Auditory Processing Deficit: It’s not a hearing problem, but…sorry, what did you say?

So few people are aware of auditory processing deficit as an actual thing that when explaining it I often just default to “It’s a hearing problem,” but that’s not accurate.

I have Auditory Processing Deficit. I’ve had it for most of my life — the test that shows the age level one’s auditory processing is at starts at age 5 and goes to age 18, but we are fairly certain my deficit started when I was 2 years old. Trauma can often be the cause of these sorts of deficits, and there was a doozy of one directly associated with hearing and listening when I was two. (I’m not getting into the story right now. I might at some point in the future.)

Before I took the test, mom thought I was just being a teenager with selective hearing. She’d have to repeat herself several times before I would remember what she said. I explained that I wasn’t forgetting or mishearing things on purpose; it was just that I literally had no memory of her saying certain things.

When I took the test she realized it was an actual problem, so we took steps to fix it. The test, called the Gibson Cognitive Test Battery, is part of a program called PACE — Processing And Cognitive Enhancement. It tests several areas of processing and function in the brain — the framework upon which you put content learning. Auditory processing, memory, visual processing, and other areas are tested. Often people who bottom out in one area will max out in another, because it’s their brain’s way of coping. I had maxed out on visual processor and a few other areas.

It’s a program my mom does, and she’s damn good at it. I did the program with her, though I didn’t get the full benefit. Ideally PACE is done quickly — the 36 hours within a few weeks — because this ensures the most advancement for the brain. Because mom had other students and I was in theatre we were both so busy we rarely had time for PACE sessions. We did the program over 2 years, often sitting for several hours in a session, determined to get as much done in one sitting as possible. For the longest time I held the record for levels passed in a session — not hard when your sessions are 7 hours long.

Still, even though it took us 2 years to do the program, I came up several ages in the areas I was lacking. When we were done I was age 16 in auditory processing — that was an advancement of 11 years (14 if we accept that the deficit was lower than 5 and likely at 2 years of age).

We tested me again recently and I have somehow made it up to age 18. However, I still struggle with remembering things that are said, and when I’m stressed or tired my processing goes down the tubes. (It also does not help that Mr. Katje is an avowed mumbler.)

It’s important to note that auditory processing is not a hearing problem. It is not a physical problem with the mechanisms for hearing things — my ears work fine (with the exception of the constant tinnitus). It is a problem with my brain — specifically the area used to process sounds.

However, so few people are even aware of auditory processing deficit as an actual thing that when explaining why I don’t listen to podcasts or why someone has to repeat something to me a few times to make sure I remember I often default to saying “I have a hearing problem,” even though I don’t. I can hear you just fine. Unfortunately, my ears don’t always give my brain the memo — especially when I’m stressed, or when the words are said in certain tones (because said tones stress me out). And these days I’m pretty much always stressed.

It’s honestly pretty shitty having this. School has been a struggle since high school, and last time I asked a teacher to slow down because he was speaking a mile a minute and I needed extra time to process, he said “Why don’t you try just listening?” (As if I wasn’t.) I explained the processing deficit and he and the entire class laughed in my face. That was in University, by the way, but this wasn’t the first time I was treated like that for having learning disabilities. (I was in Special Ed throughout high school and I swear, the fact that my mom kept fighting for me to get certain help in school was the only reason I graduated. If it weren’t for my mom I would have dropped out.)

Because the test that shows the deficit isn’t considered an official source by most schools I often can’t get any concessions for classes. This, combined with my other learning disabilities, depression, anxiety, and more recently physical disability, ensured that it took me 10 years to get my Bachelors instead of 4.

There are tons of podcasts I’d really like to listen to regularly, but I can’t because podcast listening for me entails sitting stock still and concentrating very hard on everything being said. It’s exhausting, and soon my mind starts to wander and then I need to rewind and find my place again.

