Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Truth Is......

It seems to me that whenever a tragedy happens people rush to judgment. They rush to make excuses for one's behavior. They use words like mental illness to describe what could have been the possible culprit. I think it is to make a gap in humanity. To make it seem like normal people could never do what these people have done. I think it is to make others sleep better at night. To label someone who has hurt others so that they don't have to look at themselves and the possibility that they could do something like that as well. It isn't a diagnosis to understand what has happened. It is a diagnosis to separate themselves from those that have harmed. A label. An umbrella word. Infecting everyone who has a label even though it is unwarranted.

The man who drove the plane into the mountain and killed 150 people was labeled depressed. Yet he was on anti-psychotics. Depression isn't psychosis but most people don't know that there is a huge difference. That anti-psychotics are given to psychotics not typical depressed people. The media seems oblivious as they spread out the might be's and why's someone might do such a horrid thing. Someone said depression and now even though, we have no actual proof of his depression, depressed people are getting the side eye. Now, everyone with depression is suspect of being a possible mass murderer. Not because statistics support such a bias claim but because the media and ignorant people are in such a rush to make an excuse for inexcusable behavior. It wouldn't happen if he had a heart problem but because it was a mental problem, it is okay to publicly speculate.

Calling someone's diagnosis something that it is not, is like calling someone's toe cancer, finger cancer. Yes, they are both cancers but they are different cancers. Just like calling someone's mental illness diagnosis  by a different mental illness diagnosis name. They are both mental illness but they are different mental illnesses. It is not one size fits all.

This happens every time some person does the unthinkable. Adam Lanza murdered innocent children and teachers and before the investigation was even finished he had a label. Aspergers. No actual documentation of his disorder and yet it was spread over the news and media as fact. Why? Because it made people feel safer that his evil had a name. A name they put on him to make it seem like his actions were because of an illness.  It did not matter that Aspergers is not violent usually. It didn't matter that the statistics don't support what the media claimed. All that mattered is that it sold more papers, got more views, and riled people up against mental illness. All that mattered is that there was a label to assign. And so they did.

And in doing so, such a label brought a great deal of discomfort to good people that suffer from Aspergers. They were all looked at like they were capable of such horror. They did not deserve such judgment.

There seems to be a great deal of speculation as we reel with emotions of such horrid events and yet what seems to be lacking is a great deal of truth. Truth that sets people straight. Truth that sets people free.

The truth is, people suffering from mental illnesses are more than twice as likely to be victims of a violent crime rather than to be the person committing one. The truth is, that depressed people are far more likely to be a danger to themselves rather than to others. The truth is, that the media slanders the mentally ill anytime something tragic happens because it fits the general consensus that it is us against them and that we are somehow dangerous or different. The truth is that bad people can and do bad things and not all of those people did bad things because of mental illness. Sometimes they just do what they do and no one else with any diagnosis that may be similar has anything to prove. We are not the monsters that go bump into the night. We are just people. We are not dangerous anymore than anyone else.  This isn't our shame to bear. It's their's because they did the unspeakable and devastating things, not us.

The truth is, that mental illness is promoted in falsehoods, quoted with misconceptions, and wrapped in a cloak of invisibility and stigma. If we want to get people the help they need, than we have to stop labeling people that hurt others by their diagnoses. Which only promotes more ignorance and stigma. We have to see that these people did an unforgivable thing but in no way does it mean that other people with those same diagnosis need to be suspect or feared. No one deserves to be punished by other people's actions and no group of people should be sullied by the horrid acts of the few that do not represent us. And I urge you to remember that, as the media continues to peddle it's misconstrued propaganda and sensationalism of our illnesses.

Neurotic Nelly

Friday, March 27, 2015

My Post Is Up...

My new guest post is up and ready to read. Please take a moment to read it here:

There is even a tab to be able to guest post for Mental Health Talk. It is a fabulous site and I am honored to be able to have written something for them.

Hope you all have an amazing week!

Neurotic Nelly

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Plague and Other News....

My kids and I have the plague. I have been told it is not, in fact, the actual plague but a stomach virus. But really, when you feel this horrid, it's all the same thing to me. I was hoping to avoid catching it but alas, I failed. I want to curl up on the couch and moan in agony but my children are already doing that and those dishes aren't going to wash themselves, so I suppose it is time for me to quit complaining and get some house work done. I need to disinfect the plague zone. Ugh.

