brightrosefox: (Default)
So. Multiple friends have suggested I write something like this, because no matter how often I say it, I still get invalidated, scolded, told I shouldn't be doing it because it upsets people. And of course, it would be talking about my life, my disabilities, my personal health, in public forums.

To paraprhase a friend: "...taking someone's lived experiences as they apply to their particular disability and how it expresses itself, and saying that they can't talk about that because it will make other people feel bad, is not okay and it invalidates them to varying degrees. Different disabilities affect different people in different ways."

In other words, sometimes comparing things is bad. We are human. Humans all have problems. Each human has their own set of problems. Some humans want to talk about their personal problems in ways that other humans find annoying, upsetting, unsettling - but other humans find those ways comforting, eye-opening, powerful.

I don't know how else to say it, so I'll be blunt, and this time I am not going to pull any punches:
Read more... )
brightrosefox: (Default)
Yes, obviously. Sheesh.

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/6081918

Friends have been sharing this back and forth into repetitive boredom, so I'll just add: Yes, this is obviously a strategy I've been implementing for a while in order to manage my mental illnesses, it is totally part of a very very specific personal therapeutic ritual that will take at least another couple of months to complete, and for Loki's sake, this stuff takes time, quit asking if I'm better yet. I've only been ritualizing for three years; most of this takes at least five. Plus, I can't just magically fix damaged neural pathways by thinking happy thoughts. Most people spend decades in therapy, while their acquaintances urge them to fix themselves faster. The frantic urging especially comes from people who've never even been in states of extreme anxiety, clinical depression, endless chronic pain, obsession, compulsion, memory disintegration, traumatic stress, dissociation, depersonalization, derealization. I often hold back from just punching walls. Therapeutic ritual and mindfulness in mental artistry takes time and a large amount of control. I've only been doing it since 2011. By 2015 something will at least be, as they say, Fixed. At least enough to allow other treatments to fall into place. Until I finish that intense ongoing ritual, I'll keep on battling where battles must be fought.
brightrosefox: (Default)
Okay, first thing:

Bad day bad day. Brain misfires, pain everywhere, spasticity, OCD episode, distractions, hypersensitivities, gut issues. I will say, however, that probiotics and omega-3 supplements of specific kinds are actually doing good things to my brain. It's not really evident in any of my outward behavior, but I can absolutely feel something going on.
Dear neuroweird science students: Is impulse control mainly frontal lobe? I have a Thinky Thing I'm thinking about, but I need medical professionals and medical students to confirm. I know of Things that can help me personally and specifically, but I need to make sure I'll be doing it properly. Also, this means staring slackjawed at my MRI photos and calling my neurologist.

***

Unrelated, copied from Facebook.

Well, this person said what I was thinking.
https://www.facebook.com/thautcast/posts/830987393625539?fref=nf&pnref=story
My personal need for disability labels is personal. My need to be able to relate to people via stories and fiction. So many people have told me things like how they "don't see disability" (sorry, I have to laugh at that) and don't see labels... and that's cool. Really. That's fine. But that is not how I see the world and that is not how I view myself. Being able to say, "Yeah, I'm disabled, and these are the medical issues I have" is indescribably relieving, even powerful; it gives me a power to choose and know my own self in a very intense way that I honestly can't describe.
My disabilities are not really eccentricities or special powers; they are painful and they will get worse as I age - and I'm talking about the comorbid, co-occuring, associated syndromes and symptoms. Eccentricity? Gift? Er. Yaaa...aay? I mean, sometimes my seizures cause wicked euphoric hallucinations when I close my eyes? That's... fun? And I suppose having severe anxiety and ADHD-PI and OCD and SPD could be my mind working out itself and it's environmental relationship?
So, um, so far I'm not seeing eccentric quirks and gifts. But I don't see myself the way someone who thinks that way would see me. I've met disabled people who say they aren't disabled, and a part of me marvels at the cognitive dissonance, a part of me wonders if they're completely rejecting the medical model of disability, a part of me wonders what they do when symptoms and syndromes kick them around and act truly disabling. I say nothing to them because I know it's their thing. The only time I'd want to try to sway them is if they want to spread their belief that disabilities are not disabilities, because that can become harmful and dangerous to the social model. As Stella Young said, no amount of smiling at a staircase will turn it into a ramp. So, as much as someone refuses the disability label, I really need them to consider it beyond their beliefs.

I'm just saying. We all have very different ways of talking about, discussing, portraying, coding, and having disabilities. I'm just glad that right now, I am able to very very openly discuss mine the way I want without being punished for it. And so should others, particularly those who think differently than I do. That's what makes discussion.

***

Also? I find it funny that so many people are like "OMG aliens, what if aliens come here, wouldn't it be amazing, we should learn alien languages, I bet they don't even communicate like we do, so we should be open to new communicative experiences!"
And then they're all like "WTF autistic people you're so weird we don't want you weirding us up we don't like you why can't you be normal like us!"
And I'm all, "*throws hands up* WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM US, YOU JERKS!"

***

I am having A LOT of thinky thoughts on why people reject the term disability in favor of eccentricity, quirk, gift. Not just abled folk but people with mental illness like bipolar or schizophrenia. I am still determined to wrap my mind around visibly physically disabled folk, like with cerebral palsy, who say they aren't disabled. It fascinates me because that view is so so alien to me. As long as the conversation is civil if course.

***

http://thebodyisnotanapology.com/magazine/just-try/
http://webcast.ucdavis.edu/llnd/467b5ad7?channelId=0abfe11894d742c7b159a535058c09ce&channelListId&mediaId=29f030d8c24a4b718c1c2936187278b8

***

I don't do Twitter. But lots of my friends do. Fuck Autism Speaks. I'm not pushing anyone to do the #Notmssing thing. But I do believe it is vital to send Autism Speaks the crucial message that autism is not a "thieving disease to be eradicated" because IT IS OUR BRAINS. WE are autism. We are born with a different operating system that doesn't really comply with the standard. People laugh about meeting alien cultures with other ways of communication, and yet we are right here, a metaphor, and they not only turn away from us, they actively seek to erase us. So. No. Bad Autism Speaks. No. Stop it. Nobody is missing. We are right here. We are staring right at you, angry and sad. We have been here all along. We have been speaking out all along. You just haven't listened.

