Category Archives: Mental Health

Why Do I Write?

This is a simple question that deserves a complex answer. Using answers that are expected— such as it being therapeutic, or me being required to do it for my job, or even just for the pure joy of writing— no longer satisfies me. I want to understand the emotion I derive from writing. Does my writing grant me blissful ignorance to the world’s problems? Does it compound the issues I face as a college student?

Regardless, one thing is certain, writing provides me with some form of comfort. While this is a common occurrence for writers, I find myself wanting to know more about the inner workings of my own personal writings. I want to unravel what goes on in my head as I write. Being that I garner no real thrill from academic writing, this self-discovery will mostly relate to my creative writings. After all, it’s the dreaded time of the year that Millersville holds their (or a different verb) final exams.

Throughout my personal history, I have had multiple instances of straying into the dark path of depression and anxiety. During those times, my creativity came alive; and with that creativity came a flair for dark and disturbing writings. When I attended Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC), I wrote a piece called “Begotten by Hate.” Looking back, this piece was objectively horrible. Reading that story brought me back to a time where the dark thoughts ran rampant. I hated everyone and everything, and the best way I knew to express it was through writing. Thankfully, I am well past that point in my life.

Nowadays, my writing has taken on a more existential flair. My writing is filled with questions about life and what it truly means to be happy. I know it may seem odd to question happiness, but that is how I navigate my way around such emotions. Happiness feels like a foreign concept, as for most of my life, I have felt the complete opposite. Writing is a beacon of hope in these instances, and it is interesting to see what types of conversations I get in with myself over the meaning of life.

A complex answer as to why I write is that I want to not only inform the public, but I want to protect the American people. In recent news, a journalist was butchered in Turkey at a Saudi Arabian embassy. Parts of my family now question whether or not my career path is safe. In all honesty, it does not matter.  In times like these, the need for journalists is greater than ever before.

The reason I write is because it is my duty to use this talent to help others and inform the public. And, though it may seem selfish, I want to prove skeptics wrong. I have autism and I want to prove that it is not, and never will be, a hindrance to my writing. I was told in high school that I would never graduate, and that I would never end up making it to college. Sufficient to say, I kicked down that door of doubt. I am thriving in college and I credit that, in great part, to my writing skills. I proved that guidance counselor wrong and I am continuing to prove that autism does not automatically mean you won’t make it far in life. Autism is not a hindrance to neither me, nor my writing.

Also, huge shout out to a good friend of mine. My EIC at the Snapper is a great human being and helps me out a ton. She even edited this for me!

 

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Taking the next steps in recovery

As I alluded to in yesterday’s post, I am taking measures to better deal with my depression and anxiety. I have decided to work on that exclusively during my winter break from school.

I’m safe, but I do not like the road I am traveling. Going farther down this path will lead to an inpatient stay at a mental health hospital and that is the last thing I need right now.

That’s all for this morning. I’ll update when I am able.

Drifting along

I have recently made a decision that will impact my life in a good way. The daily struggles of being in college and not being able to afford not even half of what I would like to afford is emotionally draining. That brings up the question, for me at least, why does money have to be a factor in my happiness?

The sad truth of it is that I measure my happiness based on material goods and generally stuff that I buy. That is not a way to live for me, yet it is becoming all the more harder to force myself to think that way. As some of you may know, I am on SSI, which is a government assistance program for people with disabilities or that cannot work.

I look forward to a monthly benefit from SSI. I attempt to work small, low paying jobs to try to supplement what I am missing from SSI and I get help from my parents. Due to my spending habits, however, I am usually in the lower end of my bank account all of the time.

I am used to the feeling at this point, but I would rather not endure the anxiety I feel when I cannot afford something at a store, or get something to eat that I have been craving. Sometimes, I cannot even afford groceries at the supermarket. At these times I ask my Dad for help and I am very thankful to him for helping me.

The fact of the matter is that I need to learn to manage my money better. That is not the purpose of this post though and it causes me anxiety to think about it honestly.

