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Maybe

I like talking to therapists, psychologists, and LCSW’s for non-therapeutic services. Only if they have a certified degree. I’ve mostly spoken to a few online, through initial emails or messaging.

I like talking to them without telling them what I really believe about mental health, and instead seeing what they believe, evident in the responses I get from them.

I told one about a lot of things. I told her about some hallucinations, about what I’ve heard from voices, about being controlled, about . . . basically, everything I’ve ever talked about at one point on this blog. I told her much of this isn’t daily, but frequent enough for me to notice, and that all of these things have been with me for many, many years. I said I never went after diagnosis because I never felt entirely incapacitated by it all. (Not the whole truth, but close enough). I told her, in regards to anything I’ve seen, heard, or thought, that after I calm down–be that hours, weeks, whatever–I can tend to rationalize those things were a little out of this world or not real. I never said I don’t believe a lot of what happens, but I never said I do believe it either. There’s a limbo here.

There were some other things I can’t remember about checks and balances or something. I asked, in her opinion, if she felt the system I had developed–good or bad–could keep me grounded.

I love her response, because to me it encompasses the polite, therapeutic approach of this era. (sarcasm)

Among other polite things, she said, I’ve probably become accustomed to these things and therefore can’t realize how incapacitating they really are. 

She said things may never worsen, but that I shouldn’t take that chance. Therapy and medication would be a good safety net for me, she said.

She said seeking mental health treatment would be good, because THEY would determine what’s wrong with me and develop a plan for treatment.

Yes, let more people control my life, please God. I’m helpless.

helpless

I know a lot of people get suddenly hit with these things people like to call mental disorders, and I know a lot of people don’t. I’m sure there are people like me who have been like this since before they could remember. And Thank God for that prolonged experience.

Thank God for that because had I not been this well-versed in myself, hearing that I’m blind to how incapacitated I am would make me think I was actually losing my mind.

If I’ve become accustomed to things and they haven’t rendered me helpless . . . why exactly do I need to be told something is wrong with me and get treatment for it? What is there to treat? I’m so confused.

That’s not to say things don’t suck. Things suck. My mental health is not at all where I would like it to be. I’ve got really shitty coping mechanisms that have been whittled down to nothing from stress and anxiety. I lose myself pretty bad sometimes, but not all the time, and I’m not thrilled about waking up every morning.

So the fuck what? I am waking up every morning. I do manage to have a job. I have no idea how I’ve managed that, but I have. Things suck, but I’m accustomed to that, right?

Is it bad to be accustomed to these things? I don’t know?

Would it be better NOT to be accustomed to these things? Seems like that would have more severe consequences.

Perhaps accustomed is the problem and I’m missing the point. Maybe being accustomed to things isn’t the same thing as being okay with or good at managing them? Is that maybe what was trying to be said to me? If so, that also makes a lot of sense and is something I should consider.

Maybe we should always read between the lines of what’s being said to us by professionals. Maybe some of these professionals are actually saying something profound, but by taking their words at face value (As I did above) we’re rendering them unhelpful to us.

Or maybe it’s better to turn their words into something that makes more sense?

Or maybe fuck them all?

I don’t know.

 

 

It’s So Nice

Panicking is nice.

What’s so nice about it? Well, your heart starts racing and you feel it beating in the base of your throat which is getting tighter by the second. You get that weird lump stuck between back of your throat and the top of your mouth and no matter how much nice, slow deep breaths you take, your heart rate just doesn’t want to cooperate.

And then you get dizzy and things don’t feel real and you’re pacing up and down the floor because walking helps lower blood pressure, why won’t it help stop your panicking?

Then you drink some water because for some reason water is the first thing you go to. It might stop the dizziness or the dryness in your throat or your constant fidgets. So you focus on the floor or your feet or your weird little sausage fingers and hope the thoughts don’t come: because once the whirlwind of thoughts comes, you’re through.

