Friday, November 6, 2015

The Childhood of Tobias Thibideaux

     Toby sighed quietly as they drove away from the house that would be no more. The chain on the floor where he was kept for punishment would be swept away when the house was demolished.
   Gripping Candice's hand tightly after she asked to go for coffee once at the Fer a Chevel hotel, he remembered his mothers words clearly, though their sting had faded and escaped through the last breaths of many young women.

   “I told you to get inside,” her sharp drawl grew stronger as she grew angrier. “I told you to get in out that yard twenty minutes ago, Tobias!”
   “Sorry, I caught...I was catching lightning...b-b-b.”
   “I don't give a rats ass what you were doing. Your father told you to stop bringing in them jars of lightnin' bugs and letting them out all over the house,” she screeched as she neared closer to Toby, the same height as he was although he was only ten. Her curly, dark auburn hair was pulled into a tight bun.
   “I didn't br-bring any in,” he defended, noticing his sister's eyeliner and tear-stained face as she leaned against the doorway where he had stood with Candice when they met with Adam.
   “Get on the floor,” their mother said. “Get on the floor now, Tobias!”
   Toby remembered dropping to his knees as he watched helplessly as Maybelle doubled over, crying.
   “He's a kid, mom!” she cried as their mother took the chain attached to the counters side and wrapped it around Toby's neck, only loose enough so that he could breathe. “Why can't you leave him alone!”
   “Go to your room before your father gets home,” she snapped, pulling a dog-bowl and water bowl from the cabinet as Toby stared at his sister from the ground. “He can't act right and you can' control that devil's tongue of yours.”
   Their mother placed the bowls in the corner by the counter, one filled with water from the sink and one empty.
   “You might can eat once everyone else is done,” she snapped at Toby. “You'd do right to make yourself at home in the kitchen. Filthy little animal.”
   His mother pulled two newspapers from a lower cabinet; this was routine, and Maybelle and Toby knew it. The papers were placed by the food and water bowls, since the chain only allowed for him to crawl halfway across the kitchen – not quite in reach of the dining table.
   He dare not stand.
   “Mom, I don't – I d-d-don't want to spend the night down here,” he said.
   “Shut your mouth!” she hollered as her foot hit his chin with one swift movement, and his teeth chopped into his tongue. Blood began to pour down his chin from his mouth so he crawled over to the newspaper, terrified of making a mess. “Dogs aren't going to talk in this house, by God.”
   “Mom, what the fuck is wrong with you?” Maybelle sobbed. “He's a kid, he's not a dog. Leave him the fuck alone!”
     In a house where swearing was forbidden by the children, Maybelle often had a problem controlling her mouth; she was punished with three hard slaps to the face. Toby kept his eyes downward at the blood as it pooled around on the newspaper.
   “Get in your room, now, you possessed little girl! Get up the stairs!”
   Maybelle let out a screech as she turned, giving Toby one last, helpless glance as she stomped up the stairs with the kind of rage only an angry fifteen-year old girl could emit.
   Toby stayed on his knees and waited for the bleeding to stop, hoping his father was too tired for the belt once he got home. He curled up on the cold floor and listened as Maybelle threw things around her room, terrorized by the routine of their lives as Adam sat comfortably in his room watching television.

     The house disappeared in the review mirror and the next day, it would be knocked to the ground. Though not a superstitious man, Toby thought that perhaps it would be best for nothing to ever be built there again. Candice was there with him and what needed to be done was done; Maybelle was gone, and he had been given an upgrade.
Though her wings were folded behind her back, and she was unaware of them as she glanced down at the missed texts on her phone, but they were waiting open the moment that he needed her.
   “Coffee is a good idea,” he confirmed as downtown Pierreville came into view., and Candice smiled.

This has been an excerpt from Killing Butterflies, a novel by River Endsley

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

HFA and the College-try: Ambition with no Degree

I didn't know I was on the Autistic Spectrum until I was twenty years old and in the middle of my second college-attempt after running away to NYC. It was a beautiful campus and the professors weren't idiots; they even had some respect and admiration for how well I wrote and how much knowledge I had despite failing at community college in Louisiana, when I had no idea what was causing my near meltdown-panic attacks when going to class, or what was troubling me socially. My ambitions included being a graduate by age twenty-three. I wanted to work in the field of criminal psychology - my specialized interest. Ideally  I would become a prison psychologist or a criminal research psychologist. 