My depression, thankfully, is at a place where I am able to manage it pretty well. My anxiety, not so much, the smallest thing gets to me and little things that used to just annoy me cause things like panic attacks. My panic levels are at places where I can manage them, but they are becoming a nuisance as of late. I have been keeping track of my panic attacks and, on average, I have eight to ten a week. I feel like I am able to maintain myself at this time and I am not super concerned, but it is something that I am going to be bringing up soon with my psychiatrist.

I apologize for not updating this site for awhile; I have been in college and I never really got a chance to devote time to the blog. I honestly missed writing a lot and this has been very therapeutic for me.

School is steadily approaching

I start school in six days. The fall semester to be a little more specific and I am getting the before school jitters this week. It seems odd to me this time, however, because I have been in school all summer during all three sessions. The main factor, in my opinion, that is causing me this anxiety and stress is the amount of things that I am taking on this upcoming semester.

To start, I am taking two classes, Fundamentals of Math and Feature Writing and Magazine Journalism. That will not be an issue; I just finished Math 090 with a passing grade and I feel pretty confident going into this Math class. Feature writing and Magazine Journalism will not be a problem either. I write for the school newspaper as opinion editor and my articles could always be transitioned into features easily. The two classes I am taking are not the origin of my stress.

I got a job that I will be doing over the Fall semester and I am grateful that I am able to do this as well. My fear here is that I will not be able to go to work sometimes due to my anxiety. I am working on ways to combat this cycle of worry and so far I am having positive results, which is quite good for me. I desperately need the money and my Social Security Disability is not quite up to how much I need for my bills and other expenses. Here’s hoping to a postive experience at work. I really need this to work.

There are a couple other organizations that I am affiliated with this semester as well. I am, like I stated above, the opinion editor of the Snapper, which is the school newspaper. I am greatly looking forward to working on my writing skills and my interpersonal skills with the staff of the Snapper. It has become a place I am comfortable at and I hope it continues to be that kind of place. I have no reason to think otherwise, but my mind likes to do something I call, “Catastrophizing.” What this is, is when I think, I go to the worst possible outcome and latch onto it and fill myself with dread and anxiety over a overly exaggerated manner. It is not healthy for me at all, but it is a bad habit that I have picked up. Something outside of my self-reflection is needed to combat this and to that end I am in therapy with some talented individuals.

The other organization that I am a part of is the Magic Players of Millersville. A club that is dedicated to the trading card game, Magic the Gathering. I love a format in Magic called Commander or EDH. There was a resignation over the summer and I became the president of the club. I hope that I am able to perform well and gain some more social and leadership knowledge. Just like the Snapper, however, I catastrophize all situations that I think might pop up.

I am hopeful that none of my negative thinking will severely impact me this semester. I really want to have a semester, just once, where I do not have to miss class due to major mental health issues. The same for work. It always frustrates me that this kind of stuff happens to me on a weekly basis and I get fed up with my inability to do tasks that I have either set for myself or have been set for me.

Panic and anxiety attacks are just something that I go through and I understand that, but if there was a way for me to lower that anxiety just a little bit; I think I would do a lot better. The same thing can be said for my depression, which has, on multiple occasions, caused issues. Either with tasks I need to do, my attendance, issues with other people and in general feeling like I am not worth the time or effort that others put into helping me.

Right now, I am nervous about school, but more of the excited nervousness instead of the anxiety based one. I hope I have a good semester and to those who read and also go to school I hope you have a great semester as well!

Autistic has become a slur it seems. The Rise of Anti-Vaxxers

I have noticed something as of late that really disturbed’s me. I’ve found it on social media and an occasionally I’ll run into someone who says it. This being the act of using the word autistic as a slur.

As someone on the spectrum I can say, quite confidently, that this is offensive to me. I have already received the answer back that I need to grow thicker skin and just need to let it go, but I will not be taking that advice. I do not identify as autistic; it’s not a choice and I never liked the implications from others that it is. The same for depression and anxiety. They are not choices and they are not something that you just shake off. They are mental disorders that need medical treatment.

I have never been on the receiving end of a, “Your so autistic.” I am happy about that and I am grateful that my group of friends see that it is not acceptable to use autistic in that manner. It is a shame that people think that slurs, whether they are racial of disabled in nature, are acceptable. The same argument that is used for the “R” word can now be applied to Autism it seems.

