Who We Are

With this uproar in reaction to Trump and Sessions’ taking immigrant children at the border-except for those who seem to think that it’s entirely acceptable to violate someone’s human rights because they committed a non-violent crime, and as many of the children themselves aren’t even old enough to be charged with a crime in the United States in the first place-

Breathe. 

Trump-or the various people in the administration who preform competently when he wanders into his phases of narcissistic dementia and has to given pretend documents to sign and shred while they actually do the work of governing the country-plan on using the children we’ve taken from their parents as hostages to get Democrats to buckle under.

But wait-Trump has signed an executive order to keep families together when arrested at the border! All is well!

Bullshit.

It’s just to settle things down.

To make people feel like something has been done, so that everyone will start worrying about small every day problems again.

But.

No. The only difference is that any new arrivals will be able to hold their children in the cages with them. That’s all. The children who have been taken from their parents won’t be given back, and the other abuses will keep going on, unless we object. Everyone who crosses is still considered a criminal, the children included, and will be kept in substandard or inhuman conditions.

Because this is who we are. And this is who we have always been. 

When we ended slavery, we left in a loop hole, that meant black people could simply be rounded up, arrested for nothing, and just enslaved again. And those who managed to remain free looked for lost loved ones, most of them never to be found.

During World War II we turned away Jewish refugees and sent them to their deaths and sent our own citizens to camps because of their bloodline.

This is who we are. 

And if we don’t change, and soon, this is who we always will be, and it’ll get worse.

We’ll be nothing but the few who grind the masses who question nothing, who appreciate what they’re given, and those who object disappear and don’t come back, or are dismissed as overreacting.

But we said that the world we’re in couldn’t happen. Until it did.

So now what? This is who we are. 

I don’t like it. Not sure what to do about it.

But at the very least I can admit it.

This is who were are. 

And it’s ugly with a tacky white veneer on it.

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Can I Get Consistency?

….seriously, it’s like I can’t.

I’ve spent the past few months on it, but I think my brain is frantically rebooting to cope with the realization of the fact that I’m living in an actual dystopia.

Not even a YA (Young Adult) probably going to work out in the end with a teenage protagonist dystopia; this is straight up 1984 kinda shit.

‘Oh, we captured undocumented immigrants, took their kids away, and then ‘lost’ about 1500 of them.’ And ‘lost’ is the spin? The SPIN! Which means that either those children are dead or sold to some sort of traffickers, and it’s completely fine! Nothing to see here!

‘Teenage boys (mostly white ones) keep deciding to go to school and shoot at people! NOTHING TO SEE HERE THIS ISN’T A PROBLEM LET’S BUY ANOTHER GUN BECAUSE ACCESS TO A TOOL THAT WAS CREATED TO MAKE IT EASY FOR A TODDLER TO KILL WILL HELP!

(For reference, in 2015 43 toddlers (3 or under) managed to get a gun and shoot someone. If you have a gun stored in a way that a toddler can get to it and shoot someone, you are irresponsible. Period.)

We have officially reached the level when someone mentions that a recent shooter was motivated by a supposed rejection by a girl, someone has to ask ‘which one’, because there are enough teenage boys deciding killing people is an appropriate outlet for their emotions that people are at risk of confusing them with one another. This isn’t happening in other countries! I mean, sure, other countries are experiencing tragedies and violence, but a lot of people in those countries are leaving to try to come here. 

Towns and cities have water that isn’t safe to drink. Or cook with. Or bathe in. In America. But you know, that’s fine. They could live in a shithole and have no electricity! We live in America!

People don’t have any money to pay for their medical needs! But universal health care is terrible because SOCIALISM! And socialism is basically the bogeyman; it has a hundred forms, no one can agree on what it is, what it looks like, or what exactly is so terrible about it!

Oh, and our Head of State is such a running joke at this point it’s like ‘oh, now what?‘ every day or so. It’s ridiculous. You can’t keep any sort of standard, people are confused or in denial, positions are empty, and since so many people are struggling to keep their heads above water, the government is hoping no one will notice! 

