Jim's Space

Where thoughts are pinned like butterflies.


(no subject)
calamityjim
Right now no one other than the people I work for seem to understand why I am upset, which is making it hard to stay upset at people instead of at myself. I’m not going to let me talk myself out of being upset, because that’s what I always do. Overreacting, doesn’t really matter, yada yada. And what happens is things keep getting worse and worse until I break down.

Actually, that’s what’s already happened.

So, this isn’t a case of my dad showed up at my job and it was awkward. If that were it everything would be fine. The problem is what I do.

I sell sexual pleasure. That means, even though I don’t star in porn or prostitute myself, I’m still involved in the sex trade.

With that comes certain stigmas that we as a company can’t allow ourselves to even flirt with. One is the idea that all of these types of companies are sleezy and filled with loose women. My dress code is business casual very specifically to help fight this. People walk in, they see a woman with a collar and dress pants or a skirt and a blazer and they feel better about being in there. The fear that buying a sex toy is for all the women mom told them not to be disappears. I’ve watched it happen. Shoulders rise up, back straightens, and some of them stop trembling. They see a professional that they could easily see selling clothes or diamonds, not a stripper.

Now I don’t have anything against strippers or porn stars (well, maybe porn starts, but that’s super complicated and off topic), or women who like sex or sell sex. But other people do, and other people are making claims about female sexuality that demonize it and I’m a soldier on the front lines to fight demonization and teach women that masturbation is okay. That having kink is okay. That’s my job. I supply to women who already know and I teach women who come in looking to learn. For guys I spend a lot of time talking about how erectile dysfunction happens and seeing a doctor is the first step, then coming to buy a penis pump. I get paid to punch stigma in the face.

And because this is what I do, there is a level of confidentiality. Some retail places when an employee sees a customer off hours they approach and ask about what the customer bought. When we see one we flit over and pretend we didn’t as they stare in absolute terror because I now know their secrets. And I don’t tell. Sure, I will tell you stories, but never with names or descriptions that you could use to track someone down. People stay anonymous.

So having friends or family swing by to catch is heavily frowned upon. It is a sales position, and when I am chit chatting I’m not selling. There are times of the day when it is okay, because we are usually dead and I am more than willing to show friends product. I’m also friends with people my age.

People my age aren’t threatening. You expect to see them alone in a sex store. It is well within the expected demographic. My guy friends aren’t scary looking and they aren’t bros. I trust them to not talk about their penis just because they are in a sex store. And I can sell them product.

My dad is almost 60. He won’t go to children’s movies because he thinks that if he went alone people who think he’s stealing children for sex. But he’s willing to come into my store to visit his children? Sex within families is a taboo. We’re all very familiar with the fact that most kids and most parents don’t talk about sex in great detail with each other. We’re also aware that gender does divide. Boys don’t talk to mom about sex. Girls don’t talk to dad. We also need to factor in that ‘daddy’ is a well established kink and that older men are viewed as the ones who purchase sex.

My dad knows the first two things. My dad has always told me that once I hit 18 he doesn’t need to know. So my father doesn’t know my drinking habits or about my sex life. The only things I have told him are my orientations. That’s it. Because he doesn’t want to know. And as to my orientations he doesn’t believe, so I could have been whispering to the wind for all that it matters.

But I know that he didn’t sleep with his last girlfriend because he was afraid of being burned again. I know that his previous girlfriend was also sleeping with her previous boyfriend the entire time her and dad were sleeping together and that dad feels like it retroactively tainted. I know that he and mom were discussing having a fourth kid before they divorced.

I know far more about my father than I should, and far more than I am allowed to tell him.

So by showing up at a store where I do over 18 he violated the rule he set down. He smashed through the boundary that he has had set up for years. He just got to walk through it because he felt like it. That’s hypocritical and feeds into a deeper problem dad and I have in which he was no boundaries with his kids and has been using me as a therapist since I was a child. That fucks a person up. Can you imagine playing with GI Jos, going to bed, and falling asleep to your father explaining how your mother broke his heart because he has phone records to prove that she was cheating on him? I don’t need to.

Now let’s factor in that what I do is private. I’m not selling shirts. People actually have to share intimate personal details to get what they need from me. I have a guy who is 19 and can’t get it up and doctor phobic that I spent an hour trying to convince to see a doctor. I have a woman who burst into tears of relief when she came in to the store the first time and there were no guys there. People tell me incredibly private details and it is my job to honor that trust. The number of times I’ve explained how to have anal safely is innumerable.

This isn’t the only job that has that. There are signs at the pharmacy that say stay back and give people a little privacy. Imagine my dad, swinging buy to talk to me while I’m trying to fill prescriptions. He’s compromising that confidentiality. Imagine I were a therapist and dad swung by while I was waiting for a patient. Even if he leaves as the patient shows up the patient clearly sees someone who isn’t a patient seeing them in a clinic for therapists. This person now knows they see a therapist. It’s kinda traumatizing. I know because I have been there back in university.

That’s the type of job I have. I’m not selling shoes where it doesn’t matter if people swing by.

Now, I can’t show my dad sex toys. I can’t. That’s beyond fucked up. I am the child in the child-parent relationship and it isn’t my job to help the adult part find sexual release. This isn’t shoes. I would be selling my dad an orgasm. Thankfully, he didn’t look.

But he still walked into the place where I sell orgasms.

My dad came to a place where I sell orgasms.

 He did it to hang out and chat. Not pop his head in and set up a lunch meet but to make small talk. He hung around. And he knew it would be awkward for me. He admitted as much while he was there.

That’s. Fucked.

Now, I want you to imagine this from an outside boss perspective.

An employees ‘dad’ has shown up to speak to the employee. To chat. Well, chatting in all retail is frowned upon, but not always enforced. Here it is enforced. So now the employee does, “Oh, well, it’s my dad.”

Either 1 of 2 things has happened. The employee either has really severe daddy issues that have now shown up at her work and are interfering with her ability to do the job I pay her to do or she is lying and using this job to make connections so she call sell sex.

We’ve had people fired for using this job to make contacts, so both are a plausible, and one of them is 100% correct.

Customers came in so my dad left. I switched to sales voice and told him to have a nice day. He said, “see you Sunday,” so the customers spent the next twenty minutes glaring at me because they thought I was a hooker. And how do I say “That’s just my dad” with out sounding incredibly fucked up?

Another comparison. This is like if you had been pursuing someone for months. And you told everyone that you were going to take them on a date to a classy, semi-private restaurant. And your dad showed up. And hung around to talk until you were ready to order. Everyone is upset because your dad wasn’t there to eat, wasn’t in dress code, and totally ruined the illusion that the customers had paid for. And your date is now wondering what the hell they have gotten themselves into.  Or imagine you went to a sex store and you dad randomly showed up because he knew he would be there.

That’s what happened, but instead of getting dumped I could have gotten fired.

And that is why I’m upset. Dad and I aren’t close. Dad has hurt me in a lot of ways. If Dad had set my career back by years, because this is the first time I have ever managed to even get close to management, I can’t even explain how I’d feel. I spent 24% of my childhood in my father’s legal custody (and that’s a high estimate) and he spent most of that time at work. My dad doesn’t know me, especially when he ignores the true things I tell him about myself. This isn’t the man who raised me making a mistake. This is the man who didn’t.

