mental health, Uncategorized

Sleeplessness and the bureaucrat

I shouldn’t be doing this right now. I should be trying to grab some precious ever elusive sleep but I can’t. My mind is stuck reevaluating with increasing disbelief, the interaction I just had with the front desk of the mental health conglomerate that I go to. Here is a word for word transcript, annotated with my escalating unimpressed thoughts.

Me: Hi, my name is ___. I’m a patient of ___ and I have had insomnia for three days.

X: And how can I help you? (in a tone that said, yeah what about it?)

In my head: wow empathy must not be your thing.

Me: I need to schedule an appointment to see her.

X: Ok. (she proceeded to get the information she needed to look up my chart and schedule) Well your next appointment isn’t until March so how about the 22nd of February?

Me: I don’t think so. I’m missing work I can’t go sleepless until the 22nd .

X: So you’re looking for a med increase.

In my head: what did you just say to me?

Me: I’m looking for a solution. I’m certainly not chasing medication if that’s what you’re saying.

X: How about 2:30 on the 16th.

Me: How about something today or tomorrow with anyone who’s available.

X: Are you available at 2:30 today?

Me: Yes that would be perfect.

During the subsequent wrap up I got her name so I could report her because I don’t take this kind of shit anymore.

So let’s just recap: A patient called and said they weren’t sleeping. She had an appointment open for today and she tried to schedule that patient for three weeks from now. Did I mention she had an appointment open today?! That isn’t just a lack of empathy but a lack of ethics.

While it’s not an uncommon occurrence in mental health patients, sleeplessness in my book and among the medical community in general, is a very big deal. Lack of sleep leads directly to decrease in cognitive function and motor skills, not to mention the fact that lack of rem can lead to suicidal behavior. Here are just a couple articles about the effects of lack of sleep.

“Depressed patients who experience sleep disturbances are more likely to think about suicide and die by suicide than depressed patients who are able to sleep normally.”  From and article from Harvard.

“This study showed that REM sleep has a critical role in facilitating brain plasticity. ” from an article looking at a study of the effects of four days of sleep deprivation.

 

I attempted to go back to work yesterday after finally achieving 7 hours sleep in 48 because I love my job. But my job requires a level of concentration and reasoning skills that I was unable to bring to bear with my head spinning. I was not sharp. I could not focus and I sent myself home after just 3 hours because I recognized that I could not wrap my head around things that I had been fully on top of the day before all this started.

I wonder how many patients without the benefit of my bullheadedness, without my ability to tap into my well of petty wretched spite in order to not cave to people like that, would have taken the appointment three weeks from now and suffered. What if that patient then had an episode. What if they spiraled so out of control that they harmed themselves or killed themselves. What if they fell asleep at the wheel?

Bottom line this type of soulless behavior is not acceptable in any profession but so much less so in the medical world. As bad as my regular doctor’s office is, they have more compassion than that and mental health patients don’t need less empathy they need more because we are often at a diminished capacity to care for or advocate for ourselves. We don’t need anyone else making our lives more difficult and we don’t need someone taking advantage of that state to pass off sub par care. My opinion as of today is that if you don’t have a mental illness and can’t score really high on an empathy test, then you shouldn’t be allowed to be the front face of a mental wellness office.

The chief reason I see the nurse that I do and have changed practices every time she has, is that she doesn’t dole out scheduled drugs like candy. When my previous nurse had continued to up my klonipin to help me sleep without looking at other options until I was on the maximum dose and simply dependent on the drug, it was this nurse who took the time to ween me off it. She found a safe alternative which I was a little shocked to find was an old drug that frankly my other care providers should have been knowledgeable about and I feel should have been ahead of habit forming drugs on the list of possible solutions.

I have specifically chosen with no small degree of difficulty to pursue a course of medical treatment that avoids anything habit forming and the implication that I am some how looking for a fix was absolutely insulting to me in every way possible.

