A Rant A Day Keeps the Psychiatrist Away

Must. Vent.

Ass. Hurts. From. Sitting. But. Must. Belt. Out. This. Post.

My last post consisted of my complaining about something or other, a career or whatever, abandoning my people, becoming a no-good-foul-traitor, but all of those worries have been eradicated. I will be pursuing another degree in physics while simultaneously keeping my connections to the mental health community by remaining employed as a peer counselor, participating in trainings, and eventually getting involved with NAMI: In Your Own Voice. So, all that complaining I did in the last post? Yeah, ignore that, I figured it out.

This post is a different kind of complaining. This post is more . . . hmm, what’s the word?

Seriously, what’s the word? How about you read the post and then tell me in the comments a word that sums all this shit up.

It’s been . . . five months? Six months off medication? I’m not exactly sure how long it’s been. I haven’t heard any variation of voices since the night I tried to kill myself (a post about that wonderful experience here) and my mood has been relatively–relatively–stable.

I feel like I need to re-customize this blog. The fact that the titles of the post don’t show up on the homepage literally makes me want to kick a bird.

I would never do that, I love animals.

I do this with my cat on the daily, and 99% of the time she fucking hates it

And this is the type of energy I’ve had since I quit those godawful medications. A warning to anyone attempting the Trintellix route: BE CAREFUL. It’s very understudied, still very new in terms of psychiatric medications go, and it fucked me up when I got off of it. My blood would have been on that companies’ hands.

I did have a bit of a breakdown yesterday, the first major one in five months, and that’s what’s prompting me to write this post. Just when you think you’re through the thickest part of the forest, you turn west and an abundance of pine trees cover your path in thicket.

While writing a different post for a different blog, I recounted my childhood in relation to school, specifically math classes. And while writing I got this overwhelming sensation, this bombardment of pain, a deep pain, a subconscious pain, one my conscious mind couldn’t comprehend. I couldn’t type anymore, the words were so muddied it felt like every sentence sounded like jumbled shit.

I couldn’t identify any other emotion besides pain. I couldn’t recount what kind of pain it was. I was sad, hurt, frustrated, confused–it felt like I was one of those Russian dolls that have smaller dolls hidden inside of it, and one of the smaller dolls was screaming in agony while simultaneously being burned alive, raped, and verbally accosted.

I’m sorry for that picture, but that’s the depth of the pain.

School is generally shit for most people. Very rarely have I met a person who said: “I liked everything about every year of my school and I don’t have one embarrassing or bad memory related to it”. If you are one of those people, comment or email me, because I want to hear your story.

But school wasn’t that horrible for me. I didn’t talk, suffered through Selective Mutism for a while, then paralyzing anxiety. I had trouble making friends, I was shit in math, and I was an outcast. No one really bullied me because I was tall, athletic, and hung out with kids who brought tasers and drugs to school. Home life was hard: surrounded by domestic violence, drugs, alcohol, emotional torment. And while I recognize all of that as a sort of systematic trauma, I thought for sure my awareness of it would cut down on the effect it has on me. Apparently I was wrong.

There must be some memory–or memories–of which I’ve either repressed or I just ignore and refuse to explore because there is an inner child, an inner part of me, that is consistently crying, screaming, cowering. It never stops. And sometimes there’s a “trigger” that ignites this part of me, like writing about my childhood.

A therapist I had at the Outpatient group I attended insisted I get in touch with my inner child but the closer I got to speaking with her the more distant and dissociated I became. That was another catalyst for that wonderful get-in-the-tub-and-kill-yourself incident you can read about in the above linked post.

Another trigger for me is when teachers say “Alright, we’re going to do an activity today” or “We’ll do something fun today”. The word “activity” alone sparks my fight and flight response whether it’s at a team meeting at work or a class or a workshop or a training. Or, when people say “you’re so quiet.” Even when they mean it in a good way.

Speaking of training, I have a three hour one on Wednesday of which has been really fucking with my head. I don’t do well around large groups of people and if I’m forced to do a role play in front of even five people I will spontaneously combust. I will.

I’m scared to touch my inner child with a ten foot pole because it seems like a volatile, unstable, nuclear ball of energy. I know I need to do it in order to properly heal, but I haven’t found anyone who can help me through that process yet. The last therapist I had who I paid for not only discounted my job and my skills, but insisted I get a second job even through I was curling on her couch crying my eyes out every session. I could barely hold my head up, and she wanted me to push myself harder.

