Overspending, drinking too much, funerals, etc.

Last week was particularly stressful because my grandpa suddenly died of a heart attack, and then the following days were spent on funeral things, being around family, and so on. I went to the viewing at the funeral home but not the church service or cemetery. I did go to my grandma’s house on several days and mostly spent those drinking with my uncles. I was supposed to also go to the bar with everyone at some point, but I only lasted 10 minutes there because I couldn’t deal with all the people and noise. I managed to chug the weakest rum and Coke I’ve ever had in my life while there, though. It must be a corticosteroids thing; I used to go to bars every night in college. I preferred going in the daytime when it was quiet, but I usually went at night when it was full of people and loud (terrible) music. But my anxiety was not having any of that shit and I ended up getting a ride home from one of my uncles.

In the meantime, being more or less away from Facebook hasn’t helped my overspending at all, and I bought a 16-CD Pink Floyd box set to replace all the Pink Floyd CDs I sold for alcohol money ten or so years ago. I did get it used, for $60 less than the amazon.com price, though. I also spent hundreds of dollars on stupid shit while out of town yesterday, after my dermatologist appointment. Also got the 2014 2-LP yellow vinyl remaster of Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, which I told myself I wasn’t even interested in but the price of that listing was considerably cheaper than it usually goes for. That seems to be improving slightly, though; I haven’t bought any $800+ musical instruments since summer.

In other news, I have also sometimes had thoughts like “I don’t really feel like drinking/getting high on anything today” and actually followed through with that and remained quite sober, sometimes for more than one consecutive day. There were also times I stopped abusing substances before I got to the point where I couldn’t remember my name or form a complete sentence.

I keep having dreams that I am back in college. These dreams go one of two ways: in the first type, I realize most of the semester has gone by and I have forgotten to attend a certain class the entire semester, and there is a feeling of dread of failing that course. In the other type, I am moving in or moving out, with all the stress that that entails.

Currently finishing off a bottle of rum, however. I figure I am too ambivalent to just go jump in front of a train, so I do things that could potentially kill me sooner or later instead as a form of lazy Russian roulette, and drinking is only one of those things.

On the other hand, though, I am kind of thrilled to not be in the depressed state I was in up until last August. I am sometimes doing things like writing, drawing, painting, contemplating suicide (oops, nevermind that one), and enjoying things. Mostly I enjoy acquiring possessions and getting shitfaced drunk, but that counts as enjoyment. More enjoyment than I had before, certainly.

On reclaiming words

from here:

And even more baffling, how can we “reclaim” something that was never ours to begin with?

Because words can change meaning, that’s how. Words change meaning based upon how they are used. For example, “gay” doesn’t mean “happy” anymore. If a homosexual person is sad, it’s not a contradiction if he calls himself “gay.” The word changed meaning based on common usage. Likewise, Christmas songs with lyrics like “don we now our gay apparel” do not refer to putting on gay pride tshirts.

It’s really annoying how people assume that, if you aren’t pro-censorship, then you must be a bigot, insensitive, and don’t care about bullying. I am not a bigot and I am against bullying. Bullying is a behavior. If you take away the words they don’t want you to use, it’s not going to stop bullying. That argument seems like a huge strawman to me. As a white person, I do not use the word “n*gger,” unless maybe you’re asking me to recite Tupac lyrics or something. Wasn’t there an interview or something with Samuel L. Jackson where he asked some non-black person to say it? If Samuel L. Jackson asked me to, I would, because I think it’s all about context. I wouldn’t be using it as a slur against someone, I would be repeating a word someone explicitly asked me to repeat. To do otherwise is to give the words a magical power over people, which I think allows them to hurt their intended targets a lot more. (I’ve also seen people say that you shouldn’t say “dumb” or “lame,” even though few people even use those anymore for people who can’t speak or walk.