I am now almost twenty-four and have either 12 or 16 credits, most of which are in English. I have not been back to college since I was twenty-two; I'm not working for the FBI and have no credentials other than published psychological articles. I am not a particularly lazy person, and particularly was not when it came to college. 
After receiving my diagnosis in NYC, I began to understand why - despite my lack of social anxiety - I had panic attacks when walking into class or even trying to find my class. CSI has the largest campus in the CUNY system, and my community college was one giant non-academically challenging florescent light. I had sensory overload and had to run from the classroom if I made it inside. The behavior wasn't new; I had frequent meltdowns and shutdowns in school before college but my sullen or rowdy behavior was interpreted differently. I can't filter the lights and sounds around me, nor the smells. It can be pure, unadulterated hell for clear thinking, even if I look like a fully functioning adult at first.

I did drop out, finally, as my ability to handle sensory processing and the confusion of being in a room of people - much less work with them - dropped through the floor. I sought help for my disability - Asperger's, ADHD, and Math Disorder (not to mention general Panic Disorder.) I received odd looks and administrators shrugged and told me I looked normal. Autistic students in NYC received more help but I left soon after my diagnosis was final; they had special pen and paper and were allowed to choose their seating. In Louisiana, they gave zero fucks. I resorted to recording lectures and even managed to record one professor insulting me for my inability to make eye contact or work well wit other students. 
And then I'd had enough.

I had been writing since age 15 and it proved to be a serious passion for me as I published my first book of three at age nineteen. The topics I write about are the same topics I wished to work in after gaining a college degree; serial killers, murder, delusional mental illness, and suicidology.
              I wrote articles online professionally and began video-blogging to attract the kind of people I wanted to work with once I got the ever-evasive degree. While I make no money doing this, it does fulfill a large portion of my Asperger's-driven obsessiveness.
                    I began making pen-pals in prison, and I am now working on my fourth and - in my opinion - best and most disturbing, personally progressive novel yet. Meanwhile, I see people getting pure shit published through major publishing houses as I search clumsily for agents and self-publish while shamelessly self-promoting my work on social media. These people are publishing fanfiction of their own work and people are buying it. 
                 It is confusing and bewildering and frustrating, but I will one day be a major author. I managed to write and re-write my fourth novel while becoming a new mother. I understand plot. I understand character development. Other than painting, writing may become my entire source of income one day. And as I watch many with Masters degrees struggle to find work and make ends meet, I'm okay with that.

Writing is easy but understanding submissions guidelines makes me want to jump off a bridge. 
I am not giving up working in the field of criminology and I am not against the idea of returning to college if I find a way to fund it after bombing so many times because of my supposed "high functioning" Autism. But for now I may have to use my ambition and passion in other ways in the field; no one needs a degree to collect data, to write, and to advocate for better mental health treatment. My passion can be part of every day life because I look at the abnormal psychological symptoms of everyone, everything, and I observe and report. I have internet and I can take pictures; with or without a degree, with high intelligence, that gives me power. I am not where I intended to be when I began my journey into criminal psychology and writing, but I may end up somewhere even better. So, thanks, rulers of academia, for not doing your jobs properly. 
I don't need a piece of paper to prove I'm not a failure. 


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Human Connection and Freedom of Self - Are You Worth The Time?

Many a therapist, including one I greatly respect, have told me in all my Aspergian glory that I need friends. I need people. We are social animals - this is fact. But let me explain to you why, despite my reaching out, I cannot fucking do it, despite a very slight human urge for a social life; it would be nice to have people I share secrets with that I do not only know online. I have a constellation of people that I love and who know more about my than the people who know me face to face.
They're blinded to me. They want to bind me to what they believe I am supposed to be. Online, with my friends, I am free, and so are they. That's how we found each other; my youtube (dizzydollie7) dedicated entirely to what I am outside and inside this body; my mind, thoughts, obsessions, and desires for others like me. Forums for those with similar issues.
We exchange thoughts and it is a constellation of support that I never have had in real life. It's much less alone than sitting around people who see a mask I didn't even create. In words, I find freedom, and I believe they do too, even if it takes some of my friends a long time to free themselves.