And that is why I am upset.

I am thinking I am going to tell him that he needs therapy. Because I am tired of him hurting me. And he is always sorry. That's just not enough anymore. 

Jim’s Icky Awful Terrible No Good Day
calamityjim
Warnings for triggers. This is really raw.

So if you guys are out there, I could really use some support on this one.

On June 18, my dad came to visit me at work.

I present as female. My father is nearly sixty. And I sell sex toys for a living.

I am a woman who had a man in the store to whom she was not selling product and if anyone had asked would only have been able to respond with he’s my father. This means that in a store where employees are asked to provide by the more creepy elements and have been fired for engaging is sexual solicitation, I had a man who I would have called my daddy to explain why he was there.

So even if no one thought that I was being picked up by a John, I would still be seen as someone who has extreme boundary issues with my father that resulted in him coming to a store, where I sell sex toys, to visit me. I can’t even fake selling a toy to him to pass him off as just a customer, and he’s old and looks a little creepy which has caused good money to flee the store before. Dudes make chicks uncomfortable and we mainly sell to chicks.

So what are the chances of having gotten caught?

The owner of the company was there an hour before my dad showed, without warning or invitation. The regional manager popped by randomly early this week because she wanted to rearrange things and she still owes us a sign for one section, so she could be showing up at any time. My manager was due to come in in forty minutes.

So the chances of having gotten caught were extremely fucking high.

What would the consequences have been?

Well, for starters I would have lost any shot I had at a promotion. Gone. It’s been the one thing I haven’t been able to shut up about since I started this job. It was brought up in my interview. My manager is deeply concerned they will promote me before she’s had me a year and then she will have to try and hire someone else. And if I can get a manager position and hold it long enough to prove I can do it I can jump to so many different jobs. All these shut doors open. And I will get health insurance so I won’t ever have to decide between bread or medication that will keep me sane. I can live close enough to the poverty line that I will be able to see it.

And it would be gone. Forever.

I could have gotten fired. It would have been harder to do because I just squeaked past my three month probation, but not impossible. Especially not if they thought I really was using the job to make ties as a call girl. It’s happened at other stores. Other girls have gotten fired for just that reason.

And I don’t have enough money to handle that. If I couldn’t get a new job in a month, by mid July at the latest, I would have ended up homeless. And how do you get a job when you got fired from your last job for possible sexual solicitation and now have no reference?

So yeah, consequences. They are a thing.

And father’s day is this Sunday. It was supposed to be happening at my sister’s. I texted her to let her know I couldn’t make it because I’d yell at dad. She thinks I’m unfairly bailing on her, and that if I can’t have family come visit me at work then I need to send out a fucking memo, and that I should be able to pretend to be nice for a few fucking hours to make her happy. And she’s the feminist in the family so out of everyone she should have a goddamn clue that gender norms do play in to actual life. But she didn’t give me a chance to explain that I could have been fired for being a whore and ignored me when I pointed out that the fucking owner of the fucking company had been there, in my store, an hour before dad showed up. And he occasional swings back with transfers or because he forgot to drop something off. This is the first time in three weeks that he actually hasn’t come back.

So now I’m a big villain.

I am a mess. And I have to phone my regional manager and explain to her that I’m not a prostitute and that I am trying to prevent my dad from swinging by but I have no control. So I have to call my regional manager to explain that I have daddy issues to protect me from losing my job and my shot at management. Which could cost me my shot at management. I don’t think it will but holy hell.

And manic. I just got down again and if I am not manic tomorrow I will be shocked. Absolutely shocked. Which is why I can’t play pretend on Sunday. Mania means my filter is gone. I can already feel this pressure backlog that’s a pretty strong hint I’m heading to a bad place. I just got over my last mania Friday. And I did everything right.

And the best part? The cherry on this Sunday? The last time I saw my father was when he told my therapist I wouldn’t admit to being raped in uni, that I wasn’t gay, wasn’t ace, and that if my best friend Bones could hang in there a little longer I’m settle down and marry him. That’s my dad.

My parents divorced because my dad was emotionally abusive and on the path to physically abusive. He once grabbed me and shook me as he screamed at me and I pissed myself in fear. I was seven.

He did the things. He went to anger management. He got better, slowly, but he did. Though he struck my brother on my sister’s 18th birthday. I still remember that. He came down and apologized to me. I don’t know if he apologized to my brother. I would have been 15. My brother was 12.

So in order to handle this we separated him. There is Old Dad and New Dad. And I did this so I could have a relationship with my father, because I can’t have a relationship with Old Dad.

But today it all came crashing down. They aren’t separate. Old Dad is New Dad and New Dad still doesn’t understand how he still hurts me. He had no business showing up. He thought he was being funny by making me uncomfortable. I could have lost a future I have been trying to build for a long time and the one job I have ever enjoyed having. And he still doesn’t take responsibility for the stuff he does. That came out when he saw my shrink.

“I don’t think I was that bad.”

 “We had good times. We were a family.”

“I didn’t deserve what happened.”

When my parents divorced, dad didn’t get custody. He saw us every other weekend, so from 7pm Friday to 7pm Sunday twice a month. He got either thanksgiving or easter, never both, and either Christmas or New Years. And then a month in the summer in which we barely saw him because he had work. Now let’s toss in all the time he was helping a friend because dad can’t say no to a friend, and I’m left with very little time with my dad.

Oh, and let’s not forget the weekends I skipped because he wouldn’t fucking shut up about how the divorce broke his soul. I was in grade four playing counselor to my father and had to write him a letter to get him to stop it and quite seeing him to prove I meant it.

He told my therapist that I’d done this twice and it was because of mom. The second one was because of mom and hormones because I’d just found out second hand that my grandmother was dying because no one bothered to fucking tell me. The first one was because I knew my father’s entire side of the divorce.

But even now he’s rewritten the story. Cause it can’t be his fault.

I can’t keep giving him a pass. I could have lost my job. The job I love. Because dad. And now my sister is pissed I can’t play nice for a few hours because my abusive father who has never been there for me, has never believed me when I told him the important things, could have cost me my job because he thinks he’s entitled to my time. Fuck, I told him about the abuse and he didn’t believe me. I thought he would have learned. But nope. I was just testing Bones out before I marry him.

And right now I should be eating something so I can take the medication that helps with my highs, and my stomach is upset because I had an anxiety attack. A very long anxiety attack. Had to phone a friend anxiety attack. There was an inability to breathe and everything. Been a while. Totally missed the feeling of choking on air.

I don’t know what to do. It feels like everything I have been finally getting a hold of, a neutral place with family, a job with a future, and my sanity, are all slipping through my fingers. And I didn’t do anything wrong. I have worked so hard for this and to have come as close as I have to losing it and now to be the bad guy for not being okay with that?

I don’t even.

Shit.


