For the past few months, I’ve devoted Sundays as a day for me to wind down and self care (#SelfCareSundays, anybody?!). This is both physical and mental. It was something I decided to start a few months ago as a response to my depression/manic cycles. I’ve developed lots of unhealthy habits during my period of major depression, most involving a lack of self care. I’m afraid of going back there; I’m afraid of the grimy feel of neglecting to shower and hiding in bed all day, the oil on my face and the acne as a result of bad habits which makes me self conscious, wanting to wash my hair out but not wanting to leave the safety of the bed and be naked and vulnerable in the shower. I used to not care about tidiness of my room and papers, which led to further stress when looking for something.
Now I’m hoping my self care routine on Sundays will become a habit, so even if the depression comes back, the habit is so deeply ingrained that I can drag my depressed ass out of bed. It is starting to become a consistent thing now, whereas when I first started it was difficult.
Some of my self care is concerned with the physical aspect, because I tend to neglect that during the week. But mental self care is important as well. Sundays are also a time for me to catch up on upcoming events. I’ve had an agenda off and on until my period of depression. I stopped there completely because the agenda was just an “off and on” kinda thing… it took too much effort to initiate something new and consistent at that time. I forgot about the wonders of keeping an agenda until my psychiatrist suggested I start it up again and keep it consistent. Since getting back into it, I’ve been trying to look at it daily. I could say I’m used to it now, and am lost without one.
Sundays are a time to plan my life out and unload my mental to-do list into the physical agenda. Without an agenda now, I get really stressed! I’m a visual learner, so I need to see my schedule, and future plans in an understandable manner. Keeping to-do lists piled up mentally makes me paranoid of forgetting any one of the items. A physical to-do list lets me see tasks I’ve done or need to do. I already have a messed up circadian rhythm, dealing with bipolar disorder, and symptoms of anxiety/ hallucinations… ect. BUT YOU KNOW WHAT?? I’ve got 99 problems but disorganization ain’t one!
On Sundays, I clean! I clean my budgies’ cage, I clean my room, I vacuum my room and my budgies’ play area, I stack piles neater, I put misplaced items away. OH! And I clean my makeup brushes and makeup sponges, which I should be doing daily after each use, but life happens. It is better than cleaning the brushing once a month, like I did when depressed.
Sunday is when I force myself to hop into the shower, no matter what, and wash the entire week’s accumulated dry shampoo out of my hair. If I’m feeling up for it, I use a hair mask to fix my dry shampooed brittle hair. This can be store-bought, or by slightly warming by some olive oil and slapping it on the ends of your damaged wet hair before shampooing for 15mins. I also have some old “Freeman” branded face masks that I put on or any other face mask that is available, then force myself to chill for 15 mins.
Meal planning and snack planning! I usually take a look in the fridge or cupboards and take mental inventory. Then go grocery shopping Sunday evenings for food that I need for the week. Medication stock checking too…. if I suddenly run out of lithium and not take it, there are serious side effects. I know some side effects from suddenly stopping lithium is a worsening of bipolar disorder, anxiety, flu-like symptoms, and a full-out relapse. (P.S. I keep an emergency medication stock, or at least carry a few days worth around just in case. In an emergency, that last thing I want to worry about is medication withdrawal.
Even if, for example I have a huge essay, and have little time to do all the above, I aim to engage in at least one self care/ organizational activity. Whether it be using a bombass nice smelling lotion or organizing my desk, I must do one task no matter what. So far I am doing well forcing myself to do at least one task even if busy. But I have forgotten in the past because, for the silliest reason, I didn’t realize it was Sunday. Days go by way too fast sometimes, it is scary!!!
Basically Sunday = “Get Your Shit Together Day”. So far, it works in reducing stress and helps me get my shit together. Everyone should try it! Buy an agenda and start planning your shit out. Come hell or high water, I’ll still be jotting out my dinner plans and crossing items off my To-Do list in my pocket-sized books.