I put myself out there, as I was told to do in order to develop a real-life social network outside of "husband and baby." As wonderful as a family is, we are busy, we are separate, and we are not the same at all. So, I say, hey - want to come chill and help me with the baby after my surgery?
And a motherfucker agrees and then does not show up nor does she text to say she is not going to show up.
I invite whoever to come watch some movies with me on Halloween with my baby and have some drinks. No takers. Get invited to a party- and despite the fact I'm healing from surgery with no help, I say okay. BUT OH NO SHE CAN'T DRIVE HERSELF TO THE PARTY? WHY?
Well, because I can't drive on highways yet. I want to learn. I'm a small town girl. I used the bus in NYC. Even that was sensory hell. It is dangerous. You are concerned I don't have a car yet you're unwilling to swing by and pick me up. Okay. I am staying home and you won't be blessed with my goddamn presence.

My birthday is November 8th, and I would not mind company at a bar or for someone to go with me to somewhere new. I'm actually pretty fun. I am adventurous. But I have a hard time getting around in a big city like Austin.. I have a few friends from a dinner group who I would spend time with but who are rightfully busy am I. If I am going to have Asperger's and "lack empathy" could I not also have a lazy amygdala and not be quite riddled with anxiety? Not social anxiety - the kind that shows up whenever it wants and throws images through my brain, awake or asleep. Trying to explain why I need to run into a quiet space - hopefully not a bathroom - looks dramatic when I female does it. But I love my own company and I will gladly go to a bar alone, but what would my old therapist say?
 I have some great friends who are sending me a present, and I'll have some beer, and I'll have a new tattoo to mark the end of my self abuse. I'll be happy. Online, but alone.

I am the most tolerant intolerant person I have met. Everyone, as of late, seems to think "opinions" are something they are entitled to when they are indeed "facts" that they refuse to accept. This is horrid to me. There are so many things we don't know about the human mind. There are so many things we don't know about the way human beings connect to one another, especially if they are on the spectrum. When I say "the spectrum" I mean the Autistic Spectrum. And oh golly gee do we attract some of the most enigmatic Psychopaths. And they, too, are on their own Spectrum. But I would rather deal with a rational, intelligent human being with low empathy than a person who walks into a room and feels everyone's emotions and then makes their decisions based on those emotions. Especially if in involves treating me like shit. I don't need your empathy as much as I need your cognitive desire to understand and accept what I am.
Don't try and teach me "normal." 

I say what I think if you ask. This often leads to projected emotions onto what is a blank canvas. You asked, you were told. You put the information out there, I respond. If you cannot handle a response, keep your thoughts to yourself. It is exhausting. Friends worthy of my time - friends worthy of my mind, who do not think all of life is highschool theatrics. Until then, I remain a human and inherently social, but I'll do it from afar until their comes a friend or friends who accept the entirety of who I am.
Because I have. And I'm fabulous. And others are too.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Mental Health System Fails Men and Families

The mental health situation in America is a disaster. Disaster. I usually go on about how women are constantly diagnosed Borderline when they indeed have Asperger's but that's not what I'm on about today. 

Let's talk about mental healthcare for men. Men can go undiagnosed and be losing their shit for years before anyone notices often, by the time you talk one into seeing a doctor instead of blaming everyone around them, their condition is way more severe than if they were diagnosed early on. Families suffer, jobs suffer, and because men often refuse the fuck out of treatment, they get swept under the "narcissist/psychopathic abuser" rug. Apparently none of these people have dealt with a narcissist and don't know what they are doing. 

And yes, you can have a mental illness that contributes to abuse, though your words and behavior are forever your own choice. 

Emergency services are a joke. Commit yourself to a ward for 5+ days and lose your job - real great idea - and that's only if you can afford insurance that covers mental health. "No you and your family can suffer for three more weeks because we can't make room for you, fuck you, psychotic piece of shit." 

