Hello, good people of WordPress. I apologize for disappearing off the face of the blogosphere for awhile. Truth be told, I crashed, and I crashed hard. And while I am typically very open about such things with personal friends, I’m still navigating my comfort levels and boundaries in terms of sharing anonymously with any random people who happen upon this blog. Part of it, too, is that I see this blog as largely educational. Sure, I use my own experiences as examples in explaining mad pride & neurodiversity concepts, and I also sometimes post general life updates as they relate to mental health. Yet, in trying to establish myself as an educator of sorts, I was putting pressure on myself to also be a rolemodel, so felt I couldn’t share what makes me less than perfect and my attitude about mental health not always positive. (After all, isn’t “mad pride” all about having pride in yourself? Wouldn’t doubts then be hypocritical?)
I’m going to try to be more real here from now on, though. Of course I have doubts. Everyone has doubts. I’m not some sort of mad pride robot. And I also still have a whole lot to learn about radical mental health, and radical-ness in general, myself. When I crash, which I do, that acceptance, thinking it’s ok for me to be mad and neurodivergent, is much harder to hold onto. Sometimes, I just want permission to hate myself. Sometimes, hating myself is oddly comforting, like wrapping myself in a cozy blanket.
I have taken another medical leave from school to allow myself some time to heal. I am currently staying with my parents, who live an hour and a half away from my apartment, during the week, so they can support me in attending a local day treatment program. I worried that if I started with something near me, I just wouldn’t wake up and leave the house to go to it, because I wasn’t going to class, or in search of a practicum, or even to my therapy appointments. They drive me in the morning to make sure I get there on time, and are helping me out with cooking too. On the weekends, I go back to my apartment to spend time with my roommates and other friends.
To be honest, it’s helping. And I was really worried it wouldn’t. I was worried that it would only make things worse. See, there are very limited mental health resources in my home state. In fact, aside from private practitioners who provide once weekly therapy or psychiatry, pretty much everything operates out of this one hospital. It’s a hospital, so obviously, escaping the medical model entirely is not an option. It also happens to be the hospital where I spent 10 days in the psych ward a few years ago, and was traumatized. I think my fear was valid.
Fortunately though (or unfortunately for those currently there), inpatient is kind of its own animal. Their day programs, or at least the one I’ve been doing, actually treats their clients like competent adults. It also has a good balance of time and space to process and vent, with learning more practical hands-on coping skills. There are several breaks throughout the day, when people meet with individual therapists and can request psychiatry appointments as-needed, and during my downtime, I wander the woodsy campus and say hi to therapy dogs on walks with their handlers. The dogs are so cute and friendly and well-trained, and even wear staff badges like the human therapists! I don’t think it’s helping with everything, since each program can only specialize in so much and there are a lot of different things going on in my life, but whatever it doesn’t help with, I’m going to try to find support for in my area afterward.
I’m still accepting this. I’m still accepting that I can’t be that mad pride robot, a warrior who never succumbs to weakness and can always be supportive to others. I think I’m realizing, tough, that that’s not what mad pride means. Or at least, it can mean whatever I want it to. And I think I want it to meant that I’m ok, just as I am, even if I sometimes hate myself, even if I sometimes want to curl up in a blanket and hide from the world (and sometimes do), and even if I sometimes want to die. There is darkness and light in all of us, and without the darkness, a lot of the light wouldn’t even exist (or at least, we wouldn’t be able to see it as such).
I will end with this, a relevant article on the value of negativity (trigger warning included): http://eminism.org/blog/entry/404