Thursday, June 30, 2016

On Virginia Woolf.

I've been reading Virginia Woolf's Moments of Being, and it's been moving. Well, parts of it have. There are long segments that list names of lords and ladies, parties and calling cards. I resolve those dry sections to be equivalent to me telling anybody about my day, it would be tedious. Our days are filled with people and happenings of no real value outside of propelling our story forward. It seems only the peaks and valleys really make their mark. So I am drawn to Virginia most when she is lost in thought.

I've not read the interpretations of her, the forewords and notes, I want only to read what's written by her hand. I've been working my way through her work, and I've been increasingly drawn to her voice.

She describes concepts in a way that speaks directly to me.

She mentions "ancestral dread," (68) how she feels she's inherited the puritanical from her ancestors. She also briefly mentions what sounds like a sexual molestation, and the shame she feels in recognising her beauty, or even looking at herself. She's quick to move away from this, and focuses instead on her feelings of always having been older than herself.

During difficult times, I've often felt my depression was deserved. Inherited. That maybe it was a past life, manifest. Maybe I was fucking awful once. Maybe my people were. I'm white - that's likely historically accurate. Maybe I inherited this pain from someone. Maybe it's my birthright. This ancestral dread, is another way to externalise the depression, to name it. It's a demon. A curse. An ancestral dread.

She also names how much of our time is spent in a state of  "non-being" (70).  These, the parts of our day we don't really recall due to monotony and habit. These moments we move from one place to another, as automatons. "Every day includes much more non-being than being," she says, from over 70 years ago. Now we experience that non-being with a screen in our face. But it's easier than that. It takes so much energy to focus. It takes so much to be alert, to be active. It comes in bursts. Now like then.

She describes her depression as only a writer can:
"But it was not over, for that night in the bath the dumb horror came over me. Again I had that hopeless sadness; the collapse I have described before; as if I were passive under some sledge-hammer blow; exposed to a whole avalanche pf meaning that had heaped itself up and discharged itself upon me, unprotected, with nothing to ward it off, so that I huddled up at my end of the bath, motionless." (78)
 "The dumb horror" is indeed what it is. No doubt her use of the word "dumb" is meant in a dumbing sense, meaning temporarily unable to speak or communicate. And that would be an apt description. Both work, really. There's a cutting into you that disables the parts of you that communicate, that reach out. There's also a return to more rudimentary processing, more immediate and needs-based. I liken it to being sleep-deprived. There's a real pull you can't just "snap out of," no matter how hard you fight it.

Overall the read got long at times, Woolf goes over the social nature of 20th century England in a way that's exhausting to even imagine. Did these people have jobs? They're mainly aristocrats, so no, they didn't.

Woolf is best when she floats above the world, not when she's bogged down by social-decorum and the daily "non-being."

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

This American Life: Tell Me I'm Fat.

This episode of This American Life, Tell Me I'm Fat, has been making the rounds on my social media pages. It was an emotional listen. A lot of my buddies who have been posting it have been posting it through a lens of feminism and body-shaming. To me, it's like, more of a nod. Yes, to a lot of the episode.

I am fat. I have been fat since the major depression of my early 20's, and though my weight fluctuates, I have been plus-sized since. I had eating disorders in order to sustain a +/- 140 pound body weight, and I'm not roughly twice that.

Over the last decade I've experience fat-shaming of all kinds. I've had strangers approach me with unsolicited weight-loss tips, I've been on the receiving end of sneers from both genders, and I have a few pointed anecdotes of encounters that upset me deeply.

There is such a thing as fatphobia. It is a fear, dislike or hatred for fat people, based on their being fat. I would argue gender and race compact that hatred. So, as a woman, I've read faces from women that told me they couldn't live if they were my size. That they plan on exercising twice as much, and infinitely more careful. I've seen the horror in their faces in a flicker. I've caught the eyes of men as they stared at my big boobs, or more often, not seen me at all. The eyes scan over the women in the area, who would they fuck, who can they ignore totally. Old. Old. Pregnant. Fat. Ding-ding, hot girl.