Also, hells no we're not ready to meet any alien cultures. Not if we keep trying to erase members of our own.



***
http://webcast.ucdavis.edu/llnd/467b5ad7?channelId=0abfe11894d742c7b159a535058c09ce&channelListId&mediaId=29f030d8c24a4b718c1c2936187278b8
(Nick Walker is awesome)
Autism as a neurocognitive variance. Indeed. It's a disability because it hinders how we interact with life all the time. But there is nothing wrong with us. It's just a rewiring of our brains before birth or at birth.
Like, with me. I was born a fetus. I was a 26-week-old fetus when I was "officially born". My developing brain didn't have time to pick and choose. It just grabbed whatever it could, crammed stuff in, got a random shiny new operating system that was able to work around all the dead white matter, and figured it was good enough because I still needed to finish growing into being a baby, you know? Like, "Fuck it, we'll deal with this brain damage later, just keep the body going, okay? Move it move it move it avoid the gaps in the dead parts, come over this way, this construction project is gonna take a few more months than planned, so we don't have time for sick days, guys. What's that OS? It looks kind of tangled. That's fine, it's shiny, build it in, hook it up, whatever. Hey! I told you guys to avoid the dead zones! Awww daaamn, somebody get a new team over there please? No workman's comp here, this is preterm, okay? Just go go go..."
And that's where I got my brain.
So, dear allistic and neuro-typical assholes who question my right to exist, who insist that kids like me are missing, stolen, lost, forever silent: Fuck off. My brain worked hard to be itself, and just because my OS isn't yours doesn't make me lesser.
brightrosefox: (Default)
Holy random acts of kindness, Batman.
After getting my flu vaccine, I went to look at the cane rack, because they have this beautiful blue and silver one that looks like dragon scales, and I have been waiting for discounts and coupons so I could get it. The price is under twenty dollars, but still.
A middle-aged man who looked so much like Idris Elba that I did a second take, also reached for the blue silver cane. Our eyes met, I smiled briefly. He said, "You know, I bet this would make an awesome magic staff for cosplay."
I grinned and said, "Good plan! I should at least join a game just so I can brag. Or just be my paganish elf self and cosplay every day." Which was blurted out because my filter is so thin.
The Idris Elba lookalike chuckled. "I adore that idea. I just pray to all mighty Atheismo that we aren't going too deep. Like that Tom Hanks movie."
My jaw dropped. "Duuude," I said. "Futurama reference plus obscure D&D rip-off movie nee book reference? Cripple high five!"
We high fived and missed on purpose, stumbling. "Mild cerebral palsy, spastic hemiplegia" I said. "Mild cerebral palsy, diplegia mixed," he said. "And knee arthritis."
"And sciatica," we said in union, surprising ourselves.
"Fibromyalgia and epilepsy and autism too," I added.
He said, "My twin nieces are autistics! Their world is so awesome. I think they prefer me to my brother when they're in meltdowns, they talk about what's going on in detail."
"Awesome!" I said.
At this point, we had been staring at the canes and I had been avoiding too much eye contact. I was about to ask the Idris Elba lookalike about advocacy. Then I saw a gleam in his eye and sensed a topic shift. "Hey, listen," he said. "I'm a proponent of the pay it forward thing. I know we're strangers, but I do know enough about you that you really want the dragon scale cane."
I tilted my head. "Yeeeaah?"
"So, okay." He pulled some pieces of paper from his pocket. "I've got a buy one get one half off for this brand of canes. I will buy you your cane. What do you think?"
I blinked a few times. I looked at him. He wasn't hitting on me. He wasn't being creepy. He was just a fellow cripple offering help.
"Okay," I said, "thank you! That's really kind."
"Hey, the community needs all the assistance we can get from each other. Cripples helping cripples, you know?"
I smiled. "Totally."
As we walked to a register, he said, "I want you to know that I had no intention of hitting on you. I see your rings, and for all I know they could mean something else. But while I think you're a gorgeous-looking person, I have no plans on being a That Guy. I punch Those Guys on a regular basis."
"Huh?"
"Physical trainer. Not so much punch as pinch in sensitive areas. Men can be scum."
I giggled. "Hashtag Not All Men!"
He laughed. "Anyway, let me pay for everything." He nodded at my basket, which had a few comfort items. I immediately said he shouldn't, since he was getting me the cane.
He then put my basket on the conveyor belt, looked at me until I noticed that his eyes had gold rings, and said, "Then pay it forward. Help another cripple." The corner of his mouth turned up. "Even if it's just donating to help someone get better access."
I nodded. I was going to cry any minute. He paid for everything, put his things in two totes and put my things in two more totes. He saved me almost forty dollars.
He said, "I would offer you a ride, but my friend's picking me up so we can go back to Philly. It's been a great road trip so far."
I nodded. "It's cool. I'm going to take the bus home anyway." I was feeling giddy. "Well, obviously we had this encounter for a reason. So. It was lovely meeting you, clone of Idris Elba."
He threw back his head and laughed. "I get that a lot. Same to you, clone of Mia Sara. Anyway, I'm Laurence."
"Joanna."
We fist-bumped and he helped adjust my cane for my height. We walked outside together, and he stood at the curb to wait for his friend while I walked across the parking lot. I turned and waved. He waved back and kept looking at me. I realized it was to make sure I was safe.
I got to the sidewalk crosswalk and peered back. I saw him get into a green SUV. I realized I would probably never see him again.
I am definitely going to Pay It Forward.

