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.

I’m forsaking technology

This morning I woke up, and I decided to play minecraft on my laptop.

And in doing so I realized that really, truly, I hate the shit out of technology. Not because it glitches and fucks up, but because it does so in ways that should be reserved for the ironic punishments of hell.

I’m pretty good with technology. It hates me with a passion though, meaning that I have a hilariously horrible streak of always buying defective technology. My computer now came with a video card that melted the instant I used it, which was replaced with another, higher end fucked up video card that gave me a nigh unfixable error message that didn’t even give you clues to what was wrong and was only fixed after years and months of hell, and even now, it still just doesn’t work the way that a high end desktop that’s been majorly fixed twice (okay, a lot more than twice) should work.

As in, I have an annoying laptop that just… it was an impulse buy, a rebound after my one and only love in all of technology, an eee pc, died because even though it was the greatest little computer I’d ever known, I bought the one out of fuck who knows how many that had a defective, computer-melting battery. Anyways, this laptop, with a video card I’d never even heard of and 4gb of ram that I think I bought from walmart still for more money than it was ever worth, runs minecraft better than my desktop.

 

Or so I thought. Because after fixing a  few easy problems- which I’m good at doing- and almost getting minecraft to work perfectly… “Display driver stopped responding and has recovered”

That error message being the same one that plagued my desktop for years, refusing to yield to any fix thrown at it until some obscure fix was found somewhere that I don’t remember.

 

And I looked at my now frozen minecraft, and my perfectly normal looking task manager that indicated no errors, and with complete serenity thought “Fuck this.”

 

And yes, I mostly meant “fuck trying to run minecraft on this rebound computer, I hate you laptop.” But, deep inside, I also meant “really, fuck technology.”

 

Because, really, fuck  technology. I’ve wanted to pursue it as a career for so long and it baffles me now to think why. Except, I know why. Because I’m good at it. Not with it, no, because I have a horrible reverse midas touch. But I can pick up programming languages really quickly, and I know quite well how to troubleshoot problems and work out solutions to things. I make ridiculous stuff out of redstone on minecraft, using logic gates and memory cells and all kind of ridiculous nonsense. Math and science have always been my strong points. I’ve got all the requirements to be an engineer or a programmer.

Except any joy or passion towards the field.  Yes, I do like robotics, and I do like it when programs work out and when I can create interesting things. But I also have this fear that some day I would perfect a robot with completely human intelligence, and mid-sentence it would stop and stare and I would look into its eyes and there would be a message saying “display driver has stopped and has recovered.” And then I would just stop right there too and curl up and cry. Forever.

 

And then there’s something else that I’m good at, that doesn’t hate me with a passion or make me loathe it, and that’s art. I actually enjoy making art, and it never gives me display driver errors. In fact, art almost never gives you random errors with no clear cause. I even have an actual passion for it- I’ve spent a full day, from 9am to 6:30pm in a metal workshop, just working endlessly on a project and only going home because the open lab was closed. I can actually have a desire to pick up crocheting or spinning, and I’ll actually start up new drawings for no reason other than being bored. If I start working on electronics or programming, I’m either bored or manic at 3 in the morning, or guilty about not working on it more. Mostly the latter.

And here’s another thing with art that technology utterly fails at; There’s actually smooth progression with art, where you can look at the drawings someone, [i]anyone[/i] made when they were two and when they’re 20 and there will be improvement, even if it’s slight. Things start shitty and progressively get better, with actually improvement always being made. Yes, shit can hit the fan art-wise, but that usually happens in the beginning and as time passing the fan has less and less shit and some day you might check out the fan and there isn’t any shit to be seen, just beautiful glistening fan. With technology, you start off with that beautiful fan and it slowly transmutes into shit. It doesn’t even bother to be hit with it. Sometimes it isn’t even slow, sometimes you go straight from beautiful and new to utter shit overnight and nothing can tell you why. I can’t say I’ve ever suddenly start trying to draw or crochet and I forgot how to move my hands overnight.

