It will be a true testament of moments to see how fast I can write this post. I have less than half an hour, but I’d like to update you all on my current whereabouts, mentally.
First: I’m feeling better again.
Had a little bit of a spat with the folks this morning about my taking a class (biology) pass/fail without really discussing it with them first. My Mom thinks of it as my “taking the easy way out” and that I should just work hard and get the grade output for it. But I have to maintain a 3.0 GPA in order to do the internship class I want to take next year and there’s a chance it could effect that, so, no. And also, I’m doing not well in that class and would rather take the P versus the grade (which will probably be around a C) So there was that.
I was having extreme anxiety about the option on Monday and wound up in a crisis because of it. It didn’t help that I was thinking that I was making up an excuse (suicidality) rather than having a reason for why I wanted to take the course pass/fail. I’ve only done that one other time for another class, and this is a Gen Ed requirement so it shouldn’t effect my graduating or anything. Any who, Naomi helped bring me to some senses and we were all hanging out later into the evening so it was good. I also had a NAMI talk Monday night which went very well. That helped to bring back some meaning into my life and to get some potential interest going in the #RecoveryHome idea (my co-presenter is an art therapist)
Today, things just hit the fan early on. I stayed up LATE last night, remarkably, but unfortunately for me and that likely didn’t help. “The easy way out” reminded me of the misconception people use against suicide (not that there are many ‘good’ arguments for pro-suicide) and I really, really, really wanted to act on some harming thoughts.
I did NOT go and buy pills, which is good.
However, I did perform what was probably borderline a suicide rehearsal or at least self-harm, I’m not sure which yet, where I choked/strangled myself with a cord. ‘Cause I have my laptop today. You get it, I’m sure.
Any who, I napped through after that, and spoke with Craig later on. He asked whether I was going to stay safe in the future and I said I didn’t know and he asked if I wanted to go be around people and I said no and then he asked if I needed to go to the counseling center and I said yes. So I went there on emergency.
Met with the dude I’ve seen two other times and it was actually incredibly helpful. Between learning about how I am implementing self-care, delegating to others to lighten the load I’m carrying (I want to call up my case manager to look for DBT therapists in my area), to expanding my coping toolbox, to gaining more self-confidence, and giving myself more credit and to dismantling some of my cognitive distortions (black/white thinking, global assumptions) to reasons to live and writing articles about more coping/positive themes next semester—it was super effective. 🙂 I’m running out of a bit of time, but I will talk more exclusively about this in a post in the future. I wrote down notes and everything.
It was very helpful, is my point to this. I brought in a recovery book that I wanted to show Naomi today as I told her about it on Monday and reading over that has inspired me even further. Listening to my CL;MA playlist helped me to not buy pills today. There are coping strategies I can employ that will hold me over for the next few minutes, hours, days, weeks and months. I just got to keep reminding myself of that. That there ARE options in life, and many of them in fact.
Also, the person I saw has read some of my articles in the paper! And they told me about how writing can be quite cathartic for people and I’m doubly brave and courageous for publishing my words with my name on it for the campus community (and on here!). Which is awesome. And makes me feel good 🙂
Also, I’m toying with the idea more of writing a book one day. I will write more about this later tonight/tomorrow/the weekend. I’ve got to be going now…
#RecoveryHome prompts will resume shortly. I’m thinking I will do the first week all about the imaginative prompts and the second week all about application and therapy oriented thinking and switch off together week by week.
I look forward to writing more about my ideas on book writing for the future. 🙂 And reading. And you guys. And stuffs.
Love you peeps, hope you’re well. Reach out to someone if you’re not. It’s worth it.
*TW* This post will contain information about suicide, mental health, OCD/depression and much anger, passion, empowerment and bullshittery from stigmatizing comments and folks who cannot seem to understand mental health and the conditions we face on a day to day basis.
Now, I’ve spoken out back in August 2016 about how mental health and suicide “jokes” aren’t funny, appreciated or wanted–most of the time. There are ways of joking about mental health and suicide that is relatable and releasing–a catharsis if you will–rather than doing so out of dislike, ignorance and misunderstanding… or stigma, if you will.
