I’m so used to emptiness

If you are lucky, you have no idea what it’s like to have a disease that society questions because people can’t see it and aren’t sure they believe in it.

…..But, suddenly, a tumor on my spinal cord!…There was something wrong, there was something they could do, but, more important, I had something that I wasn’t ashamed of.

I recall actually saying to my twenty-year-old self: “Thank god I have cancer.”

This is something I wish for everyone who has a mental illness or addiction disorder. Not to have a tumor, obviously, but to have your illness taken as seriously as cancer.

-Patrick Kennedy Jr.

Everything is just fine, fine, fine.

The Queen is coming to America!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111!!!!!!!!!!!111!!!!!!!!!!

Ellie Goulding
Ellie Goulding

Yes, Ellie Goulding is coming! AHHHHHHHHHHH!  The plan is to see her in Raleigh, NC on a Friday night in June. I wanted to go to Maryland but it is a Monday night and I don’t know my schedule. What happened to the DC date? Everyone goes to DC! Oh well. Friday night is awesome for a concert so I’m going back to Raleigh. I love North Carolina, btw. I’ve only been there once. lol. The funny thing is I will be in North Carolina twice within 30 days if things go as planned. I will hopefully be in Asheville for my birthday in May and then to see Ellie on June 10.

Anyway, I’m hoping the best seats did not sell during the American Express presale. Can Jeb fix that? 😉 I see a solo seat available in the second row and I would kill to get that seat. As long as I’m not on the lawn, I think I’ll be okay. This has been my dream for 2 full years. ROFL. Sorry, I crack myself up. 🙂

I’m going to get my ticket this Friday. YAY! So excited. The only thing I see stopping me is if I have to get a lawn seat. I’m not going all the way to Raleigh to sit on the lawn. Now I have something to live for until June. Ellie, I love you!

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I don’t know how people do this NaNoWriMo thing. Haha.  I have 431 words. I’m going for a short story so I guess 25,000 words would be fine…I don’t know. I don’t like reading short stories (except the classics). Hell, I barely read fiction anymore.

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…I grew somewhat quiet and withdrawn – “in myself” as  I came to call it when it had become much more extreme. Unless spoken to, I didn’t have much to say; I wasn’t sure I even deserved to be heard. I’d started to believe (or, perhaps more correctly, feel), that speaking was actually “bad”…Perhaps this was the beginnng of my estrangement from the world, the very first inklng of my illness, something I’d never really experienced before, and a habit of mind that would intermittenetly mark me for the rest of my life.

Oh my gosh. I can relate to Elyn Saks so much. Her life story is like mine minus the whole being committed to mental institutions thing. I love this book: The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness. Ugh, this mental illness thing is so frustrating. People think you can just overcome it. Dude, this shit is real. Real like your broken leg. I’m not going to rant about my disappointment in people. Instead, I’m going to read and NOT write my “novel”. There ya go.

Tomorrow I have to vote. I still don’t want to. I hate leaving my house after working all day. I’m so spoiled.

when you’re sitting shotgun, you’re sitting pretty & free

Countdown:

97 days until Vegas

16 days until the office party

10 days until the board exam

I’m not even worried about the office party right now. The board exam has me shaking in my boots. TEN DAYS!!!!!!! *$#@ me. AHHHHHHH

The outburst is over. Now onto my regularly scheduled entry: #NoShameDay. I retweeted a couple of  my favorite tweets from Monday which was No Shame Day for mental illness/health. I was too ashamed to even tweet about my own mental illness…and no one even reads my tweets! (Actually two kinda big named local people follow me and I sometimes wonder what they think of my tweets if they ever see them).  Anyway, I failed.

The stigma of mental illness is very real. When I was in the office it was so bad the manager had to get at least two people to stop calling me “crazy”. I’m not going to rehash everything (too painful especially when I have an office party coming up). Most of it is in the archive of this blog. Thank Buddha I work at home now. The stigma follows you everywhere. Well mainly at work is where I deal with it. Even when I was working at home, the coworkers warned a trainer about me.

One day I had a breakdown in my car. One coworker heard me and she mocked me for it! YES. That happened. I don’t think I ever blogged about that. Everything is kinda coming back to me right now. It was horrible. And I thought high school was bad…actually high school was bad. Very bad. Yeah people and I never mixed well.

