Posted in advocacy, Community, Emotions, Freedom, Late Night Thoughts, Peer Support, psychology

Civil Rights Movement 2020

NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE.

This is the slogan circulating social media as I speak.

Los Angeles, San Jose, Oakland, NYC,Atlanta, Minneapolis, Memphis, Louisville. The list continues.

I posted yesterday about the importance of African American mental health support in a time when we are watching ourselves get killed across social media, in a time that is eerily similar to the civil rights movement of 2020–except that now we have video.

Now we have PROOF.

We can watch the brutality, watch the racism, watch the hatred.

We can see the anger, the violence, the threats that result from hundreds of years of oppressive social states.

I think popular opinion is that protesting is okay but looting is overkill. I refuse to take a stance on this because the level of internal anguish that comes from generational trauma cannot be overlooked because a Target burned down.

I do not wish harm on anyone, be it protester, officer, or store clerk. We must keep our focus. We MUST remember the message and focus less on the damage we can cause. Every human can cause destruction. It takes someone truly enlightened to channel that hurt and anger into a passionate, effective message.

I have been crying for hours.

A 19 year old man was killed by officers in a San Jose protest. I live 45 minutes from San Jose. Our protests will be happening this weekend.

I have been crying for hours.

I wonder what George Floyd sees, if he can watch us from the other realm. I don’t know much about him other than community members describing him as a kind, generous man. Was his death what we needed? Is this what transitions our country into a time of healing? We thought change would come with Trump and it indeed has: it’s brought disorganization, divide, and racism to the forefront of our consciousness. This is the 2020 vision we all thought it would be.

I have been crying for hours.

There are videos of eight year old african-american children crying for equality in a room full of people, speaking to adults in charge.

I have been crying for hours.

I don’t think the feelings can be properly explained. I have been feeling invaded and attacked, my paranoia surfacing strong. I am feeling that Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram have been hacking my cell phone because of the message I am spreading. I am trending in social media on Instagram for videos I have found online of necessary violence against protesters who AREN’T looting.

There is an undeniable connection between all of us African-american’s right now. It seems we are always united in pain.

That’s painful.

When this ends, will we go back to killing each other in the name of “honor” or “reputation” in the streets? When this ends, will our style, culture, and way of being in the world be imitated and copied still by musicians, influences, and celebrities who have been SILENT in the face of this revolution? When this ends, will we encourage our kids to be more involved in politics? When this ends, will we still have to identify ourselves as black Americans? Or will we be called simply “Americans?”

When this ends, will we still be united?

What can we do to lift each other up after this? We can’t just destroy buildings and black-owned businesses.

We are always united in pain. How can we maintain our unification in revelation?

I am 24 years old, my birthday in 2 weeks. My father is 61 years old, and was just a kid during the 1960’s civil rights movement. He has been arrested illegally for a robbery he didn’t commit and spent a year in jail until they found out they were wrong. He’s spent his life fighting racist citizens and cops and community to the point that he sleeps with a hunting knife near and is always worried about getting into a fight or someone bursting in our door.

It’s my turn now to experience a racial revolution, to participate, and to find my identity. I am a light-skinned African-American who has been profiled by police, given unjustified tickets, had back-up and four cops called on her while she was simply sitting in the car, hands very visible on the steering wheel. I did not breathe. I grew up in a school with maybe 4 black students, and went on to a college that catered only to Hispanic students (for the record this wasn’t a problem, many Hispanic students need the help, but so do the black students who are systematically underprivileged compared to even Hispanic students).

My chest is tight. I can’t imagine living in the 50s, the 20s, the 1800s.

I’m mixed race; I would have been a product of rape and an eventual sexual object used for humiliation and, in my adulthood, a symbol of rape.

I can’t imagine living in the United States in any other time than this one.

I’d be dead.

