’s fine. Because fuck that place.

On my lunch I went home and applied for the same position for the crisis behavioral health unit.

Because here’s the thing. I could report that laundry man for neglect. I could inform an Ombudsman. I could tell the administrator that he’s unprofessional and so is his pathetic staff.

And if I see the same thing at the Crisis unit, you better believe my mouth is going to go off. I pretty much had an elderly army behind me today. Imagine me with an army of mental health patients.

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Yeah, think about that for a moment. I’m already mental. We could take over the world.

My loyal friends, my mental health minions, also threw their fucks on my fuck-curb. They threw them there a long time ago, that’s why they’re in a crisis center. And I’m sure they’re going to love me. I’m a comedian. I make people laugh without really meaning to. I make old people like me without really meaning to. I make them follow me up and down the halls without really meaning to.

I’m going to miss a few of the elderly patients and I hate leaving them there. But I’m not stepping foot in that fucking place again.

I can’t compromise my sanity for a job any longer.