I have social anxiety, depression and PTSD.  I could not tweet that because I wondered what the famous local people would think of me. Lame, I know. Would they think I was crazy? Would they think I was a loser? Or “she probably has nothing. all that stuff is made up anyhow. ” etc. etc.

After the work experience, I know I would NEVER tell anyone at work anything. But social anxiety , depression and PTSD affects my behavior so what I am supposed to do?

 I don’t know what to do. No wise words here. I just know that the stigma of mental illness hurts people. Some people don’t get help because of it. Some people commit suicide because of it. When you’re told you are  “just weak” or “it doesn’t exist” or “just be happy”. ???? I don’t know what planet these people are living on.  (A healthy, happy  yet slightly delusional one. Ha!)

 I guess the only thing I can say is to not be silent about mental illness. Don’t allow them to shame you. That only builds the stigma. Some people won’t like you for it. It makes them comfortable when we keep our mouths shut. They want to shame us into silence.

Can I get a refill?

Ranting time.

::erased rant:: because I’m over it.

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Found on the internets 🙂

9 Things Not to Say to Someone with Mental Illness

This is a little old but I just read it. My faves:

3. “Change your attitude.”

While a change in perspective can be helpful, it doesn’t cure conditions such as ADHD, bipolar disorder, PTSD or schizophrenia, said Howes. And changing one’s attitude isn’t so easy either. “It’s incredibly difficult for a high-functioning person to change their attitude, let alone someone debilitated by an exhausting mental illness.”

4. “Stop focusing on the bad stuff, and just start living.”

According to Barth, “one of the most common mistakes is to tell a person to stop focusing on themselves, or on the bad things, or on the past, and just start living.” Why is this so problematic? It can make a person feel even worse about themselves. “[T]hey figure the fact that they can’t do it is, in their mind, just one more sign of their failure.”

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“I am Still Called by the God I Serve to Walk This Out”

Interview with Jordan Davis’ mom. This is a great and very sad read.

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Ten Quotes to Celebrate Audre Lorde’s Birthday

Looking for great quotes? Click the link above.

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Just Say No to College! Why it’s the Worst Decision a Young American can Make

I started dreaming of going to college when I was 8 years old. NOTHING was going to stop me. There were naysayers all around. After all, I was the first one of my extended family to graduate from a university. Even though I was depressed the whole time, I still enjoyed it. I didn’t go to find a job. I went for the experience. It was better than working full-time, as soon as I got out of high school. (I worked part-time).

However, I do agree that the debt often isn’t worth it. But if you go to a low cost school like I did (because I couldn’t afford another option) AND college is your dream then GO. Don’t go to the most expensive school unless you have a free ride (parents paying or scholarship).

Also, go to community college for two years first. (I did that on scholarship!) Then go to a 4 year university.

 

Change the record

Siwe Monsanto, The Siwe Project’s namesake, would have been sixteen on March 8th of this year. Instead, she chose to take her own life on June 29, 2011. It was Siwe’s suicide that prompted Bassey Ikpi, a family friend, to found the non-profit. As a mental health advocate and a noted writer, Ikpi has maintained a transparent look into her own life with Bipolar II Disorder.  ”The aim is to create community. People with illness forging with those who support or have loved ones with an illness,” says Ikpi.  The Siwe Project believes that sharing stories not only fosters individual healing, but community transformation. The Siwe Project strategically uses new media to cultivate safe spaces to share new stories. Additionally, the organization works to widen the public dialogue regarding the experiences of people of African descent living with mental illness.

To learn more about the Siwe Project visit their website. no shame! End mental illness stigma. Thanks to Jay Smooth for tweeting about this project.

Here is a wonderful quote from Bassey Ikpi’s blog (found at http://basseyworldlive.com/) –

Never apologize for how you choose to take care of yourself.

WORD!

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I feel for anyone having to live through Issac. 😦 I don’t know how they do it. I don’t want to live through another tropical storm so I can’t imagine having to deal with a hurricane. Tropical storm Isabel was really bad. Parts of our city flooded. People went without power for a month. Businesses were closed for almost a year due to the whole area flooding. I can’t remember the name of the storm from last year. But the tree in front of my house cracked. I had to evacuate in case it did fall.  Luckily it didn’t fall on the house but my neighbors weren’t so lucky. Their tree fell right on their roof. Scary.