Instagram: @written_in_the_photo

Twitter: @philopsychotic

TikTok: @alisaysno

Posted in advocacy, Emotions, Freedom, Late Night Thoughts, Peer Support, psychology, Supporting Friends/Family, Uncategorized

Mental Health And African-American LIves

There was not a Mental Health Month post on Thursday for Somatic Disorders as I anticipated, not because I ran out of time but because my mind has been engrossed in other disturbing realities and going-ons in America. I will do a post on Somatic Disorders soon. But firstly, we need to discuss something.

For all the mental health websites and advocate pages on Instagram who are American-run and have not mentioned ONE DAMN THING about the riots in Louisville, Kentucky and Minneapolis, Minnesota right now, you should be ashamed of yourselves. ASHAMED.

How dare you claim to be an advocate of mental health and not bring to light the racial issues that are not only causing MORE trauma for today’s generation of colored folks, but is fueled also by the generational trauma of our ancestors.

I am a mixed race individual; my father is African American and my mother is Caucasian. I am light skinned, often mistaken for Mexican, and my mental health and physical health has been impacted by this. Doctors are less attentive. They don’t listen properly. They accuse me of drug use in the middle of my panic attacks.

For African American people in America, there is a lot of grief. There is a lot of trauma, a lot of loss, a lot of pain. We feel unsafe, unheard, tossed aside. That births anger, rage, and perpetuates violence. With the recent murders of George Floyd and Ahmaud Abery and Breonna Taylor (George and Breonna murdered by police; George was already on the ground with three cops on top of him and Breonna was IN HER HOUSE), all of these feelings and this connection we have to each other is growing stronger. Violence is happening because of the angst of hundreds of years of BULLSHIT.

So the fact that so many pages are claiming to talk about Mental Health and are avoiding this issue for political reasons I suspect makes me sick to my stomach. Until this is addressed in all facets, nothing will change. As social media has been circulating: No Justice, No Peace.

Not only does blatantly ignoring this subject aide in the problem rather than the solution, it also sends the message that those of us in the american mental health system who are dark don’t matter as much. We don’t need to talk about this collective pain we feel right now because your page can’t afford arguments in the comments.

I say affectionately, FUCK YOU.

Get off your fucking high horse.

Remember when I said I have made very frank posts on my previous blog? This is one of them.

Get off your fucking high horse and recognize that the deaths of these people, the murders of these people, affect African-American people across this nation. My anxiety, my grief, my voices, my paranoia have all doubled because of what I see happening to the people who are part of my ancestral family. I feel the same for the Native Americans who are hit the hardest with COVID-19 and receiving absolutely no help, except a box of body bags rather than PPE. Part of my family is Native to North America and their suffering has only added to my grief.

This IS a mental health topic. Racism IS a mental health topic. Not because racism is a disorder, but because how it effects people dictates their mental states. To advocate at this time for mental health without reminding followers and subscribers that people of color are collectively struggling mentally with this, to the point that VICE has to be the one magazine to offer self-care tips for African Americans, IS SELFISH.

It’s SELFISH to ignore this as a mental health topic.

I’ve been sick to my stomach all day, lost in my thoughts and my pain and watching Minnesota burn down their police station.

If we truly are all in this together, then where is your support for the black community right now? Where is your acknowledgement of our mental health in a time when we are watching ourselves get killed? Somewhere up your ass?

Good Night.

Posted in Voices

Hearing Voices

It’s been difficult to write lately because my father is in the hospital and I’ve been running around a lot, unrelated to his hospital visits.

I really want to do a post about internal voices and external voices and why the internal ones have been considered “insignificant” to clinical practice for so long.

Most of us think about hearing voices as external, and a lot of people do, but what’s been found in clinical assessments is that the question “are you hearing voices” is quite vague.

Sometimes clinicians will ask “are they inside your head or outside?”. If you answer inside, it’s noted but not questioned further unless the nurse/intake/doctor is doing a thorough job.

