jadedmusings: (Supernatural - Castiel pass the ammuniti)
http://storify.com/CasualFolami/explaining-abuse

Basically it's me at four in the morning on Twitter trying to sum up thoughts floating around in my head based on some recent events. I think I did all right though I know I'll still get a, "Why aren't you cutting her out?"
jadedmusings: (NCIS - Ziva Anger)
[MASSIVE TRIGGER WARNINGS FOR CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE] Either scroll past this or click on the links with severe caution.

There is a sixteen year-old boy on Tumblr who calls himself a pedophile and admits he's sexually attracted to children, and people who respond to this with understandable revulsion and tell him to go away are the mean ones because, oh my god, he doesn't abuse children! He has no intention of ever acting on his attraction so why are we vilifying him?

And then he showed up to respond to a comment I made on [livejournal.com profile] sf_drama so he could defend a comic depicting one woman savagely beating another and calling her a c**t as "funny." All because she said she hated lolicon (and the comic itself was made in response to what is legitimate criticism of the inherent creepiness of lolicon as it sexualizes children; fictional children, yes, but children all the same). And, as you can see from the links it goes downhill from there.

And full disclosure here, I am more unhappy about a sixteen year old able to live in a world where he can be fucking supported for having a sexual attraction to children than I am about the entire argument I had with him over the comic. Maybe some of that has to do with something that happened to me when I was five fucking years old with a boy who wasn't all that much younger than Mr. Draven. (And fuck him for soiling a name from a movie I actually like.)

But I'm totally sure Mr. Draven will hold to his promise never to touch a child because we all know pedophiles are the most honest and trustworthy people on the planet. (Fuck yes, that's sarcasm.)
jadedmusings: (NCIS - Gibbs Headslap)


Someone want to explain this bullshit to me? I mean, strip away the fucking ridiculousness of a drama about a guy with a beaver puppet on his hand and you have a story about a guy who's depressed. See him suffer from Depression? See how it makes him pathetic? And look, the only way he can cure it is by engaging in bizarre and, dare I say it, "crazy" behavior.

I can't even really express why this thing pisses me off so much. Maybe it's the mockery of the hopelessness people with Depression feel. Here's a man, via a puppet, saying, "I'm worthless. Give up on me. Let me go." which is pretty much a translation of, "I don't want to exist anymore." You realize that right now there are people saying this, and they're ignored up until the point they actually try to take themselves out (possibly because none of the have thought to have a fucking puppet say it).

Yeah. As someone who has been in that pit? Fuck whoever wrote this shit, and fuck the studio that paid for it. And just you wait, somewhere at some point in the future, someone will try to open up about being depressed and a person will say, "Why don't you try doing like that Mel Gibson movie?" Some of them won't even be joking. Believe me, I've heard even more ridiculous shit from freaking licensed therapists.

There are better ways to portray Depression and other Mental Illnesses. This isn't it. That it's a wife beating misogynistic shitstain cast in this role makes it even worse.

And bottom line: A BEAVER PUPPET? ARE YOU EVEN TRYING ANYMORE, HOLLYWOOD?
jadedmusings: (Supernatural - Sam & Dean WTF)
Courtesy of a "I can't hear the point flying over my head" post made in [livejournal.com profile] ffrantsrants. In her tirade against supposed homophobia (in which she completely ignored those offended by fetishization of homosexual relationships, or incest, or the use of underaged characters as valid reasons for not liking certain types of slash fanfic), she managed to produce this little gem:

And if you are one, it's high time you either came out of the closet, or realize that your religious beliefs are completely and utterly ridiculous and that any retard can tell you that the Universe was created by the Big Bang and Jesus was probably schizophrenic, and even if he was sane when he preached he preached that everyone should be treated as equals, NOT that Gays are sinful and will burn in hell.

I completely missed the use of retard in my first read-through because my eyes saw the Shizophrenic jab first, but I did produce this less-than-polite response that will probably never be read because I was comment 153 as of this posting:

...Jesus was probably schizophrenic, and even if he was sane when he preached he preached that everyone should be treated as equals, NOT that Gays are sinful and will burn in hell.