On a happier note, I did a guest blog post that will coming out on the 26th. For those of you, like me, that have no idea what day it is, it will be this Thursday. I will link it and write a small blurb about how you too can submit a mental illness guest blog post on this site. It is a wonderful site and it is always a  pleasure working with Trish. So, please excuse my absence of a coherent blog post today and check out my new post on Thursday with my guest blog post link.

See you all Thursday, and have a wonderful day. Hang in there, stay strong, and as always I am sending positive thoughts your way.
Neurotic Nelly

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Excuse Me....Rant...Rant...Rant

        I love how people say they have experience with mental illness and then start talking about it in a way that lets you know they haven't the first clue how devastating and demanding it is of your time, your space, what little is left of your sanity, and your life. The soul sucking hole that laps up your very thoughts and drains your emotions like a mummified vampire from the worst B rated horror movie ever created. I love it, I truly do.

I also love feeling like I need to get into a "whose mental illness is worse" pissing contest with someone who thinks because they might have had small case of the "Debbie Downers" once or whatever they claim to be the mental illness  they "know" about is. And it makes me feel like yelling that mine was so bad that I almost killed myself so maybe..... just maybe.... I may know what the hell I am talking about. Because I am not talking about making excuses, or over exaggerating, or being dramatic. I am talking about thirty one years of carving out a path to walk down because each road in my life has big boulders of shit blocking every way I turn. I am talking about shit balls, here. Giant shit balls that roll down hill and threaten to smother you or crush you underneath them.

I don't need to be schooled on what is and isn't an excuse of mental illness. I am pretty sure that over three decades of dealing with it, I should at least have a bachelors degree in being mentally ill. Seeing as you only need around ten extra years of school to be a neurosurgeon, I think I have earned the "right to talk about what it is like to be mentally ill" badge from the girls scouts by now....I have several doctor's sign offs on being permanently disabled because of mine. I have being institutionalized at the age of ten at the local looney bin. I have almost being admitted again at the age of 20. I have not being able to drive, or work, or go to college. I have the fact that I no longer could go to school because of the extreme anxiety and the bullying because I would have panic attacks in class, so I dropped out. I have that I have no formal education past the 12th grade. I have battle scars just from leaving my house just to go to the fucking grocery store for God's sakes. I am actually certifiable because I literally am certified as mentally ill....but no, clearly you know more about mental illness than I. Because you have supposedly "experienced" it.

Well, I haven't "experienced" it, I fucking live it. Each and every day.   And I am not bitter about it, just real. It is not some pretty package wrapped up in a crisp red bow and left on your front porch as a gift. It is not an expensive wine or an artisan cheese. It is not something you smear on an over priced gluten free cracker and choke down with a warm glass of milk as a midnight snack. You do not "experience" mental illness. It is something you deal with. It is something you struggle through. It is something that you work on. It is not a pleasure cruise to fucking Boca. It is an illness in your brain.

Excuse me, for standing up for what I know to be true from not only my experiences but also the many mental illness survivors in my family, and sadly some that did not survive it. Excuse me, for understanding the many friends and bloggers that also have gone through mental illness and taught me things about other mental illnesses I was ignorant about. Excuse me, for saying that mental illness is not an excuse but it is a reality and it needs to be talked about and understood and not vilified or stigmatized because we wear that ugly over coat of shame and guilt and stigma every damn day and maybe we don't want to wear that stagnant, moldered, trench coat of self-condemnation  anymore because it isn't our shame or our guilt to be carried around but yours and ignorant people like you that sit behind a keyboard and make snap judgments and rude comments about something that you claim you may have "experienced" once in your lifetime. Excuse me, for actually knowing what I am talking about and seeing you for your inexperience of something you are so "experienced" in. Excuse me......

and fuck you....

Now please enlighten us some more on how you know about what living with mental illness is like because you have  so much "experience" with it.....

Neurotic Nelly

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Seeds, Seeds, Everywhere...

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Mostly in the U.S., this holiday is spent pub crawling, getting extremely drunk, and wearing funny plastic green hats. I do not drink alcohol, however, so none of that for me. I know...I know....I am lame. As a diabetic, the powers that be (doctors) frown upon alcohol consumption. I really never liked the taste of alcohol, so it wasn't that big of a deal for me anyway. Giving up cake liked to killed me, though.

My best friend swears that you are supposed to leave a glass of milk on your front stoop to appease any rogue Leprechaun's running about. We live in America, so I am pretty sure that is just a waste of milk. Also I don't have the heart to tell her, but I am fairly certain Leprechaun's aren't real in Ireland either.