Also it contributes to lack of communication with people I love, which creates fights. Just the other day I thought Mr. Katje said something that he didn’t, and we fought for over an hour over it. I misheard a sentence because I was really tired and my processing skills weren’t up to par, and he was mumbling more than usual that day. We made up, and talked it out, and all is forgiven — but I hate fighting with him and for that hour we were both miserable.

But, like with all things I have to live with, I learn to cope. I’ve done what I can to bring up my auditory processing to a manageable level, and I’m planning on doing PACE again with mom — maybe it’ll improve some more. In the meantime, I accept that I might always have problems processing what people say, and I work harder to keep it from adversely affecting my life too much.

In return, I only ask for a little patience from my loved ones.

So next time I need to ask you to repeat yourself, or I don’t remember what you say, please don’t take it personally. It’s just my super fucked up brain making my life a little more difficult. (So original, brain. I applaud your creativity. /sarcasm)

-Katje

Small Things

This is meant as sort of a general update on my life.

This is meant as sort of a general update on my life.

Defeat of the depressive episode: I’m apparently in a good place again. I think this was partially brought about by embracing my true self again (and partially because it had been over a month, which is how long the last one lasted after my first Depo shot). That was accomplished thanks to Abby from NCIS. It’s complicated; I don’t know if I can explain it. But it has to do with the fact that I’ve suppressed my goth-ness for years and years, for various reasons, and watching NCIS and Abby kick ass at a respectable job while being totally gothed out has made me feel more confident in being myself again.

Ok maybe it wasn’t that complicated?

Today's look inspired by Abby from NCIS. #ootd

Anyway. I got hair ties and I’ve started doing my hair like Abby’s and wearing more of my black clothes, as well as starting the process of weeding out the things from my closet that I never wear or no longer fit. I’m taking my time with it, because I need to be sure, and because it’ll be a while before I can add any more clothes to my wardrobe.

I’m alive, at any rate, and doing pretty well.

I worked my butt off last week in an effort to put rent together to pay back Mr. Katje for his covering my half. I did it, but I still need to work extra hours this week because I also owe him for internet and cable.

Plan G didn’t come through, so I need to find a way to pay for my meds. (Unless it’s just held up in bureaucracy; whatever the case, I can’t wait any longer for it to come through. I need to find a way to come up with the cash for my anti-depressants.)

I may be looking for a job outside the house soon, to supplement my self-employment income. I don’t know what that will do to my ability to blog on a regular schedule. Probably cut it off at the knees.

I wish I didn’t have to consider this as an option, but the fact is money is tight enough that I might need to work a part-time job on top of my full-time jobs of Publisher and Hausfrau. Who knows when I’ll find time for my full-time job of Writer. #notbitter

Took my first walk in the neighborhood today. Dressed far too warmly for it; thought it was going to be a lot colder. I took some pictures, which you can see at my Flickr photostream. Here’s one of them:

Road subject to flooding.

Road subject to flooding.

Phone-camera photos aren’t the most amazing, but I think I do alright, considering. Eventually I’d like to get a SLR camera, but it’s not exactly in the budget right now.

I wrote an angry rant about tattoos, ageism, and classism. I don’t know if I’ll post it or not. It rambled and seemed incoherent and really just wasn’t my best work. If I manage to revise it to a satisfactory version, I will probably post it.

I applied to grad school. Have some supporting documents to upload still, but the application is complete and paid for. I’ll know in May if I get an interview, and then after that they’ll tell me if I get in or not. I don’t really have any emotions about it at this point and I think that’s a form of self-defense against disappointment. So, more on that as it develops, I guess.

That’s about it. And now I need to get back to work.

-Katje

Minimizing Mental Illness: a message to allies

Having mental illness means you learn to minimize what’s going on with you, or you learn to be alone.

TW: discussion of depression, thoughts of self-harm and suicide

I’ve been in the midst of a severe depressive episode for the past month. I have barely been able to keep house and home together, and not very well at that. Beyond that I’ve had no get up and go to do much of anything else.