What I find funny and what you find funny may be two different things. I could find a shirt funny and you could find it offensive, and vice versa. These opinions are formed from our own personal experiences, our lives, our stories, our journeys. They won’t always be the same. And that’s okay. That’s what makes us unique, individualistic and who we are.
However, can we not come to some type of consensus that mental health conditions are highly stigmatized? And, beyond that: abuse of any kind in any realm is so very often about blaming the victim–for “not leaving”, for “allowing” it, for “asking for it” and other related bullshit?
For the purposes of this post, I’ll be concerned the most with the OCD “joke” shirts and merchandise that exist in the world, but can also be easily related to other mental health conditions (as I can imagine there are some out there whose “joking parts” exist on merchandise), suicide and self-harm too.
I personally find the merchandise making fun and light of a condition as serious and life changing as OCD to be unfunny, offensive and despairing. It reminds me that individuals in society still think of OCD as a condition that’s hilarious. I force a fake smile and hide a grimace when I see these shirts that are making light of the condition.
And, I get that. Humor is a coping strategy, there’s no doubt about that. But there’s a line drawn between humorous and inappropriate. Dark humor can be both, but it only applies to certain people. Not everyone has dark humor.
Dark humor can be used when you can share your frustrations in a group that then connects you with each other as you release the PAIN you are going through. That’s good and that’s positively effective.
But isn’t it possible that someone within that group will find the humor offensive? Of course. Because again, we are all on different recovery paths, different journeys, and what’s funny to one person may not be to another. It IS subjective. When you have a powerful mass of people who speak out about their frustrations, their ill will, their sadness–then it’s time to take a pause and consider whether your humor is being misinterpreted, is misplaced or conveys a message you hadn’t intended.
These shirts about OCD, about suicide of all things, about mental health, they don’t serve as dark humor, because they aren’t made by people who are suffering from the conditions. Because they’re not finding humor out of it in a dark, twisted way. They’re just making fun of the condition itself.
Yeah, you can put a whole lot of words into the acronym of OCD. But do you find people doing that for cystic fibrosis? For the hundreds of cancers out there? Because I don’t.
And it would have to be a comparatively similar amount, because there are a LOT of jokes out there that people make about OCD, suicide, mental health and self-harm. There are a LOT of people out there who use stigma ahead of understanding, who use ill will ahead of compassion, who use judgment ahead of empathy.
There are people coming forward every day who are disclosing and opening up about their struggles with mental health conditions. Why? Because it is STILL a subject so closed off and not talked about in ALL societies across the globe. This isn’t just an American problem. This is a worldwide issue.
Some Internet users like to tell others to “kill (yourself)” or “KYS”. Some Internet users like to call out people discussing suicide openly and accuse them with the misconception that they are “attention seeking.”
Some Internet users like to say that people who discuss their self-harm are “attention seeking,” that “you wouldn’t be telling the Internet if you were really doing it.”
Some Internet users egg others on to hurting themselves. Some of them take pleasure in other people’s pain. Some of them are just naive. Some of them feel that the screen puts enough distance between themselves and the words they type upon the screen to the other receiver.
And then there are some people who act and communicate with compassion, kindness, empathy and concern. These are the people who ask questions, who engage with the receiver expressing their pain, who understand because they’ve been there too or they’ve known someone who has or they’ve lost someone to suicide. These are the kindhearted people who speak OUT and UP for these mental health related issues. They don’t hide in the shadows, they make their blogs, they write their posts, they are as comfortable as they can be while also fearful, sometimes, of the backlash that may come their way.
Because it’s not easy to stick up for what you believe in. It’s not easy to step away from the shadows and declare change for something everyone else seems to take lightly, take innocently and take as if WE are the ones with additional problems. As if WE are the ones who can’t handle the world, when really, it’s so often that the world cannot seem to handle us or knows how to interact with us. That is, our compassionate selves are more aware of how potential “jokes” can be taken into negative space with another individual who is suffering with what we suffer with. That’s called looking out for people. Befriending. Not being overly sensitive, not being a pussy, not whining or bitching or complaining.