I bring this up to illustrate that what we are prescribed is not our fault. It isn’t within our control that someone we think is looking out for our well being is just handing out the latest thing the drug rep told them was a good treatment. We come to professionals because we don’t have the answers. This isn’t the first time a receptionist has done more than insinuate that I was chasing medication. I’m not sorry that yes, in the same way that I insist on having my blood pressure treated or my Lyme disease treated or a broken leg treated, I insist that I have access to the medically proven solutions for the problems with my brain. I don’t put up a stink that I have to check in every 90 days so they can bill my insurance for a visit that isn’t necessary if nothing has changed. I do however expect that when something does change and I need to come in sooner, as my nurse always tells me to do, that I am treated with dignity and respect. I don’t think it needs to be pointed out that everyone regardless of their medical needs deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.

It is not the job of a scheduling drone to judge what I do or do not need. That is why the professional I see in the office has a degree and she does not. It is not her job to do her level best to keep me from being seen as soon as possible. It is not her job to decide if I have addiction problems or not. Someone who does have addiction issues probably really really needs an appointment asap wouldn’t you say? Someone’s medical needs are not a character flaw and they are certainly not an invitation to make judgments about that person and never an excuse to act on those judgments by doling out your version of the law.

I have observed in myself and those around me as a bank teller that the authority to say no to someone corrupts pretty quickly and a tendency to say no without really considering the situation takes root. This is simply a human failing but compassion is a human responsibility and if you don’t have it you at least need to pretend and if you can’t even do that, then you have no business interacting with people who need compassion which by the way is EVERYONE in the world.

It is my assumption whether it’s a good one or not remains to be seen, but my assumption is that this practice as a whole has a low opinion of people with mental illness and thus doesn’t really require sterling behavior from it’s staff. It’s easy to declare a group of people second class citizens and then have little compunction about treating them as such.

As for my sleeplessness issue I have found that as the light returns I have more and more mania and anxiety at night which becomes a self perpetuating thing. Fear of lack of sleep leads to lack of sleep etc. Needless to say the dark of winter has become my favorite time. Spring and summer mania are not fun. Now I’m off to advocate for myself. Keeping yourself well is bloody hard work.

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mental health, Uncategorized

I am not Beth March

It’s true. I’m not but I’ve been attempting to play her for over twenty years.

Of all the March sisters Beth was brightest and best. She had no lessons to learn, no character flaws to fix. She was quite literally an angel.

Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women  is a beautiful piece of fiction but perhaps it was introduced into my life at the wrong time. We never know quite how things will imprint on a child do we? Sitting quietly with my mother and sister while she read the book out to us is a fond memory, idyllic really. How cozy were we, in the living room with the wood stove burning while Yukon’s winter raged outside. I was learning to crochet around that time further adding to the feeling of living in that era.

In my first memories of childhood I was incredibly happy. I was wild, boisterous, and queen of my own ranch. We lived on a 300 acre ranch in the middle of no where. I had endless places to play and I quite literally ran amok.  I had thought for a long time that moving to town had affected me so badly because I lost all that space.

No. I realized today that on the farm I was wild child but I was accepted. No one tried to make me anything different.

All that changed when we moved into town and I was exposed to people who had very strong opinions on how I should behave. Archaic, “children should be seen and not heard” views just to begin with.  Suddenly I was surrounded by other children, judgmental meddling adults and a religious doctrine claiming that we were “called to walk into perfection.” All of these things together was a recipe for disaster. Children can be cruel and if the adults are worse then you really are stuck in a nightmare.

I had a problem and since as my father is fond of saying “we are not your average bears” I turned my mind to it full time. At church I heard over and over that it wasn’t enough to repent you had to also completely stop sinning and when a sin can be as small as an unkind thought, that’s a pretty tall order. However I took it as given that it could be done, after all these were adults talking.

My behavior at school and elsewhere was a constant source of issue.  I was being bullied and always handled it “poorly”. A week into school I got tripped, so I slapped the jerk who stuck his foot out , I got detention. The boy got nothing. Through that and various other situations I learned eventually that my reaction to a situation would always outweigh whatever had happened to me in the first place. It’s a lesson I’ve learned so well I perpetuate in on myself without any help.