I’ve kept my brain and hands busy, for the most part, by watching TV shows, knitting, and playing video games. This is because during this particular depressive episode if I get too much inside my own head, if I’m too still, I start thinking about hurting myself again. I start thinking about all the ways I’m terrible and I deserve this depression, and it becomes a sneaky spiral of doom and death that I get locked in and have a lot of trouble getting out of.

Driving has been the most dangerous activity for me, because I start to think while I’m driving, and I start thinking about what a horrible person I am, and how I should just put everyone else out of their misery by offing myself. Driving is the most “inside my own head” activity in my life, so I’ve been avoiding it as much as I can this month.

This means I’ve mostly been inside the house. I have a lot to do inside the house and I’ve tried to be productive as possible. Of course, because I have impossibly high standards for myself and I am incredibly hard on myself all the time, this has only added to the depression as I’ve been unable to complete as much work as I want to, and that is, my brain tells me, my fault because I am lazy and horrible.

This is a sneaky way the depression and anxiety manifest themselves: make me have impossibly high standards so when I inevitably fail them I can hate myself more. Huzzah! Ale and whores for everyone, except Katje, because screw zir.

I haven’t really been able to talk to people about this, because some of the conversations I’ve had about it have gone like this:

Me: My fish are dead.
Other person: Have you tried feeding them?
Me: They’re dead.
Other person: I’ll help you look for them!
Me: My fish. are. dead.
Other person: Do you know why they’re missing?
Me: Why can’t anyone see how dead these fish are?

(Analogy courtesy Allie Brosh.)

And it becomes exhausting trying to figure out who will see my fish are dead and who won’t, so I just don’t talk about it with anyone. I’m tired of people asking about the reasons behind my depression, as if 20 years of mental illness has a fucking reason. I’m sick. I have a disease. It flares up. There’s no reason except that’s what happens and I’m stuck dealing with it.

Continue reading “Minimizing Mental Illness: a message to allies”

Bell Let’s Talk day and Mental Illness

On any given day you might think I’m doing just fine by looking at my outside — but inside, I’m screaming.

I have depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and PTSD. On any given day you might think I’m doing just fine by looking at my outside — but inside, I’m telling myself it’s okay, I deserve to eat food. I’m telling myself I’m worthy of love. I’m trying to calm the rising storm of panic, at least long enough so I can get to my closet to hide. I’m screaming against the noise of my illness, trying to be as loud as the ocean, trying to drown the voices once and for all.

I ended up blogging about this on my profile at Google+ — it’s public, so anyone can read it. I figured I’d quote a bit from it, and if you want you can read the whole thing.

Amoeba Kat Style

I’m at a bit of a loss as to what to write about today, so I thought I’d take a stab at the Daily Prompt.

Describe your personal style, however you’d like to interpret that — your clothing style, your communication style, your hair style, your eating style, anything.

The Daily Post

I’m at a bit of a loss as to what to write about today, so I thought I’d take a stab at the Daily Prompt. Of course, now I’m sitting here thinking “Uhhhhhhhhh. What on earth IS my style?”

If I were to describe my fashion style it would be “has-been goth who can’t afford new clothing, avoids laundry, and doesn’t GAF if you think zir pyjamas and slippers are inappropriate for class”. I really just DGAF, or at least put out the front of not caring. Which is kind of funny, because I have a lot of depression and anxiety surrounding my dysphoria, how I present, and whether people will read how I’m presenting accurately.

I think my brain deals with this anxiety by making me not GAF/pretend that I don’t most of the time. But then there are days where I spend 2 hours changing clothing because nothing is right. Before I realized I was genderqueer I called those days my “fat days”, because I thought I was just hating myself for being fat. I eventually realized those are the days when I feel ugly and wrong because my body doesn’t fit the gender I am and want to present as, and I can’t seem to make my clothing work with it.

Those days it’s very difficult for me to leave the house, because I feel wrong and don’t want anyone to see me.