My mental illness makes me struggle with this sort of thing, but at the same time makes me look around and want to shake people, because I’m paranoid that I’m actually in a long running delusion!

Are you seeing this? Have I lost all touch with reality?

…I guess I should walk the dog. Self care is still practical, if nothing else.

 

Talking About Guns

Okay, too many people in America get shot.

We as Americans disagree on how to deal with this.

Some people seem to think that giving more people guns will help somehow. I don’t see how this will help at all. After Columbine (so long ago now), there was a large increase in posting armed police officers at schools. Doesn’t seem to have prevented any school shootings, but they do seem to hassle and arrest students.

Arming teachers is another suggestion, but it’s really just to distract people, so the government doesn’t actually have to respond to anything practical.  The suggestion is so ludicrous it’s akin to expecting people to ignore a hippopotamus juggling knives on a unicycle entering while C-SPAN is on TV.

I live in an area where mostly law enforcement and criminals have guns. No one hunts, and realistically, a gun for self defense is more dangerous than not having one. People would be more likely to shoot their neighbor by accident than to shoot an intruder.

Crime, actually, is much lower than it was in the past-we just have more access to news about crime than we once did, so people are more aware of it, and are more likely to be fearful.

I’m aware that in other parts of the country, guns are much more of a part of the local culture. But at this point I don’t think the lives and safety of the people of this country are worth that.

We, in the common parlance, are a first world country. How many people are hunting for food? Those who are will need a suitable weapon, but you wouldn’t use a gun that fires multiple bullets a second for that purpose-it ruins the meat. So that leaves self defense-but since a gun stored in a safe way, i.e. unloaded and locked up, would be basically useless for that purpose unless you had advance notice, self defense is a moot point.

So then what do we have? People using guns for fun-but guns are weapons. Not toys.

Whatever dressing you put on them, guns are tools meant to kill, and some are meant to kill as many people as you can in as small a window of time as you can. That is what guns are for.

I see people grab at the Second Amendment, but we have made changes to the Constitution before, and those that wrote it suggested that the Constitution be revisited and revised for the changing times. When the Second Amendment was written, owning a gun was meant for a member of an organized militia.

(And this remained unchanged until Scalia’s idea in 2008, and I will express my opinion on Scalia thusly: PFFFFFFFFFFFT)

But also a gun at that time took a few minutes to reload, and could only fire one shot at a time. It was still a weapon, of course, but compared even to a modern handgun, the amount of people one could kill with one in a short time was small.

I feel a modern weapon would be the stuff of nightmares.

And, let’s be frank. Even the most well armed civilian isn’t going to be an obstacle to the American military, and to pretend otherwise is silly.

So no civilian has any real need for a gun, and going by what statistics and research we have available (the NRA famously lobbied against any research on gun violence until recently, and there is still a lot of work to be done), people are much more likely to kill themselves or be shot by their own weapon than to use it in a defensive manner.

Now I’m going to say something that is mostly likely going to offend people.

This doesn’t surprise me, because a lot of people are lazy, stupid, or care more about their ego and belief than what is actually true.

People keep loaded weapons in their couch cushions. That’s idiotic.

I recall a woman being shot by her toddler, due to the fact that she had a handgun in the backseat of her car with said toddler. The handgun was loaded with the safety off. Why anyone could possibly think that it was sane, much less safe, to leave a loaded handgun in the backseat of a car with a toddler riding in said car, astounds me. The woman in question did not die, but I do not know if she retained custody of her son. I have to hope not, because anyone with judgment that terrible should not be trusted with raising a child. The child could have shot himself, killed her, and then she very easily could have crashed the car and killed or injured other people. Because she couldn’t be bothered to put the safety on a handgun and put it in the glove compartment.

Just today I saw a story about a teenager taking a gun to school and accidentally shooting himself in the hand. Where is a teenager getting a handgun? Why did he take it to school? He should not have been able to have access to one. But he did.

Things like this shouldn’t be happening. But they do.


 

My other issue with this?

WE DON’T HAVE A GUN ISSUE-IT’S MENTAL ILLNESS!