AN- It’s been like ten minutes since I finished typing this and I bought some expensive chocolate earlier to try and make my night better. I felt it was important for you to know that eating chocolate after a panic attack must be what sex feels like. Holly. Crap. I mean, I’ve eaten this chocolate before and it has never tasted this good. I moaned. I didn’t know people really did that. I thought it was a strange literature trope. Nope. Totally moaned. So, for future reference, keep some fancy chocolate or whatever your comfort food is because it almost makes having an anxiety attack worth it. OMG. I’m gonna go eat a second piece.

Oh wow. Wow. Best part? Guilt free because it will give me the calories I need to take my meds. 

Faith Rising
calamityjim
In order to understand where I am at with my faith I need to explain where I came from. I was baptized United. United is one of the most liberal Christian sects I’ve ever come across. My Church was very, “Do you believe in Jesus? No? Cool. We’re still gonna tell you why he is awesome!” They were one of the first Churches to get on board with the Pride Parade, they’ve got female Pastors. They tend to be a very fluffy congregation.

I was baptized United because my Mom’s family was French Catholic originally, and my Mom, who I doubt has ever set foot in a Catholic Church, is still occasionally very invested in Jesus. My father’s mother was Irish Anglican.

Now, Ireland was embroiled in what was basically a civil war no one would admit was happening. It is a very religious country and basically always has been since the British originally took over all that time ago. So, there was a split in the Church long time ago and the sides ending up hating each other. From what my grandmother taught me, Catholics are all heathens for being liberal. I’m sure the Irish Catholics feel the same about the protestants. Anyway, they started killing each other, as people are wont to do.

Now, my great grandfather was part of the Orangeman’s Army. He was high enough ranking that he had a sash and everything. And he had done enough that one night the other side molitov cocktailed his house. So he took his pregnant wife and there half a dozen kids on a boat to Canada. That’s three generations back, when boat travel wasn’t safe and no one knew how to take care of pregnant women, so you understand how desperate the family was.

They came to Canada and ended up living in a French Catholic community.

So, as you can imagine, religion was a Big Deal to my grandmother, and it came from an angry place. The day we buried her brother, grandma told me he was in hell for his sins. So, angry angry God. Very judgy. Now toss in my parents divorce.

Yeah….

So my Mom is still occasionally very invested in Jesus. She’s not religious, per se, but believes that angels do talk to her and that god rules the universe with love. But she is also very intermitten about this. Growing up there would be months where saying Grace at the table was a Big Deal, and then it would vanish. And then come back. And then vanish. Same with going to church. Some years it was important, other times it wasn’t.

So my exposure to religion was not the most healthy and I wasn’t invested in it because the people in my life who believed in it were made more annoying or harmful because of those beliefs.

Then my older sister went through her religious crisis and told me something novel. Atheists don’t believe in god.

At the time I thought “Great! Quick fix!” and adopted the title. I grew to identify with it as I discovered more and more weird things about Christianity. Things like not believing in dinosaurs, intelligent design, gay people being a sin and all that. I really wanted no part of it. So, the angry little atheist I was, went full-Dawkins and explained when it came up on how believing in god was stupid.

Then, living at University I got hit with arthritis and came out as gay.

And I hated god.

Truthfully, I hated a lot of things that year. I didn’t get a lot of support from my family and my friends were all too young to know how to help me. I was 18 and I couldn’t take notes because my hands are that bad. Also, typing uses a totally different motion so is easier to do. Not pain-free, but definite improvement.

Anyway, I was super angry and I was perfectly fine with believing in god long enough to believe him, especially when my mother was telling me “By the grace of god go I” or “God never gives you more than you can bare.” FYI-never ever ever say these things to someone who is suffering. It is unbelievably callous and prevents you from doing a useful thing, such as to just listening to them hurt. Listening helps way more than telling them that this is part of a plan. There was a lot of gay people ruining marriage and going to hell shit on tv. It was just a solidly not good time for me.

But, then I switched my major from drama, because the whole always being in pain puts a huge crimp in waiting tables to pay for hitting the stage, into philosophy, mostly because I was allowed to talk in class and I liked the material. And this was huge, because one of the first classes I took was metaphysics. And it went through all the base beliefs of religious systems, how god and science are incomparable so stop trying to both sides, and how faith doesn’t just have a religious structure. Believing that I am typing on a computer is a small leap of faith, because I have to be invested that this all exists, which, logically speaking, I can’t actually prove (thanks Hume). Faith exists in small things every day in ways that make the world beautiful. Trusting that your friends love you is faith. Hoping that my words reaching people who need them is faith.

So faith, actually kinda cool.

And because they school I went to was small, my degree, in order to get enough credits, was officially in Philosophy and Religion. So I took a bunch of classes on religion as well. A lot happened. Not all of it good but whatevs.

And I came to where I am now.

Faith isn’t bad, but blind faith is. My mother and my grandma both believed blindly and for the sake of believing. That god was real and doing what he says is more important than not actually hurting people is actually a pretty offensive and anti-christian stance because Jesus’s one rule was to not be a dick. Islam is a beautiful religion but this whole Jihad suicide bomber thing is the equivalent as the West Borough Baptists and not a real representation. But seriously, Islam? Had one of the most feminist cultures until suffragists put some elbow grease in. Hindiusm has this thing that has lead to their sacred river being one of the most polluted ever and many deny it because you can’t pollute holy things. Also, there is a lot of justified racism and classism.

Believing things for the sake of believing them, in the face of contradictory evidence, is bad. It is bad because you are hurting those around you. The world happens in a context. Believing that gay people will go to hell even though you don’t hate them is still telling someone that they are damned to eternal suffering because of something they didn’t choose and can’t stop being. It hurts people, good people. And there is no need to hurt other people to be happy. If your religion is founded on hate you really need a different one. Hate is hard. My grandma ironocially used to say "hate is an acid that does more damage to the pot it is stored in than the ground it is poured on."

 Believing things so you can be more right than other people does the same thing, and Jesus has a lot to say about logs and eyes and turning cheeks. Believing does not make you more righteous. You can’t believe in god at other people, and those who do need to stop.

Also, the people who do this stuff? Exist everywhere. There are scientists *cough cough Dawkins cough* who are making the same judgments from the same place and are just as wrong. But even outside of religion. People who are bad people are bad, and whether or not they are religious or like my little pony doesn’t change that, nor does it make those the source of the malfunction. There are extremists and assholes that are a part of every group ever, and religion does get a bad rap for having these people be part of it, but that is because arguing over the Oilers vs the Flames is far less meaningful than gay marriage vs hell because the stakes are lower.

So where did I end up?

I’m an atheist still. That isn’t to say I have no faith. No, my faith is that I believe there is no god. I do have spiritual beliefs. If I were more invested I’d read up on Taoism because it is beautiful and I resonate with that structure of the world. But officially I’m a Pastafarian, because pasta.

But, more importantly, I’m not angry anymore. I don’t try to convince people that there is no god, though I will argue that there version of the bible is not a thing. And I can see how believing is beautiful and meaningful, and I wish the best to anyone who uses their faith to help themselves instead of hurting other people. Believing in god is no longer silly, though I hold that not believing in the dinosaurs is.