On days when I feel less dysphoria, however, I wear whatever. I mean, people are going to make comments — either behind my back to directly to my face — no matter what I wear, because I’m fat. People think they have the right to tell me just how wrong I am for existing unapologetically. Unless I wear what’s “acceptable” for fat people to wear, ie what works to hide all my adipose tissue, I am Doing It Wrong and deserve to be chastised. (If I’m wearing “acceptable” clothing, preferably in leopard print or covered in hideous sequins and embroidery with massive shoulder-pads because apparently there are no fat people with broad shoulders, I deserve to be “rewarded” with a “Wow, you look great, have you lost weight?” Pro-tip, folks: asking someone if they’ve lost weight is rude, not polite. My life is more than a number on a scale. You could ask me how my latest book is doing, instead, and show that you actually care about me as a person and not as the horrible bundle of fat cells you are being forced to share the planet with.)

So I suppose my bottom line fashion style is “I’m fat and genderqueer, I will wear whatever I want, it will probably be in need of mending, and you can fuck right off if you have an issue with how I dress.”

The other styles are a bit easier to describe. My hair style is “wash, condition, towel-dry, comb, tie back with scrunchy for entire day”. I very rarely do more than that. If going out, I might spend an hour curling some parts of my hair — but to do the entire thing takes far too long. I have very thick hair.

My communication style is “bad”. I mean, when speaking; I’m a lot better when writing. When speaking I always put my foot in my mouth or inadvertently insult people or say the wrong thing.

My eating style is…well, often would be the simplest way of putting it, but it’s super complicated because of my eating disorders. I’ve gone into those before; don’t need to go into them again. Besides the emotional and physical minefield that eating is for me, however, I love food, and I like to eat.

My interior decorating style is hippy/bohemian/hoarder pack-rat/fire hazard. I’m trying to pare down quite a bit to reduce a lot of the last two things, but I’ll always be pretty hippy/boho, which drives Ogre nuts.

Basically, if we were to boil down my overall style into a few words description, it would be “free spirit”. That’s the only term that’s ever come close to encompassing my weird, wacky self.

I am Amoeba Cat; wuh’eva, wuh’eva, I do what I want.

I’ll “Fat Talk” as Much as I Gorram Please

What I take issue with in this video is the labeling of self-hatred as “fat talk”.

Trigger warning: fatphobia, silencing, diet talk

Someone shared this on Facebook yesterday. It’s a video by Special K about “fat talk” — their special term for “self-hatred”.

(Content warning: may cause indescribable rage. Also fairly fat-shaming, and definitely silencing.)

It was shared via Upworthy, the content aggregator with the emotionally manipulative titles. The title for this video was “First These Women Were Offended. Then They Realized Who Was Being Offensive.”

Are you rolling your eyes yet?

There is a MASSIVE problem with this video. HUGE. You could even say it’s a FAT problem. So let’s talk about it.

First, let’s get this out of the way: self-hatred — whether it comes from internalizing the kyriarchy’s unreasonable expectations of you or from mental illness — sucks, no matter what form it takes. If you’re hating yourself, you should work on not doing that any more, because self-hate harms you. You’re worth feeling better about yourself. You’re worth good things. Self-hate is not a good thing.

What I take issue with in this video is the labeling of self-hatred as “fat talk”. The assumption that any time a woman/person socially-classed-as-woman says she’s fat, she’s hating herself.

This not only reinforces the idea that fat is always bad, it also polices how other folks self-hate. If a woman says “I’m so skinny,” as a form of her own self-hatred, she’ll likely be met with cries of “I know! You’re so LUCKY! I wish I were that thin.” Yet a woman saying “I’m fat” is met with “Don’t be so hard on yourself! You’re really pretty!”

As if fat and pretty can’t go together. (News flash, they can, and they do. So do fat and fabulous, or fat and gorgeous, or fat and sexy, or fat and smart. I am a prime example.)

Partners in Crime (Doctor Who)
Ok, so it’s less neutral in Doctor Who. Still, wasn’t the fault of the baby Adipose! Besides, they’re totes adorbs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fat’s a neutral term, folks. Ok? It means “abundance of adipose tissue”. Ask any person who actually knows something about the body and they’ll tell you: adipose tissue itself is not a negative. It’s a necessary part of the human body. We need fat to survive.