  1. First off, this only seems to apply to when mass shooters are white men. All other acts of violence are terrorists or just thuggish.
  2. This makes mental illness scary. Media already makes mentally ill people scary-this doesn’t help. Police don’t know how to deal with mentally ill people as a rule, and the average person is largely ignorant about mental illness, so all that does is make mentally ill people targets.
  3. Okay, yes, we do need more access for mental health care, but this is just another distraction! Stop that!

This is so much smoke and mirrors, trying to cover up the fact that no other country on Earth with sufficient gun control has this issue. We have so much inconsistency with our access to guns, and then GUNS GUNS GUNS are so entrenched in our culture, especially for a lot of men.

And a lot of people are paying the price with their lives.

This isn’t acceptable.

In many states it’s harder to get a driver’s license than to buy a gun, and I’m of the opinion that no civilian should be able to buy a weapon that makes it easy to kill in a process that’s less complicated than getting a license to operate a car that will take them to work.

Inside a Depressive Episode

It’s something like being a zombie, if zombies have any inner life.

(And if there were such things as zombies.)

I couldn’t write this post in the deepest part of it. It was like trying to write trying to walk through tar, through mud, through wet cement.

I couldn’t feel joy. There was no way of holding interest in anything. Everything took too much anything to do. There was no focus.

Everything that I recognized as positive about myself was gone. Even most of my negative traits faded to nothing, leading me to wondering Where am I?

It brought back my desire to self harm, the classic desire to feel something, anything.

(It makes me angry when people mock those with self harm scars. Really, they don’t understand, so they should keep silent. Good piece of life advice, really.)

Now I can write, which is something of a relief. The worst is over. But now I’m afraid. I know that it’s there. It’s always there. It can claim me again.

(Wow. That was a little dramatic.)

But that’s how it feels. It’s something inside my own head, an illness that can trap me with little or no warning. That makes me feel like a successful or happy life might be impossible-plenty of people succumb to this illness, people who have ‘made it’, and I sure as hell haven’t.

I don’t have any plans on giving in.

Of course there are intrusive thoughts. It’s part of the package. That doesn’t mean I have to listen to them. I might have to pull a Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind-

-(I refer to the movie and not to Robert Nash because I don’t know how Nash dealt with his illness in his life. I assume the movie took some liberties, not the least of which being that Nash’s hallucination’s were (if I recall correctly) auditory, not visual.)-

-and just ignore them forever though sheer force of will.

Well, along with a combination of drugs and support from competent providers, because I am now convinced that my brain is too complex and heavy for me to deal with on my own, and anyone who thinks that I am weak willed and need to buck up and go for a walk in nature to heal can…hmm. Go crack a tooth on a pebble.

Something that helps me, and may help you: Do something physical. Just a little. Eat a square of good chocolate. Rub on scented lotion. Yoga. Go for a walk. Get a massage. Do some push ups. If you can, masturbate. (No, I’m not joking.) Clean something. Play music from junior high high and bob your head along to it. Heck, sit outside and get some air, if nothing else.

And if you’re like how I was on Monday,  and you’re just totally stuck, eyes staring at nothing, reach out.

Say to someone you trust, help me. If you don’t have anyone, try a crisis chat or telephone line. Just don’t sink into it more. Breathe. Remember that it ends.

And allow yourself recovery time-it’s exhausting!

J.

Chipping

I am highly detail orientated; mostly due to the fact that looking the big picture for too long tends to trigger my anxiety and shuts down productivity, making things that are achievable seem insurmountable.

So I chip away at the goals, making them smaller. More manageable. My brain recognizes them as tasks that are easy to accomplish, that are easy to repeat, and rewards itself for accomplishing them, therefore escaping (at least temporarily) self doubt.

Exhibit A: I want to/have to lose at least forty pounds. I rarely think about this, because it seems completely impossible, and I curl up in despair wailing about what a fat useless lump I am.

But ten pounds? I can lose ten pounds four times. I can stumble over losing them, and it can be hard, and frustrating, but ten pounds isn’t so much. That’s something you try to do in time for a wedding! I can do that!

(Slowly. I can do it slowly.)

It works on skills too.

