23 July 2016

No more silence

I hate discussing politics. Really. If you're a good friend and I know where you stand on things, I don't mind discussions about things. But in general? I don't like the arguments I know that it will cause. I don't like the hate that gets hurled back and forth on some things. I don't like the pain & the hurt it causes. So I stay silent. But the cost for that has become greater than I can bear sometimes.

In recent years I outed myself as battling depression/anxiety and being on the Autism Spectrum because these things matter to me. But I've stayed silent about a lot else, because I told myself that I couldn't bear the cost. Cost of losing friends, cost of losing opportunities...the cost of just standing. But those were all things that I put aside when I outed myself for other things. Because they mattered.

In reality, I'm scared. Scared of losing things that honestly...maybe I don't need.

So the first thing I share. I wrote last year that I was genderqueer. Which is true, but not the whole truth. I read this piece recently about an author sharing that she's a transwoman in the closet. And I shared on Facebook that I relate to his piece a lot. Actually I said:
not that my parents were that way, but the wishes. the desires. yep that's me. & i've had the same types of interactions from women that the author does. that i couldn't understand something because I'm "male" & it's made me feel afraid to say anything somedays. i've been disowned because of what my outer appearance appears to be vs how i feel. & this is probably as close as I'll ever get to talking about it. bc I'm afraid. bc i fear the loss that may come. bc i fear the backlash. i get why things are the way they are but it doesn't change anything if we can't listen & understand each other. there is still good in this world. but it will be lost if we don't listen to each other. & i know its hard but its worth. it has to be.
So I was trying to say what I really feel like, but chickened out. But I can't do that anymore. Hell, its part of a comic I'm finishing and I'm still almost to scared to put it in there. But I can't. I won't. Not anymore.

I'm trans. I think I've wanted to be a girl since I was 8 years old. I've never felt comfortable in my body or how it looks or how it feels. I just..I don't. It sucks that there's no magic wand or magic pill that will change it. I don't know if I'll ever go through the transition process, because honestly genetics was not kind to me and my body will never match my head. But par for the course. I am who I am. And I've wanted to be a girl for a long time.

I shared this with a few people a couple of years ago and then stopped talking about it. In part fear. But also in part, because I had a huge falling out with the first person I shared this with. Not over this, well not directly, but other things, like some of what I shared above. And it hurt. A lot. I lost not only their friendship and a lot more in the process because of how I handled the loss, but a lot of other people as well. I still miss them. But I miss not being open and honest. And I'm tired of being scared.

To family & friends, yeah this is a shitty way to spread the news isn't it? And I'm sorry. But I...I don't know a better way. I've been silent and scared for so long, because I was afraid of losing you. I mean, seriously I'm tearing up writing this because I don't want to lose y'all. And trying to have the conversations for me in person or on the phone or even in email would have been so much worse and I would have chickened out. But...this is the truth of who I am. And I can't keep hiding it.

If you were someone that I shared this with a while ago, I'm sorry being silent on the truth, but thank you for not deserting me.

If you're one I lost because of the fallout, I'm sorry and I wish things could have been different.

But I'm done apologizing now. This is me. Hi.

04 July 2016

Trying to understand

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I think in life we often look to make sense of...well everything. We want the world to make sense, we want to understand why people make the decisions they do. Hell, I just want to understand why my cats wake me up so early in the morning to demand pettings and attention. We just want the world to make sense. Its this innate behavior that I think we all have. It's why we try to organize things, put things into categories, etc. And...unfortunately life doesn't give a shit. It doesn't give us clean answers or clean stories to answer our questions. 

And this can be difficult for anyone to take. Its been especially hard for me a lot of the time, being on the spectrum, that I have to know why. There has to be a reason something happened. There has to be a reason for why someone doesn't want to talk to me anymore or something that I can do to fix a relationship that's been broken. There jus has to be!

