I will go to Finland tomorrow, mostly because the tickets are already ordered. Anne-Li is going with me, which is a change of plans, but a good one. For many reasons. I cannot think much beyond that. Moving everything to AO3 in case I give up on this particular thing. It would probably be good for me, and I am beginning to suspect that I rarely do things that are actually good for me.
I hope I get a note from the post office today so I can pick up Chubstermubster (it is the best name for a chubby pony).
I hope I can fix everything I have to fix.
I need to figure out what to do with Sunday. Museums?
If nothing else, at least flight attendants are in my immediate future.
So that awkward moment (or moments, or those awkward days) when you are not sure if you made someone uncomfortable by being too forward, or if your message did not get through, or if their message did not go through to you, and asking would also be awkward. I am living that awkwardness.
I am almost always at least kind of awkward, and sometimes outright really really bad at socialising, and the ask anxiety is not making it better. I think tumblr is also very awkward at socialising. Perhaps it could make us a nice match, but mostly it just feels so awkward.
I have no idea of what I am doing or what I should do next. Awkward.
Plan A: Awkwardly sitting around feeling awkward does not have much potential when it comes to stop feeling awkward.
Plan B: Send following note?
DO YOU STILL LIKE ME?
Yes [ ]
No [ ]
…I am not sure if that really is a much better plan when it comes to reducing the awkwardness.
Tumblr, there’s been a lot of people struggling lately, including my beloved Serindrana, and there’s so much I wish I could do for all of you. I understand that at the end of the day, to a lot of you, I’m only just words on a screen, and sometimes you need more than that to make it through.
I want to talk about that something else.
There’s a certain stigma that surrounds mental health, and no matter how comfortable we are about ourselves, there’s always days when it’s a little too much. When we do feel shame, or isolated, or invisible, or burdening, and we don’t know who to turn to or what to do, because we’re told so often that mental health issues are something to be ashamed of. This message comes from our families, our friends, from the media we are exposed to, from everywhere in society- we are conditioned to accept that it is not a natural thing to be depressed, or anxious, or socially awkward.
Tumblr, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Imagine you take a tumble and break your leg. You never question the steps you need to take- you get to the doctor, or the emergency room. You get your leg checked out by doctors and nurses. You see a radiologist, get x-rays taken. You see a surgeon if the break is bad enough. You see a physiotherapist to help the muscles heal correctly. You get a brace, or a cast, or crutches, or painkillers.
And you never question that. You never question that these options are available to you, and that you should do everything to make sure you heal correctly.
Our brains are just like any other part of our body- they break sometimes. Sometimes we take a tumble mentally, and you can’t get back up without help. But you know what? We’re told over and over and over again that we should get back up, that we should limp onwards no matter how much pain we’re in, that we shouldn’t make a big deal of it.
And that’s so harmful, and so very very wrong. We have so many options available to us, from psychologists to psychiatrists, to group therapy, to mood therapists, to antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication. We have cognitive behavioural therapy, we have meditation, we have exercise, we have music therapy, we have art therapy, we have psychotherapy, we have online support groups, we have our normal GPs- the point is, we have just as many options for our brains as we do for any other part of our body.
Not everybody needs surgery when they break their leg- by the same token, not everybody needs medication when they’re depressed. But some people do need surgery, and some people do need medication. There’s nothing shameful or inherently wrong with either, and yet it is an awkward thing to have to admit to being medicated for depression.
I’ll be completely honest about my background, to give you an idea of why I’m talking about this so candidly- I come from a conservative Christian background, with a history of mental illness in my family. My sister and my father are both near unbearable to live with, and are constantly medicated for serotonin depletion, aggression, and depression. My sister struggles with substance abuse and has attempted suicide twice. My youngest brother was diagnosed with depression at fifteen, and I was diagnosed at eighteen. Despite all that, we never discuss mental health in my family, or through my parent’s church. Growing up I never knew that I had options outside of crying myself to sleep, because our GP was a friend of our parents, and attended the same church. I didn’t want to ask him for help, because I was worried my parents would sweep it under the rug- so I hid it myself. And that’s the worst thing I could have done for myself.
Aside from depression I also suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder, OCD, agoraphobia and aphephobia (fear of being touched). Sometimes I have to call in sick to work, because I cannot physically make myself leave the house. I have been (and still am) medicated for depression, for anxiety; I have a psychologist, a psychiatrist, a couples counsellor for myself and my husband, and above all else I talk constantly.
I’ve come a long way in a short number of years, and I know I don’t even have it that hard- I’ve never struggled with substance abuse, I’ve never considered suicide, I don’t struggle with nearly half the demons my sister struggles with. But that doesn’t invalidate the fact that I am struggling. To use the broken leg analogy again, maybe I’ve just fractured it, whereas she’s got bone cutting through the skin. We both need help. The difference is that I’m getting help, whereas she cannot get out of that mindset of it being shameful, or it being disgusting, and so she’ll medicate properly for a little while, and see a therapist once or twice and then relapse.
The point of me saying all this is that I don’t want you to think I’m talking out my ass about this stuff- I know what it’s like to struggle, I know what it’s like to feel like no one is listening, to think that seeking help is embarrassing, or shameful, or it makes you weak.
Getting help doesn’t make you weak.
TL;DR Guys, seeking help for yourself when you’re struggling mentally is the most important thing you will ever do for yourself. I cannot ever stress that enough. And if you feel like you don’t have the support you need at home, my ask box is ALWAYS open, anon or not. I will always, always listen, and I will always do my best to help.
Because you are all magnificent human beings: bright and wonderful souls that have made such a glorious impact on my life. No one deserves to feel ashamed of needing help. If you need help, Tumblr, just ask.
Please listen to this wonderful, strong, brave and wise person.
There really, really is nothing to be ashamed of, and you are not weak.
I have sent asks and I feel bad because I do not know if they arrived or got eaten and it makes me nervous. Perhaps I am in the way and should just go away, maybe they think I am annoying and creepy and I am unwanted, or tumblr ate them all. I am not sure and that gets me all anxious. It is very awkward.
Also, anxiety about my fic. Maybe it is much too dark and I seem creepy. I do not want that.
Sometimes I miss being younger. Or more like, I miss how socialising worked then. If you liked someone, you could just say, “I like you! Let’s be friends!” and then you were friends, sort of.
Striking up conversations is much harder now. Especially if someone is amazing. What do you say to start a conversation with an amazing amazing person? That’s… not all awkward? You can’t very well just tell them that they seem really interesting and such, I think. I need a manual.
All these posts about tumblr eating ASKs is making me nervous and anxious. What if mine got eaten, too! What if the important one got eaten? I can’t ask about it because that would seem much too forward, and that’s not good either. But what if it did get eaten and then I seem all rude instead? Oh no, either way!