to the New Year

To all friends old and new, to those we lost and those we gained, to those we love, have loved, will love, to a better year, a brighter year, to hope, courage, and peace. Slàinte mhòr!

YAY CHRISTMAS! (not)

Christmas, and the entire holiday season from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, has always been hard. Always has been, probably always will. There’s a lot of reasons for that but those aren’t the focus of this post.

The focus of this post is “people who aren’t willing to accept that certain things are triggering and that the triggered person knows their body/mind and what they need to be safe.” On Christmas Day. Yeeeeah.

[trigger warnings for: references to fundamentalist Christianity, references to abuse, PTSD attacks and triggers, insensitivity to needs, whatever the term is for “non-mentally-ill-‘splaining,” and general ass haberdashery.]

So, this started out with being given “a gift” of a rolled up set of papers entitled [dun dun duuuunnh] “The True Meaning of Christmas.” oh, lovely, do I really have to do this? I was totally wary given just the title, but I knew that if I didn’t get it over with I would be plagued with nerves and general “what if” scenarios. So I read it. And holy shit, do I wish I didn’t.

The diatribe includes such gems as “for most people, this would have been a bad year, but because I have Jesus…” [unwritten “if you don’t have Jesus of course your year will suck,” plus “if you have Jesus and your year sucked, UR DOIN IT RONG!”], blaming his wife for their divorce, “I cannot imagine how people can make it through this life not knowing Jesus, or having a rock to cling to when the storms come their way,” and a list of “ways to change the world” including [but not limited to]:

  • ringing bells for the Salvation Army [yeah, I’d rather not give gifts or my time to a discriminatory and homophobic “charity”]
  • making a deal with the local gas station to fix tires for “needy people” for free
  • providing a week of childcare to a single mother looking for a job
  • “take blind people to the grocery store to help them find stuff and shop”

… and so on. All with the underlying, unsaid implication that if you don’t do these things, you’re not changing the world or being awesome or being a ~true Christian~ [this would be hard, since I’m not a Christian…], with judgment dripping from every word.

And given how … generally drippy this thing was with condescension and ick, I got pretty badly triggered. Apparently that’s how I spend Christmas now, trying to reign in my PTSD attacks. lovely.

Anyway, so I made a post to Facebook saying that
“oh yes, peachy, just what this Pagan who comes from an abusive “Christian” fundamentalist household wanted for Giftmas: a proselytizing letting saying that things have been donated to the gospel mission in my name.”

cue freakout. someone I’ve been having trouble calling “a friend” for a while posted the following:

“Eh, move on. You’ve got bigger shit in your life to deal with.”
and
“They’re going to keep on pulling this bullshit with you until you either A.) cut them out of your life permly. Or B.) turn the other cheek and realize people won’t change and go on your merry way.
Bullies love when you bitch about them.”

apparently me posting a vent about a serious trigger in my space is “bitching” and something that this person will AUTOMATICALLY know about… since they’re not my “friend” there anyway.

Me: seriously, C?

how the hell do you think you have the right to tell ME, the one impacted, how *I* should be reacting? This is my facebook, a place where I can fucking rant, and I get told off for being hurt over something that ruined a lot of things in my life? yeah.

peachy.

C: Those things could be helping somebody indirectly. You have every right to rant, but I sometimes worry that some of your health problems are from you worrying a lot about what those folks do.. You have your health, your schooling, your future, your life to worry about. Screw the rest of ’em. I care about you enough to not want to see you go deeper because of someone else’s dickhead move.

Me: I think I, and my doctors, will be the judge of whether or not “worrying a lot about what those folks do” has a negative impact on my health, be it physical or mental.

and this is not just “worrying about those folks,” this was something sent TO ME that triggered MY PTSD, that brought up MY PAST, specifically because of references to the Christian fundamentalist entity.

yeah, so apparently she’s just doing it for “my health,” not taking into account that I really do know my own body and mind, and that sometimes venting really is the best immediate thing to do, and that she [as an outsider] really has no cause to be telling me how to think, feel, or act.

