I have been assimilated into Teen Skepchick

Alternate title: OH SHIT I HAVE TO POST LIKE A RESPONSIBLE PERSON NOW.

 

I’m having the happy freak outs. All of them. I bounced. A lot.

So yeah. Want to ACTUALLY read the nonsense I write? You can now do that here: http://teenskepchick.org/

I’m still going to have my shitty stream of consciousness depression-y posts, but things of value will likely go there.

Why Atheism+ is still (And always will be) necessary

There’s a point I see made… a lot. “I don’t disagree with the goals of A+, I just don’t see why it’s necessary”

Now, ignoring our goal of “get rid of the sexist shit in the Atheist community that is so prevalent”, let’s pretend there was no sexism in the Atheist community. There are still a lot of reasons we need to exist.

My reasons:

I’m a… transgender… genderqueer… thing, not quite a trans man but definitely not a woman, but still very femme, and somewhere on the masculine side of things identity wise… using he pronouns. Atheism+ gives me a place where I can be that, without everyone flipping their collective shits asking invasive questions and misgendering me. And while not everyone will necessarily understand, the questions that they have will be asked respectfully.

I’m super-duper suicidal at random times* even whilst medicated (sometimes? I’m bad at medicating) and nobody there shames me for being the horrible terrible thing that is… mentally ill. Or the horrible terrible thing that is NOT TAKING YOUR PILLSSSZZZ.

…and in regards to those things, nobody is going to say that I’m an abomination against god OR try to comfort me with “God made you that way” OR pray for me.

Then there’s the fact that we get to combine skepticism with social justice. We don’t just have to look at claims like, say, “Trans people are mentally ill” (a fucked up phrase that needs a lot of unpacking, more than a post worth) from a moral point of view; we have the community with the skill set to look at that claim skeptically, from a scientific standpoint, to back up our claims. Differences between the (more than two) sexes? We have science to use there too, not just feminist reasoning. Not that there’s anything wrong with arguments from morality or feminism, but when we add science to the mix, we’re fortifying ourselves.

 And finally, there are about eleventy billion Atheist orgs out there who claim to be “Good without God,” but in my experience they don’t like to really explain how. They refrain from taking stances on issues, like feminism and racism, and as a result end up sticking their feet in their mouths regarding such.

A+, though? We can tell you what we believe and how we believe it and why. We are, non-controversially, pro-feminist (though some, for good reason, would argue womanist), we’re anti-racist AND anti-islamophobic, we’re pro-trans AND genderqueer people, and those who aren’t cis but are neither of those things, we’re against ableism (and ableist shit like Autism Speaks)… we are essentially very explicitly caring about social justice issues, and are not vague about what those issues area. Whereas I’ve seen orgs go “We don’t have a mission statement! We don’t have a philosophy or ideals!”… we DO.  And I think that is important for getting real things done, not just pandering to the middle about how we’re Just So Good. Atheism+ says, “We are good. This is how.”

*-For the record though, I’m happy to say that I’m currently over my last bout o’ fun

Sex and Gender and the difference

I’m in the minority here. I don’t like how some people (that being, some enlightened trans-friendly social justice folk) deal with the distinction between sex and gender. I can’t stand how I get told that my sex is always going to be female, and that doesn’t make me less of a man, because chromosomes and… something else. But wait, this isn’t gender essentialism! It’s important! For doctors to know! We have to keep sex something we are assigned at birth, because otherwise doctor’s couldn’t treat us right. Or something.

I have a suggestion. Instead of giving doctors the ability to say that our sex- a term that I for one want to protect as being able to define myself- is something determined by certain biological characteristics, we create a new term to mean “the information a doctor needs.” Like… Biological Unimportant Little Label Stuff Health Institutions Track. Yeah. That works.

More seriously. How the hell does retaining a F or M on medical charts *really* help medical professionals? What does it tell them that couldn’t be more accurately obtained by testing and question asking that doesn’t involve pigeonholing people? Chromosomes? Nope. Hormone levels? No. Genitalia configuration? No.

When is gender even relevant medically in a way that wouldn’t be better served by asking specific questions anyways? The only gender specific thing doctors ever talk about with me is my period, and considering that I’m a quasi-dude who gets a period while there are cis-women who don’t… it would probably just be easier to ask everyone about their possible periodiness. And really, the same could be said for any biologically essentialist trait.

