Addiction isn’t always the end.

But some days, it is.

There are many types of addiction. Substance, gambling, sex, self harm. You can argue for days about who or what to blame, the addict, mental health, society… The reality is it does not matter who you blame. Addiction ruins lives. Addiction kills.

I am writing this because it claimed another life of someone I knew. I found out yesterday. I didn’t know him extremely well but he was loved by many that I love and this compounds my grief as I feel for them.

I am writing this because if you struggle with addiction, I want you to know that I don’t blame you. I will not shame you. We all have our demons and our crosses to bear. I am writing this to say that you deserve help. I want you to know that there are always people to reach out to. If the ones you’ve reached out to so far have not helped enough, reach out to others. Seek help. It is there.

When you are ready to live a different life, it is waiting for you. If you relapse, all is not lost. You will never lose the time you had clean/safe. No one can ever take that away from you.

You are important. You are loved. There are those of us that want you in this world. Please, when you’re ready, reach out. Find your support circle and USE us. That’s what we’re for.

~In Memory of C.M.~

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

Drug cartels are real, and closer…

to home, to friends, to family than most of us ever want to believe.

Yesterday was the third anniversary of the death of Rosario Fuentes. She was also known as Felina, as Miut3 and as the fiance of a dear friend of mine. Rosario was a doctor in a border town in Mexico. She used to report on cartel violence on twitter. She did this to try to help her community. Because of her job, people lived. Because of her heart, she was kidnapped, murdered, her dead body shown on twitter and in news articles and yet never found to bring closure to her family.

Rosario was dedicated to helping women, animals, her community, the families of the disappeared (in the US, we may call them missing, but down there, they are taken and never heard from or seen again and in numbers you cannot imagine). She was an angel to those around her, those less fortunate, those that needed anything she could provide.

Felina reported on cartel violence to help give her community a voice. She was a beacon to many who chose to also report on cartel violence. She knew the risks, but she was not going to let fear silence her. My hope is that some of you will share this and help keep her voice strong. I vowed that, for me, she would never be silent. I hope you will help me carry her voice, her message and her love.

Drug cartel violence is real. They kidnap innocent people. They murder. The face you see is just one of many that has paid the price for the street drugs that you or people you know may be using. Just because we may not be IN Reynosa, it does not mean that Reynosa is not affected by our actions. Even now, the town is basically under siege. Gunfire, helicopters… Cartel violence is sky rocketed and people are afraid to walk out their front door. That is TODAY’S situation.

Help fight the cartels. Every voice counts. Showing others that this is real, letting people in recovery have another look at the lives they can save by staying clean… This is a message worth spreading.

In Loving Memory of Rosario Felina Miut3 Fuentes.

May her voice carry through and give hope.

 

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

#PunchaNazi – non-violently

It is hard to keep handling my own mental and physical health issues with the country/worldwide issues that are taking place right now. Some of these things I am addressing – not to be political, but to take care of my own mental health. I can not sit idly by and say nothing because my blood boils and my anger comes out and my anxiety comes at me full force. I stop being able to handle anyone or anything.

#punchanazi is a thing right now, and I will say I wholeheartedly agree with it, especially after #charlottesville (though I’d have agreed before). You do not have to use your fists. You do not have to use violence. You can punch through an idea with words and non-violent actions.

This is a post from my friend Mona (she is my adultiest adult friend) and I hope her words echo with some part of your heart through these times:

Here’s the thing.
This is my voice.
This is how I punch a nazi. 
I am not going to take up arms.
I am not going to be silent.
I am dismayed and terrified of what is going on in our country by a man so desperate to deflect from his own illegal doings he would rather ignite a civil war in his own country.

Make no mistake. This is a distraction. But it’s a dangerous one and one that I cannot and will not ignore.

Where there are two sides, and one of those sides contains NAZIS, then that is the wrong side.

I am first generation American. My grandparents were Holocaust survivors.

I will not be silent.