***

Also! Links! For future reference!
http://www.neurodiversity.com/main.html
http://cerebralpalsy.org/about-cerebral-palsy/associative-conditions/
http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2013/10/03/autism-common-cerebral-palsy/18775/

***

Also!
PMS is vicious. Although with oral contraceptives, it's technically withdrawal bleeding rather than menstruation. Besides, I haven't truly bled in over a year. Being on the highest dose of birth control for over fourteen years will do that to some women.
PMS is vicious. A veliciraptor chewing through my pelvis. There's a photo out there of a plastic female human skeleton, with a toy raptor stuck head-first through the pelvic bone.
And the bloating and bizarre fluctuations on the bathroom scale.
Having slid back to psychiatric anorexia after failing to control neurochemical anorexia, I know damn well I should not stand on that scale especially during this time. I know damn well that numbers don't mean as much as how my clothing fits. But paranoia bred from life-long anxiety over disordered eating patterns is paranoia. And then there was the entire food=growth=death connection when I was little. And then there was being under a hundred pounds until my mid-twenties. And then there was the anorexia voices insisting that I needed to get back to that, being under five feet tall. I was never overweight. I used to weigh something around the high "set point" - but I have no idea where I've constructed this memory of being convinced to lose twenty pounds. Unfortunately, my illness has burrowed deep enough into my subconscious that my thoughts have turned to the classic hallmarks of anorexia: "I absolutely must be below X number or I will never feel right". The unwillingness to stop. The belief that everything is wrong. I know where I am. I know what's happening. I've been able to compartmentalize and separate enough so that I smack myself when those thoughts occur, so that I at least eat an apple or two, or cheese, yogurt, celery, even cheesecake or dark chocolate. My friends are with me.
Sag Harbor will happen next week, with Thanksgiving. Part of me is in a total blind mute panic. That part doesn't want to eat anything. That part wants to Be Good, Be Perfect. It doesn't matter that I'm over thirty, says the panic. It only matters that I am extremely small and I must keep being extremely small.
To bring everything around again: PMS is not helping. PMS is several numbers upward on the scale because of fluid retention, bloating... losing that fight to not overeat. PMS is barely fitting into the purple dyed jeans yesterday and having them slightly loose today. It isn't helping anything.

But I look at that blue and silver dragon scale cane, bought for me by a total stranger with the same disability as me, and I think the best way I can Pay It Forward is to make sure someone I care for stays as mentally healthy as possible...
brightrosefox: (Default)
https://adiaryofamom.wordpress.com/2013/03/21/hate/

"In one of my favorite posts about identity-first language, Zoe at Illusion of Competence writes the following:

I was at a conference last summer at which Ari Ne’eman gave an introductory speech, and it fell to him to explain why ASAN uses identity-first language. One of the things he said, which I really liked, was “If I’m on a flight and the airline loses my luggage, I don’t arrive without my autism.”

No matter what our view of autism’s origins, I think we can agree that it isn’t an appendage that can be taken on and off at will. It travels with our kids. IN our kids. As PART of our kids. And as such, it’s simply not reasonable to expect them to understand that we loathe autism but we don’t loathe them. Or that we hate this thing that afflicts them, but they shouldn’t hate themselves. Because even if we could get them to understand the difference intellectually, we’d be hard-pressed to get them to FEEL the distinction. And after the other night (and last night again and this morning again while Katie was still coughing and Brooke was still screaming), I was convinced that if we continue to tell these kids, through our words (to them or in front of them) or our actions, that we hate / fear autism, we are teaching them to hate / fear / pity themselves for having it. People do not separate themselves from what they have / how they act / what they feel / how they experience the world. And we as a society don’t either.

For the love of God, Katie had a COUGH – something temporary and fleeting. Something that will, God willing, be gone in a matter of DAYS. A cough – not the filter through which she tastes, sees, smells, hears, touches and perceives everything in her world. Yet because Brooke hated the cough, Katie’s entire identity became conflated with it. Driving with Katie, talking about how she felt, the implications of the moment rushed over me. And the weight of those implications was almost unbearable.

If we keep FIGHTING autism, HATING autism, FEARING autism, talking about the UTTER HAVOC that autism wreaks on us and our families, we will end up with a generation of children who have learned to hate themselves – or who, at the very least, hate things about themselves upon which they have no control or that, if they can control, they do at tremendous cost to their sense of well-being and self-esteem."
brightrosefox: (Default)
Because part of All The Therapy is blogging my feels. And this was short enough anyway.

'kay.

I'm having a Being Elsa day. My symptoms are awful and well beyond control, and the smallest thing triggers the fibromyalgia pain and the mild C-PTSD symptoms. I cannot even hear or read someone speak from the cult of positive thinking without internal screaming.

I've seen many other friends here having similar issues. I'm not dealing with a terminal disease, but said terminal friends keep reminding me that we are all "In This Together" (that's my current ringtone. It's from Apoptygma Berserk).

I admit, the Being Elsa days seem to counter the Being Alice days (Being Alice is my code for epilepsy, seizures, and postictal aka post seizure state. Being Elsa is a new code for mental illness and neurological disorders including all chronic anxiety, social phobia, chronic stress disorders aka complex post traumatic stress disorder, sensory processing disorders, and some co-existing conditions linked to spastic ataxic cerebral palsy).
That was much words but I was born full of words. I blow word raspberries.

I totally do have gleefully joyful fun talking about my medical history. Interested friends have told me that I tend to discuss it clinically and technically, as though describing a patient who is not myself. I've been told that my medical and scientific wordening as a curious patient has helped fellow chronic illness patients examine their own conditions closely to find ways to help treat specific symptoms. That is such an honor.

Anyway. Is anyone else having their own version of a Being Elsa day?

