Déjà Voodoo

Update: I also posted this in the comments, but then I remembered that smarter folks than I often skip the comments. The author of the original blog post that inspired this one contacted me. She has taken it down and apologized. She also seemed like she was still beating herself up over it even after I accepted that apology, so I want to state openly that she doesn’t need to. In talking to her, I’m reminded again that being non-neurotypical so often means communicating is terrifying and awkward and hard. It definitely still is for me, especially in person. We all make mistakes. We all struggle with what we mean to say not ending up being what we actually say. Character is in how we respond to our mistakes, and she showed she had character by caring when her post so severely triggered me. If (when – I have ADHD after all!) I ever upset someone with my writing, I hope my readers will tell me so I can have the chance to apologize, too.

That is something that none of the other déjà voodoo writers I have ever contacted about internal stigma – including Dysautonomia International, who puts that kind of stuff on main public pages – have ever done. I think it was very brave of her. I’m leaving this post up because I’ve seen a lot more than just one déjà voodoo post out there, and, to date, only one person has said: “I’m sorry.” There are a lot of folks who still need to see this post.

But, the author of the post that originally inspired this one is no longer counted as one of those people in my book. I genuinely wish her the best in her blogging tenure, and I hope others will too. Being non-neurotypical is rough. We both know it. It’s important to call out internal stigma, but it’s equally important that we forgive mistakes within a community of people for whom just communicating at all is often fraught with fear and memories of years of failed attempts. Point out mistakes, then welcome their makers back into the community with open arms immediately as soon as they make a genuine attempt to correct them. If we continue ostracizing our own internally long after they have apologized, then we risk becoming abusers in yet another way. We risk becoming those emotional abusers who keep torturing people for their “mistakes” years later without ever giving them a way to move on. I’ve also been on the receiving end of that type of abuse, and I don’t wish it on anyone who cares enough reach out to me.

Do you ever experience blog post déjà voodoo? You know, where you’d think you’ve written about a topic so many times by now that you could cease having to keep writing about it? Where you’d think you could finally put a pin in it? Yet, somehow, the thing that upsets you so much just keeps creeping up, zombie-like, such that you can’t let it rest?

I owe my subconscious an apology. I mocked it a few days ago for being so far up on its soapbox that it wrote an entire novel in my dreams about the need for internal unity among those of us with chronic physical, mental or developmental disabilities. I laughed because I’d written multiple blog posts on the topic already, and shouldn’t that be enough?

I should have understood that my chronically traumatized brain is so obsessed with the topic because it knows firsthand from too many years of experience what my heart doesn’t quite know how to accept: people don’t change. People will always seek to protect themselves first by selling others out. Or, at least most will. So, I’ll probably be writing about why that doesn’t work and desperately trying to appeal to the better angels of the blogger community for the rest of my blogging days.

I read another déjà voodoo blog post just now. This time it wasn’t dysautonomia vs. anxiety or PTSD vs. “true” mental illness. In this one, the author felt that the only way to express how life-altering it is to have ASD was to compare it to how life-altering it isn’t to have ADHD. The only way to gain acceptance for one type of neurodiversity was at the expense of another. The author stated their opinion that ADHD – while technically a form of neurodiversity – barely qualified for the category because it was simply an “accessory” diagnosis that could be “practically nullified” by treatment. (Yes, those were their chosen words.)

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*Press It*: A One Word Sentence

“The proposed tax reform package stakes out America’s bid to become the most unequal society in the world, and will greatly increase the already high levels of wealth and income inequality between the richest 1% and the poorest 50% of Americans.  The dramatic cuts in welfare, foreshadowed by the President and Speaker Ryan, and already beginning to be implemented by the administration, will essentially shred crucial dimensions of a safety net that is already full of holes.”

Those were the frightening words of Philip Alston, the UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights. Jill, of Filosofa’s Word, added her own insightful commentary, which I have reblogged below.

At first, I didn’t know what else I could add that could compete with the gravitas of what has already been written, or even how to condense my thoughts into something coherent. Fortunately, I remembered the English language is versatile enough to sum up my penetrating commentary in a single concise sentence:

Fuck the fucking fuckers.

“American Dream is rapidly becoming American Illusion,” warns UN rights expert on poverty You knew it was happening, and so did I, but now it is official … Trump is turning this nation into the “world champion of extreme inequality”, according to a new report by the United Nations (UN). Philip Alston, the UN special […]

via The “American Dream” … — Filosofa’s Word

The Religious Wronged (a #metoo story)

I’ve been seeing a lot of posts talking about both the recent spate of sexual harassment/abuse allegations against Hollywood/political officials and how difficult the holidays can be for people with mental health challenges.