Never. Again. Is. Now.

I have seen posts that say to drown out their chants with annoying instruments and cover them in glitter to identify them… to use their marches against them by raising money for equality pledged for how far they march. You do not have to be violent to punch a Nazi / neo-nazi / white supremacist (to me these are all the same but apparently some people bother distinguishing between them).

However, should I ever come across one and they lash out in violence at me, or anyone near me, I assure you, I will use my fists. Not out of vengeance. Not even out of rage… but in defense of those that stand for true equality in our world.

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

#Charlottesville …and things that don’t.

There are many ways people seem to judge themselves as superior or inferior to others. Below is a list of things that do not make me either. Below that is what I feel truly makes the difference between great and small.

Things that do not make me inferior or superior:

  • The color of my skin
  • My (lack of, abundance of) religion
  • The gender(s) of people I have slept with
  • The number of people I have slept with
  • Who I date
  • Who I marry
  • Whether or not I graduated college
  • Whether or not I’ve had an abortion
  • Choosing not to have my own biological children
  • Having worked 70 hour work weeks
  • Having become disabled
  • Being on disability
  • To me, “Greek Life” is Baklava and Ouzo
  • How much I weigh
  • What size my clothes are
  • Stretch marks
  • Hair color/style
  • Makeup
  • Being bipolar
  • Having anxiety
  • Hearing
  • Sight
  • Being (completely not) able to cook

There are some that believe these things matter. I’m not one of them. Even that is not something that in and of itself makes us superior… but things I think do:

  • Empathy
  • Loving those that are different from you
  • Loving those that are the same as well
  • Caring about issues that don’t affect you personally… but affect others.
  • Listening
  • Wanting to better myself

It’s not what we do for ourselves that helps to make us a superior person, it is what we do for others. It is seeing that there are people that are like us and unlike us and knowing that both sets of people deserve empathy and love.

If you don’t want to be judged for your mental illnesses, please consider what other prejudices you hold in your heart, and try to stop judging others for things they do not control either. We can always do better.

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

I am trying.

How many times do you say this? How many times do you tell your doctor, your best friend, your family… “I am trying.” Only they can’t see it. “Are you?” … Yes, really, I am. It’s just there’s this constant fighting going on in my head, and I’m sorry. I’m sorry you can’t see it. I’m sorry you keep asking. I am sorry you don’t believe me. I am sorry it’s been years and I am still fighting.

For some people, depression is linked to an event, such as loss of a job or a relationship. Sometimes just moving forward can help these people out of their depression. This seems to make them think that it is that simple for everyone. “Chin up, this will pass.” It will pass, but for many of us, it comes back.

If you’ve had a depressive episode and managed to come out of it and not return, please don’t assume that everyone has that ability. For some, there is trauma, from war, from abuse… This does not just go away by “getting over it.” You don’t just “move on.” For some, there are chemical imbalances in the brain. Please don’t tell me that you did it without meds, so can I. I can’t. I’ve tried.

I can’t always just ‘cheer up’ – I have learned to pretend to but even that has become so exhausting, I can’t do it often. I can’t always ‘just relax’ because my brain doesn’t understand how to stop throwing thoughts at me sometimes. I’m sorry you don’t understand this.

Someone’s going to read this and think I was talking about them in particular. I’m not. Please know that. This is something that those of us with mental health issues deal with on a regular basis just by interacting with people. Sometimes this is why we don’t want to interact with people.

If we tell you we are trying, please try to understand that the processes we’re going through aren’t visible to you but they are very real. We haven’t given up. We fight every day. We are trying.

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

First Impressions…

It’s a little different in person than online. Sometimes when you meet a person, you just feel off, and sometimes it’s a really good idea to listen to that feeling. Sometimes you feel like you’ve known them for lifetimes, and it’s good to listen to that too.