The whirlwind of thoughts come. You’re through. Then the tingling in the tips of the fingers start, the hyperventilation increases, the tightness in the throat and what was once a 120 heart rate jumps easily up to 160. Then you’re really pacing. Then: you’redyingyou’redyingyou’redyingwhatareyougoingtodotheresnothingyoucandowhatareyougoingtodopanicpanicpanicthisisallyoucandoyou’rescrewednothingisgoingtoworkyou’rehorriblethisishorribleyou’redyingyou’redyingyou’redying . . . 

And your arms tingle and you can’t feel your legs and you’re light-headed and floating and things go black and then:

soldiers_passing_out_640_05

I’ve run up and down the block before, I’ve walked up and down the block before; once I was out in torn up Pj’s and a mess of hair that I hadn’t combed in two weeks, or three, I don’t know, walking up and down the parking lot talking to myself, panicking, watching people in their cars stare as they passed me. That was fun. That day was a mix of panic, confusion, frustration, and I don’t know what else.

Tonight is a panic night–or what I like to call a “warning night”.

Warning Night: a night full of mild panic that signals two things for me: 1) I’m repressing something (feeling, thought, emotion) heavy, and 2) if I don’t talk about it, I expect to head back to the E.R very soon.

Three years ago I had panic attacks every other day, on the dot. Either they would happen at night and wake me up from a sleep, or they would happen towards the evening, hence why I was often running or walking in the street and the parking lot. The night ones were the worst because I couldn’t sense it coming. I would wake up, couldn’t breathe, couldn’t feel my arms, couldn’t walk, and had to use the night air to chill me out. I paced once for three and a half hours, in the middle of the night. By the time I came back in  I was so exhausted but so terrified to go back to sleep, that I stayed awake until 6 a.m when I finally passed out . . . for two hours.

One night I woke up four times in the same attack. That was shit. Honestly, if I had to choose between filling my morning with a slur of angry voices and filling my morning with passing out from a panic attack, I’d choose the fucking angry voices! And I do! They’re easier to deal with for me!

I mean, granted, I don’t have to deal with voices on a daily basis like some of you, so maybe I’m overstepping my boundaries here, but fucking shit, panic attacks suck.

My first panic attack happened a long while ago during an episode of House. Fucking HOUSE. It wasn’t even a gory episode. I miss that show. Haven’t watched a full episode since then. Then they cancelled it a year later. Thanks Obama.

I would say “Thanks Trump” , but fuck Trump, he’s not good enough to be able to have a good, clean laugh about. He wasn’t in office then anyway.

Fidget, Fidget, Fidget; breathe, breathe, breathe. Focus.

I have homework. I forgot.

THANKS OBAMA.

I like Obama. We all miss you, Obama. Come back to us. Trump is going to plant micochips in our fucking temples to dull our thoughts and tracking chips in our fucking wrists, Obama, help us!

22258976-mmmain

TOTALLY

If my house gets bombed in the next 24 hours, you’ll all know why. They’ll tell you you’re paranoid and delusional, but the proof is in the pudding: and by pudding, I mean the fucking rubble of my house and my bloody, dismembered body. 

I’m going to go finish panicking and pull some homework out of my ass for the one class I have left.

The Culture of Mental Health

Exciting stuff coming up. I’m working on five–four? I forget– different articles for five-four different websites. I’ll send links when they’re finished and posted. Trying to find a topic separate from those topics to post here is not an easy feat. But, today’s topic has been mulling around in my head for a while.

We’ve talked about the culture of fear before, I think it’s time to talk about the culture of mental health. Yes, that exists. It exists because I name it. And we all know as soon as a human names something, it automatically exists beyond a reasonable doubt.

Stigma is a problem. Will anyone deny that? “Let those free of sin cast the first stone”.  Of course no one will deny that. What fuels stigma? Well, there are a bunch of different perspectives. Asking someone in the mental health community that is essentially allowing yourself to tunnel down the rabbit-hole without a flashlight. I’ve done that before. It’s not fun. Things attack you from the dark.

