Friday, September 26, 2014

Some Days Are Bad Days and That's Okay

When you have depression, you have good days and bad days.  And lately, a lot of my days have been bad days.

Most of that stems from an unhappy work situation.  It's hard not to feel stymied when I make less than 10 bucks an hour, work 11 hour shifts, wear an uncomfortable uniform, and work on weekends.  Being with the same company for three and a half years has meant nothing, and I have nothing to show for it.  In fact, after both relocations, I went back to the bottom of the totem pole.  And now, I'm just genuinely exhausted.

I decided earlier this summer to go off my medication for my brand of depression (which has some a la carte anxiety).  My doctor had urged the trial, saying part of the job of my medication is to teach the brain to transmit chemicals it wasn't otherwise doing.

And overall, it has been a good trial run.  At first, I felt slightly less control over my emotions.  More weepy than usual, but I still seemed to be doing alright.  But now I'm starting to wonder if I'm losing control.

It's hard to explain the thought processes of a depressive person to someone that has no clue.  It's not just being sad or in a funk; it's deeper, and darker, and scarier than that.

You know how sometimes you go into a room and forget why?

Now imagine you start crying and screaming and you don't know why.  Or you zone out and stare at the wall for hours, but you don't know why.

My depression can't be logical sometimes.  Many moments I'm reacting emotionally and I don't know why.  Or I'm reacting with more sharp emotions.  Sometimes I do know why.  But not always.

Some days it's like treading water and trying not to drown. Some days it is the urge to fight tears all day, because I'm at work and can't break down there.  Some days it is knowing that nothing is going to snap me out of it.  And that can be terrifying.

Luckily through all of this, I've had amazing support.  Friends who have experienced mental illness and understand.  Friends who will do anything to cheer me up because they know there is nothing to fix.  Friends that understand if I break down crying that there isn't always an explanation or solution.  Friends who will listen to me cry and moan about how unhappy I am.  In short, the best friends a person dealing with depression could ask for.

Recently, I had my feelings invalidated and then completely mocked by someone.  And I don't know if they misconstrued something or were having a bad day or whatever.  As someone with depression, I ask this of others: please don't ever invalidate what someone is feeling, especially someone dealing with mental illness.  If you disagree or think it's ridiculous, fine.  But don't discount it to them.  What they are feeling is real.  What I was feeling was real to me.  And it feels like a slap in the face to have someone mock me when I'm down.

I guess I'm writing all this because I don't know if I'm going to go back on my meds yet.  Maybe I just needed to vent, or explain myself.  I don't know.

What I do know is that I'm lucky to have people I can count on and know I can trust.  And I also know that feeling like this sucks.  And that some days are just bad days, and that's okay.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

When Is Rape Actually Rape

In light of some asshole comments from Rush Limbaugh and also someone else, I couldn't help but put some things out there.

Did both parties say yes to sex?  Good.

Did someone not say yes to sex?  Rape.

Here's the thing, I get that there are gray areas.  He said/she said.  I get it.  But here's the point, unless everyone is actively saying yes to sex, it's not sex.  It's rape.  Maybe things didn't use to be this way, but that is some fucked up shit.  Consent, get used to it.

What our dear Rush seems to miss here is that no, in fact, does always mean no.  The only circumstance in which it wouldn't is a relationship that agreed upon that boundary.  Plenty of couples push sexual limits.  There is nothing wrong with that.  But those limits are agreed upon, take a great deal of trust, and usually have a safe word.  So in that case, no doesn't mean no.  The safe word does.  Unfortunately for Rush, that is a system that has to be decided upon by both participants.  It cannot be put in place by someone looking to score.  You cannot approach a woman/man/person attempting to find a way through their 'no'.  That's called being a giant asshole.

In the most recent Game of Thrones season (spoiler alert), Cersei and Jaime have sex next to Joffrey's corpse.  Sexy, right?  He approaches her and starts kissing her.  She says no, starts hitting his chest, and mentioning how they'll be found out.  He has sex with her anyway.  She stops fighting him.  They engage in coitus.

Let me make something abundantly clear. If someone says no, it's rape.  If they say no and have sex with you anyway, it's coercion, which is rape.  An uproar went around when it aired because people were saying the show put the scene out as rape when it was consensual in the book.  By the way, the scene I just described was directly from the book.  I can quote it if you'd like.  But it's still rape.  A rape cannot in fact become consensual. Time has a great piece about this.

I'm getting really pissed by people who say this is consensual.  She says no.  It is not consensual.  Anyone who ever says no in relation to sexual activity is taking their consent away.  So educate yourselves and be respectful of your partners.  Ask if they're ready.  Ask what they want.  Don't tiptoe around the issue.  Ask for consent.