Online, however, first impressions can be completely off base. Just because the first time you interact with someone, you’re on opposite sides of a debate, that doesn’t mean that you won’t have things in common. It doesn’t mean you can’t become dear friends. Sometimes the first time you interact with someone is on a friend’s post and you agree with everything they say… but when you talk one on one, you realize that maybe that one thing was all you had in common.

I know most people know this, but I want to bring it up because I want to remind you to give people a chance when your first thought is, “Omg, what is wrong with this asshole?” Leave your mind open enough to be surprised by the kindness or empathy or complete and total dedication to the same fandoms … We are all multi-faceted.

I am not saying to let people disrespect you, or to ignore insults and attacks… I am just saying that a disagreement can forge a friendship if you let it.

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

The Fallen Soldiers

do not always fall in combat. You hear about a number of soldiers from your country dying in a war torn section of land that’s not your own. What you hear less about are the soldiers that die every day once they have come back home.

In many countries, Remembrance Day falls on what we in America call Veteran’s Day. It is the day that we honor those that have come home that are still with us. Memorial Day is this weekend for us and it is when we honor those that fallen. The fallen veterans from my life did not die in a far off place, they did not even die during the war they served in. Or perhaps a piece of them did and that is why they ended their life.

I can’t pretend to know the motives of my biological father or my friend Teresa. I can not say that their deaths were a result of the battlefield itself or of navigating the battlefield in their mind once home. I can, however, tell you I have yet to come across the family of a veteran suicide in ANY country that has said “Our country is doing everything they can for those that gave everything for our country.” We can’t control the budgets of the government but we can control our money, our time and our voices.

Not everyone has money to spare, but if you do, look around at the lives of the veterans in your country and find a place to donate it where it will do the most good. If you have the time and ability, find a place to give of yourself, to volunteer. If all you have is your voice – let it be heard. Talk about it. Use social media, write to your government. Let people know this issue is important.

For us, in America,¬†this is not the weekend to thank a veteran for service. It is the time to stop and honor those that died for us, for our freedoms, for our rights, for our way of life. It is the day to honor those that fell in combat as well as those that have passed on outside of it. For me, it is the weekend I honor the fallen in my life and the time that I hope I will not have to switch anyone from Veteran’s Day to Memorial Day in my thoughts next year.

I would post a picture with this, but the reality is if it takes a picture of flag and a uniform with a crying family to move you, then my words won’t have any effect.

*In memory of David and Teresa*

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

“My pain doesn’t matter because…”

Since the bombing in Manchester, I have seen a lot of “but my pain is nothing compared to…” This should stop. Yes, there are people out there grieving and suffering from trauma. This does not mean that your pain does not still exist. This does not mean that your pain does not still matter.

I have had at least three friends in the past few days use this phrase, and even more acquaintances. The truth is that there is always someone grieving. There is always someone experiencing trauma. This does not mean your pain and your trauma are “less.” The only difference right now is that it is a mass tragedy. This means you are more aware of the pain of others because it has been amplified by the number of people currently suffering.

You are no less important. Your pain is no less important. Mine is no less important. I have spent weeks trying to grieve while being ill due to side effects of a medication for my brain pressure. I was no less sick because of world events. In fact, I may have felt more grief in my own losses because I know others are grieving for theirs.

I missed my fiance’s mother’s birthday because of how ill I have been. I missed my grandfather’s memorial because of how ill I have been. Am I to dismiss my own grief because others are grieving? No. We both grieve. We both feel pain. We both feel loss. It is okay to feel and not compare.

There is no real “more pain” or “less” because people each experience pain, both physical and emotional, uniquely. When you say “my pain is nothing compared to” you are minimizing your own worth. You are saying “I don’t matter because they hurt” and this is simply not true. Please know that you can experience what you perceive as ‘minor’ pain while others experience major tragedy and loss, and your pain is still real and it still matters because YOU MATTER.

We’ve talked about others invalidating how we feel, and how hurtful that is. This is you invalidating your own emotions and I hurt when I see this because you deserve to treat yourself better than that. You deserve to treat yourself the way you would treat someone you love. Your pain matters. You matter. You ARE important.

