MY UNCLE’S CHOICE OF TREATMENT

My Uncle Jimmy was diagnosed as Paranoid Schizophrenic at an early age. He heard voices and had hallucinations. He was sent to the State Mental Hospital that we had at the time. My Grandmother worked there and the place was eventually shut down for their abuse of patients. There is a Cemetery on the grounds with hundreds of unmarked graves of the bodies they found while doing construction years later.

I believe my Uncle Jimmy was probably treated in a horrific way while he was there. Of course no one wanted to talk about it. The high dosages of medications they had him on left him with a constant tremor in his hands and he had problems with his grinding his teeth. He always had white spit in the corners of his mouth.

My Grandmother gave him over to the State when he was young. She did this with a few of her children. My Uncle Jimmy wasn’t violent he just didn’t have a filter that society expects a person to have. He loved to smoke and drink coffee. He hated the medications that made him like a zombie. He could either stay at a State run facility where they had control over him 24 hours a day or he could be homeless and deal with his illness in the way he preferred. Heroin. He chose to be homeless and to use Heroin.

I don’t condone his decision but I understand it. I had seen him at the State run facilities and it wasn’t a way anyone should have to live. He was in all honesty happier while on the streets. He did share needles with other addicts, a majority of them also mentally ill. He contracted HIV and lived with the virus for many years. At some point he stopped his drug use. I’m not sure if it had to do with his age or his health. He did advance to AIDS about 2 years ago and passed away from pneumonia.

I never saw my Uncle Jimmy not smiling. My mom loved him and tried to take care of him as best she could right up until she herself passed away. She always knew the gas station to find him at and would bring him hot wieners. He was her baby brother and mourned her death pretty hard. I miss his corny jokes and hearing him call my mom “Anna Banana”.

Like I’ve said before no mental illness or addiction is the same for everyone. At least not in my family. We laugh the loudest and cry the hardest. We always have.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU FIND OUT YOU ARE MENTALLY ILL?

You would think after a lifetime of knowing that something isn’t quite right with the way you react to the world, the way you behave around people, how you handle emotions, that finally being diagnosed with a mental illness or two would help. It doesn’t.

I just remember sitting there with a buzzing sound in my ears. I knew it was a strong possibility but I ignored it. I didn’t want it to be true. I didn’t want to be like my family members that everyone avoided and complained about. Even I was guilty of it.

The only thing that changed was I stopped drinking. Did I feel better inside? No. Not even after several years of medication trials, different therapies, and a round of ECT. It progresses. There are a 101 reasons why but it doesn’t matter. Even manic episodes leave more irritable and angry than anything. I become fueled with frustration and just want to run. But there is nowhere to go that I don’t take myself with me.

None of my Doctors have ever discussed the immense grief I still feel over my mother. It will be 9 years in February since she passed away and it still feels like yesterday. There are days I find myself on the bathroom floor sobbing into a towel and calling her name. I still have dreams of watching her die in front of me. I couldn’t look away. In retrospect they were doing CPR on a woman who was already dead. It was for our benefit. I wish they hadn’t. I wouldn’t have had to see the bloody foam coming out of her mouth and her lifeless eyes. The foam continued for hours after. My sister was spared seeing any of this.

I recently sent a text to my sister that was pretty mean. I always say I’m sorry after. I want more from her than she’s capable of giving. She has a family of her own and her own problems. I can’t expect her to deal with me too. I’m not her responsibility. I’m no one’s but my own. That’s a lonely feeling. All I have is my Dad who loves me unconditionally. I’m petrified of what will happen when he’s gone. Even with him here I feel alone.

I am confused a lot of the time. I have trouble making decisions. If left to my own devices I would sit in this house never leaving, never bathing, just sitting. The outside world grows less appealing everyday. I have less energy as the days go by. I lose more weight and lose interest in everything around me. I feel lost and don’t want to be found. I am at the bottom of the hole but this time I don’t care if I get out. The only thing I look forward to is my next kidney surgery and the anesthesia. I usually see my mom when I’m under. It’s becoming harder and harder for them to bring me out of the anesthesia. I know they’ve discussed this with my Psychiatrist. They think it has something to do with the Conversion Disorder. They’re afraid my brain won’t allow me to wake up during one of the surgeries but there is no other choice. I could care less either way.