Today, I will celebrate by planting some seeds in my garden. I actually come from a long line of farmers. Swedish, Scottish, English, French, and Irish farmers. That being said, I have rarely had luck with seeds. It's a good thing I am not a farmer like my ancestors and great grandparents (who could grow anything by simply looking at it) or we would have all starved to death. I have had such bad luck, even my bean sprout I was forced to grow as a child in science class never sprouted. Everyone else's did....mine was still a bean. A bean with mold on it.

Fast forward years later and every seed I have ever planted has died. Every single one. I can grow bulbs and established plants but seeds hate me. Then last year I germinated some Columbine seeds and they grew. I felt this was a fluke though, because we all know I can not grow seeds.

Last month we bought some Thyme, Rosemary, Lavender, Onion Chives, Garlic, Cilantro, and Basil seeds. We had the seed starter dirt and the little cardboard holders. Nothing happened. I warned my husband, when it comes to seeds I have a brown thumb. I reinforced the idea that we shouldn't hold out much hope. I mean, I seem to have not received any ancestral farmer genes. My farmer genes are dead. As is my hope for seed growing.

Still, we went ahead and planted the accursed things to see what would happen. I waited...and waited...and bupkis. Nothing. Nada. No seedlings....

Until yesterday, and BAM! We have seedlings! Seeds, seeds, everywhere! Every single type of herb I bought sprouted. Some only two out of the twenty something seeds....but who cares! I have created life!!!!! The brown thumb curse has been lifted! I am so very excited, and I feel less like a disappointment to my long heritage of crazy farmer people. Yipeeeeeee!

So although, I won't be wearing green today (green tends to make my red hair look...yellowish), I will be planting green and surely that is kinda the same thing, right?

It just goes to show to never give up. Things can always change if you are persistent enough, and lucky. Which I am going to claim is the luck of the Irish.....in honor of today. We could all use a bit of good luck and a great heap of hope.

So, happy Saint Patrick's Day Ireland and all of the Irish people out there, be it actually Irish or those of us who have Irish ancestors. Your country is beautiful as is your heritage. Your stories and struggles are inspiring. I will leave you all with this Irish blessing:

May the road rise up to meet you. 
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Be safe out there everyone.
Neurotic Nelly

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

What Helps....

This deep blackened crevice is intelligent. The bottomless pit does not discriminate. It does not see race, religion, or social status. It does not care what job you have or what charity you donate to. It does not care if you are a mother, father, son, or sister.  It is ever present, ever hungry. It is known by many names: despair, agony, bleakness, numbness, the blahs, the black dog, the monster under the bed, but we know it today as depression....

I was reading a post the other day and this man I don't know very well was talking about depression and how he felt worthless. He talked about wanting just one day where he liked himself. I wrote a comment. I usually wouldn't but having OCD means that I too have weathered some bad depression in my life and I felt the need to tell him that he was not alone and that he did matter. I hope it helped coming from someone who understands.

What bothered me were the comments he got that were well intentioned but common comments we all get when we are struggling with any mental illness. Things like," Things will get better with time," or "It will all work out soon". "Keep your head up" and "It will all blow over," are all comments we have heard before. And although, the person means well, it ends up making us feel more isolated and alone in our suffering. We know that things will change with time but in the deep dark recesses of depression almost nothing can penetrate the darkness. It is the proverbial black hole that swallows any light, any semblance of hope. The bottomless pit of despair in which one can no longer tell time. What good is it to tell someone in that pit that things will get better when they are unable to see that far?

It doesn't really make them feel any better. It only makes you feel better to say it. In a world where people are uncomfortable having other people be open and honest and talking about their feelings of depression, anxiety, or pain, people don't really know how to respond. What seems like a comment of support ends up feeling more like a minimalization of our pain. So, what do you say to someone whose pain is something you can't really understand? How do you talk to them without seeming blase or obtuse? How do you offer support without seeming like you just don't get it?

This is only my opinion, but what has always made me feel better is someone telling me that I do have worth. That I have a great purpose in this world. It helps when someone forgoes the typical comments of me just accepting my pain and moving on because the world changes and I too, can soon be full of rainbows and unicorn farts rather than this deep searing pain that eats through my soul like an acid, and instead telling me that they are there to listen. Just listen. Because sometimes all we need is too feel less alone. What helps is people that have gone through it or are currently going through it telling me that they support me, they understand my pain, they know how I feel. What helps is being told that I have every right to feel the way I do and that I am allowed to talk about feeling that way. That I do not need to "buck up" or "get over it". That I do not have to chide myself for feeling depressed. That I don't need to look for reasons as to why I feel this way or make excuses for being depressed, scared, or in pain. Because it doesn't matter why or why not, it only matters that this is where I am at right now. What helps is being told that I mean something to the ones I love. What helps is being accepted even if I may not be the life of the party. Most of all what helps is a heartfelt sentiment that reaches out to me and lets me know that there is someone on this God forsaken planet that may not get it, may not totally understand, but cares enough to go out of their way and talk to me about it. That calls me just check in on me. That shows up at my house with ice cream or a movie or even just a cup of coffee to sit with me and be there. Someone that stands up and reaches out because silence is a killer and sometimes when we are screaming for help it falls on deaf ears and mute mouths. And that is probably the saddest tragedy of all.