It's all well and good to try and bash a religion that's being used by certain people to take away rights/keep everyone from achieving equality (not exactly fair, but whatever), but you don't fucking need to use mental illness as an insult. You insult everyone who has a mental illness and/or anyone who loves someone with a mental illness. You can choose not to be a bigot, you can't choose to change your brain chemistry so your mental illness magically goes away. Fuck your ableism. More to the point, fuck you and this entire shitty missing-the-point post.

Go read up on fetishizing of homosexuality (and yes, that includes femslash too), or realize that a lot of popular slash involves incest (Sam/Dean, Fred/George, etc.), which understandably creeps a lot of people out. Also, some slash fiction centers around characters under the age of consent and even though they're fictional, it's a squick for some readers.

It's too fucking early for this bullshit.

Having mental illness =/= Being a bigoted asshole.
jadedmusings: (NCIS - Gibbs Headslap)
Context is important!

I'm going to say something and I want you to repeat it after I say (well, type) it:

A person is NOT his/her illness.

I am, of course, speaking of mental illness. I am not Anxiety. I am not Depression. I am Jade and I am a human being like you. I deserve no less than to be treated with love and respect by my boyfriend, friends, and family. It is inexcusable for anyone to treat me as somehow less worthy of an equal, loving partnership with another human being because of something I have no control over.

My boyfriend is not my caretaker; he is my equal. My illness does not make me incapable of living an independent life, does not make me dependent on others in order to live. I am in a relationship because I choose to be. It does not make me unfit to be a mother, girlfriend, friend, daughter, niece, etc. No one in my life "puts up" with me. They want me in their life because they care for me, the person.

To reduce me to my illness, to say that my boyfriend is dating my illness and not me, is to dehumanize me. Dehumanization is what makes it easier for abusers to excuse their abuse. If you aren't a person, it doesn't matter how poorly someone else treats you. You should just be happy someone wants you around at all. I should know. I have been told this by others and told it to myself for years. As a result, I stayed in harmful and toxic relationships for years, romantic and otherwise. That's why it's important for me that it doesn't happen to someone else, it's why it's so important to remove the stigma of mental illness and why it's important to battle ableism whenever it rears its ugly head.

P.S.: Do not comment if you want to talk about how ~hard~ it is to be in a relationship with someone who has a mental illness. I was raised by a mentally ill parent so I know exactly what it's like when someone you love has a mental illness, probably way better than you. This post isn't about that, it's about treating someone with a mental illness diagnosis as a person and not reducing them to their illness. Besides, however difficult you think your life is for being with someone who just happens to have an illness or disorder, it's that much harder for that person to live in a world where they're constantly dehumanized, stigmatized, and treated as less than everyone else.

P.P.S: It's only Monday and already I'm sick of mental health wank.

I am done.

Apr. 17th, 2011 06:15 pm
jadedmusings: (NCIS - Ziva Anger)
You can read what's happened here. Basically, I must think anyone who plays a bad guy is bad, and I must have forgotten there are those with mental illness who are violent. I shouldn't pretend otherwise even though I never said such a thing never happened, nor did I ever say anywhere in there that you can't play whatever the hell you want to be or that people were horrible for playing murderers. (Hello, someone ask me about Selene sometime. She's a fucking monster in that regard.)

Bottom line: Basing a character on a real person who committed real atrocities against real people has the potential to be way more offensive than making up a character out of whole cloth. Names carry baggage and color perceptions and just because you think it's fine to role-play a real-life Nazi for fun doesn't mean the rest of the role-play world is going to agree with you or not think you're being a douchecanoe.

And I'm done with people who want to think I'm being wholly unreasonable and unfair and BAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWW!
jadedmusings: (NCIS - Tim Doubts Your Sincerity)
Note: This is a follow-up to last night's post about assholish shenanigans in the LJ community rp_discuss.

Hey guys, did you know that being offended by something that's offensive makes me a poor role-player? No, really. Also, role-players are ~intellectuals~ who should understand that most offenders don't intend to be offensive, so when one says or does something offensive we shouldn't chastise them or tell them they can't do whatever it is that's offensive. Don't believe me? Just read!

My immediate thought is yes you can do this and not be an insensitive jerk.

In the first place, you want to play her in a mental institution game. By nature, people who are playing in that game are already "controversial". You'll be in a community, the entries will be locked, and only you and your fellow players will be seeing it. In games, that's all that matters- you and your players.