I for one would rather see a world where instead of having “male” and “female” categories used by medical professionals to make broad assumptions about people, we actually looked into what people were made up of on a case-to-case basis so we could make informed decisions and treat people ethically at the same time.

But I guess giving a woman an M marker and dehumanizing her is easier.

Why we don’t take our pills and why we’re still human

This post is in response to the fact that the world is terrible.

Well. This blog is in response to that. But this specific post regards a specific terribility. Namely, how the instant that a mentally ill person stops taking their medication, they become evil, irresponsible, terrible, sub-human non-people.  Even in secular, pro-social-justice spaces, Not Being Medicated is regarded as pretty much a crime. Because HOW COULD YOU, mental illness is clearly so heinous that you are but one missed dose away from eating a basket of kittens alive or something like that. As such, mentally ill people are obligated to take their pills. They don’t get choices. Nope.

Now, see here, that is fucked up something awful. Aside from the basic notion of bodily autonomy that is “you get to decide what goes into your body,” which of course doesn’t apply to mentally ill people because we’re not people with things like bodily autonomy, there are a lot of damn good reasons why we can say we don’t take our pills.

Some reasons can be summed up under the broad topic of “not fucking worth it.” Psychoactive drugs are not magic. Mental health care is not magic. Because these things are Not Magic, there are flaws. Some are minor, some are big and blinking with neon signage and their own zip code. For instance,  there’s money. My pills all together, after insurance, cost me $60 a month (on top of the co-pay at the doctor). If I was on a tighter budget, that’d be a choice between pills, or… cutting my eating for the month in half. Or not buying gas. And what good are pills to make you happy if you’re starving with a dead car? NOT MUCH GOOD. And that’s with insurance. Being mentally ill people, we sometimes have trouble with the whole “keeping down a steady job” thing. Which messes up the whole “having insurance” thing. Which leads to the fun little catch-22 of not being able to buy pills, because you don’t have a job with insurance,  because you can’t afford pills. Yay!

Then there’s the whole deal of side effects. psychoactive drugs have a lot. There’s nausea, dizziness, drowziness… I once took pills that made me drowsy and tired. Not like “Oh gee I sure could use a nap!” tired. Like, my-mom-found-me-passed-out-on-the-bathroom-floor tired. Same pills, for depression I will add, also made me suicidal. LOL. Now, yes, that’s a matter of them being the wrong pill, and you can always change pills. Unless… you go on to the pills I am now, which thankfully work because if they didn’t, I would be completely screwed. In short, miss a dose? You get a magical thing called brain shocks. They’re about as fun as they sound, I promise. And they can last a loooong time after you go off of that pill. (My doctor didn’t feel the need to warn me about this. If she had, I would have nope’d her to the moon.)

But wait, I could just fix my brain zap problem if I just stuck to my pills!

Except no. Because for me, sticking to my pills is not a choice. I try. I try really hard to. But with autism comes problems with executive function, and with depression comes lack of motivation, so all at once I have difficulty doing tasks like “take pills daily at same time every day” and on the other I have “Oh god, I need to take my pills… but I can’t even move. Lol guess that’s not happening.” This results in a bajillion missed doses, and even more doses when the same issues mean I don’t get my prescriptions refilled in time and just straight up don’t have pills. Of course, I could commit myself to an institution or live with my parents and have people who constantly remind me to take my pills, but that would honestly trigger so many issues in my brain that it would counteract any benefit the medication would give me.

Which leads to the third part of why it’s okay to hate pills, which is… the mental health system. I’ve written about the fun adventure I’ve had with it before. If you haven’t read those posts, the short story is “holy shit fuck the mental health system.” It’s an abusive, ableist structure filled with a whole lot of power-abusing authority and not enough people who are decent. I’ve seen abuse and neglect, I’ve seen terrified patients, I’ve seen threats and fearmongering, I’ve seen some shit go down in the name of helping people (helping them, my ass- it’s more an industry of fucking with them until they’re normal or killing them off) and it overall gives you a bad taste in your mouth for the idea of mental health in general. So when you’re surrounded by people  buying in to the hate perpetuated by abusive doctors, insisting that you’re not human until you take the magic pills, insisting that you relinquish all of your rights the moment you stop medicating yourself, insisting that if you don’t take your pills of your own free will you’ll end up being forced… the natural human reaction, the natural human rebellion, is to say no.