Likewise, I agree with this article on why it’s ok for gay people to reclaim gay slurs for themselves (which is different than saying it’s ok for non-gay people to use those words as slurs against gay people). I use some of these words myself, and I am annoyed by how frequently people miss this very important point: people reclaiming a word for themselves is not at all the same thing as a bully harassing a person for being gay and using slurs against them. I’m fucking sick of people trying to police other people’s word choices. It doesn’t seem to be about helping people anymore, it seems to be about the person “calling out” someone feeling all holier-than-thou and trying to make the other person feel bad for an injustice they didn’t know they committed.

Consider a word like “fuck.” Why are some people very offended by it? Because they don’t use it much. It becomes magical and powerful to them, and they have trained themselves to be shocked and offended when they hear it. I can’t remember back to all my linguistics classes, but I think it when we were talking about modes of discourse when the professor mentioned how we talk differently to our close friends than we do to our grandmothers, or when speaking publicly. Different words may be appropriate/inappropriate in different situations. What I don’t like is everything being put into black and white categories, banning words regardless of context, banning classic literature from schools, etc.

But I’m sure people are going to say I can’t talk about the n-word because I’m not black. Ok. What about, in a TED.com article, where it says not to use words like “crazy,” “psycho,” and “loony?” Here, I think we’re venturing dangerously close to trying to kill people’s sense of humor. If someone calls me “crazy,” I’m not offended, that person is just stating a fact. I’d be no more offended by that than if someone said I have brown hair. The idea of being identified with the mental illness more than other parts of you is a valid thing to consider, but saying I can’t call myself crazy would be to deny part of me, as well, as far as I’m concerned. My answer would be to make “craziness” a less scary thing, not to police people’s word choices. Not everyone has the terminology to talk specifically about certain conditions. Not everybody knows what bipolar disorder is, and there aren’t enough hours in the day to explain the nuances to everybody. If I want to call myself crazy, I will. If you don’t like the word, fine, don’t use it. But don’t try to stop me from using it.

Reclaiming words and not “calling out” people for using them (depending on context) does not mean you’re a hateful bigot that wants everyone to be bullied. It may just mean you’re against censorship and don’t give words that much power. It may mean you’ve taken enough language courses or read enough books to know that languages change over time.

More rambling about Facebook

After not having made a post since my flouncepost, I already feel a bit better. I am checking messages but not making a huge effort to look at my newsfeed. Just because other people either like Facebook or don’t want to use other means of contacting people is not my problem anymore. It’s not a good enough reason for me to stay there, because I find it to be a very unwelcoming place. I’ve been complaining about Facebook since I first made an account ten years ago, but every time I’ve deactivated my account there, people pitch a fit and act like I’ve dropped off the face of the planet. This upsets me because Facebook is not the entire internet, it’s just the part of the internet I hate the most. It also confuses me because, when I deactivate, people don’t go to my (many!) websites or use my email, they just bother my other friends to find out “what has happened” to me (as if leaving Facebook means you’ve died). As far as I’m concerned, if you don’t give a shit about me enough to email me or contact me in another way, then you don’t give much of a shit about me, so it doesn’t bother me to not be in contact with you. Writing an email isn’t all that hard.

I also find it amusing when people get pissed off because you don’t respond to a message immediately. One person unfriended me because I didn’t respond to his message for a few hours. Not everyone checks their messages every five minutes. Sometimes I don’t even check them or reply to them once a day, much less multiple times in a day.

I don’t think it’s just that Facebook has made people lazy in communicating though; I think it’s also that people seem to have forgotten that there are other ways to communicate with people. People also seem to have difficulty understanding why anyone wouldn’t want to be on Facebook. I’ve detailed my reasons elsewhere, so I won’t do it again here. But I could summarize by saying that (1) you never know if people are going to see anything you post due to the FB algorithms, and (2) it’s chaotic and that messes with my head.