I feel a little guilty that I’m fortunate enough to be able to opt out of half of the holiday problem. From the time I first moved out on my own, I have adopted my own way of dealing with the disconnect and pain of the holidays: I leave the country. It turns out if you are diligent, buy your ticket in September, are willing to go to literally wherever in the world is the cheapest when you put in to “anywhere” on the ticket site, are willing to travel to countries that don’t necessarily celebrate Christmas as a national holiday and are just generally privileged, you can hide from American Christmas. On the one hand, I kept that up even on a grad student stipend while readily admitting that others might have said there were better uses for my money – but I never found them and probably needed travel to keep my sanity during my improperly medicated grad school years. On the one hand, my ability to just leave the country, even in the cheapest most Airbnb-before-it-got-cool way, is still deeply privileged. I get that, and I feel a little guilty suggesting that as a solution since it truly isn’t viable for so many others. Thus, I sometimes feel a little guilty when others talk about all the triggers inherent in the holidays. I am triggered by them too – but I opt out in ways others can’t.

On the other hand, I can only opt out of half of the holidays, and the other half often makes up for what I miss on Christmas.

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Improv #4 (well, sort of): Trumpocalpse

I entered the columnist Nick Kristof’s Trump poetry contest. It closed October 8th, and no one has contacted me from the New York Times. Last time he did a poetry contest, he published the winners about a week after the entry date. I’m assuming that means if I had somehow won, I’d know by now.

That’s okay. I didn’t enter thinking I’d ever actually win. That wasn’t the point. Actual National Endowment for the Arts poetry fellows entered the last one, and I’ve only written two real poems in my life (of which this is one.) I mostly just liked the idea of venting about how horrible things are in humorous verse, and the topic came to me when I read the column.

I called it Improv practice, since there are talented Improv artists who can write limericks on stage and make up song lyrics. I might like to be one of them someday if I manage to get through 601 and still think I’m ok enough at it to try the musical Improv class. I did semi-sing in a 101 class Improv game called Emotion Chorus. It basically involved having to rhythmically chant something about a topic of the audience’s choice in an emotional tone assigned to us by the instructor as part of an acapella chorus. I got “loving,” and the topic was “Donald Trump.” This meant I ended up making googly eyes and cooing “nuclear war” in a longing tone.

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Affordable Mental Health Resources

Free or low-cost: Because there shouldn’t be discrimination in mental health services for those of lower income, but unfortunately…

Also, I guess we’re taking another loop around the cruel and economically incompetent healthcare repeal roller coaster. Call your Congresspeople (Congresslimes, as the case may be for some?) and tell them to be human beings. The Golden Rule is not a suggestion, argggh!!!!**

**Actual expression of disgust and dismay; not an attempt to sneak in an under-the-radar Talk Like a Pirate Day post.

Color Me Bipolar

I was going to post just the free ones, but it got quite exhaustive. So, check out this article of 81 Awesome Mental Health Resources When You Can’t Afford Therapy

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Lavender is Not Indigo

Purple is my favorite color. What shade? Every shade in the Crayola Big Box. I even count magenta as an honorary purple.

Early on, it was indigo. I have a recording of my younger sibling’s first word. While my parents tried to document the milestone, four-year-old Lavender can be heard interjecting her thoughts.

Everyone’s continued focus on a single word was rather underwhelming. (This dominating-the-conversation habit would also get her into trouble in preschool until her parents gave up and pulled her out. How was her ADHD not diagnosed until adulthood?) Lavender felt that her parents should “make [her sibling] say indigo,” which she explained was her favorite color.

I am, thus, amused when someone on the Internet says that millennials with ADHD are Indigo Children.

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7 states now let SNAP recipients shop online; is yours one of them?

Oh, I love this! Online grocery shopping has been a lifesaver for me. It is, however, another one of those privileges of the middle class. Spoonies on food stamps deserve the right not to have to endure (even more) physical and mental pain just to feed themselves.

I still believe in the Golden Rule, even as our government continues to show itself to be heartless and morally bankrupt. Because of that, I feel it is all the more important to share things like this and to remind our leaders, “I’m middle class, I vote, and I care.” Yes, please, use my tax dollars to support things like online grocery shopping for SNAP recipients. I believe in making life better for others!

The Daily Disability

3676426738_934d0d5fc3_b Image: Flickr

For many Americans, going grocery shopping can sometimes feel anywhere between an inconvenience and a trip to hell. For Americans with disabilities and chronic health issues, going grocery shopping can feel like a huge inconvenience and a nearly impossible trip to hell.

Earlier this year, however, the USDA announced it was piloting a new program with seven food retailers to allow SNAP participants to shop for groceries online. This makes it a little easier for disabled folks who can’t be in for the long haul.

How it works? Just visit the website of the store in question (in the state in question, as locations matter) and enter your EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) card number. The program is set up to be as simple and secure as using SNAP in physical food retailers.

States involved in the initial pilot on Jan. 7, 2017, included Maryland, New Jersey, New York…

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