People on the spectrum never chose to have autism and if you think they did; you are reading the wrong blog post. Autism, like I have said many times, is something you are born with and not a choice. It is not the same as saying I want to wear a red shirt today.

The thought that I supposedly got autism through vaccines infuriates me. Do not misunderstand, I am not a person pleased with having autism, but you know what? It’s a lot better than being dead. It sickens me when I see various groups on Facebook claiming that a vaccine caused their child to have autism. I understand that big pharma is lining their pockets with all the medical care that those with autism may or may not require, but to say that is irrelevant. Irrelevant to the fact that some parents would rather have their child die at an early age instead of having autism. I truly do not get it. Am I that bad of a person that when a parent thinks of their child having autism they would rather them die from the measles? It is, frankly, idiotic.

Broken thoughts, are they worth fixing? Let’s hope so

I have been struggling lately with my depression. As I am, once again, slipping into a downward spiral I am caught by a notion that has given me pause. My thoughts are broken; comparable to that of a broken-down car. Why can they not be fixed?

The answer is, to me, is obvious at once. Thoughts are similar to the nature of the durability of a car. Thoughts degenerate over time if not properly cared for. The same of a car’s functioning parts. Then, as this notion fills my awareness, another one pops in that becomes disheartening.

Using the car analogy; is it worth fixing the broken down car? Can there be a complete overhaul of the car? Turning it into a marvel of modern engineering? I think the answer will always be yes, yet the thought persists and I look at it from both sides. Sometimes cars need to be scrapped for parts.

With the analogy of parts, I think that I can apply the concept to my thoughts. I cannot repair my thoughts; as they are depressing and they are fleeting at times, but like cars hold value in restoration and refinement. With thoughts that are depressing, I can reshape those thoughts. Think of it as scrapping the thoughts to rebuild something better. Taking the good, mainly the critical thinking, I get from my brooding and depressive nature and using that to look at happier things in my life.

I have a good thing going in my life and it is looking up. Depression, I need to realize, is a chronic illness that needs methodical and precise repair and treatment. Similar to that of a car. I need to take my medications and need to realize that there is an established support network that I have built up over the years. They are willing to help me and I need to accept that help and reach out. I want to note that I am and have been taking my medications as directed by my doctors and it is not a cause of concern. Pill shaming is an issue that I want to cover in the blog sometime, but now is not the time.

To those that are a part of the massive support network I have; I thank you for all that you do and I would not be here for some of you. Some of you have helped me from the brink of suicide and did not even know it. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you. I do not say that to cause concern; I am nowhere close to feeling like that and if I was I pledge to you that I would get help.

I want to start daily postings on the site; even though I know I cannot keep up with my current schedule. With that ambitious thought in mind I am going to post my feelings on a scale of 1-10 every post. My depression, anxiety, paranoia, and general mood will be the categories. I do not want there to be alarm if my anxiety or any of the categories are above a six. I have you guys and if I need the help I will get it. Thank you my friends.

Depression: 5/10

Anxiety: 7/10

Paranoia: 2/10

Mood: 6/10

 

Writing for the sake of being happy

I have come to a conclusion. That being that writing is my therapy. Any type of writing, mind you, and it always helps. It can be writing on my phone, like I am now, or my labtop or even my notebook. It does not matter, and I think knowing this going forward is key for me.

I have always known that I loved writing, but after a couple days of writing again, I feel great. I like writing fiction and I like writing for this blog, but I love writing articles that require some research and thought. Research is not always necessary, but it makes it a lot more fun.

What I like about editorial writing is mainly how I can connect to others with my writing. This has happened many times. I have been in student newspapers ever since I have been in college. First Livewire at HACC, and now The Snapper at Millersville. I truly think that my love of writing has broke the shell that I had put around me prior to college.

At Livewire there were three people who truly helped me, and now I consider those three good friends. When I transferred to Millersville I joined as a staff writer and was that for two weeks. I then became opinion editor for the paper. Alongside my fellow HACC alumni, Robert as my associate editor, we did quite well with opinion.

With HACC, I credit them for the initial shell break, and I want to thank them for doing that. The Snapper crew has now completely demolished my shell.

I want to thank Livewire and The Snapper for all they have done for me.