First, I recognise myself in most of everything said in the conversations with Lindy West and Roxanne Gay. Ira's introduction starts strong too:
... complete strangers walk up to you on the street and tell you to lose weight. They shoot you dirty looks when they see ice cream in your shopping cart. They talk down to you like you're stupid about nutrition and calories, as if pretty much every fat person has not been around the block 500 times on that one already.
So many stories of this. So many examples. Lindy talks about her experiences with a boss/friend who has a shitty attitude about fat people, that he does not see as discriminatory or bigoted. I especially liked her segment on seeing the fat-activist / fat fashion representation on Tumblr. 
Lindy West - I mean, this was just my favourite one of these fat acceptance blogs ( a Tumblr called, "hey, fat chick!"). It was just that. It was just bright, happy, funny, smiling people wearing cute outfits. It's just, you're so used to seeing fat people presented as sad and apologetic. 
Ira Glass - And what did this do to you? What it do to see that?
Lindy West - I remember feeling like my brain was changing shape. It just had never occurred to me that you could just decide that you were allowed to be happy and live as a--
Ira Glass - As a fat person.
Lindy West - Yeah, exactly.
Lindy sounds like someone I would identify as body positive. She seems to accept her fatness, and gives herself permission to live life. After eventually confronting her boss publicly on her blog, she describes what it's like to be a fat woman, the odd reality of being both invisible in some regards but hyper-visible in the most obvious of ways.
Something lurched awake inside of me. A lifetime of being talked down to about nutrition, being kept secret by men I was dating, being both invisible and too visible finally foamed up and spilled over.
She calls him out on a lot of what he says, though it doesn't seem to change any of his views. She adds:
You know what's shameful? A complete lack of empathy.
Which is so often the case with bigotry. Being unable to relate at all, with whoever it is you're signalling out. With fat people, it's the assumption that being fat if their fault, in a real, active way. There's this assumption that there are no extenuating circumstances, no excuses. It's equated with gluttony and sloth, laziness and disgust. You're born black. You're born gay. The assumption is you aren't born fat. Though some are! I was chubby my entire childhood. I still played on several sports teams and ate well. What propelled me into fatness was deep psychological pain and a disconnection from my body and life. But that's nobody's business really. I shouldn't have to justify my coping methods. Not when they're the only thing keeping me alive.

Ira also has a conversation with Roxanne Gay, whose experience with being fat is very different from West's. Her being a black woman places her on a lower echelon of the fat-pyramid, as does her degree of fatness.

Ira GlassYou draw a distinction among different kinds of fatness. Can I have you talk about that? 
Roxane Gay
Yeah, I mean, I think there are different kinds of fatness. There's the person who's maybe 20 pounds overweight, who's fine as they are. But if they want to lose weight, they just need to go on Slim Fast for a couple weeks or something.
 
And then you have people who are-- I like to call them Lane Bryant fat, which means they can still buy clothes at Lane Bryant, which goes up to 28 in size. And they're the ones I find that are often the strongest cheerleaders of, this is who I am, and, you have to take me as I am and respect me because of my body not despite it. And I admire that a great deal. But I think it's easier to feel that way when you have multiple places where you can buy clothes and feel pretty and move through the world.
Ira Glass
And you noted, Lindy is what you call Lane Bryant fat. She told me she was a size 22.
 
Roxane Gay
Yeah, I mean, and I don't mean that in a disrespectful way. I just mean she has access to spaces that people like me do not.
 
Ira Glass
Because what's your situation?
 
Roxane Gay
There's another level. I mean, then there's when you're super morbidly obese, where you can't really even find stores that can accommodate you. You don't fit in any public spaces, like movie theaters, public bathrooms, so on and so forth.
 
Ira Glass
Is the official name of what you are morbidly obese? That's the medical term?
 
Roxane Gay
No, the medical term is super morbidly obese.
Ira Glass
It's so mean.
 
Roxane Gay
Yes, it is. It's mean. It's dehumanizing.
 
Ira Glass
How much weight would you have to lose to be Lane Bryant fat?
 