I’m done with those kind of people in my life. Sometimes it’s not about pushing through the hard stuff, sometimes it’s about holding the hard stuff.

It feels good to post on here again, a real post. Not a whiny, woe-as-me post, but a thoughtful, reflective rant.

The word to sum up this post: Fuck.

When You Love Your Parents Because They’re Your Parents.

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From what I’ve observed from the interactions I’ve seen between, there are different levels of connection. There are deep connections, in which people feel comfortable enough to touch (hug, playfully smack, whatever), laugh, and share things they’d only ever whisper or things they’d consider secrets. There are moderate connections, where most people’s close acquaintanceship or friends fall: you freely speak with each other, go places, enjoy things together, but tend to keep an acceptable amount of personal space. There are business-like connections, where you may know about someone’s life and they may know about yours, you may joke and laugh and maybe even enjoy an occasional night out with them. All three of those layers can overlap depending on the people involved, and their situation.

Then there’s surface-level connections. You greet each other. You smile, they smile, but you rarely see any other emotion from either person. It’s like being in a constant state of your first meeting with each other. Nothing propels the relationship forward.

Some people simply do not click, and I think that’s reasonable given there’s about 7 billion people on earth. If everyone got along instantly all the time, well, social justice issues wouldn’t exist.

I am one of those people stuck in a perpetual cycle of surface-level connections, and not because I have an aversion to people (or visa-versa), but because I didn’t know those other levels of connection existed. I’ve learned this just recently, and I’ve learned just recently that the relationship I share with my parents, and everyone else, is entirely surface level, and always has been. We don’t do things together. We don’t speak about our emotions with each other. We’ve recently tried eating more dinners together. 70% of the time, they end in arguments or physical confrontations. Coupled with all the health problems my father has, with the mental health ones I have, and with all of the financial weight landing mostly on my mother’s shoulders, it’s needless to say connection is a difficult thing to make.

I remember briefly as a child all three of us doing some things together, but not often. I remember a lot of arguments and fights and fear and anger, and I remember being stuck in my head. I’m sure that’s when the fantasies started becoming a form of protection. My world still protects me today, but in a different way now, a way that hinders me.

I’m starting to see that you can care and love for your parents in different ways. I will always love my parents, but I don’t want to be around them. I don’t want to be associated with them. Now that I’ve got a glimpse of what connection and openness and honesty is, I can’t handle being boxed in this situation. I’ve been in it for 21 years, I think that’s enough.

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How I was raised gave me three essential things: shelter (sometimes), food (sometimes) and clothes (about once every five years). I’m thankful for those things when we had them. But I didn’t learn how to communicate. I didn’t learn how to take care of myself very well, how to navigate anything outside the walls of my room, and most of all I didn’t learn how to manage any sort of emotions, not even the good ones or the “stable” ones.

What I did learn was that when I get angry, depressed, frustrated, or even happy, any emotion at all, the only tool I have is to dissociate from the situation: emotions aren’t meant to be felt, they’re dangerous. This could mean I enter a fugue state (which I’ve only had once or twice, I don’t recommend having one in the middle of a four way intersection like I did), it could mean a complete shutdown where I don’t speak, eat, or move, it could mean I hear, see, or get caught up in thoughts that aren’t based in this physical reality we know.

But to put something dangerous like emotions out in the open? How do you do that? Online is easy: I’m writing words I hear and see in my head all the time. Speaking them requires you own what you say. It requires the ability to acknowledge the pain and to trust who you’re speaking to–assuming you know how to trust. Which is something I was also taught, implicitly, is a sure way to get yourself killed or taken advantage of.

For me, this awakening is huge: to realize the majority of my life has been filled with consistent mental and physical abuse  Not because I get to blame all my mental problems on my parents, I would never take that cop out. My childhood only exacerbated what was already there in a sense. This is huge because I’m aware of two major things now: 1) I can love my parents without feeling guilty for also never wanting to live with them again. 2) I have a chance to move forward and explore parts of myself that never got a chance to blossom. I have a chance to learn things I never would have realized I needed to learn.

