semiotic_pirate: (Pirate_Main_Icon)
Had a rough epiphany today.

To catch you all up on 10/12-10/13 I voluntarily admitted myself to inpatient care. Upon release I was recommended to participate in intensive outpatient treatment. In conjunction with this, on the same day of admission but before they knew about it, my employer had decided to fully agree to my reasonable accommodations and restructure my job duties.

So since Wednesday of last week I've been in the IOP program, since Tuesday of last week I was working mostly half days (M, T, W, F 4 hours; R 8 hours) concentrating on my restructured job duties. Both have acted to majorly reduce my stress / anxiety levels to manageable proportions.

The IOP program is three hours a day, four days a week... starts with a "check-in" round robin then break, then doing an activity led by the counselor. Usually guided by some type of worksheet.

Today's worksheet concentrated on Mistaken Beliefs that are embedded in our consciousness as Core Beliefs that drive thoughts that underpin self-esteem issues and many of the roots of the things that make us anxious or depressed. THAT worksheet... well, we've only gotten halfway through it and it's been so painful. Pretty much shit programming from Parent & Peers non-stop until I got to my final junior high school and high school. And the effect have been devastating from that point onward, even as I've tried to reprogram my brain and work through and get past it all.

After my son and husband died back in the mid-nineties, I had a period of navel-gazing where I thought I had dug down and worked through all of this shit. Obviously that wasn't the case, but I DID do a lot of good stuff. But I am realizing it was like Edmund having realized that he got turned into a dragon because of the bad motivations/thoughts. Like I had dug painfully at my dragon flesh but didn't dig deep and well enough the first time to the point where I've become fully enveloped again in that dragon flesh and skin. And now I've got to figure out how to do the deed, to rend and tear at those mistaken beliefs, at those unrealistic and damaging core beliefs that drive my multivariate vicious cycles of self-doubt, fear, and anxiety.

*starts sharpening my claws in preparation for what is to come*
semiotic_pirate: (Filling up wit tears)
Yesterday, I discovered that awful article and talked about it. I made a point to talk about what I saw, and what I was made to feel, by all the other people discussing it and writing about it because those words affected me much more than the words of some silly mumper who many are now referring to as a sociopath.

After I posted yesterday's entry, I found out that a couple of people reached out via phone (here and here) because they didn't want to take what she said at face value. They wanted to find out if there was some missing context that was not apparent from the writer given that her writing style is meant to be provoking - that's how she makes her money after all. Overall, her response in those interviews, although she seems to be making some attempt to explain what she was trying to say (and failed to do, as we can all attest) and the feelings she wished to convey to the reader, seemed to vibrate an "it's still all about ME" intensity that had me squinting my eyes. She's really not coming across as a sociopath, she's displaying narcissism, maybe, cluelessness and self-centeredness, definitely.

What got me up out of bed this morning -I'd gotten back in for an early morning nap after having gorge-watching the entire 8-episode first season of that new show Humans on Amazon until 1am and having just taken the dogs out for their early morning stroll; this made me deny myself that nap just after I got comfortable- were the thoughts about how some of my friends were impacted SO much by the original article and some extreme levels of negativity that they'd been encountering recently that they were having that viral message pumping through their brains "The World Would Be Better Off Without Me."

First off. Suicidal ideation is no joke. Although this is my own ramble of a thought experiment about how I'm perceiving the spread of suicidal ideation and suicide itself through a community... I really do believe it's a brain worm of the first order that can tunnel in and warp every sensory input and thought/feeling output into a twisted dark mirror-world presentation. It reminds me of those caterpillars who are forced by parasitoid wasps to carb load to strengthen the parasitoid and weaken the host, until the parasitoid consumes the host in full. Or those other poor caterpillars that are forced by a virus to climb trees so that they die, liquefy, and aerosolize a release millions of infective virus particles thereby allowing the virus to get on with the next phase of its own life cycle.