Roxane Gay
200 pounds.
This episode does not even go into the medicalization of fat bodies. Experiences accessing care when you're fat is a landmine. Everything is blamed on your being fat. Fatphobia in doctor's offices is real. A good friend of mine has called me countless times crying because of the atrocious experiences she's had with various specialists because of her weight. She went vegan and did a juice cleanse once, trying to get as healthy as she could, and her sudden weight loss was then used to describe her as being unstable - there is no correct way to have a body. Everything we do is suspect.

I hope you take the time to listen to the episode yourself. My overview here does it a great disservice. Act Two features stories by Elna Baker that really hit close to home, especially in the raw dialogue she has with her new husband. 

I've ordered West's Shrill, and also pre-ordered Hunger by Gay.

I have stories of my own. Many. I don't know if here and now is where to divulge all of it, but I'll write on it in the future. It's worth flushing out. Expanding on.

Jesse Williams: BET Humanitarian Award speech.


You may have seen this video make the rounds. A powerful speech. Hard to link to on YouTube for some reason, can't get a good quality video. Seek it out.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Van der Kolk on feeling safe and treating trauma.

Being able to feel safe with other people is probably the single most important aspect of mental health; safe connections are fundamental to meaningful and satisfying lives. 
– Van der Kolk
There's an interview with Bessel van der Kolk here. Van der Kolk is a Dutch psychiatrist noted for his research in the area of post-traumatic stress since the 1970s. He's also introduced as the medical director and founder of the Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute and professor of psychiatry at the Boston University School of Medicine in an interview with psychotherapy dot net.

He talks about his work, and how his research posits that talk-therapy alone cannot treat trauma.
Of course, talking can be very helpful in acknowledging the reality about what’s happened and how it’s affected you, but talking about it doesn’t put it behind you because it doesn’t go deep enough into the survival brain.
He goes on ...
But there is a mistaken notion that trauma is primarily about memory—the story of what has happened; and that is probably often true for the first few days after the traumatic event, but then a cascade of defences precipitate a variety of reactions in mind and brain that are attempts to blunt the impact of the ongoing sense of threat, but which tend to set up their own plethora of problems. So, trying to find a chemical to abolish bad memories is an interesting academic enterprise, but it’s unlikely to help many patients. It’s a too-simplistic view in my opinion. Your whole mind, brain and sense of self is changed in response to trauma.
In the long term the largest problem of being traumatised is that it’s hard to feel that anything that’s going on around you really matters. It is difficult to love and take care of people and get involved in pleasure and engagements because your brain has been re-organised to deal with danger.
It is only partly an issue of consciousness. Much has to do with unconscious parts of the brain that keep interpreting the world as being dangerous and frightening and feeling helpless. You know you shouldn’t feel that way, but you do, and that makes you feel defective and ashamed.
Instead, Van der Kolk discusses other helpful methods to incorporate, including EMDR and body awareness (he uses Yoga in a lot of his work, and claims in 8-week yoga trials people felt significantly better):
Traumatised people often become insensible to themselves. They find it difficult to sense pleasure and to feel engaged. These understandings force us to use methods to awaken the sensory modalities in the person.
When asked about what research he's found promising lately, he highlights a few new areas of research:
Learning how to interpret quantitative EEGs allowed me to actually visualise what parts of the brain are distorted by traumatic experiences, and this can help us target specific brain areas where there is abnormal activity and where the problem actually is.

In another example, the frontal lobes of traumatised people often have activity similar to that of kids with ADHD, which makes it difficult to attend with the subtlety that we need to lead nuanced lives.
There is still so much work to be done regarding new treatments. Treatment is still being tested and quantified. There are different camps touting their own methods, and accessing any of it isn't always possible. I find it promising, and that's not nothing.

* The Establishment also has several articles on trauma and PTSD that were published today. *

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Echoes Of Being An Unperson and inappropriate waiting-room art.