One of those things includes being open and honest when I’m having trouble. Which is almost all the time, but that constancy might reduce the more comfortable I feel talking. It’s just hard to shake the feeling that admitting struggling is a failure or a weakness or going to bring embarrassment or be a waste of time. I get stuck in a cycle of struggling, feeling overwhelmed, wanting to reach out, reaching the edge, and just before I’m about to put a gun to my temple, my brain pulls me back into some la-la land where I don’t feel on edge–or I feel entirely on edge for a completely different reason like people controlling me, or demons following me, talking to me, or aliens, spirit animals, whatever (I think mine is a bear, it came to me in my shower one day). Then I come out of it and wonder what I was feeling so horrible about to begin with. I’ll have completely forgotten.

My brain has turned into a protector, a survivor, but I would like to do a little more than just survive.

 

The Truth Behind Trauma

Let’s talk about Trauma. Fun!

And I’m not talking about the kind of trauma you get from thinking you’re badass enough to put a glob of Habanero hot sauce the size of a U.S quarter on your tongue without an 8 ounce glass of milk near you.

*Tip* Water makes it worse. Why? Water spreads the chemical compound capsaicin (C18 H27 NO3,) while milk breaks it apart, putting it generally.

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And while making the mistake of sipping your ice cold water on top of your gulp of Habanero may very well traumatize you enough to keep you away from hot sauce for a while, it’s much less likely to reduce your functioning compared to, well, a near death experience.

Compared to child abuse.

Compared to sexual assault.

Compared to emotional and verbal and physical abuse.

If someone tells you they were abused as a child, and they give you the honor of actually sharing those painful memories with you, do the best you can to not to judge how abusive of a situation they were in. 

Concept: Construction workers inspecting brainEmotional and verbal abuse does not leave physical scars or torn innards, but it does shape how someone’s mindset is. It shapes how their brain reacts to every portion of their environment, to every social relationship, to every coincidence, to themselves. That’s essentially the person’s entire life.

There’s one type of trauma I feel isn’t talked about much, and reading what I’ve read recently from a health textbook used to teach students going into health careers, it’s obvious it needs to be talked about *RANT  ON THAT COMING SOON, MARK YOUR CALENDARS*.

And that’s the trauma that is a mental health crisis. You hear people give credit to the overwhelming medical model and biological “basis” of mental health issues simply because there’s a gap in people who struggle. In other words, you see people from all over the world, with all sorts of socioeconomic backgrounds, coming down with these “illnesses”.

Let’s take psychosis.

Picture this: you’re a young adult with blonde hair and blue eyes. Your family is upper class. Your parents don’t ask too much from you, or too little. You learned how to clean up after yourself, you learned how to work, you learned how to handle some emotions, maybe not all, but some. Everything in your house is fun and laughter and love and happiness, except for when that one uncle comes over and gets a little too drunk.

Then the fucking alien assholes start contacting you and the government starts freaking out about it, so they track you to your residence and, in the middle of the night, sew a tracking device in your wrist and the aliens keep telling you they’re after you so you start trying to protect yourself by hiding in the gutters at night.

Roughly.

Then you’re held down with restraints and medication and no one’s telling you anything, so it’s probably the CIA trying to do experiments on you so you fight them and they fight you and finally a few months later you come to a vague conclusion you’ve been in a hospital and that’s really only after they hounded into your head both heavy, heavy psychotropics and the heavy, heavy idea that you’re really sick. 

Then you’re sitting in a chair staring at the wall wondering if anything exists.

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If that’s not traumatic, than I don’t know what is. If that’s not something that needs to be addressed, that needs to be processed, that shouldn’t ever be responded to with “you’re just sick, sorry, get over it, learn to live with it, or don’t, whatever.”, than I don’t know what is.

I’m not going to sit here and argue with everyone who believes in the medical model. If you do, fine; if you don’t, fine. That’s not really the issue here. The issue here is that more often than not, mental health crises are written off as just “something that happens”.

It’s ignored that the feelings of fear, of mistrust, of confusion, of the million other emotions running through your head are a result of what you’ve just been through–not your “symptoms”.

It’s ignored that those feelings need to be processed, not repressed. Not summed up as “sickness”.

Still iffy? Alright, I’ll put it this way: as a child, and to this day in my adult life, if I butter my toast by holding the knife in my left hand, with the blade ridges facing away from me, my father will undoubtedly yell at me and tell me I’m buttering my toast wrong. If I dispute one of his beliefs, he’ll most likely launch a laundry basket at my head and call me a bitch like he did the other day.

