18 January 2013

Crazy in America.

What makes someone crazy to the outside world?

Take me for instance.

Am I crazy because I listen to death metal and dress in band shirts?
In the metal world it is an honor to have your band's shirt be worn. To them it means that their music has touched a fan enough for them to show support for them. We as fans know that at the local level, at least, bands rely on merch sales.

I get loud when I'm excited or passionate about something?
I really cannot help it, and often do not realize how loud I really am. I am outspoken. I express my opinion just as others do theirs. Perhaps it's because I'm so passionate and when I'm passionate about something I act on it and crave the debate?

Am I crazy because I take anti-psychotics and anti-depressants? Dumbass, they're supposed to keep me from going "crazy" whatever the fuck that is.

What about because I believe these Christmas lights help me write? They remind me of the days gone by where people used candlelight. When I'm writing, I imagine myself sitting at a desk in a room lit by 50 candles. The only noise is the noise in my headphones. The outside world does not exist while I'm writing. I'm busy plotting my character's next move or the next twist in the book. And yes, I wear a magical writing shawl crocheted (?) for  me by a bestie.

I bet I'd be labeled manic right now, simply because I'm daring to dream big and actually go for it. It seems society doesn't like that.

We're all supposed to just mindlessly earn enough paycheck to survive week to week... then have our taxes increased on us. We're not supposed to question authority or perceptions. We're supposed to accept our fate.

Are all big dreamers crazy and are all crazy people big dreamers?

Would Martin Luther have done what he done if he worried about being called crazy? I mean, seriously, he was excommunicated because he dared to defy the authority of the church and interpret scripture on his own. He dared translate the Latin Bible into German... a grave sin. He nailed his arguments about the church TO a church door. He also burned his excommunication.

Awesome stuff.

By today's standards he would have been labeled "crazy."

He would have been forced somehow into treatment, most likely because a person with his temperament, intelligence and balls is not going to be able to function in today's society. He'd be living off of Mommy and Daddy or sleeping on some dude's couch, trying to make ends meet. He likely wouldn't have insurance, or if he did he couldn't come up with the co-pay for psychiatric treatment if he did seek it.

How do I know? It happens every day now. Non-conformists are persecuted as crazy. Crazy people are still persecuted today. It happened to me. It can happen to anyone. No they're not tying us down with sheets and shocking the piss out of us anymore, but they are binding us. We're shunned because we are different. People can sense it. Some are more sensitive to it than others, but most people sense it. It scares a lot of people. It really scares people that I'm so open and honest about what I face and what I see other people face every day.

I've suffered through the system enough to know the most likely outcome of today's version of Martin Luther. He's going to be trapped in the system with endless red tape. He's going to fall through so many cracks it's unimaginable. When he decides he can't work because his job and living situation are driving him to suicidal thoughts, he has to lie about why he quit the job so he's not burned a bridge unnecessarily. He's going to apply for disability because his mental health is so unstable. He'll be denied 4 times. He'll be caught in that system as well. It's never gonna end for him until he wises up and figures out how the system works.

He would have been pumped full of drugs to control his behavior and mood. He'd think life kinda sucked a bit until he has his epiphany and puts his skills to use to try to change things and fix issues. He'll finally find meaning and purpose in life and feel like a human again and he'll make a name for himself, inadvertently, in this incarnation.

That's my version of it anyway.

So, am I crazy, eccentric or both? Does it really matter in the end as long as I use my energies to better mankind?

17 January 2013

A Day of Reflection

Today was my counseling appointment. I showed up, we had deep conversation, I left and went to a friend's house. She is someone that is the epitome of awesome. We grabbed the kids from school and engaged in conversation.

We listened to the kids playing spy vs. spy or something like that, we laughed, reminisced about our childhoods, the chainsaw messed up twice. Third time was the charm.

This woman has picked herself up by her bootstraps. She makes due with what little she has. Her boy, if all children could be this well behaved... yeah he gets in trouble, but overall, he's a great kid. He barely knows me, but he hugs me every time he sees me. Apparently I'm something special to him. He is being raised by an excellent parent. She is the type of mommy I would love to be.