And what has happened to me is random. Life sucks sometimes, but there is no one to blame. And in a Nietzsche/ Sartre kinda way, that is very very freeing. I am not in charge, but I am not helpless. I can always choose how I react. And this matters not because I need to get into heaven but because I want to be happy right now.

And I want this feeling for other people. If god helps you find it, awesome. If not, awesome. Just don’t try to get this feeling by strangling other people’s chances at getting it.

Just something for everyone to consider, I guess. 

The Duggar Drama- Also Trigger Warnings for sexual abuse content.
calamityjim
Okay, so everyone has an opinion on the Duggars. Many are doing the “It was a long time ago and Jesus saves,” where as other are all looking to tear down everything the Duggars stand for and are using this as the hammer to do it with.

I’m very firmly camped in that last camp.

First off, I’m a victim of sexual abuse. I have never been raped, but my mother’s husband used to grab my ass through my clothes, so I know EXACTLY what Josh’s victims went through. At first I tried to avoid it. Then I tried to normalize it by reciprocating. This is actually a fairly common habit of abuse victims, especially sexual abuse victims. If I play along I am exerting some form of power over the situations and making it normal and therefore okay.

It doesn’t make it okay. It doesn’t make it better. It actually gets things more muddled because then you do the ‘what if I encouraged it?  I did something just as wrong!”

You didn’t. On both counts. Hold onto that. Never forget it. It is not your fault. It was never your fault. You coped. You survived. And no one gets to judge you for that. The rest of the world can fuck off.

I made it stop when I screamed at him the summer I was leaving for university. My mother was there and she told him he had to stop after I yelled at him. I don’t yell. Yelling triggers the shit out of me. None of my friends have heard me yell, ever, and I’ve had some of them in my life for as long as nine years.

I’m in the process of letting go, but I haven’t forgiven him. I probably never will. I’m not going to stay angry about this forever, but I am going to feel vaguely disdainful of that man until I die. He doesn’t occupy enough of my mind or my life that I will let him have power over me, even if that power is controlling my hate. But he will always be something I feel negative towards. Like splinters. Or papercuts. So I’m not going to forgive him.

But Josh was just a boy! That’s different, because this was obviously a man.

My first sexual experience I was in grade 2 or so. My family was in deep with a family down the road. The oldest boy was 2 years older than me. Try and remember that 2 years between grades 2 and 4 is a much larger gap, both with regards to physical and emotional development than grades 10 and 12.

I remember him chasing me. I remember him pinning me to the ground and rolling me over so I was on my back. I remember him forcing his tongue through my lips. I remember his tongue scraping against my teeth. And I remember how much my jaw hurt from keeping it clamped shut.

And I told people. I told my mom. She laughed and told me I used to kiss his little brother when we went to playschool together (we were the same age). And I couldn’t make her, make anyone, understand that this was no a simple play kiss. This was no peck on the lips or smack on the cheek. He forced me to the ground and forced his tongue in my mouth.

That was twenty years ago and I can still remember parts of it, how it felt, perfectly.

So Josh Duggar and every single person defending his actions can catch Ebola for all I care. He did something awful. Indescribably awful. Time isn’t going to make it better. It isn’t going to make it go away. He has permanently marked all of his victims. So what if he’s sorry?

There are two reasons to tell someone that you are sorry. The first is because you do regret your reactions. The best I’ve seen in this style of apology is Jonah Hill’s. He wasn’t asking for forgiveness. He specifically states he isn’t asking for forgiveness. He’s acknowledging the harm he has caused and is expressing regret.

The second, which is what Josh is doing, is searching for forgiveness. You don’t apologize to seek forgiveness. If you have to apologize you have lost the right to ask for forgiveness. You can hope for it, but you don’t get to ask for it.

Because when you ask for forgiveness you are claiming that the burden of your crime is greater than the burden of harm that your crime has caused. When Josh Duggar asks for forgiveness he is telling us, telling his victims, that his secret shame of touching girls is more traumatizing than the pain of being a girl who has been touched, and that we need to let him off the hook so he doesn’t have to feel this way anymore.

I will not.

If his victims choose to forgive him, they are doing it for themselves so they can move on. If they choose not to forgive, but to let go while remembering that Josh Duggar acted like a monster, I give them all the solidarity I can.

Josh Duggar sowed whirlwind. His parents and all the people involved in covering this up have created this whirlwind. And even now, they are asking us to focus on his pain, how boys have urges and how women, even little girls, should let boys act on their urges because being a boy is hard. Yes, it is far harder to abuse people sexually than to be sexually abused *eyeroll*.

Kate Reid wrote a song about Robert Pickton, a Canadian serial killer whose total number of victims is estimated at nearly 50. I feel like it applies not just to him, but to all men who continue to be violent towards women, and especially men whose justification for these action relies soley on the part where having a penis makes it okay.

I am truly sorry for his victims and am disgusted that these sexist, homophobic, sanctimoniously hypocrites are still finding supporters in the midst of these accusations.

http://ats.katereid.net/files/Im_Just_Warming_Up/No_More_Missing_Daughters.htm

No More Missing Daughters
by Kate Reid

It’s another day

There’s blood in the buckets

You’re burying the bones

You twisted daughterfucker



Chorus: 
If I had my way
I would make you pay


We would post your face

All over town

And everyone around

Would know you were the one



Chorus: 
If I had my way

You’d be afraid



Pack of angry bitches

Blood-thirsty she-hounds

We would band together

We would hunt you down


Stiletto heel to the soul

Steel-toe to the mind

There’d be no more missing daughters

No more sisters crying



Chorus: 
Cuz if I had my way

If I had my way

If I had my way

If I had my way


If I had my way (in another time and place)

If I had my way (these friendly smiles)

If I had my way (would vanish from our faces)
I
f I had my way (and release the rage inside)

If I had my way


You’d be dead.
 

The Reality of My Blog, or Lack There Of.
calamityjim
“I read your blog, and while I may not comment, just know that I do respect the effort and bravery that comes from laying it all out like this.”

I wanted to address this part of this comment publicly because I think it is really important for everyone to know something.

I’m not brave. What I’m doing isn’t brave. This is actually really easy.

I’m a stranger on the internet taking to strangers on the internet. No one here knows my real name. A couple may have guessed the city I live in, but since it’s a major city there are still tonnes of people that I could be. None of my family or friends know my screen name. I have multiple email accounts to keep my many internet lives separate.

Right now, as it stands, the worst possible thing that could happen out of this is that someone in the comments will say something mean. And even then, I’m very blunt, a little mean, and, on the internet, perfectly confident, so I’d just focus all of that on them. After I finished ranting about the depravity of humans and the lack of empathy in the world I’d actually enjoy trying to tear them apart.

I’m fully insulated from the consequences of having this blog because I’m clever and I recognize that the greatest problem clever people have is that we want witnesses.  But I have all of you, so I can hold back from telling the people I know in RL who could connect me to this about this. They know I have a secret blog and that is it.

So I’m not brave. And I’m not being humble. You may all recognize that I just do not do humble. Also, I’m a little manic today. Being humble is for punks! But seriously, I face no consequences from doing this.