This just ruined my day. Ruined. I don’t know what to do, or where to go from here, because this was someone I thought was a friend. Thought, past tense. Now I just need to relax [hello, Doctor Who Christmas Special!] and calm down. If only I could have some vodka while on the vicodin. If only.

oh, how ~hilarious~

… because apparently my illness is just totes fodder for jokes.

[trigger warning for: general assholeishness, mocking mental illnesses, references to self harm and suicide]

As seen on Facebook:

Christmas songs for the mentally ill……..
CHRISTMAS CAROLS FOR THE MENTALLY DISTURBED …

1. Schizophrenia — Do I Hear What I Hear?

2. Multiple Personality Disorder – We Three Kings Disoriented Are

3. Dementia – I Think I’ll Be Home For Christmas

4. Narcissistic – Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me

5. Manic – Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Buses and Trucks and Trees and…..

‎6. Paranoid – Santa Claus is Coming To Town To Get Me

7. Borderline Personality Disorder – Thoughts of Roasting on an Open Fire

8. Personality Disorder – You Better Watch Out, I’m Gonna Cry, I’m Gonna Pout, and I Don’t Know Why

9. Attention Deficit Disorder – Silent Night, Holy oooh look at the Froggy – can I have a chocolate, why is New Zealand so far away?

10. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells…..

oh yes, because not only are the holidays time for family, joy, and peace, they’re a time for mocking the lives and situations using horribly outdated and vile stereotypes. LOVELY.

So, going down the list:

1: Schizophrenia isn’t what people usually think it is. A Beautiful Mind is probably what first springs to mind, and it’s a very interesting example… and yet it’s not the greatest poster child. Often, those around a person with schizophrenia don’t realize they have it, because of the huge stigma attached to the disease. It’s also not always about OMG I SEE FAKE PEOPLE.

2: MPD isn’t about disorientation, and it’s not actually called Multiple Personality Disorder any more either. It’s called Dissociative Identity Disorder, and it’s not exactly what I’d call “a joke.” It’s something that is really hard on people with it, people who know friends/family/wev with DID, and so forth and so on. It’s harder on the Person With DID because a number of people don’t even think it exists, much less something to be taken seriously… as evidenced by this “joke.”

3: Also fake. With dementia, it’d be more like “Christmas? What’s Christmas?” — or at least in typical media presentation of dementia. The thing about memory disorders, they’re different for everybody. “YMMV” [your mileage may vary] is a great saying for a lot of things [not just kink!] and this is a good example. Just because, say, my Grandpa couldn’t remember my name doesn’t mean your Grandma won’t remember your name. If she gets dementia, she could just not remember her name. We don’t know enough about Alzheimer’s or Dementia to be able to apply anything across the population, not yet, and it’s really disgusting for me, as a person with a memory disorder, to see them mischaracterized like this.

4: This one, okay… I will admit, while not funny [because people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder hurt me very badly], it’s the most accurate of the bunch. It really is, and because I’m so close to the issue I’m not able to talk about this one further.

5: Just because I’m manic doesn’t mean I’m going to clean everything. When I was first looking into Bipolar Disorder as an explanation for my issues, my older brother told me that unless I had cleaned the fridge three times that night and my floor was spotless, I couldn’t have it. This is categorically untrue: I most definitely have Bipolar, for a time I was extremely rapid-cycling, and my room is a constant mess. My manic energy gets poured into blogging, internet stuff, and crafts. There’s a reason my jewelry production spikes around certain points of the year… and it’s not because I’m bored.

6: Yeah, I don’t even know what to say. I don’t have a clue what OMG HORRIBLE thing “paranoid” is supposed to be referring to, but I can say that “just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean I don’t have a good reason.” I’m paranoid about my immediate family finding me — and that’s reasonable. I’m paranoid about driving beside big rigs — and that’s justified. I’m paranoid about my “health care,” such as it is, being cut out from under me — and that’s sadly necessary. Paranoia doesn’t always mean “fucking crazy.” Sometimes we’re right to be paranoid.