This song deserves no link so I will post a wonderful parody by the Auckland University Law students (LAW students!!!) you should watch instead. There will also be no lyrics provided at the end. I will now proceed to rant.
***Content warning for all the borderline sexual assaults in the shitty song***
The original song lyrics are so disgusting. No means no. The line is defined and not movable. The line is not “blurred”. Girls are not animals, and should not be described as domesticated. Don’t smack a girl and pull her hair. If you have a girlfriend, don’t cheat on her for a “hotter bad bitch”. Calling yourself a “nice guy” means you ain’t no fucking nice guy. Someone who is nice does not need to call themselves nice, everyone already knows. If you need to yell that you’re a “nice guy”, then you’ve got some work to do to prove it.
This parody is a purposeful role reversal to make you think and feel uncomfortable. But you know what? The same derogatory things are done to the men in the parody as the women in the original. We’re just more used to seeing women in that position that it is weird to reverse it.
***Trigger Warning! I’m back to my roots for this post only: talking about depression and medications. Content warning for hair loss***
Currently my hair is hella long. It is over halfway down my back… so long… too long… But I think it is manageable so far. My hair is usually thick but currently it is not.
It has been almost a year since I’ve stopped taking Co-Fluoxetine (a serotonin inhibitor for depression). As I’ve mentioned before, Fluoxetine is a BAD drug for people with bipolar disorder. Serotonin is a mood elevator, and people with bipolar disorder do not need their moods elevated even more. Serotonin + bipolar depression = mood/ behaviour changes. Serotonin + bipolar hypomania = WHHEEEE~~~ .
What does Fluoxetine have to do with my hair? Well one of the side effects I experienced (aside from the bipolar reactions) was hair loss. Hair loss is a rare side effect from the medication and I just happened to be very unlucky. I lost a lot of hair during the December of 2015 up until July 2016 where I began to ease off the Fluoxetine. Its something I’ve never talked about because, y’unno, I had a lot more important things to deal with than shedding everywhere. Hair loss was insignificant when faced with possible academic concession, counselling, still going to freaking work, trying to get out of bed everyday, and getting my shit back together…. So I never brought up the hair loss issues with a doctor. My family noticed though. Mom noticed the unusually gigantic wad of hair in the hair catcher after every time I washed my hair, and everyone else noticed the shedding.
Thankfully, I am blessed by the genetic gods with thick hair. Without any hair loss, it is a freaking forest, a lion’s mane. I didn’t need a scarf.
But hair takes time to grow. I used to have a short bob cut. 2.5 years ago I started growing my hair out again. 1 year ago some of my hair started falling out. Now, despite the original strands being all even and long, the new growth makes everything look disorganized. I have a lot of “hair wispies” all over my head. Not that I’m complaining; it is better than not having those strands at all. My hair loss (and subsequent hair growth) was somewhat evenly distributed over my head …. the top of my head is a little patchy, but it isn’t too noticeable. But the hair wispies are annoying.
Yeah so a majority of my hair is HELLA LONG. But I don’t want to cut it. I don’t know, maybe I’m afraid something bad will happen when I cut it (my depression started during the period of my short bob, so perhaps I am overly superstitious). I’d say I’m a rational person, but I am scared of upsetting anything that will reverse my progress. Since my hair growth has been a major part of my journey (it has grown longer as I’ve progressed with the whole mental health thing), I associated my hair length as symbolic of my journey. It is silly, I know. It sounds really silly and stupid, but I’m still afraid of cutting my hair. Cutting my original strands to the length of the new growth would make to most sense, but looking at the new growth gives me a flashback of the clogged hair catcher or the hairbrush that pulled away from my head….
I would say that I’m glad I’ve reached a point where I can talk about my past hair loss, rather than worrying about dropping out of school/ telling my parents about my mental illness/ feeling miserable. Now if I could stop associating my hair length with happiness/ mental health victories then that would make summer breezier.