Brave people are the people who go to schools and speak about this. Brave people are the ones who tell you these things in real life, where they can’t block you if you freak out. Brave people are the ones who walk through the street with this stuff written on their skin. Being brave is recognizing and choosing to accept danger. Here, there is no danger to recognize for me. This isn't brave. Which is okay.

Also, I’m totally doing this for me. Writing helps me organize my thoughts and make a record of where I have been mentally. It makes me feel better to take what is toxic and inside me and wash it off and let the good parts shine. And I feel good that I might help someone. I really hope I help someone. But I’m not actually going out of my way to do it. I also really dig comments because they make me feel all shiny and egotistical. I do find them very meaningful for a whole bunch of reasons, but I also don’t find a lack of comments soul crushing because I get that this is deeply personal stuff and other people may not feel comfortable talking hear about it.

That being said, as this is an easy, not actually brave thing to do, I totally recommend it. Mail.com is an awesome website where you can set up mail boxes for free with no previous email address, which means you don’t have to link your real accounts to your dummy account. You use that email to start your new account on a blog. You then blog. If you are worried about commenters, just disable comments. It’s like having an online journal, and because passwords are a thing you don’t have to worry about people finding it and connecting it to you. That way you can have your real account where you do the things with people you know or want to know. Then you have your account where no one will ever find you if you don’t tell them you are there.

The internet is an amazing thing and I really recommend that anyone who needs to talk stuff out to be as brave as me about it. It’s good times. ;)
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Visibility and Representation, or Why We Should All Have Pins.
calamityjim

It’s Pride in my part of the world. I am lucky enough to live in a city that wears a conservative mask but has a super liberal underbelly that it likes scratched hard and often. Pride is a big deal. There is a parade. There are events consistently through the week and then intermittently through the month. The city painted sidewalks rainbow and business all hung Pride Flags down the parade route. The mayor, the Premier, and Justin Trudeau, who really wants to be Prime Minister, were all there. I’m very fortunate to live in a part of the world where being gay is no longer demonized.

That being said, that is a privilege that many groups still don’t have. Racism is a thing, and holy shit is it a thing in Canada. If someone tells you Canadians aren’t racist just bring up Residential Schools. Super. Fucking. Racist. Transphobia is a thing. Fat-shaming and slut-shaming are things. There are still a lot of things going down that are wrong and, for some people, dangerous. And there is a sense of not fitting in.

This is my first Pride having come out as Ace (which is how I shall now refer to asexual because I’m lazy. Also, it’s a cool term for a minority. I have the best abbrevaitions. I'm a BAD Ace XD ). That means it was my first Pride where I was looking for ace representation.

And I didn’t find it.

And I felt kinda empty.

The worst bit of this was that I didn’t know why I wasn’t feeling the same bubbly affirming joy I usually get from Pride. I mean, it’s great to see solidarity. Everyone was hugging and supporting and there were a tonne of allies who were being all awesome. Everyone was very “We’re here and if you don’t like that we don’t care! Lulz!” There were street preachers this year, complete with a soap box and a Jesus Saves sign with a spelling mistake. And how the crowd handled them was amazing. A few people had friendly yet serious discussions with them, most people ignored them, and a bunch of people in rainbow gear got pictures with them. When the parade started people just shuffled them to the back. It’s a super passive aggressive things Canadians do. Just shuffle things we don’t like out of sight. It was great.

But I felt empty because this year. There were gay people and trans people and leather fetish flags and THREE tanks, which was all amazing. But I felt off.

So I got muddling over that. And while I was muddling over the next few days I had a trans woman come up to me at the bus stop and ask me for a light. And this was an interesting interaction. At first she did the hand motion from far away. When she spotted my Pride pin she actually came up to me close enough that I could tell she was trans and started talking to me. And after I caught my bus I realized that the only reason she felt safe talking to me was because of the pin. It was a sign that we were on the same team and that I was safe.

And I realize that that was why I felt so mixed about the parade. There was no one on my team there. I was standing in a sea of people feeling all alone because no one was flying the colors for my team. And I didn’t realize how important that type of solidarity was until that moment. Before I'd identified as straight, so it was easy to just assume that everyone was straight. Then lesbian, and they are heartily represented at Pride and also make it a lot into TV, with icons like Willow and Original Cindy and Dr. Torres to look up to. I didn't even have to google those names. Lesbians aren't obscure or hard to find anymore and a lot of them are very positively represented, though they still tend to get killed off disporportionately, hugs to Charlie and Tara. I'm white, so I still struggle to remember that the media is made for people of my color and I do my best to critique it when it fails. But there is a quote from Whoopi Goldberg on how amazing seeing Uhura on tv for the first time was and how important it is for everyone to have their icons. I thought I got it. I did.

But I had never really understood the importance of representation until I didn’t have any. When it is your team sitting out the feeling is bone deep. It rattles the foundations and makes you feel like dust in the universe, but not in a good existential way.  There is no asexual parade. We don’t get a thing to let people know we are out there and let people know that it is okay for us to be out there. And to let people know that if they feel the same way they do that they aren’t alone and they aren’t broken.

And this has made me realize how important having things like pins and Pride jewelry are not just now, but all the time. People need to feel included all year long. You don’t go visit your mom on mother’s day and then not talk to her until next mother’s day. You still talk to her throughout the year.

And I want to provide that. But I also want to receive it. So I am going to go out and buy myself all the QUILTBAG flags I can find and I am going to sew them into my backpack, no matter how hipster or teenage it looks. I am going to make me into a Safe Space, so queer people don’t have to worry if they see me and wonder where I stand, because I am going to be standing beside them. And maybe they will see my flag on my bag, and maybe they will ask. And maybe they will start to wear it so I will know that they are a safe space for me.

And maybe, just maybe, there will be someone carrying my flag at Pride in the next parade, telling me that I am not alone.


The Art of Coming Out
calamityjim

It's Pride  in my part of the world. I know that there are probably like, ten people reading this because one person has commented and that is how representation works. I figured that I'd pass on how Coming Out works.

So. I come out all the time.

 I came out for being a lesbian. I came out for being bipolar. I came out for being asexual. And having come out that often there is a few things I’ve learned about coming out that I’d like to share.

For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction.

Yes, that’s right. Newtonian physics make a great understanding of social interaction. The first time I came out it was a Big Deal. There was crying and hugging. My friend, who is also my ex-boyfriend, actually skipped my first ‘I need to come out’ appointment because he thought I was angry with him and that was why we need to Talk.

Everyone took it quite well. This isn’t to say that everyone is going to be this lucky, but I know my worst reaction was the patronizing eye-rolls of ‘sure you are’ with the it’s just a phase but we are will to pander to your quirks right now. My aunt was really cool and asked me if I was trans in a totally non-judgemental way. And she’s from the deep country and was raised by her Irish Anglican mother. For those who don’t know, Irish Anglicans fought with Irish Catholics because the Irish Anglicans thought that Irish Catholics are liberal. And grandma was Very Irish Anglican.