I’ve heard several arguments about stigma. They are as follows:

  1. Others don’t understand. They don’t have the knowledge, so they judge.
  2. People use mental illnesses as adjectives too often, so people don’t take it seriously. #stopthestigma #you’renotOCD #suicideisn’tfunny #medicationpride4efcda6185e98de15c8def9e6bf39a55
  3. Mental Illness isn’t given the same respect physical illness is. Not even doctors take it seriously.
  4. The media portrays us as monsters and murderers. That’s fueling people’s opinions about us! We need to boycott movies like “SPLIT “and that one show everyone is talking about that apparently showed a suicide.
  5. People see mental illness as weakness, so we get treated differently. It’s not fair, really. We’re not weak, we’re sick, it’s an illness.

A breath of fresh air. Breathe it in. Take it in for a moment, all these arguments, and let them fester in your head for a bit, flow through your blood, influence your thoughts, control your mind, plant a chip in your brain, and signal the government to bomb your house with a drone.

drone-usaf

I think everyone has a valid point from their perspective. Everyone experiences the effects of stigma differently, and those experiences will influence (in a mind-controlling evil government way, of course) how someone will define stigma and its causes. I also think stigma is a major contributor to what I’ve called the “Culture Of Mental Health”.

Because stigma happens on both ends. Outsiders might not understand, they might think suicide is funny, or use OCD as an adjective every five seconds and the media may very well assume the word schizophrenia is synonymous to “murdering-murderer” to get some good views, but those of us in the community stigmatize ourselves as well.

I’ll be careful with this. Because I don’t want it taken out of context and I want people to feel attacked.

I’m not blaming us or our experience. But we end up agreeing–or at the very least sending a message–that we’re separated from everyone. We’re sick. We’re abnormal. We’re ill. What that belief does is inadvertently tell others we’ll never be like them, we won’t relate to them and they won’t relate to us. What that does is stigmatize what it really means to go through a mental health experience. It sends a message that control over ourselves is something we don’t have. It gives people the idea that saying something like “that’s your disorder talking” or “you have a chemical imbalance, that’s why you do that” is okay, and takes away our own personal responsibility and sense of independence.

For some, maybe it’s easier to blame these things we call disorders.

As someone who has struggled and still struggles with a long list of mental health thingamabobs, I know what we experience is very real and hard. I’m not saying it’s not. I’m saying we’re looking at it wrong.

I’m saying a brochure about “bipolar disorder” isn’t going to convince your family or your friends or your community that you’re a human who struggles. It’s going to convince them you’re sick, possibly unmanageable, unpredictable, chemically imbalanced, and out of control. They won’t challenge you to achieve what you want in life because maybe what you want in life is out of reach because you’re ill now. If that’s how you would like people to see you, keep up the hashtags, the endless lists of information about every disorder known to man–how many are there now? Is being human a disorder yet? It will be soon enough.

'Two black eyes. Solitary. Lethargic. Definitely in the DSM-V.'

This is the culture of mental health. What happens then is a stigma inside the mental health community. People start comparing “sicknesses”. Suddenly there’s a level of “sick” you have to be to get taken seriously medically and with other peers. Suddenly you need a label.

 

I say this after the stars in the sky morphed into eyes and sent me a message through the trees I’m still trying to decipher. I had to take pictures of the damn trees, the way they were contorted, because I couldn’t memorize the letters. Imagine me running around about one in the morning doing that. I say this after I’ve spent today in my weekly routine of weighing the pros and cons of living. The pros always outweigh the cons and I always go to sleep and wake up the next day. Next week I’ll weigh it again. And again. And again.

I also say this after being rather unpredictable myself. One day I’m smiles, the next day I’m in the hospital or the ER with veins full of Ativan–at this point my tolerance for it is so high the maximum dosage does nothing to me. One moment I’m fed up and overwhelmed and ready to call it quits, the next moment I’m excited about the future. Sometimes I feel trapped in this cycle because I do take my commitments very seriously and they end up being one reason I don’t give up, break, and lose my mind. That sounds like a good thing, and it probably is. It also keeps me stuck in a painful limbo because there’s no release.

