Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Dear Katie Hopkins.....(reponse rant)

Dear Katie Hopkins,

In response to your article here, I would like to enlighten you a tad bit.

     I am one in four.

       The fact that I am willing to publicly say that I suffer from a mental illness is in huge amount to the people that have come before me. People that were braver than I am. People that even though they knew they would be ostracized and persecuted, still refused to be kept silent.

         You see, stigma has always been an issue for us. An issue that has before now, gotten us locked us away in asylums, had unethical medical experiments done to us, and left us to be housed in run down facilities, and treated no better than criminals. More recently, having us fear for the loss of our jobs, our security, and our rights as human beings. In some countries, even today, being diagnosed as mentally ill can get you killed.

            I read your commentary of which I am certain was meant to fulfill the need to for you to feel original and bold. Trying to take a different opinion so it would garner more shares and reads... Whatever, you do you Boo Boo... Go ahead and tell us all about how embarrassing it is to you, that the royals have the nerve to speak up about mental health issues. Even if it means putting down a rather large group of people that you know absolutely nothing about.  With all due respect, you have no idea how people that suffer from mental illness live or the struggles we go through on a daily basis.


            I am not in the UK, so I can honestly tell you this, I wish my country spoke on such a level about mental illness.  I wish that it had the decency, the bravery, the honesty to be open about something so common and yet so misunderstood. In a country where twenty two of our military vets kill themselves every day, in a country where suicide is the tenth leading cause of death, in a country where people are terrified of anyone monikered with the umbrella label of mental illness, I would be on my knees crying and thanking my government for finally addressing mental illness the way your country just has. Because my country doesn't. We are not and have never been a a priority. They don't see us, they don't hear us, and they certainly do not speak for us. They don't care about us and we know it.

And here you are complaining.....because you are tired of hearing about it?

            The reality is you have no idea what it is like to live with mental illness, and honestly, thank God for that. Your children don't have it. Your family is normal. You have no idea the disruption  mental illness causes. The pain, shame, and anger. The treatments and therapies. The negative self talk and deeply wounded self esteem. The feeling of being inadequate, the guilt of not being like everyone else. The loss of jobs, friends, and in some cases family. And if that all is not enough to deal with we then have ignorant people like you that give us the shifty eye, that label us, that spread misinformation about us or our diagnoses, or as in your case, want to silence us altogether. The kind of misrepresentations we have all come to know, that people like us are dangerous, scary, unhinged, or weak. That we are just not trying hard enough to be normal or happy or whatever it is you seem to think we aren't being enough of.

       I get that you don't get it.

       It  isn't your fault that you are, in fact, wholly ignorant of anything dealing with mental illness. What is your fault, is that you took it upon yourself to use your very large platform to further stigmatize a group of individuals that could have been helped by that platform. Instead of doing research and talking about mental illness and being honest, you  decided to go against the grain. You wanted to be different. You wanted to be edgy and relevant which actually  just made you seem judgy and uninformed.

     People like me, people that suffer from mental illness every day, are used to people like you. People that think they know what it is like to live our lives and deal with our struggles. We listen and nod politely as you give ridiculous advice as to how to buck up and hold ourselves together (as if you had any real idea what we were going through). We see you when you treat us differently after you find out that we have a diagnoses. We are aware of it when you ignore what we say because our diagnoses has become our whole identity to you and therefore everything we think or say has become tainted by it in your eyes. We know your kind.

     The difference between us and you is simple, we are fighters. We fight everyday to keep going, to educate, to live. We are always this way and not just this way when it suits us to be so. We are always strong because you damn well have to be to get out bed in the morning and face the day. And yeah, maybe that sounds cliche to people like you, but we do it every single day.

 What Prince Harry and Prince William are doing that you just can't seem to wrap your head around, is they are offering support. Support for the hundreds of thousands of people that suffer from mental illness.  They are making it okay to talk about...finally.  Being open about mental illness creates possibilities to be honest. It promotes awareness and understanding. It actually saves lives. People that are not afraid to reach out for help do so because they feel like they can be open and honest. Whether you see it or not Prince Harry and Prince William are setting a standard. A positive standard on how people view mental illness. That may mean nothing to you, but it means the world to people like us.

