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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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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feminism, Uncategorized

Are ya scared? I mean really. Are ya?

So apparently there are still people who have a problem with trans women using the same bathroom as cis women as if a trans woman touching up her make up at the next mirror over from you is a signal of the coming apocalypse or something. I think you can guess what side of the argument I’m on. From all I can tell it’s just a platform for reaffirming hateful stereotypes in the name of fear. It seems to me, parts of the cis population are using it as an opportunity to perpetuate hate while cowering behind their ignorance and claiming victimhood.

Since gender neutral bathrooms have been a thing for at least a decade in other more civilized areas of the globe, I think this so called debate is just another indicator of how backward and ignorant we are but it does provide an excellent excuse to explore something that I’ve turned over and over in my head for a while, the use of the term phobia.

To me a phobia is a fear and I don’t think the things we label as social phobias, ie transphobia, homophobia, xenophobia are really fears at all. I think there must be a different suffix or Latin root that deals with the real feeling behind this king of thinking, so let’s break it down and see.

A little research shows that phobia is an intense often irrational fear, just like I thought. Examples of this include acrophobia, the fear of heights; agoraphobia, the fear of open spaces; and claustrophobia, the fear of small spaces. These are fears. I am so petrified of heights that a two foot stepladder has me convinced I will fall and smash my head open. I’m not afraid of flying so much as I am intensely aware that my ass is suspended tens of thousands of feet in the air. The plane might as well be an illusion for all the comfort it gives me. You know this picture of a  rubiks cube falling away painted on a bathroom floor? Yeah it terrifies me. I’m not sure I could walk into that room even though I know the floor is there and it’s only paint.

Here’s a better example. Think of the Boo Box from the movie Hook. You are crammed into a tiny box into which scorpions are dropped onto your face. Now imaging that the box is suspended a hundred feet in the air and I think it’s probable that most people will identify with at least one of the phobias involved. These are true phobias meaning they stem from a fear and no other emotion but fear.

Now let’s see if my other suspicion is correct and there is a difference between the roots for fear and hate. I have to admit that I did not take Latin in school but this being the internet era it wasn’t hard to find the Latin roots for fear and hate and guess what? They’re different.

Miso is not just a delicious soup. Miso, mis, misa is the root that translates to hate or disgust. An example of this is logomisia, the hatred for specific words. Miso is also where we get words like misanthrope, a person who harbours an intense hatred or mistrust of people. Don’t forget misandry, the hatred of men and misogyny, the hatred of women.

Now let us examine what I consider to be misnomers in common use, homophobia, xenophobia, transphobia. Ask yourself does a true fear of homosexuals really exist? Does a homophobe shit his pants in fear when he sees two men kissing? No really does he? or is he filled with disgust? I think if we’re honest we will admit it is the latter.

Are you truly afraid of a trans woman using the same bathroom as you? Remember the bar I’ve set for phobia. Does it send you into a wave of panic so intense that it will leaver you cowering under the sink or are you covering your disgust at someone else with the guise of fear because that is socially acceptable? Again, if we are honest I think we will admit it is disgust and not fear.

If you truly shit a brick when you see someone who does not conform to your understanding of the gender binary then you do have a true phobia and I feel sorry for you. Personally I don’t make a habit of scrutinizing the gender presentation of the people around me or even really acknowledging strangers in general. Maybe this is an area where my social anxiety give me an edge??

I believe what homophobes, xenophobes, transphobes are actually suffering from is misia, an intense hate born of disgust. Can you be afraid of these things? I suppose so. You can be afraid of strangers, homosexuals and trans individuals but I still think behind that fear is hate.

When you act or speak violently on that fear it is definitely motivated by hate. We don’t call these fear crimes. We call them hate crimes and there’s a reason for that. If I suddenly went from fearing tight spaces to setting fire to every cupboard I saw, I think we could easily conclude that I had switched from claustrophobia to claustromisia, or how ever that word would be correctly formed based on the rules of Latin.

Changing what we call these attitudes switches them from socially acceptable to contemptible. It also acknowledges that it is an attitude and not some uncontrollable mental condition. An attitude can be controlled and changed. A phobia makes you a victim. You are not a victim of how someone presents their gender or who someone else shows affection to in public. In fact they are more likely to be victimized by your overwhelming misia but that’s another subject for another day.

Being homomisic or transmisic is not a medical condition born of irrational fear. It is an irrational hatred for things you do not understand and the language we use on the subject is important because it strips away the victim role that people with privilege love to hide behind when they feel threatened by the prospect of equality.

My point is that we should call things what they are and stop giving haters the benefit of the doubt. Face it you’re not afraid for your life when you see two men kissing. You are revolted and it’s not appropriate to call it a fear. Calling these things phobias lets people off the hook, making them out to be terrified little innocents in a world of scary people who are out to get them by exercising their right to live on this planet. How very dare they! Let’s not actively give these assholes comfortable language to hide behind.

I would like to advocate calling people out not as phobes but as misians.

“Hey sounds like you’ve got a bad case of irrational hatred there. You might want to examine your misia. Also take a two looks at your privilege and call me when you’re interested in being a decent human being.”

PS I have attempted to make this as sensitive as possible while making a point. If you feel there are areas that could be improved to handle the subject matter more tactfully I would welcome your feedback. My privilege as a cis woman and my ability to pass in the heterosexual world should not and will not be used as excuses for insensitive language choices or other missteps.

PPS Advice on how to properly replace these phobias with misias would be appreciated. Conjugation isn’t my strong suit in my own language.