That’s being a good person. That’s having humanity and the decency to act accordingly in line with our values.
We don’t hurl insults back at those insulting us. But we don’t take the bullshit either. We grow in strength in our numbers because we inspire more and more people to put up their fists and open their mouths against the bullshit in society.
We aid. We help. We are not alone. Together, we can make changes.
In this way, now, you may be able to understand that I don’t find the OCD merchandise funny. It may be for you, if you struggle with it too (or even if you don’t). But from my perspective it’s not funny.
The OCD I live with isn’t about ‘obsessing’ over Christmas or cleaning or organization or anything in that realm. It’s not about obsessive chickens or caterpillars, cats, or any other letter you can squish into the category–and no, it’s not CDO either. And it’s not crooked or anything like that.
The OCD I live with involves the focus on self-harm and suicide obsessions. The OCD I live with makes me want to kill myself.
Because this is the Internet, it may be funny to you. You may feel inclined to tell me to “follow through with it” if I think about suicide so much. And, I’m not going to listen to you, because I hear that from my brain enough times a day.
Instead, I’m going to look out for the people out there who feel the same as I do. The people who hurt because they too feel as though they are being belittled by a group of marketers who just want to make money off a disorder they may think is quirky or hilarious, or at least, perpetuates such ideals onto the customers who may or may not purchase it.
Now, if you donated that money you’re making off those shirts to an OCD campaign? That’s a different story. But I’m thinking that’s not happening. So the offense and the anger persists.
I also want to say that joking about suicide, online and off, isn’t funny either. You may think that mock shooting yourself in the head is funny, well, it’s not. For me and people like me, we think about suicide on the daily basis. It’s not something to laugh about. It’s a serious set of circumstances because, guess what, people die from it. And once you’re dead, you’re pretty much going to stay dead. Forever.
And these are people with families, with friends, acquaintances. These are people you pass in the hallway at university, the people you work alongside, the people aching in the corner of the room. These are people who wear a smile on their faces. These are people who cry publicly, where no one seems to notice.
These are people who know the resources available or who don’t have a clue. These are people who have been hospitalized before, or never, who take their medications or who recently went off them. These are people with talents and skills, humor and compassion. These are people who may have been assholes (hey, not everyone’s nice) but once the suicide occurred?
They’re another statistic, another loss of life, another person we all could have bettered from knowing.
Suicide is the loss of life where a person could have gone on and found hope, worth and love. Where they could have recovered or been in recovery. Where they could have made a difference within their life rather than after they had passed.
Okay, so I took a break for a while, but I think I’ve said as much as I need to say. For the ending of this post, remember that there are hotlines you can call wherever you are in the world and there is information out there that you can find regarding learning about health conditions and suicide/self-harm. And there’s good music about suicide prevention and fun stuff too. 🙂
Take care peeps, bless you all and I hope this piece was good!
This post is inspired in its actual creation by this post regarding “jokes” about OCD on merchandise (clothing) I’ve discovered some of the same inappropriate (and not me inappropriate but actually–inappropriate in the way that it’s condescending and a small fuck you to people who suffer from these mental health conditions (because god knows there are more out there for other conditions).
It’s just angering and despairing that society and so many people still don’t take OCD seriously. Or mental health conditions in general, seriously. Or suicide seriously. Or self-harm seriously. Gee, thanks guys! *flips off these people*
But for this post, on my end, I want to enlighten us on the appropriate, AWARENESS based merchandise that DOES exist for mental health conditions (OCD) and self-harm/suicide. If I’m feeling up to it, I’ll extend my thanks to a few other conditions, too.
This is also a good way for me to finally show you guys the OCD awareness T-shirt I bought myself back at the start of the month! ‘Cause it really is snazzy. 😉
And of course, I want to do this post to show some faith in humanity and awareness campaigns and to cope with the bullshit I saw that exists out there, too. 😛 Gotta realign yourself when you go from waking up to despairing, you know! 😉
The OCD T-shirt I found and bought for myself:
A far away shot and a close up of the fanciness. 🙂
Okay, I am realizing that this is going to take me longer than I originally thought, but as I have things to do today *cough homework cough* I’m going to end this bit here, and make this a series for the holidays! See?! It all works out 😉 Totalllllly my plan from the start 😀 XD
If you have particular causes you want some awareness finding shirts/merchandise for, just make me a comment and I’ll getter done!