            So I ,for one, hope that Prince William and Prince Henry continue to "bleat on about their sanity" because in doing so they are helping others. Something that sadly, your article didn't do today and that's a shame. We could always use more people supporting us and lifting us up instead of putting us down because honestly, we deserve better than being told that we should suffer in silence like we have been told for decades. We deserve better than to be ignored, and today we deserved better than your paltry and inflammatory article that you spewed in an attempt to look indifferent.

         One in four people world wide will suffer from a mental illness or a neurological issue in their lifetimes, and if you just took the time to look around you would see that we are just as worthy and valuable as everybody else. We are just as magnificent. We are trying to change how the world sees us but we can't do this all by ourselves. We need everyone to fight the ages old misrepresentations and stigma that do not define us. They were never true to begin with.

 Please try and do better by us next time, believe it or not, we are counting on you too.

Thanks,
Neurotic Nelly

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Always...

    My Grandmother was also a severe OCD sufferer. She was proud of my blog. She wanted me to keep going, to keep fighting, to keep reaching out to people. She believed in me, always. Since childhood when she would say goodbye to me, she would say to me to be a good girl. I have always responded with,"always". It was our thing and since she is no longer walking beside me here on earth I want to dedicate my blog to her. She believed that we should never live our lives in silence and fear. That we should always look to the light. That we should look out for each other and so because of this, I will be signing off my blog from now on with my response to her as I always did when we said goodbye. This for you Grandma. I miss the hell out of you but I will be good. Always.
------
    
    The plants have started to grow from the hardened ground again. The buds are forming on the tree tips. The frost has melted away to reveal the yellowed grass underneath. Rebirth. Refresh. Regrowth.

     I feel the dredges of seasonal depression leaving my body. The clouds have lifted. The sun has come out to play with me again. I am reborn of the Spring. I am the phoenix that rises from the ash or at least I was telling myself that I was, anyway.


    And then I read twitter...

    Sigh.

    Again, there is this debate over whether we should use the term PureO to describe some OCD symptoms. Medical professionals tend to be uncomfortable about the word. They feel it connotates a false narrative about our symptoms and complicates the diagnosis of OCD. "It can give people the wrong idea since it stands for purely obsessional"

    If there is one thing I have learned about OCD, it is that it is always complicated and has always given people the wrong idea.


    I am a PureO and I don't care what the "medical professionals" feel about the term I use to describe the hell I live in. I am sorry if it feels like the label that many of us use is somehow lacking in description. No actually, I am not sorry at all. I live it and you don't. I refuse to be shamed into submission.

   The doctors help us. I know that they are important but how can they tell me how to describe my own mental illness that I have had for 34 years? Their years at college do not trump three decades of living with this disorder. I appreciate them. I respect them. I am simply asking that they respect how we choose to describe our torment (those of us that use this term).

   Being a PureO is just a sub name of OCD. Anyone who claims to be  a PureO knows this. And even though we suffer from OCD, our symptoms often are excluded, overlooked, and misunderstood.

   We are firmly aware that we suffer from OCD. It is a way to describe to others what we go through. Yes, we compulse too but the difference is that you will never see it. Why is it so wrong to be able to hold on to a label that makes us know when other people that suffer like we do have the same symptoms? If anything I think it reaches out to people who suffer from this particular symptom of OCD to realize that they do have OCD. If counting isn't your thing but saying mental mantras are, you might not know that you have OCD at all. Many of us are not afraid of milk like Monk on television. What about those of us that do not fit the typical stereotype of an OCD sufferer?

    Honestly, and this might make some people mad at me for saying but I would have rather stayed the way I was when I outwardly compulsing rather than how I am today. The obsessions have taken over my life in a way that they had not previously. This is just my opinion, being PureO is harder for me than were the more common OCD symptoms I used to have. Both of them are absolute hell and steal away bits of your life but being a PureO with the harm fears, the sexual fears, the mental images that are like some fucked up horror movie you can't turn off- yea, no. I hated the compulsions and the torture they created and the humiliation doing them in public created, but the torture of my mind and absolute fear I was turning into a monster made me long for the familiar. Every OCD sufferer has intrusive thoughts but PureO's have them in full force and mentally compulse to try a quell the anxiety. Trying to describe these obsessions, these disgusting horrid intrusive thoughts, to others is beyond terrifying and people oftentimes misunderstand that the thoughts are not wanted and that you will never act on them. It becomes a sickening taboo that keeps you sick. Being a  PureO has been my hardest challenge. To say otherwise would be a blatant lie.