Pros and Cons. They’re about equal in that.

I’d rather be summed up by my qualities and characteristics of my being, by what I accomplish and what I don’t accomplish, by how I handle my struggle, than be summed up in a bunch of terminology in a brochure that thinks it can explain all aspects of me and my struggle the way it explains everyone else’s aspects and struggles. Humanity doesn’t work like that. We’re not robots.

Stigma isn’t something that can be solved by shoving psychology textbooks down the mouths of the public. Stigma is something that’s perpetuated by both sides, unknowingly and knowingly sometimes, and is something that can be lessened the more we–the mental health community–see ourselves as human beings, treat ourselves as human beings, integrate ourselves back into society and demand we be treated as human beings.

But we can’t demand we be treated as human beings while simultaneously summing ourselves up to words in a textbook. Food for thought, once more.

Trauma Talk

Happy 4/20. Anyone celebrating? Dabbin’ it up? Tokin’? Post stories below.

On a more serious note . . .

I’d like to connect with all of you out there who have had some sort of trauma in your life, any kind. If anyone is willing to share their story (email or comment, I don’t care), I’d be really interested in hearing when you first really, really realized you were being/ had been mistreated or abused and how important that was in your journey onward.

photo-1456081101716-74e616ab23d8From what I’ve experienced in the last few days is that it’s like having new eyes. It’s like bringing a half circle to a close.

Many of you are aware I’ve been writing for what seems like centuries. Many of you are aware I write more often than I speak. Many of you are not aware that when someone else reads my writing in front of me, I cringe a little. Many of you are not aware that when they read it out loud, I have to physically cover my ears and leave the room.

I always thought this was an anxiety thing. I’ve been anxious since I could form a conscious memory (about 5 years old), so everything is anxiety, right?

Oh how fucking wrong can I get?

Speaking to a stranger on the internet last night, I came to a very sudden realization that my writing is tied to freedom: freedom of ideas, of opinions.

When I was a child, I was inexplicably taught (verbally, physically, emotionally) that children–or at least, me–should be seen and never heard. I wasn’t allowed to voice an opinion. When I did, I was met with “you just think you know everything and you know nothing”. I was met with “I didn’t ask you.” I was ignored, I was talked/shouted over, I was bullied verbally and physically into silence. I still am met with that.

amySo when I’m in groups or class or even one-on-one with someone, I’m also met with that familiar anxiety “Symptom” of a blank mind. I was told when I was a child this was because I have an over-active amygdala. I was told that was due to high serotonin levels. So they gave me medications to lower the serotonin. That was before the study showed LOW levels of serotonin also contributed to anxiety. Pointless.

Anyway, I can confidently say now this is not the main cause of my blank mind.

Because even when I’m not anxious, my mind goes blank. Even among people I’m generally comfortable with, my mind goes blank. Why?

Well, it’s been taught not to begin a thought because that thought will only get shot down. I’m wrong all the time. No one will care what I have to say, so it’s not worth saying. Everyone else’s thoughts are greater than mine. Only speak when you’re spoken to. If someone “doesn’t ask you” about yourself, your life, your opinion, your anything, don’t talk about it because they don’t want to hear it.

I don’t consciously think those thoughts, I never have. But somewhere in this brain of mind it’s being thought the moment I’m put in a situation where analysis and opinion are encouraged. People can say “Feel free” to give input all they want: it’s not going to make me feel free because I haven’t been free–I haven’t been free because I didn’t recognize what I was taught, how I was treated, wasn’t what everyone else is taught or how they were treated.

I am 21 years old and I have never seen conflict resolved without violence, not until I started working at the respite house. Conflict, in my head, was always resolved through violence, arguments, and then never revisited again–apologies? What are those? Consensus? What does that even mean

I subconsciously thought that was how things were supposed to be.

