When I was a young lad, I was afraid of one of my uncles. I was never around him, seldom saw him, but I knew he was a monster. I knew from how the other adults spoke of him. Not of his misdeeds, of which there were many, but the word they used for him, in hushed tones. “Manic-Depressive.”
Mental illness runs in my family.
Both of my parents have been in mental hospitals. An aunt on each side has unspecified “problems.” My brother has crippling anxiety. Suicides crop up here and there. Always whispered about. Always hidden. Always stigma.
I have bipolar disorder. Approximately 2-7 percent of the US population over 18 does. They have to estimate because so many people hide it, try to drink it away, or are lost to suicide. More are men than women, because thanks to stigma, those who seek help are seen as weak. Bipolar disorder is diagnosed in 5.7 million Americans. Roughly half of us will attempt suicide at least once. Of those who do, a third will ultimately succeed. Almost a million Americans alone. Mental illness is real, and it is lethal.
Being a girl is one of the best things ever to happen to me. My gender allows me to live in a pink world filled with unicorns, kittens, pillows, sweets, and all manner of nice things. I get to Girl Talk, rely on boys to lift heavy objects for me, and to remove insects from my sight. Also, for a few days every month, I get to be a hyper-emotional psycho with very little in the way of consequences – whether I want to be or not! Other girls understand and allow it (unless they are also in that time of the Most Terrible of Cycles), and boys understand just enough to try to ignore it. This bittersweet reward is known as the P.M.S.
This article isn’t going to be a guide for helping boys to better cope and appease the women in their lives during this bleak moment. Every girl houses a specific, unique, terrible tapestry of physical and psychological destruction, and it changes with every month. So it is nigh impossible to write a comprehensive list on how you could meet your lady friends’ needs. It just isn’t going to happen, fellas.
Habbo Hotel has done it. It has trapped our favorite Sneerists in its greasy claws. They were able to sneak some letters to the mail room to update us on their dire situation. Will the obsession ever end? Probably. Everything ends eventually. But until then, there will be….
We are full of Moods, we human beings. Astronomical and astrological bodies up in the heavens influence us in a myriad of ways throughout our days and throughout our entire lives. As long as there is a sky, we will be puppets dancing as each planet pulls our strings. As long as there is a Sun and a Moon, we will be periodically melting down, overwhelmed by treacherous lows and dizzying highs, all which take place only inside of our minds.
We have mapped out the calendar events of a day to allow you to prepare for the hours and the phases of your mood. Knowledge is power, and you can do what you need to do to survive.
We have a lot of fears. Some make sense; others, not so much. This latter type will be featured once monthly until we run out of material, at which point, we might begin accepting the fears of our readers.
Forever, as far back as I can remember, maybe as soon as I was self aware enough to realize that I have a reflection in the mirror, I have had this notion that how we look can change with our thoughts. Like expressing emotions, only a lot more than that. After a few years, my notion became more of a crackpot theory as I started to think that maybe our faces are a projection of our inner thoughts to the point that if we just concentrated, we would be unrecognizable even to people who know us very well. I thought this would be very handy if I ever needed to disguise myself and secretly worked towards achieving this skill, this skill that probably can’t actually exist but I’m never going to get all that time back, am I!
One of the negative side effects of getting myself to believe in this idea is that, as a result, I have never been comfortable with the idea of sleeping near anyone. At slumber parties, I would stay up the entire night not for fear of pranks, but because I didn’t want anyone to see me being asleep. At home, I wanted a locked door to my bedroom so that the only things creeping in to watch me sleep were monsters and Mirror Amanda. I can’t snooze in cars, and to sleep on public transit is laughable in that nervous, unfunny laugh kind of way. Even living with boyfriends, I will usually face away from them, sleep with my head covered up with a blanket or pillow, have my face buried in my arms, or at the very least, feel this sense of horror when I wake up to find that my face was visible.
What do I think will happen when I’m asleep? Do I think I’m actually a monster? Do I think that my face will become a blank, expressionless, actual mask? I really don’t know! I refuse to think about it any more than this.
I am not the most physically strong person there is. It is a struggle for me to do a single push up, and I prefer to generally never do any sort of heavy lifting. You won’t find me running endurance races, or hurtling myself over obstacles. All of my strength is inner strength, which I think is pretty important in the scheme of things. I’m not some great champion of cryptic crosswords, but I can do them, a little. And I’m not exactly brave, judging by my reaction to the last house centipede I saw… Maybe I’m not THAT strong mentally, or psychologically. But I can do one thing. I can sit through unbelievably long YouTube videos of ambient sounds.
Or so I thought! On this particular day, I decided to listen to the soothing sounds of laughter for 24 hours (if I listened to the video twice). After twenty minutes, I was done. I’m not sure if I was already out of balance when I started this experience, but my roller coaster was so pronounced that I began keeping a little journal of my reactions. I did keep adding layers of difficulty to the situation, in an almost self-destructive act. I just wanted it to end. I just wanted it to ALL end.
Observe my tribulation below. Click on it, if you have to. You can see it better that way.
The thing about Major Medical Issues is that they don’t always set in suddenly with a dramatic collapse or an important body part waving a sign that says “I AM BROKEN.” Often it starts small, subtle, slowly escalating below your radar until horrified loved ones take you to the ER and you realize that you’re the proverbial frog in the boiling water.
So haunted houses are a thing and we all know that they are terrifying. We have seen videos of people crying their way through haunted halls or screaming while running out of the house. But I’ll tell you what’s really scary: recurring nightmares.
I have these nightmares often. They blend into each other, so I never know how much I dreamt one time vs another. They continue during later nightmares, they go back and do prequels. They are insidious and everlasting, presumably. They’re always a little different, but similar enough that they are definitely the same situation in usually the same place. It’s awful and I don’t want to interpret any of them. DON’T HELP ME INTERPRET THEM.
Not really having a job or school or a set schedule at all ever has sort of given me what I consider to be a pretty fun outlook on Time. I think I haven’t had an actual schedule except for the odd appointment for like the past eighteen years or so. This is an amazing feat, let me tell you, because these modern times are tightly controlled by time-obligations and timesponsibilities. You are meant to be places at certain times or else people will JUDGE YOU SEVERELY.
That’s sort of more of expectations of not being late, though, and I am generally a fairly punctual “On Time When I Have to Be” kind of dame. I think. As far as I know?
But well, actually knowing what day it is? That’s another problem entirely!