Why is this my favorite song recently? Well for starters, it is sung and written by a bisexual woman of colour!! YASS, REPRESENT!!! I saw her in concert when she went to Vancouver, and seriously, she is a major advocate for women’s and LGBTQIA2S+ rights. I remember the moment she walked on stage, she encouraged everyone to be who they wanted to be, as this was a safe space for expression and all forms of identity. It was so touching to hear that, because I’ve never been in a LGBT+ safe space before… I’m selectively out to trusted friends, but still super paranoid about someone that I don’t want finding out. As a result, I stay out of safe spaces and any pride related things to reduce suspicion. Sure, in Canada same-sex marriage is legal, but that doesn’t prevent prejudice or casual hurtful comments. Discrimination still happens in some Canadian communities.
The video is basically self-explanatory. It makes me feel adventurous. I interpret the lyrics as being about the feeling of adrenaline when doing something daring, and pushing those limits because it feels addicting.
***A mild content warning for drowning***
Swing a little further, higher Underneath the big top trees Scrape my knees, whatever, uh huh I’m gonna let them bleed Got no turning back, I’mma flirt with that Get a little closer
Cliff’s edge, you turn me on You lead me on You got me on A cliff’s edge, where I belong You got me on And turn me on I wanna feel that sea breeze
Love until we burn up, fire Do whatever gets you seen Kiss me with adventure Til I forget my name Chills run down my back, I’mma flirt with that Get a little closer
Cliff’s edge, you turn me on You lead me on You got me on A cliff’s edge, where I belong You got me on You turn me on I wanna feel that sea breeze
Closing in closer to you This could take all night Caving and crumbling on your Hips, your lips, they’re mine
Cliff’s edge, you turn me on You lead me on You got me on A cliff’s edge, where I belong You got me on And turn me on I wanna feel that sea breeze
You can learn a lot about someone by listening to their playlists. A simple google search can turn up too many articles of people trying to study this connection.
For example, I am often classified as INTJ or INFJ in the myer-briggs 16-personality types tests. My musical choices match up with the personality types’ music choices (alt. rock and classical) on this website. (Note: my INTJ/INFJ disreprencies may be due to me taking the test on a manic mood than retaking in a depressive mood. My mood may affect my answers. I am more pensive when depressed versus being more reckless and confident when manic. Who knows??).
It is interesting to note that my music choices depends on my mood. No, I don’t mean sadness or neurotypical moods. I mean hypomanic or depressive. It’s complicated; hypomanic sad music and depression sad music is completely different.
Anyways, I’m gong to be doing the 30 Day Song Challenge. I won’t be doing it for 30 days straight. More like once a week when I have nothing queued up because I am busy studying. It is more like a 30 week song challenge, but the “days” are prompts. Also for some of the days I have more than one song. There will be a number one choice, followed by the runner ups. I mean I’m only posting the song challenge once a week, so I think its okay it I occasionally have more than one song. I’ll also post the lyrics so you don’t have to search them up.
At the end of the song challenge, I will post a master list without the runner ups.
Of course this is just a glimpse of the music I enjoy. The prompts don’t allow me to fully share all the wonderful artists I listen to. You might notice I have a bunch of “older” stuff, yes, because I like it and music has no expiry date. Also I have no consistent music genre (much like my mood …haha.. self depreciating joke?). I can go from alt. punk to classical. I mean, get you a girl than can do both, right? 😉
I will start posting the songs next week… I need some time to get my shit playlist together of course.
Right after I’ve posted my post 2 weeks ago about “Being Open and Instagram”, I went though some kind of mini existential crisis…. I could barely even sleep. Hoo man it was baaaaaaad.
Long story short, I immediately panicked and blocked around 50 people whom I know in reality, because I was afraid of them finding me. I also deleted any pictures that had my face in it on my IG. I got rid of my IG profile pic. I removed my name and used a middle name that nobody knows instead. I removed any trace of my identity. I changed my IG username as well (from upsidedown_turtle to extinguishedcandle). All the above in one night.