Duolingo works that way, a language learned through as many minutes a day you can squeeze in, and rewards you for consistency.

I’m practicing sketching, and for someone who was never naturally gifted at the visual arts, it’s a little like a penguin learning to tango. But twenty minutes a day, at least a few times a week, and I’m starting to improve, chipping away at my lack of skill to reveal new abilities. I will also occasionally proclaim ‘THE THING LOOKS LIKE THE THING’, and beam with pride.

Chipping also allows for me to have some sort of standards for myself, while keeping my standards reasonable.

I am the queen of unreasonable standards for myself.

Any failure, however insignificant, leads to a crash and self doubt.

I get a pseudo-sexual thrill from a completed to-do list.

So by using chipping, I can achieve small goals and keep up self esteem, while working towards bigger goals and don’t blame myself for not knowing six languages, developing a cancer cure, writing a well written and best selling novel, and looking like a bikini model. In six months.

If you also don’t give yourself enough credit, or suffer from depression, I recommend chipping.

I had to chip away at this post!

J

Today: Twice-Exceptional and Self-Esteem

Hey, look everyone, this is me!

It might be you too!

Twice-exceptional, in a lump, is an educational term used to refer to children who are deemed to be of above average intelligence, but also neuroatypical in some way.

I was so excited to learn about this-

-I ran across the term on Tumblr-

-because I didn’t know this existed as a concept.

‘Bright but not trying hard enough.’ It was often on my report cards, and I would be looked at with disappointment, because I was so ‘gifted and talented’.

And I’ve carried that with me as an adult, except now it’s ammunition for my doubts and self loathing. How could I ever have been considered bright or to have had any potential and be where I am in life? That’s just some joke! It’s a mistake!

But combine ‘twice exceptional’ with imposter syndrome and we have a recipe for someone believing that they never were any good, and never could be any good, and they tricked anyone who believed that they were any good.

And it’s just another reminder that so much of what I think is bad about me is inside my own head.

Today, I was late for my volunteer gig.

My brain’s interpretation: OMG YOU HORRIBLE IRRESPONSIBLE PERSON HOW DARE YOU BE LATE.

My supervisor: Oh, you’re fitting right in, and you stayed late, don’t even worry about it, it happens. 😀

I’m just going to assume anything that I think is horrible of me is actually not a big deal until told otherwise, because I cut myself no slack. I need to cut myself slack, or I’ll break. 

Other than that, today, I felt pretty good about myself.

Gee, thanks, mood stabilizing drugs!

Ending thought of the day:

Deep inhale. Think of the ocean at night. Remember that somewhere inside is the possibility of clarity and glory.

J.

 

The Exhaustion of Self Loathing

I will be the first to admit that I am a negative person.

No. That’s incorrect.

I can be a regular Susie Sunshine, positive energy glittering out of every orifice and pore-

Except when it comes to myself.

I am so self loathing that I could probably find fault with myself if I somehow brokered world peace, cured HIV, ended world hunger, and put the entire planet on clean sustainable energy, all while looking like I was ready for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover. A month postpartum.

And it’s exhausting.

I’m already exhausted because I had to ride the subway, and I am a mentally ill neuroatypical who doesn’t like crowds, loud noises, people touching me, and who especially doesn’t like men leaning on me while they blast really terrible Jamaican dance club music with homophobic slurs and metallic screeches from their phone.

But then I get home, too tired to go to the gym and be exposed to more people, to more music that I can only cover up, not silence. Too tired to physically exert myself, to push, to Eye of the Tiger over my tired body and my brain struggling to rest.

And I start in on myself. Fat. Lazy. Pathetic. Other people get up at 5:30 and go and work out, and go to work for a whole day, or go after. Other people have children. Other people make their entire lives work, and you-

And then I have nothing, because I have convinced myself I have nothing, that I am nothing. That I might as well not even bother trying.

Then I try to push the self-loathing away. It’s a lot of work. It’s a bit like foam rolling, or self administered deep tissue massage. It’s hard to hear, and work through. Then, I’m a little more awake, still a little tired, but there’s a lot more clarity.