I made a pledge years ago that if someone was hurting, then I would reach out. Even if I didn't know the person very well, at the very least I would send them a comment telling them that they were many things in life, many wondrous magnificent things but the one thing they would never be, could never be is alone. That I got it. I understood and I was rooting for them. That I was pulling for them. That I was sending positive thoughts their way. That I cared. Maybe it isn't enough but I really try and all I can do is my best and hope that if or when I should find myself in the bottomless pit of despair again, someone would do the same for me. Because we all deserve support, love, and understanding. We all deserve acceptance. We lose too many good people when our ears are closed and our mouths are shut. We need to support each other loudly and with extreme compassion each and every day. Depression isn't something to play around with or overlook. Depression can be deadly so we have to be open to hearing it, caring about it, and ever vigilant when dealing with it. All we can do is what helps.

To all of those who are dealing with depression right now, I support you. I am rooting for you. I am pulling for you. You got this..... And as always you are never alone.
Sending positive thoughts your way.
Neurotic Nelly

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

He Was Twelve.....Rant

This post may not be popular but I feel the need to get it off my chest. I am hurt and disgusted and I just have to say my peace because I am so angry that I can't see straight.

I don't write this as a minority. I have been unfairly judged for my hair color, my sex, and my disability but never because of the color of my skin. So, I wont pretend that I know what that is like. I do not. I am not writing this as someone who judges others because I don't, except in this case.  No, I am writing because I am a mother...of a twelve year old boy.

We have become a country afraid....so afraid of stigmas, bias, and discrimination that we have killed in the name of fear. We have been so riddled with fear that we have lost all of our common sense and in many cases, our compassion. Fear makes us do stupid things like suspend a seven year old for eating a poptart into the shape of a gun, threatening an eight year old for drawing a ninja Halloween costume at school with suspension, and punishing a five year old girl with suspension and a forced psychiatric examination for threatening to shoot another student with a Hello Kitty bubble gun that shoots...bubbles.

And last year, what can only be described as asinine behavior by adults, turned fatal.

When I look at a picture of Tamir Rice, I see a happy, normal, typical boy. I see my son because I am a mother and all of our children are equal. All children are precious. He is was the same as my son. He was in the same grade. He seemed silly, and goofy, and intelligent like all twelve year old's are. No, they are not the same race and but I don't see race. I see someone's child. I see someone's baby.

Tamir Rice was a twelve year old boy who was given a toy gun by a friend to play with. He did what many kids would do, he went to a park and played with it.  For that, he was gunned down by a police officer. It took two seconds from the time the officer pulled up until the officer opened fire on a twelve year old boy. His fourteen year old sister was wrestled to the ground and arrested for running towards her fatally injured brother and his mother was threatened with arrest if she didn't calm down when told. Tamir laid on the pavement in his local park in a pool of his own blood for four minutes before he was helped. He received no first aid by the police officers. He received treatment from an FBI agent that happened to be in the area. Apparently, his size was menacing at 5'7" and 191 lbs. Menacing enough that the armed police officer feared for his life from a boy armed with a toy. I suppose now, if your child has a growth spurt it can be used as an excuse to shoot them by substandard police officers....and they will be backed by the city that employs them.

It hurts to see the video. It was even more hurtful to hear what the city's attorneys of Cleveland Ohio said today about the shooting/murder of Tamir Rice.

Tamir and his family “were directly and proximately caused by their own acts. . .,” and they added that Tamir caused his own death “by the failure. . . to exercise due care to avoid injury.”

Later on the mayor apologized saying, "In an attempt to protect all of our defenses we used words and we phrased things in such a way that was very insensitive, very insensitive to the tragedy in general, the family and the victim in particular, So we are apologizing today as the city of Cleveland to the family of Tamir Rice and to the citizens of the city of Cleveland for our poor use of words and our insensitivity in the use of those words."