There are a lot of feelings from that: anger, fright, sadness, confusion, frustration, exhaustion. You would probably agree that 1) those incidents are ridiculous, and 2) that those feelings should not be repressed, but processed and outed. If so, you get an:

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When I was in the hospital, my self-harm wounds that were obviously bleeding and staining my clothes and, although not deep enough to kill me, but deep enough to cause concern, were called scratches and they didn’t ask me why I’d done it: it was just part of the depression. My lack of eye contact and refusal to speak until someone reached me on a human level was also chalked up to depression. When I said I wasn’t depressed (because I wasn’t, I had other things going on), they didn’t believe me and told me I was depressed.

So, the fright that came with being hauled away by the sheriff, of having all these nurses crowd around me and take my shoes and all my belongings and of the counselors repeatedly lecturing rather than talking, of having to ask to use the bathroom, of the yelling match between the nurses and the man about him not pissing in the cup at 5 in the morning, about the guy who bolted across the floor on his hands and knees, about the man who kept wandering up and down the hall muttering to himself and never receiving any more interaction besides an occasional “hello” from a nurse, and most of all the threat of being stuck in this fucking place for more than twenty four hours, were never processed. I ran out of the doors, free, laughing hysterically when I left. In the short time I spent there, I’d already felt the harsh sting of institutionalization.

I can only imagine the fright and anger and terror and mistrust and pain and hurt that comes with being forced in there against your will, stuck in restraints, or completely isolated. 

And none of those feelings were ever asked about. None of it was ever processed. My privacy was continually violated as they asked me in front of eight other people if I still wanted to kill myself, as if that wasn’t private information. It’s as if they figure, hey, they’re all crazies, who cares how they feel about anything.

And that’s how people get worse. Repression. Repression. Repression. Invalidation. Invalidation. Invalidation.

It’s not just about “disease”. It’s not about “sickness”. It’s not about “disorder” or “illness”. It’s about emotions and your reactions and how you’ve been taught to react. It’s about learned helplessness.

It’s about feeling deprived the right to process your own emotions. And, as someone who says they are in control of their health, you have to take that right back.

 

 

A Comment On “Split”

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There are a list of movies, documentaries, Sundance films, and Lifetime drama’s that juggle carefully the topic of mental health and these things people still call “mental disorders”.

“Split” is not like any of them.

There are boycotts of this movie. I’m assuming that’s because they haven’t yet seen it.

If you’re new to this blog, you may not know I am someone who struggles day in and day out mentally. Were you to skim through old archives, you’d breathe in the demons and the angels: they’re spread liberally throughout this blog, like Neosporin on an open wound. If you do choose to dip your big toe in the pool of tar that is my daily experience, be warned you may be sucked down, you may be splashed with acid, burned, maimed, and/or killed. Be warned what appears angelic may indeed be the hybrid: Angehellic. Sign your name in the comment section and hit the follow button to agree to my terms and conditions, and to agree to the liability waiver: i.e, it’s not my fault if you die.

I would like to kindly ask the people who have been opposed to this movie simply because they believe it portrays Disassociative Identity Disorder in a poor light to go out and see it, or, at the very least, watch it illegally online: particularly if you believe it’s advocating the stigma we often face with mental health issues: we’re dangerous, sick, and crazy.

I saw none of that in this movie.

It’s M. Night Shyamalan. You really think it’s going to be a straight forward movie documenting the life of a “crazy” guy with DID going out and kidnapping young girls? Get real.

In fact, what makes this movie a great mental health movie is that it has absolutely nothing to do with mental health or DID. It has to do with pain, trauma, life, belief, and how all of that contributes to what we don’t know about the universe and our own brains.

There’s great information in this movie about DID that are true. I.e, different personalities harbor different health ailments, experience different memories, ages, the loss of time, and pupil sizes. One personality may have diabetes while the others don’t. One may have high blood pressure or high cholesterol while the others don’t. They have the capacity to know what other personalities think, they have the capacity to overpower one another and become the host.While I’m no expert on DID, as I don’t have it myself, I spoke once to a man with it, listened to his story, and I’m fully aware this coping mechanism the brain has created is both life shattering and fascinating just like any other mental health issue.

thinking-008What does something like DID tell us about the human mind? About life? About pain and trauma? About our own resilience and ability to adapt? If anything, Shyamalan is on our side with this. It’s not a matter of being broken or sick. It’s a matter of being pained, of being innocently human through traumas ( of any kind) that take away that feeling of humanity.