This has been a hard revelation for me. It’s been hard because it brings up a lot of things from the past and it makes me see many things in the present that are still the same. It’s been hard because I now realize how deep seeded this is and how much effort I will have to put in, not to mention courage, to step away from this kind of subconscious oppression of myself.

It won’t happen over night. I’m not going to be able to step into my next class or team meeting or training or practice group or conference and integrate into the crowd just because I’ve had a fucking revelation.

Does anyone else with a troubled childhood/ abusive childhood find themselves oppressing themselves without knowing it, just because it’s what you were used to? I have a feeling I’m not alone in this.

Back to the point. When people read my writing out loud, what they’re reading are the only free thoughts I’m allowed to have. Silent ones, but free nonetheless. When I hear them out-loud, I must be subconsciously expecting what happened in the past to happen in the present. I will walk away, snatch the words from them, make noise to overpower their voice, whatever I have to do not to hear my own thoughts out loud. This goes for fiction writing, non-fiction writing, any kind of writing.

I’m silencing myself

That’s a hard thing to swallow. I’m not sure where I’m going to go from here. Within the last two days I’ve basically taken my entire life, cracked it open with a hammer, dumped all the contents out into a pile, and kicked them across the room.

If anyone out there has had a similar experience or major revelations regarding the traumas of their past, my email is list on this page. Please send one. You don’t have to share anything you don’t want to. Any stories, one-liners, comments, whatever, I just need to know this is the beginning of something that will better my life in the long run, and I need to know it’s a process we all have to go through at some point.

 

Care For Some Drugs For Your Drugs?

The FDA had approved Fanapt and Saphris four or five years before I did a post on them two years ago. Let’s recap. Please. Let’s.

You should sense some tension in that first sentence. If you don’t, then I’ll just tell you: there’s tension in that first sentence. 

Fanapt: 

Treatment target: people labeled with schizophrenia.

Two clinical studies got this drug FDA approved. One was a six-week study, one was a four-week study.

In the six-week study (42 days) there were 706 people. Let’s keep in mind that the minimum amount of days for a clinical trial to be considered relevant is 30. Three long term efficacy trials were conducted at once (source). Each individual trial lasted ten weeks. That’s “long term”. I wonder how long those of you who have been put on Fanapt have been on it at this point. If my sarcasm hasn’t been evident yet, look harder.

Fanapt was concluded to have the same long term efficacy of HALOPERIDOL.

Fanapt is an atypical anti-psychotic, meant to have a lower risk of EPS and Tardive Dyskinesia (TD). Whether or not that’s true is up for debate. Haloperidol is a first generation anti-psychotic. It’s infamous for EPS and TD. Why? It’s been around longer.

Both are the same level of “effective” (whatever that means). How much between first-generation and second-generation has changed, then? 

The four week study had 604 guinea pigs. This study was 28 days. They must have done it in February. A loop-hole? “We can’t control the days in the month, this should be an acceptation to the rule, waa, waa, waa, cry, cry, whine, whine until we get our way”. That’s what they do. Remember Alex Gorskey?

Fanapt had similar efficacy to the control antipsychotic used in the study.

surprise-006

Let’s move on.

Saphris (source):

Treatment target: People labeled with schizophrenia, in a manic episode, or a mixed bipolar 1 episode.

Oh this is rich.

This study agrees the effects are minimal, if they exist at all in terms of Saphris.

Three short-term studies got this approved for schizophrenia. Each 6 weeks. Listen . . . my laughter is making it impossible to type. Okay, okay listen to this:

  • Controls: Haloperidol (the 2nd chemical lobotomy), Olanzapine (Zyprexa; Atypical), risperidone (Risperdal; Atypical).

1st trial:

  • Placebo-Controlled.
  • 174 lab rats
  •  Conclusion: Saphris was superior to the placebo (i.e, sugar pill). I think this deserves a standing ovation. Or should we wait until the end? Let’s wait until the end.