Say, “Fuck you, I am a human being no matter what I choose to ingest or what I choose not to, and I’m not going to do what you want.”

It might hurt to do it. It hurts to be off your pills, after all. Whether it’s withdrawal or the feeling of the pain of mental illness creeping back into your brain, it just hurts. But it doesn’t always hurt as bad as the memory of the “therapist” from the mental hospital you’d been abused in telling you that if you don’t admit yourself to their hospital you’ll just try to kill yourself. It doesn’t always hurt as bad as the scorn you feel cast upon you when you admit you’ve forgotten to take your pills. It doesn’t always hurt as bad as the inherent judgement embedded within the phrase “did you remember your pills?” And sometimes, saying no, saying that you will be a human being who can make their own choices no matter what pills you do or don’t take, feels sweeter than all of the pain in the world. Sometimes it’s just plain liberating.

So if someone confides in you that they didn’t take their medication for whatever reason, the answer is not to scold them. It’s not to call the cops on them. It’s not to threaten them, or declare them a threat.

Offer them support. They’re probably hurting in some form, from withdrawal or from hatred, and the one medication that mentally ill people can use more than anything- yet are so often denied- is unconditional care, support, and understanding. Give them that.

Brain Zaps

I’m tired of them.

Brain zaps are what happen if you miss a dose of venlaxafine (and other SSRIs/SNRIs). You know how your heartbeat feels? That’s what my brain zaps feel. Except. In my brain.  Weird-ass sensations of throbbing. Not like a throbbing headache, where it hurts and then you actually feel your heartbeat as the throbbing… but your brain itself actually seems to throbbing. Or lurching. Or jolting. Kind of like how you suddenly tense up when something scares you. Except HAPPENING IN  YOUR BRAIN. And all of my auditory input gets fucked over to- that throbs as well along with your weird little brain pulses. So if I’m hearing my air conditioner whooshing, instead of an even “whoosh” it’s a fucked up “Wh-wh-wh-whoosh” 

 

This happens every time I move my eyes. Or my head. It sucks, is what I’m saying. And no doctor or side-effects pamphlets told me this would happen (I didn’t find out it was a thing until I got fed up with them and started googling shit in response). Also, nobody asked “hey, are you able to take a pill EVERY SINGLE DAY consistently?” Because, I can’t. I’ve never been able to. Dunno why. Alarms and reminders and set times every day and all kinds of nonsense have never made it possible for me to consistently take a pill. So I end up where I am now… brain zapping.

 

Except this time I didn’t just forget a pill. If I just forget a pill I take one and it goes away in a few hours. No, this time, I’m out of pills. Because just as I can’t remember to take pills, I can’t manage to call my psychiatrist to refill my perscription. I’ve lost my concept of time just a little, but as far as I can tell it’s been anywhere from a month to a few weeks to maybe just last week that I’ve needed new pills but each time I call they’re busy/out of the office because I woke up too late or had to work or whatever, and they haven’t returned my calls… so I’m just learning to cope with my brain whooshing around in my head and hoping they just fill the fucking prescription maybe even before I go to work tomorrow because I don’t want to do a six hour shift where I can’t think straight. (it won’t happen)

 

I’m also wishing someone could tell me if “incapable to remembering to take pills and such” is a thing, maybe with a name or whatever? Because I’d like to be able to say “I’m this” instead of throwing up my hands and describing the problem and people chalking me down as lazy/irresponsible/whatever.

 

TL;DR BAAAAAAH.

I am autistic

I’m going to go out and say it. I’m going to stop worrying that I’m appropriating, that I’m a hypochondriac. I’m going to stop worrying about the people who think you have to be diagnosed when you’re three or it’s not real. Or that you have to be male. Or you have to do X or Y behavior and you can’t do this or that or whatever. Or that you can’t have developed any coping mechanisms to help you pass.

I’m going to say that, all things considered, it’s the diagnosis that makes the most sense, that makes me the happiest and describes me best.

Because I do things, and am things. Maybe these aren’t all autistic things, but these things are me.