(Alice is from Alice in Wonderland and Elsa is from Frozen. Because of what happens to them. Etc. I actually still have not seen Frozen all the way through yet. I will, obviously, and it will be many times. But I relate desperately well to Elsa, her hidden aspects, her representing disability, autism, childhood abuse, chronic anxiety, PTSD, personal orientations, and her love for a sister beyond a potential unnecessary husband. I only have chosen sisters and I love them so hard like the stars.)
brightrosefox: (Default)
"...Williams died by the claw of the ghastly inner monster that severe depression lodges in the human spirit, losing a long fight with the unholy ghost." -Brain Pickings (included is a link to a book referencing clinical depression to a holy ghost)

In my last session with my therapist, I kept calling depression The Hollow and a Dark Ghost and The Nothing and, naturally, true pure abyss. In such violent howling emptiness, there could be sound and fury, signifying nothing. And sometimes there is just nothing. Fury would be an emotion, after all.
(And I know why depressed people don't tell the tale, lest they be called an idiot. They'll be mocked today. And tomorrow. Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. And they are heard no more, and as they are poor players, life is but a walking shadow. Out, brief candle. -And people wonder why we get angry when mental illness gets blamed for so many blameless things and things where mental illness is completely not ever the blame. This is why we can't have nice things.)

People always ask me why I cry when I say I am hollow, empty, ghostly, feeling nothing. Isn't crying an emotion? they say Doesn't it mean you feel something? they say. I think Allie Brosh, who wrote the greatest description of depression I have ever read in her blog Hyperbole and a Half, said it best: It is just something that is happening.
Because I don't feel like crying. I'm crying because my body is having a reaction. A symptom, if you will. Something needs to release. Some sort of physiological reaction must occur, lest I literally fade into ghosts.

I understand some of the reasons Robin did what he did. I don't know why he did what he did. No one knows why. No one can know why, because no one is Robin.
People have the same thoughts and feelings and illnesses as Robin had, and they see everything he saw. But none of them and nobody will ever fully purely viscerally know, truly know why he, Robin Williams, the funniest man of a thousand laughs, physically participated in his own death. Only Robin Williams knows.

Cool story, bro:
Someone who survied her own suicide attempt once told me that for her, there was only pain, agony, chaos, and the kind of despair that consumes utterly. Beneath it was a nearly robotic thought process. Any emotional thoughts came from a distance. As she began the process, she became enveloped in a still emotionless sedating transcendent serenity, and time slowed down, and she literally had no more thoughts. Since she was stopped by other people, she couldn't tell me much more. But she told me that during recovery, she experienced every single one of those sensations at once, from the pain and chaos to the calm transcendence. It took a lot of sedatives and intense biofeedback to help her out of that state and she was put on suicide watch again for a few days. They allowed her family to bring in her kitten, which helped so much that she now advocates for cat therapy when treating mental illness. I think of her when I talk to attempt survivors. I only remember her first name and some day I will forget some of her story. But she lives a different life. Not better nor worse, just different. She has learned lessons. She doesn't regret things. She still battles symptoms and switched to a new drug regimen and still does biofeedback. She hasn't had any suicidal ideations in over a year. She also treats her cat like the most important sentient being in the universe, since he helped save her life. Cats are awesome.
brightrosefox: (Default)
So, yeah, this one's for folks who might read this and think something is "wrong" with me:
I'm fine.
I am not depressed right now. I feel well. Please don't contact me thinking I'm falling into a state of, as someone eloquently put it, 'delusional levels of crazy". Seriously, let's get through this without someone messaging me just because I "don't sound right."
Something awful happened, someone died, and since that someone was extremely famous and extremely beloved and died in a specific way and had a specific illness shared by millions of other people, this will be talked about. In fact, this is talked about a lot; but it can take something big, like a celebrity death, to get it out and open.

This isn't even about Williams anymore, although for a long time he will be its centerpoint. This is about something that is still mocked, teased about, and shredded in rhetoric and literal disbelief. It must be easy to say "Just smile, just cheer up, it's not that bad, people love you." That's not how this works. Maybe it needs another name.

http://www.avclub.com/article/robin-williams-depression-and-very-real-struggle-s-208070
Quoting:
" "My mind played one thought over and over, which was “Kill yourself.” It was also accompanied by a constant, thrumming pain that I felt through my whole body. I describe the physical symptoms because it helps to understand that real depression isn’t just a “mood.” "
Quoting:
"It might not have been that simple for Williams, though. We may never know what kind of therapy he went through, though if his empathetic performance in Good Will Hunting is any indication, he must have at least known therapists in his life. He could have even been through everything and still felt like he had no choice. In the wake of his death Monday, a lot of Twitter eulogies noted that “if you’re sad, you should say something,” and while that’s probably true, for so many people who are depressed (one in 10 Americans), it’s not that easy. You’re constantly crippled with sadness, unwilling to burden those around you, or unable to ever pull yourself out of it, even with that help, even with that shoulder to cry on. Once someone gets so depressed that they really dig themselves into a hole, it’s nearly impossible to ever fully get out without real long-term work, and even then, they might still remain a little muddled, a little muted, kept under glass and without a real way out into the world."

That is powerful. This whole thing is heartbreaking. And you know what, yeah, I do want to keep talking about it.
brightrosefox: (Default)
http://www.theguardian.com/science/brain-flapping/2014/aug/12/robin-williams-suicide-and-depression-are-not-selfish

And that's the last I want to say on this. Not because several people called me crazy for expressing deep thoughts, but because I'm out of words.
Actually, one more thing: I had assumed I'd feel upset at being called delusion level crazy for sharing my thoughts on the depressive suicide of a beloved actor and comedian to whom I looked up. I was wrong. I wasn't upset. I was puzzled and then exasperated. If someone doesn't understand even after explanations, I need to allow myself to end it and concentrate on my well being.
That's all many of us can do.


Posted via m.livejournal.com.

brightrosefox: (Default)
Well, then. That was the second time someone contacted me and said, "I read your blog and I'm worried because you sound so crazy. It's no big deal if some stranger died. It doesn't affect you. Why are you so sad?"
And I truly don't think that my answer of "It's my blog; I'm venting my thoughts. It's nothing you haven't seen before." was placating.
Like... um. Hi. Have you met me? I'm verbose. I'm also mentally ill. Between verbosity and illness, I love to ramble on about life, mind, the universe. To read something I write and automatically conclude that I am "high levels of crazy" is insulting. Thanks, readers. I love you too.
It's basically the same attitude as "Well, maybe Autism Speaks wants to eradicate autistic brains and never bothers to actually help with services for autistic people, but have they hurt you, personally? Why do you fight against them? They're probably doing good things."
It makes my brain hurt. So much. Mainly because ignorance up the ass.