This is how I feel most of the time. There are some okay days. Days where everything makes sense. There are just too few of them now. But I’ll keep going because it’s what my mom would’ve wanted. That has to be enough for now.

THE PROBLEM WITH “FALL TO PIECES” (Calling Bullshit as I See It )

I love the song “Fall to Pieces” by Velvet Revolver but it’s unpleasant for me to watch to watch the video for the song. When I see an emaciated Scott Weiland “pretending” to struggle with his demons while listening to the lyrics it’s infuriating. At one point you see two girls in a bathroom at a show and Scott Weiland alone in a room with what appears to be filled with alcohol and drug paraphernalia. There’s a rush to see which room has a suspected overdose. Duff Mckagan reaches Weiland’s room and finds him on the floor, he picks him up and drags him up some stairs to a room. They argue, Duff pushes Weiland against the wall, they both slide down it while Duff holds Scott in his arms understanding the pain he’s in. Too bad that didn’t happen in real life.

Scott Weiland has admitted on several occasions that he has either a “mood disorder” or “Bipolar Disorder” that he wouldn’t take medication for. Drugs didn’t kill Scott Weiland, Mental Illness did.

He used drugs and alcohol in the place of medication, it’s one of the reasons he couldn’t maintain Sobriety. The pressure to remain “creative” and tour doesn’t help. Everyone else in Velvet Revolver had addiction problems also, some of them did a backslide during the time Scott Weiland was in the group. Scott did manage around 2 years of some sobriety until his brother died. Then everything was downhill from there.

You can’t look at the video and tell me you see a healthy person physically or mentally. The members of his band after Velvet Revolver knew he was off the rails and their guitarist had died from overdose 8 months before Scott Weiland’s death.

Maybe if Doctors or anyone had tried harder to deal with the Psychiatric aspect of his problem he might still be here along with many others. The first thing anyone sees is an ADDICT and not the cause of the addiction.

MENTAL HEALTH AMERICA 2017 CONFERENCE WASHINGTON, DC JUNE 2017

This year the focus of the conference is different and long overdue. Their main agenda is Sex, Drugs & Rock and Roll.

The frequent stories of musicians and artists who battle mental illness and addiction will be part of it. Also is there a connection between creative minds and serious mental health concerns?

Can you still create the same music or art while sober or in treatment for mental illness?

How the Entertainment Industry is playing a bigger role in helping fans with their own issues by taking away some of the stigma and being honest about their own struggles.

The biggest problems are still the Managers, Family, Labels or anyone depending the artist for money. Putting a person at risk of death so you can make a buck or live in a big house is something that disgusts me. Unfortunately I’ve seen it up close many times. I’m not sure it will end anytime soon.e51a54c1c8a5858454ba1426ad47e928

 

NATURE VS. NURTURE (Fact or Fiction)

I left off with a mention of a Neuroscientist involved in a research project at UC Irvine. The project involved reviewing anatomical patterns in the brain that had a connection with psychopathic tendencies.

The Neuroscientist, James Fallon, put together the scans of murderers, schizophrenics, depressives, and people with other brain disorders. He added scans of his family and his own brain because Alzheimer’s ran his family and he was curious about the subject.

One day while looking at a large stack of scans, one stood out more than the others. This scan had clear characteristics of someone with Psychopathic tendencies. He could tell by the color of the label that it was someone from his family he just didn’t know who.

Fallon broke precedent and looked up who the scan belonged to. He was surprised to learn it was his.

Most people probably would’ve hid the information, as a man of science Fallon needed to know more. He had a series of genetic tests done that can indicate a risk for Psychopathic behavior. A variant of the MAO-A gene is linked with aggressive behavior. All of his genetic tests confirmed what the brain scan did.