But life doesn't work that way. And it's hard to recognize this, much less remember it. In my head I want to call these people names and call them out for their behavior. And then I remember the things I did or see in past communications where they were trying to tell me something and I didn't see it. And then I wonder why they were friends with me to begin with. And I fall into a hole of wondering how anyone at all can like me or ever want to be friends with me.And it's a hard cycle to break.

Why write about this now? Because its the cycle I'm in now. I want to scream and cry and shout out and beat my fists against the ground. I want people that stopped talking to me to explain why and to come back and talk to me. And at the same time I want to write to them and tell them how much I miss them and how much I was they could forgive me for the mistakes that I made and the hurt that I caused. And how I wish, oh how I wish we could just talk one more time.

But I can't do that. And I won't. Because it wouldn't do any good other than to bring up the pain for them again of why they walked away. And I don't want to do that to them.

And so I cycle. Wanting the world to make sense and knowing that it never will. Wishing that doors and opportunities and memories weren't closed off. Knowing that I'll have to move on past the hurt and pain at some point, no matter how hard it is. And how many times it comes back. And hope that new memories begin again.

22 May 2016

Everything is the same. Everything is different.

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Dr. Stephen Shore once said “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.”

I've been thinking about this quote a lot lately. And it applies to so many different things. Buttons. Cats. People. Gender. Religion. Mental Health. But we as humans have this bad habit of trying to put everyone into groups and saying they'll all act the same, because they have some characteristic in common.

And on the surface it doesn't appear to be a problem right? I mean, hey if people are in a group they must share some things in common right? It's like buttons right? Buttons are all the same after all. They're used to keep things together. I mean, they all come in the same size, shape, color, and number of holes right? So they all function the same way. One button is just as good as another right? Same with people! You've interacted with someone with autism before so you know how they all function. And hey! You've had depression before, so you know how to help your friends with it!  
"I've met people with autism and you don't act like them.""I've had depression before, you just need to get more exercise""I've had depression before, why aren't you over yours yet?"

But...man. When you look at those sentences...don't they sound kinda mean? I mean sure, I'm taking them out of context of the larger conversation, but...they mean the same thing even in context don't they? The problem is the other person. They aren't listening to you. They aren't acting like you. They aren't being you. Not a problem with you at all. Nope, no siree bob. It's a problem with them. They need to be like you.

Oh? It's not? That's not what you meant when you said "I've had depression before, why are you over yours yet?" Well...what exactly did you mean?

I've had people before tell me all of the best ways to cure depression. Walks. More exercise. More sunshineeeee!!! Hang out with people more! Talk less. Eat better. On. And on. And on. Some meant well. Some didn't. I'm sure most of them thought they were trying to help on some level, but...man. Have you ever thought about what it really sounds like when you tell someone:
"I've had depression before, why aren't you over yours yet?"

I mean...have you?

I had someone in a position of power tell me this. Someone that I trusted and came to when I was diagnosed. Someone that shared things they did that worked for them. Some worked for me. Some didn't. After a while they became frustrated and told me "You should be better by now. Why aren't you better yet? I got over mine by this point." And man...that was devastating to hear. I did something wrong. I fucked up. I wasn't doing something right. They spent the remainder of that conversation telling me everything that was wrong with me. I lived in the same apartment. I dressed the same every day. Same haircut. Same, same, same.

It took a while for me to realize...I didn't do something wrong. This person? This person that I trusted. This person that was in a position of power...wasn't trying to help me. I don’t know what they were doing to be honest, but I call them a sociopath now.

I’m still undoing the damage they did on me.

I lost people along the way. Ones that I cared about and trusted. Ones that I think believed whatever this other person said. That the problem was me. And some of it was of course. But a lot of it? A lot of it started with that statement “Why aren’t you better yet?”

It’s affected a lot of things along the way. It led me to where I am now. And I know its led me to some of the problems that I’ve had in the last two years. I don’t trust a lot anymore. And I ask too many time if things are ok. I hold on too tight. I take fewer chances. And have my heart broken more. I see more of what I've lost than I've gained and man have I lost a lot. I’ve gained some too.

And I’m still finding my way back.

Everything is the same. Everything is different.