No, I'm not making my journal friends-only. I'm happy to show, publicly, that I know what people think. And that I know how irritating they can be. And how very little they know about who I am. Sucks to be them.
But yeah, I talk about mental illness and how deeply that sort of thing affects me. I use words that might not appear "rational" or "worldly" or "down to earth."
I'm skeptical to a degree, but I'm about thisclose to moving away from the skeptic movement entirely. It's full of assholes.
brightrosefox: (Default)
I'm crying over the death of Robin Williams this hard because people have already started in on the bullshit rhetoric that severe clinical depression isn't supposed to affect the rich and famous. That "If their life is so perfect, why are they so depressed and suicidal" bullshit.
No. Nope nope nope. No. That’s not how it works. Do not insult people like me who deal with clinical depression. No.
Most of his film roles featured depression and mental illness heavily. I'm seeing comments like "He did all those roles with a purpose because he knew what it was like, so how could he do this himself etc" and I cannot help but feel rage...

O Captain, My Captain.
He really was a man I looked up to, in several ways, and one of the greatest actors I've seen.

Look, I've lived with clinical major unipolar depression all my life. To my brain, it's a chemical imbalance - it affects an organ so vital to my existence that not treating it means irreparable damage. There have been plenty of arguments all over about what depression is and isn't: Disease? Disorder? Illness? Emotional Syndrome? People have questioned and fought against the very idea that it is a neurochemical imbalance. People have insisted that depression does not even exist outside of emotional states.
There are depressed patients who are able to live with this illness without medication or therapy, basically using mind over body and lifestyle techniques. That's fine. That's great for them. Sure. Unfortunately, most of those patients will try to push that lack of real medical treatment on other patients, which can be dangerous. And the state of mental health services in the country I live in is awful. All I know is that I when my symptoms rise up, I care for myself as best I can - and try to educate others as best I can.
Right now, I'm in a really really bad place. I'm not in a depressive state. But I'm irrationally upset, anxious beyond reason, physically hurting from emotional agony. That is not a joke, dear detractors of Robin Williams and his battles with clinical depression.

I promised myself I would get away from the internet until I could breathe without screaming and sobbing. But I've already been getting emails and messages from friends wanting advice, as though I might be their Boggle Owl in a way. I want to help. I need to help. I live to help.
I will stay away from forums and communities. Tomorrow, my husband takes me to physical therapy, and later I can unwind fully. But to everyone I love: You know where to find me. I'll still be your Bright Lotus (someone gave me that nickname and it stuck).

I took my own drug treatments. I'll be all right.

http://greensh.livejournal.com/444686.html
http://psychcentral.com/lib/what-is-depression-if-not-a-mental-illness/000896?all=1
http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2013/05/depression-part-two.html
brightrosefox: (Default)
So, in my cerebral palsy support group on Facebook, someone posted asking about all the other conditions we all have that may and may not be related to cerebral palsy. I commented quickly in a very instinctual pattern, then realized that a part of my brain must have been saving it up in a fantastic pattern. I think this at least two dozen things.

Spastic and ataxic cerebral palsy... plus: epilepsy, autism, fibromyalgia, sciatica, asthma, hypersensitivity, sensory processing disorder, migraine disorder, anxiety, unipolar depression, chondromalacia patella, disorded spatial perception problems and depth perception problems, TMJ, lordosis, dyscalculia, OCD, ADHD-inattentive, anorexia recovery, light bladder leakage, seasonal allergies, sleep disorders, extreme myopia, chronic lumber back pain, eczema, panic attacks, generalized joint pain, generalized nerve pain.

They look like nothing but words. Words and labels. But they are identity bits. They are definition bits. I am not like people who are so adamant about not letting disabilities define them. Or take over their lives. Or whatever the latest platitude is. I know damn fucking well that chronic medical conditions are not the big thing in my life, not the main definition, not a thing I allow to control me. In fact, it is insulting to know that people assume that. However, look at that bunch of words. That bunch of words means things, to me and all my doctors and all my specialists and all my therapists and all my -path doctors. When I went in for physical therapy earlier this week, I listed every single thing because the guy asked me to, because neurology and psychiatry is interconnected with physiology in so many ways. People who are not involved with medical science or medicine in general love to assume I am lazy, that all I think about is being "sick" and that all I want to talk about is my medical health. I wish I were as telepathic and clairvoyant as they are. And also, fuck them. See, in cerebral palsy, spastic hypertonia alone can cause a disabled body to automatically, instinctively expend three to four times more energy than a regular normal able body. And see, in fibromyalgia, chronic muscle fatigue alone can cause a disabled body to automatically, instinctively expend five to six times more energy than a regular normal able body. I am terrible at math, but at least I can figure out the mechanics of physical energy output during basic everyday tasks, like walking. I could legitimately literally say that it is not my fault that I get extremely exhausted, fiercely fatigued very quickly during any task. I could say that and it would be absolute truth. But to most able-bodied folks, it would be another excuse.
I'm just writing this to tell them to fuck off. It isn't easy to "just ignore those idiots" as supportive folks like to say. Words wear you down, like storms against stone. But the more I remind myself that those detractors can fuck off, the better I feel about my life.

New Friends

May. 2nd, 2014 12:07 am
brightrosefox: (Default)
Hallo, new friends. I've been friended by a bunch of people in the past couple of weeks. Could those new friends step forward and comment on how they found me, why they friended me, and if we'd met in another online media or forum? Because, you know, memory problems. If we met on Facebook, can you tell me your name, or at least part of your Facebook name? Cool.
brightrosefox: (Default)
For those who have been messaging me asking to share my words along with the "I Will Not Keep Calm" meme, the answer is yes, you may share. In fact, to make it easier, I'll make everything shareable as one.
***

EXACTLY.