I remember I am mentally ill, working with difficulties that others don’t have. I am going to fail, have setbacks. It’s something that humans will do as a matter of course, and expecting absolute perfection is not only ridiculous, it’s setting myself up for constant disappointment, which is a straight shot to more self loathing, and exhaustion.

So, no gym today. That’s fine. Smaller goal. I can give myself that.

As soon as I process breaking my Duolingo streak and losing my bet.

J

Making Gym Time

I’m trying to lose weight.

I have already lost some-go me!

I’m going old school traditional about it; less/healthier food, and exercise.

Anxiety (and depression) makes doing this a hell of a lot harder than it already is.

Eating is an easy coping mechanism, but at least I can cope with that with low calorie snacks (hello blueberry season), or drinking seltzer. (I like lemon lime the best.)

A cup is about 83 calories.

Like so!

But exercise is the double whammy of occupying my time-

-Which means I don’t graze, eat out of boredom, or find excuses to go eat something-

-and burning calories off, which keeps some of the calories I do eat from sticking.

Anxiety and depression make doing this a hell of a lot harder than it already is.

In Disney’s Mulan, Captain Shang chooses a recruit, Yao, to retrieve an arrow Shang has shot into a tall pole. Yao prepares to retrieve the arrow and prove himself in front of everyone, when Shang then says he seems to be missing something.

screen_shot_2012_11_20_at_3_39_27_pm

Oh. Right.

Now we see the problem. The weights are meant to represent discipline and strength; both required to reach the arrow. Yao attempts to reach the arrow, even tries to hold on to the pole with his teeth-but the weights are too much and he lands back on the ground anyway.

Thus is the reality of trying to go somewhere you might not actually want to go, when you have anxiety and depression, on top of being just plain old tired, bored, not in the mood. Maybe you have your period. Maybe you want to watch TV. Maybe you just don’t feel like going to the gym.

Then anxiety coils around your neck and leans in and whispers you could hurt yourself. It’s so far. It’s hot. What if you have a panic attack and someone sees? It’s better to say home. People will laugh at you.

Depression weighs on your chest and back and sighs you’re so tired. It’s so far away. You’ll never do any better anyway. Go to sleep. Just get back in bed and watch TV. Have a bowl of cereal. You’re so tired. Feel how heavy your body is. Doesn’t it hurt?

And it is so easy just to give up. Go to sleep. Wander around in your pajamas and eat ice cream and not try, because trying is really really really hard! And you should just be able to eat ice cream and relax because you’ve been working hard!

But that will just bring you back to where you started. To heavier and more sadness.

So instead you prepare. You pack your bag for the gym the night before, so you don’t have to use up energy finding it. You fill your water bottle and chill it.

You find your keys, know what you’re having for breakfast.

So that all you have to do when it’s time is walk out the door, so that all your energy is focused on opening the door, down the street, don’t think about reasons to stop.

Because you’re pretty sure if you can get there, you can do it.

And even if you don’t make it through, you tried. That’s not a failure. You pushed through your reasons. And if you can do it once, that means you can probably do it again. And again.

And it might be a habit, one day, like showering, and showering is almost impossible to not do.

So, I’ll try for 3 times a week. Let’s see how I do.

Later.

J

The Lost Point of Body Positivity

I was going to write about difficulties of losing weight while neuroatypical. I have an unfinished blog post about the topic.

But-

There is something that is bothering me.

I remember, eons ago-

(In internet time, so really maybe a few years? There is some wiggle room, the internet is odd with time like that.)

That body positivity seemed to be about accepting imperfections in the human body; accepting the fact that no one looks like a model in a magazine because even the model doesn’t look that way. They are wearing make up. They have been Photoshopped and angled and blurred to a perfection that doesn’t exist, except in the photograph.

And body positivity said, ‘That’s fine. We all have scars and stretch marks and wrinkles and cellulite and weird tattoos and and dark spots and acne. Some of us have worse scarring. Some of us have body hair we can’t get rid of! Some of us have marks from picking at our skin and cutting ourselves and bruises from banging ourselves on walls. It’s just a body thing. Take that body you have and live in it and care of it, marks and all.”