I decided that what I needed was a personality make over. All I needed to do was learn to be just like Beth. No one ever spoke sharply to Beth because she was so sweet that she never deserved it. I, of course, always brought these things on myself because I couldn’t be nice. Becoming Beth was possible. I was certain of it because this was my version of walking into perfection.

I took the wrong message away from that book because of my single minded pursuit of being the best version of myself that I could be even if it was not me at all. That part of my view of life never changed. All the while I rooted everything else from my child hood religion out, I held this one poisoned kernel nestled deep in my heart.

I worked at being perfect constantly like an athlete honing their skills and muscles I worked at holding my tongue, having patience, being kind. None of these goals are bad in and of themselves but if you believe that you can be perfect at any of them let alone all of them, you are quite deceived. I was. It’s taken me this long to realize it.

In some ways nothing has changed since child hood. Something happens, I “over react”, I’m devastated, I resolve even harder to be perfect. The fact that I’ve vastly improved over these years holds no comfort whatsoever. I’m not perfect and only perfection will do.

All I’ve learned is to internalize what everyone tried to punish into me, that I am not good enough as I am. That no matter what happens my reaction will always be wrong. I will always be wrong. It’s gotten so bad that I avoid people or situations where I can fail, or embarrass myself by being too loud and inappropriate. I leave even the best social situation with regrets strong enough to keep me up at night. I am reclusive and constantly afraid of doing the slightest thing wrong but tonight the light dawned.

No matter how hard I try, I will never be calm enough, kind enough, patient enough and quiet enough satisfy everyone or even myself. I just have to accept that. Also Beth was dying and I don’t want to live like I’m already dying.

Now, I guess, I get to learn to be me again and maybe I will be able to turn all of that mental energy to something more worthwhile.

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economics, Uncategorized

The Millennial Conumdrum

As much as I don’t want to throw blame on the generation before me, I feel there is a genuine lack of understanding of how things have shifted since they entered the job market, went through school etc. Job uncertainty, soul crushing student debt and wages that do not in anyway pace with the cost of living even a very bare bones existence are a reality for generation x which I just barely fit into to and millennials who I have much more in common with.

At thirty five I’ve been through two layoffs worked entry level jobs over and over and after 7 years have only just now gotten back to the wage I was making in 2009. When you have to choose between defaulting on student loans and paying your mortgage and car payment, vacations are completely out of sight. Things you once considered necessities become luxuries until your only thoughts are food and shelter. Dr.’s visits, dental care new glasses clothes you actually like these are costs you weigh against saving money for Christmas presents. How do you prioritize your own needs over your family’s joy?

Having one child is so financially taxing that a lot of people my age aren’t even having children. Others want more than one but literally cannot afford it. Some are working but their wages are so low that they qualify for support. LET ME SAY THAT AGAIN. Wages are so low in Maine that even working full time with the requirements for state aid as stringent as they are, people STILL QUALIFY for state help.

We live the effects of ruthless capitalism and the now almost non-existent middle class every day. Millennials aren’t living with their parents because they want to but because THEY HAVE TO in order to eat. Talented and educated people aren’t leaving the state because they don’t like it here but because if they want any kind of a future they need a better job that you cannot find here.

We see no end in sight. Social security is already failing those who need it now. We don’t anticipate that there will be any left for us and we’re lucky of our budget balances. We can’t afford a retirement plan of our own. That’s not an excuse it’s a reality. We know we’re going to work until we die.

Millennials are making choices our grandparents and great grandparents had to make during the depression, stay and be dirt poor or go and possibly not be.

Pinterest is full of upcycle ideas because everything we do is on a shoestring not because it’s trendy. It’s popular because it’s necessary for the appearance of not being impoverished.

Gone are the days when you could get a degree and then find a job that will train you. Everyone wants experience up front. Or if they will train you it’s because they’ve conveniently layed off people who were making a fair wage for the work in order to hire desperate kids straight of college who don’t know what the job used to and should pay.

Wages aren’t going up. They’re going down because after the economic downturn companies weren’t going to eat the loss of profits. They passed it straight on to the consumer and the workers to keep their margins the same.