But going into it I was prepared to lose friends. That being said I am of the firm opinion that the caliber of my friends reflects upon me. This doesn’t mean that I don’t hang with people who ‘lower my status’ in the arbitrary way of constructs. It means I don’t hang out with bigots. So if someone in my friend circle was a giant homophobe then coming out was the quickest way to root them out so that when I did need them I didn’t have to deal with the drama of my main issue and discovering that my friend has a lot of other phobias and biases that make the situation worse.

So the second time I came out, with the bipolar, I toned it down a little bit. I didn’t make specific meetings but I did go out of my way to gather my friends and do the ‘I have something important to tell you” in big groups. It went well enough again. I only have had one person who I was barely friends with (he was a friend of a friend) try and take advantage of my mental disturbances, and now he is just a friend of a friend and so not my problem. I did tell my employers because I like medical accommodation and I had been at my job long enough that I couldn’t just be fired.

The third time I came out as asexual I tagged the people who needed to know, took the “What about second breakfast?” Lord of the Rings meme and made it about second coming out. Yes, I used second because people don’t realize that disclosing a mental illness really is coming out. My tag line for it was something along the lines of “Yeah, I’m asexual. As you can tell I’m deeply concerned about how you are going to handle this. Deeply concerned.”

And by going through this, all of this, I learned a couple of really valuable things I’d like to share.

1)    Saying “I’m [insert here]”  doesn’t make it any more true. I was just as gay as I was the year before I came out as I was the year after. I was just as bipolar. I was just as asexual. Saying it doesn’t suddenly cement it in stone, like making a pact with the universe. It’s true, whether or not you say it. That doesn’t mean admitting it isn’t liberating, but it’s a lot like saying that you really do just enjoy the taste of tofu. Most people won’t care, some will look at you funny and edge the way out of your life, some will try to convert you to vegetarianism, and some will just gladly hand you all of their tofu. It doesn’t change how much you like tofu, but it does allow other people to act on that information and for you to go get all the tofu you enjoy. dAlso, if you suddenly hate tofu you are allowed to change your mind.

2)    How big of a deal you make is how big of a deal everyone else makes. When I came out as gay, as I said, there were a lot of affirming hugs and ‘we love you for who you are.’ When I came out as asexual, no one told me this. There was no affirmation because I wasn’t asking for it. It was here is a fact about me. Cope. So people coped.

3)    The relief is totally worth it. One of the things that has made me the most uncomfortable with orientation was trying to have friends include me in the game. I understand that this came from love, like lending a friend your favorite books. You keep doing this in the hopes that they will love one of them as much as you do. But for me this was a huge problem because it made me feel broken. I’d go somewhere with a group of female friends and they’d go, “That guy is so hot! Don’t you think so?” Unless they pointed or there was only one guy there I’d actually have no idea who they were talking about. If I could figure it out through guess and speculation, I’d still not know why he was hot. I’d smile and nod and go totally and hope no one asked me any skill testing questions.

After I came out it got a bit better, but then everyone, guys and gals, would ask me which celebrities I figured were hot. I made up a lot of stuff. When I finally came out as ace that all disappeared. Yes, I can recognize aesthetic appeal, but that is built on very different components than sexual. Breast size is not a big thing for me. Bigger boobs actually freak me out a bit, especially when they aren’t proportional to the person they are on. It’s not an aesthetic I find appealing and I’m letting those who do like it to know that I’m not competition. But now a lot of the pressure to engage in sexual game behaviors has adjusted to fit me, instead of me having to pretend to fit it. It’s an enormous relief.

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Be Gentle with Yourself
calamityjim

Being Gentle

So, since I have gotten some feedback I now no longer have to assume that people are perusing this. Which means I should probably have said this first, but whatever.

One of the most important things when engaging in these types of conversations, whether because you are neurodivergent or you are just trying to be a better person, is to be gentle with yourself.

1)    We were all raised in a society where neurodivergence is labeled ‘mental illness’ and therefore ‘all in your head’. Most of our first introduction in psychology is through Freud, the man who discovered conversion disorders and decided that boys all secretly wanted to do mom. That’s not a great place to start, especially since conversion disorders are one of the few actual mental illness and can be treated through talk therapy alone. Neurodivergence technically is all in my head, but in the same way that a heart attack is all in my chest. So most of our first introductions into the topic are deeply flawed.

2)    Media makes it worse. Ever since Deuce Bigalow came out everyone thinks that having Tourette’s means you have the uncontrollable urge to swear. This only occurs in about 10% of cases, and even then it isn’t every third word. Also, making fun of a frustrating condition through misinformation. Thanks guys. It’s hi-lar-ious. *note sarcasm. Comedy needs to punch up, not punch down.

Ever since Forest Fucking Gump came out everyone believes that the neurodivergent are wise and prejudice free, innocent with the eyes of the child that see our jaded world in a fresh and healing way. Bullshit. Think of being neurodivergent like being straight. You want to date the opposite sex. Guess what? Not everyone wants to date the same person you want to date, nor do you all have the same outlook on the world. People with Down’s Syndrome all have Down’s Syndrome. That’s it. Down’s Syndrome varies in severity and people with it have varying personalities. I’ve met some very nice people with it. I’ve met some total jerks.

And House. Screw House. Dr. House also harbors this weird romanticism that neurodivergents are lucky because we are outside the insanity of the structure of society or something. I tend to rage black out House’s “I wish I was crazy” moments, especially since as an addict he is neurodivergent (addiction changes the shape of the brain, which is why cravings become a thing and you never stop being an addict).

Of course, this is all ignoring how many times the neurodivergent are actually scary serial killers. Nearly everyone out there has identity dissociative disorder (which may or may not be a real thing. Research is still out. I’m going to assume it’s real, but it is super hella rare) and they have a personality that is murdering people. Criminal Minds used this trope TWICE. Seriously, we are either mystics or murders or comic relief and nothing else. 

3)    We aren’t supposed to talk about it. I have to fight with my support network to make them understand that, as a crazy person in a crazy place, I don’t have control or awareness that I am acting crazy! And that I NEED them to point it out. And when I tell them this, they usually go, “oh. That’s new. So-and-so has this and we don’t talk about it.”
*twitch twitch

How the heck are we supposed to understand the neurodivergent if we teach everyone to not talk about it? Not talking about something is the opposite of learning about it! Oh, talking about suicide is uncomfortable. SO IS FEELING SUICIDAL! We are living in a world where our emotional comfort is being placed above the safety of the people in question. Dan Savage once said, “Fuck your feelings, gay kids are dying.” I think the phrase has application here.

4)    It’s largely invisible. If you meet me in real life you will have no idea I’m bipolar until I tell you. If I’m manic I’m just a weirdo. If I’m depressed I’m probably waiting for the caffeine to kick in. We all have stories about why people are acting outside of social norms, and rarely do we attribute neurodivergence. And when we do we tend to be all judge-y. “I bet they are off their meds.”

So, as you can see, we didn’t really stand much of a chance of growing up to be people who are understanding of neurodivergence. Considering that even the label is wrong on top of all the rest, how were we supposed to figure this out?

So don’t be hard on yourself. Holding your guilt up for the world to see actually hurts the conversation. Not only does your guilt not actually improve my life but it actual distracts from the conversation, because it refocuses it on how bad you feel instead of where to go from here.