2nd trial:  

  • 448 enslaved
  • 5mg dosage twice a day was apparently superior to the placebo (let’s clap for this, fantasticgood job, amazing), but 10mg twice daily did not surpass the placebo. Something is weird about that.

3rd Trial:

  • The drug could not in any way be distinguished from the placebo. One of the active-controls (probably ‘the chemical lobotomy’ again) was superior in every way. Whatever superior even means to these people.

Let’s breathe and, as promised, stand and clap and whistle if you can. Why am I bringing all of this up? Why am I digging up old news like it was your childhood kitty cat who’s been buried under the rosebush by the fence? Well, let’s think about it.

They put so much effort into pushing out antipsychotic after antipsychotic (i.e, Invega) and recycling the same drug labeled with a new name (Haldol vs Fanapt/Saphris) that they have to start creating drugs to fix their first mistakes: the lifetime effects of TD. 

The FDA, this month, right now, approved the first drug for TD. It’s called : Ingrezza (valbenazine). I found this out, of all places, from NAMI’s twitter.

deep-breath

*Deep Breath*

Let’s do this one more time, shall we?

Ingrezza:

  • Side effects: So far, one: Somnolence (drowsiness). Let’s give it a few years.
  • 234 unfortunate souls with TD and “underlying schizophrenia”, whatever that means.
  • Six-weeks.
  • The group which took Ingrezza showed a “statistically significant change” in their TD symptoms versus the Placebo which is all they have to compare this to at this point.

I’ll say it once and I’ll say it again: it’s pretty much the motto of this website at this point; I’m not anti-medication. I’m not anti-psychiatry. I’m anti-stupidity. And this is stupid. It’s stupid because we all know very well when a drug is made to treat something, that drug–when coming off it–will exacerbate the something. That leaves you trapped, regardless of the side effects. And when you’re trapped, you feel helpless. And when you feel helpless, you’re reminded how sick you are even if you’re not sick. When you believe you’re sick, you limit yourself. When you limit yourself, these companies make billions and you make an indent in your couch.

You should be used to my bluntness by now. I shave it down for no one, and I never will.

If this drug does what it says it does, and it can “cure” the people who have been damaged by drugs like Haldol, wonderful. I’m going to count on that not being the case. I will count on it making a good 200 billion dollars though.

I’m looking for the logic here. So much effort into the production of antipsychotics, so little effort into the dynamics of the mental health system. I’m willing to take a huge, very educated guess and say that many people on anti-psychotics could, with proper support and belief and understanding of themselves, live without anti-psychotics as a daily ritual. Sometimes I don’t know how I do it, but I do. The more people who are able to do so, who are supported and not oppressed, the less TD there will be, the less need there will be for new TD drugs.

Neurocrine Biosciences, if you’d like a cure for TD, there you go. Need more information? Hit me up at 1-800-DELUDAMOL. I’m sure you’re familiar with the number.

deludamol-gtav-logo

Deludin’ For 70 Years

Mmmm Brains.

brain

I like brains.

I like seeing people’s brains. I like imagining poking people’s brains. I like imagining the second my finger tip touches the outer layer of the cortex, my consciousness gets sucked from my body and enters the space-time continuum surrounded by other floating brains, kind of like that one episode of Futurama, but better because it’s real.

But the main reason I like the brain is because we don’t know half as much as we think we know. I’m convinced our brains, which have named themselves, know things they don’t want us to know–or know things they know we couldn’t handle knowing. Not just about ourselves, but about the universe, the spirit world, particles, biology, consciousness, everything. Think about the layers of protection we have, biologically and strictly mentally. Our body and brain uses every last resource it can to keep us living. Why? Because it’s biologically wired that way? Maybe. But there’s nothing you can say to prove that. And there’s nothing I can say to disprove that.