Check out Echoes Of Being An Unperson: Institutions Don’t Help The Mentally Ill by Kit Mead. She talks about her experiences with a depressive break-down and being hospitalised. Her account of how she was treated in the hospital is really disheartening, but, unfortunately, not an uncommon experience. 
Eventually they discharged me with referrals. I had simply waited until I felt less like wanting to die to push for leaving. Nothing they had done had helped with that.
So few of my experiences with "mental health professionals" have been successful. I've seldom left an encounter feeling I was in good hands, or that I trusted their take.
There is no fundamental problem with hospitals and institutions, but instead a complicated and interrelated web of failings. They’re not comfortable enough, the staff do not treat patients as people; these entities exercise total control and ultimately become custodial, often trapping people in a cycle of neglect or mismanagement for their entire lives. They are a dumping ground for America’s unwanted; the abuse within hospital and institution walls was and is rampant.
This isn't news to anybody whose ever experienced mental health services. If you're chronically mentally ill, you've been in and out of places seeking treatment and looking for something that helps, so you have tons of examples of the seemingly obvious ways these places fail their users through a ridiculous lack of common sense.

The first psychiatrist I accessed through a free service I saw every few months in an old, largely empty office downtown. The waiting room had a giant painting of someone in a burning room. It literally looked like a person on fire - in the waiting room of a mental health practitioner. What the fuck kind of sense does that make? It was dark as hell! 

I'm going to try and find it on my facebook ...

Success I found it!



Look at this thing - for fucks sake!

Imagine sitting in a waiting-room, anxious as hell and staring at this fucking thing! 

In Mead's piece she refers to those with mental illnesses not even being included in the discussions happening right now around the return of asylums. This doesn't surprise me. It is however, an absolute symptom of a system created to "deal with" the mentally ill and not necessarily properly treat and support them.

As Mead concludes, what we need is funding for community-based support. What we need is housing. What we need are long-term plans and systems that can support those who struggle, but are able to live productive lives. We need access. We need support services outside of the crisis period. Ann when in crisis, we need intervention that is well-informed and empathetic. 

There is so much work to be done on and around the systems that are in place, and the conversation needs to be inclusive.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Stop blaming mental illness for violent crimes.

Just read Stop blaming mental illness for violent crimes by Dean Burnett over at The Guardian. It reminds me of  some tweets I’ve been seeing regarding the media coverage of this - and all recent - shootings. First, that "mental illness" is used as a descriptor in regards to white shooters only, whereas terrorism or other racially charged language is used with people of colour, and also, white folks are often represented with "nice" photographs - never their mugshots. Especially young white people.









These last few weeks have been heavy. 2016 is a fucking brutal son of a bitch. The Ramsay Bolton of recent years (the Game of Thrones episode "Battle of the bastards" just played this past Sunday). It's shooting after shooting. Celebrity deaths (Bowie, Prince, Anton Yelchin just died). Personally my family had its medical issues, Global Transient Amnesia, Vertigo, and Bell's Palsy (all in early 2016). It's just been exhausting. I'm tired. But the onslaught continues.

Politically lately the rhetoric and news coverage has been tense. The UK has Brexit, the Americans have the presidential race and their gun debates, and locally it seems like the economy and jobs has been the big issue. I've been having trouble at work, my hours have been cut, it's super quiet, I just feel zero job security and its playing on my anxiety and depression.