Let's talk about men and emotion regulation traditionally raises men aren't taught what the hell emotions are and the one coping skill they are taught is to suck it up. So no one thinks to diagnose them with Borderline. Manipulative and can't keep your emotions or identity stable for shit? Oh you must just be depressed. Maybe you're just bipolar. Must be anxiety. No way it could be Borderline. That's a woman thing. Like tampons. 

Victims of the awful mental health system in the US extend far beyond the mentally ill themselves when it comes to explosive, personality-altering disorders. And the resources for families subjected to the untreated behavior are non-existent. Either "leave and he an independent woman despite the fact you are a house wife," or "be supportive praise Jesus and things will be fine. Take it up the ass." 

You think the divorce rate is all about cheating? No. You think the unemployment rate, the amount of people on welfare is all about "laziness?" It's about a lot more than that. Mental healthcare has to change. This system is killing people. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Tower of Anxiety

I have always had an anxiety disorder. I had it as a child in the form of separation anxiety and I will just say, I did not really outgrow that. As much as I often utter "God, I hate people..." I am not sure I've given "people" as a whole a fair shot. As someone who is a recluse right now, and has been for some time, I wasn't always, even if it was my inclination. And as far as "people" are concerned, I have only maintained a social life in the area I currently live in. Many of the people I ran into, and speak to now, from other areas (you know...mostly not the south) were sweeties.
 Sometimes, even interesting ones. But I always leave, and I always put them behind me. 

 I did not make any effort to become friends with them or to stay in contact. These sweeter people have never been able to read me easily, and I am sure to some extent, I make them uncomfortable, almost as if my own discomfort is radiating outward. I am under mental healthcare (outpatient) and over the past 10 years I've received contradictory diagnosis from different doctors, but anxiety can be a part of all of them, and a more recent "goal" for me is to socialize more. Go out, and just be in public doing a healthy activity (meaning don't try to socialize at bars,) and eventually, I am apparently bound to meet friends I could mesh with. Who also happen to be *gasp* healthy!
Doesn't healthy mean "normal" though? Normal makes me anxious.

This is supposed to keep me away from the kinds of "friends" I attract. The ones who stalk me, the ones who steal my identity and obsess over me in the wrong way, the ones who tell me to change everything about myself. I consistently end up around people who want me to smile more than I feel necessary, beg for eye contact, nonstop point out my body language, ask me why I am not expressing this or that emotion, and then flip all the shit they ever shat when I DO express some. Anyone who wants to me for much more than company.
Making friends isn't a top priority for me, but if I do make some, they have to be friends with *me* not with a *project* they would like to make of me. Want someone awkward to listen to all your problems and stare blankly? Here I am, bitches. I'll paint you something about sadness, while I'm at it. 

Experiencing life, in a pleasant way, is a top priority for me, which can indeed be done mostly alone. Anxiety and panic attacks make this hard. My anxiety takes many forms - usually, it's just generalized anxiety - not directed at anything inparticular until something presents itself. I experience fight-or-flight syndrome several times a day, sometimes from a thought crossing my mind, sometimes because I'm making an effort to go into a world that is completely confusing for me in sensory, social, emotional, practical, functional ways.
Sometimes, I get to my destination, and I go back home. I don't go in. Sometimes I go in and I have an unpleasant experience, such as quite obviously not being able to count change or the bright lights making me want to smash things. There are a lot of everyday things that are outlandishly complicated to me. People are not very understanding of these things in a town where no one can read to understand anyone but themselves. 
And my anxiety screams "Told you so." And I whisper, "It was still an adventure. It's still exposure. I'm still functioning mostly." 

Since I have been through all of my life events with anxiety from probably toddler-hood up through school, deaths, marriage, and now into motherhood. I have learned many ways of coping, from dissociation and self-destructive behaviors, to medication when it's unbearable, to art, music, writing, dancing, exercise...and anxiety self-help checklist, I've tried it. 
One of the best ways for me to experience some relief from anxiety is to be alone and to turn my headphones up loud on my playlist, and balter around the house, up and down the stairs, all over the place, while also sporadically working on either writing or art.  While this is happening, I disassociate off into a very severe, chronic daydream that I've maintained for a long long time. 
Nervous energy out through the dancing, positive in through the music, process and express through the art and the writing. Praying to live the daydream. 