There’s a new study coming out of a U.S and Japanese research team-up that has compelling evidence the brain duplicates memories upon their formation: one copy for the present, one for the past that gets carried into our future: it’s there for a lifetime. It might not be available to our consciousness for a lifetime, but it’s there.

hippocampus

In Case You’re A Visual Learner

The hippocampus (short term) and the cortex (long term) are two areas of the brain we know memory is apart of. In mice, this team watched a specific cluster of connected neurons (i.e, a memory) in reaction to shock. To control individual neurons, they used beams of light and could essentially turn memories on and off. Memories were shown to form simultaneously in the hippocampus and the cortex.

These scientists say it may help us understand diseases like dementia. I’m looking at the bigger picture. Essentially, these memories are being “duplicated”. One is cemented in the brain after a few days (the long term memory) and the other is readily available. As long as the biological connection remains between the cortex and the hippocampus, the memories will be available to our consciousness.

So what of fugue? What of amnesia? What of Trauma? What could this potentially tell us about Dissociative identities?

This is why I tend to disagree with people who refuse to believe in the reality of dissociative identity. I disagree for two reasons. 1) I’ve met someone who has shared his personal experience with it. 2) If the brain duplicates memories, one for the long term and one for the short term, what do you think it would do in reaction to memories it doesn’t want to deal with?

Our brains are emotional little creatures. Torture, abuse, anything to hurt our consciousness and soul seems to tip our little brains upside down. They react different ways because each brain is unique. It has the job of not only keeping our physical body alive, but our mental one as well. It harbors everything that we know about life. Taste. Smell. Sight. Hearing. It lets us feel warmth. It hosts every single thought we’ve ever had and ever will have. We learn. Not a computer in the world can match the amount of space or the speed we have in that little jiggly meat sack in our skulls. It interprets life for us and we have no choice but to trust it.

heart-and-brain-web-comic-awkward-yeti-nick-seluk-86__700

Could you imagine forming simultaneous memories of being beat every day, locked in a closet, given rotten food for dinner and dirty water to wash it down with?

We know maybe a millionth of what there is to know about the brain. Memories could be duplicated ten times for all we know. We can’t test shit on humans, thanks to the fucking goody-two-shoes ethics committee, so we’ll probably never know.

If the brain has memories even it doesn’t want to see, it can’t destroy them–so it relocates them. And those memories pile up and up and up until they take on a kind of life of their own. A personality of their own, you could say.

Trauma affects everyone differently. Maybe they pile up and up and manifest themselves as mood swings. Maybe they pile up and up and manifest themselves as demons crawling through your floor sinking their bloody teeth into the fleshy parts of your upper arm. Maybe they pile up and up and manifest as a racing heart beat, lightheadedness, a tingling sensation in your limbs, and racing thoughts.

Not that trauma is the only area of life responsible for experiences like that, but for those of us who have been through some kind of trauma, you know what I’m talking about.

Let’s not take everything in life at face-value. And let’s be careful not to sum up such a simply complex experience of being conscious creatures to the limited amount of biology that we know.

If you’ve seen the movie “Split”, and you understood the actual message behind it, not this weird, misguided mass opinion of “uhhhh it’s making fun of people with mental problems errrrrrrrrgaawwdd”, you also know what I’m talking about.

Mental Vs. Physical: Do We Really Need To Debate?

Wording. How important is it?

If you ask a sociologist versed in symbolic interactionalism, they’ll probably put some importance on it. That’s what they spend their life studying after all: linguistics and symbols and blah, blah, blah, my God why do people choose the careers they do? What does Blah, Blah, Blah symbolize? My boredom or my complete illiteracy of symbolic interactionalism? The world may never know.

I read a story the other day off of Facebook from that website The Mighty (of whom I’ve lost any sort of respect for, see this post) about a woman with a rare disease that causes fatty tumors to grow just below the skin on several areas of the body. It’s obviously extremely painful. My explanation of this disease does not give it justice. The only relief she gets during particularly unbearable flare-ups is an unwilling but necessary trip to the E.R.