So what’s been found in surveys is that quite a few people who answer “yes” to the hearing voices question heard them inside and outside of their head, or mainly inside. This prompted a few observational studies about how internal voices can differ from external and how that reflects a persons behavior.

This subject is interesting to me mostly because my voices have been both, but more heavily internal. Things are very bad when they’re external. There are reports of those who learned to live well with their voices, like Eleanor Longden, who mentioned wellness has prompted their voices to become more internal and less disruptive.

And we don’t talk enough about these heavy experiences. We don’t discuss it in a way we would discuss a topic in class or some juicy gossip with a friend and that’s what I think should change; if we can create a space where talking about these experiences, good and bad equally, in a nonchalant manner, it may just change the way others view mental health.

What do you all think? Is this an interesting topic you’d like to have some discussion on? Let me know on my social media or in the comments below.

Ive had some people contacting me on Instagram recently to learn more about my story and to ask me questions about my experience. We’ve supported each other’s pages and are communicating about advocacy. So if you’d like to do the same thing, you can reach me on Instagram: @written_in_the_photo or Twitter: @Philopsychotic.

Posted in Uncategorized

Yesterday

For some reason, yesterday’s post entitled How Important Are Your Psychiatric Meds was posted as three hours earlier than when I actually posted it. This caused the post to show up later in the tag feeds. Some of you managed to find it, but not everyone. If you haven’t read it, give that link a click!

Today there hasn’t been a full post because I’ve been in and out of the local hospital with my father, to my own physical therapy appointments, and to a thrift store. Tomorrow I work and will be at the hospital in the evening, but will try and belt out a post on their WiFi network. It just feels ill NOT writing a post one day.

If anyone has any ideas of a topic they’d like covered, shoot me an email, comment below, or find me on my social media:

Instagram: @written_in_the_photo

Twitter: @Philopsychotic

How has January been treating you all? Hopefully a little better than it’s been treating me! 2020 is a year of transformation, and with transformation and understanding comes pain and hardship.

Posted in Community, Uncategorized

Questions…

While everyone eagerly awaits my post which would have posted already were I not at work, I figured I’d pose some questions to all of you lovely people who have joined this journey with me. I’d like to learn more about all of you since I have put so much of myself out there.

1. What is your greatest achievement? I don’t mean this in some superficial, interview question way. I mean this in a “what has really helped you grow?” Way.

2. What is one of your passions? Do you have a particular hobby you wish could be your main source of income? What will it take for that to happen?

3. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and what inspires this decision?

4. Do you have any formal education or vocational training? If not, would you like to? What interests you in the sector of education?

5. How was 2019? What will be different in 2020?

6. Is there any philosophical or mental health related topic you’d like me to cover on this site?

Sometimes I like to remind myself of my passions, hobbies, and things outside of myself that remind me I’m still alive and kicking.

If you’d like to comment below any answers, I’d love to read them and start a conversation with you!

A real post will be up shortly. In the meantime, check out my Instagram handle: @written_in_the_photo and Twitter handle: @philopsychotic for funny memes and more mental health discussion!

Posted in Freedom, Voices

The Advantages of Pain

Let’s have a discussion about the power hidden within struggle.

After the loss of control that a crisis brings, it feels impossible sometimes to regain a sense of self and place in the world. You doubt yourself, you doubt your beliefs, your happiness, or any chance that this darker side of life has anything other than despair and mental anguish to offer.

I see a lot of #mentalhealthawareness tweets and posts on instagram that talk about how hard it is to have anxiety or how depression stops people from living life or how their mental torment holds them back in some way, and because of that the general public should stop using mental health terminology as adjectives, or the general public should “educate themselves” on what it means to have this devastating “mental illness”.

Then, there are other posts which are meant to encourage people stuck in these dark times to remember that they are strong for dealing with the pain that they deal with, and no one can tell them otherwise.