(I'm not going to back down when you tell me that autistics are cursed and suffering. I am not going to back down when you tell me that people like me must be experimented on just to see if we feel pain. I'm not going to back down when you tell me I don't have a right to speak up about my needs as an actual autistic, that your right as "someone who works with autistic peoples/a parent of autistic kids" means you know better about my brain than I do. I'm not going to back down when you blatantly announce that people like me should not exist, that our very selves should be eradicated just because you don't like how our brain works to the point where you will falsify data, lie socially, commit fraud, spread toxic propaganda, and act like you know better than me concerning my personal interests. I will not keep calm. I will not be nice. I will not tone done my anger. Until you are able to accept autism as a divergence and not a disease, I will not stop poking and aggravating and annoying you. I've had some really good teachers. I have a chosen brother who is a self-proclaimed asshole with a heart of gold, who has shown me what it is like to explode rhetoric properly, and I know how to choose a battle to fight using proper logic, reason, fact, and science. And there are many people behind me. Do you know how many autistic adults are out there? You don't. Because you don't care about the ones who can and will speak up and speak out. And I am going to help change that.)

(Addition: Because I have cerebral palsy, I will add that other disabilities, such as other neurodevelopmental disabilities, could be included. I, personally, am proud to have cerebral palsy as a part of me. Same with autism. If you want to remove my disabilities, you want to remove me. And I like me. )



Yeah, life. It does things as you get older.

"everyone can't be right
but everyone will decide

i'm not afraid of the price i pay
i won't lie down as you walk away"



Shh. I'm being sneaky!
brightrosefox: (Default)
http://aspergersgirls.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/day-62-females-with-aspergers-syndrome-nonofficial-checklist/
So, I found this on my friends list. For shits and giggles, I went through the whole thing.
I'm at 99 percent. The only one I paused at was 13 under Section I: "The middle spectrum of outcomes, events, and emotions is sometimes overlooked or misunderstood. (All or nothing mentality)." I've always seen everything in shades of gray... however, a strong part of me often wants to skew white or black on some things. Examples: Legal abortion choice, gun ownership choice. I am extremely for both without compromise. Which often puzzles many partisan people.

Also, this.
Dude. Dude.
So, I just got off the phone with the office for one of Maryland's delegate candidates. After listening to an assistant explain the candidate's policies and issues supported, I said I had more questions... and so she put the candidate herself on the line. I explained about my disabilities and asked how she would support accessible transport on the county. She was enthusiastic about that. She had been supporting it for years, she said. And then I pulled out the big guns: I told her I was autistic and I wanted to know if and how she would support advocacy for autistic adults. And she made me happy. She worked with autistic teens and young adults, she said, and believes that autistics have powerful voices, beautiful minds, and must not be shut out or neglected. I explained how we don't have much of a voice, and she said that she was "absolutely willing" to help with advocacy, and she fully agreed that since autistic kids grow into autistic adults, their voices are incredibly important. We thanked each other. And she made an offer for me to visit her in Annapolis to discuss opportunities for Montgomery County and how to help autism self advocacy, as well as accessibility for all disabled people. I have never talked to a political candidate like this before. I was stunned by what came out of my mouth. She was so excited. It was incredible. I told her I would vote for her.
You guys, what did I just do? Did I really just pour my heart out to a candidate for our state's House Of Delegates who actually listened to and supported me? I'm physically shaking right now.

I am not becoming. I am peeling away layers to un-become everything I am not so I can be who I was meant to be in the first place. -paraphrased from unknown online quote.
brightrosefox: (Default)
So! I did a thing a while back. I didn't tell anyone. Anyone at all. And now it is time to come clean, because it's been long enough that I think I can finally shoot down the pushers.

I did a second gluten-free trial, lasting just under one month. I spoke to all three doctors and specialists, who were okay with it. Although I shall quote my primary physician, Dr Carolyn, who has treated me since 2003: "I don't see why it's really necessary, though. You've never had gluten sensitivity, let alone celiac. But if it will help you psychologically, then sure. Let me know." And to quote my neurologist, Dr Debbie: "Why are you doing this to convince other people? I mean, I'm genuinely amused. You don't need to cut out gluten for health reasons, anyway." All I could do was shrug and say, "I guess to prove a point to the health-pushers?" She said I had a point, since that was irritating, to be pushed at.

The results were...

Wait for it...

Nothing.
Absolutely nothing.
There was no reduction in chronic pain, fatigue, inflammation, or malaise symptoms of any kind. I did not feel more energized nor clear-headed. My life did not change, not even a flicker.