I'm proud to be her friend.

I took some time to meditate and self reflect today. What if it was fate that I was hospitalized, how I was, who was involved with the ex parte orders, all of that good stuff? What if it is MY purpose in life to help people and advocate for the mentally ill and their rights? I've always considered myself to be some sort of warrior. That's probably why I wanted to be a Marine and took martial arts years ago.

I had my charts read a few years ago. She called me the Mystical Warrior... that I hate injustices with a passion, I'm equality all the way baby. What if I'm a champion that just found her cause?

I got to thinking "Well played, God, well played. Let me question my faith for years. Let me question your existence. Then set everything up. Mental health is finally getting its stance in the media. I felt destined to make the support group. And you made me smart enough and intellectually and spiritually curious enough to ask questions and find my beliefs, (Christo-Pagan), your "tests" throughout my life has strengthened me rather than wore me down. I was a metaphorical block of marble and you the sculptor. I am coming into my own. Thanks." I'm sure he smiled.

It's no wonder I feel a strong connection with Archangel Michael.

I bet I'm doing Saint Dymphna proud as well.

I'm sure Mom's sitting in a meadow in heaven, watching the bluebirds, glowing with delight because her daughter finally is doing something right in her life. Dad may or may not be proud. I don't think he understands my quirks... and hates tolerating them sometimes. My Grandparents in heaven are proud too.

I received a wonderful e-mail the other day, a gentleman that is smart enough to attain a Ph. D. and I have barely communicated with, said that he was proud of me for turning a negative into a positive and helping people while I'm at it. I'm still high off of that.

It is my war, the battles are mental health issues.

04 January 2013

Good Enough?

I look at my nieces and nephew and wonder, am I good enough? Am I really a good enough person to be a role model to them? To be a positive influence in their lives... to be the cool aunt?

I look at Dad and wonder, am I good enough? Do I do enough to make him proud of me? Am I good enough to make him finally love me? Good enough to be a cherished member of the family?

Let's face it. I'm not going to conform to society as much as it tries to break me into its idea of a productive member of society.

I cuss. A lot. It's me. I don't do it to offend, most of the time. To me words are a tool, even the naughty ones. Words only have the power over you that you give them. If you decide you're going to get pissed at the word "pissed" then you're going to get pissed. If you decide it's really not a big deal among adults then your feathers aren't going to get ruffled if I say "One of my aunts is a fucking bitch, and her daughter seemingly has the education of a 3rd grader." OH NO SHE CUSSED.

I'm going to have mixed episodes in which my volatility is remarkably higher. I may snap at a perceived snarl or words taken the wrong way. Chances are you have or will witness one of my famous meltdowns where I'm "ranting and raving like a lunatic." I know it's hard to love me when I'm like this... but a parent should love a child unconditionally.

I'm going to get depressed. I'm going to stop talking to you for long periods of time because I can't even get the energy up to do anything beyond bathroom and zapping something in the microwave. You're not going to want to be around me because of my negative emotions.

I'm going to have happy days where I just drive you nuts and make you want to choke the ever living shit out of me because I won't shut up or I get stuck on the same subject and you get tired of hearing about it. That's me in a manic phase. If you love me unconditionally this won't really bother you and you'll think that I'm fun if you could get used to me. If you don't, well I'm going to push you away because I can sense that you're tired of me.

I often wonder, am I good enough?

Shit yes. I have a lot to offer the world if people would just listen with their hearts.

03 January 2013

What I've Learned About Grieving (and some tips).

I have my magical writing shawl on, I'm feeling good, so here we go: my take on grief, grieving, counseling, and some things you can keep in mind the next time you find yourself mourning.

The term Grieving Process drives me insane. More insane. Whatever. It lists steps. This is going to happen, this is going to happen, blahblahblah. OK, that's kinda bullshit in my opinion. Grieving is a fluid motion of pissed off waves crashing down on you.

You're going to feel the entire gambit of emotions, at the same time, separately, the "wrong emotion" at the "wrong time." You're going to feel them over and over and over and over and over. I'm a rapid cycling bipolar, so I'm a pro at this one.