20 May 2016

Death is not a blessing

I started this as a Facebook post and then thought, nope...I need to make this a blog post for others to see. And it's a rough post, not as well written as some of my others, because...well its not an easy topic to talk about and I'm talking about some things I haven't shared before. And maybe I shouldn't share them here, but...sometimes stories need to be told and this is one that I need to tell. And yeah there are some triggers here.

I apparently missed an article that was titled "My former friend's death was a blessing" because this person suffered from mental illness and ended their own life. There are obviously a lot, and I do mean a LOT, of problems with this article and subsequent interviews with the author. The article has been removed (because no shit it should have never been published), but I read this article where they interviewed the author of the article where she say's something that caught my eye:

“I tried to help her many times, but I also realized when I had discovered this that there was nothing I could do to help her,” said Lauren in response. “I am not as powerful as that illness. I have other stuff going on in my life twenty four hours a day. I really thought about helping her, but I also realized this was not going to be a battle I was going to win.”

Cold hard reality, isn't it? If you're friends or know someone that's been dealing with depression maybe you've thought something like this. Maybe you've said something like this. And I get it. I do. It's a hard thing to help someone...but. Man. It sucks to hear that from people that you trust and care about. And all it does is create an even bigger spiral. I've had people tell me something like this before. That they couldn't be there for me as much as I need it. That I was depending upon them too much. Nothing as harsh and callous as this, but...all the same.

I've half talked about it, but the last couple of years have been rough on my mental health. But last year? Yeah...the spiral I experienced last year included a relationship ending where the person told me something like this. That they couldn't be there for me all the time. That I was depending upon them too much. And I knew it. I worried about it. In the weeks before it ended I knew something was wrong when they wouldn't give me honest answers about things. Little lies of promises of things we were going to do. When I asked if I was depending upon them too much and they told me "no" something didn't feel right. I got that bad feeling in my gut and wondered. 

And I started falling. Falling hard. I was ready to die. To no longer be alive. Whether by my own hand or to just vanish into the night. I didn't care. I was lower than low and I struggled hard and I wasn't sure that I'd make it through each day. I had begun to make plans to end my own life. Like real plans to be done with it. What would happen to my things. What bills would be left. What could be wiped out because I was dead. And when those words finally came? To have them suddenly go "nope we're done" jerked the carpet out from under me. And I feel even harder.

I had people that reached out. Kept me from sinking. Got some help that I needed. And was starting to recover when I was blindsided again by someone else that said they would help me out suddenly and quickly, ended whatever it was we had. And rumors. Oh god, the rumors that came after...and other relationships ended or suffered because of it.

And just to be clear I am NOT, NOT, NOT holding any of these people responsible for what happened. My own brain did that. These things didn't help though. Maybe things would have been different if I had talked about just where I was and things wouldn't have ended so badly. Maybe it wouldn't have made any difference at all. I don't know. I know I wish things had been different. I wish things hadn't ended as they did. I wish a lot of things had happened differently. But they didn't.

I know one thing I wish I had said sooner was that I didn't need them 24/7. I know it seemed that way, but...man. Depression is a hard thing and it makes for tunnel vision on who you can trust and call on. It makes it hard to reach out to other people to lean on, so you aren't leaning on one person. It makes it hard to do much of anything to be honest.

It's been a long fucking year to be able to get back up again. And I'm still not where I want to be, but I'm better than I was.

All of this to say...if you know someone that's dealing with depression and they're leaning on you hard. Maybe too hard.  I can't and won't tell you what to do if you're in this position. You've gotta do what's best for yourself also. But, please, get help for yourself. Talk to a counselor, a professional, someone to get advice from. The person leaning may not realize how hard they're leaning and hurting you. Read an article like this one that talks about how hard it is to be the friend. To be the family member. To be the support. I can speak from experience that the person dealing with depression isn't trying to put you into this spot and blinders can be hard to remove.

And if they walk away. If they end their life, please, please don't blame yourself. Ever. No matter what was said, mental illness is NOT any one person's fault.