Dealing with an anxiety disorder is like being in an ongoing fight with an extremely overbearing, codependent parent who keeps you locked away. For every positive I have, the anxiety will highlight a negative. For every negative I embrace as a part of me, anxiety reminds me that it will get me into more trouble. Then anxiety reminds me of all the things I don't understand, all the bad social interactions and the ones likely to happen, the possibility of a car wreck in the name of overcoming the panic. 
Some days are way harder than others. Some days I have to wait to accomplish certain tasks. But I try to remember that all of the good things that have happened in my life, happened when I win out over the anxiety. So I won't stop fighting. 


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Chemical Imbalances You Probably Don't Have

Mental illness and chemical imbalances have become a bit trendy, as have their titles being used as ways to explain relatively normal behavior. It wouldn't be a big deal if it were not for the fact that self-diagnosis is dangerous and stupid when it comes to chemical imbalance, and those who REALLY have chemical imbalances do not use it as an excuse for every annoying trait they have.

ADHD/ADD. You probably don't have either of these. I was officially diagnosed with ADHD several times, specifically "inattentive type." Most adults with ADHD have issues completing tasks like a normal human being; despite the fact that many of us are neat freaks "on the inside" or love organization, when I have a music video playing in my head it can be hard to even see the task in front of me. Completing it and then moving on to another task is very rare. We are more likely to do several tasks at once, completing maybe two of them eventually, forgetting another two even existed, and then a new task begins and who the fuck knows what could happen. With the help of sticky notes, timers, white boards, and cute little organizers, I can kind of function like an adult. But when while having a particularly "ADHD day" any and all carefully acquired social skills get lost in translation between all the fun little things my brain is doing.  Although ADHD can make you jittery, stop walking around claiming ADHD because you had too much coffee or sugar. ADHD does not make you squeal or make you particularly loud, and it certainly is not a fun, fabulous thing to have.

Bipolar. Bipolar Disorder is not the same thing as being moody. Professionals over-diagnose this in teenagers and in adults because people have fucking moods. Sorry, but being moody is a personality trait of certain temperaments and can even be *gasp* the result of actual environmental circumstances. If something good happens and you're happy, and an hour later something bad happens and you're sad, that is not a "mood swing due to Bipolar." That is not being a robot. People with Bipolar have periods of mania where they may not even be really "happy" but they have energy and euphoria and destroy their lives by over-spending, or they talk so much they know they should stop but can't, or they stay up for days and lose track of time and get into shit they normally would not. They have depressive stages that are so severe they can't function. They have mixed episodes, and sometimes their moods combine in a special little way that causes them to have psychosis. You having your period is not you being Bipolar. You screaming at your boyfriend and being dramatic at a party is not Bipolar, that's just you being an asshole.

OCD. Actual OCD is an anxiety issue where a person has repeated thoughts and/or behaviors to keep their anxiety in check (although participating in the thoughts and behaviors makes it worse.) Intrusive thoughts can be horrifying. Someone may be so afraid of their house being broken into that they lock the door repeatedly or they keep having intrusive thoughts of their child being hurt so they repeated phrases to themselves or even avoid letting their child leave their site. People with OCD may avoid cars because of their thoughts.They have horrible anxiety that causes irrational rituals to try and keep it under control. OCD is not being a very organized, anal retentive person. Being OCD does not mean you need to sit in the same spot everytime you're at the movies because you're an entitled prick.

Panic Attacks. People don't claim this one as much as the others or over-use it as much but people still seem to love calling every ounce of anxiety a "panic attack." Panicking is not necessarily a panic attack. Regular anxiety about meeting new people is not a panic attack. Panic attacks often come out of NOWHERE and if they are linked to a specific thing, they can often happen when just thinking about it. It isn't just an increased heart rate. You are probably not having a panic attack because someone you like texted you. You're probably just nervous.  If you did, however, feel like you were having an out-of-body-experience and your vision went blurry and you thought you were dying of a heart attack, maybe you did.