 

Of course, actual careers in art aren’t anywhere near as well paying or readily available as those in engineering or technology. Those fields have plenty of open positions that are high paying… but the same can be said of, say, prostitution or organ selling. And I’m relatively sure there’s less sexism in both of those combined than there is in engineering. Not that I’ve got anything against people who want to do any three of those things, I just feel like reserving my right to not be in a career that makes me want to cry all the time, or that is prostitution or black market organ trades.

And yes, it’s possible to keep art as a hobby and have a sad, life-hatey job like everyone else besides artists do apparently. But I can also have a career that makes me happy and a hobby that’s annoying that I can do when it isn’t annoying. Because if I actually got the one technology career I want, dealing in robotics, I would actually be more of a danger for suddenly turning on everyone and going berserk and killing everything than anything I make.

A crochet pattern! Octagon Net Stockings (pattern trial run)

This post has nothing to do with Atheism or Feminism or slow descents into madness or any of my typical topics. Instead, it’s about crochet! However, I will still categorize it under Feminism because LOOK AT MY LEGS, SSSSSSSSSSSSSS

I made these socks. These very long, very rainbow-y socks. This is their pattern, for a test run of my pattern making abilities because I want to be able to sell crochet patterns through etsy, while simultaneously not getting angry emails about how non-understandable my patterns are.

Crocheted octagon-net topless stocking

RainbowLegs

Pattern notes:

  • These stockings are topless, meaning they have no elastic or cuff to hold them up, and require a sock garter/garter belt/clips/other imaginative sock-holding device to stay up.
  • the four sts at the ends of the toe cap should be the first st you crochet in one row in the round, the two “middle” sts you would crochet in one row in the round, and the last st you would crochet. “first and last” stitches will be right next to each other as will middle stitches.
  • The toes of these socks are angled to fit toes more  exactly, so don’t be surprised when your toe cap is angled and not totally flat as you work these rows.
  • An octagon row counts as 6 st up for arch padding, or two complete rows of ch 6, dc and ch 5, sc 3 joined together.
  • For feet smaller than a women’s 8/men’s 6, ch 6 can be changed to ch 5 or ch 4 for the arch netting
  • when you make the netting for the leg, I would only recommend doing the “loosen your chain” option if you are making these socks for yourself, so that you may test the width on your own legs.
  • All shoe sizes are US

Less common stitches:

dc2tog: yo, insert hook into st. yo, pull through. yo, insert into next st, yo, pull through. yo, pull through first 4 loops on hook, yo, pull through rest of the hoops.

Yarn: 80 grams/~400 yards sock weight yarn, any color, for socks that reach thigh-high.

Gauge: 13 rows, 14 stitches across of sc should be approximately 2″x2″, which can be achieved using sock weight yarn and a G hook. If you’re making these for yourself, you don’t have to worry about gauge so much as how well it works on your feet. Chains should be tight.

Size: Using the outlined gauge and default numbers (no modificiations) these socks will fit a women’s size 8/men’s size 6 foot slightly loosely, 15 inch calves snugly with plenty of stretching room, and go 22 inches up the leg to stretch around 24 inch thighs with a little room still to stretch.

Toe Cap:

1- Ch 15

2- sc in the “top” of ch closest to the hook, sc across (15st)

3- turn piece upsidedown,  and repeat row 2 in the “bottom” of the ch 15, to begin forming the toe cap – (30st)

4, 5- begin crocheting in the round. inc in the two st at each end of the toe cap (4 inc total, first and last and middle stitches). repeat once around for row 5 (38st)

6 – 13- inc in the two st at one end of the toe cap (2 inc total, just first and last OR middle sts. Use different sts for each sock- if one sock is first and last, the other should be middle sts). Repeat 7 more times (54 st) This should make a toe cap wide enough for a women’s size 8/men’s size 6 foot. For a smaller or larger foot, you can add or remove repeats. For your own foot, repeat  this row until the toe cap is as wide as the width of your toes.