Finally, I couldn’t take the pressure or fear of people finding me and removed the link to this blog (that was previously in my IG description) because I was scared of malicious people invading this safe space of mine. I mean there are people I trust that follow me on IG and those whom I trust will respect and help my mental health decisions. I know that and I really want to open up to them, or connect with them so we become closer. But I’m really scared of those with opposite intentions. No, I don’t mean haters, fuck them and I could care less…
It’s just… I don’t know. It’s really difficult. I don’t know why this fear arises. I was one step away from deactivating my IG but I didn’t want my loved ones to worry. Perhaps I am ashamed due to the stigma surrounding mental health. Part of me thinks that is bullshit… I am not someone who gives a shit about that as I’m all about breaking stigmas. I believe I’m a tough person but this fear is weird. I think the reason is that this is a safe haven for my thoughts and chronicles my thoughts during my mental health journey and I am afraid of people I know in reality thinking I am weak.
I hate being called cowardly or weak more than being called short. Call me a bitch, psychopath, slut… ect. I really don’t care. I can take racial slurs too, and it’s quite cathartic sometimes when I take my anger of the world out on them. Short jokes, honestly, how uncreative can you get? I’ve dealt with them my whole fucking life and I’ve heard them all. Bitch: sure, I really don’t care, plus it is an unoriginal insult coming from an uncreative mind. And yes I’m a bitch, a bad bitch 😉 Y’unno bitch isn’t even an insult. Tbh no one has even called me a slut before. I’ve got this whole facade going on …. Ever made a condom flower? Fun stuff.
Being called weak by someone I know in reality just pisses me off. I feel like I wanna punch them. It makes me feel like I’m on the verge of violence because I want to prove them wrong and my mind believes beating them up will prove it. It’s embarrassing and a shameful thing to be called weak. It makes me feel terrible about myself. I have nothing to verbally counter it.
If in the case someone used my mental health against me and called me weak because of it, I’d be really hurt. Because I’m not weak. I’m brave because I swallowed my pride and reached out to loved ones for help. That was the hardest and scariest thing I’ve ever done in my life, and I am sure nothing has beat that moment of telling a good friend and breaking down in front of them in a semi-public place… then the feeling of having the depression take over and being utterly useless as the mind blanks out and you feel nothing. I try not to be embarrassed. I’d say that was my lowest. Looking back, I am embarrassed to cry on the floor of a good and trusted friend’s apartment. But back them I was so dead it didn’t matter. At the same time I trust that person so why should I be embarrassed? (the internal struggle never ends) Whoops, where was I?
I don’t want to be called weak when I’ve been braver than they’ll ever be.
Something different today! Currently I am studying anatomy and my textbook was discussing the skull and spinal cord. To be honest, it is boring textbook shit. Making it seem interesting is my way to continue studying. Straight up memorizing the 206 bones of the human body (by name and place on the body) is tedious, so READY FOR SCIENCE AND OVERTHINKING??? TBH this is possibly my longest and most ambitions post yet.
I’ll be answering two questions in this post. If you don’t wanna read my heavy anatomy/science reasonings, I have a bolded title: “TL;DR” at the very end of this article. You can’t miss it, I made the font HUGE. Makes your life easier 🙂
A good ol’ anatomy meme.
A good ol’ Tumblr meme explaining how I feel.
Content warning, I understand some people may be uncomfortablesoif you’re afraid of skulls/skeletons, there are pictures of some in this post. “Attack on Titan” is gory, and I have cartoon gory pictures from the anime below. Also obviously anatomy related *Attack on Titan Season 1 spoilers*. There are anatomy related manga spoilers at the end but I will warn you. Also, I’m just a student, not a professor, so my word is not the law.