When I read this all I could think is “How is this possible?”. How is it that a happily married family man could have all the markers of a Psychopath but not be one?

SOME PSYCHOPATHIC TRAITS

  • Competitive
  • Intentionally angering people to see a reaction
  • Psychologically aggressive
  • Physically aggressive
  • Narcissism
  • Antisocial Behavior

 

NATURE VS. NURTURE

There are actually more people like this than you know. A person who has some difficulty feeling true empathy for others, but can still keep their behavior socially acceptable.

Fallon had always known that he sometimes manipulated other people to get what he wanted. He was also motivated by power. His family’s ancestry had 7 alleged murderers including Lizzie Borden.

Before he was born his mother had several miscarriages. He was given a large amount of his parents attention and love.

Here is where it gets complicated. I’ll try not to put you to sleep.

Serotonin Transporter Protein = affects the development of the prefrontal cortex in complex ways. It can make the region more receptive to Environmental Influences.

A positive and loving childhood was a major factor in who James Fallon became.

FREE WILL

There is one more ingredient according to Fallon. That’s free will. Fallon is trying to be more conscious of other people’s feelings but also admits some of this has to do with his pride and proving to other people that he can.

CONCLUSION

It’s difficult to ignore the numbers. The statistics don’t lie. When you see 42% of convicted serial killers suffered from physical abuse as a child and 74% suffered psychological abuse it’s hard to ignore. If you add those numbers to the possibility of their brains having Psychopathic characteristics to begin with than what happens?

I am in NO WAY DEFENDING ANYONE. I am only interested in the brain side of things. The question of what if they had different childhoods? Would they have been the same. There are some serial killers where there is no physical or psychological abuse to be found. 28077_452145291513946_566614836_n

I’m not naïve. Sometimes people are just evil for the sake of being evil. I do know that I had two loving parents who were always there for me if I needed them. Our house, despite the turmoil, was still a loving house. We would fight each other but if anyone else said a bad word it wasn’t going to be pretty. No matter how much I complain about my sister or my dad I wouldn’t be alive without them. My brother taught me some of life’s most important lessons. He also gave me great taste in music. My mother gave me a heart that is too big and her hands. My father gave me his love of animals and his sarcasm or wit. Not necessarily a good thing. The wit part. But I wouldn’t change a thing.

 

 

PSYCHOPATHS AND SOCIOPATHS (What We All Might Have In Common) Part I.

I will be the first to admit that I am like a dog with a bone when someone offends me. I can’t help myself. I have issues with “letting go” as my sister would say.

My twin sister also compares me to Tony Soprano and has on occasion called me a “Sociopath”. I have sometimes wondered if she was right.

I have difficulty with empathy/sympathy when it comes to other people. Empathy is when you can imagine how another person feels about a situation. Sympathy is when you share another person’s feelings or emotions about a situation. Got it? Had to look that up.

I have an enormous amount of empathy/sympathy for specific living things. I know it sounds odd but I have always been this way.

I will crash my car before I hit a squirrel. Animals are high on my list. I have given CPR to two dogs and saved countless other animals. You haven’t lived until you’ve vaccinated 350 pigeons in the neck. Ugh! Draining or expressing blocked anal glands is no joy either. But they are helpless and depend on us.

I have talked to around 11 different people suffering from addiction/mental illness right before they were going to take their lives. I had some influence in letting them know that they are not monsters, they are not unwanted, and they are not alone. They stayed alive. I won’t take full credit because they had to decide to stay.

I feel empathy/sympathy for anyone who wasn’t given the tools to begin with to have a decent life. I have no sympathy/empathy for people who had everything available to them and chose to be who they are. If there is a mental illness, abuse, addiction, or mitigating circumstances, then I understand. Sometimes an asshole is just an asshole. It’s difficult for me to have sympathy for someone like this.

I have been guilty of not helping people and walking by. If it’s in a public place and there are already 5 people starting to surround them I’m not going to get in the way.