(And no-fat diets, by the way, are basically the worst thing ever for you. Just so you know.)

Is too much fat bad for you? Maybe. Maybe not. The truth is, we don’t actually know the full truth there — there are a lot of correlations between being “overweight” (why that word bugs me) and health issues, but they aren’t actually causation. (For more about fat, disease risk, and correlation vs. causation, read this post.) What is likely quite bad for you is a heavily sedentary life and a lot of processed food, which is related to weight gain, yes, but not the sole factor.

This doesn’t mean fat is always unequivocally bad. Nor does it mean that fat is unattractive.

Yet by labeling self-hating talk as “fat talk” exclusively, this video says that fat is always bad. Fat is always unattractive. Fat, in fact, is the ONLY thing that’s bad about you — go on and self-hate about anything else and we’ll cheer you on! But don’t fat talk, ladies. You don’t want to call yourself fat, do you? Why would you want to be a fatty fat fat fatterson? That’s bad.

Think I’m reading too much into it? Direct quote from the video:

Reversing the fat talk. Making it positive talk.

They are outright stating that fat is negative. Always. Videos like this make it harder for fat acceptance activists to do what we do.

This video is being hailed as some sort of amazing breakthrough on body image. Sorry, no. It’s more of the same old bullshit that continues to throw actual fat people under the bus. This is glaringly apparent with the phrase that shows up on the screen midway through the video: “You wouldn’t talk this way to anyone else. So why do it to yourself?”

Oh, huh. I guess all the fat-hatred I’ve had lobbed my way over the years is my imagination? Because, you know, no one would EVER talk that way to ANYONE else. I guess I was hallucinating.

The video ends with a big silencing fest. Women literally shushing each other, and the camera, saying “Let’s fight the fat talk!”

I had no idea that silencing other women was supposed to be a big win for women and body image. This video is saying “Shush anyone who says they’re fat.” Thanks, but no thanks — I get enough of that already from “well-meaning” folks. I really don’t need another source urging people to fight us fatties on our own damn territory. I mean, how very dare we reclaim a word that’s been used to marginalize us?

After the video, Upworthy has a credit note, and they make this comment:

So this is just a bit hypocritical coming from a food company that runs ads that ask “What will you gain when you lose?”

No, Upworthy. It’s not hypocritical at all. Special K is, in fact, saying the same thing they’ve always said — FAT IS BAD. They’ve just put a different spin on it, and you and the rest of the internet have bought it, hook, line, and sinker.

The Epic Battle between my Delusions of Grandeur and my Crippling Self-Doubt, part two million and sixty-five

If you’re anything like me you know exactly what this is like. Half your brain goes “You could totally model for Addition Elle/write for xoJane/dance burlesque and dominate the scene because you are a queen/maybe do something adult with your life like trying to fix your massive piles of debt!” and the other half goes “But what about your complete lack of talent/complete lack of talent/crippled back/complete inability to function in the real world?” and you spend the rest of the night curled up in bed, crying and eating ice cream, because that apparently fucking helps, until you run out of ice cream and can’t afford any more.

Then the next day you feel better after some sleep and coffee and terrifying nightmares that make you never want to sleep again, truthfully, and take a step towards realizing one of your dreams and the step is HARD and it reaffirms your crippling self-doubt, and you go and hide in the closet and play Plants vs. Zombies 2 on your tablet but you keep failing that one level which is also, like, stupid hard, and you feel worse about yourself so you wrap yourself in your Reading Rainbow shirt and cry and scream SET PHASERS TO LOVE ME.

Eventually you crawl out of your closet, feeling a bit calmer and less shaky, and try to take a step again on one of your dreams. Maybe this step isn’t so hard, so you get it done, and then you start to believe you can do anything! Do ALL the things! You’re on a roll, you’re amazing, you are the fucking queen, you can function in the real world, you’ll be a star soon, everything is coming up roses….