Mania and overspending

While manic, I tend to overspend. I am prone to excesses of many kinds, but I tend to allow the spending most of the time because it’s the one excessive thing I do which is least likely to result in my death (unlike randomly taking or not taking medications, abusing drugs and alcohol, etc.). The very first week, I bought an electric piano, various guitar accessories (pedals, cords, new strings, new tuner). I’ve been buying books, records, and CDs at a pretty steady rate since then. I’m sure I’ve acquired at least 100 CDs and well over 100 records in that time. I also have a habit of buying the very same albums repeatedly. The first time I can remember doing that was about 15 years ago.

ebayfeedback

The shift in my mental illnesses took place a little over 6 months ago. This is interesting because you can see a pretty big difference if you subtract the last 6 months of Ebay feedback from the last 12 months. 6-12 months ago, I wasn’t ordering all that much. Most of the orders have been since this past August.

amazon

Here, you can see that I order, on average, about 11 times per month from amazon. Those orders can (and usually do) include multiple items.

Thinking back to about 15 years ago, I can remember being extremely stressed out from work and taking the train to the mall after a night shift. I was working night shifts for a few years and decided it’d be a good idea to just sleep every second day. My days were 48 hours long. That really screws up your sense of time. I was never tired, though. I would sometimes get upset and go to the mall and buy stupid shit I didn’t need. I also bought a lot of books and CDs, but I consider those justifiable purchases. I just bought way too many of them.

In more recent years, it’s become more of an online thing. The spending part is enjoyable, but so is getting things in the mail and then having the things. I suppose you could make some accusation of attempting to fill a void in myself with material items. I enjoy categorizing things, putting CDs/records in chronological or alphabetical order (I switch it up now and then, just for something to do), and searching for items that are rare and hard to find. I also justified some of the spending by telling myself that I had quit therapy, and that freed up some cash money. Buying things, however pointless that may seem, still seemed like a more positive experience to me than therapy, anyway. I don’t blame my past therapists; I think a lot of it’s my fault. I just am not willing to talk about myself in person, to anyone (unless it’s a humorous story or something). If a therapist pushes me, I will quit going right away. If they don’t push me, I just won’t get anything from going there, and that will eventually cause me to stop going.

Why I’m considering leaving Facebook

Since the change of meds and the mania problems beginning last summer, Facebook has been bothering me a lot more. Initially, it was being overwhelmed with so much information. Conflicting stories, sad things, funny things, political things. Usually, if you tell someone you don’t like what’s on your Facebook feed, they assume you don’t want certain political things and remind you that you can unfollow the friend or block things from certain sites. That’s largely not what I am talking about, though.

When I was depressed for a very long time, I was actually quite stable. No crying, no sadness, just sort of a lack of anything. Numbness and apathy. While manic, it’s the opposite of that. Everything cranked up to 11. Disturbing things are really horrifying, funny things are really funny, and so on. Scrolling through a Facebook feed often means going through about 30 different strong emotions per minute, which was more than I could handle. It also made me hyperaware of the fact that my own situation was not the same as that of many of the people I am friends with on there. For example, it would make me sad to see happy photos of people with their boyfriends/girlfriends, families, etc. because I feel like that’s something I won’t ever get to experience. Even seeing selfies is sometimes upsetting to me, because it just reminds me I am so insecure in my appearance that I am terrified of posting photos of myself on the internet.

Elsewhere, someone complained about people complaining on Valentine’s Day about not being in a relationship, saying that relationships don’t fix everything or always create happiness. I don’t think people are necessarily are saying that. Speaking for myself, I am quite aware that many people aren’t always happy in relationships, and I don’t think being in a relationship would make me happy all the time, it’s more that so many people talk about love and relationships being an important part of their life, even the most important part of their life, so of course it can bother people if they have never been in a relationship in their adult life.

Additionally, I always said that I wanted to do something, even something small, to promote awareness of mental illnesses. Posting on Facebook might do that to a small extent, but not when very few people see what you post. I figured a blog would be a better way to go, not to mention potentially help me to interact with other people who have also had problems with mental illness and other things.