*SPOILERS*

Synopsis: A man named Kevin has 23 different personalities. Dennis and Mrs. Patricia (I think that was her name), now host the body of Kevin after stealing the spotlight from Barry. Dennis is highly neat and obsessive in nature with cleanliness because of Kevin’s mother’s abuse. He’s strong and punctual. He’s a protector; what Barry once was. Hedwig is a nine year old who spearhead’s the beast’s arrival alongside Dennis. Dennis kidnaps three young girls who he believes will be food for The Beast, as they aren’t “pure”. Several other hidden personalities reach out to Kevin’s psychologist hoping to stop it all. She is in the process of using his case, and others, to promote the reality of DID and the authenticity/power/possibilities of the brain.

In Dennis’ sense, pure means ” highly damaged”. He meant to kidnap just the two girls, but the third one came along by accident. The two girls he targeted for days, watching the ease of their lives. Those are the ones The Beast and personalities like Dennis believe need to be purified–i.e, made to suffer. What The Beast learns is the one girl kidnapped by accident has been sexually abused and physically abused, and as a result lets her go. She’s evolved, he said, and she should rejoice.

Of course there is a supernatural element that is greatly appreciated, and maybe this is where people get all huffy. No, he’s not insinuating that people with multiple personalities (or anyone with a mental health issue) are monsters like “The Beast”. Stop thinking literally and start thinking critically. In fact, “The Beast” isn’t a personality at all. The beast isn’t human: he bends metal bars, grows taller, more muscular, has veins of blue/grey all through his body, climbs up walls, runs and behaves like a lion or tiger, and devours the innards of the two impure (undamaged) girls.

The personalities within “Kevin” (the main character) all recognize The Beast as something greater than themselves, something greater than a human, and within that recognition they become the beast. The beast is the manifestation of pain and growth, and the almost egotistical strength which comes with it. That strength can be used for good or bad. Or both simultaneously.

I believe The Beast is correct. The things you suffer force you to grow in strength or succumb to nothingness, and you may unlock portions of yourself and your brain beyond average comprehension. You learn things others may never learn. That I do rejoice in. It’s not invalidating anyone’s struggle. It’s simply suggesting that maybe we don’t know all we think we know. 

When you’re in an introductory fiction writing class, one thing many professors or teacher ask you to do is think of a character. Think of their name, personality, likes, dislikes, e.t.c. Then, compose a story, or an outline of one, and plop your character in that realm. That’s what Shyamalan has done, and gracefully so. He’s created a multi-layer character (literally) that get’s dropped in a multi-layered story.

The story in itself isn’t about DID. The character happens to have it, but this isn’t Russell Crowe in “A Beautiful Mind”. That was a movie (based on John Nash) where the story was built around the ailment (schizophrenia) of the character. “Split” is a movie where a supernatural character is absorbed into a universal, and relevent story: two separate concepts merged together. This was a movie where a message was thought of, and the character most fitting was plopped in the story to explain.

So, before you jump on the bandwagon of hating this movie, twist your lens a little and dig a little deeper, particularly if you struggle mentally yourself. This isn’t a movie to portray you as a monster, as a crazy person, as a freak, as a sick criminal. It’s a movie that reminds you although you may be different, although you may suffer, there are many things in life we may never be able to understand. There are many things about the brain we may never understand. And because you struggle in the way you do, you get a sense of life, of the human mind, that most other people never will. And that is something incredibly special.

Painfully special, even.

Odd

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You know those days you go into therapy and you wonder if you will ever understand things, and then a couple words are exchanged and sudden realization pulses through your vein and hemorrhages in your frontal lobe?

Sometimes you can have moments in therapy that were slightly uncomfortable that you needed to have in order to breathe again.

I will try and rehash the experience. Unfortunately, dissociation took over and I can’t remember half of the conversation.

Firstly, you all know how I feel about diagnosis by now. It’s been a year. Which, congratulations on this blog and all of my followers who have been here from the beginning, and those who have been here recently, I appreciate every person who reads, likes, comments, or even just skims. Writing has been my only true connection to the human population I am apparently apart of (I still think I’m an alien), so when I say I’m grateful for you all, I mean it.