14 – 21- sc around for 8 rows. You can also increase or reduce this number as you feel necessary. (54st)

Arch padding and netting:

22-24 sc for 27, or half of your st count at the end of the last row if you altered the increase number. turn. repeat two more times for three rows of 27 up in total. Do not turn at the end of the last row (27)

25- ch 6, skip 3 on the sts “below” the rows of 3 and dc. repeat 5 times or until you’re 3 st from the end of the “below” row.  ch 6 and sc onto the near end of the 3 rows of 27. This should give you a total of 7 little “bumps” if you started with 54st in your toe cap (the default)

26-28- repeat rows 22-24 for another 3 rows of 27

29- ch 2, sc onto the 3rd ch of the closest ch 6. Sc for 3. ch 5, and sc onto the 3rd chain of the next ch 6. Sc for 3 again. Repeat the pattern of ch 5, sc 3 until the end of the row of ch 6. ch 2, sc onto the near end of the 3 rows of ch 27.

30-45- repeat rows 22- 29. for row 25, dc onto the middle of the ch 5 of the row below.  You should have the same number of bumps as in the first row 25. Repeat two more times (3 octagon rows total) for a sock that will fit a women’s size 8/men’s size 6 foot. For smaller feet, do not decrease the amount of octagon rows but decrease the ch 6 to a ch 5 or ch 4. For feet larger than size 9/7, begin adding more octagon rows. A good formula to go by would be one octagon row for every two sizes above 8/6

Be sure to end the rows with a ch5/sc 3 row, not a ch 6/dc row.

Heel:

46-57- for a sock with a 27 st padding, sc across for 26, turn, leaving the last sc unworked. Repeat this pattern (sc across one less than the row, leave last sc unworked, turn) 11 more times or until 15 st remain on top (12 total times) (15)

58- sc across, sc2tog the space under the st and the next st down. sl st to the bottom of the st to smooth the edge. Turn. Repeat this pattern of “picking up” sts until the whole heel is picked back up and you have the number of sts “active” that you started with at row 46

Netting:

59- turn, ch8. Skip 2, dc2tog. *ch6, dc2tog.* Repeat the pattern between *’s until you are 9 to 12 st from the end of the heel.  If you started with 27 st, make the last dc2tog a regular dc. Otherwise:

If you have 12 st to go until the end, do three more skip 2, dc2tog as normal

if you have 11 st, change the last (of three) skip 2, dc2togs into a skip2, dc

if you have 10 st, change the last two (of three) skip 2, dc2togs into a skip2, dc

if you have 9 st, change all three skip 2, dc2togs into skip2, dcs

This way you should end the heel with the last st at the end of the heel.

ch 4, dc onto the top of the nearest ch 5 from the arch pad/netting rows. Repeat this pattern, making the ch 4 a ch 6 until you dc onto the last ch 5. ch 4, sl st onto the second ch of the ch 8. bind off.

leg:

60- slst onto the second ch of the middle-most ch6/dc on the back of the heel.* sc 3, ch5. sc onto the second ch of the next ch 6. Repeat from the * around until you meet back up with the first sc 3 you made.  sc 3 across.  sl st into the middle of the nearest ch 5. ch 8. ^dc onto the middle of the next ch 5. ch6. repeat from the ^ around until you meet with the initial ch8, and slst onto the second ch of the ch 8. sc 2 up onto the ch8, turn, ch 5, and join to second ch of the next ch 6. Continue on with the pattern after the *.

61-64- continue on with the pattern established in row 60.

65-71- continue on with the netting pattern, increasing the amount of each ch by 1 (i.e. dc, ch6  becomes dc, ch7). Alternately, loosen your ch 6/ch5 sts to allow for greater width

72-77 continue on with the netting pattern, increasing the amount of each ch by 1 again (ch 7 now ch 8, etc) and increasing the sc 3 to sc 4. Alternately, loosen your ch6/ch5 st more.

Answers

I’m on the internet.

Right now I could go on google and type in whatever stupid, frivolous question I could think of, and I’d almost definitely get an answer. Anything, from how to fix virtually every computer problem I’ve ever had to what to have for breakfast. I can look up how to draw a dog’s nose or find fifty thousand pictures of cat skeletons. I can look for rainbow cat socks or reviews of chest binders or movesets for baby electric spider pokemon. Really, just, endless trivial shit.