It just feels like a tense time. And right now I feel like terms like "mental illness" are being thrown around a lot in the media, especially in regards to white shooters. Burnett's piece pulled out certain points I'd like to talk about here.
But the idea that certain mental illnesses inevitably cause violence is far more prevalent than the evidence warrants. Numerous studies have shown that those with mental health problems are more often the victims of violence, not perpetrators.
It seems out of every few stories coming out of the united states where a black man was killed by police, information surfaces afterwards about that man having been in crisis. Overall the media coverage of the last few months has been torn apart on social media because of how lacking it is. Intersectionality is rarely applied.
Mental illness doesn’t occur in a vacuum. It’s tangled up with everything else in a person’s life. Upbringing, background, poverty, general health, experiences, genetics, and so on. Essentially, if you exclude the contribution of all other possible factors, the link between mental illness and violence becomes increasingly small. It’s far more common for people to be violent if they also have a substance abuse problem. You could argue this implies the mental illness is a consequence, alongside the violent behaviour, of other issues affecting the person. So blaming mental health for crimes is often like blaming the getaway car for a bank robbery; it’s just one part of the whole situation, and not even the most important.
How is it that some of us feel it all, and some of us don't? We see it. Don't they?
You’d think if the people/media who blamed mental illness for violent crime genuinely believed that, they’d be more alarmed about the state of mental health treatment and facilities. But no, there’s rarely a mention as mental health services are put under massive debilitating strain by cuts and ignorance. We live in a world where a pensioner can’t take a bottle of water onto a plane because they might somehow turn it into a bomb and countless rights are sacrificed in the name of security, but those who think people with mental illness are all killers-in-waiting are fine with them not getting adequate help or care.
Is it all about money and power? Is it about easy blame and distraction? It's all too much these days. I need a break. A vacation. A holiday. I'm broke. My job situation is a mess. What are my options? Lately, it's been a shower and going to bed real early. It's all I've got right now.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Assisted suicide and mental illness.

I've thought about suicide before. More precisely, assisted suicide. There are times when I've been in such pain, it seemed a kindness to myself. But, I don't want to hurt myself. I don't want my mother finding me. I don't want to horrify those I love.

So, a few articles around assisted suicide and the mentally ill have crossed my path, and I've finally had the time to read them. First, Assisted Death: Decision Extremely Complex For Those With Mental Illness - over on Huffington Post.
Last week, a parliamentary committee recommended that Canadians with psychiatric disorders that cause intolerable suffering should be included in any regulations governing physician-assisted death, which becomes legal June 6 under the Supreme Court of Canada's landmark ruling a year ago.
I actually reached out to the doctor quoted in the above article. The parliamentary committee is touching on legislation that directly affects me and people like me. I'm not saying I plan on applying for assisted suicide, but I would like the option. I also would be a great example of the type of person who could talk their way into an approval. There are points and counter-points to all of it, and it should all be discussed.

There's also this post over on Broadly, This Man Wants Doctors To Euthanize Him Because He Can’t Accept His Sexuality, which first, says a lot about homophobia and shame, but also talks about how in Belgium the laws around assisted suicide include mental illness.

A Stolkhom lawyer:
"It's possible to have euthanasia for recognized psychiatric disorders that cause you unbearable pain and hopeless suffering."
I ask how a mental illness resulting from an inability to accept being gay might fit within the law. "Events in your life—such as the death of a loved one—can cause you to develop depressive disorders. In the same way, the difficulty of coming to terms with your sexuality can cause someone to be depressed. 
"That's potentially what fits within the context of mental disorder in this case."
To be clear, the assisted suicide here is because of his depression and anxiety. Due, seemingly majorly, to his being in a lot of pain regarding his being gay (and no doubt other underlying issues). As said by the article:
The case serves as a depressing reminder that the discrimination experienced by some LGBQT people in their formative years can have a hugely scarring and lifelong effect. "Unfortunately we still live in a world where hate and discrimination directed toward lesbian, gay, bi and trans people can lead to many of them feeling distressed, alone and even suicidal," says a spokesperson for Stonewall, an LGBT charity. "We still have so much left to do until all LGBT people are accepted without exception."
This is timely. Days after a possibly-closeted man murdered 49 LGBTQ/Latinx club patrons, and injured 53, there's a lot to discuss regarding homophobia, being closeted, self-hatred and toxic-masculinity. It all intersects. It all compacts. It all kills.

Re-occurring nightmares.

Nightmares are always unpleasant, but there’s something especially unsettling about reoccurring nightmares. These are ideas and sensations so horrific to your psyche that they’re replayed; a reminder to you of this gnawing fear. This is a soft spot of yours, a tender, weakness, an exposed artery, and your own id, your own mind likes poking it, aggravating that fear. How odd.