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This is a great tweet from writer Anne Lammot: “Here’s a good prayer; “Hello? Is there anyone there? I hate everything, and I’m not positive I believe in You. But I need help; Thank you.” I’m 100% sure I don’t believe in God but I do tell him or her to fuck off….not as much as I used to. 🙂 Sometimes I do kind of pray like that though. I know you don’t exist but if there is a 1% chance you do, please help me!!!!!!!!!!

Yes if there is a God, I used to be really pissed at him/her. Now I save my anger for those pesky humans. I can’t believe in a God with all this stuff going on. I know religion has answers for it. But since I’m not religious those convenient answers don’t matter to me. I used to be so mad that I had social anxiety*. What kind of god would give anyone THIS?  Or when I heard about anything happening to anyone I would ask that. I used to rage. Luckily, I’m not thinking about God that much anymore. Anne Lammot’s tweet just made me laugh because that used to be soooooooo me.

*Well I’m still not happy about it. haha.

I have since found Buddhism and I stopped focusing on this “God”. Btw, I’m not Buddhist or anything. LOL. I just follow the stuff I already believed before I even knew Buddhism even existed.

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OMG – AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I just found out that next Monday is labor day. 🙂 I get a day off! WOW. I knew Labor Day was coming up but I thought it was September 10. Finally. I can’t wait until October 22. I get THREE days off after having none since June. amazing. :/

Wait there is more…college football starts this weekend (well, tonight I think?). And the U.S. Open is going on now. I will be sleeping and vegging out with sports this weekend. No work.  This. is. life. 🙂 I am so hyped right now. Friday cannot come soon enough.

Running on the line

No one is saying that James Holmes should be set free. WTF is wrong with people? Does anyone want someone who can build bombs and goes on a shooting spree set free? No. Why? Uh, he might do it again. (Of course he should be punished also…) Yes, this seems to be have to be explained to some people. Some people only believe in evil. They want to believe it was just evil because if it was something else then maybe something could have been done to prevent it. This will happen again and again until people get it. It’s really sad. 😦

Just because he was seeing a doctor who studied schizophrenia doesn’t mean he has it. He may, we don’t know yet. Sometimes people see whoever they can afford or who their insurance will accept. He may have been depressed, anxious or manic. Anyhow, the VA Tech shooter was mentally ill. ONE of the Columbine shooters was a psychopath (no cure for that). The guy in Norway who killed 70+ people in 2011 has schizophrenia. The guy who killed multiple people on the Northern Illinois campus was schizoaffective. I could go on.

I tweeted this Yahoo article yesterday:

Mass murder and mental illness: The Interplay of stigma, culture and disease

The social rejection worsened her disease (schizophrenia) and she became afraid to interact with people, eventually ceasing to attend classes and campus functions:

“For a while I struggled through classes, overwhelmed, perhaps in equal measure, by delusions and this new and unprecedented isolation. Voices took the places of both professors and friends. Following a hospitalization (and consequent withdrawal from a semester’s worth of classes), I descended into a state of the most stunning dysfunction, unable (or simply unmotivated) even to walk from my bed to the bathroom.

…..I fixated on a single vision, me, sometimes hanging, sometimes with gun in hand and a pool of blood on the floor, outside [her former adviser’s] office. Suicide, yes, obviously, but also something more: revenge.”

Although N did not plan a mass killing, she writes that she understands how someone in Holmes’ situation — a former academic superstar and Ph.D. student in neuroscience, who had withdrawn from his program in June after a reportedly dismal performance on an oral exam   — might have become so unhinged.

It is so easy to become overwhelmed and unhinged. Not unhinged as in planning and doing a mass shooting. That is extreme. I’m scared to say anymore.

Someone mentioned that because Holmes was seeing a shrink he should not have been allowed to buy guns but does that mean that anyone who sees a shrink should not be allowed to own a gun?  Way to make the stigma worse. Less people will get help for sure. If people won’t vote because they are scared to be called for jury duty (I know some of these people) then wow, they will never get help for depression if it will leave a mark on their record. What’s the line? I have no desire to own a gun at this time or probably ever but I’m wondering how they figure out who is mentally stable. Maybe they judge it by whether a person has been committed to a psych ward? I can probably Google this info.