Second (and I don't know how many times this has to be said) you are not your character. Anyone who doesn't understand that really should not be playing. In fact (I will not be popular for saying this) anyone who believes that you are your character is likely a very poor RPer. If they hold that belief then they most likely only believe it because they are their character. That is not assuming a different character. That is poor roleplaying.

What are your plans for your character, if any? I know that's a really awful question because good RPing is full of surprises, not a story with a pre-determined route complete with predetermined events and ending (that's just fanfiction), but are you thinking about her getting better? Or are you thinking more of playing her as a character study?

It's a miserable thing, this state of LJRP in which players are restricted from playing so many possibly interesting characters. It isn't fair either- as a member of several stigmatized groups*, I can play anyone I want and if anyone complains, all I'd have to do would be to make a youtube video proving my minority statuses. We can play the good and the bad, but we can only play the ugly if it's done as a joke or with a revenge agenda?

It wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't such a rigid "no". Why not compromise- Controversial character? Have a little disclaimer that it's "just a character" complete with link to a place where people could get in touch with you to discuss it. Knowing the player behind the character really helps in cases like this. One of those cases where fear and discomfort are eased with knowledge.

The clipped version is that you can play it and not be an insensitive jerk. There will be jerks who have an issue with it, yes, but if you stick to the community, you should get fewer jerks. The safest bet would be to play it in a game off of Livejournal (a 1x1 game, a LARP, a board), but you probably don't want to do that. Besides, Livejournal has a high concentration of fine RPers. Which ought to translate into intellectuals who would prefer to approach the player for a discussion with the intent not of chastising or telling off, but of reaching a common understanding. Nine out of ten times, the offender's intent was not to offend. Intent should count for something.

Edit for forgetting the asterisk, but since the post got long, I'll just invite anyone that feels like it to PM me and I'll briefly get it out.

Oh boy, we even get the "intent is magic" argument thrown in for good measure.

"How dare people who might want to be included in a game voice their offense! I bet they're not any good anyway, and they are most certainly not the intellectual I am! Clearly they don't know that it's ~just a character~, nor do they know how to have fun! Also, no one will see it, therfore it's not offensive!"

ETA: Oh, I totally forgot to address the whole "a person in a mental hospital is 'controversial' anyway." Um, yeah, glad to know my mother and I are both controversial people, as are some of my friends. It's so nice to know we can't just be, I don't know, plain old people.

Yes, I called bullshit:
I've often found that players who insist on playing offensive characters because it's ~just a character~ and not really them are usually assholes who are pretty poor rpers in their own way. I would think "reaching a common understanding" would involve the offender figuring out why the character/what they said is so offensive even if they had no intention of offending (in the end, the intent doesn't matter to the offended). I mean, that's how intellectuals operate in my world. (Note nowhere in there did I say the person with the offensive character was required to change. Unless the person in charge nixes the idea, the only thing that player will suffer from is one or a few people thinking they're an asshole. Hardly anything when compared to a person who belongs to a group that's constantly stigmatized, or worse, a person who is a member of an ethnic/religious group that has a long history of oppression.)

It's bad enough that there's a mental hospital rp, but there are loads of original ideas you could come up with of people who do all sorts of sick and twisted things without resorting to a real-life person who victimized real people. Also, unless it's a hospital specifically for patients who have committed violent crimes, you don't have to be a violent person to be in a mental hospital. In fact, more often than not, most people in your standard hospital haven't harmed anyone and won't ever do so. With so many options, why insist on the one that's guaranteed to be offensive to at least someone?

Most role-players I know want to be inclusive, and inclusiveness means finding compromise rather than telling anyone who might be offended to just get over it.

Again, I'm not saying there shouldn't be a mental hospital role-play. I do think I have every right to believe it's going to be chock-full of stereotypes and most likely run by someone who has never been institutionalized. I mean, I could hope that there'd be someone there sensitive to the stigmas surrounding mental illness, someone aware of just how the world perceives the mentally ill, and s/he could be trying to make a game centered around portraying the hospital in a way that attempts to erase the stereotypes. It could happen, right?