There are certain people I wouldn’t help if they were on fire.

Does this make me a Psychopath/Sociopath because I am cautious of certain people or dislike certain types of people? Maybe. But not how you think. th

Most of us probably have more in common with Psychopaths and Sociopaths than we would like to admit.

In my next post I’ll explain what I mean and what I found out about my own brain that frightened me a little bit.

 

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (I DIDN’T THINK I QUALIFIED)

I’m going to tell this story even if some of you have heard it before. Why? I recently realized that I have been looking at everything all wrong.

For most of my life I thought “Domestic Violence” was violence between a husband and wife, a boyfriend and girlfriend living together, or partners living together (same sex). I always thought my situation didn’t apply. It was no big deal. Domestic Violence was usually between two people in a “normal” relationship. Nothing about my “relationships” was normal.

I was happy to see that the Department of Justice has come a long way on the definition of Domestic Abuse. It has helped me in a profound way.

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

Domestic Abuse: a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. It can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure or wound someone.

I met J when I was 16/17 years old. We were friends for a period, we would have sex when he wasn’t in a relationship and I wasn’t with someone else, then we were best friends for the most part with occasional sex. I started drinking at 16/17 and was an alcoholic by 18. J was older than I was by 6 years. He had been an alcoholic since he was 16. I know at one point he had used IV drugs I’m just not sure exactly what. There had been so many odd stories about what he had shot up that I didn’t know what to believe. He would give me a different story depending on the mood he was in.

I had been bullied, humiliated, and ostracized from 1st Grade until well it never really did stop it just changed. I had extremely low self esteem, no self respect, I had no idea how to feel about my body except hatred. I always felt like I never belonged anywhere and there was a constant buzzing in my head that reinforced this feeling of dread. But I would get to J’s house, have my first few drinks and it would go away. I would feel normal for the first time in my life. (I would learn at the age of 36/37 that I was Bipolar and had probably been so since the age of 12)

I thought it was acceptable for J to make jokes about my weight. I didn’t say anything when he made elephant noises as I entered the living room of his apartment. There would be about 30 people there laughing. Once in awhile I would tell him to “F*ck Off” but that was about it. He would usually find me later on and hug me. He would say “You know I’m only joking. I love you.”

He wasn’t the only one. The other guys that hung around there felt they could do it to. I would eventually reach a point where someone was going to get hurt. I was sick of it. But I wasn’t sick of drinking and by that time years had gone by. I didn’t know anything else.

Here are some of the things I remember. Paul threw me into a dumpster. Paul shoved me quite a few times and twisted my arm behind my back. The weird thing was I wasn’t afraid of Paul. He had teardrop tattoos under one eye and looked like the actor Daniel Sunjata. I’m probably the only one who even knows who that is. Paul had also been to prison for 5 years or more I believe it was in Florida. He was attractive and I honestly thought I could change him. A guy who usually dated strippers but was now with a 220 pound bleach blond alcoholic. I admit I didn’t want to see things. If one more person told me “but you have such a pretty face” I was jumping off the nearest bridge. Paul was there for one reason. Money.

There was another guy that was always around R. One night R tried to have sex with me and I refused. He slapped me hard across the face. He was well over 300 pounds and 6′ 2″. That left a mark. Things like that happened often. I expected them to. I was usually the only woman drinking with a bunch of older men.

I didn’t expect it from J. Not to the point that it got. I don’t remember so much from that time period. It bothers me. I can’t help it. Maybe it’s part of being Bipolar. You go through all the painful events of your life like it’s a movie but I know there are parts that have been edited. I never asked to be Bipolar. I went to Doctors. Many Doctors who kept missing the diagnosis. I continued drinking until I was 36/37. Sometimes when you’re diagnosed late in the illness there isn’t much for the Doctors to do. I didn’t ask for Conversion Disorder either.