   We made this label and maybe just maybe someone should consult people that actually have the mental illness before they make a decision on our behalf. I mean, really, who is it hurting? People that don't understand OCD?......Please. A label like this isn't going confuse them any further if they can't even bother to do a simple google search on what we go through as OCD sufferers. I mean, is this mental illness about us and what we go through or about other people who don't have it but have no problems with judging the people that do?

     I refuse to use a different term to describe what I go through. Popular or not, it is how I live. I will not sanitize that or wash it clean to make other people less uncomfortable. My life is not a wall that needs to be white washed, painted, or prettied up. It is what it is. Ugly, hard fought, strong, fearless surrounded by anxiety, and a conundrum of craziness that I battle every single day. I will not be told to pipe down or use a term that, I feel, lessens what I go through or in my mind, inaccurately describes my current symptoms. I defy that notion. I refuse to do it and I am unapologetic about it. Deal with it. I know I sure as hell am.

    I have OCD. I am a PureO. You don't have to like the term I use but that makes it no less descriptive to what I go through. It makes it no less truthful to how I feel. It makes it no less meaningful to me...

        Whatever mental illness you have or mental event you are going through right now, you are worthy. You are heard. Your life is important and meaningful. You are one of us. Be kind to yourself. You matter more than you will ever know. You are not alone.

Always, Neurotic Nelly.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

What I have Learned...

I have learned to hate lilies. The smell of them will always take me back to a small half darkened room in tiny nowhere Texas where my grandmother lay, her face puffy in death. A small room we drove fifteen hours,one way, to sit in and look at the one person in this world that made me a better person.

I sat there in silence trying to understand how the world could go on when someone so wonderful had ceased to be with us any longer. How can people smile and go about their days? How does one prepare for this strange anomaly? That the world for some can be completely shattered and yet for the rest of the world it is as if it never happened....The world has no moments of silence, no sounds of wailing. The sun still rises, the birds still sing, the world still continues as it did the days before.

I remember being told we needed to eat dinner after the funeral. I thought of how preposterous  that sounded. We were going to eat and yet my grandmother was lying in some drawer somewhere like precious holiday china, unable to ever eat again. How horrific. How bizarre.

I let hot tears sting down my face as we drove across the Texas border to go back home. I felt I was leaving her behind. Her body not yet cremated. I felt like I was abandoning her. How do I explain such utter nonsense to myself? How am I not supposed to feel like I left her there in that place, alone?

 I am dead inside. I want to feel something but my mind has shutdown. I am currently on auto pilot.

 I yearn to self destruct.

 I would drink myself into a stupor but  I can not stand the taste of alcohol. I want to do what I used to and eat my feelings. One cookie at  a time. I want to drown my emptiness with food. Fill my stomach with acid and grease. But alas, as a diabetic, I can not do that. I want to smoke cigarettes until I can't breathe anymore.....but I quit a month ago and Grandma would be so disappointed if I picked one up again. Hell, she would be pissed if I did any of these things.

So, I am here writing these things out. Pretending that it helps to type away my misery, which I can assure you, is still completely there. Maybe, in time, this will be  helpful. Not today, but maybe tomorrow. Or the next day. Or the next.

I have no idea. I have no answers. I am uncertain of the truth right now.

I want to be inspiring and leave meaningful words and hopes for you all but I am afraid that right now any words I have are choked back with tears. Any meaning they may have had seems to have died away with the birth of my grief. Any feelings I have have been buried deep in the heart of Texas where I last said good bye to my Grandmother.

I miss her so much sometimes it feels like I can't breathe.

I hope someone tells me this shit gets better over time because it really doesn't feel like it's getting any easier.

Anyway, I hope you all are doing better than me right now and I hope you all are having a great weekend. Hopefully, my next post will be less morose and macabre. Till then, Neurotic Nelly.




Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Loss....Warning Trigger Material.

They are turning the machines off tomorrow, and I can not breathe. My heart aches. I wish I could be there to hold her hand. To kiss her cheek one last time. To whisper in her ear.

As it is, I called and they held the phone to her ear and I professed my love, my thankfulness of her being in my life, I told her over and over again how much she means to me. They said she nodded and teared up.