I can’t form interpersonal relationships. Or, well, I can. But I’ve done it roughly… twice? In my whole life. And it was hard. Because I can’t take social cues and I can’t understand the context of conversations and relationships and I can’t nurture and grow connections with people because I straight up don’t know what I’m doing. It’s like I am one machine, and people are the other machine, and we just are not compatible unless you’re one of the few special people who has the adapter. This makes understanding the few people that I do entirely beautiful.

Again, I don’t take context. I don’t take cues or understand unspoken things. People tell me things, like that they know people like me, or that they know someone is joking, or that they know whateverthehell about whatever situation, and I don’t see it. Other people see in social situations things that are simply invisible to me, that I just can’t pick up.

I learn my social interaction. It is an art to me, something that I actively think about, actively study- by watching and observing the actions of other people, and mimicking them- and am only capable of preforming as, well… a performance. I take my phrases, I take my attitudes, I take my everything from the people around me and string them together with my own thoughts into conversation as best I can. I fuck up a lot.

I mimic like shit. Seriously, I pretty much am a mirror for people. I echo how people talk and how they act and all of that. I latch onto new dialects and ways of speaking and use them in my stock phrases, use them as templates for how I talk. I even do it on the internet- to a lesser extent, but still to a degree. Thanks to this, Yo Is This Racist made the way I type entirely awesome. When I’m not talking like a lolcat.

I have interests that are intense as hell. Seriously. Cats. My blog is Grimalkin my boy name is Kit after a nickname Kitty and I have drawn, crocheted, programmed and metal-cast cats. Numerous times. I like to meow.

Speaking of meowing, I like to stim. I stim vocally. I sing, endlessly, out loud, and apparently it’s awesome to hear. I do it because it makes me feel good, physically. I sing and hum when I’m feeling hurt, or sick, or sad, because the feeling of the vibrations make me feel better. I just like to make noise.

When I’m nervous, I have to be moving my hands. They will grab anything and play with it.

I move weird. I position myself weird. The most comfortable way for me to stand and walk is with one hand down at my side and the other bobbed up in front of me. I become very conscious of how I walk around people and make deliberate movements. It’s not usually possible for me to “just” walk around- I have to think about how I’m carrying myself and how I’m walking.

I like to just get up and move, sometimes. No, not like- I have to. Sometimes I have to get up and go downstairs and come back up just to be happy. Not do anything, just leave where I am and go somewhere and then come back. Mainly when I’m thinking or excited.

I cannot function with schedules. Apparently this actually is the opposite of what Autistic people are, but I’m listing it here anyways. Seriously, schedules and routines just straight up do not and never have worked for me. Not with planners nor alarms or… anything.

Also, I hate facial expressions. I apparently always need to be smiling? I think that smiling looks like when animals bare their teeth, and eye contact similarly looks like an animal threat. I do both because they are expected but enjoy neither.

I am a lot more things than all of that, I’m sure. But that’s all that I can think to list.

Fix the world

Stop telling me to avoid stigma. Stop telling me it’s easy. Stop telling me I’m so close, because you know damn well that’s when it hurts the most.

Stop playing with pills and talking about therapies. Stop taking away my methods of hurting myself instead of my reasons. Stop trying to fix me.

Fix the world first. Fix the systems, fix the failing structures. Move away the stumbling blocks before you chastise me for stumbling.

But failing that. Failing fixing the things that make me hurt. Let me hurt. Let me fail. Just once. Stop forcing me to defuse this time bomb that ticks inside my head and let me let it explode. Just once.

I’ll clean up the aftermath. I’ll put everything back where it was as best I can. Everything will recover, if you’ll just let me stop. Once.

It’s hard to tell

When you’re used to being depressed all the time and suddenly you’re diagnosed as bipolar and put on antidepressants, it gets hard to tell if you’re manic or you just feel good.

But the nice thing is you don’t care, because you’re not depressed.

Blogging Against Disablism Day: How depression makes everything harder

Depression.

It makes everything harder. Everything. It puts a wall up in your brain, makes everything you can do have to push up against that wall and makes your brain hurt in the process.

Every person who is short with you, every mistake you make that’s big or small, every moment of indecision and every moment that makes you worry, every failure, everything that can possibly be construed as negative is another brick in that wall. A big brick. Bigger than the bricks that people without depression have.