Trauma is different for everyone. My brain had enough. It wouldn’t let me remember some of the more traumatic things that had happened. Instead it would manifest in physical ways while under stress. I will start to stutter and my hands will tremor whenever I feel threatened, overwhelmed, or scared.

I’m embarrassed by this in public. If I know I am having a bad day I stay home. I stay home a lot.

The very last thing I remember at J’s is all of the usual sitting around his huge oak table  with the heavy oak chairs to match. In a flash everyone was gone. I don’t know why we yelling at each other or why he was mad. I remember he was kicking me out at one point and I told him I couldn’t drive. I had my back to him when he picked up the heavy chair with the roller ball wheels on it and brought it down on the back of my head. He then picked me up by my hair and dragged me over near the stove. That’s where he sat on me. He pinned my arms down with his knees. He punched me in the face at least 4 times. What stays with me the most is the feeling of drowning. Blood going down the back of my throat, my nose itself swollen shut. I couldn’t get any air and I was panicking. I thought “This is your own fault. You deserve this.” He pulled me back up and over to the door of the apartment. He opened the door and shoved me down the flight of stairs. It was raining hard that night. He got his car and put me in it. I was in and out of consciousness. I threatened him with my brother at one point and he laughed. I remember him saying “No one is going to believe you”. He drove me to my parent’s house. When my father looked at me then at J he was speechless for a second. J was ready. He told him I had fallen down the stairs because I was too drunk. I kept trying to tell him it wasn’t true. Eventually my dad yelled at J and told him to never come back. My dad said to me “no one can believe you because you are a drunk and a liar”. He left me standing there covered in blood from head to toe. I watched it drip on the floor for what seemed like hours until my mom came down to clean me up.

About an hour later my mom received a phone call from my brother wanting to know what happened. J had called him saying he was sorry, he hadn’t meant for things to get so out of hand, he just wanted to make sure I was ok and that my brother was good with him. Pretty sure that’s an admission. I guess my brother was ok with him because he continued to buy pot off of him. Did this hurt? Yup. A few years later someone else heard him bragging about it. He said he was like “Mike Tyson”. Did that bother me? Yup. A few days ago I found out that my best friend has hung out with J and his girlfriend. Does this bother me? More than anyone will ever know.

I stutter, have nightmares, and can’t even remember huge chunks of time because I was an undiagnosed Bipolar 16 year old girl who used alcohol to numb the pain. I caused so much more pain. I have no friends, my mom has passed, and my family ignores me. Sometimes there is more to “Domestic Abuse” than you think. You can’t get past the pain or what you do remember. You’re locked in. A cruel joke. Mental Health and Addiction plays a part too. I wouldn’t wish my Bipolar Disorder on anyone or Conversion Disorder.

I really just want everyone to know that you do not have to have a conventional relationship with someone for there to be abuse. J was 11 years of my life that I’ll never get back. I never recognized it for what it was. I took everything that everyone dished out because I thought I deserved it. I’m not the only one. 0-go-purple-to-support-domestic-violence-awareness-month

 

WHY DO I THINK I’M AN ATHEIST?

I’m not doing this to offend anyone I’m trying to understand myself. It’s odd that someone from a Religious Organization just started following my Blog and I haven’t even posted this yet. lol I had an epiphany of sorts. I’ll let you in on it later. First I will tell you that my family is Catholic. I think. I know that on my brother’s dog tags from the Army he’s listed as Roman Catholic. My mother has a Bible that has been passed down in her family and 2 sets of Rosary Beads. I know I was Baptized and my Uncle Anthony is my Godfather (sounds very mafia) and my Auntie Barbara was my Godmother (she passed away 7 years ago). I never made Communion or anything like that.

I have studied different religious beliefs out of curiosity. I’ve studied how different cultures have their own versions of Hell and it’s origins. Fascinating stuff. I’ve read some material on The Vatican but it was mostly about documents that they have with specific teachings or thoughts that they didn’t want known to the public because it would decrease the amount of money coming in. It may have been a conspiracy theory but the Scientist doing the research had found legitimate documents that were verified by experts.