Yeah, and unicorns might fly out my butt.
jadedmusings: (BtVS - Buffy does not approve)
Update: Because there's now more to the story, I'm unlocking this and making another public post with more bits of assholery.

This...thing was just posted in rp_discuss (LiveJournal community) and I responded, but it's so over the top and so goddamned offensive that I couldn't not share the fail.

I am wanting to make an Ilse Koch type character. You know, that freak from the 40s that had Holocaust victims killed because she liked their tattoos? (Or shrunk their heads, or make human skin lampshades, list goes on.) I want to enter her into a mental hospital as a mental patient. Possibly criminally insane.

But I don't want to sound insensitive to minorities that were affected by the holocaust. Can I still do this, but at the same time, not be an insensitive duchebag?

*twitch*

My response:

Can I still do this, but at the same time, not be an insensitive duchebag [sic]?

I'm gonna say no, and not just for the Holocaust, but people who have mental illnesses as well are likely to be offended (speaking as one such person, yes, it sounds very offensive).

Really, just...why?

I'm going to say this once: Violence and mental illness are not mutually exclusive. You can have a mental illness and never committ a single act of violence just as you can be violent and not have a mental illness. Sometimes an asshole is just an asshole, okay?

I'm not saying you can't ever portray someone who has a mental illness or who is traumatized by events that happen during role-play. I'm saying there's a line and shit like this? Yeah, it's waaaaaaaay over it.

Bottom line is, if you have to ask if it's offensive, chances are pretty high that it is indeed offensive.

Bleh

Apr. 12th, 2011 08:18 am
jadedmusings: (ATLA - Aang c'mon!)
In a really rotten mood this morning. I was going to fire up WoW and fiddle around with putting together an Alliance alt (a Worgen, not sure of class just yet), but of course today the servers are down for maintenance until about 2:00 PM EST. Ugh.

My throat's a little sore and I suspect it has to do with my (thankfully) mild allergies and the remnants of the cold. I've been rinsing my sinuses with a neti pot and it's been making me feel loads better.

I tossed and turned last night due to a combination of me screwing up my back the other day because I coughed while standing over the sink and tweaked something (it's happened before) and other things that are occupying my mind.

My living room TV that I inherited from Dad is dying rapidly. The good news is the prices on LCD TVs are coming down, so I might not have to wait too long before I can replace it with a shiny new flat screen TV (and no, I have absolutely zero interest in 3D televisions; I'll wait for holodecks, thank you very much). The bad news is...well, as stupid as it sounds, it's one more thing of Dad's I can't hold on to. Yeah, yeah, it's a piece of technology that was bound to break down at some point, but I was with him when he bought it (the kiddo had just turned a year old).

Mom's coming to visit next week. Guess who is spending her weekend cleaning everything in sight? Yep, no stress there, am I right?

So overall I'm feeling very bleh. Don't want to deal with real life today. At all.
jadedmusings: (NCIS - Ziva Never Broken)
What's included in quotes is not attributed to any single individual. I have heard these arguments made time and time again from more people than I care to count, and the problems with such statements are discussed on a variety of feminist and progressive blogs. You are quite welcome to disagree with me, to dismiss me, whatever, but again, this is my life and my opinions will not change because I've experienced this and I've spent a lifetime learning so much about this. This is something I'm passionate about, but at the same time it's difficult for me to discuss without becoming emotionally involved, so chances are I'm not going to engage in debate much over this. I'm putting this out there not to argue, but to offer my experience and to maybe help others understand why just getting help isn't as cut and dried as doing. In short, I've said my piece with this and the previous post and I'm done for the night, perhaps for a long time. I won't fight anymore than this.

I've talked about the idea of whether a person chooses to be happy or unhappy and how such a notion is wrong in the context of mental illness. Now I want to expand on that and address the concept of choosing happiness or misery in the form of choosing to get help and how sometimes that's just not an option for some people.

Some reading this are going to claim I'm naive, that I'm ignorant of the fact that there are people out there who are just miserable assholes who live to suffer and don't get help because they're selfish/spoiled/whatever.