Depression. Being depressed chronically is not the same thing as being sad. Even being sad for a long period of time is not the same thing as having chemically-induced depression. If your life circumstances are causing you to be depressed, and the depression would go away if your life was different, that is not the same thing as having a chemical imbalance that makes you feel like a pile of shit no matter what is going on. This does not mean that the medication they give you cannot help you function until circumstances change, but taking on the attitude that you have no control over your happiness is fucking unhealthy. And please do not say you are "suffering from depression" because your friend bailed on you an hour ago. Just no.

Anyway, there are people with chemical imbalances who have every reason to claim them. Do not take away from the meaning or importance of the terms by claiming you have a serious condition to excuse a momentary behavioral oddity or mood.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Super Unique and Special In Every Way - Personality Disordered Idiocy

I have not updated in a very long time; I have been preoccupied. I was writing professionally for a site, which now has most of my old blog posts and a lot of newer content. I also got married and am almost 9 months pregnant. I will be giving birth to a baby girl in just a few weeks. Life has changed a lot, and I cannot wait to not be pregnant anymore and to continue with this new phase.

If you are familiar with my usual content, you know I study personality disorders, especially those in the more dangerous category. In the last 9 months, I have continued to study and write about such, but I have certainly become disenchanted with the individuals themselves. I talk to many. I now understand one reason therapists are not allowed to be "friends" with their patients. When I announced the pregnancy, peoples true colors began to really shine through (as does everyones when there are issues of birth, weddings, death etc) and those with Personality Disorders were no different. Reactions ranged from being annoyed and hateful that I wouldn't be able to donate as much time to them, to asking me why I wasn't going to get an abortion, to concerns about the fact that I wouldn't be thin anymore (and I'm not - I'm huge, but its temporary and it's none of anyones business.) It was a bit frazzling. Most assumed that I was also personality deficit in some way - unable to really be a parent or handle pregnancy.  Some of them outright attacked me, or if I expressed annoyance with certain things (like being asked why I didn't get an abortion) the attitude was that I was the one with a personality hangup - not them.

I quickly realized (not that I did not know already) that many Personality Disordered individuals find themselves EXTREMELY FUCKING INTERESTING, especially if they are Cluster B or have paranoid tendencies. They can talk about each tiny detail of their emotional or mental landscape for hours - do not dare try to talk about yourself or they will tell you they are not interested or they will be accusational, projecting their own traits onto you until you just shut up so they can return to talking about themselves. And if you even begin to think about telling them "This is Narcissism, you don't really seem to be the cold calculating Psychopath you claim to be" or "You aren't all that different from a self-absorbed teenager" they will say you are certainly attacking them and that you are crazy and personality deficient. I believe that people in general self-project a lot, but those with Personality Disorders do so immensely. I'm not sure they can help it - many of them cannot fathom that, although they are Super Unique And Special in Every Way, others do not experience the world as they do. Not everyone has Narcissism, Sadistic, or Avoidant tinted glasses on. You cannot be Super Unique And Special In Every Way and also know what everyone's motives are.

I do not intend to stop studying Personality Disorders, although this will certainly take a backseat to other things in my life (being a wife and mother and whatnot.) But I am not enchanted with those who have the disorders. Everyone - no matter how healthy - has characteristics of one or more Personality Disorders, and these tend to come out under stress - but having a diagnosis (or self diagnosis) does not make you special. Do you want a cookie for your behavioral pattern issues? Do you realize that you can't even plead insanity with a Personality Disorder? That's right, motherfucker, you are in control of your behavior. Of course, I do know that, depending on the disorder, there is a lot of grief to be had as far as anxiety, depression, isolation, and that many people with the disorders do not like that they have them. But there are those who turn it into their identity, and the ones who do that have no idea what the world, or other people, are actually like. Sometimes after a conversation, I'm just totally bewildered by some of the things I'm told and asked. Trying to explain empathy (not that I have a lot) or trying to explain emotions to someone who cannot really feel them is like trying to explain color to someone who sees black and white. Sorry sir but getting offended is not going to make me "admit" that I don't know how to socialize or how to relate to others. I refuse to let such people make me question my own sanity - and trust me, people, if anyone can make you question your own reality, it's people who are out of touch with it.