Now. For the past several weeks, I've been verbally assaulted across the board by people who just want me to feel better - by using blatant, callous emotional manipulation to force me to comply.
The most popular one so far has been "Well, what if you were dying? What if you found out that gluten would kill you and that by going gluten-free you could save your life?" See, okay, that is a fascinating thing right now. That is one of the most manipulative, passive-aggressive, hard-hitting, one-sided forms of coercion ever. The speaker is hoping to catch the listener in a corner, with no choice but to agree. And see, they're correct there. Obviously if I were in such a scenario, of course I would go gluten-free. But the catch is that I am not dying. I am not sick. Thus, no desire nor need to go gluten-free. Not unless that life or death scenario occurs!
Following up that particular attack, we then have this, "Well, then, don't you think going gluten-free would at least reduce symptoms and pain?" Which ties into the first, of course, and is subtle enough to seem harmless and reasonable. And... no. Because gluten causes problems if one is reacting to gluten. Which I wasn't. "But I read this book written by this doctor that said that for everybody, gluten can cause overall body inflammation and pain!" For everybody, really? All seven billion humans, with the exact same medical issue. One would assume the CDC, FDA, and various world governments would be all on top of that like roaches on dog food. Plus, I listened to a conversation said by this doctor, who is personally treating me, that said that I didn't need to restrict my diet like that. But you're right, book-writing doctors would know better.
Now, the big guns. This attack is my favorite, because it strikes right at the heart, it tries to destroy the option of choice: "So, I guess you'd prefer a life of pain over fewer symptoms." It can be said in multiple ways, but the core is always a smug, smarmy, morally superior, I've got you now rhetoric. It's a tough one to counter. If you say yes, you seem as though you just don't ever want to really help yourself after all. If you say no, well, why haven't you taken their advice? You see the attempt at emotional superiority and twisted logic? At this point, you can tell they are grasping at straws. They've seized on an idea, fixated, and found themselves unable to let go. I get that. And they most like don't even realize that what they say to you is painful or upsetting. They only want to help. They care deeply enough. Obviously, when you love someone, you want to see them happy, healthful, pain-free. When they are in chronic pain, when they hurt every day, you hunt frantically for ideas about treatments. Even when they have doctors and treatments, you just want to do something, anything, because you can't stand to just stand by. They're hurting. Why can't you help? You feel helpless.
But emotional manipulation and verbal attack is a very ugly way to go about helping. They are more likely to stop talking to you. In fact, with most of these people, I've started not talking about my symptoms. Which is funny, because these are my support networks. These are support groups, people who are willing to help. Except for the ones who don't know how to help, the ones who don't have chronic illnesses like mine, who can only see the experiences vicariously. Intellectually, they may understand that it is inappropriate to push, but it feels so right emotionally that they can't help it. And I've been there. I've done that.
The problem here is that if people actually cared about your pain, your chronic illness, they wouldn't apply these manipulations; they are generally more concerned with winning you over and being right. Nobody truly means to be an asshole in a situation like this.
However, in the end, that gut-sensation of being right, of knowing what might work, is overwhelming and almost brainwashing. It's almost cult-ish. I'll call then health preachers. This isn't about just gluten-free. This is about every dietary alteration ever suggested. This is about every medical treatment involving home treatments like food and exercise, meditation and yoga, supplements and massage, etcetera. I haven't even gotten to pharmacological medicine and holistic medicine yet. Or the people who deny psychiatric illnesses, who think psychiatry is fraudulent, who believe firmly that clinical depression isn't real and is literally psychological, delusional. Frustrating, isn't it.

So, anyway. My Plan. I went gluten-free for just under a month. I kept notes. I was alone, because Adam was away on business, so I just cooked for myself and didn't touch anything with gluten. I was hungry and bored. I mean, the food was delicious. There was a lot of quinoa and lentils and sprouts and cheese and meats and snow peas and carrots and apples. I ate a lot of steak. But I just felt annoyed.
My doctors were extremely amused and not at all surprised when I told them the results.
Seriously. Three separate doctors. All saying the same thing. I mean, at this point, if I were to tell Dr Carolyn to refer me to a blood test just for the hell of it, she would quirk an eyebrow at me and ask who was giving me the money for the test (I don't know if Medicare covers those), and we would laugh.
But I didn't tell anyone I knew. Not for the whole duration. Here and there, I casually mentioned that I'd done gluten-free trials without any changes, I casually mentioned that I didn't need to cut out gluten and that there were plenty of other ways I was already mitigating symptoms. I stopped updating my support groups. I just said that I was doing well on my medications and therapies, and when the weather got bad I would flare up terribly and kept treating myself. I mean, even if all my symptoms vanished, I would still not be rid of pain, because of the cerebral palsy. Which 1. is never going away and 2. is getting worse as I age, which cannot be stopped or relieved. Which people rarely realize, because nobody thinks about the crip adults.
So, yay, you, my LJ friends, get to hear it first. I went gluten-free and it didn't do shit for me! Yaay, that was pointless! Let's dance!
It was fascinating. During my trial, I was reading entries on my friends list about people cutting out gluten and realizing that their lives were changing for the better, that they were celiac after all, or intolerant, and that going gluten-free made all the difference and they could love food again, woooo! I was so happy for them I almost cried. It was amazing, reading about their joy and euphoria and ecstasy. Food, they cried! Food is wonderful again! And I nodded, and grinned, and focused on myself and how my gluten-free test trial was just like any other day, except boring.
And I put up with preachers, and pushers, and well-meaning manipulations. And I said nothing. It did hurt, being attacked like that. I sobbed and snarled and surrounded myself with friends who knew the powerful irritation of being shoved around by gluten-free pushers. I kept going. I took double the Klonopin. Days and weeks passed. I stopped the trial. I ate grains and wheat again, slowly, lovingly, with savor.

Today, I was recommended a wonderful book called "The Gentle Art Of Verbal Self-Defense" by Suzanne Haden Elgin. I've gotten a sample of a few chapters, and I'm so hooked that I'll be purchasing the updated version as soon as I have money to buy it. I'm lucky that I've been able to recognize Verbal Attack Patterns recently, but the book will teach me to escape as well as use communication to resolve. I need that. I need to learn peaceful communication getting to the root of the problem without hostile interaction and confrontation, without arguing over semantics. I like to hyperbolize. In fact, a handful of friends and I like to snark at, hyperbolize, and satirize the beliefs of health preachers, like those who firmly believe that gluten-free diets could help everyone who doesn't need them, the way that accepting Jesus will get people to Heaven so the preachers can see them after death and hang out with them in a conforming afterlife. See why this may not work? See why this can be more about the preachers than the listeners?
It is nearly impossible to fight a very calm, gentle person. I need to learn that art of fighting with calm. I need to learn to not be enraged and screamingly upset and insulted whenever anyone tries to manipulate my emotions. I need to learn to break my own cycle of verbal hostility, which will help me handle those manipulations disguised as helpfulness.

Other thing I loathe: Being told that having a mild version of a disability doesn't count. I already discussed cerebral palsy and aging with the chronic pain caused by spastic hypertonia. And they don't back off. No matter how many times you patiently explain anything. Now that is where I really, really need to learn gentle verbal self-defense tactics. Because oh my fucking gods I want to punch them full of holes.