No, I'm not naive. I'm compassionate. At thirty years old I have spent the past twenty-six years witnessing the effects of mental illness on others and on myself. I also have had quite a bit of experience in the realm of psychiatric care as both a patient and a family member of a patient. I've also realized that we don't all live on an equal playing field and I have had the privilege of access to decent care. I do know a little bit about which I speak, so don't waste my time and yours if all you can say after this is that I'm just being a stupid idiot or a bleeding heart who just doesn't understand the reality of life. No, this is my reality. I have lived it.

Read more... )
jadedmusings: (NCIS - Ziva Never Broken)
What's included in quotes is not attributed to any single individual. I have heard these arguments made time and time again from more people than I care to count, and the problems with such statements are discussed on a variety of feminist and progressive blogs. You are quite welcome to disagree with me, to dismiss me, whatever, but again, this is my life and my opinions will not change because I've experienced this and I've spent a lifetime learning so much about this. This is something I'm passionate about, but at the same time it's difficult for me to discuss without becoming emotionally involved, so chances are I'm not going to engage in debate much over this. I'm putting this out there not to argue, but to offer my experience and to maybe help others understand why just getting help isn't as cut and dried as doing. In short, I've said my piece with this and the following posts and I'm done for the night, perhaps for a long time. I won't fight anymore than this.

Over on another Social Network Far, Far Away, there's been talk about finding happiness/being happy and whether or not this is a choice people can actively make. In other words, do people choose to be miserable and/or ignore opportunities for happiness?

When the subject came up, it wasn't in a mental illness/mental health context, but it's honestly hard for me to view this question outside of that context because I dealt with so much bullshit surrounding this question. (However, I think even in the absence of mental illness I can't say that people actively choose misery over happiness, I really can't.) I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard, "You need to smile more," "You need to just cheer up," "Listen to happier music," "Eat peanut butter" (true story), "Just think happier thoughts/Be more positive," "Say positive things in front of a mirror," etc. I wish there was a stadium big enough for everyone who thinks this about Depression and other mental illness so that I could sit there and scream into a microphone over and over that IT'S. NOT. THAT. EASY.

I'm not sure what's more depressing: That people believe this stuff or that I actively tried doing all those things hoping it would work, that I could be Fixed (as if I'm some piece of machinery that's in need of repair) or Cured(TM). If it really was a question of just thinking more positively or putting on a happy face, there'd be a whole lot of therapist/psychiatrists out of work and I'd have been the Queen of Happy-Land in high school. If I'd had a choice between contemplating suicide, feeling hopeless to the point that I couldn't stop crying, or feeling happy or at least comfortable with my life, I'd have chosen the latter in a heartbeat.

Read more... )

PSA

Jan. 8th, 2011 04:38 pm
jadedmusings: (Writing)
In light of the Giffords tragedy in which a nine year old child has been killed, can I humbly make one request with regard to the perpetrator:

Stop equating mental illness with violence.

Yes, he has a YouTube channel full of anti-government(?) rhetoric and may or may not be a conspiracy theorist; HOWEVER, that does not mean he has a mental illness or is "crazy." And even if he is, it's harmful to say that his illness explains why he chose to open fire on a crowd in broad daylight in public. No, his actions can and do exist independently of his theoretical illness.

I have a mental illness. My mother has a mental illness. I have several family members and friends who have diagnosed mental illnesses. Not a single one of them have ever committed an act of violence.

Please, can we focus on Giffords's miraculous survival, the tragedy and loss, and not sit here like armchair psychiatrists guessing at the gunman's psychological health? Really, fuck him right now. Now's the time to hope justice is served for that child.
jadedmusings: (NCIS - Abby For Me?)
I've been quiet, I know. Truth be told, I'm having some serious anxiety issues that cropped up seemingly out of nowhere. Last night Sam had to put in some serious Supportive and Cuddly Boyfriend hours for which I'm thankful and can't really express how amazing he is and how much it meant to me. But really, I'll talk about the mental health stuff later, under a filter, because as much as I know I shouldn't be ashamed of something I can't really control, I still get embarrassed and feel like a failure to know that after everything, shit like this still happens. Granted, a hell of a lot has happened since the last time I really fell apart and broke down; however, that doesn't change the fact that it feels like I'm admitting defeat and that I'm not strong enough to be a "normal" person, whatever the fuck that means.