In humans, suicidal ideation could be in some ways like a cold sore virus. There would be an initial infection (typically by exposure to trauma that may involve witnessing another person's suicide in some way) that may or may not result in an immediate display of symptoms - which would be that newly infected person beginning to have active suicidal ideation. What it otherwise could result in is an infection that sits dormant in a person's system waiting for its initializing signal. That signal is significant stress or trauma, which may or may not be concommitant to depression and anxiety, though the latter work to amplify that signal to such a degree that the ideation is easier to take hold and influence a person.

What I'm trying to say is that, maybe there's a reason why we see a single suicide having a domino effect in a community, which, depending on how far the viral news has spread, could be contained within a small town, a large city, a country, or the whole world. And that effect isn't just limited to teens - though it may be seen at higher rates there because of the incomplete control mechanisms and higher lack of impulse control that are typically seen in teens coupled with the volatility of their hormonal drives - it is something that occurs with adults, too. I know this because there were people out there who were triggered by this article and who had "bad thoughts" initialized. Some fought against it and declared "NOT ME!" while going to great lengths to describe why not, and some went through a downward spiral that (I hope) was diverted by the outpouring of love and support to those most vulnerable people. There have been studies of this supposedly contagious behavior. In today's interconnected world, suicide has the ability to reach epidemic proportions. When millions of people watch a youtube video of someone's spiral into ideation, that the viewer knows resulted in a successful completion, those millions put themselves and their loved ones at risk.

The biggest and most disruptive thought, especially given the context of that original article and the selfish perspective of the writer of that article, that started this whole string of ideas in my head... The thought was that when people are saying "The World Is Better Off Without Me" they are actually in so much pain, in such a state of confusion and misery, that they are using that phrase to disguise to themselves that what they are really saying is "I WOULD BE BETTER OFF IF IT WOULD ALL JUST END NOW BECAUSE THIS SHIT LIFE IS MISERABLE AND I DON'T FEEL LIKE I HAVE THE STRENGTH TO DEAL WITH IT ANY MORE."

First, I don't think it is the case that a person would be better off. For all the usual laundry list of reasons that are spouted. Further, unless someone has isolated themselves so much that they have excluded all human contact, there are many, many people who would be affected by a successful suicide, and it always, always results in their surrounding community of friends/family/coworkers (of the people who they don't even know that they are affecting every time they interact with them in daily life) being worse off for having experienced the aftermath of a person's decision to suicide.

Don't listen to that inner virus, don't listen to the lies it is telling you. None of us would be better off, ever.
semiotic_pirate: (Pirate Grrl - RIOT)
XO Jane’s publishing of a despicable article titled “My Former Friend’s Death Was a Blessing” was a watershed moment for many people.

[Edit: There is a reason for both my choice of "mood" and currently playing music. Read on and you too shall know.]

The original article was posted to the site sometime on 5/19/16, likely in the morning. Thanks to our handy dandy Wayback Machine, here’s an early cache of the article, in case you want to see what people were upset about.

Here’s what is in the place of the article on XO Jane’s site now; specifically a notice of retraction and an apology from the site’s owner for having the temerity to post it without much oversight to begin with.

The problem was, taking down the article WASN’T the first thing XO Jane did when requested. First, they deleted the byline of Amanda Lauren to try to muddy the waters. That was done sometime between midnight and 7am EST on 5/20/16. Then the site turned the comments off… It wasn’t until it blew up quite a bit more on the vast arrays of tubes and wires through which we all communicate that it was finally taken down and that that apology was posted in place of the article. One has to wonder if the original draft to XO Jane didn’t even use a pseudonym for this alleged former friend. I predict that, as the apology is picked apart word by word, that the apology itself may undergo multiple revisions. I shouldn’t have said that… Apparently it already has gone through two published editions, according to Death and Taxes Mag.

MY FIRST REACTION TO READING THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE WAS TO REMEMBER THAT MAY IS MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH AND TO WONDER WHETHER WE WERE ALL PRANKED AS A WAY FOR US ALL TO SEE THE ARTICLE, TALK SHIT ABOUT IT, AND IN THE PROCESS MAKE SOME REAL PROGRESS IN DEMYSTIFYING AND DESTIGMATIZING MENTAL ILLNESS. BUT NO, THAT ISN’T XOJANE’S STYLE.