I prefer blogs and forums to Facebook for a number of reasons:

  1. Tags, categories, themed forums/blogs – These are completely different from the disordered, chaotic nature of Facebook where every person uses it for a different reason and there are so many kinds of posts and information on your newsfeed. I realize there are groups for that, but sometime it can be hard to find good ones
  2. Your posts more or less disappear after a few hours and no one ever sees them again/no indexing system – This is a big one. If I am going to take the time to write something, even a disordered rant, I might want to keep it around and be able to come back to it for a while. If other people are going to comment on it, it would also help if it stayed around. You can pin posts but that’s not the same as really indexing things on a site or blog.
  3. Quality of discussion – In my experience, there is not much quality discussion to be had. People press “like” and don’t comment, or, in the case of everything I write, they don’t “like” it or comment on it. I’ve had people tell me they read all my posts, which is nice, but I still have very little interaction with people on there. Another part of it may be that, if it’s just going to disappear (more or less) by tomorrow, why bother putting any thought or effort into anything you write there?
  4. I never got the hang of the “social” aspect of social media. Like I said, I guess because my posts are too “grim” or “heavy” or weird or whatever, nobody really interacts with me on Facebook. There are people I have talked to via private messages, but not all that much. I often go for weeks without using PMs on there. And it’s rare that post anything that causes anyone to comment. I don’t want or care about “likes,” but if it’s social media, I guess I would expect some discussion or social interaction on there sometimes. I don’t interact with people on Facebook. On the other hand, I do have long discussions with people on forums, and I do like responding to blog posts.
  5. People get offended by everything. When I say I like discussion, I also mean discussion with people with different points of view. On Facebook, people often get offended if you disagree with something they post and say so, even if you’re polite. It’s much easier to discuss and debate on a forum or blog
  6. Facebook just isn’t rewarding to me. Using it has no particular benefits other than potentially being able to contact people sometimes. On a day to day basis, I might as well be writing longhand in a diary for all the more I talk to people. At least a diary wouldn’t upset me. Hell, I’ve often posted the exact same rants on both Facebook and on a forum and my FB posts were totally ignored, while my forum posts with the same content generated good discussion.
  7. Godawful color scheme. I understand why they wouldn’t have wanted it to turn into a MySpace clone, but the bright background hurts my eyes.
  8. Real names, etc. I don’t like the real name policy. I don’t like people trying to find me on there who I never really even knew or liked. I don’t like how you’re expected to post photos of yourself, and I especially don’t like how people can tag you in their photos.

So anyway, I’m considering just coming here (or certain forums) when I feel like writing about or discussing something rather than Facebook. We’ll see how that works out. I’ll still check my messages there, but more and more, Facebook seems like a colossal waste of time to me.

On motivational quotes and mental illnesses

control1
While there is nothing inherently wrong with attempting to be positive, I do have a big problem with the way a lot of “motivational” images seem to imply that all you need to do is think positive thoughts and your life will be hunky-dory. Maybe it could help someone who is simply having a bad day to focus on being grateful for things or think happy thoughts, but it becomes a problem when you figure in mental illness. It seems to be blaming people for things like depression or anxiety. My mom used to be this way about my anxiety, she acted like my panic attacks were some kind of attention-seeking behavior and I should just chill and snap out of it. You can’t just “snap out of” mental illnesses though, and having a crappy day isn’t the same as being clinically depressed. So when I see things telling me to “focus on the positive” and that I am only as happy as I allow myself to be, sometimes I get irritated.
nature
The same goes for the ones saying pets and nature are better than any therapist. I don’t dispute that spending time with animals or outdoors can be great and even therapeutic; but I do dispute the implication that these things are a replacement for therapy or better than therapy. No reason you can’t have both, but some people are helped by therapy, and talking to your dog is not quite the same as talking to a licensed professional in the mental health field. It minimizes the struggles of the mentally ill and says they’d be ok if they just took their dogs for more walks in the woods. While I can understand the idea that many people are stressed out from their jobs and perhaps being stuck indoors a lot, not all problems are solved by a little sunshine and fresh air.