Monday, September 8, 2014

A Female's Message to Goodell and the NFL

In 1998, Aaron Sorkin’s show Sports Night featured an interesting story-line.  Amateur reporter/associate producer Natalie goes to interview a major football player.  Then, word breaks that a football player was seen exposing himself to a woman and grabbing her when she attempts to leave.  It dawns on the other workers that it was Natalie.  She initially resists pressing charges, but is eventually talked into it.  In the following episode, she receives death threats and nasty hate mail.  But eventually, the show moves on and so does she.

When I first saw this episode, it bothered me.  But I didn’t realize then how common it actually is that violence gets overlooked in professional sports.  When word broke that some kind of altercation had occurred between Ray Rice and his fiance, the NFL acted.  They acted poorly.  They suspended him for 2 games.  Less than someone who has smoked pot.  Yeah, that’s the message being sent to women.  You are less important than recreational drug use!

It took TMZ leaking the footage of what actually happened in the elevator for Rice to get kicked off the team.  Also the NFL is implementing a new domestic violence policy. “Goodell said that in the future, any N.F.L. employee, including nonplayers, would be suspended for six games for a first offense of domestic violence and a minimum of a year for a second offense.” The article, from the New York Times, indicates the league had seen the footage back in July. It took you this long to do the right thing? Wow, screw you guys.

On the one hand, this is better than what is currently going on in the league in regards to domestic violence.  On the other hand, if you have a player who has more than one offense, WHY ARE THEY STILL ON THE TEAM???  You want to make a stand on violence against women?  Then get the fuck rid of someone who beats on their girlfriend/fiance/wife.  Don’t make allowances.  There should be no allowances for men who beat their spouses.  Even current NFL players are lashing back against this whole situation. And as a woman, I'm not thrilled at the way you're handling it either. Nor are others.

Violence seems pretty rampant in sports (check out the stats on the NFL alone) and leagues should set the precedence that just because you are famous and can kick/throw/shoot something doesn’t mean you can get away with beating your spouse.

Monday, September 1, 2014

September Book Club: Slaughterhouse-Five

While last month’s book read took me the entirety of the month, this month’s took me a day.  Actually less than 24 hours.  It took me one work shift, 11 hours, to read it.  So it was a refreshing change from Moby Dick.

This month’s banned/challenged book was Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut.  He’s one of my favorites in the vein of science fiction, and this book especially.

The story centers on Billy Pilgrim, a war survivor who is telling his story of the war and his experience being abducted by aliens and how he began time travelling.  You get sucked into his life in the war, watching people get slaughtered and bombed and wondering who will die next.  Then you’re transported to his life on Tralfamadore, where he is in a museum like an animal and he is constantly watched by Tralfamadorians, tiny and green aliens that look mainly like a hand on a plunger.  Back and forth we go, throughout Billy’s life experiences. 

The reason the book lands on the banned and challenged list are a few different reasons.  Certain people or districts have listed vulgarity and language.  Others have cited it for being too explicit sexually, particularly Billy being naked while on display in the museum.  Seriously, people?  Kids can find porn online, but you want to ban books?  Ugh, humanity…

Some of my favorite quotes:

“And, even if wars didn’t keep coming like glaciers, there would still be plain old death.” Pg. 9

“I have this disease late at night sometimes, involving alcohol and the telephone.” Pg. 9

“But she did look back, and I love her for that, because it was so human.” Pg. 25 (in reference to Lot’s wife in the bible)

“Like so many Americans, she was trying to construct a life that made sense from things she found in gift shops.” Pg. 39

“All time is all time. It does not change. It does not lend itself to warnings or explanations. It simply is. Take it moment by moment, and you will find that we are all, as I’ve said before, bugs in amber.” Pg. 79

“There is no beginning, no middle, no end, no suspense, no moral, no causes, no effects. What we love in our books are the depths or many marvelous moments seen all at one time.” Pg. 82 (love this quote)

“Everybody was legally alive now.” Pg. 84

“Ignore the awful times, and concentrate on the good ones.” Pg. 107

“Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt.” Pg. 111 (also love this)

“The listlessness concealed a mind which was fizzing and flashing thrillingly.” Pg. 169 (I aspire to this)

“So it goes.” Pg. 190 (this overarching theme in the book is amazing)

In conclusion, if you’re into sci-fi then you need to read it.  And if you’re not into sci-fi, you need to read it.  And if you’re not into reading, well what the fuck is wrong with you?  Read it, maybe it’ll fix you.

It’s a fantastic science fiction story and one for the ages.