Don’t tell me it isn’t so. I’ve lived it! As the great poet Eugene Hutz sings, “It’s more than true. It actually happened.”

Many of us are working jobs in retail jobs at minimum wage or just above with a four year degree behind us. This isn’t a livable wage before you count in student debt.

For most of the people I consider to be in my wage class a vacation is a long weekend getaway to the white mountains or some other destination we can drive to. Did I mention you will have saved for this for months ahead of time?

No one should be blaming this generation for the mess we are in. We didn’t orchestrate the housing collapse, We’re too young to have benefited from the .com boom. We’re joining the armed forces and dying in staggering numbers because of lack of viable job options. We are literally stuck in the after effects of everyone who benefited before us.

I put forward the idea and I firmly believe that the numbers support it, that not since the great depression has there been such a need for a re-evaluation of the unlivable wages in this country.

This is why we wanted Bernie Sanders as a president because he was the only candidate that understood what we’re up against. The only one who demonstrated that he cared whether we have any kind of quality of life, ie being able to eat healthy foods and clothe our children without living in constant fear and worry over our financial state.

And you know what? There are plenty of members of previous generations that are right there with us because they fell through the cracks as well. The truth is none of us at the bottom have financial futures.

Here are the two  slides that started this rant and I think they hit the nail right on the head.

 

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feminism, Uncategorized

Destroying the Anti-porn Argument

The word feminist is so impossibly loaded for me because it comes with a list of restrictions I cannot possibly meet.

Here’s a few of the things I’ve run into:A good feminist has a career instead of a family or a good feminist stays home with her children or a good feminist nurses in public or a good feminist doesn’t shave or wear make up or have too much sex. She certainly doesn’t watch porn or read romance novels because they emphasize “strong” men and “weak” women and promote “gender norms”. Woman who write such things must then be the ultimate betrayers of our gender.

Oh and lest I forget, she always opens her own doors, doesn’t ask for help, she has to study instead of party, “slay the dragon” instead of aspiring to be “a pretty princess” because she couldn’t possibly do/be both.

I call Bullshit!

There is no good feminist or bad feminist. There’s only feminists and a feminist does whatever the FUCK she wants. Because choice is freedom and it’s not up to me or you to decide how a person should express their freedom.

As a writer of both “pornography” and romantic themes am I harming the movement? It’s a question that haunts me constantly and holds me back from sharing what I’ve crafted. How much sex is too much for the page? When do I cross the boundaries of what is acceptable to remain a “good” feminist? It stalls out my creative process and leaves me stuck holding imaginary conversations where I defend my lifestyle and my work and my motivations.

I shave my legs. Does that mean I don’t really believe in equality? How does my choice to shave or not impact the movement as a whole? Short answer: it doesn’t. The fact that I am making my own choice in the matter after weighing how I feel about the process and the result is extremely important. Literally I do it when I feel like it. My partner doesn’t demand it and I give zero fucks whether my legs meet any standard set by some unscrupulous retailer pedaling wares. I buy men’s razors because they’re cheaper and better and that is that and I really don’t need to be defending it here either but such is life.

I have found over time and experimentation that I care about my appearance even though I’ve been on a beauty media fast for nearly a decade. Putting time into my hair and sometimes makeup makes me feel like I care about myself. It’s the time invested and not so much the result that matters to me. For me that is respecting myself. For someone else the conclusion could be different and that’s also extremely important. Putting time into your appearance does not determine your self worth but I have learned that I personally need to put in that effort to demonstrate to myself by looking at myself in the mirror and embellishing my strong points that I am worthy of looking good.

Allow me some shameless soapboxing here.

This will of course vary from woman to woman because regardless of gender no two people are alike. This variance, just like all diversity of thought, intent etc is what enriches our sex as a whole. In living out our truths, whatever they may be and accepting everyone else’s right to do so, we validate shall I say, even elevate each other.

I know this. I believe this so why is it so different when it comes to pornography?