For those directly affected, same thing. I feel guilty about some of the things I’ve done, but I’ve let most of it go. It wasn’t my fault. I didn’t know better. And beating myself up over it doesn’t help those who were wronged and actually makes my condition worse. So there is no point.

But what is important now is that in this moment, you know. You now know that you are wrong and you now have the responsibility to change. And if you choose not to, then, and only then, are you being a terrible person with regards to this.

So be gentle with yourself as you learn. We all make mistakes but we all have the opportunity to do better next time, and as long as you are trying to do better and as long as you are learning as you go along, you are going the right way. It's okay that you aren't perfect, and it's okay to be have been wrong as long as you are willing to search for what is, if not right then at least better.

And that’s all that anyone can really ask.


What's Killing US
calamityjim

Last time I left off with the grandiose and radically claim that current attitudes towards mental illness are killing us. Here is my justification. Also, Trigger Warning for Suicide and Angst.


People internalize attitudes. It is why aboriginal people can be racist towards aboriginal people, why women can be mysogynists, anf why homosexuals can be homophobic. When you are raised in a culture you are immersed in the assumptions of that culture’s unwritten rules that we all ‘know’ to be true. For example: wearing a hat inside is rude. Wearing a hat at a funeral is rude. Wearing a hat into court is rude. What you may not know is that hats being rude is a Christian value, and there are many religions where wearing headgear is a sign of respect (Sikhs, Muslims and Jews are a few examples). So the claim that hats are rude is a cultural assumption that is very North American, but also found in nations that were historically established as Christian territories.

These assumptions are based on our histories, our mythologies, and our current institutions. They are re-enforced in our media, in our political system, and in our legal structure. Having them is how we build a society. But problems occur when we refuse to examine these assumptions and they become oppressive. A Canadian Muslim woman was denied the right to present a court case in Quebec because the judge deemed her headwear to be rude and demanded that this woman remove her hijab, while the woman didn’t because her hijab was how she demonstrates her faith and being forced to remove it is religious oppression.


Right now, we have a lot of assumptions about neurodivergency that are killing people.

The first time I seriously considered suicide I was in my mid teens- around 15, 16- and I had come into the possession of five feet of rope and our house had an unfinished basement, which meant exposed rafters. I fantasized quite seriously but I never followed through on anything that could be called an attempt because my little brother would have been the person to find me, and my older sister would have never forgiven me for that. That wasn’t the last time. That wasn’t the last time that year. But one thing never changed. My little brother would find me.

Then I moved out. Things got a bit better for a while until they weren’t anymore, because that is what being sick means.

When I was 21 I was severely depressed. To this day it remains my worst episode. I would go for days without sleeping and then sleep for days. I only left my room for food, and my room was tiny-maybe three and a half feet by seven feet?- and I only left the house when the food in the fridge was all gone, which took a long time because I was eating small meals once a day, and by meals I mean something out of a can because I certainly wasn’t cooking. The only people I interacted with were online and my friend Kate, which is also complicated but a story for another time. Also, Kate was an agoraphobic so she was still more of an online friend. And everyone but here thought I was a guy, probably from the states but possibly from Europe. My actually personal life was never a topic of discussion. When we were sharing details, I lied. When they wanted pictures I used ones of a guy who had a travel blog and claimed to be him. I wasn’t working and had a little bit of savings scraped together, that lasted longer than it should have because I wasn’t leaving the house, what with all the social anxiety.

I started to think about suicide a lot. This wasn’t the warning sign it should have been, because I had been flirting with suicidal thoughts since the first time I got serious about it. They’d come and go and were so familiar they were comfortable instead of terrifying. It was like having an option in an option-less world. Even if I wasn’t planning on taking it, it was nice to know it was there. I made and discarded plans with varying degrees of seriousness. The weirdest part was that I wasn’t always unhappy. I was a satire troll on this one website, which means I was a hilarious jerk who attacked opinions instead of people, and I enjoyed that immensely. Kate acted as my partner in crime and man, did we have schemes. I took over the forum so thoroughly that someone wrote me a bible and I founded a Troll Guild and was invited into the Troll Basher Guild. It was fun.

But I wasn’t okay.

I wasn’t making plans to get back at everyone, but I was in a lot of pain. Much of it was physical. I developed an unspecified form of arthritis (still unspecified) at 18 and was undiagnosed bipolar, so I lost a lot of friends and many of the people left weren’t good for me. My family, turbulent at the best of times, wasn’t giving me a lot of support. I got told to stop wallowing a lot. I didn’t handle my arthritis gracefully but I was young and damaged and losing the ability to handwrite. So whatever.

I remember I was walking somewhere. I lived in a small city, so no public transit and taxis were sketchy and expensive. Also, I don’t drive, so if I had somewhere to go I walked. I was headed to a department store, Zellers or Walmart or something. There was a four-lane highway that cut through town, busy because it was a main route and often used for trucking.

I still remember very clearly watching the cars go by as I was walking, and wondering what it would be like to step in front of one. How much would it hurt? How could I make it hurt less? How close would I have to time it to get maximum impact before they were able to slam on the brakes? Which model would get the job done?

I was obsessing. It was a hyper-focus. It’s another symptom of mine in either side of a swing. I latch onto an obsession and I can’t let go or be rational or reasonable about it. And in this case I had this deep, unyielding need to know. I don’t remember why I snapped out of it, but I do remember looking down at my feet and discovering I had crossed from the far side of the sidewalk so I was closer to the road. I was maybe an inch from stepping off the curb. I didn’t remember moving.

And that scared me.

I called Kate and made me take me to a walk in so I couldn’t run away before my appointment. I still had a small panic attack. And I was still crying because I was so terrified the doctor would tell me I was fine because that was the only thing I knew I needed. I needed someone else to tell me I wasn’t fine. The doctor was good enough. He believed me, gave me samples of an anti-depressant, and told me how to get to a psychiatric walk in. By the next week I had a job interview, a crappy psychiatrist, and a manic episode, but I wouldn’t be diagnosed bipolar for three more years.

My family doesn’t know the only reason I sought treatment was because I was suicidal. But I now know that they had been worried about me for months. They had been talking to each other about it. But not to me. No one called me. No one came to see me. And until I started walking towards the road possessed by the sound of breaking glass I thought I was fine because no one who could see that I wasn’t bothered to tell me. And as someone who is ill, I lacked the mental capacity to figure this out on my own.

I had a narrative. I was taking time off for me. I was slumming it. Wearing pyjamas all day was a way of spoiling myself. I was being frugal by not eating. Sleep was for the weak. My down moments were passing moments of emotional weakness that just proved me to be a self-centered individual who couldn’t stop wallowing in self pity, even though other people have it worse.

And that’s the thing. People who are neurodivergent are the last to notice. We have either always been like that, because we have been undiagnosed since day one or we rewrite the story so our current behavior seems like its always been, or we fall into it so gradually that the sinking from yesterday to tomorrow seems miniscule, but over the span of a month has become catastrophic. I used to joke about being bipolar, and sometimes it was because I was scared it was true, but mostly it was to justify my ‘quirks’, like how stress made me hyper (manic) and then I calmed down and was fine (depressed). So we need other people to point this out. And no one ever does because it is uncomfortable or because the other person may take it poorly or it isn’t our place.