I don’t know if dream theory is much of a discipline. I know Freud posited dreams were unconscious desires and wish fulfilment, and no doubt I’m sure parts of them can be, but it seems like there’s almost too much going on to be covered by one theory. Also, not everyone has the same experience of dreaming. Some swear they don’t. Some say they don’t remember theirs. I dream vividly and often feel I’m dream-aware.

According to the Wikipedia entry on Dream Interpretation:
People appear to use motivated reasoning when interpreting their dreams. They are more likely to view dreams confirming their waking beliefs and desires to be more meaningful than dreams that contradict their waking beliefs and desires.[1]
Isn't that the case in our waking life as well? 

The same article page describes Primitive instinct rehearsal theory, which describes the evolutionary use of dreaming and nightmares as “practice” for real-life scenarios and threats. This makes sense. What I find unsettling is to what degree my dreams are detailed and specific.

There are times when someone insults me in a dream, and or tells a joke. I'll wake up, remembering it, and then think to myself how since the joke or comment is of my mind, I technically came up with it. 

How odd is that?

There is so little known about the human brain, much less known about dreams, and I would venture to guess little to no research on how mental illness affects dreaming. 

There are times when in my dream-life, I feel like I could stay there. That it is a real place. There are times I'm conscious of me being in the dream-world, and that I take advantage of that fact. 

What odd absurdities. What free-form creativity, equally inventive and unnerving. Such exposure. 

I often have dreams of finding something and trying to bring it to safety, and usually failing. Last night, I found a small tree frog in an underground movie-theatre and I was trying to keep it in my hands so I could bring it outside. It hopped out whenever it could. I was lost in the movement of people and the whims of my companions. 

Once I dreamed my nephews were small babies made of paper. 

I use to have dark dreams about my father. I would see him and he wouldn't speak to me. This would upset me terribly. Eventually these dreams transitioned to me finding him and wondering where he'd been all this time (he died in 1997 when I was 13). Sometimes he has a second family. Sometimes he's an amnesiac and has no idea who I am. Sometimes I try and talk to him and he's a fucking asshole. 

These types of dreams have deep roots. I don't need a doctorate to see where they come from.

And other times dreams are so psychically unpleasant. The sensation of having a mouth packed-full of chewing gum, and being unable to remove it. You're grabbing at wads of gum at your mouth, pulling it out, winding the tacky, stretchy substance around your fingers and hands, desperate to get a proper hold of it. But you can't. It's infinite. You worry about choking. You worry about this being you life now, about it impeding you in every way. 

Is that a metaphor for my own mouth and what I put in it? About what it keeps away?

I pay attention to my dreams. I'm not beholden to them, but I listen. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

On makeup.

Lately, I've been wearing full-makeup. I have a face regimen. I use highlighter. Concealer. I am even trying to contour. I had started watching makeup tutorials a few months ago, just to start learning, and then Bell's Palsy hit. And, well, it really made me appreciate my face.

I've been taking the time to put on full-makeup, and I really feel like it's a type of psychological armour. Especially for going into the city to work.

My treatment is antidepressants and lipstick by Hafsa Guled reminded me of that.

I'm no makeup pro, I'm learning, and it's expensive as shit, but taking the time to take care of my skin, and trying to apply makeup in a way that makes me happy with the way I look, well, it's in the theme of self-love, or it's at lease parallel to it.

My face hasn't 100% healed, and I think a droopy eyelid and some uneven musculature in my cheeks/smile are my new normal, but my eye closes and I'm 90% healed, and I'm grateful for that.

Monday, after what happened in Orlando I put full-makeup on, hard. Contoured harder than usual, went full glam. It was just my way of getting extra-ready for the day.

It's just a cross-section between taking care of your skin but also giving yourself a little boost of self-confidence. I'm not saying it's necessary, but I'm saying for me, lately, it helps.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Pulse nightclub, Orlando.


I won't have to link to the referenced story here. This is now infamous. A historical mass-shooting. And once this is published, this story will exist in the archive of the internet, more information will be available to you, the future reader than to me, the present writer.