I would dare to theorize that our attitude toward porn is driven by feelings of jealousy, inadaquacy and therefore sex shaming of other women.

This is why I feel it is waspish and outdated.

The assumption I think, is that all sex work must be exploitation because it boggles the minds of many that such an activity would be entered into willingly. Well that’s just rude. Is there exploitation? Do some women turn to prostitution, porn and stripping for lack of other options? Certainly but in my book that gives us even less right to judge them. If we were willing to listen to sex workers and there are many that are vocal on the subject, their reasons for entering the profession are varied.

Furthermore whether mainstream “good” feminists want to admit it our not exhibitionists exist. That is to say for some people sexual performance comes naturally and may even be a dream come true. We all find fulfillment in different ways and some people are natural born performers in one way or another. Some women genuinely love it. Obviously not everyone does but I’m always shocked when people in my profession love being bank tellers. I find that to be unfathomable madness but I can’t deny it’s true and more power to them.

Why is it different if a woman chooses to put on heels and get down on her knees and suck cock in front of a camera. By saying that the only way for her to get there is force is to undermine her power to choose. It also reinforces the archaic notion that some very basic vanilla sex acts are taboo. I must meet this the way I do all things I find utterly preposterous, with a hearty “Are you fucking kidding me?” followed quickly by a “what fucking year is this anyway?”

Another factor lurking behind all this is the assumption that “good girls” don’t really enjoy sex or watching sex or have any sort of lust at all. Clearly we haven’t come that far from the attitude that a woman should “lie back and think of England.” I suppose a hundred or so years is a blink of an eye in terms of evolution but for those of us ahead of the curve it feels like an age.

At the root of it the attitudes are based on the flawed idea that there is a right way and a wrong way to be a woman and whether you’re a professed feminist or a total misogynist limiting woman’s behavior based on a standard of appropriateness has the same ugly result, shame for the woman in one category and smugness for the woman in the other. I just want to mention that even the woman who fit the “good” category are harmed because they can see how easy it is to fall from grace and are less likely to exercise choices that would banish them from that little box.

All of it sets us at each other’s throats and thus is not helpful to say the least. You could even say that it serves the purposes of people who want to oppress woman, so maybe we should cut it out just out of spite for them. I mean whatever get’s you out of bed in the morning right?

I used to think porn, masturbation etc who wrong and it has taken me a long time to earn my mental freedom and I will goddamned if anyone is going to put me back in the prison. I am not saying that you must enjoy porn or masturbate furiously or make porn in order to be a liberated woman, only that it must be an option for those who want it. I’m not simply satisfied that woman are no longer “treated for the vapours” or lobotomized for having sexuality. I believe we need to remove the sanctimonious puritanism that unknowingly poisons our every action.

In my book “You can suck all the dick you want and still be a feminist, Mary” and enjoy it and be filmed doing and get paid for it etc etc.

Give me orgasm or give me death!

Chanson de Tempête 24/09/2016

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Uncategorized

A perfect Night(wish)

I just returned home from an incredible overnight trip to see my favorite band. Nothing blew up, no one got hurt, there was no fighting and I only cried when they played my favorite song. This is in stark contrast to when I saw the same band in a venue slightly closer less than a year ago. The difference? Planning.

Last time I didn’t take the time to do the research I needed to make that a smooth trip. Last time was about refusing to stay home even though my escort fell through. I focused on taking my time and trying to relax rather than doing the research to have a plan and a fall back plan. It was stressful. I was late, my view was terrible, I felt awkward and out of place, I got lost trying to find my way back to the parking garage, (yes you read that correctly). The best thing I could say about it was that I got there and back without getting into an accident and there were moments where I enjoyed the show.

Mistakes from that trip were:

  1. Not making a real plan for parking. Venue parking is never big enough unless it’s a dedicated garage so if you plan to use it get there super early and not halfway through the second act. I know this. I really should have known better. There was in fact a huge garage within walking distance which through the grace of the goddess and no plan of mine I managed to find at the last minute.
  2. Taking a purse into the venue. Seriously who takes a purse to a rock show? It makes you a liability in a crowd and if you have any kind of care for the people around you just makes you feel in the way, which a person with anxiety in public really doesn’t need more of.
  3. Planning to be late. I fooled myself into thinking that if I took my time getting there and put no real time restrictions on myself I would be more relaxed. Wrong!