The responses to the article being put out there by a variety of people were, on the whole, fantastic. There were many, many shouts of outrage, bouts of diarrheic vitriol, moments of introspection, vociferously worded petitions to take down the article, and other reactions that were generated in response to the article. It has been amazing, the outpouring of heartfelt feels. Most of the responses were written approximately 24 hours that the article was live on the site in either its attributable form or in its anonymous form.

Without listed them in order of when they encountered the article itself, these are some of the ones that I read today.

http://gomiblog.com/amanda-lauren-is-glad-youre-dead/

https://ajgoode.com/2016/05/20/my-response-to-xojane/

http://jezebel.com/xojane-publishes-terrible-article-by-a-woman-who-s-glad-1777778960?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+jezebel%2Ffull+%28Jezebel%29

https://medium.com/@melissamcewen/an-open-letter-to-xojane-about-my-former-friends-death-was-a-blessing-facdad00cfce#.c6eyakunh

http://jezebel.com/xojane-publishes-terrible-article-by-a-woman-who-s-glad-1777778960

http://www.deathandtaxesmag.com/291339/xojane-amanda-lauren-my-ex-friend-is-dead-garbage/

http://themighty.com/2016/05/response-to-xojane-article-my-former-friends-death-was-a-blessing/

https://letsqueerthingsup.com/2016/05/20/open-letter-to-amanda-lauren-from-someone-beyond-help/

https://madgirlslament.com/2016/05/20/suicide-is-never-a-blessing/

http://www.hercampus.com/life/its-not-blessing-when-mentally-ill-people-die

https://haphazardcoffee.com/2016/05/20/i-have-schizophrenia-and-i-do-have-something-to-live-for/

http://www.pajiba.com/think_pieces/xojane-publishes-a-post-about-being-happy-a-mentally-ill-woman-died-alone.php

https://samambreen.wordpress.com/2016/05/20/we-are-none-of-us-beyond-hope/

http://www.mediaite.com/online/everyone-angry-over-that-xojane-piece-celebrating-a-mentally-ill-womans-death-is-right/

My absolute favorites were the ones where people chose to use the moment to introspectively tell us about their own, personal experiences will mental illness and their battle with suicidal ideation. While I was out searching and reading these articles, I found some more really great people who existence I am happy to learn coincide with mine on this earth.

What got me started on this relatively mild diatribe (The outrage speaks for itself, doesn't it?) was reading the discussion started by my friend Rob, aka @UnseenPerfidy. THANKS ROB – MY BRAIN NEEDED THIS EVALUATION, EXAMINATION, AND REAFFIRMATION BUCKSHOT OF POSITIVE OUTPOURINGS OF SUPPORT BY ALL THE STRANGE AND WONDERFUL PEOPLE ON THE INTERNET.

Note: another article was brought to my attention by this reddit thread where the one was noted as seeming really strange. Part of that is, I think, the remaining, underlying guilt the author still feels about the friend’s suicide and her own survival from an attempted suicide.

Survivor's Guilt is a bitch in spike heels doing the cha cha on your naked, prostrate body.
semiotic_pirate: (SVU flashlight-search)
Right now, I'm in the process of searching for a new job. I want to continue in the field I'm in, but the job opportunities in my area are thin on the ground. There's way more jobs of the type I'm looking for in NYC or other big cities; however, moving to one of those places is not an option. So I have to wait and apply like crazy when something comes up in my area. I've gotten lucky recently, I've been able to not only apply for three places and get asked in to interview for all three.
Click through to read about each of the three and a wrap-up statements. )
In the end. The fluctuations of anxiety (including a couple of anxiety attacks) have me worrying that I'm in danger of slipping into a depression (or hypomanic state as I'm not sure of what role anxiety plays in the bipolar mind) and I can't seem to connect with anyone at my doctor/therapist office. So I cope as I can, with deep breathing, and use of different meditation techniques (like sound therapy and aromatherapy) to get me through.
semiotic_pirate: (BattlePrincess)
Today I got a taste of what it's going to be like when I go back to work on 11/9. My last one-on-one with Alan included me making a promise to try going to Group. It's a group made of only women, each with a different grab-bag of problems that they are dealing with. Up until last night it was a nebulous obligation. This morning was okay, but as the day progressed I started getting really anxious. About three hours before the 4pm meeting time, my gut started roiling and I had what I recognized as happening nearly every Monday morning since I went back to work after the hysterectomy (until when I was officially on leave toward the end of September.) My colon was stuck in spasm mode and it turned into five trips to the bathroom as my system emptied itself out. The last visit happening forty minutes to meeting (ten minutes from my go time, when I had to leave to make it on time.)