Now I’m hungry. Gotta go nom nom on some breakfast. 🙂
So I thought about skipping today’s project day due to some mourning process, but I want to pick myself up a bit from my ‘oh woe is me, my life is so pitiful’ state of mind and share with you some of my thoughts for this second day in #RecoveryHome. 🙂
Here are two photos of the fanciness I got for building my #RecoveryHome (as well as for scrapbooking) :
Purple sparkly washi tape!
With a little scrapbook pages of fanciness! Some that are glittery and shiny too! 🙂 (Pretend you don’t see the background, as that’s a sneak peek into tomorrow’s two pictures!)
For today’s assignment:
Describe the scene of where your #RecoveryHome resides.
So, for my #RecoveryHome, it resides on the top of a hill looking out over a small town. 🙂
And, that’s all for today!! I want these to be doable not only for anyone who decides to take up the #RecoveryHome project, but also for myself! 🙂
So, if you guys have been following along with my incredible awesomeness of radiating badassery since the summer, you may remember the #RecoveryHome project I came up with. Well, as I’ve been struggling more lately in my own recovery, taking a positive step forward I want to embark first on daily #RecoveryHome creations (i.e. blog posts and art stuff and creative endeavors) and then transition to weekly ones.
I really want to continue expanding out my project’s idea, and I’m hoping to do more work with it officially if not just exclusively on my own. It’s a big project idea I have for the spring semester. 🙂
If anyone wants to jump on board with it, feel free to do so! I’d love to start rallying up participants to join the journey of creating our very own, unique #RecoveryHomes! 😀
This is Day #1’s To Do:
BONUS: Share some real world #RecoveryHome application
Begin listing out street names of the #RecoveryHome area
So, I’ve personally already gotten a bit ahead: This series will feature the progression of my #RecoveryHome paper house. That’s right, Michael’s has paper houses available for purchase for the holiday season and I totes got one yesterday!!! 😀
This means that I’ll be working on crafting my paper house into my Recovery Home so that a real world product exists of this imagined land. 🙂 I will include the photos of the home within each post of this series, so that it stands out more and you get an idea of what I’m discussing in such posts. 🙂
Here are the photos:
This is a Work In Progress list, by the way. I’ll add updates to it either through linking to newer posts or … no, I’ll just do that. 🙂 Make more days out of it that way 😉
Here are the street names I’ve come up with thus far:
Kill Yourself Road (Dead End and yes, it’s OCD’s contribution)
Recovery Residence (a carved stone on the property of my #RecoveryHome)
There are others from real world scenes I’ve seen, but I keep forgetting what they are.
Bloomingdale Cove. Yeah, that sounds pretty cool.
Here is a resource for finding more street names 🙂
If you Google street names the Wiki will show up listing out a bunch of them 🙂
So, I hope you guys enjoy Day #1!!! I don’t know how well I will do with uploading each day well, each day, but I’ll work on writing it out in my journals if I can’t upload via the computer for each day… I don’t know, we’ll see how it goes! 😀
*Trigger Warning*: Mentions of suicide/OCD. Written 10.13.2014 Fall semester. This is the first draft of a prose I created to describe my therapeutic relationship with my therapist at the time in my university’s counseling center. This is where Steve got his name. I’ve been wanting to share this piece for a while. Later this week will be the full-fledged final piece. They look quite a bit different. 🙂 Enjoy some creative writing! 😀
Weekly Writing Assignment #6:
S i l e n c e .
It hung in the air.
He was staring at me intently, intently from his green backed chair. The chair that reminded me of sunny spring days and comfort, the whole room breathed with comfort. He had green eyes too, Steve did, and he was staring at me with them now. He was waiting, patiently, waiting for the words to come tumbling from my lips since we both knew they would, they were just a little choked up behind the barely controlled rivers of emotion.