7: yeah. WHAT? This makes no fucking sense. One, BPD isn’t always about “omg gonna hurt myself nao it’s all blood and fire and deaaaaaath!” — I think they’re confusing BPD with the supposed emo/goth culture. Two, BPD is ridiculously overdiagnosed and disproportionately in women. It’s one of those “them hysterical wimmin!” things — once you’re diagnosed with BPD, you’re screwed. Everything you do is analyzed as being rooted in your inability to control your emotions, the fact that you’re not doing your DBT [Dialectic Behavior Theory*] well enough, that you’re just “out of sorts” and that if you just LEARNED TO BEHAVE, GOD, everything would be peachy. Obviously there are a lot of problems with that, but the main one is that BPD is a diagnosis often given when doctors can’t be assed to care and help you through a dark period in your life. It’s All Your Fault, and nothing you say can change that opinion of you.

8: Oh, yes, so because I have depression everything sucks? Nope, sorry, strike eight for you. Depression is not the same as a personality disorder. Depression is a mood disorder, stemming from serotonin and/or norepinephrine imbalances. Major depression is nothing to sniff at, either. Imagine, if you will, living in a world where despite your best efforts, you couldn’t see a point to anything. You did your favorite activities [sex, acting, gaming, eating, cooking, taking long walks on the beach, whatever, and in spite of all this you can’t feel happiness. The finest cuisine tastes like ash, alcohol becomes a way to numb your body and mind, sex is pointless, and there’s no happiness to be found in anything at all. That is major depression. Some of us with MDD [Major Depressive Disorder] live like this our whole lives. Others, like me, are fortunate enough to have found some sort of medication/lifestyle/therapy/wev cocktail that allows us to live a semi-normal life.

But MDD makes its own normal. Your normal may be full of sunshine and rainbows, but my normal is nothing like that. My normal is a world where any fleeting joy is to be caught, captured, and savored, because I may not see anything of the like again for a long, long time. I don’t appreciate that my pain, my suffering, the thing that I fight against most in my life — my own brain — is being used as “just a joke.”

9: Oh, right. Because every person with ADD is unable to concentrate on anything for any amount of time. Hi, my boyfriend would like a word with you. My unmedicated, steadily employed boyfriend. Hell, I may even have a form of adult-onset ADD [no idea yet], and I can totally concentrate on things. Granted, sometimes I have issues focusing on lecture first thing in the morning, BUT WHO DOESN’T? It sure seems like any time we find a name for any sort of condition the first thing that happens is that it becomes a joke. It gets tiring, really. Fibro? Oh, you’re just faking the pain and it’s just so you can get drugs. Migraines? Same. PCOS? just have a baby, duh. Depression? JUST SMILE!

Whatever. It’s just so very, very old.

10: Oh, yes. Because the rituals that compel a person, usually against their will, to have to turn off the oven exactly seven times before it’s Really Off, to have to lock the door nine times before it will keep out the Bad Guys, to have to wash up eleven times before the germs are really gone, to have to walk the route to work in exactly twelve minutes and three seconds, that these rituals are totally fun and optional. HINT: THEY’RE NOT. The friends that I have with OCD are pretty damn distressed when they have to “fulfill” the ritual, when they have to do things over and over and over and OVER again to make sure they don’t have a panic attack in public, when they have to deal with compulsive thoughts all day every day.

OCD: just a joke, totally.

The point is, all of these things listed are incredibly life-altering things to have. Sometimes a person has them from childhood, sometimes they come on later [as is usually the case with things like dementia], and neither one is appropriate joke fodder. I am really, really tired of seeing, all over the place, that my day-to-day struggles, the diseases and conditions that sometimes make my life a living hell, are all just a joke. It’s rude, it’s disheartening, and it’s ableist.

is this mic on?

just trying to see if I can get this auto-link-distribution thing to work. fingers crossed!

on family and home

there’s a lot of stuff rumbling around in my head right now, but the main one is on “real” family vs “chosen” family, and “going home for the holidays.”

Some people well, actually, most people assume that when I talk about how I’m having fun with “my family” that I’m referring specifically to my blood family. I have no reason to do this, unless I’m talking about the rare get-together-things with my extended family that lives up here — and I refer to those as “a party with the cousins” or whatever.