Basically by refusing to look at what could go wrong and simply telling myself if I didn’t freak out everything would be fine, I seriously missed the mark. I was therefore extremely lucky when the band, who are based in Finland, decided to tour North America again. This time I made sure I secured an escort and made it clear that we were prioritizing our view. Just to give credit where it’s due this is not my husband’s favorite band. He went with me to be supportive and visit a friend in the area.

I planned an outfit for functionality not style because really if you’re not on stage it does not matter what you look like. In short I had pockets for everything. The more self sufficient I can be the better equipped I feel to deal with unknowns. What do you really need to enjoy a show? Your tickets to get in and your id, also to get in.

We booked a hotel and my husband sourced restaurants that were celiac safe.

Most of all we planned to give ourselves tons of extra time. We left home at 10am, plenty of time to get to town, meet a friend for late lunch order more take out for post show food and shower before the show. We left the hotel with enough time to park, realize we were parked illegally and repark all without missing the opening act.

The key to all this was putting my husband’s and my skills to good use. Jeff is great at doing very thorough research. He didn’t just find a restaurant with “gluten free options”. A salad is not viable option if that is all their menu can accommodate you on. He made sure it had lots of options, enough that we could get lunch and take out to eat after the show because his research had shown that there would not be anything open after the show. I knew from experience that attempting to eating out at dinner time before a show is too stressful for me. You can’t count on getting in and out of a restaurant quick enough to get where you’re going, unless the restaurant is close to the venue which in this case we knew it was not. There’s just too many variables for me.

This is where all my worrying can be put to good use, time management. Because I assume something, or multiple things will go wrong if I have control of the time table I can account for those variables and leave a pretty decent cushion. If you plan to leave time you also don’t have to rush. I used to be fine with rushing but Jeff hates it and I have learned that it is actually less stressful to not have to and it’s also better if you don’t forget things like tickets and cameras and phones. So he likes to go at an even pace and as long as we start out with enough time to spare we both get what we need. Leaving an hour before the door opens when you are fifteen minutes from the venue might seem extreme but I think the proof is in the pudding on this one. The parking at the venue was already full and like I said we fucked up and had time to fix it well before the doors opened. Long story short, our car was where we left it when we got out of the show.

Recognizing that just going with the flow isn’t a viable option for me actually makes things go smoother. Rather than focusing on manufacturing calm I create a better chance that nothing will make me nervous.

Now is when we get to the payoff of little things going right that we couldn’t plan for. The venue, the Webster Theater was great. About 90% of it is open floor space, so even when the crowd was at it’s height we had room to move. Nightwish has some of the nicest fans in the world. We staked out a spot early and people around us were polite and genuine which when you stop to think about it is what you would expect. That is if you’re not stuck picturing the worst all the time. Regardless of what else separates you from the people around you at a show you at least know you have one thing in common and everyone should be pumped for the same reason.

The staff were on top of their game. There was about 30 seconds of moshing during one of the opening acts before it was resolved without anyone having to be thrown out. There is no moshing during the epic aural journey of Nightwish. If you do you’re doing it wrong.

Finally and most importantly they played a different set list than last time which meant that Marco’s solo piece was my absolute favorite song, While Your Lips Are Still Red. It was a lot nicer to hear it with my hubby with me rather than all on my own. That was just the planets aligning right there. I was able to lose myself completely in the experience the whole show and that is not just rare. It literally never happens to me in public. The whole trip was a complete success, something else I can never really claim. There’s always some qualifier; perfect but for this moment of panic or this snit fit or glutening myself. This was actually perfect and if it can happen once, it can happen again. Since my husband left a fan, the word legends was thrown around, maybe we’ll get a chance to do it all again.

