Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Storytelling Is Hard

A thoughtful little piece from Kieran*. Enjoy.

Every once in a while, it occurs to me that my life is essentially one big, massive train wreck, and I'm not really sure how to feel about that.

It's hard to talk about my life, not because it pains me, but because the people I talk to either can't be told the full story or they stare at me in horror throughout the whole process and when I notice I start feeling really uncomfortable and I can't bring myself to talk about it anymore. It's weird to think that almost everything I've experienced is so terrifying to other people. I mean, yeah, I know it's bad and all, but it's my life. I got through it. I'm okay now. Mostly. I don't see why everybody around me has to have a more dramatic reaction to the stories of my childhood than I had while actually living through those stories. I suppose that's just how things are in the world, but I wish that people would stop making me feel like I'm not traumatized enough by what happened to me. So, I end up talking about the events in my life that other people can relate to, like the time I went camping and a hobo spider bit me while I was sleeping and I panicked when I saw the rotting skin near my elbow the next morning and cut out a huge chunk of my arm. That scar is actually bigger than the one on my neck, and I'm grateful for it because it's usually the first one people notice, and it's an easier story to tell than the one about my mother's head getting blown off right in front of me and being trapped under her corpse for several hours with soiled pants and a couple of bullet wounds.

The thing is, I know that a lot of what happened to me is horrible. I still can't shake the feeling of being perpetually alone and ignored that came from those first few weeks in the lab. It's just that when you spend ten years of your life being constantly observed and tested by scientists, some of whom had a severe case of head-perpetually-stuck-in-anal-cavity, it tends to warp your sense of humor a bit. I honestly can't tell half the time whether the story I'm about to tell is funny or disturbing or both. So, I've started prefacing my stories with that, which doesn't make things less awkward, but at least it's a funny awkward and not a painful awkward most of the time.

I guess I'll have to share some of those stories at some point in time. Maybe I will, but only after I've gotten a better idea of whether or not they're stories that I can share without traumatizing everybody who reads them. We'll see.

*Kieran is a fictional character. More will be revealed about him over time.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sometimes OCD is Funny

...And sometimes it's not. The trick is figuring out when it's okay to laugh and when it's best to keep your mouth shut. This actually applies to ADHD, too, only I feel the need to put a lot more emphasis on the whole "sometimes it's not funny" bit because DAMN.

So let's talk about the Simpsons. There was once an episode about Bart.

...Oh, do I need to be a little more specific? Fine...

Anyway, this episode was about Bart's inability to concentrate, or something like that. It's been forever since I watched it last so I'm a little shaky on the details, but here's the basic premise: Bart gets diagnosed with ADHD and put on a drug called "Focusyn" or something. He then proceeds to become a jittery, paranoid wreck and starts doing some really strange things. It ends with him destroying a satellite that was spying on people or something and the family deciding that he doesn't need to be on drugs anymore. He'll just take Ritalin and that'll solve everything.

And then there was the King of the Hill episode where Bobby gets sent to the doctor's office, gets a half-assed diagnosis of ADHD, and gets put on drugs that make him act all wonky. Hilarity ensues! LOL!

So, I saw both of these episodes when I was in middle school, I think. That's not too long after I got diagnosed with ADHD and started on Ritalin. And you know what? As much as the Simpsons have a reputation for 'making fun of everybody' and generally being good (at least in the beginning) at tackling social issues and being a pretty well-done satire of stuff in general, and King of the Hill is... uh, a show about stuff, I wish these episodes had never seen the light of day.

See, here's the thing. You can make jokes about mental illness. You can even make tasteful jokes about mental illness. You can make jokes about the misinformation that gets thrown around and the mindset that Drugs Fix Everything and My Kid Isn't Stupid or Misbehaving, He's Just ~S~P~E~C~I~A~L~! But when you do this, you owe it to the rest of us, particularly those of us who HAVE a mental illness that is looked down upon as being made up or a pathetic excuse for lazy children or thought of as being severely over-diagnosed even though the people in the scientific community most involved with said diagnoses are generally in agreement about the diagnostic criteria and the accuracy of properly-made diagnoses, to do some god-damn research about it. It's hard enough getting people to take me seriously about having severe social anxiety, you don't need to make my other disorder into a walking punchline on top of it.

Because that's what's happened. You try to explain ADHD to somebody, you end up hitting a wall most of the time. It's either 'you just need to work harder' or 'are you sure that's really the problem here' and it's just about impossible to find someone who really understands it who hasn't actually been diagnosed with it. It's hard to make ADHD sound like a serious issue that has an impact on your ability to take care of yourself, like the fact that I literally go hungry on an almost daily basis because I can't make myself stop what I'm doing and go eat a sandwich or something even when my stomach is growling and I'm starting to feel nauseous because the meds I'm on make me feel nauseous when I'm hungry.

Of course, I would be the biggest hypocrite in the world if I said that mental disorders should be off-limits to comedians. I make jokes about my disorders all the time. If I didn't joke about it, if I didn't laugh about it, I would go into an ever-deeper spiral of depression and self-loathing. And really, there's plenty to laugh about. All I ask is that the jokes at least accurately reflect the realities of the disorder, and more importantly don't make it more difficult for the average person to get help and support for their mental illness. Because in the end, fffffffffffFFFFFFFFFUCK YOU BART SIMPSON 5T%&*$#@^YTVT ERGJKF%^&DN GSJLD GFJL( Y^*&%Q403 95UTY89*^$^&*(

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


I was told by one of my friends on twitter that I should write about cleaning stuff today, and so I did my best to do that. Here is my very, very accurate account of how cleaning stuff works in my house.

Every time I start thinking about cleaning I get the urge to do like fifty other projects that I suddenly had some kind of inspirational revelation for. I never get very far with the cleaning when that happens, but it does boost my productivity in several other areas of life.

This can also be said of many activities in my life, and is especially true for that one episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic where Rarity makes dresses for everyone and sings about it and some drama happens but then everyone realizes their mistakes and things get wrapped up nicely in the end because all the ponies are REASONABLE F@#$ING PEOPL- PONIES and are capable of realizing (and admitting) their mistakes and doing what they can to make up for any hurt they've caused, which made me realize that it would be really fun to take the sewing machine that's been sitting in a corner of my room since the Christmas before last, when my sister came home and tried to sort through everything she'd acquired from her many, many voyages and endeavors throughout her life and gave me a bunch of crap* that she didn't want to try to lug around all over the country with her anymore, and make something fun with it. And, of course, it just so happens that Halloween is coming up and I use any chance I can get to dress up in a costume, so...

This year I am Owain.

Who is Owain, you might ask? He is the Scion of Legend. He is the greatest Myrmidon who ever lived EVER. He is a character from Fire Emblem Awakening and I love him to death because he is awesome and hilarious and awesome and also awesome. I am about halfway done with this endeavor, and I have been documenting my progress so that I might share it with you at a later date. Look forward to it.

*Nice crap, of course - my sister is a collector of only the finest assortment of memorabilia and frivolities.