Ahem, yeah, I'll talk about it later under a filter if I can without upsetting myself all over again. I did cry last night, which sounds bad until you consider crying, no matter how little, is something I rarely do despite the fact that I know sometimes you just need a good cry. I do feel better today, which is a good thing considering I have to be social tonight.

So. Tonight.

I have mentioned that in addition to being an amazing chef, Sam's dad plays guitar and is in a band, haven't I? Oh, and that they've got a gig tonight for New Year's Eve? Well, he does and they do, and I get to go tonight along with Sam and his mother. In fact, I get to be there for the set up since I'm catching a ride with Sam's mom to the place (Sam's housesitting for a co-worker and will be meeting me there). I'm looking forward to it. As far as music goes, I guess you could say they do some of their own original folk music plus covers of songs by the Beatles, Pink Floyd, etc. (Sam's dad is a Beatle maniac and I've had the pleasure of hearing him play his guitar and sing "Here Comes the Sun" while hanging out at Sam's house over the summer, and yes the man can sing as well as he cooks. He also sang "Light Up My Room" by Barenaked Ladies, which I hope one day he'll actually record somehow so I can post it. Okay, enough of my tangent about the awesomeness that is my boyfriend's family.)

Given my anxiety levels, the idea of being in a restaurant/bar makes me a little fearful of panic attacks and/or general freak-outs. However, I have been in this place previously so it's a familar location (I know where entrances, exits, and bathrooms are), and Sam's mother will be there and she has the same general unease about crowds that I do, so even if she won't know that I'm in something of a bad spot right now, she will understand if I start getting on edge. Sam will be there too and probably other people I've met before. Also -- and this is meant to be funny and not indicative of anything -- I won't be driving, so I can imbibe alcohol of some sort while I'm there, which will be hilarious because these days I'm a lightweight since I drink once per year. Also, I prefer liquor and that tends to give me heartburn since I no longer have the digestive system of a twenty year-old. I'll probably have a martini or a glass or two of wine and then I'll be pleasantly buzzed. I hope. Then again, I might chicken out of drinking anything at all, who knows?

As for the kiddo, he gets to go hang out with Sam's youngest sister and her boyfriend at the local gaming store. They'll be playing some D&D, maybe, and various other games. There will be kids of all ages there, so he'll fit in and I know he likes the shop and he loves Sam's sister, so it's a win all around. He also has his shiny new Nintendo DS from Santa he can play. He'll spend the night at Sam's house while Sam and I go back to his coworker's house who he's house and pet-sitting for until Tuesday. (Yes, he did clear it with them before inviting me over.) Sasha will be staying overnight at Sam's parents' place too.

And, oh yeah, at midnight I turn 30. Woo, three decades. Tomorrow, Sam's parents' are having a little party. Really, it's supposed to be because we didn't get to have Christmas together and this is sort of a make-up Christmas dinner, but they're also making it about my birthday too. I kind of wish they wouldn't because I'm weird and don't think that A) people should be throwing me any sort of celebration no matter how small, and B) in spite of a couple of good years, I still have an overwhelmingly bad track record with birthdays, so I fear something going wrong. Then again, I have been promised good finger foods and CAKE, so maybe it'll be okay.

So, Happy New Year to my friends' list, and Happy Birthday to me.
jadedmusings: (Supernatural - Bobby Holiday Idjits)
Quick post to say I'm heading down to South Carolina for the weekend to see Mom for Christmas and all that and I'm not going to have 'net access. Hopefully I'll be back by Sunday evening.

Um, truth is I'm dealing with some serious anxiety and am not looking forward to the drive down or back. I don't know why I'm so anxious (well, I have a few ideas, but it seems disproportionate to have this much anxiety over those things). So, no, I'm really not in the "Holiday spirit" or whatever, and truth be told, if not for the kiddo, I wouldn't be celebrating anything at all. :-\

Anywho, I'll have my cell phone with me (same number as always), not that anyone who has it will really need me. I can still be texted from my AIM account (JadeWoulf).

And, um, yeah, that's it.

Later everyone.
jadedmusings: (Default)
[Trigger Warning: Talk of suicide]

I've been reading some Sylvia Plath poems in between reading her journals (and yes, Sam, I'm reading Brust too). The poems that center around her struggle with depression and mental illness truly resonate within me. I keep thinking "These are the words I would write were I able to write poetry and were greatly more articulate." Not that I could ever be on Plath's level, but I would at least share her sadness and frustration with the lack of control over her own thoughts and emotions.