I did not cry to her because I did not want her to hear my fear. My overwhelming sense of loss. I did not want her to know how afraid I am to live the rest of my life without ever hearing her voice again. The way she sings happy birthday off key.  How the palms of her hands are always warm but the tips of her fingers cold as ice. How she dotes on my, now, devastated children.

 Little flashes of thought run through my mind...how her purse used to smell like old spearmint gum. How she used to hold her hands over my ears when I had bad ear infections as a child. The sound of her voice when she spoke to me whilst my head rested on her chest. How she would call me sir and my sons ma'am as a joke. How she would tease me on the paper route that my clean hands were filthy and her ink covered hands were clean.  How she cried when she held my first born child. What do I do with these memories now? These bitter sweet memories that taste of tears.

Almost thirty eight years of memories and she was in almost all of them. How am I supposed to go on? What do I do? The weight in my chest is so heavy I have forgotten how to breathe. Every room I walk into is silent. Food has no taste. Sleep is elusive. I feel hollowed out.

I called again when they removed the ventilator.... I told her again how much we all loved her, how she was the best grandma a person could ever ask for, how I loved her bunches and bunches, which was her saying. Then I sang jingle bells to her. It was her favorite song. She always asked me to sing it to her, even in the middle of Summer.  I hope she heard me. She was no longer  responsive.


They turned off her machines today...she no longer breathes. My heart aches so fucking much. I wish I could have been there to hold her hand. To kiss her cheek one last time. To whisper in her ear.

I don't know how I will get through this but I do know that life will never be the same. I am better for having known her. Blessed for having been loved by her. I am utterly devastated. I do not know really what to say. The words escape me.

Goodbye my Grandma, my rock, my best friend. I miss you so much already.  My heart is broken.

Neurotic Nelly

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Willful....


   

If given the option to be willfully ignorant or willfully indigent, I choose to be willfully defiant.

   I am willful. I am one intrusive thought away from becoming the hillbilly hermit, the troll underneath the bridge, or the creepy castle recluse in some antiquated children's book..... Sometimes, it takes pure will power to just live. I have to fight or this disorder will take over and I will be damned if I am going down without swinging.

    Am I willful? You fucking bet I am. Willful, spiteful, ravenous.  with a stubbornness that burns stoic and impertinent. I am the loudly whispering insolence that only comes with a mindful defiance that burns itself with embers so hot it has etched itself in to the recesses of my soul. A spider like web of pure pigheadedness and sheer inflexible iron-will. I will myself out of bed in the morning. I will myself to brush my teeth. I will myself to leave the house and go to my appointments. I will myself to shower, shave, to brush my hair. I will myself to cook dinner and to eat. I will myself to walk outside and feel the sun on face. I will myself to help with homework, to do laundry, to talk to strangers. I will myself to sleep after an exhausting day of doing things I did not want to do.  

    I am not going to be told what I can and can not do. Not by my own disorder and not by anyone else. I am not afraid to stand up for myself anymore.

   I was being willful when I disagreed with was a friend  who claimed that I was privileged for being only mental ill.  I was being willful when I told her that I refuse to accept that something that has ruined my life should ever be called a privilege. I was being willful when I told her to go fuck herself when she continued to argue with me as if she had any idea what hell my life has been.

   I earned this dysfunction with hard work. Before this dysfunction was me being unable to function at all. My life may be screwy but it is now a life because of pure stubbornness.

  Yeah, I'm willful walking past those who choose to be ignorant with my gaze held forward and my head held high. I am not ashamed to be me anymore and the likes of supposed friends aren't going to change that. I accept no one in my life trying to tear me back down where I used to dwell. I will not go quietly into the night. I will scream, yell, claw, grab, and scratch my way back into the light. I am not a whisper but a sonic boom. I will not be unheard.

     I want to live. I want to taste the snowflakes on my tongue. I want to feel the breeze in my hair. I want to go out of my house and be out of my house which is both exhilarating and yet terrifying all at the same time and I am doing it one day at  a time... unapologetically, unabashed, unashamed, unafraid.

Because I am willful, therefore I am strong.

    This is my life and I will carve it out as best I can with whatever shitty tools I find along the road. I will claw at it with my bare hands if need be. I will tear out chunks with frozen fingers and broken skin. I will carve out my life regardless of pain, discomfort, or complication.   That could be the "crazy" in me, or my red hair talking, or just that I am very much my grandmother's granddaughter in that way.  I am busy carving my life out, with lopsided shovels, broken down spades, plastic forks, and tarnished silver spoons.

