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Category: Depression and Mental Health

Hiatus

Hiatus

You may have noticed that I really haven’t been able to do much of anything for several weeks at this point. My brain checked out two weeks ago thanks to burnout and I’m only slowly getting it back. It’s really frustrating because the world is still going to shit, I just am powerless to do anything about it because all my spoons got eaten. So, to try to recover my brain and restore my energy I’m taking a solid two weeks off activism and anything work-like.

I spent the last few therapy sessions talking about burnout and resting and how hard it is to do. Resting starts a constant internal battle where the physiological need to rest is actually a traumatic minefield because of how often I would be punished and put to work if I was caught resting when it wasn’t the designated time. I wished once that I would get sick, just so I could rest, because that was how exhausted I was and how much I was not allowed to sit down as a kid. So resting is actually a fuck ton of work. Resting is more work than activism and working, but I run myself ragged and then go splat when I forget to rest or don’t feel like fighting that day.

But at this point, for the last two and a half weeks, my body and my brain have just been screaming at me that they need to rest and recover. I need to reset. My therapist told me that working – in activism or otherwise – is an exchange of energy, and you need to be able to balance it, because if you give more than you’re taking in, it’s not healthy. Taking a break is important to restore all of the energy I’ve been spending and not replacing, and this will enable me to then have energy for things again.

Obviously, I guess. But it helped to hear it out loud and that sort of calmed the part of my brain that is still a teenager who’s freaked out about taking a break if they aren’t actively vomiting because someone will come yell at them for being lazy and unproductive and they should ignore, y’know, anything less than death-bed levels of damage and keep going.

So, I’m taking a break. I am going camping for three days after I take my shot on Sunday and I think the being in the middle of the woods with no internet to remind me the world is falling apart will be really really helpful. Beyond that, my plans for the two weeks are to: go through Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain again, play through some video games, and maybe bike a bit.

Hopefully I’ll be able to come back in full swing, because there’s shit to do, I just can’t do it right now.

On Kindness and Transphobia [TW]

On Kindness and Transphobia [TW]

Someone from my past emailed me a few times this week. Claiming they were good listeners and wanted to have a relationship, “one soul to another”.

They then sent two emails following that, The first, on valentine’s day, defending my parents by saying they were merely imperfect and I’m overreacting about the abuse I suffered at their hands. The second, this morning, telling me that I will regret being trans and we should have an open discussion about my identity.

I told her to kindly fuck off, and she didn’t understand why I was mad and unkind.

When you start off a conversation with someone by saying their lived experience and identity isn’t valid, you lost the pretense of kindness and politeness and the benefit of the doubt. It doesn’t matter how “nice” you are when you say people are wrong for existing, it isn’t nice, it isn’t kind, it isn’t polite, and you deserve nothing less than the full wrath of whoever you told that to.

I’ve translated today’s emails so you see what I hear when I read this.

I asked her not to contact me after the first email. For someone good at listening, she doesn’t seem to understand boundaries. And this is a real-life example of how you don’t have even footing against people who spend their time dehumanizing you.

The reason I am posting this is because it helps me to dissect it and show you what I hear/see when people send me things like this and how cruel and dehumanizing it is. How pointless it is to try to convince them of my validity when they start from the place of trying to convince me not to be who I am.

I am kind, but I will not rollover for abuse, I will fight back, and then I will post the shit and explain what it is for everyone to see.

If you start off disregarding people’s existence as valid, you have waived your right to any benefit of the doubt and subsequent kindness.

I’m not even going to unpack how cruel that first email was in the first place, anyone who isn’t cis understands that by default and anyone who is cis, should go read about transphobia and how it effects people. I’m sure someone in the comments can get you started, but also google.

Perpetual Horror

Perpetual Horror

Life lately has consisted of constantly staring this horrific reality in the face and not blinking. Then, taking what I see and figuring out how to make it better, by going through even more horror – the horror that got us here – and finding the way out.

I read H.P. Lovecraft at night because the ultimate horror of which we do not name has nothing on this timeline.

I’m going through old bible stories and remembering things from my childhood. Like how my parents would rather that we had been raptured because they didn’t like who I was getting married to, and since I’d experienced love (and loss) I’d felt everything I need to for one lifetime. Or how they told us, multiple times that if god were to whisper that us kids should be killed, they would do so without hesitating. I remembered how my mom worshipped the women we knew who almost died in labor for their dedication and faith.

Only now do I see this as obvious signs of depression that they decided to go ahead and verbally pass on to their children. I’ve never been afraid of death and it’s a struggle not to see it as a blissful void, resulting in a much needed break from this cruel reality.

My optimism looks like: Well, things are shit and are going to be for ever unless we maybe do something about it, and that might not even work, or we’ll die before it happens, but we can say we tried, which is better than nothing.

I keep going, I keep fighting, because it’s all I know how to do and I haven’t managed to die yet. What matters most is what we do next, where we go from here.