But right now, it’s that time of night where all of my energy is gone, and all of my composure and my willpower, where I’m exhausted enough to just go to sleep, and then depression steps up. Like it’s a routine. Go through the day and feel okay and then at night everything falls apart and crumbles. And depression takes over. And I’m exhausted, and I can’t sleep, because my mind is spinning circles around itself, tearing itself down, tearing down the world around it, and there’s so little I can do to quiet it down, to make it let me sleep. 

And eventually after my brain has gone and devastated its surroundings it lets me sleep, once it’s gotten what it wants and terrorized me enough for the night. And I sleep, and in the morning everything is all built back up.

But every next night, everything is torn down a little more, and every next morning, everything is built back up a little less. Every day I’m going through my life with the world just a little bit shabbier than it was the day before, and then that night my brain takes that day that was just a little worse than usual and makes that night that much more hell, so that my next day has a little bit more hell too. And logically I know that if things keep getting just a little worse, if things just keep getting a little more broken down, eventually there will be a day when everything is gone and there’s nothing left to break down and nothing being built back up by the morning.

And I won’t know what to do then. I don’t know what to do now.

 

I could look up the answers to so many things, I could find the answer to any trivial question I have in mind. but there’s one thing that there isn’t an answer for. It’s what I’m supposed to do, how I’m supposed to keep going on, how I do keep going on, how every night can feel like too much to bear, and yet it keeps ending up as The Night Before, because then I’m on to Tonight and that’s the worst, that’s the worst it’s ever been, and I don’t know how I keep going. And then Tonight becomes Last Night and somehow it just keeps going. I just don’t understand. Why, I understand why. I understand why the worst night of my life happens every night and yet still turns into an average morning and a normal day, because no matter how much it hurts the clock keeps ticking and the hours eventually ascend into the morning and I finally catch a moment of enough quiet to sleep. I understand the Why. But the How. I don’t understand the How. I don’t understand how the clock keeps ticking, and how the world keeps turning, and how I keep going- not how emotionally or logically I decide to keep going, but how I do physically. How there’s so much hurting and endless unbearability, and I don’t just overload, and shut down completely. I just don’t understand, and I just don’t know. I don’t know how.

And I don’t know what to do. And there’s nobody who can tell me.

Gender Neutral Pronouns, part two.

(warning: transphobic language)

They still suck.

I’ve been thinking more about why, though, besides completely failing at neutrality.

The thing is, one of the go-to ways to insult trans people (particularly women) is to refer to them with a bizarre slurring of gender nouns and pronouns. There’s “shim”, she and him combined. Shemale, she and male. 30 rock likes to remind me why I never watch the show with “Shman” (she and man). Then there’s he-she which doesn’t even bother slurring two words together.

 

So we’ve pretty much got a precedent of “slurring two gendered words together = transphobic slur.”

Can anyone explain to me how, while combining she and him together to form “shim” is a bigoted way to refer to trans people, combining her and him to for “hir” is a totally legit way to refer to nonbinary trans people?

Seriously? Anyone? While taking into consideration that the whole pronoun slurring thing was meant to be insulting by telling binary trans people that they’re neither male nor female, but some weird unnatural middle ground?

Really. I’m just, not keen on the fact that “the” nonbinary pronouns follow the exact same format of a type of transphobic insult that derives its insulting aspect from first saying that nonbinary people are unnatural middleground freaks, and then comparing binary trans people to us, the unnatural middleground freaks.**

We basically saw the transphobes create a word structure saying “YOU ARE AN UNNATURAL SLURRING TOGETHER OF THE REAL GENDERS IN THIS WORLD” to binary trans people, and nonbinary trans people stood up and said “HEY WAIT, YOU’VE GOT THE WRONG TRANS PEOPLE, WE’RE THE UNNATURAL SLURRING TOGETHER OF THE REAL GENDERS!”

And then I’m wondering how reclamation factored into this. Assuming that hir and shim are pretty much identical save for the specific pronouns used and the ease of pronunciation (I’m pretty sure transphobes would have used hir if it wasn’t so clunky), then they’re both anti-trans slurs. Therefor they shouldn’t be used… except in reclamation. But you have to be the affected group to reclaim a slur, and not just a similar group (which is why trans women can reclaim “tranny”, but trans men would edge towards appropriative to do so since it mostly isn’t used against them).