Anyway, if you’re new, I basically hold a middle finger to DSM and ICD-10 diagnosis.

bird-comeback-emoji-fangirling-favim-com-2590219And in particular, I hold ADHD on a special “fuck you” throne, simply because it’s handled so carelessly. They diagnose the children in elementary school because they won’t be quiet in class, and ignore the fact that schools are taking away recess and parents aren’t well versed in handling a child or well versed in what a nutritional diet is, and teachers aren’t fucking psychologists and don’t have the right to say “well, I”m going to recommend this child be checked for ADHD because she keeps interrupting me”.

Then comes the medication. Then comes behavioral issues, irritation, and the Zombie effect.

Then they say “ADHD is rising in America” and people believe it because they only see the surface. Because they don’t see that just because diagnosis is increasing, doesn’t necessarily mean true ADHD is.

So I don’t hold the idea of ADHD particularly high.

That does not mean I feel every diagnosis is fake. In fact, I’ve always noticed an abundance of the characteristics in myself, and that was confirmed yesterday in therapy. Yes, I do have some of the characteristics. It makes it very hard to focus or think. Is that part of a larger picture and not ADHD? Possibly. Who knows. The point is, for those with a true diagnosis of ADHD, I understand your pain, and it’s frustrating that the reality of the issue is hidden beneath a behemoth of misdiagnosis.

But when we began speaking about people and how difficult it is to express my ideas (even when I have them) . . .

and this is where it gets rocky. I don’t remember the conversation. 

I remember we spoke about perhaps not being positively reinforced as a child when it came to my ideas and therefore I developed a sense of “well, what does it matter what I say?” and it became a subconscious habit.

Then I remember we started talking about people and my connection–or rather, disconnection to them.

And that’s where it ends.

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A Clear Representation Of My Awareness

I remember staring at the bookcase in the back of the room and everything essentially melted away. I didn’t feel present any longer. I couldn’t pinpoint where my body was and the experience of sitting in that room didn’t feel real and whoever was speaking for me wasn’t me. It was like a light switch had been flicked . . .

Off.

I don’t remember what was discussed. I can remember the physical aspects of the room because I’ve been there so many times.

If you didn’t know already, if you’re a newcomer, I have a problem with dissociation. It creates breaks in reality for me when things get uncomfortable, when my anxiety is high, and although I am completely fascinated by the brains ability to find creative ways to protect itself, sometimes I wish it would fuck off.

I remember feeling like a few things were spilling out of me, things I didn’t normally say. Nothing too heavy, but just general things I keep pent up often. That was the feeling I got, but I wasn’t speaking.

I don’t believe I was tortured as a child. Put in bad situations, witnessed bad things, yes, but I was not tortured or horribly abused. I do not have Dissociative Identity Disorder, in case you were wondering.

Sometimes I am just absent.

And the rest of me handles whatever situation it feels I cannot.

That makes me feel like there are parts of me hiding things from me.

What makes talking about being disconnected from people and not really understanding why so traumatic that my brain feels the need to block me from the rest of the conversation?

I left feeling a little relieved, like I’d had some major realization.

I just wasn’t there for the realization.

That’s like getting invited to a party, arriving at the house, ringing the doorbell, and realizing they gave you the wrong address on purpose.

It’s a little odd.

 

Feel The Burn (No, This Isn’t About Politics!!!)

As we speak . . .

Err, let me try that again.

As I type, a disgruntled, mostly mediocre writer hidden in the confines of her room corner accompanied only by the L.E.D blaring of at 28 inch computer screen and the voices in her head, and as you read, I am steadily fighting the urge to buy the most useless crap I can find on Amazon.

I don’t need it.

I don’t need it.

I don’t need it.

I DON’T need it.

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But . . .

I do.

Wants and needs are practically synonymous, right?

I have these obsessions occasionally. I think I spoke of one regarding pocket and chain watches. They come and go like the moon–so in that sense, they’re always there, I just don’t always see them.

In my teenage years I was obsessed with metal. I wore black every day, I had chains hanging from both sides of my pants, I had wrist bands, chokers, a collection of belts, and the shirts I wore were all band T-shirts. I didn’t like anything unless it was black, silver, or a dark blue. I liked to blend into the shadows.

It died off suddenly, replaced with science.

Now I’ve recently been fascinated with Gothic architecture, antique furniture, colored contact lenses, and Gothic decor.

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If you weren’t already aware, and if I have not shared this publicly, I am a miniature hoarder.