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

It’s a little harder for us…

Things you stop taking for granted when you have mental illness:

  • Sleeping through the night
  • Showering regularly
  • Getting out of bed
  • Getting dressed
  • Leaving the house
  • Going to parties
  • Finding joy in your own hobbies
  • Talking on the phone
  • Being able to make your own appointments
  • Feeling loved
  • Remembering to eat
  • Caring if you don’t
  • Being mildly annoyed instead of severely agitated
  • Smiling
  • Going an entire day without bursting into tears

There are so many more, but having the attention span to read long lists would be one of mine. I’m not saying that people should consciously appreciate the things that we can’t do and they can, but I wanted to just take a short moment to say, “Hey, we get that this comes easy to you, but it’s really hard for us, and no we’re not just saying that to get attention.”

What’s one thing you used to take for granted that you now have trouble with?

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

Invalidation.

Yesterday, I was told that I don’t care about anyone but myself. This wasn’t by some random acquaintance or anonymous internet troll. I got told this by my mother. Last week we got into an argument, yesterday after a week of not speaking, same argument. She was telling me how to handle my doctors. I was telling her that I had it handled.

Any of you with chronic mental illness or chronic pain, you know the multitude of appointments it comes with. You know that sometimes you need to change treatment plans or doctors. I need to change psychiatrists and I am also going to a neurologist on Monday to work on a treatment plan, if possible, for my brain pressure that causes migraines. I’ve had all of this going on for weeks to months. The psychiatric issue has been half handled, the neurology is scheduled. Somehow I was being told that I’m not handling it correctly, that I’m not listening and that – and this one gets me good – I’m going to the wrong doctor for my brain. The reason that last one gets me is that she’s known about this appointment for six weeks.

Sometimes, yes, I do ask for help when it comes to where to go when I am unable to do it myself. This time, however, I had a plan. I had appointments. I hadn’t asked for anything. For some reason, this plan that my mother had been made aware of weeks earlier was not good enough.

This has happened before about a lot of things in life. It’s probably happened to you as well. You make a decision and people support you and back it and then they change their mind. Maybe it’s about a job and your best friend doesn’t think you should quit even though you already put in your notice. Maybe it’s about a guy and your dad doesn’t approve when you get engaged… Whatever it is, all of the sudden it’s as if your choices aren’t good enough. Obviously, being treated this way is going to create disagreements.

Sometimes the change of heart is because of something that is happening or has happened in the other person’s life. It’s okay to change your mind and change your views. It’s not okay to invalidate someone else’s choices because you change your mind though. It’s not fair to either of you. If you want them to hear you, you may need to hear them too.

I work hard to advocate for myself. I work hard to advocate for others. I am assertive when it comes to anyone’s healthcare. I want us to find the professionals we need to get the treatments that are necessary. I have also spent the better part of seven years running peer support on facebook. I have stayed with family to help care for them when they were unable. I have acted as extreme emotional support for people who have been unable to get it professionally. I have shown up on the doorstep of a suicidal friend so they would not be alone. I do these things partly because I can, I have the knowledge and capacity. I do them because it helps me cope with not working. I do them because I love.

So, now, I’ve been treated like I can’t deal with my own medical treatment and told I don’t care about anyone but myself. Honestly, I have been in pain for over a month almost daily. My medication was incorrect due to a differing opinion with a doctor, and a friend of mine has passed away. I don’t really have the emotional capacity to handle the problems of others that I usually do. This doesn’t mean that I don’t care. It simply means that I need to practice self care right now and have boundaries.

I draw the line at anyone invalidating my choices in life, my choices in healthcare and my opinions on how our interactions are going. Why am I telling all of you this? Because people WILL invalidate you in life, and I want you to see that it’s okay to stop letting them. This is me trying to explain to you that it is okay to make your own choices and your decisions ARE good enough.

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~