Daily Archives: May 20, 2016


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by Bob Dylan When yer head gets twisted and yer mind grows numb When you think you’re too old, too young, too smart or too dumb When yer laggin’ behind an’ losin’ yer pace In a slow-motion crawl of life’s busy race No matter what yer doing if you start givin’ up If the wine don’t come to the top of yer cup If the wind’s got you sideways with with one hand holdin’ on And the other starts slipping and the feeling is gone And yer train engine fire needs a new spark to catch it And the wood’s easy findin’ but yer lazy to fetch it And yer sidewalk starts curlin’ and the street gets too long And you start walkin’ backwards though you know its wrong And lonesome comes up as down goes the day And tomorrow’s mornin’ seems so far away And you feel the reins from yer pony are slippin’ And yer rope is a-slidin’ ‘cause yer hands are a-drippin’ And yer sun-decked desert and evergreen valleys Turn to broken down slums and trash-can alleys And yer sky cries water and yer drain pipe’s a-pourin’ And the lightnin’s a-flashing and the thunder’s a-crashin’ And the windows are rattlin’ and breakin’ and the roof tops a-shakin’ And yer whole world’s a-slammin’ and bangin’ And yer minutes of sun turn to hours of storm And to yourself you sometimes say “I never knew it was gonna be this way Why didn’t they tell me the day I was born” And you start gettin’ chills and yer jumping from sweat And you’re lookin’ for somethin’ you ain’t quite found yet And yer knee-deep in the dark water with yer hands in the air And the whole world’s a-watchin’ with a window peek stare And yer good gal leaves and she’s long gone a-flying And yer heart feels sick like fish when they’re fryin’ And yer jackhammer falls from yer hand to yer feet And you need it badly but it lays on the street And yer bell’s bangin’ loudly but you can’t hear its beat And you think yer ears might a been hurt Or yer eyes’ve turned filthy from the sight-blindin’ dirt And you figured you failed in yesterdays rush When you were faked out an’ fooled white facing a four flush And all the time you were holdin’ three queens And it’s makin you mad, it’s makin’ you mean Like in the middle of Life magazine Bouncin’ around a pinball machine And there’s something on yer mind you wanna be saying That somebody someplace oughta be hearin’ But it’s trapped on yer tongue and sealed in yer head And it bothers you badly when your layin’ in bed And no matter how you try you just can’t say it And yer scared to yer soul you just might forget it And yer eyes get swimmy from the tears in yer head And yer pillows of feathers turn to blankets of lead And the lion’s mouth opens and yer staring at his teeth And his jaws start closin with you underneath And yer flat on your belly with yer hands tied behind And you wish you’d never taken that last detour sign And you say to yourself just what am I doin’ On this road I’m walkin’, on this trail I’m turnin’ On this curve I’m hanging On this pathway I’m strolling, in the space I’m taking In this air I’m inhaling Am I mixed up too much, am I mixed up too hard Why am I walking, where am I running What am I saying, what am I knowing On this guitar I’m playing, on this banjo I’m frailin’ On this mandolin I’m strummin’, in the song I’m singin’ In the tune I’m hummin’, in the words I’m writin’ In the words that I’m thinkin’ In this ocean of hours I’m all the time drinkin’ Who am I helping, what am I breaking What am I giving, what am I taking But you try with your whole soul best Never to think these thoughts and never to let Them kind of thoughts gain ground Or make yer heart pound But then again you know why they’re around Just waiting for a chance to slip and drop down “Cause sometimes you hear’em when the night times comes creeping And you fear that they might catch you a-sleeping And you jump from yer bed, from yer last chapter of dreamin’ And you can’t remember for the best of yer thinking If that was you in the dream that was screaming And you know that it’s something special you’re needin’ And you know that there’s no drug that’ll do for the healin’ And no liquor in the land to stop yer brain from bleeding And you need something special Yeah, you need something special all right You need a fast flyin’ train on a tornado track To shoot you someplace and shoot you back You need a cyclone wind on a stream engine howler That’s been banging and booming and blowing forever That knows yer troubles a hundred times over You need a Greyhound bus that don’t bar no race That won’t laugh at yer looks Your voice or your face And by any number of bets in the book Will be rollin’ long after the bubblegum craze You need something to open up a new door To show you something you seen before But overlooked a hundred times or more You need something to open your eyes You need something to make it known That it’s you and no one else that owns That spot that yer standing, that space that you’re sitting That the world ain’t got you beat That it ain’t got you licked It can’t get you crazy no matter how many Times you might get kicked You need something special all right You need something special to give you hope But hope’s just a word That maybe you said or maybe you heard On […]