As someone who has dark spots and scars from picking and a few scars and bumps and stretch marks, I took heart in this message, because it meant that however banged up my body was, it was still mine, and it meant it could still take a hit, and heal, and come back, and work, and still be mine. 

But then, it feels like, suddenly body positivity had less to do with the realities of living in a fleshy body and how it grew and healed and did what it did, and was more about…

Well, more about fat people.

Suddenly body positivity was really only for fat people, and mostly for _really_ fat people.

I’ve been losing some weight, and I’ve been thinking about my body, and its changes, and how I feel in it. Are my breasts changing? Am I more noticeable now? Can you see scars more now that there’s less fat?

But I feel like I would be what would be called a ‘small-fat’,*-

*The exact meaning of the term seems to vary, but it seems to be someone who is ‘plus sized, but might still be stocked in a ‘regular’ store.

In women’s sizes I assume this is from a size 14 on up to maybe an 18-20, but there is little logic to women’s sizes. I do not know what the male equivalent is, as I have never set foot in a man’s ‘big and tall’ store.*

 

-if I was seemed fat at all, and if I were to lose more weight, that I would be told body positivity isn’t for me anymore, because I’m not/would not be fat.

As far as I can tell, the running theory is ‘since we as a society generally don’t approve of fat people’, thin people can’t possibly insecure or uncomfortable in their bodies in any way.

Even though when I was much thinner, I was depressed, and didn’t like my body so much, and was told I was too skinny, and banged into things on purpose, tripped, cut-to see the damage on the body I didn’t like, and then remind myself how ugly the marks were.

Body positivity as it was helped with those feelings. Body positivity as it is now makes me feel as if I have no right to them, and I mourn the original movement, and I hope it makes a return, so that everyone can feel comfortable admitting their lack of comfort with their imperfections.

Next time, Trying to Get to the Gym When You’re Depressed/Anxious/Just Don’t Want To!

J

 

Whoops, Wrong Drug: Part 2

A downside to ‘your brain doesn’t work in the same vein as the majority’ is that things that affect the majority one way just might not be the same for you!

Some over the counter drugs, like DayQuil or Sudafed, will make your anxiety worse. I personally can’t take DayQuil at all; it worsened my anxiety on a bad day to the point where I was almost hospitalized. I was unaware of the possibility of such a severe reaction; my therapist at the time asked about any medications taken on the day, and mentioned it. So now I suffer through it with home remedies and the occasional nasal spray.

Speaking of home remedies, I always lacked belief that herbal supplements did much. My mother insisted I try St. John’s Wort for my depression. I didn’t think it was going to have much of an effect, if any.

I was wrong. I apparently entered a manic state-my memory is none too clear-babbling like a toddler on speed until I started getting dizzy, and curled up in bed and remained there until the next day, depressed and out of focus.

(My mother then purchased a ‘happy tea’ without checking the ingredients. Luckily, I read them myself, and, of course, St. John’s Wort was among them. I generally avoid my mother’s homeopathic gifts now.)

I’m not knocking therapeutic effects of things that aren’t medications. I do enjoy things like scented candles, bath bombs, scented lotions; when I need to relax, a bath bomb and a podcast can do wonders, or maybe some jazz music. When I feel stiff and uncomfortable in my body, a few yoga poses or a walk outside can help. And sometimes there’s nothing better than cuddling with my furry friend.

(I do recommend a furry friend for depressed or anxious people if you can fit one into your life.)

Baby Axel

Said furry friend as a baby, he’s a big boy now, but he’s harder to get cute photos of!

So, no cold medicine, and I don’t take anything that hasn’t been approved by the FDA that isn’t straight up melatonin.

(Try it if you have a hard time falling and staying asleep, it’s been doctor recommended and non habit forming, our bodies make it, and if you don’t make enough of it, you can have a hard time falling asleep, as I gather.)

And when people insist that I take too many pills and I should just be more natural and drink some form of tea that their cousin makes, I make a non committal noise, take my pills that night, and go to bed content in the knowledge that at least I know what I’m in for in the morning.