Other than those few things and what I’ve picked up here and there I wanted to know more accurate information. For my own reasons.

CATHOLOCISM

The Word of God should include the whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation. The Bible is the inspired, error free, and revealed word of God.

BAPTISM~ the rite of becoming Catholic is necessary for salvation whether it is done by water or blood. ( I don’t think they use blood anymore )

TEN COMMANDMENTS~ provide a moral compass or an ethical standard to live by.

HOLY TRINITY~ embraces the belief that God is made up of 3 persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

PENANCE/CONFESSION~ a spiritual healing of a baptized person where there is a confessing of their sins and then a penance.

I’m pulling a few relevant passages to help explain where I’m going with this.

New Testament Scriptures: Mk 7:20-23~ “And He was saying, “That which proceeds out of the man, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, theft, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”

1Co 6:9-11~ “Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the Kingdom of God.”

Mat 6:14-15~ “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

SOME OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS THAT ARE RELEVANT TO ME MAYBE

3. You shall not take the Lord’s name in vain.

5. Honor thy father and mother.

6. You shall not murder. Hating someone violates God’s law by attitude and intent so it counts.

7. Adultery

8. Stealing

9. Bearing false witness. (lying)

10. You shall not covet. (wanting what belongs to another, envy)

SO WHAT’S MY EPIPHANY?

For some reason we are constantly asked about our Religious affiliation on various forms and applications. I personally believe it isn’t anyone’s business. I know you can’t be discriminated against because of your Religion but once they know people will keep it in the back of their minds. It’s the same with disclosing a Mental Illness, Addiction, or Sexual Preference.

Every single time I am asked what my Religion is I answer “Atheist”. Every single time the person asking says “Really? Are you sure? You probably just think you are.” I get really exhausted with this. I have to go through it every time I have my stents changed which is every 4 to 5 months or any time I have a medical emergency. I’m at the point where I want to make stuff up. Nurse asks “What Religion are you affiliated with?” I answer “My Master Lord of The Flies”. Of course they would send me directly to the Psychiatric floor so I won’t.

I love Religious artifacts and paintings. Some of them are stunning. I can appreciate the beauty of old churches and the statues surrounding them. It’s everything else I have a hard time with.

If I believed in God along with all of the rules or how you should live to be received in Heaven I would not be going there upon my death. I would never see my mom again. This is what bothers me the most. It rips me apart. There is no way around it. There is no penance to get me there. I would rather believe it doesn’t exist. The other thing is my belief in Science and Evolution.

I don’t want responses about how I can be saved or what church I could go to.

I’ll start small. I can’t forgive a few things. I’ll never be able to. I have hurt my Mother and Father beyond what any other parents would forgive. I have taken what some would consider a life. I have tried several times to take my own life. I have taken part in adultery. I have stolen small things like office supplies from work years ago, some hair color, nothing too big that I remember. I am an envious person. I won’t make excuses for anything that I have done. I was drunk for most of the big ones or because of my drinking there were consequences. When you are Bipolar and undiagnosed it doesn’t help. I can link 3 things that are part of Bipolar behavior. It isn’t an excuse. I’m sure I’ve done things I don’t want to remember.

I’ve never had any need or desire to go to Church or practice a Religion. My parents left it up to us. I can’t believe in anything that would keep me from my mom, that would consider effeminate, homosexuals, and drunkards as vile. I know thoughts have evolved some but only in a few places. There are still too many that think this way.

It’s all too much for me. It also might have something to do with J. He was a Born Again Christian. This left a bad taste in my mouth and some anger at him. He would quote passages and then interpret them to suit his needs. It pissed me off.

The final biggest thing is when I look at Gorillas and compare them to humans. If that isn’t enough to convince someone of Evolution I don’t know what is. I find it to be one of the most fascinating subjects.

Like I said I don’t want to offend anyone. I’m trying to work out some stuff in my own head. I think I have.1979209_903471546381316_2376864659380596718_o