All I could find was things like “As far back as the Gun Control Act of 1968, there have been federal laws against selling weapons to mentally ill individuals. But the Virginia Tech tragedy in 2007, in which the shooter Cho Seung-Hui was able to pass two federal gun background checks even after a state court ruled that he was dangerously mentally ill, highlighted the need for better record-keeping and interagency communication to enforce those laws.” [source]

I guess that means only if a court is involved it will be reported? What if you are fighting for custody of your kids and it comes out that you have major depressive disorder. Does that mean you can never buy a gun?  What is mentally ill? Anxiety? Depression? Bipolar? Which agency is doing the reporting? Will people start reporting this to employers???

I feel like the people who have no idea of why this would happen and the others who don’t ask why live in two different worlds. I don’t ask why. I’m surprised (and glad) it doesn’t happen more often.

Indeed, the greatest individual risk factor for violence is not mental illness but gender — another characteristic over which people have no control. Schizophrenia doubles your odds of becoming violent, but being a man multiplies your risk by a factor of nine. Yet we don’t stigmatize or reject men for this “risk factor”; similarly, we shouldn’t treat the mentally ill that way either. To prevent future catastrophes, we need to understand the range of cultural, social and medical factors that affect us all.

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I don’t have a good transition so……My Africian dwarf frogs are doing so well! They are hardy. First they survived the 2 hour drive from the store to my house. Then I changed their home a few times.  I’ve even changed their water and they have lived! 🙂 I love watching them. They are on my work desk so I get to watch them while I work. I love it. They seem to like their much bigger home. They only fight if they seem to think the other ate the majority of the food which isn’t that often.

My betta fish is hardy too. I feel like any animal that survives my water changes must be strong. lol. I can’t wait until I move. I’m going to get a 50 gallon tank. I want one now but I don’t even have room for a 10 gallon. Then I can finally get big fish. My aquatic plants are growing too. They are going to take over my frogs’ tank. The wisteria grows fast. I want to try different plants but I have to wait until I get the bigger aquarium. I can’t contain myself. I WANT IT NOW.

Anyone into plants should try aquatic plants. I would grow the plants even if I didn’t have any fish. For an easy plant like wisteria you don’t have to do much at all. You don’t even have to water them. 😉 Perfect!

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17 days until the D’Angelo/Mary J. Blige concert. I booked a hotel for 1 night. The concert is 2 hours away.

60+ days until the LGBT pride event

Hopefully some good things happen in between those two events. 🙂

“I hate talking to people. About things. This is a nightmare.” – Amy Ludgate from Parks and Rec

“Hi. I’m Ron Swanson. In general, I try never to speak with people” – Ron Swanson from Parks and Rec

Yep, I’m watching the last season of Parks & Recreation on Netflix. Love that show. I think I’m going to have Amy’s line as my new saying. I already say it in my mind. I just need to find people to say it to.

How incredibly selfish!

Another passage on suicide:

…I told him I was writing a book about suicide, and this, as is not uncommonly the case, seemed to unbell the cat. A short silence followed. Then he said, with the remarkable certainty of someone whose thin understanding of suicide is belied by 30 years of private practice:

I was suicidal once, when I was 18. But I decided I couldn’t commit suicide because it would be so terrible for my family and friends. I certainly couldn’t now. I’m a doctor. Think what it would be like for my patients. How incredibly selfish!

A slight sense of moral superiority hung in the air…Then I reminded his friend that I had tried years earlier to kill myself, and nearly died in the attempt, but did not consider it either a selfish or non-selfish thing to have done. It was simply the end of what I could bear, the last afternoon of having to imagine waking up the next morning only to start all over again.

It was the final outcome of a bad disease, a disease I would never get the better. No amount of love from or for other people – and there was a lot – could help…There wasn’t much of me left anymore, anyway, and I thought my death would free up the wasted energies and well-meant efforts that were being wasted on my behalf.

from Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide by Kay Redfield Jamison

I’ve finished the book. I highly recommend it to inquisitive folks. I learned a lot about the history of suicide. Regarding the passage above, if my mom committed suicide I would think “How could she do this TO ME?” (among others things of course) I would go through that stage but I think understanding the depth of suicide helps with realizing that it has nothing to do with me/anyone else.

The main thing that bothers me after reading this book is how ambivalent doctors can be. That’s disturbing…They are supposed to help.
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Today was a loooooooong day. I may blog about it one day.