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Uncategorized

My Messy Desk: What it means and how it has nothing to do with you. :)

Caution Crass Language In Use

I don’t know how long people have been classified as either messy or clean but its been centuries at least. Being clean is like being thin. It’s what you want to be, what you should aspire to above all else. Messiness on the other hand is worse than being fat. You do not want to be perceived as messy. It’s a sign of things being wrong with your mind apparently. I’m both cluttered and fat so I struggle a great deal with justifying my own existence while also being pissed off that I’m expected to do so.

There has been shown to be a correlation between creative people and messy desks or work spaces. Many visual artists work in the center of what looks likes frenzied chaos. Strokes of genius are crowded in with abandoned mistakes. I find this to be beautiful. Just look at all that stuff, all those man hours! Einstein, Twain and Jobs have all been shown to have had cluttered desks and all were undeniably brilliant. This is not to say that these things are causally related. I don’t think the clutter made them brilliant. I don’t believe that having shit everywhere is a sign that you know how to think outside the box. I do think that the adage that “genius is seldom tidy” rings true and that clutter may be a sign that you are in the presence of a great mind. It simply swirls around us because of how we do things.

I’ve run into some chatter over what effects clutter has on people. In the end, I just think neat freaks can’t understand how someone can function in the world without being organized. God forbid someone be different from you and successful too. Allow me to enlighten you, friend because I have figured it out. I did all on my own through logic and observation without harming or even inconveniencing a single lab rat.

Using myself as an example I will walk you through it. My desk has recently been “organized” so I can see vast expanses of glass. It still has: one laptop – in use, one monitor – not in use, a stein of pens, a bottle of hand lotion, post it notes, a mug, a nail file, a roll of tissue, a canister of push pins, a fork, tweezers, nail clippers, a pile of magic cards, a small hammer, an empty vodka bottle, nail polish, three sets of ear buds, a single ear plug, a small tambourine, two tea lights, a hair clip, nail stickers, a lint free cloth for my glasses, my sippy cup and (drum roll please) a fascinator. This is just the list from the surface that houses my laptop. The attached set of shelves has everything from tarot cards to chocolate chips. The only thing missing from this picture is my glasses, which are safely tucked away in their case, in my purse. They are the most organized thing in my life and they are fucking useless to me where they are!

This is what you call organized chaos. I understand this desk perfectly. There is a place for everything and everything is in it’s place- right within arm’s reach. When I need something, I don’t have to look for it. Best of all, I don’t even have to leave the room. To my right is my water. I drink a lot of water. I simply keep it where I need it. In the summer I brink up a whole pitcher. Likewise the snacks on the shelf to my left remove the need to leave the office to eat. Also, sometimes when I’m up here I do my nails, hence all the nail polishing items. Painting my nails is something that I can do while thinking about what I’m going to write next, so it is part of my creative process as well as a self care tool that is important to my mental health. I still have pictures to hang so there is no point in putting away the push pins or the hammer yet. On and on it goes but at the center is one simple theme.

Creative people exercise time management. We are fucking busy! We prioritize our time, consciously or not, to spend it engaged with our passion. I consider my time to be very precious. I work a full time job with a commute. I am simultaneously writing not one, but a series of novels in a world of my own creation. Time spent organizing my desk, hanging pictures, doing dishes, even cooking meals is time I am not writing. Therefore to me it is a waste of time. I do not treat house hold tasks with a sense of urgency. The dishes will be there when the muses have left so I choose not to spend all my time fighting the entropy of the house work.

On the flip side the idea I just had will fade away if I don’t write it down. I got out of bed last night just to put a joke in here. More often than not, that idea feeds another idea and another and before you know it, its midnight and the dishes aren’t done. At that point I have to prioritize sleep because I still have to work to earn a living. I could end this cycle, I suppose, by always choosing to do the dishes instead of writing but let’s face it that is not going to happen. Writing is like working out. If I take a day off, I don’t feel the same the next day. I’m not as sharp. I have to fight an upward battle to get back into shape. I have learned this the hard way and so I choose to write over anything I feel can wait.

Here’s the only part that gets me: that I even need to justify this to anyone. Honestly what my house or desk looks like has “now’t to do with you” as the Irish say. People make it their business because being tidy is heralded as being a good a thing and being slovenly is looked down on as indicative of a problem with your mind. “A cluttered space equals a cluttered mind.” Why so judgy? Besides, you say cluttered. I say active; potato, potahto, whatever. I don’t have trouble finding my thoughts and I don’t know what I would do if they were neatly pigeon holed away.

If clutter gives you anxiety then you need to not have clutter. The same is not true for me. One person may find great joy in spending the weekend organizing their basement and closets. Just thinking of that much time spent on a boring task that takes me away from my creative process is giving me a panic attack, right now. I would only be doing it to meet some standard that I find oppressive, offensive and unnecessary. That sets off my anxiety. Yet because of societal pressures I am tortured by the fact that I don’t find fulfillment in housework. I’ve had to realize that what I do with my time has value too.

If we really want to whip our dicks out and play who does more with their time, um I’m building a world. That means I’m creating cultures, a physical map, cities, governments, languages as well as characters. I’m also writing a story inside that world at the same time. Today I started a war. I birthed two new characters and started them on the path to love. I invented an airship that runs on sunlight, bitch! What did you do today? Played with some storage bins? Congratu-fucking-lations.

See? That isn’t very nice. I would never say this to people because what I really think is that we should each respect what the other chooses to do with their time. I’m simply making the point that what looks like me sitting on my ass is actually yielding results even if you can’t see them yet. Let’s stop searching for the right way to do things and agree that the right way is the way that is right for you. Why do we insist on making everything a battle field? Why can we not all be right at the same time? Why can we not look at messy space and give the owner the benefit of the doubt? Maybe they’re just off doing something they find more important and that is completely valid. In a perfect world people would see the dishes in the sink and go “wow! She must be tearing it up! She hasn’t done dishes in days.”

Peace and Love, peeps!

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