 

 

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Uncategorized

Anxiety

Bipolar is a set of traps. One is the slippery slope of depressed self loathing, where you recount to yourself all the ways you are a failure, unlovable, and finally an unsolvable mess completely unworth of saving. The other is a speeding upward corkscrew of racing thoughts, social paranoia, rage traps, physical symptoms, and finally a paralyzing force that leaves you immobile staring at a wall or tv. The worst part is that they are codependent. They are wrapped around each other as tightly as the strands of you DNA and they can tap into each other’s lies to perpetuate their hold on your mind.

Anxiety is an asshole. It wants to sabotage you. It wants to make you its slave minute by minute. It wants to trap you in a mental loop of anxious rambling thoughts so all you can do is stare at the wall while your mind churns.

Anxiety will convince you that the worse possible case scenario is happening right now. It tells you to assume the worst about everything that is happening and everyone’s intentions. It wants to make you paranoid. The person you just texted is ignoring you intentionally. Your friends are so uspet by your erratic behavior that they don’t want to talk to you. No one will understand the person behind the disease. Your inability to act “normal” will alienate everyone. There is no way to ever come to terms with the stupid things you’ve done and said while in its grips. There is no way you can ever be sorry enough for people to forgive you. You deserve to replay every mistake you’ve ever made and permantly live in a state of shame for all the nasty things you’ve said in anger when you were actually terrified and couldn’t identify it because anxiety was shouting in your head that it was someone’s intent to hurt you and therefore you should lash out at them.

The anxious mind is not scared of anything in particular but everything at once. A person with clinical anxiety is literally afraid of fear itself and that is a nearly impossible thing to break out of. It paralizes you. All you want is to feel better and you cannot think of how to get there. You can’t get your mind to stop haranguing you for past wrongs or shouting that someone is out to hurt you. Meditation is the most frightening proposition because you can’t calm your mind. You literally cannot shut it up.

Imagine a hive of bees has taken up residence in your upper abdomen. At the same time an invisible hand is squeezing your heart. Your skin feels too small. You are dying to get out of your body. If only you could outrun the feeling. If only you could jump out of your own skin. If only you could get your head to stop screaming at you or stop the tide of uncomfortable images parading past your inner eyes. You feel every single ounce of shame you have ever felt in your life all at once. You must get control you need to get control of yourself. You know you’re outer behavior is about to match your inner madness but you can’t seem to stop it. You can’t get a grip on your emotions. You mouth is no longer your own. You know you about to fuck up, about to fuck up. All you can think is you are about to fuck up everything. Just think how terrible you will feel then. This feeling of dread is nothing compared to the regret of acting strangely or worse angrily. You’re so angry about not being able to get control back that it is going to come out on the nearest person.

You can’t let that happen but you can’t get away. You try to leave the situation but the feeling follows you. You know your next personal interaction is going to be a bad one. Your skin is prickly. You can’t concentrate. You can’t find a solution. You cannot get out.

Anxiety doesn’t want you to know your fears are unfounded. It doesn’t want you to find out that there is a way around this gloomy immediate future that it is laying out for you. If you could find a way out you could break the cycle and it would lose its hold on you. You’re afraid to talk to a doctor about it because you know the drugs used to treat anxiety are addictive and people will look at you strangely when you go to fill your perscriptions, receptionists will treat you badly. Doctors will think you’re just looking for a fix. Remember what happened last time?

Remember that time you embarrassed yourself when you were six years old? Let’s feel that again and every slight you’ve ever been dealt. Your boss is going to fire you. Your husband will hate you. Your sister will stop talking to you. Everyone you love will leave you. Remember that other time when someone rolled their eyes at you? That’s about to happen again. Protect yourself. Strike before they can get you. Run away. Call out sick. Don’t let it happen again but you know it’s going to. You can’t stop it. It’s inevitable. This is you.