And then one tiny thing goes wrong and you start to doubt again. The crippling self-doubt makes a comeback, knocks your delusions of grandeur on their ass. You try to soldier on, convince yourself you can still do this, you can, because you’re amazing.

But they always snowball, these things, and because — if you’re like me at all — you can’t function when problems arise in your life, you cannot deal with these problems. The big HARD things come up again and you can’t. fix. them. You curl up into a little ball and hope the problem will go away if you just shut your eyes tight enough.

This is what happens every time I get a new idea about something I want to do. Addition Elle is currently running a contest for new models. They’re a 14+ store, so there’s an actual chance I could get it. I do have modelling experience, and apparently I’m pretty damn hot and confident (haha, what). The first step is to submit headshot and full body pic.

And that first step is basically the biggest fucking hurdle I have ever encountered. First I think well maybe I’ll submit my headshot, professionally done, from 2 years ago, but no, says the other part of my brain, no it needs to be CURRENT or you’re fucking your chances, which is TRUE, so where the hell am I going to get a current headshot? Where the hell am I going to get a current full body shot?

With, remember, like zero funds, because that’s what I have right now. I do have friends who are pro photographers, which is why I’d never ask them to shoot me for free; fuck, I’m an artist too, we need to be paid.

So that’s one battle. Another is the fact that I would just really love to write for xoJane but, well, I have no idea how to go about even applying for that sort of job and I’m pretty much solidly convinced they wouldn’t want me anyway because whatever I say could probably be said a million times better by Marianne Kirby or Emily McCombs. I don’t have a real journalism background, besides writing for the paper at Maui Community College, and times like these I actually regret not getting my degree in Journalism or something.

And, because we can’t stop at just two battlefields on which the two parts of my brain can duke it out, there are the burlesque and “being an adult” things. Becoming Burlesque is coming up again, and I really really really want to take the class, but, well. Two big hurdles there: 1. my spine and 2. money, which basically are both money, because my spine is still fucked because I can’t afford physical therapy. (No, Canada doesn’t cover it, and I’m “not disabled enough” to have it (or anything else!) covered by disability. Because not being able to work or even clean my house IF I can even get out of bed is apparently, you know, perfectly fucking healthy, go get a job you lazy bitch. Thanks Canada!)

But, you know, even if I could get over those hurdles in time to sign up for this class the chances of my doing it are slim, because again: CRIPPLING SELF-DOUBT, my favourite bedfellow, jerk hogs the fuckin’ covers.

And I mean, at this point do I even really need to go into being an adult and why that’s such a problem for me? No. No I do not. I believe I have covered all my bases here.

So if you’re anything like me and you face similar problems in chasing your dreams, come hang out here. This blog is a safe space for us all to be completely fucked up together. Solidarity and all that. (But you’ll have to bring your own ice cream; I am all out.)

Vlog: Kat’s back, and zie shares how zie deals with a bad day.

I’m back after several months away! In this vlog I talk about a lot of stuff, including how I deal with a bad day, in response to Jenny Trout’s Roadhouse video from May 3rd.

And, you know, I swear like a sailor, assuming sailors swear a fuck of a lot.

Mental Breakdowns, Medication, and Optimism

I keep questioning myself on how open and honest I should be on my blog. Sometimes I think I should share everything, hold nothing back, and just be myself. Other times I think I should keep as much private as possible — only show the good sides, only have positive, uplifting things to say. I’ll admit, that opinion is heavily influenced by most ‘blogging advice for writers’.

It’s wrong, though. At least, it is if you’re blogging about your life.

My phone alarm just went off with a certain theme from Doctor Who. It’s an 11th Doctor theme, and generally plays when he’s racing to save the day and you just know he’s going to succeed. This is also Ogre’s ringtone, but my phone didn’t play it because he was calling.

It played it to remind me to take my Zoloft.