I say that because I’m not as active as some hoarders. Some go out to stores and buy the small little trinkets several times a week and surround themselves with those trinkets until they’re buried to their neck in them. Some collect junk off the street. Most see potential use in all of their items.

I do not have the means to buy trinkets everyday because I don’t have money and I am not comfortable outdoors. I lucked out. I think?

I do, however, pick up things from the street. For years I had them hanging on my room door until I had to take them down because they wouldn’t stick anymore. I don’t know where they are in this room anymore. I might have managed to throw them away.

I have cleaned my room a few times in the six years I’ve lived here, all massive cleanings due to family members from out of town coming in or a giant spider scaring me into them having egg sacks hidden around in corners of my room. Usually these cleanings were successful for a day or two, maybe even a week, and then my mind crumbles and I throw things where I can see them, otherwise I lose them.

This most recent cleaning was not near as successful as the others. My anxiety forced me to my knees on the ground, the hot flashes forced me into the hall every few moments and when I returned to the state of my room, the one place in the world where I am confined, alone, and myself as it was stripped down to its very core (meaning, you could actually see my floor), I shut down.

5075834918_e6d7e7b48e_bIf you spoke to me at that moment, I would only stare. Your words would have been muffled as my mind protected me from myself and the outside world. I was essentially a hollowed shell for a good thirty minutes. If I did respond to you, I would screech or throw something, which are the responses my mother elicited from me. Finally she realized how the panic was affecting me and said we’d done enough for the day. I felt an immediate wave of relief and went back to smiling and laughing a good ten minutes later.

I believe this mess I’ve accrued is partially a result of my scattered mind, of my need to have things accessible and within reach at all time, not tucked away in a drawer or hung up in a closet–what’s the point of all that? I have better things to do than worry about things that don’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

I also believe it is attributed to a specific time in my childhood. When we were evicted those years back, the eviction that made us homeless, we kept what we could in a storage unit but many things we had to take to the dump. There was no ” we might be able to keep this”, it was simply discarded and forgotten and I had no control over it. I can’t remember much, it might have been a time where I was more anxious than I thought I was, but I can remember some trips to the dump, all the furniture we had to break down and throw away, including my bed. Although the furniture was just that, furniture, I didn’t get a lot of things as a child as it was, and now the majority of my stuff was either locked away and inaccessible or broken at the dump forever lost.

I started bringing things home from the dump with me. Toys and such, other things that weren’t damaged and just covered with a little soil, things I could wash off and potentially get some use from. At some point.

There are many things in my life I haven’t had control over, and one thing I can control in my room is how it looks.

Seems contradictory in a sense, seems like if my room is the only thing I can control, I would want it neat and tidy. But that’s not how my brain works.

My brain is not neat and tidy.

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If you have not seen Tidy Monster animation on YouTube, go watch it, I command thee.

My room is clean when I am on top of the world (or when I’m panicking about a spider egg sack). I’ve had moments where nothing mattered to me anymore, I was full of energy and I threw away all the things I didn’t need anymore, hundreds upon hundreds of papers (I’m not exaggerating) and I took every item out of my room–mattresses, dresser, large black television I have no use for anymore, three layer desk of which I’m sitting at right now, exercise bike of which I have no energy or space to actually put to use . . .everything,and got my hands and knees and scrubbed the walls, the corners, vacuumed, danced to music .  . .

I started at eight in the morning (after being up all night) and cleaned until 9 p.m.

That was the last deep clean my room had. The last ones have been small efforts until I get distracted and suddenly want to ride my bike to start training to become the next American Ninja Warrior or I get distracted by an article or philosophy or a million things.

I love my brain. But I’ll be damned if it’s not a workout to keep up with it sometimes.

 

Priceless

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I was told today “You have an awesome life”.

I paused before I answered, mostly because I was stuck in traffic for an hour and a half when it takes me ten minutes to cross town normally. But I also paused to reflect on the last week, to think about the people I’ve met, the struggles they’ve been through, and the way I’ve been humbled this week within myself.

I’ve been humbled because I’ve realized how not alone I am. I’m humbled because I learned how valuable connection is and how valuable trust is. I’ve never trusted someone enough to tell them how much I don’t trust people.

I’m going to severely miss those connections. Although there are other ways to stay connected, it won’t be the same for me.