Guilt. Shit, you are going to feel guilty. Guilty because it wasn't you, you couldn't take the suffering away. Then there's this guilt added in... the guilt of moving on. The guilt of acceptance if you will. Your brain will ask itself this question without you even knowing there's a conversation going on inside your head: "Is it okay to move on?" Yes = peace, happiness, solace and a great relief to that guilt. No = I can't predict that, but it won't be pretty.

DEPRESSION! - I'm a pro at getting through this too. Bipolar makes for a tough soul. YOU WILL GET DEPRESSED! Just sayin'. Not just "the blues," real clinical depression. It's natural. You've just had your heart ripped out of your chest and stomped on, you're going to get depressed. Expect it. Prepare for it. Know the signs of depression and watch for them in yourself. Get help when you need it. You don't have to suffer alone... and with the right counselor, you won't have to suffer as bad.

Relief. You will find yourself saying "Man, with them gone I can slow down a little and catch my breath. That was a long, hard, grueling even, event to endure. You will feel guilty about feeling relieved. You'll get depressed if you don't get the guilt in check. See the cycle?

Anger. You are going to be pissed at God, at the world, at the doctors, nurses, anybody that farts. You'll probably find yourself getting pissed off over trivial things or things that wouldn't set you off before. Chances are, you're human, therefore the chances of this emotion is about 99%.

But I don't want to experience that.

You will.

You will probably think you really are going crazy. You're not. You're grieving.

Things that may help:

ALLOW yourself to have feelings and allow them to be hurt.

My philosophy: You have to feel the hurt. The hurt is the healing process beginning. You've just wrecked your bike and cut your knee. The death is the cut to your soul. The emotional hurt you feel after the death is the blood clotting in the cut. As time goes on with proper care and treatment the cut turns into a scar. If you'll notice, the pain lessens as the cut heals... so the pain lessens as the soul heals.

Have what I call a safety net. It's a group of people close to you that you can call and cry to. Know which of your friends you can call when. As bad as it sounds, spread the joy so to speak. This will make it a lot easier to support you. People react to other peoples emotions... and to those that don't have as broad a shoulder as I do, it gets entirely overwhelming.

Every evening before you go to bed, take 5 minutes for yourself and reflect back on the day. Look specifically for positive moments. Something small that made you smile, a thought that you wished to expand upon, whatever. Something positive. Write it down in a notebook (Yes you can use a foreign language to fool your loved ones so it's a secret). After you've done this for a week, read back over what you've written. Now write down 2 positives a day for a week. Read through week 1 and 2. Week 3 write 3. Week 4, write 4. Week 5 write 5. Keep it at 5. More than that would overwhelm you and instead of reinforcing the positive it's just going to feel like a chore.

Don't become the friend that only talks about negative things.

For Pete's Sake, use your creativity. Use crochet as your canvas. Try weird color combinations. Let your mind go bloody crazy with yarn filled bliss. What you won't notice you're doing is distracting your mind so it's not thinking about its hurt feelings. Your brain is too busy keeping row and stitch counts to dwell on anything really.

Teach yourself another foreign language. I hear Russian is a bitch. Try that. The internet is a wonderful tool.

Take up a new hobby. I took up painting.

Teach your friend Sarah German... because she can't remember a thing.

Support groups are awesome.

Grief counseling is awesome.

Counseling in general is awesome.

The counselor I see is incredibly awesome. He's a grad student so he's cheap. He used to be a minister. He's in St. Joseph, MO. Hit me up if you're interested. (Wow, I'm pimping out my counselor. He'll love this.)

Allow yourself to cry if you want to cry.

Do something to get the negative energy OUT of you.

Treat yourself to an hour long Reiki session.

The point is, you're going to have to learn to recognize negative thoughts when they start and force yourself to think of something positive to replace it. It's hard to get the hang of, but once you do, it's smoother sailing. You're going to have to distract your brain with itself. It's easy for me to say, and I have a pretty good hang of it now, especially because I'm bipolar. You have to be aware of yourself at all times. I hope that makes sense.