I made it to the meeting. I didn't have to talk a lot this time. It was still difficult to bear whenever anyone's eyes turned in my direction the few times I spoke out with something that I thought would help someone else. Next time I'm going to be expected to talk a bit about myself at the beginning of Group. I'm scared but willing to participate. It was nice to be able to fully allow myself to be anxious in the social setting instead of pushing it down in order to function in a group work/social environment.

I'm upset that I'm again caught waiting for the gastroenterologist to get back to me about the results from my (hopefully) final round of tests. I've already called twice. Last time I had to call three times in two weeks and didn't hear back until the third week. I want to know the results before I go back to work so I don't have that hanging over my head - especially if it results in adding any other medications to the ones I'm already taking in case there is an interaction that messes with my already delicate seeming GI system.

I'm still having a hard time pulling out of the apathy that I wake up to every morning. I've sent an email over to HR to find out what follow-up paperwork they need Dr A to send them to give me the option to work 1/2 days for the month following 11/9. So I can push myself to go in, but so that I don't have to stay the whole day if I can't take dealing with everything.

It seems like such a chore whenever I have to be in any kind of social situation. Having to carefully go through all the things I've taught myself how to read the subtle cues that people use to indicate all the other stuff that they aren't just saying for one reason or another. Always wondering if I'm wearing the right thing, saying the right thing, using the right facial and body position cues, things I've been learning to do with other women since around junior high. It's so much more complicated dealing with women than it is with men.

It's not that I'm inhuman, that I don't have feelings or am unable to connect with people. It is just that I have difficulties in reading people, in seeing past the literal things they say and understanding the subtle undertones and overtones. If someone plainly states what they want/need or are thinking, then I can interact much more easily. I can interact without having to depend on my various filters in order to try and make out what is really meant.

There are three articles/essays that have become touchstones for me in the time since I've been out of work. Writing that has reinforced other things that I have read in the past or discussed with people online.

The Lost Girls, an article about how difficult it is to assess and diagnose women on the Autism Spectrum.

Everything Doesn't Happen For a Reason, an essay on grief and (among other things) how platitudes are so damaging.

Dealing with Bipolar Disorder, an essay by a friend of mine on Twitter that addresses how he has come to deal with the disorder.

Each of these three writings has helped me enormously - in addition to readings I've done about asexual orientation.

If I have the chance, I'll continue to write in this entry. But for now, dinner must be eaten.

*EDIT* I added a link to a site discussing asexual orientation to the prior penultimate paragraph. It really helped me to understand what makes sense to me.
semiotic_pirate: (eyeball)
I'm going to time delay this post by a month. This should give @femsplain enough time to sift through all the offers to do articles/stories for the Self Improvement theme. My problem is that they've already begun publishing stories and I can't tell if it's because these are meant to set the stage (they are written by their editors and other people that work for FS) or... *shrug* Hence the delay to the post.

Of course, to you it will seem like this just appeared. In fact, I wrote the following just after seeing the theme hit Twitter, before the end of June. And I'm setting up this post on 7/4/15 in the aftermath of seeing Star Trek: Genisys. Oh, wait... That was my hopeful Brightest Universe version of the title. I meant Terminator: Genisys.

Anyway. Here it is:Here it is: )

Awake Now

Jul. 11th, 2015 04:23 am
semiotic_pirate: (boat on land)
This is what happens when the dog, the little warm, soft, cute dog sleeps on the bed. I get woken up at 2:20 in the morning and am unable to get back to sleep.

So. Since I am awake, I might as well get some stuff done. I've recently, with encouragement, started submitting my poetry again. I've got four submissions currently waiting to hear back from (one just submitted minutes ago even.) All but that last set I have gotten confirmation from the people I submitted to that my submission had been received. Likely the last one is going to wait until someone wakes up at a more reasonable time and notices the incoming emails.