It’s been a very lonely existence in my life. I stick to my ground that I’m not a social person, I don’t care to have many friends. But this week speaking with people who understand, being able to talk about things like suicide and self injury without someone’s eyes growing wide and them saying “are you safe? do I need to call someone?” without giving me a chance to explain my feelings, is priceless.

Orangutans LaughingThere are things we can laugh about that someone without lived experience wouldn’t laugh at. And it’s a different kind of laughter for me, it’s a kind of laughter where you remember a time you were in that situation and you remember how you got out of it, and now when someone is sarcastic about it, you can see the humor in it.

To reiterate, it’s a very lonely existence. I don’t feel comfortable speaking about my issues to people who haven’t had them because I know their level of understanding can only be on an “I care for you level” rather than an “I care for you and I know how hard it is” level.

I met people with a lot of different diagnoses: anorexia, DID, Schizophrenia, Depression, anxiety, Bulimia, Bipolar, e.t.c. But the wonderful thing is we didn’t talk about those diagnoses. In fact, I didn’t know many of them until the last day. We talked about mania as a reaction. We talked about voices as a reaction.

I find it interesting when it comes to something like having multiple personalities that we recognize those voices and alters as a result of Trauma, but when someone hears voices with a schizophrenia diagnosis, there’s no possible way in hell their voices could be a result of inner pain or unexpressed emotion or trauma. That’s just preposterous! 

Just like the voices that come next to a diagnosis of depression psychosis. Oh, those voices are part of the psychosis, not the unrelenting pain, never, it’s biological remember?

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Also Not Common

I’m aware this view is not common, and I’ve never spent my life having common views so I can sit well with them and enjoy them. Other people may get offended. We talked about this as well.

There has to be a clear distinction with this stuff. I am very careful not to say that “mental illness does not exist” because people fly off the handle. So instead, I say the diagnoses of mental illness does not exist, in my opinion. Yes, I experience life a little different in a way than you. Yes, a crowd makes me so anxious and paranoid I lie to get out of going places and instead sit in my bed and wonder about people who don’t have that reaction.

Yes, I’ve hallucinated things briefly that frightened me. Spiders crawling on the wall, people running at my car, demons popping up in front of me, e.t.c.

Yes, I’ve self-harmed and wanted to kill myself many, many, many times.

Yes, there are days when I could conquer the world, when I have tons of ideas and want to execute them all and times when I’ve mapped out plans to do so all night long like a ritual then there are days I could easily drive my car off a cliff or put a gun to my head.

Yes, there are days I feel utterly empty and don’t know what to do about it, so I go drive my car all night, erratically, freak some other drivers out, and smoke weed and hope to get pulled over so the cop sees all the scars all over my body and I can give him a run for his money on whether or not I should go to the hospital.

Honestly, I feel like luck has kept me from the hospital.

Sometimes I feel like I’m three different people. Each of us has our own view of the world, our own way to act, and they each have their own opinion on how I should handle things.

There are many more things, but lets not bore each other here.

'Do you realize what ethics has cost us this year.'Now, who is to say that those things, the way I experience my life, is wrong? Take into account my only experience with drifting from reality is derealization, so I don’t necessarily know the fear and pain that goes into descending into full psychosis. But even then, there are ways to see psychosis and ways to think about it that relate to a way of expression, a way the brain tries to handle the world it lives in.

In fact, that’s how I see these things we called “disorders”. I see them as different ways our brain reacts to the world around us. Different interpretations of our own personal head space and our own lives. One person may see the color red, another person may feel like it’s more of a pink. One person likes the taste of cucumber, another person puckers at it. One person hates the smell of gas, another person, for some reason, enjoys it.

One person hallucinates a looming man while standing in the shower (taken from someone I met a few years back) and is tormented by it until the person is forced in the fetal position in the bottom of the tub; another person paints until the pain is gone.

Our brains are like finger prints. They will handle situations differently, they will react to situations differently. Does that warrant characterization? Does that warrant sending out the message that “your brain is broken, it’s sick, and so are you”? 

Well, your tongue is broken if you think black olives taste bad. You have a tongue disorder.

Vinegar is too strong a smell for you? Well, it’s not for the majority of people. Your nose has a disorder. It probably needs some surgery and some daily nasal spray.

You get my point.

So to reply to the first statement, yeah, you know what? My life is awesome. My struggles exist like everyone else’s and I am lucky enough to experience the world in a different way. To me, that’s also priceless.