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“You know how I don’t like to describe people or the things they do as evil? What she wrote was truly evil.” That was how I described Amanda Lauren’s essay describing an ex-friend’s life with schizoaffective disorder and that friend’s death to my mother. I had already ranted to my father and complained on social media. I couldn’t tell my mom that this total stranger was happy her mentally ill friend was dead. I knew that if I told her that that I would break down. Each time I’ve thought about what was written, I’ve had to stop myself from crying or screaming or begging to be taken to the hospital because my mind starts going down the all too familiar path of my-friends-and-family-would-probably-be-happy-if-I-died-too. It was probably a path that “Leah” was familiar with as well. There was always something about her that wasn’t quite right. Lauren’s essay is narcissistic drivel at best. Her friend wasn’t living up to a standard that she expected of her, so she wrote her off. She could justify this lack of understanding by saying her friend failed her.  “Leah” didn’t clean her house, so she was undeserving of respect. “Leah” didn’t have steady relationships, so she was undeserving of respect. “Leah” was a cam girl, so she was undeserving of respect. “Leah” had delusions, so she was undeserving of respect. “Leah” pursued her crush and failed in a job Lauren secured for her, so she was undeserving of respect. “Leah” had body image issues, so she was undeserving of respect.  It didn’t stop at her friend’s failures. The friend’s parents also failed her. Because “Leah”‘s parents didn’t magically cure their daughter of an incurable disease, they failed their daughter and failed Lauren because now she had to deal with their daughter’s erratic behavior. Every struggle “Leah” went through was actually harder on Lauren because the world is apparently all about her.1 Lauren’s lack of compassion was horrid, but her choice to use a platform like xoJane during Mental Health Awareness Month to publish a tale highlighting her ignorance was almost worse. This is a month when mental health patients, caregivers, advocates, and healthcare providers try to educate others. It’s a month to become more considerate of the day-to-day struggles for mentally ill people. Lauren and xoJane could have explained what schizoaffective disorder is, how it impacts people who have the issue, and why they behave the way that they do. They could have explored the actual suffering of “Leah” and not focused on the self-involvement of Lauren.  I can’t understand how a parent would let their child go on like this. Clearly, she was suffering and severely ill. If her disease were physical, would they have let her deteriorate to that point? Schizoaffective disorder is a chronic illness. It is sometimes considered a spectrum disorder because it involves overlapping symptoms of schizophrenia and mood disorders like depression and bipolar disorder. It is not as well understood as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or depression because it isn’t studied as often and is less common; it is seen in 0.3% of the population compared to 1.1%, 2.6%, and 6.7% for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression, respectively. It isn’t well recognized by doctors or therapists; a lot of patients with it are diagnosed with a mood disorder or with schizophrenia first. It impacts men and women at the same rate, but, like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, men typically develop it earlier than women. It can be treated, in most cases, by self-management, medication, and therapy, but people who have it are at risk for substance use disorders, suicide, attention deficit disorder, and anxiety disorders. Schizoaffective disorder is caused by genetics, brain chemistry, brain structure, stress, and drug use. There are two types of schizoaffective disorder: bipolar and depressive. If the person has mixed or manic episodes, they have the bipolar type; otherwise, it’s the depressive. Unlike other situations, it’s actually better to have the bipolar type. Having it is less likely to result in suicide than having the depressive type. It is considered by some mental health professionals to be more severe than mood disorders, but less severe than schizophrenia.  Because it is classified alongside schizophrenia as a psychotic disorder, it is more difficult to find providers willing to treat it. And treatments may be harmful to patients. Or they may not work.  In my case, I have had many therapists “pass me off” to colleagues. I have tried multiple antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and antipsychotics. I’ve had many that didn’t work. Most have caused weight gain, including two that caused gains of fifty pounds or more. I’ve had seizures as a result of one medication. I’ve had a variety of less severe reactions to others. I even developed a temporary medicine-induced case of hyperthyroidism. Eventually I was switched to a high dose of an antidepressant, somewhat regular therapy, and self-management.  I will always have this disorder. My parents can’t make it go away. Medicine can’t either.  But I can cut people like Amanda Lauren out of my life. She thought “Leah” was toxic because of her issues, but, from my perspective, it was Lauren who was toxic. Yes, there were negative behaviors exhibited by “Leah”, but she was only behaving that way because of her illness. What was Lauren’s excuse? Why was she so petty, so judgmental? And why did she feel the need to cast herself in the role of victim? Why does she feel no shame in her words?  I don’t understand how one person can be so selfish, petty, and cruel. As those are personality traits that can be traced back to parenting, I wonder why her parents let her attitude deteriorate to this point. Shouldn’t they have done something before their child became this remorseless beacon of hate? Photo credit: Cameron Bathory via Visualhunt.com / CC BY Updated: May 21, 2016 at 7:42 pm: Changed link to essay to one from archive.is as the Google cache link has updated to the “apology” by Jane […]

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