And all the good things that happen are nothing against that wall. Everything just bounces off of that wall like nothing, like a tennis ball, hitting it before falling to the ground and rolling away. Like nothing ever happened.

But the bricks stay and the wall stays in your brain and everything you do has to get past that wall and after no time at all, you’re so tired of trying to jump it that you just give up.

And there you are. Trying to read and the words won’t go together, trying to write and you can’t move your fingers. Everything you have to process is too much, every sound hurts because you’re so focused on jumping that wall for everything you have to do that the distraction of noise destroys your mind.

And FSM forbid you try to do something difficult.

And when you can’t read, when you can’t write, when you can’t listen or talk because that’s all too much; That’s just another brick in the wall.

So when people with depression can’t do the same things that people without depression can, that’s why.

Don’t say that non-depressed people get walls too, either. You get walls. But the bricks are small and loose, and you can knock them out with good things. You aren’t entirely destroyed when too many bad things happen at once. The world does not end when a few bad things happen; Unless you have depression. People with depression know what the end of the world feels like because we get that feeling roughly every damn week.

I would write more about depression, because I want a good contribution for Blogging Against Disablism Day. But I can’t, and that’s the gist of this contribution. Every word makes me jump this wall, every sound jarring me and every sensation pushing me off course of the next jump, and I need to stop for now. I need to stop and just sit by the wall. Just sit and do nothing.

So your facebook icon is now an equals sign; Your homework

Supporting gay people is easy, right? You just have to put up an equals sign on your facebook and you’re done, right?

Ha. Hahahahaha. No.

First, here’s a quiz.

Did you put up the sign just because your friends did?

Do you routinely- or even ever- say or do homophobic things? This includes calling people faggots. In case you weren’t sure. Or saying no homo. Or getting grossed out when a gay person touches you. Or voting libertarian or republican. Or hating gay people.

Do you only want gay people to be able to marry so your pet gay men can marry eachother and be all cute and have a quaint little wedding where everyone is fabulous in dresses regardless of what they actually want and you and the rest of the “Faghags” get to be bridesmaids and it’s just like your yaoi fanfiction?

Do you only want gay people to be able to marry so Hot Lesbians will marry eachother and then have sex with/near you inexplicably?

Would you be disturbed or even bothered if someone you know came out as gay?

Is changing your facebook icon the only thing you would ever be willing to do to support me and people like me?

 

If you answered yes to any of those, you fail. You’re a faux ally. I don’t need your support, and I don’t want your support. Your support is fake and bitter and it makes me wary of you because you might turn one moment from my support-via-facebook-icon to the person who thinks I’m an icky dyke who is totally going to gay you up, or whatever it’s supposed to be.

If you answered no to all of those, congratulations! You have homework.

 

Go out. Go out and help. When you hear someone say something hateful, speak up, because I can’t. Because when people say hateful things around me I start to say something, then I wonder if it will make them realize I’m gay, then I wonder how they’d react if I outed myself, if I should out myself, what they would do if they knew I was gay, how they would treat me, if they would hurt me, if I should just lie and say I’m just gay supportive, if that would hurt even worse… and once all of that has run through my head the chance has passed and it’s too late, but the chance will come again soon, and the same thing will happen, because it always happens, because none of the privileged, safe straight people say anything. Nobody ever says anything. Nobody ever has said anything. Ever.

I have literally never had anyone stand up for me or for whoever else around me is gay when someone used my identity as a joke, as an insult, as a threat. Ever. And now suddenly supporting me is a fad so all these pro-gay people are coming out of the woodwork who apparently didn’t exist before.

So prove that this isn’t just a fad, and actually support me. Actually make this world a place where I can feel comfortable being who I am, where I don’t have to quietly bite my tongue and deal with it when I’m the butt of someone’s joke because everyone else is supporting me.

And if you want to use facebook to do that? Fine. Find something real to do, though. Replace your equals sign with the picture of your duck face or you drinking or your genitalia or whatever passes as a facebook photo these days, and start calling out the people who say homophobic things. Challenge the people who go on Romney rants, tell people that their behavior isn’t acceptable, start posting statuses of the homophobic things you’ve countered so people know you’re actually doing something, actually make it clear to gay people that you really care and really support us.

 

But don’t just change your icon and declare yourself an ally. Change the goddamned culture.

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