So either binary trans people reclaimed “hir”, and then… handed it off to nonbinary trans people? Or nonbinary trans people appropriated the act of slurring together two genders to make a word.

Or perhaps, on the day that whoever it was who first invented ze and hir got down to inventing hir, they totally forgot that the way they formed their progressive new trans-friendly pronouns was transphobic as fuck.

(Or the person who invented hir was just a feminist and wasn’t even thinking of trans people and just wanted a shorter way to say his/her and maybe didn’t even give a shit about actual trans people)

So possibly appropriative, possibly naive, possibly left-over table scraps.

Either way, hir: Making me damned uncomfortable at its existence and level of acceptance since forever.

 

Now spivak again.

I’ve been thinking some more on this, on why it isn’t used as much as it should be. It probably mostly is a bunch of people going “Well gee, I like spivak and think hir is shit, so I’m going to not use it.”

So I’m going to start using spivak. Not for myself, because I still like “he” best. But everyone else, you all  get to be em and emself and eir and all that from now on.

On gender neutral pronouns

They suck.

 

Now, I don’t mean that as any disrespect for those who use them, either for gender neutrality towards those with genders they don’t know, or as personal pronouns for themselves. I actually have a ton of respect for those people because they are seriously necessary for any acceptance of nonbinarism to happen, and I also envy those nonbinary people  who feel comfortable using the typically accepted gender neutral pronouns because… they have typically accepted pronouns (and I do not).

But the words themselves. The words suck. And that is why I alternate she/he pronouns, because I like that better, even if it leads to confusion. 

And, now, part of that is just me. I hate a lot of words and think that they suck for no reason. For example, the word chair is fucking awful. So my opinion is… not the best.

But besides my random hate of random words, gender neutral pronouns (or at least the common ones) are terrible. Because they’re terrible at their job.

The most common pronouns are Ze/Hir, and they are my least favorite save for Humanist, and nobody uses Humanist because everyone agrees that it is awful.

Anyways.

The thing about Hir? Pronounce it. Either you’re winding up with “her”, or you’re forcing your mouth into making a heeer sound on a part of speech that is usually pronounced effortlessly… which leads into people just saying “her”, whether intentionally, or because they don’t know the pronunciation, or because their words are slurring into that because keeping yourself from doing so is hard.

But aside from that, Hir also just makes me sad because it looks like you took him and her and threw them in a blender and called it neutral. And I don’t like my gender being equated with a haphazard slurring together of the binary genders. Which makes it feel like they’re considered the “real”  genders. And that’s insulting to someone who at least considers himself to kind of be a slurring together of binary genders, whether as being bigender or androgynous or… whatever. But if I identified as third gender, I’d probably be pretty annoyed to still just be considered a slurring together of the two I wanted to be considered separate from. Honestly, the only difference I feel between hir and he/she as pronouns are that usually, people using the former are acknowledging that nonbinary people exist. Usually.

Now, I do like Ze, because instead of a random combination of the letters from the “real” pronouns, it just follows the form of the pre-existing pronouns, making it feel less like a rough combination and more of a continuation of a series, as a nonbinary pronoun should be.

Ve/Ver/Vis has a similar set of problems with being actually neutral, but it comes combined with the fact that I can’t for the life of me keep straight in my head when to use Ver and when to use Vis… and on top of that, they’re even more clearly just binary pronouns that have been slightly changed.

And then there’s Spivak- E/Ey/Em/Eir/Emself/Emselves

It’s just Them without the Th-.

It’s actually neutral and not impossible to pronounce, but sadly nobody uses it. I don’t understand why. I would use it, except nobody uses it so I won’t.

 

Which is actually why gender neutral pronouns suck. Because for some reason we’ve already decided on a group of gender neutral pronouns and somehow we picked the worst ones, and now switching is hard.

 

The moral of this story is that I’m lazy and implacable and please just let me use he and sometimes she without asking if that means I’m really male or really female or whatever.