I’m never one to silence a voice, or voices in this case, but I do think we miss the mark a lot. It’s not really about how hard everything is, it’s about what we’re taught from that hardship. If you feel you haven’t learned anything, I encourage you to dig until you hit water.

It’s also not really about you being strong. Everyone struggles. Every single person in the world. And this isn’t to compare pains to one another. This is to say that if there’s one thing the human race shares across borders, it’s pain. We’re built, physically and mentally, to endure a lot of shit. The struggle worsens, though, when you lose faith and trust in your body and/or your mind. When you believe you’re inept to face a challenge, you’re basically telling your body “I don’t trust you to handle this”, and your mind “I don’t trust you to make it through this”.

The problem with that, in my completely hypothetical and unscientific proposition here, is that your body and mind start mistrusting you too. And when you’re out of sync with the two major systems keeping you conscious and alive, than you’re existing in a void.

I think the greatest lesson I have learned in experiencing psychosis is how important my body and mind are to me. I felt such a strong disconnect from my entire self. Nothing made sense. My body had aches and pains I didn’t understand and my mind told me things that didn’t make sense, things that came to me like an idea for a short story and ended up as a first, incoherent draft of a horror manuscript.

Making a decision to come off medication became a catalyst for reuniting myself with my body—the first step in my real recovery. But it wasn’t the physical act of getting off the medication that saved me. It was the fact that I made a decision based on what my body told me. I sat for some weeks and listened to my internal system until the cries were finally recognized. Hearing those cries and abiding by them restored a lot of trust between my body and myself.

My mind came next. I plunged into utter darkness. Voices said I should kill myself, and I tried. I was tackled into safety. No, I was not hospitalized that time.

But for the first time in this darkness, I let it sweep me away. I didn’t shoot arrows or fill my moat. I let evil overrun my castle and I shook its hand. It pulled me down a spiral of agony and I saw the deepest, rotted pits of my mind. I didn’t cry because I was fearful of that. I cried because darkness lead me around these pits and showed me the decaying feelings I’d neglected. The traumas I’d abused. I cried because I’d been hurting myself and I never knew it.

It’s been over a year since my descent, since I stopped taking the medication, since I got back into the gym and nurturing my body. I’ve made space in my physical self and mental self for aches and pains and darkness. I have a voice who reminds me when I’m not okay, or asks me if I’m okay when I feel a little rocky. In fact, with all of the thoughts and voices in my head, I’ve reached a compromise: we either live in this body together or none of us live at all.

I want to live. They want to live. And so we leave space for each other.

“Recovery”, or whatever you’d like to call it, for me isn’t about being strong or resilient or tweeting about how much my life has changed or instagramming paragraphs about why hope should never die. It’s about a willingness to be terrified. It’s about reconnecting myself with what I’d been too fearful to face. Granted, I didn’t do this all on my own. I had friends and therapists and some bad group therapy experiences, all of which lead me back to looking inside of myself.

This is why you will never catch me on social media telling people what they want to hear. What they want to hear is the same script that’s everywhere: you can live a normal life. Take control. Be your best you. It’s possible to live with “mental illness”.

That’s all fine if you just want to exist. But it’s deeper than that for me. Giving up control gave me more freedom than fighting for control. I don’t “live with mental illness” because I’ve been labeled schizoaffective. I just “live with myself” like every other damn human being.

We think we’re so different from others. For some of us, that makes us feel entitled, like we deserve special treatment because “we’re sick”. And then we turn around and demand we also be treated the same as everyone else. Classic identity crisis if you ask me.

For me, that mindset just never quite cut the cake.

So, there is deep beauty in suffering, and deep agony in happiness. Our minds and our bodies are built for adaptation. They’re built to endure. Trust in this.

Would you like to continue the mental health conversation, see silly (and beautiful) photographs, and nonsensical two second videos? Great! Follow me:

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*New* Twitter: @philopsychotic

Snapchat: @FabulousIRLTho

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