Occasionally I have glimpses of what it must feel like to have a normal relationship to life. One where you really adamantly don’t want to die instead of being blasé about it. The one where stopping feels sad instead of restful. My parents ripped that from us by spending all their time talking about how great it would be if we were dead and in heaven instead of alive. It always bothered me, because like, we weren’t dead – and committing suicide/non-god-sanctioned murder meant you’d go to hell – so?

It’s really hard to find that right now. To be anything but nonchalant about dying and our dystopian future. In some ways, it almost feels protective. Like one less thing I have to worry about, because I’m generally meh about my existence. Life right now is mimicking my childhood on a much grander scale and pushing all the CPTSD buttons and I do not appreciate it. But all the coping mechanisms I honed while there, are back. I can press on, because it’s all I know how to do, and maybe, if I’m lucky, I’ll catch glimpses of things that feel vaguely hope-like again.

Expecto Patronum

Expecto Patronum

I was talking to my therapist last night about the election and activism and something she poked at really struck me.

It is important for activism to come from a place that isn’t fear. Fear and panic spreads like wildfire and runs everyone down. The longevity of the fight depends on us being able to approach our activism from a place of okayness inside ourselves.

I woke up in a good mood this morning. My partner made coffee that we sipped quietly while working on our respective projects. I’m working on and lining up freelance projects to stay afloat and figuring out what of my personal projects I want to start on next.

I know everything is shit in the world but right now I feel okay. And I almost felt guilty about it, but here’s the thing.

It’s important – vitally important – that we make and keep and foster moments of happiness, that we take care of ourselves, that we love ourselves and each other, that we take our actions against facism from a place where we are emotionally okay and stable and not terrified.

Selfcare in the face of fascism is resistance. Finding ways to not live in a permanent state of anxiety while still fighting is revolutionary. Being happy and hopeful are not bad things in light of everything that’s going on, they are important, and they are the things we need to cling to, because those will keep us going.

Like I’ve been telling myself since election night, little things matter, they matter a lot. Find the little things that bring you peace and hold on to them. We have a long road ahead of us, and running on adrenaline isn’t sustainable.

You are allowed to be happy and feel okay and have good days. Fighting doesn’t mean you have to be afraid all the time, please don’t. Find the little things that matter, let them fill you up – like a patronus charm. We can resist best when we’re not letting fear rule our every waking moment.

 

Lean On Me

Lean On Me

So I had an epiphany over the weekend while coming home after being surrounded by people like me at a conference over the weekend.

 

We were singing Lean On Me in the car, and I realized….while pushing the words out of my mouth, that um, it’s totally okay to not be only absorbing everything all the time.

I have internalized that I’m not allowed to have needs and I’m only allowed to accept other people’s pain and never acknowledge my own to people besides myself – at least not in a way that involves asking for help without being pried open. Any self expression that involves asking for help my parents thoroughly trained out of me by refusing to acknowledge they existed or were valid. I was expected to be their support, to comfort my mom and accept her abuse without ever having a need of my own or a problem to voice.

I’ve carried this with me into adulthood for the last seven years. Feeling as though if people are confiding in me, then they are off limits to me to confide in them. Like if I confide in the people who trust me (and that I also trust) I am just adding weight to them that they don’t deserve – like my weight is too much, and I must carry myself alone – and shoulder as many other people as I can. Don’t say a word, don’t note that you have trouble too…because that makes life worse for everyone. In the name of support I don’t let myself have any of my own.

I isolate my needs and problems into myself because I don’t dare add to anyone else’s, even if they want to help.

I realized that’s not how things are supposed to work. I’m allowed to also share my shit with the people who share with me.

And likely? they won’t think I’m too much of a burden.

Hopefully.

health log/update 2015

health log/update 2015

Second pap smear ever today. New doctor is really nice and good at listening, was ready to stop at any time and actually knew what she was doing and had the tiny speculum. No crying or death levels of pain, and we got a good sample, so yay. No one judged me for my weight/gain, and my doctor actually listened when I talked to her about medications, preferences, and the no-libido-at-all problems I’ve been having while on lexapro.

She lowered my dose of lexapro to 10mg, and put me back on bupropion at 150mg. Meeting a month from now to re-evaluate. I’m so happy to be back on the thing I know works for my depression – though it’s the XL version which looks a little different than the other one I was one which wasn’t XL. I don’t know if there’s actually much of a difference. Apparently it might also help with the libido and I remember from last time there was a possibility of it helping with weight, though while I’m still taking lexapro I’m not really holding my breath.

No one acted like my current weight was an issue though – and I explained how I gained a lot from zoloft and even more from lexapro. She didn’t tell me how much I weighed today when I told her I hadn’t been looking, either, which was really lovely.

I got it on the little handout though, and it’s a bit, but not as much as I feared so that’s good.

I felt really cared for and listened to and not judged by anyone here, which was so nice. I was so scared, but now I’m so relieved I could almost happy cry.

I DIDN’T FEEL LIKE I WAS GONNA DIE THIS TIME, AHHH. so good. And when I told her the story she was like, yeah no wonder you would be super anxious about it.

 

Then I came home ate some stuff and slept because I was up all night with anxiety. 😛