Anxiety is a con artist selling you on the idea that a chemical imbalance in your brain is you. You are broken and can’t be fixed and the safest thing for everyone involved is to stay in your house. Want to keep people safe? Don’t interact with anyone. Don’t speak. Don’t act or you might hurt someone. Just sit here and stare at the tv or the wall. Just sit here and think and think and think. There is nothing you can do. Just find a way to numb out enough to face your next breath. Don’t even dream about being able to feel good. Feeling good is for people who aren’t assholes and you are definitely an asshole. Remember what happened last time? Remember? Remember. That is all you’re good for is to play your mistakes over and over and over and over.

Why can’t someone just snap you out of it? Why can’t you just snap out of it? It’s all in your head right? You should be able to control this. You should be able to make it stop. Just calm down ok. Don’t feel bad. Just don’t be an asshole. Don’t freak out. Don’t freak out. Don’t. Freak. Out.

Anxiety is that feeling at the top of the rollercoaster but the roller coaster never drops. There’s no relief. You may ride out and around a couple spirals but then you find yourself stranded at the top again looking down with that sickening dread. At the same time you’re certain someone has stranded you here intentionally so they can laugh while you squirm. You’re ashamed because you can’t move past it. You’re experiencing every moment of embarrassment all at once and your racing mind keeps screaming around the same uncomfortable track.

But you are not your axiety. Every day you survive in spite of it, every moment you carve out as your own, every second you can feel good is a blow against an enemy inside you but it is not you. Remember that. It is not you. It is a medical condition. It might take a few tries but you will find a doctor or nurse who understands that narcotics are not candy and that there are other ways to treat this disease in your brain. You can feel calm. You just need some help. It is out there. Don’t fight this fight alone.

PS. (edit 02/26/16) I was extremely remiss in not including a link to the inspiration for this piece. Here is the blog post from Wil Wheaton on depression. I found it incredibly inspiring as I always do with his contributions to the world.

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plus size, Uncategorized

Real Women have what now?

Here is why I, as a marshmallow girl, I would prefer that my “sisters of the flesh” not denounce thinner bodies by saying “real women have curves”. I think I’ve touched on this but it’s on my mind a lot.

First know that I understand.

It comes from a place of wanting to say “hey it’s not wrong to have curves.” That statement I can get behind all day long. What I worry about is that we aren’t just setting the pendulum of disdain toward another group. Curves were in then curves were out. They are currently so out that the ideal body is not attainable for anyone or for a very few people. What we are trying to push back against is the concept that there is an ideal body and we should. We should push back against that with all we’ve got but not by throwing another body type under the bus.

I understand the rebellious sentiment. You might look at someone you feel fits the ideal type and feel that her body invalidates yours. It doesn’t. We have to accept that and then preach that in order to change people’s minds on the issue. You can be chubby and be valid. You can be skinny and be valid. You can be somewhere in between and be valid.

Also, you do not know that body’s story. She may not be able to gain weight. She may have disordered eating. Wouldn’t you feel like a jerk if you said to someone’s face “hey real women have curves” and they had cancer? And I don’t think you should say things on the internet that you wouldn’t say to someone’s face. Bottom line her body isn’t your business the same way your body isn’t her business.

I had a very honest discussion with a very thin acquaintance in college and I was lucky enough for her to share her own insecurities and I left that conversation forever changed. See, she wanted to gain weight and she couldn’t. When she looked in the mirror she saw bones and she hated it but no matter what she ate she couldn’t put on a pound. When I looked at her I saw someone with perfect legs and blond hair, boobs that were only a handful and therefore not too much but she wasn’t living with my paradigm in her head. She wasn’t happy with what she saw and it’s the same myth about a so called perfect body that was making her miserable as was making me miserable.

Truth is women come in all shapes, sizes, skin colors, heights personality types, and any other set of differences you can think of. We are all no more or less real that the other. Replacing the unattainable perfect body type with our own body type doesn’t change the propaganda at the root of the problem. This problem like so many others will only be solved with love for ourselves and for each other. Because as Miranda Lambert sings, “You can’t love yourself at the expense of someone else”.

Thank you for reading

Good night and be kind to one another.

PS the term Marshmallow girl was coined by Japanese plus size magazine La Farfa and an article about them is linked. The term sister of the flesh is my own work but feel free to use it. 😉

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