So as a mother of a twelve year old, I just want to say this....a twelve year old is a child. They are not held responsible if they drink, the person that gives it to them is. They are not held responsible if they are given drugs, the drug dealer is. They are not held responsible if they accidentally burn themselves on the stove. They are not old enough to consent to sexual activities, go to a bar, buy a pack of cigarettes, or drive a car. They are not put in the adult justice system if they are offenders because they are juveniles. If you fail to provide food, shelter, or adequate care for a twelve year old, they are taken away. They are not permitted to call the school and call in sick, a parent has to do that. They are not allowed to get a job, live on their own, buy certain video games without their parent's consent, or even see movies rated higher than PG13 without their parents in a movie theater. Hell, you have to sign a freaking permission slip for them to go on a freaking field trip for chrissakes, because they are too young to give permission on where the school takes them. They are not held responsible because at twelve years old they are not responsible....they are children.

He was being immature and "irresponsible", according to the city of Cleveland, because that is what kids do. Just like we did when we were kids. Most people in this country have played cops and robbers, or have made a poptart into a gun, or for God's sake pointed their finger like one when they were small. It's normal. What is not normal is being gunned down and then accused of being responsible for your own death because you did what all kids do. And I think adults have forgotten that. I think adults have forgotten what they were like at twelve years old.

My twelve year old is smart, funny, sarcastic, and brilliant. He is a great kid but he does stupid things, sometimes. And he does that because, like all twelve year old's, his brain has not yet fully developed enough to understand the ramifications and all of the consequences for his actions. But you know who does understand all of the ramifications and consequences? The guy that shot Tamir in the chest and claimed that he was a big twenty something year old black male. The guy who lied about the shooting. The guy who failed to protect and serve a twelve year old boy and ended up killing him instead.

If it wasn't horrible enough that an innocent child was shot because of a toy, to purposely and willfully not offer first aid to a dying child for whatever the reason, is completely unacceptable. Period.

I am not against the police. There are some great police officers out there. This is not about the decent hardworking police officers who do their job. This is about those who do not. As for the city attorneys and mayor, there is no apology you could give that would make what has happened, right. There is nothing that can be said that would bring Tamir back or erase the pain that his family will face for the rest of their lives. But if you were to give one, it might help to not bother to apologize about the wording some asshat lawyer made about responsibility and apologize for the death of the beautiful young man who had done nothing wrong but was failed in every way by the people that were supposed to keep him safe. Failed by the police officer that swore to serve and protect him. Failed by the justice system that excused his murder. Failed by the city that refuses to accept responsibility for his death and then failed again by the city trying to put what was their fault onto an innocent, unarmed boy. Because Tamir didn't kill himself he was killed by a police officer and there is a difference.

I do not accept the apology of the mayor of Cleveland. Such drivel is back tracking and covering up what appears to be the unequivocal stupidity of a group of people that can not seem to understand the difference between a child's life and an adult's decisions. I hear a lot of police officers say that at the end of the day they want to go home to their families and I get it, but maybe Tamir wanted to go home to his family that night too. And sadly, they both could have if the officer had not decided to shoot first and ask questions later. Yes, the gun looked real but even the 911 caller said he thought it was fake. There was not an orange tip on the end but the police officer didn't even know that because the toy gun was in Tamir's waist band. Even if there was an orange tip he would not have known until he pulled the toy out of the boy's pants as he lay there dying. Tamir was not given a chance to explain. He, much like the poptart kid, was judged guilty by an adult and punished on only the merit that something looked like a gun, except this time that judgment came with a death sentence.

For the mayor to say that the attorney's words were "insensitive" is ridiculous. What they said was hurtful, smug, ignorant, arrogant, and shameful. Insensitive is when you bump  into somebody and forget to say "excuse me". Blaming the victim is not "insensitive" it is inexcusable.

And you would think that of all the education the attorneys and mayor and city "higher ups" had to get where they are today, they would have more sense than God gave a gnat to understand that. But what do they care, Tamir wasn't their son.

To accept this behavior is folly. Tamir isn't my son and yet he is. As is the poptart kid, the kids that made legos into guns and got in trouble at preschool. So is the girl with the bubble gun and the kid drawing Halloween costumes in class. These are all of our children. To accept such horrendous behavior and consequences and lack of responsibility based on our fear is dangerous, not to mention wrong. The city should care because Tamir is their son. He is all of our sons and he did not deserve to be mowed down in a hail of bullets on a freaking playground and there is nothing that can be said or misconstrued to change that fact. To accept the way he died and the lack of responsibility taken by those that killed him is the same as saying that you accept this happening to every child. Because he...was...just...a...child. He was twelve.

Neurotic Nelly