Yes, I am willful....and there is dirt under my fingernails again.

Neurotic Nelly

Friday, January 20, 2017

Wow Just Wow...

     I am not really a supporter of the media and Hollywood. I have issues with what I can only describe as hypocrisy.

   The way they present people with mental illness is defaming and misguided and has been such for decades. I have a hard time being supportive of a community who is certainly not  supportive of people like myself.

  Hollywood has claimed to have made it's cause to fight for minorities, the underprivileged, and the supposed ignored. They complain about how women are treated and paid in the arts. They even talk at award shows about how disabled people were referenced by outsiders with passion and frustration. But when it comes to depictions of the mentally ill coming out of their own camp, they are strangely silent. They have a lot to say and a lot fingers to point at others but where is the outrage when it comes to how they portray us?

   In the last twenty years Hollywood has put out maybe four movies that have represented mental illness and stigma with dignity and compassion. The Hurt Locker, The Aviator, Silver Lining's Playbook, and A Beautiful Mind were some of the most representative movies of the plight of people that suffer from mental illness released to date. In that same twenty years, they have released countless movies where those of us that suffer from mental illness are presented in a  magnificently misinformed way, steeped in stigma, and left to boil over on the stove with a side of bullshit that only some place like Hollywood could fashion.

    Hollywood does not usually depict us at all but most of the time when they do it is as mentally ill maniacal murderers, creepy stalkers, or the cruel  dangerous monsters that maim and rape. I just have to ask where is the outrage for that? Where is the shame for participating in the stigma spreading of our disorders for profit?

    How can Hollywood be pissed about a man being made fun of  for a birth defect and yet not be pissed about it's own people making movies that end up perpetuating a belief that ends up killing people by making them afraid to get help? A belief and representation that hurts so many by labeling them with false presentations?

   This....this is what they stand for? They will stand for everyone else and be mad for everyone else and yet remain silent when it is about mental illness that they actively contribute to. Really? Wow, just wow.

    I was horrified to see a movie trailer today called Split. It depicts  a person with multiple personalities abducting women and scaring them.

    First off, the actual diagnoses for that is called DID or Dissociative Identity Disorder. If you are going to make some big bullshit movie about it, at the very least get it's name right.

    The thing is, DID is not something that makes you a serial killer or mass abductor and honestly, I am beyond irritated about this movie.

    Lets be honest, There is no other disability  that Hollywood would allow to be used to imply dangerous behavior.

   This movie would never be called "Wheels" and imply that a man was a phsyco murderer because he was in a red wheelchair.

   It would never be called "Dresses" and infer that  the  character was dangerous because he was transgender.

That would be inappropriate and wrong.

It is the also just as inappropriate and wrong to make movies about the mental illness community and labeling them dangerous simply because of that diagnosis.


   There is nothing else that receives the unfair and biased damning that  Hollywood does to the mental illness community for entertainment purposes and profit.

   Movies are exciting. I get it, and I know that statistics aren't but that doesn't make them any less right. When the facts show that mental illness sufferers are twice as likely to be victims of violence rather than to cause violence, one would think Hollywood would get a new script and leave us out of the killer/slasher/murderer roles.

   And I am sure people will say that I am just being over sensitive to it but I live this life under the full weight of the stigma that movies like these help promote and propagate so yeah, I may be a tad bit fucking over sensitive about it.

I am angry and I don't even suffer from DID.

   I am angry that in 2017 we are still fighting to end stigma so we can save people that need help  but are too afraid to get it because of how they will be looked at, judged, and treated. I am angry that in 2017 movies are still being made making us all out to be dangerous maniacs when something as simple as a google search could prove how inaccurate that draconian thought is. I am angry that is 2017 and people will go see this moronic film call it horror and then go home to their normal lives and not think about the struggle someone with actual DID is going through. What everyone with the moniker of being mentally ill goes through daily.  As we try and do the best we can with stigma and misrepresentations all around us not only just blindly being accepted but also being actively promoted as entertainment. Especially, by the very people who claim to be tolerant and understanding of everyone's hardships, that is unless you are mentally ill I guess. I suppose when you struggle with mental illness it is not important or, at the very least, not as important as movie ticket sales.

Wow, just wow.

Neurotic Nelly