On a semi-related note, I also dislike seeing the ones saying all you need is love and companionship, or that those things are the only things that matter in life. I sure hope those aren’t the only things that matter in life, or nothing much matters in my life, because I seem to be unable to form close relationships with people as a result of my mental illnesses. I’m not denying that many people have reason to enjoy these memes saying love is what matters in life; I’m just saying that these ideas make me feel very alienated.

rupaul

Additionally, as much as adore RuPaul, I also feel alienated when she closes her shows saying “if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?” Maybe the answer really is, “you’re not,” but it isn’t very motivational for those of us who don’t have relationships and have trouble loving ourselves. I’m not saying people should be expected to never say or post something like this or the other love-related ones, I am just stating how I feel when I look at them.

Thoughts on relationships and my mental illnesses

Mental illnesses report:
My last post got me thinking about marginally-related things. I had a “best friend,” OC people will know who I mean, who constantly put me down and insulted me since the early 90s. But I didn’t tell her to piss off until 2011 because I always figured if I got rid of her, I wouldn’t be able to make new friends. And I suppose I made a couple, but not many I have been very close to.

Regarding boyfriends, there was the guy I met in the mental hospital when I was in high school, but, in addition to the fact that, the more I got to know him, the less I liked him, and that I only saw him a couple times a year, and that he was an alcoholic, he was cheating on me the entire time. In fact, I was so aware of this I’m hesitant to call it “cheating,” more like an unspoken open relationship, but only open on one side. But I stayed with him for several years because (as a parallel to the “best friend” situation) I figured if I got rid of him, I’d never find another boyfriend. [And I was right.] He occasionally re-friends me on Facebook and then unfriends me if I don’t reply to his messages immediately. One time his wife started sending me nasty messages, apparently thinking I was the one who friended him.

Eventually though, I figured that if I didn’t have a bf/gf and didn’t have friends, I could deal with that, and that it would be better than having the BF and [some of] the friends I had. There were times back then that I wished I had people to talk to about things but then I started writing a journal again and that helped and I more or less got over the emotional need to have other people around and to talk to people (most of the time when I tried to talk to people about anything emotionally-related in the past, I felt ignored or was quite blatantly ignored anyway, so talking to people never seemed to help). I got new hobbies, exercised compulsively, learned some new languages, etc. And I suppose some people have offered to listen, but I think I am so emotionally closed off that I am unable to have a dialogue about myself, I can only make posts which are written as a monologue. Possibly also why I’ve never really been able to open up to therapists; they are another person in the room who might potentially say something and that scares the shit out of me and I go mute.

Eventually I was on enough medication that my emotional state was completely numbed to the extent that nothing bothered me, so it was quite traumatic for me when that numbness disappeared recently and I am still working through that. Posting on FB helps. If my posts bother you, though, I ask that you unfriend me rather than just hiding my posts from your timeline (assuming anyone who wants to hide my posts from their timeline would actually be reading this, of course). I really don’t mind it when people unfriend me here. I think it is possible that, with a change of medication or a reduction of medication, my problematic emotional states will resolve or become more stable. In the meantime, I will probably continue the posts because, as stated before, this helps me to organize my thoughts.

I wish I didn’t have a sex drive

[Forum post plus some discussion from other people]

I’m not sure where I am at. I’m comfortable for now not talking to people in real life. I no longer get the urge to. There was a time when, if I felt bad or whatever, I would have an urge to talk to people in real life and have a conversation. That’s gone now.

Mainly these days I just wish my sex drive would go away. It’s especially upsetting because, due to medications, I thought it had gone away forever and I was very disappointed and disturbed when it came back (common symptom of bipolar mania: “hypersexuality”).