One set was submitted through Submittable, two were directly through submission web pages within the publications' website with uploads of documents, and the last was submitted via a series of emails (one poem per email, in plain text, as directed.)

Not counting the one that is AN ENTIRE MANUSCRIPT OF POETRY FOR A BOOK, I have a total of twelve poems floating in front of editors' eyes. I believe the final draft of the manuscript was 89 pages, or approximately 85 poems. Yeah. I had a significant backlog of stuff that I've written over the decades that insisted on finally seeing the broad spectrum light of day.

In researching these places to publish, I discovered a newly named form that I've been writing all along: slipstream. Happily, I write well in this form, and will have no problems creating new poems for this format. I tweet snippets of this stuff all the time, around which I can then build a poem.

-----------------

In other personal news... some of which may be triggering )
semiotic_pirate: (speak your mind)
I recently tweeted about my discovery of PSSD. I'm putting the information I've gathered here for informational purposes. While doing this, I will wonder how many later-in-life realizations of an Asexual Identity can be tracked back to the use of SSRI antidepressants.

I'd like to start with this site, which is acting as a figurative mirror for what had been an entry in Wikipedia. One wonders how/why/who got it taken down. Below the first cut is the text from the former entry, as it appears on the above site.
Wikipedia Mirror )
There are stories of recovery from PSSD and possible methods to induce recovery, both of which are talked about here. This makes me wonder if any of the other side effect from SSRI use are potentially permanent as well. Like emotional blunting.

If you've experienced the symptoms of PSSD, or other potentially SSRI related symptoms (both while taking and after you've stopped taking) you can report it here and print out a form to bring to your doctor with the results.

If you're looking for a place to talk about PSSD with other people, there's a forum here, which has another virtual mirror site of the Wikipedia entry. Another forum, with a section for PSSD appears here, with research papers about PSSD appearing here. Mentions of PSSD does still appear in various places on Wikipedia, but it doesn't have its own entry, except in Dutch.

Note that other drug groups that are known to affect sexual function, e.g. Birth Control Pills (especially those that use progestins that have an androgen.)

I definitely feel like I exist in a world in which Doctor McCoy would exclaim about our barbarity in how we treat our diseases and illnesses.
semiotic_pirate: (boat on land)
Fair warning - heavy seas ahead. This be a long, rambling journey across the sea, and storms have wracked the ship.

In the process of getting an application package together for a new job prospect. Between payments to student loans and other things, what I'm making now isn't enough. I've done the research and I know that I'm making below the median for my profession in my area, and that I'm more qualified for the position (education and time in grade) than the median person represented by that bell curve. I've had enough with dealing with a position that has no opportunities and comes coupled with the need to deal with a passive-aggressive, workaholic manager that expects me to sacrifice home life obligations and balance of any kind because (a) that's what he does, and (b) because I don't have children.

While in the process of getting that application process together I've dredged up all kinds of new and old information about what had previously been packed up and put away from my past, in order to document it for the future (because modern, online application processes are more rigorous, and because of needing to figure out the details of my veteran status).

This is going to go on for a while, get some popcorn. )
That's how I got to the point I'm at now. Several years into the job I got before I even graduated with that Master's, I'm realizing that I'm being underpaid and I'm not feeling respected and valued - even though I was a key person in getting record profits from our "unit" for the past three years. Yeah. My department calls itself a Unit... I'm just noticing how bizarre that is and the dissonance I feel thinking about it in relation to the other units I've been involved with.

So. After all that... I ask you to wish me luck. Thanks for listening. It felt good to get that out after all this time. Maybe I'll get an interview. Maybe I'll get a new job. I've got a few plans on how to navigate the next few months and years. I've still got dreams for my future. Let's see what happens next.
semiotic_pirate: (Default)
November 11, 2006
Troubled Children - What’s Wrong With a Child? Psychiatrists Often Disagree
By BENEDICT CAREY

Paul Williams, 13, has had almost as many psychiatric diagnoses as birthdays.
Read more... )

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