Tag: Mental Health

I’ve not felt calm in ages like I felt just now out on my tiny front landing, in the chair, reading about neurodiversity on the Kobo, noise cancelling AirPods active, with a travel mug of tea. I continue to be not capable of saying enough about the chair, to the point where I now want to find a living room loveseat effectively built to the same height and with the same seating angle. It perfectly supports my back, and the sitting position yields no restlessness in my legs. Internet, do you thing: find me such a loveseat.

Addenda

  1. Someone is going to suggest a futon, due to the angle, but I've never seen or experienced a futon as low as this, or as comfortable as this; I'd need to roughly replicate the depth of the seat itself to approach what the chair does.

My chair arrived from Byer of Maine. I first experienced one of these through a volunteer at The Belmont Goats, and it’s a ridiculously comfortable chair design. It’s perfect for the tiny landing of my mother-in-law cottage.

I’m desperately in need of there being a COVID-safe place to hang out other than home. Today apparently I am to be absolutely besieged by construction sounds to my right and personal power tools to my left, with no hope of escape.

We all know the James Baldwin quote about how being black and relatively conscious means being in a rage all the time. This is also the plight of the black journalist. If you think consuming black death day in and day out can be remedied by some “emotional distance” and “journalistic integrity,” you are wrong.

From Black Journalists and Covering the Storm That Never Passes by Danielle C. Belton

Meet Adam Mazza, My Instagram Bully

Back in March, there’d been a pandemic-prompted reunion of sorts of my original online community (scroll down) that I even touted in response to a call for items from a newsletter I read. It didn’t, for me, even last a month, because of reasons I’d tweeted and also posted to Instagram at the time.

Fast forward to the end of May and the beginning of June, when a completely-unrelated person from that same community fell like dick from the internet sky.



Full disclosure: between the first and the second comments was my only reply: “Yes: fuck you.”

To be clear, waking at noon was both due to a recurring fatigue condition and mental health stresses during social distancing lockdown, and the AirPods are for the active noise cancellation I use to mitigate autistic sensory sensitivities. The selfies, like most people’s selfies, are to mark the pushing through.

Adam Mazza, my Instagram bully, is engaged in online harassment that’s reached the point of bullying me over disability. He’s been reported to Instagram as such, and will continue to be with each new post. I haven’t blocked him because I want him to keep digging his own virtual grave.

I also note a common irony of the internet bully: trying to shame people into thinking no one cares about what they have to say…by repeatedly responding to what they have to say.

One thing I have a greater appreciation for because of this, although I wouldn’t go so far as to say I thank Adam Mazza, my Instagram bully, for the lesson: I’m not a suicidal ideation guy, I’m not a self-harm guy, but the massive anxiety spike caused by each of the comments so far by Adam Mazza, my Instagram bully, definitely helps me understand a little better why online bullying and harassment can lead people there.

Oh, for the halcyon days when all I had to criticize Instagram for was the out-of-order feed hurting my autistic brain. To stay on point: it’s safe to assume Adam Mazza, my Instagram bully, would see that as just more complaining my four 227 followers don’t care about.

My back hurts, and I’m tired, and there definitely was an anxiety spike, but I managed to get up, have a quick bowl of cereal, get to the post office, figure out how to finish packing the old laptop I sold, figure out where out back of the post office they wanted parcels dropped off, and got in the minor grocery errand I’d wanted to do and hoped I’d have the resources to add to this trip out of the house. Exhausting and stressful, but no panic attack, no sense of suffocation (so the Braddock masks, although I need to replace the elastic ear loops with head-ties secured with cord locks, are comfortable enough to not be an extra stressor), and now I can just be at home to have my one coffee for the day and see if Crew Dragon launched.

Writing for the Star Tribune about toxic positivity Kevyn Burger (via Ryan Boren) offers an important caution from graduate student Bridget Siljander — “We act like if they just try harder they can be happy. That ignores science. It ignores diversity. It ignores trauma.” — but I was mostly struck by therapist Sherry Merriam.