 

 

This post was better in my mind, I should go to sleep.

How to do surveys right

So I’m going to write about homestuck and social justice again.

MSPA just released a user survey, and I went to take it because I needed a homestuck fix and 12 new pages is not enough.

And then I got greeted by the best possible thing ever and I am just so happy and giddy and wonderful feeling right now.

And that thing was this;

“What Gender Do You Identify With *

Examples: Female, Male, Genderqueer, or Whatever you feel comfortable identifying with.”
 
here’s the thing.
 
90% of the time when I have to put down my gender, I have to choose Female because that’s my only option besides Male.
9% of the other times, I can choose other or “prefer not to say”. I can be an Other, which is better than having to just go with Female, which is… really invalidating. Like being Genderqueer is a frivolous hobby or something but when it comes time to be a real serious person, I need to pick my clearly Real Gender. At least picking Other doesn’t do that… but it’s pretty much the most straightforward example of othering you can get.
 
(and then I have to deal with the idea that there’s a good chance that the people making the survey don’t actually know that Genderqueer people exist, and they only include Other because they think that’s where binary trans people go, or to include the intersex people that didn’t get mutilated into a binary gender, or… they don’t actually know and think it’s some “PC gone MAD!” thing.)
 
But then there’s the 1% of times (Read; Only this time, ever.) That my actual gender is actually up there. I mean, yes, it’s an open ended box- but an open ended box could have easily been a copout. “I don’t know how to list genders correctly so I won’t list any at all”. But then the survey maker proved that no, it wasn’t that copout, by explicitly expressing that they understood that genderqueer people existed, and went so far as to let us know that we were an option
 
 
And it’s really, really nice.
 
Because honestly. Identifying as genderqueer kind of sucks (not that I regret it, or expected it to not suck, but it does). Because you’re not just asserting that you’re a different gender than you’ve always been perceived as, but that you’re a gender that the other person probably doesn’t even know exists, much less acknowledges as real. And even in the most social justicey circles… people aren’t perfect, because they’re trying to still reconcile your identity with their still possibly very limited understanding of it, and you get the “sooo you’re a trans man/trans woman/trans man lite/trans woman lite/still female/still male” or “You use x pronoun so you’re x gender?”  or just the treatment of genderqueerness as something new and exotic. And it all screams “THIS IS TOO DIFFERENT AND NOT AS REAL” even by people explicitly telling you the opposite.
 
But when your gender is just included, alongside Male and Female, not as an other or an afterthought… it doesn’t have any of that othering subtext. And it is refreshing. So remarkably refreshing.

Other People and depression and suicide

Other People are so weird about suicide, and depression. By Other People, I primarily mean people who have never had depression… but for some odd reason this category also includes people who have had depression. Of course, it’s worth noting that those people also tend to have some inspirational story about how they beat their depression by doing some cardio or cutting gluten out of their diets or some similar bullshit that will definitely work for you if you would just try it and believe and clap your hands or something.

 

But anyways. Other People. Which is really just short for “people who do not fucking get it.”

Here’s the thing. If people responded to physical* injury and emergencies the way that Other People respond to mental illness, it would basically be completely ludicrous.

Imagine someone sitting next to a person who has been in an accident, who’s been shot or stabbed or <i>something.</i> Whatever it is, they’re bleeding. And this other person is sitting there, giving them inspirational speeches, telling them about lights at the end of tunnels and the future and all of the things that they could do if they would live, and sincerely believing that by doing so, they’re going to will this person’s body to stop bleeding, to will their blood back into their veins or magically change the amount of blood  that the human body can lose, so that in the end, the person doesn’t die. Because they gave a speech about willpower and believing in yourself, or something.

Silly, right?

Except, that’s how people treat those with depression. Like all we need is to have someone tell us that we’re really great (or really selfish, which is employed far too often) and that therefor we just need to believe and use our willpower and go for a jog or something and the magic suicide problem will go away. Like we need to hear a speech about perspective and our lack thereof or about how much better it gets and we’ll be dumbfounded, completely in awe of the idea that <i>really, you mean things would be better if we weren’t being driven to suicide by our own brains?</i> Like we haven’t heard literally every anti-suicide-stop-being-depressed speech in the book and even a few from the movie adaption.