Ahh, humanity. Fun!
brightrosefox: (Default)
So, I had what I considered a palsy victory and agony simultaneously.

Depressive episode gripping me hard enough to draw blood, I walked out - no cane, because medicine and meditative stretchy exercise like whoa - and took the Metro to Twinbrook, walked the ten minutes to Congressional Plaza, shopped, stopped to eat sushi, and carried two bags back to the Metro, right side burning and feeling ripped open while palsy left side felt ghost-like and nearly numb. Got to Shady Grove again, took the bus and stopped at the Redmill Center right near my house community, went to the CVS and bought drug refills, limped and shook and spasmed and gasped as the bus dropped me off across from my townhouse community, walked with three bags that felt like dead weights, stopped to get the mail, went home, went upstairs, collapsed, and very weakly, feebly flailed and flapped and cried out "Yay, I did it, go me!"

I got myself belated birthday gifts, especially because the Rockville Ulta now carries
It Cosmetics, which is my top favorite makeup brand in the world, which I just learned today so it was like a cliche of angels singing. I'd been waiting for my Ulta to acquire It Cosmetics since last year, when the Silver Spring Ulta announced they had the brand and that Rockville would get it this spring. YES. I was also flush with coupons and points so I splurged: I got the new liquid peptide foundation and the new thin-brush peptide mascara; and also Ecotools brand konjac facial cleansing sponge made of konjac fibers, because konjac is one of the most awesome internal and external cleansing fibers in the world.

I was in horrid pain, honestly awful bad bad pain, pain that was like trauma pain... and I was happy. Because PAIN pushed me on. And VICTORY. It was nearly joy. And joy is something above emotion, after all.

I knew that my cane might have made my hands more full. But the fact that I was capable of doing all this without a cane... it was just... well, you know. Hemiplegic spastic ataxic cerebral palsy, spastic hypertonia, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, sciatica, lordosis, migraine pain, major depressive episode, autistic symptoms making everything loud and bright and I could barely look in people's eyes despite cheerful conversations. I did STUFF. I did stuff that made me feel good. I will be in pain for days. But I did it! I think the agony will be worth it, the codeine and the tramadol and the baclofen and the clonazepam and the capsule supplemets of devil's claw and MSM and cayenne and mangosteen and noni vinpocetine and oh my gods I can hardly walk and I am shaking all over and my muscles feel torn up and I want to break down in tears.
But I am proud of myself?
*wipes away tears*

Damn, I really hurt...

...and I forgot to buy milk.
It's okay. I have enough coconut cream, coconut milk, and sweetened condensed milk to work with my coffee until I can get to Giant. Plus a hand mixer blender device to whip it good. At Giant I can grab a lightweight jug of kitty litter and a half-gallon of whole milk, and canned cat food. I can bring a backpack plus a tote to see what will fit how, so I can take the cane.
I'm twitching so much. I wonder if this entire day was one big seizure trigger. Fuck.

Now, today, the day after, I am slowly preparing for my first meet and greet appointment with the new psychologist. My last one got too expensive after I switched to Medicare, and this new woman will work on a sliding scale, with my mother willing to help.
brightrosefox: (Default)
This is especially for[livejournal.com profile] naamah_darling because it talks about how powerful and precious internet communication is especially for disabled people.

http://palsycorn.livejournal.com/2269.html

She is one of my dearest friends. We met on a Facebook support group for people with cerebral palsy. She is the creator and head moderator and she is amazing. She is studying Disabilities Studies in college, she adores SF/F and is writing several stories and at least one SF novel with disabled superheroes, and she is the reason I am so down with being a crip, cripple, "ceep", etc. I love her.

Quote:

"I am a multiply disabled person. Phone calls require a type of mental, physical, and emotional gymnastics for me, which I seldom, if ever, have the spoons for. I have severe phone anxiety which I smash down and stuff deep inside me when I absolutely have to make a phone call. The anxiety is managed somewhat with the help of scripts (particularly helpful if I have to call to make an appointment or something, I write down exactly what I'm going to say, and approximate what the other person is going to say), and has gotten slightly better since the advent of cell phones (that way, I know that no one other than the person I want to talk to will pick up). But it is still VERY there. On top of this, I have to smash a phone against my ear and fight not to drop it, something which I do with alarming frequency, because my hands do spazzy things. This phone, which is usually supremely uncomfortable, because no one considers how it's going to feel when it's held against an ear when they make a cell phone, will have to be nearly glued to my ear for however long the call takes, requiring my arm to be held in an awkward position for that long, which, like most things I do with my body these days, will result in pain. Finally, phone calls require communicating verbally, and like many people with CP, I find it exhausting to coordinate the muscles needed for speech and still make my words clear enough to be understood. Put that all together and you start to see why I feel like I've ran a marathon after a long phone call."

YUP.
brightrosefox: (Default)
What she said:
http://palsycorn.livejournal.com/2028.html

As I've said, I am vehemently against the organization Autism Speaks and I actively want to help take them down, or at least replace the entire board. The fact that they treat autistic people with abuse and neglect, have no active autistics on the board, compare autism to deadly diseases, and spend more on advertisement and on themselves than on helpful programs, makes me believe that they not only refuse to understand autism, but hate autism openly. To me, it doesn't matter how many nice things they have done for some families. They've done more harm than good, as proven through the links provided in my friend's post. As an autistic adult myself, I am insulted and offended by Autism Speak's attempts to "help the autistic" by wanting to eradicate autism, which is literally impossible and reminds me almost of a eugenics program. Neurological conditions that are wired into the entire brain ARE the brain. And hey, plenty of autists love who we are and wouldn't want a "cure" anyway. I know there are many autists of every age who would rather not be autistic, and I understand. I'm just not one of them. If you support Autism Speaks, I won't make you stop, because that's entirely your choice. I just need to get my views out there.

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