One of the hardest things to deal with since therapy has been knowing when my brain is off-balance. I've taught myself to recognize the signs, to know whether I'm reacting to something from outside myself or something within my own head. I became something of an expert of examining all my emotions and rooting out their sources so that I never take my anger or sadness out on someone undeserving. I'm not perfect, and sometimes I hurl more abuse on myself, but it's far better than it was ten years ago. However, the one thing I will never ever get used to, or be able to get over is the feeling of not being in control of myself.

Even when heavily medicated, I still had the moments of profound and unexplained sadness, and while I have the ability to work through it most of the time, there are occasionally times in which I have no choice but to let it run its course. It's so hard to explain what it's like, to be sort of outside yourself. These days I'm able to at least tell someone near me what's happening and I explain "I just need a night's rest/A couple of days and I'll be fine again." I repeat that mantra to myself, and it keeps me from completely giving in to the despair, but sometimes I want to wail and scream. It's terrifying to feel it, and there's always the thought at the back of my head "What if this is the time I lose it for good? What if I don't come back?" And it's always there. The memory of the last time I was in a dark place is one I'll carry with me forever. I'll never forget what it was like to want to die, to constantly call myself a coward for being unable to take the pills, to put the knife to my wrist, or the gun to my head. It was always a war within myself. There was the rational side screaming "No, killing yourself isn't the answer," and the Depressed me whispering, "But it would end this pain." No matter how happy I am in life, no matter how good things are, the memories haunt me and the fear of winding up back there never truly abates.

It's funny how just having one chemical in your brain out of balance can destroy the self so completely, even for the shortest amount of time. I'm lucky that so far I've won the struggle with myself, and I'm extremely fortunate that I got the help I did when I did. I'm also fortunate to have friends and a lover who is willing to listen to me, who don't judge me for things beyond my control. Not everyone is so lucky as me, and reading Plath's words and knowing how her life ended, I can see clearly the path I could have taken. Though I never made an honest attempt to take my own life, I know Plath's story as intimately as my own if nothing else than because she understood. Even her darkest poems, the ones that speak frankly of suicide and the darkness in one's own head, comfort me. They comfort me not because I enjoy reliving those moments, but because I know I am not alone. I know that someone else lived through the pain, someone else wrote about it, and if there's one other person, then there must be more like me. There have to be more who understand.

I think I'll end this by sharing the poem that inspired this entry. It can be found here along with many others of Plath's poems as well as many, many other poets.

"Elm"
Sylvia Plath

I know the bottom, she says. I know it with my great tap root;
It is what you fear.
I do not fear it: I have been there.

Is it the sea you hear in me,
Its dissatisfactions?
Or the voice of nothing, that was you madness?

Love is a shadow.
How you lie and cry after it.
Listen: these are its hooves: it has gone off, like a horse.

All night I shall gallup thus, impetuously,
Till your head is a stone, your pillow a little turf,
Echoing, echoing.

Or shall I bring you the sound of poisons?
This is rain now, the big hush.
And this is the fruit of it: tin white, like arsenic.

I have suffered the atrocity of sunsets.
Scorched to the root
My red filaments burn and stand,a hand of wires.

Now I break up in pieces that fly about like clubs.
A wind of such violence
Will tolerate no bystanding: I must shriek.

The moon, also, is merciless: she would drag me
Cruelly, being barren.
Her radiance scathes me. Or perhaps I have caught her.

I let her go. I let her go
Diminished and flat, as after radical surgery.
How your bad dreams possess and endow me.

I am inhabited by a cry.
Nightly it flaps out
Looking, with its hooks, for something to love.

I am terrified by this dark thing
That sleeps in me;
All day I feel its soft, feathery turnings, its malignity.

Clouds pass and disperse.
Are those the faces of love, those pale irretrievables?
Is it for such I agitate my heart?

I am incapable of more knowledge.
What is this, this face
So murderous in its strangle of branches?—

Its snaky acids kiss.
It petrifies the will. These are the isolate, slow faults
That kill, that kill, that kill.

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Wrathful and Unrepentant Jade

December 2013

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