It seems, some days, that it’s impossible to have a “chosen family” that is closer and more awesome than your blood family, just because that’s the impression that one can get from society and how family is portrayed in the media. Family is valued above all else, and I’ve even been told that I need to just “get over” my “angst” so that I can be a good daughter and honor my parents and blah blah blah. Seriously. The same person said that the abuse doesn’t matter, because the family is the most important thing.

I have a family. My family is my boyfriend. My family is my best friend in New York. My family is my mentor in Colorado, my previous play partner in Colorado, my friends in Oklahoma and California and New Jersey and Kansas. My family is my friend in Olympia who has saved my life in so many ways it’s impossible to list them all. My family is Shakesville, and Fugitivus, and Polimicks, and Shapely Prose [which is now sadly closed], and Two Whole Cakes [used to be Fatshionista].

A family is not always connected by blood. Experiences, friendship, trust, honesty, respect, and love are what holds a family together, and if a person’s blood family violates any of those it is a person’s right to break off and isolate from their relatives.

It is not wrong for any person to separate from anyone, even their blood family.

In that same vein, “home” for me is nowhere near my parents. Home is with my boyfriend, or my flat at school. I will be going home for the holidays, but I won’t be seeing my parents. “Going home” is not synonymous with “going to your parent’s home” and I’m tired of the two being conflated. I’m tired of correcting, time and again, that I don’t see, speak, hear from, or care about my parents.

Open your minds, people. There are those of us who were irreparably damaged by our “family” and we’re tired of hearing the push that family [meaning our blood family] is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING OF THE HOLIDAYS, GOD. It’s triggering, it hurts, and it’s not necessary.

PARTY POST

BECAUSE DADT IS FUCKING GONE.  GOOOOOOOOOONE.  FOREVER.

oh. again.

it’s a little [okay, a lot more than “a little”] disheartening to be denied a breast reduction at [what was at that time] an F-cup and see all these people gloating about getting their D-cups cut down. Now I’m at at least an I, probably a J, possibly bigger than a J, I can’t find anything that fits, my spine is falling apart, my neck is getting further destroyed with each passing day, and I can’t psych myself up enough to ask for another consult because I’m sure I’ll just be denied. Again.

your laugh for the day

I’ve had this on repeat all day and it hasn’t gotten old yet!

in the “holy SHIT!” category

… we have this piece of news, which is that scientists have actually managed to CURE A MAN of HIV via an HIV-resistant stem cell transplant.

Obviously there’s a long way to go, but SCIENCE. IT WORKS.

Night

[This entry is part of the Blog Carnival relating to mental health. The theme this month is “Night”.]

———
Trigger Warning: this post contains PTSD imagery, references to nightmares, physical and emotional abuse, and some mentions of rape.
———

Wake up gasping, clutching the chest and screaming. Screaming in the dark.

The nightmares are back. The neverending nightmares, the story of my nights.

The whirring of the space heater, the humming of the computers, and the soft whiffling snore of my boyfriend fill the silence, taking the place of the screaming in my head, pushing out the repeated, repetitive voices from the past. The nightmares come every night, now, and there doesn’t seem to be anything I can do to stop them.

I’ve been on medicine for them for over a year, at this point, and we’re on a very delicate balance: the current dose is not quite high enough, but the last time I went up it lowered my blood pressure far, far too much to be safe. As far as I know, there isn’t anything else that works as well as this med does.

The nights are long, and both silent and loud. Light in my head, dark in the room. The nightmares are invariably about two subjects: death and dying, or sexual and physical abuse [up to and including rape].

I spend my nights caught in a whirlwind of pain and fear. The nights I’m exhausted, I just fall into bed and pray that they aren’t too horrible. The rest of the time, I put off “bedtime” as long as I can. I know this isn’t healthy, that it’s impacting my health and my schoolwork, but there’s only so much one person can take.

—–

I spend the nights flitting from dream to dream, horror to horror. I can’t remember the last time I had a happy, or at least neutral, dream.

People ask me why I’m always so tired, and if I’m so tired why don’t I go to bed/take a nap/wev and they’re always [always] surprised. People never seem to understand that this is more than “a nightmare,” that this is more than “bad dreams.” Those who’ve never had to deal with a PTSD meltdown generally don’t understand how it can take over your entire life.

——

My nights are long, and filled with silence and darkness.

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