I took my meds again yesterday, after being off them since December. Today, I took them again — a complete 24 hours later. On time, correctly. For the past three and a half months, I’ve been functioning pretty okay without my meds, and I stopped taking them because I was throwing up after swallowing the pill (that hasn’t happened again, so I may have just had a mild flu, or something). So I didn’t really see the need to start up again. I was doing okay.

That obviously changed. Had a mental breakdown this week. Was on the verge of another, until I took my Zoloft. Then I was a few feet back from the verge, but it took until this morning to really kick in.

The Zoloft didn’t fix the problem, but what it did do was calm the anxiety that was clouding my thoughts and give me a chance to breathe. And then I was able to see the source of the problem — which, again, not a fix, but I’m now very far back from the edge of any more breakdowns, which is better than I was doing a few days ago.

Still not entirely stable. Slowly getting there.

This is all related to Spring Mysteries, by the way. While there I had a pretty profound experience, and it was good. It started me on the road to healing. I forgot, of course, that when you get a bunch of poison expelled from you that little bubbles remain, and can erupt. I forgot that a large, or perhaps small and just very strong, part of my brain is dedicated to making sure I don’t heal: it’s the part of my brain that lies to me, that tries to sever what little support I have, that convinces me I’ll always be broken and worthless.

Medication, at this point, really helps in shutting that part of my brain up.

I’m not going to get into specifics about what the mental breakdown was surrounding. Suffice it to say my brain lied, and tried to cut me off from my support system, but I persevered and did not give in. With a bit of help from Zoloft, of course.

And today I made the decision to blog about it. To talk about my mental illness publicly, while I’m still not wholly stable. I’ve done this before, but not really like this. I’ve never blogged while I was this unstable. Or if I have, I haven’t been able to talk about that instability with any sort of optimism.

Today, I can do that. I can talk about my instability with optimism, because it’s temporary.

I am going to get better.

I will probably never be 100% healed, and I may always need medication of some sort (whether or not Zoloft continues to work for me). That’s fine. I just want to get to a point where I can go a week, month, year without trying to push everyone I love away from me. 

It’s doable, because my optimism has now reached the same level of tenacity and stubbornness as my mental illness, and I am one tenacious, stubborn bastard myself.

I am going to get better.

And no one, not even my asshole brain, is going to stop me.

-Kat

PS. The past few days have given me a possible memoir title: A Series of Mental Breakdowns. Funny, y/y?

#BellLetsTalk and ending the silence around Mental Illness

Today there’s a campaign going from Bell, one of Canada’s mobile providers. For every tweet with the hashtag #BellLetsTalk, they’ll donate 5 cents to funding mental health initiatives across Canada. (They’re also donating for each text or call their customers make, and for every share of the Bell Let’s Talk image.)

You can read more about their campaign here.

I probably don’t have to say why this is important to me. If you’ve been around for a while, you’ve noticed that I’ve mentioned my depression and anxiety.

I try to be open as possible about the mental health issues I have here on my blog. It’s really difficult. Talking about my depression is tied up with a lot of feelings of self-hatred, and that’s a direct result from the shaming and silencing that people like me suffer when we do talk about it. Vicious cycle.

I talk about it, however, because it’s important to break that silence. It’s terrifying every time I write publicly about my depression, especially as the internet is filled with trolls and assholes who live for the chance to hurt someone. Talking about my mental illness in a public venue like this blog is basically giving them ammo and a gun and letting them point it at my head.

(This post is taking a lot out of me to write.)

I do it anyway. I talk about these things because the silence must be broken. We need to stop shaming people for having mental illness. We need to treat those with mental illness with respect, dignity, and love.

That starts with honest conversations. That starts with ending the silence.

So, today, let’s talk. Today, I say: I have depression and anxiety. I’ve tried to commit suicide several times over the course of my life and I deal with suicidal thoughts often. I’ve self-harmed and I have eating disorders. In response to my mental illness, I have been told I need to just snap out of it, that a little vitamin D will fix me right up, that I should just shut up and be happy because I don’t have real problems, that I’m a whiny emo wimp, and worse.

If you have mental illness, you are not alone.

Let’s talk.