The doctors easily chalked up her “hysterics” to “just anxiety” that’s “all in her head” and refused to listen to her when she cried for pain medication. She kept telling them what she was experiencing and the nurses said “this is what the doctor wants you to try, this is what we’re trying” and handed her anxiety medications.

Eventually she had to come back to the hospital via ambulance and the doctors apologized for not believing her. Yes, her disease is rare, but let’s break down the two portions of the medical field that ultimately failed her this night.

e901926a29c2c3a58649b1f7723f63deThe ER is often flooded with people looking for a legal high. No one can deny that. It happens so often, doctor’s first suspicions go towards “Drug addict” when someone comes in begging for pain medication. My dad has conned plenty of doctors. It’s not that hard. All these people crying wolf have essentially weakened the trust on the physical side of medicine. Likewise, the overcrowding, the lack of funding, the lack of doctors, the long hours, and, as a result, the lack of compassion, weakens our trust on their judgement and level of care.

The ER is often flooded by people with anxiety. Panic attacks are huge in the ER. Other things are as well: one man started screaming they were taking his ribs and started throwing all the hospital shit around, hopped over the bed like a fucking PRO (I’m pretty sure the guy was superhuman; he probably believes that too), and started trashing the counters. A bunch of nurses ran to him, some doctors as well, and another nurse shouted across the hall for someone to get the Haldol.

They’re not not used to mental health. But they do have one job and one job only: Calm. Them. Down. And when you’re a physician in a busy ER room, that means assumptions and quick medications.

The problem here–well, there are a lot of problems. But one problem I see next to all the sociological issues (i.e, funding, hours, system of management . . .) is a problem rooted in stereotypes and the way we speak about mental health. If what you’re taught in medical school is that something like anxiety is primarily biological but still somehow just “all in their head” then when you see it, you think you know all about it. When you think you know all about it, you think you can recognize it anywhere. And when you think you can recognize it anywhere, you start confusing Dercum’s Disease with a Panic Attack.

It’s also very easy to ride off someone who has a “mental disorder” because it’s a “disorder”. They’re sick. Let them be sick, give them medication, and get them out of here. Go with the quickest fix: the motto of this era.

I said a long time ago people need to stop calling for “mental disorders” to be treated like physical problems because that already happens–and that’s not a good thing people. That’s why we have categories for people’s “broken brains” to fit into. That’s why psychiatry is a “medical” discipline. Mental health has been treated like physical sickness since the DSM 3.

x-ray-broken-leg-20147835If you snap your shin bone, a surgeon goes in, puts some plates in, some screws, you go through recovery, and you know what? The person next to you who also broke their shin bone had the same procedure. Sure, maybe theirs was a little different: their shin bone is a different size, their blood pressure was a little higher, maybe they’ll have more pain after the surgery and in recovery e.t.c. But the procedure is the same, the plates are the same material, and the reason both surgeries were generally low risk and successful were because those surgeons have done that same thing hundreds of times–you got lucky with the experienced ones.

If you have a psychotic break, and your neighbor has a psychotic break, they are going to be 99.999999999999999999% different. If not that, 100% different. The brain isn’t a shin bone people, you can’t slap the same old treatments to everyone and expect different results! That’s insanity. That’s treating mental health like physical health. So keep campaigning. You’re wasting your time, it’s already like that. 

The more mental health is medically categorized, the more it’s shoved into a tiny box of qualifications, the more disregarded we’ll be. Because that little box you get shoved into has a label on the side of it and when the top is closed, professionals don’t really get a chance to see you. You think having a mental health diagnosis gets you taken seriously? Please, spare me the bullshit. You’re not looking for someone to agree that you’re sick and broken and ill. You’re looking to have someone acknowledge what you go through is very real and painful. You’re looking for healthy validation of your feelings.

That often doesn’t come with diagnosis.

What do people say after they get told what “disorder” they have? ” I get it now. I knew something was wrong with me!” 

If having a mental health diagnosis made a difference for the better, Dercum’s disease wouldn’t have been the new word for “panic attack” so quickly.