My heart wrenches for those in Orlando. The family and friends. The community. The ringing cell phones, unanswered.
Fuck homophobia. Fuck racism. Fuck misogyny. Fuck automatic weapons. Fuck toxic masculinity. Fuck fundamentalism. Fuck your set doctrines. Fuck your bathroom laws. Fuck your trans-phobia. Fuck your prayers. Fuck your inaction. Fuck your ignorance, your arrogance, your entitlement. Fuck you for supporting a culture that's so proud of its own idiocy. Fuck you for creating a culture where satire and deep, cynical sarcasm is our way of pointing out your inanity - and you don't fucking get it. Fuck your entitlement to our bodies. To violence. To space. I am insanely angry. I am unbelievable horrified. But today, the day after such deep engulfing sadness, I'm also indignant to the point of unrelenting opposition. Progress is coming. We're all fighting for it. You are desperate and angry and afraid, and we're sick of dealing with your hatred and your bullshit. Fuck you. Get over yourself. Your words affect lives. Your policies police bodies. Your homophobic jokes keep people in closets. Your homophobic church, pastor, temple or shrine, your homophobic leader, your synagogue, mosque or statue, your homophobic, misogynist fear-mongering religion is dated, it comes from a hateful history and you should know the fuck better. Read a fucking book. Meet fucking people. Go outside. Experience the lives of other. Learn. Better yourself you fuck.

And to my LGBTQ brothers and sisters. To the a-gender. To the sexless and to the sex-full. To every possible denomination of gender, sex, race, culture, class and ability. To all of us, I say I'm so fucking sorry.

I wish I could do more.

All I did today was make my contour especially sharp. I highlighted a little more. I walked out my door resolute to be myself.

I wish I could do more.

Update - 15/06/2016 - So I'm less rage-y right now, and want to point to the stories of those helping, those being brave, those being amazing in an awful time.
star

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

I just wanted to eat my sandwich.



Check out owlturd.

Haha, owl turd.

How to Fix a Broken Mental-Health System.

Though set in an American context, How to Fix a Broken Mental-Health System does have parallels to Canada, and I'm sure many parts of the West. The piece speaks to laws enacted to get the mentally ill out of institutions with deplorable living conditions and into community-based centres.
The law was built around a two-step process—release and catch, as it were. De-institutionalize the mentally ill in these deplorable institutions, and then get them into the system of community health centres. But there was no step two. More than half of the proposed community health centres were never built.
In a Canadian context, similar policies were put in place. In a Quebec/Montreal context it's been said that CLSC's (our local health clinics), are meant to pick up the slack. My local clinic said there was a 3-year waiting list to see a psychologist, and closer to a 5 + year wait if I wanted one who spoke English. Hence my decades worth of travel and high-cost to access English services.

The read is interesting, especially if you're American. There is so much work to do be done.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Lidia Yuknavitch: The beauty of being a misfit.



Great talk.
You see, I'm trying to tell you something about people like me. Misfit people -- we don't always know how to hope or say yes or choose the big thing, even when it's right in front of us. It's a shame we carry.It's the shame of wanting something good. It's the shame of feeling something good. It's the shame of not really believing we deserve to be in the room with the people we admire.
Her book, The Chronology of Water, moved me immeasurably.
Sometimes telling the story is the thing that saves your life.
Check out her talk above.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Lonely island, indeed.

I've not been doing well lately.

I'm tired and feel like I'm the heaviest I've ever been. My joints hurt. I feel like a hunchback. I just can’t get enough sleep.

Work isn't great. I'm bored and frustrated. I don’t feel safe here. Looking for another job is hard, and I feel like shit so the prospect of interviewing seems like a waste.
Interviewer: “What are your weaknesses?”
Me: “Patience, and I wish I was dead a lot.”
Not the best. Feeling useless and shitty isn't the best time to be thinking through a lens of ambition. It’s like creating a black hole in your own mind, it just doesn't compute and you end up feeling anxious and fucked.

I'm still trying to live and function. I'm getting a haircut tonight. I'm spending the day with my closest friend on Saturday, and hopefully seeing Popstar and getting pedicures can make me giggle and feel human.