Or, imagine something different. Two people, walking on an icy bridge. One starts to lose their footing. The other doesn’t notice, which, hey, maybe they’re just not very attentive. But the other one starts to really slip, and now they’ve fallen, and they’re starting to slide to the edge, and the other still doesn’t take any real notice. Not that they don’t see the person slipping, it just doesn’t register for them as something to pay attention to, or care about. And now the other person is falling off the bridge, perhaps clinging to the edge for the moment while the other watches them, still not taking notice of any danger, still not trying to help.

And then they slip off the edge, and they fall down to whatever there is below. 

That’s when the other person notices. And they rush down to them, wherever they are, and they’re shocked, so shocked, that now this person is down there at the bottom of the bridge. They didn’t see them falling coming at all. And now while the person who fell is bleeding and broken and dying, they’re giving the speeches about how they just need to believe in themselves, maybe they’re doing a bit of blaming them for falling off the bridge, perhaps even they’re telling the person who fell that they need to call an ambulance. Of course, in some instance the person who didn’t fall is chastising the one who did for interrupting the schedule of their day with these falling-off-a-bridge shenanigans.

I mean, maybe. That’s if they even noticed when the person fell off. Which is optional in this scenario, really.

But let’s go back a bit. What if instead of falling off straight away, the person on the ledge is clinging there, with a death grip on a railing, or perhaps just digging their fingers into the ice for dear life and holding on as hard as they can. And they can’t pull themselves up, but it would be an easy feat for someone else to do so. Maybe even the person they were walking with.

Except for one problem. That particular person has a thing for stomping on the hands of people clinging to the edge of bridges (they’re always surprised at the resultant fall, of course). And maybe the clinging person doesn’t know if they’re in a stomping mood today. Maybe they just happen to know that they wore their cleats today. Maybe they actually seem nice today, and at worst they’re only wearing bunny slippers, but the risk is still incredibly great.

So now the person on the ledge is doing a risk analysis in their head as they hang there. The other person hasn’t noticed them hanging yet. They could call out to them, ask them for a hand up, but they’d risk turning their attention to their stompable hands. They could try to call out for help from someone else, and perhaps they would pull them up (if they don’t like stomping hands too) but doing so in the presence of hand-stompy would still alert their attention, along with angering them at how rude they were to ask someone else for help when <i>of course if they just asked they would give them a hand, how dare they suggest they would’ve stomped on their hands</i>.

Or they could just try to hang there until they leave, and hope that they don’t slip, and that someone nicer takes the place of hand-stompy. 

And they would know, no matter what choice they take, that they would be blamed for it. That if they called out to the person who might kick them off and were kicked off, they’d be blamed for falling. That if they called to someone else they’d be blamed for not trusting the first person. That if they held on on their own and eventually slipped, they’d be blamed for not telling anyone.

Now back to the bottom of the bridge, where the person who fell is now being “tended” to by the now <i>totally genuinely</i> concerned other person. Though, actually, the bottom of a bridge isn’t really great for this part of the metaphor. How about, instead, they’re both in a remote forest. And for whatever reason, the person who fell off the bridge in the first metaphor is still bleeding and dying. This forest being remote, both of the people’s phones are dead, so they can’t call for any kind of help.

The person who is injured has already realized this, and they’re trying to find other ways to save themselves and stop the bleeding. But the other person keeps insisting that they call 911, or get some bandages out of a nonexistant first aid kit. The injured person ignores them, and tries to make themself bandages out of leaves, just to stop the bleeding as much as possible. This makes the other person angry, as they insist that leaves are not the proper treatment for bleeding. The injured person still ignores them, because proper or not it’s all they have. Then it turns out that the leaves are poison ivy, and the other person takes them from the injured person, informing them that poison ivy is poisonous (to no surprise of the injured person) and therefor do not make good bandages, and that they just need to call 911 using their phone with no connection.

Spoiler alert, the injured person bleeds to death in the end. Because they couldn’t even have the improper methods of saving themself.