My eyes, cold and vulnerably blue, were staring intently at the edge of his desk. He had a nice desk, silver with brown flecks and dashes, and it was calming, too, but I only stared at the part of the desk that met the floor, the part that was the farthest away from him. Because in my thinking, in my re-imagining, in my re-opening of freshly past wounds, I could not look at him, but I knew that he was there.
He was there, and staring, and waiting patiently as his very presence exuded a lack of judgment. He was Steve and I was Clara and Clara was eventually going to unhinge her mouth and explain to Steve why this silence had come about.
Clara was going to say what she needed to say, she had to. But it wasso difficult to say it.
“It’s okay, take your time,” was Steve’s ever so calming, sweet reply. I bit my lip and chuckled softly. My eyes blinked away the forming tears, trying to control the emotion, control the tide, control the flow, the rivers won’t take me, the rivers won’t take me, no, no, they won’t.
“I don’t know…” I began softly, my voice sounding hollow, empty, and desperate. “I — I don’t know…” I shifted mildly, moving my feet to a curling position around the other green chair’s legs. Grounding yourself, that’s what you’re doing, you’re grounding yourself. I couldn’t find the words, I couldn’t…
“It’s like I can’t get out, no matter what I do – which isn’t true – it’s… aggravating. There’s…no way out…” My lips pout in annoyance, that description wasn’t right either.
“Would you say you feel trapped?”
I look to him, suddenly; I forgot that he was there. I forgot I was here. I shudder.
“Yeah, I… I feel trapped. But, that shouldn’t make me want to do it, should it?” A rush of worry and uncertainty swelled up inside me as the tide threatened to push and break me, once again. My fingers pinched and curled and fumbled with each other, a tussle of thin, jewelry clad fingers that clanked and banged together. I was creating an orchestra of sound with these innocent, little nubs and instead of taking solace in that, I was focusing so heavily, so distractedly on all the negative power they could possess. They could totally possess a lot of negative power. If my imaginings of fire, death, destruction and jumping off buildings was any indication, than yes, they were capable of much dark power.
Steve spoke again, and his voice pulled me back to the present.
I chuckled breathily in response, rolling my eyes but understanding that he needed me to be explicit, that even I needed myself to be explicit. Except being explicit felt like being too explicit, it made me feel uncomfortable because I didn’t want to be saying what I was saying. And I certainly didn’t want to be thinking what I was thinking. I wished my mouth had just stayed shut as it always had been, clamped shut like the Jaws of Life on a wrecked vehicle, but ohohoh, no; I just had to open it up and say something about it.
“Kill myself,” I sighed, this was getting exhausting. My gaze stuck with Steve’s, fluttered down and then returned again. I swallowed reflexively, the shivers curtailing around my shoulders and settling with tension in my neck. My forehead pounded like hammers, and I shifted in the green chair again.
Green: calming, safe, nonjudgmental.
I could share these thoughts and unfounded worries with Steve, even when my mouth and the angry part of my mind screamed at me not to say any of them, I knew their strengthening protests would allow the rational part of me enough time to loosen the screws so that I could open up about all the things that were swimming about in my mind.
Steve reminded me again of how thoughts were just thoughts and he listened to my insistent telling that I really, actually, didn’t want these thoughts and these ideas and I didn’t want to do them. He would nod, and listen, and with those damn green eyes of his, he made me feel better, safer. Even when I couldn’t find an answer to his question, the one that unveiled the silence and the layers of uncertainty. I didn’t know what I was trying to run away from, but Steve assured me that what I was doing – asking for help, reaching out – was good.
Steve and his green eyes and green chairs and silver desk with brown flecks, made me feel safe and certain that someday I’d be okay with the uncertainty and let the thoughts just be.
Living life with a chronic illness is definitely not easy. But I do my best to push through all the barriers this illness puts in front of me! In my heart and mind, I believe maintaining a positive outlook on all situations in life will carry us through to much better times! I hope you find the information that I provide both helpful and inspirational!