Here’s your TMI for the day:

Despite, after many years, getting over the Catholic guilt concerning masturbation, it doesn’t really help me much because (1) it seems a bit second-rate, and (2) it occasionally makes me cry, which makes it especially unpleasant and unhelpful. It’s not that I’m not good at it, I think I’m pretty good at it, it just seems like I’m lacking something I guess. It has diminished slightly since the psychotic episode last summer, though, but it’s still there.

So, not really sure where to go with that. If you’re horny and haven’t had any success having sex with other people, masturbation would be the obvious way to go, but it doesn’t seem to help me much. I guess I’m just waiting for menopause now because it’s my understanding that that can help to diminish sex drive.

I used to abuse drugs and alcohol very heavily to reduce or eliminate my sex drive, but it’s my understanding that that isn’t necessarily a healthy thing to do, either.

I don’t have any real hopes of ever being in a real relationship (I assume that would potentially be helpful with the sex drive), because, after 17 years or so, I have gotten discouraged by being rejected by everyone I ever attempted to initiate a relationship with and either (1) I am just not attractive to people in that way, or (2) I am doing something very wrong and I can’t fix it because I don’t know what I’ve been doing wrong.

There has never been a time where someone wanted to start something up with you, where they initiated the potential relationship?

No. I mean, not since like 1996, and he was cheating on me since the very beginning. So I always figured it was up to me to make the first move, but that always ended up leading to rejection and/or losing friends. I don’t think I’m creepy or anything, and the most I ever did was suggest that me and another person hang out (alone, without other friends), and I never even got that far* with people I normally hung out with (around other people), I would either be told they weren’t interested or they’d agree to hang out or go somewhere and then never show up, and then never talk to me again because apparently that made it weird. I also never considered myself anything worse than average looking, so I don’t think that’s it, and I had great tits in college.

*Not counting some drunken messing around with some women when i was 18 or 19, but that was more in the realm of 1 night stands and not potential relationships.

On involuntary celibacy

[This was a discussion of a post on Facebook which I can’t find to quote right not]

It’s interesting to read people’s thoughts on this; this guy is obviously angry. The culture in general is often judgmental toward people who don’t have sex, though, which probably doesn’t help and just causes more hatred and lashing out.

I disagree that it’s a male problem, though. I mean, I tried during the entirely of my 20s to have sex and relationships without any success at all (haven’t even kissed anyone since I was a teenager, probably wouldn’t remember how; by the time I was in my 30s I’d given up), and I do get resentful when people suggest that any woman can just go out and get all the sex she wants, whenever she wants, just because she has a vagina.

I do think discussion is helpful though. People can get really uncomfortable if you start talking about anything other than a normal sex life. I think there is some overlap with the way people respond to people talking about mental illness, many people don’t know how to deal with the discussion and try to avoid it, but I think talking about it helps people understand each other and should be encouraged. I also refuse to censor what I say regarding things like mental illness and sex to make the people around me comfortable, because (1) no one has the right to never be upset, and (2) if other people can talk about sex and relationships and that’s socially ok, I feel like I should be able to talk about what it’s like to not have those things.

I got irrationally upset one time when I was talking about a back tattoo I considered getting and some guy said guys would appreciate it. I said no guys other than my dermatologist ever see my naked back! (I have several tattoos no one has ever seen, for that matter.) And I realize now I was just lashing out because he just assumed I had sex with people because most people do and I shouldn’t have gotten angry with him.
Also probably why it bothers me if people ask if I have children. I never had a chance to make a decision to have children or not. As a kid, I always said I didn’t want any, but that’s not the same thing and thinking it over and being able to decide on the matter.

The worst thing about being bipolar and having severe mania at times is having a sex drive, for me, anyway. It’s the most unpleasant and unwanted symptom, and harder to deal with even than suicidal thoughts, which I also have a lot of while manic. The only good thing about the medication induced depression I was in for several years there, IMO, was complete lack of a sex drive. I thought maybe it would stay that way forever.