 

I sincerely hope that that all of that sounds ridiculous. It is. But it’s also, sadly, reality. That’s a perfect metaphor for depression; Or at the very least, my particular brand of it, due to the extra dependencies and gatekeepings that came with mine.

That really is what it’s like to deal with depression though- or what Other People are like anyways. They don’t see you when you’re slipping and falling, they hurt you when you reach out for help (if you even reach out, and don’t know from past experience that they’ll do such), they don’t care in the slightest until you’re dying and suicidal and when it’s dramatic and cinematic and when they can be the brave hero giving the speech to will your blood to flow backwards back into your wounds. And when you try to help yourself, to make yourself feel better, in ways that aren’t perfect or entirely healthy or proper, but still the only method that you have. And they insist that you do things that are impossible. 

For the record, in those metaphors, the moment of slipping off the bridge entirely isn’t parallel to the point of attempting suicide. That’s the moment of slipping into suicidal ideation. When you’re lying there at the bottom of the bridge, or in the middle of the forest, and when you’re already bleeding out and dying, that’s just when you’re starting to consider suicide. 

Because that’s what it’s like. I really loathe to call suicide attempts, suicide “attempts”, because it’s.. backwards. When you have depression and when you’re going through the clinically sanitized term of “suicidal ideation”, you’re not attempting to die. You’re not attempting to be bleeding. You are bleeding. You <i>are</i> dying. The only thing that can be construed as “attempts” are the attempts at living that you have to make every moment of your life just to continue having one. When people actually do try to commit suicide, they’re not attempting to die. They’ve stopped attempting to live. Not because they don’t care anymore and need to be reminded about perspective and given a speech, but because they’re out of attempts. They’ve been bleeding, and they hit the point that there’s no more blood to lose, that they’ve lost more blood than the body can survive without. They never attempted to lose too much blood.

And some of the people who are bleeding out can’t call for an ambulance, and they don’t have a first aid kit with bandages to cover their wound. Or they don’t have a therapist, or the ability to get one, or antidepressants. But usually they have something. Like illegal drugs, or thrill seeking, or alcohol, or running away, or self harm, or isolation, or anger, or sadness, or something else that people call wrong. And so those people try to take those wrong things away. They tell these people that these things are ruining their life, and harming their body (and again, this is no shock to the people told) and take them away.

And with them, they take away the life to ruin and the body to harm.

 

It’s legitimately scary to write about this. Because I know that it’s taboo. You can’t talk about suicide without ending your narrative with how it’s “wrong.” Or telling people the hotlines to call and the doctors to go to to get the help that they totally didn’t know about before (and totally hadn’t used before). Or trying to talk random people reading off the edge. Or telling people that certain coping mechanisms are wrong because they’re harmful. Or, otherwise, judging suicidal people and assuming that they’re basically idiots regarding their own minds.

And it’s also, just, scary. Because I know that there are internet vigilantes out there. Vigilantes who look for people who talk about being suicidal and try their damnedest to send the police to their home to force help upon them. And I know that that thought terrifies me. Not just because of the stories about the police who shoot down people who are considering suicide which, really, should be enough. But because I’m in the scenario where I’m hanging off the bridge, and I want to call for help, but the people who are supposed to help me are the ones that like to stomp on hands. I’ve had my fingers broken from calling for help from the edge before. I know not to do it again, and I know that I have to hang there. I know not to call for help while they’re there- but if someone else, some internet vigilante did it for me, it wouldn’t be in my control, and I’d have a be-cleated stomper at my hands again. 

(Internet Vigilantes are Other People too)

 

*- it is worth nothing that depression and all other mental illnesses [i]are[/i] physical, due to their being part of the brain. But for ease I’m making an arbitrary divide between “physical” injuries and illness and brainy ones.

Dark

I’m afraid of the dark. At night turning off my light is the last thing I do and then I instantly go to sleep because staying awake is too terrifying. But I can’t be  terrified of the dark when I’m asleep.

 

Except sometimes I have nightmares about the fact that I’m asleep and it’s dark.

 

Such nightmares have now woken me up for the second time this month.

 

I don’t like it.