But even after identifying the problem it doesn’t get better. Bipolar patients go off their meds all the time because they believe they are ‘cured’. Because that is what society tells us. Taking pills = being sick. Not taking pills= being cured. This is a dangerous false dichotomy. It simply isn’t true. As is not taking pills = strong. Going to Bipolar Forums is terrifying for me because of the number of people who aren’t taking medicine and are expecting to control it through will power. Being bipolar means your willpower is broken. You have failed your will check. Also, physical. You don’t will a wound to stop bleeding. You apply pressure, find a doctor, and stitch that sucker.

Or you die.

So it is up to us, the cops who arrest us over and over again (I’m 4 times more likely to be arrested) or the doctors who see is for an hour once and a while or have revived us after our latest botched suicide attempt to figure out we are sick, instead of the people who know us well enough to be worried. And when we are sick we need to get better (ie cured) instead of accepting that we are neurodivergent and it isn’t are fault. We aren’t weak. And not being able to be cured doesn’t mean that things don’t get better.

I’m lucky I was hit with arthritis first. It taught me that lesson before I was diagnosed bipolar, and it was hard enough to learn when it was a fairly common physical issue. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to sort through while trying to accept that I really do go a little crazy sometimes in a world where going crazy isn’t really a thing.

But even after all this there are more problems. I have to brow beat my support network into willing to be able to point out I’m in an episode. They’ve been taught to not talk about it their entire lives and the one thing I need is for them to mention it to be. The worst case scenario is that I don’t believe you, and if I am irrational in my disbelief then they know they are right and can take appropriate actions, like telling me I really don’t need a $200 Darth Vader plushy.

My mom believes I should be off medication because I had a bad round with something that washed me out. My dad believes I should be on medication but that I was raped* in my second year of university and if I could admit it and talk it through I would come out cured.

*I was not. I’ve told him. I’m telling you on my super over share personal blog. I’ve never been raped. I promised myself I wasn’t going to consciously lie here, because the only person I would be lying to would be me.  But my parents are both obsessed with the idea I will be/have been. They have problems.

Back to the main point. I’ve discovered I’m sick. I’m miles ahead of almost everyone else because I’m okay with being sick. This is something I want you all to know. Despite the fact that I have bad days, I’m actually kinda okay. I don’t resent this. I’m okay with being sick and I know the difference between being cured and being in remission and I know which one to aim for. And people still do not believe I am sick or that drugs will help. My older sister believes me when I am manic, but has not actually discussed what manic me needs (needs, not wants. Very different). She’s great with depressed me though, and to be fair I need to approach her and tell her what I need when high.

And once again, I’m lucky. I took philosophy in school and it saves my life over and over. Logic is more important to me than being emotionally comfortable, so when people tell me I’m manic I’m able to consciously consider if they are right and still make a reasonable judgment. So far they’ve always been right. And I logically know my parents are incorrect about my state and how I need to deal with it, though the idea that I can be fine and off meds is romantic and emotionally alluring, it is like a siren leading sailors to death.

And it is all of this, together, that is killing us. We aren’t sick. But if we are it isn’t real. And if it is we will get better. And if we don’t we are weak.

There is a TED talk about the speaker’s experiences with suicide. It’s quite powerful and I recommend it. I’ve linked it below. It’s not for those easily triggered, and the comments are worse. But I suggest going through them and see what I mean. There is a lot about suicide being self. There are a lot on how this isn’t the real story. There are a lot of comments that kill us.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1QoyTmeAYw


Mental Illness is a Lie
calamityjim
The biggest problem with mental illnesses, almost all mental illnesses, is that we call them mental illnesses.


They aren’t.

Take, for example, my bipolar. When in a swing I have problems with my perception of reality, in that what has actually taken place and what I think have taken place are not nearly the same thing. I also have bizarre emotional reactions. Do you know what else can cause these symptoms?

A brain tumor.

Now I’m going to ask you to graciously take a moment to make yourself uncomfortable and think about how you react when someone tells you they are mentally ill because they have ADD or Bipolar or Depression or OCD. You don’t have to admit it out loud, but I know the world you live in because I used to live there too, and I know that everyone at some point has had these thoughts because this is how we have been trained to handle mental illnesses. Be gentle with yourself, but be honest.

That’s not really a thing. They are letting the world get the best of them. If they just tried a bit harder. They are faking it for attention. If they just talked it out with someone they would be fine. They just have to get their stuff sorted.

It doesn’t have to be these, but we’ve all had those thoughts of its either not as bad as they think or if they could just get over it. Because that is how it happens on TV, in books, in video games. But now think about what you would think if someone told you they had a brain tumor. It would likely be something like this:

Holy Shit! Are they going to be okay? Can I help? That really fucking sucks.

So why the difference? Well, brain tumors are physical. So fucking what? So is my bipolar. As is depression. As is ADD. OCD is so physical that there are studies showing correlation between having OCD and having heart defects. That’s right. OCD is related to having a heart murmur. WHERE IS YOU TV SCIENCE NOW?!

But brain tumors kill people. So do ‘mental illnesses’. An estimated twenty percent of bipolar patients commit suicide. That’s 1 in 5 bipolar patients dead because they took themselves out. This data doesn’t include the number of bipolar patients who die due to high risk behavior brought on by mania. Think about that. I’ve brought up high risk sex before. AIDS is a thing and being bipolar doesn’t make you immune to it. Getting murdered by someone you don’t know but decided to catch a ride with happens. Okay, yeah. That’s extreme. So I’ll give you a scarier thought. Bipolar people can drive. If you think manic people don’t speed then you are delusional. If you think they won’t stunt or drag race or misjudge distances or how awesome they are at driving then you didn’t read my previous entry. Bipolar people can operate heavy equipment. Bipolar people can work construction. Bipolar people can do a lot of things that require an attention span we lose in manias. So if you thought that being bipolar isn’t a serious health risk, think again. Bipolar kills. It’s just not as obvious because you can’t run a test to see what our blood mania level was.

Alright, back to the beginning. I said the problem is that we referred to almost all mental illnesses as such was a problem. What’s the exception?

Conversion disorders. Conversion disorders are were the symptoms are psychosomatic (the brain enforcing on the body) and brought on by stress. People going blind because they’ve seen too much. People losing feeling in their hands because they masturbated. All that jazz. And you know how you fix a conversion disorder? You talk it out. Because it is caused by stress and the relief of that stress makes it go away because the symptoms are brought on by the brain tricking itself, not by the brain having a physical problem. That’s a mental illness.

That isn’t what I have. I’m neurodivergent. My neurons are fucked up. I can’t think it away in the same way I can’t think away a brain tumor. I can’t overcome it through will. Being tougher isn’t going to make it better. I have a physical problem that needs physical treatment to correct. Talking will help for the same reason that talking helps brain tumor patients. But it isn’t a cure.

And claiming that what most of we neurodivergents have is a mental illness isn’t just offensive. It’s killing us.

I’m outta time, so more on that next post.

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