“It’s as if this turned up the gravity on the planet. For those people, whatever they were trying to do feels harder and heavier now,” she said. “Now we see the pressure to make something positive out of this situation — get that sourdough started, read those books. It’s wonderful for those who can use those things as coping mechanisms, but a lot of people can’t and they feel like a failure. That’s what makes it toxic.”

It struck me because I’ve used the gravity metaphor a lot. It doesn’t feel metaphorical when it hits; your body physically responds as if everything is heavier and slower. It shouldn’t surprise me that the metaphor exists, you know, outside of my own head.

Feelings of numbness, powerlessness, and hopelessness are now so common as to verge on being considered normal. But what we are seeing is far less likely an actual increase in a disease of the brain than a series of circumstances that is drawing out a similar neurochemical mix. This poses a diagnostic conundrum. Millions of people exhibiting signs of depression now have to discern ennui from temporary grieving from a medical condition. Those at home Googling symptoms need to know when to seek medical care, and when it’s safe to simply try baking more bread. Clinicians, meanwhile, need to decide how best to treat people with new or worsening symptoms: to diagnose millions of people with depression, or to more aggressively treat the social circumstances at the core of so much suffering.

From Is Everyone Depressed? by James Hamblin

Outburst vs. Crumple

Thinking about my yelled blasphemous invective made me think about those job-placement crying fits in the men’s room, and now I rather suspect they are versions of the same thing: the safety valve on a pressure cooker. The difference is that while the outburst ill serves workplace, the crumple ill serves my mental health. Most people would look at the outbursts and consider them to be explosions — or, rather, meltdowns — but in truth they actually help avoid meltdowns. I’ve been through meltdowns and they don’t look merely like yelling, “Jesus mother fucking Christ!” and then moving on to the next thing. When my environment wouldn’t accept an outburst, the pressure is relieved instead through a crumple. I’m not holding my breath for suggestions on workplaces where outbursts would be acceptable, but I certainly can’t see myself being able to attempt a return to work only to face more crumpling.

You know it’s going well when your shirt collar not staying down as you get dressed leads to a loud, “What the fuck, today?” followed immediately by (sotto voce), “Today. This week. This month. This year. This life.”

I wish I had the power to physically explode my body on demand in order to release the pressure.

As I said already on Twitter, my first three thoughts this morning were, “Another god damned day to get through.” As I typed for the previous blog post the words “I remain confused as to how people manage workaday lives” I thought mostly about one thing I know at this point for certain: I’m unable to provide any employer with predictability of presence. The last time I tried, I was under such severe stress within the first three months that I was having depressive episodes in the men’s room, and because I didn’t want anyone to think I was being irresponsible or non-responsive to the job attempt, I stuck it out for three months more despite that toll. The reality is that I can’t even tell myself on any given night what the next day is going to look like in terms of my capacities and my resources, but I’m supposed to be able to commute to and perform a job in a day-in, day-out manner? All I have is unanswered questions: where are the other autistic people who are low-support needs when it comes to the daily tasks of living on one’s own yet apparently cannot work? How can state and federal authorities not consider this to be disabled? Should I feel guilty for fearing that I’m going to be allowed to fall through the cracks, when there are plenty of other people out there who don’t even have the societal advantages of being straight, cisgender, white men with family support? Is it a bad idea to just go ahead and have today’s total existential breakdown out loud and in public here on the blog?

My set of diagnoses did not include a separate diagnosis of sensory processing disorder, but the below bit from the latest Learning from Autistics interview is reasonably descriptive of my autistic sensory issues.

My mood can change so quickly if I am overwhelmed by something as I cannot filter the information coming into my brain, and I cannot regulate my emotions or understand and label my own feelings (I was told by my autism assessor that this is referred to as Alexithymia). This means day-to-day it can be quite tiring being out in the world, and as a result, I’ve become very good at masking (hiding my true thoughts/feelings), and I can only really drop that mask when I am in a safe environment like my home.

As I continue to discover ways in which I was under sensory stress during my pre-diagnosis decades but suppressing the effects even from my own conscious awareness, I remain confused as to how people manage workaday lives without driving either themselves or the people around them batshit.