*** Attack on Titan Season 1 spoilers below***
But honestly, who hasn’t watched it? Lol
Lately I’ve been watching season 2 of “Attack on Titan”/ “Shingeki no Kyojin”. I’m not much of a TV show or anime person (I’d pick playing video games over them any other day…. POKEMON) but I’ve been using it out of desperation to stay motivated and not fall asleep in class *cry* that is how boring it is. What better way to learn anatomy than see it in action and to criticize it? I was considering about watching “Grey’s Anatomy”, but there are 13 seasons so if I get addicted, it is game over… Versus 2 seasons of “Attack on Titan” with 20 min episodes each …. Aint nobody got time for 1 hour episodes. So that is what I’ve been doing, criticizing that anime’s anatomy. Sometimes the anatomy hurts, other times it is good to see illustrations of specific muscles and drawings are easier to understand than real life (the muscles are pretty accurate and can be used for study references…. if you don’t mind pausing every frame and whipping out a textbook). I’m pretty sure most people know the gist of it… Creatures called titans eat humans, but to kill titans, one must make a deep cut into the nape of their neck. Some people can turn into titans, they are titan shifters. Titan shifters are present in the nape of the neck, and reside somewhere in the nape.
Question 1: But where exactly do you make the incision on the nape of the neck? From what I’ve watched from the anime, the nape is this vague region on the back of the neck. The cut needs to be deep enough to sever the spinal cord to kill a titan. But if you think about it, the back of the neck is quite vast. There are several vertebra (individual spinal cord bones) that are present down along this area. Here are is my line of reasoning.
Firstly, below is a picture of the spinal cord. The spinal cord along the back is protected by bone. The soldier’s primitive swords in Attack on Titan probably are not strong enough to cut through bone (keep in mind they have limited technology, and their swords are built like a shitty dollar store utility knife and often break mid-battle, but if is possible if they are strong enough but it would require lots of strength/effort), so they need to find the exact place where there is the least protection from the swords. That would be the top of the spinal cord, where the brain ends and neck begins. It would be the ‘Cervical area” (there are 7 cervical bones, numbered C1-C7. Cervical nerves and cervical bones are DIFFERENT, see the notes at the bottom of the pic below) and specifically above bone C1 would be the place to make an oblique, upwards incision. But of course if they manufactured their weapons better to cut through bone, anywhere along the spinal cord would work. In addition, there could be exceptions where cutting at specific angles from the side would touch the spinal cord and sever it. I am saying the most logical and easiest way to sever the cord due to lack of bone and protection would be above C1.
As you can see, there are protruding bony structures that jut out and protect the spinal cord. The spinal cord in encased in bone.
Need more convincing? See each picture’s captions for my explanation. These are my own pictures taken during labs when I fiddled around with bones. The first 5 feature plastic bones. *Content warning* for the last one which is a real human vertebrae.
Question 2: But where does the Titan-Shifter sit? We know they reside within the back of the neck, and they can be easily sliced out of the flesh. They are not shown encased in bone, so this leads me to conclude they must also sit around the same area, the C1 vertebrae bone or at least down along the C1-C7 vertebrae/ neck bone areas. Fun fact, C1 is also called the “atlas” after the Greek God because it holds up the world, aka the human head. Humans are pretty big and take up some space, so during the whole process where the human resides within the titan and controls it, part of their body could reside in the foramen magnum, which is the little space with no bone above the C1 vertebrae/ the atlas. Or at least their head would reside in the foramen magnum, depending on how tall the titan is, because as humans, our heads are quite large and a protruding bump in the skinny neck of a titan looks suspicious. See the pic below, this is a side x-ray view of the skull and neck area. The foramen magnum is in yellow. Also, after these 3 anatomy pictures, I have a bolded warning for Attack on Titan MANGA spoilers!!!
Another picture of the foramen magnum, this one is looking the skull in a different angle:
***** ATTACK ON TITAN MANGA SPOILERS!! ( minor- only anatomy related)****
More elaboration on the foramen magnum and my anatomy related assumptions on the titan shifter location below from the Shingeki no Kyogin/ Attack on titan MANGA:
*RANT, feel free to skip this paragraph long rant* Yeah, I read the manga, what’cha gonna do? I needed to know what was in that fucking basement, and the suspense was killing me. I’m not waiting another 4 years to get season 3 animated. Ain’t waiting for nobody. Except maybe Eren Jäger … and no it is not spelled Yeager like it is on all the official Japanese merchandise because his German last name is the German translation of “hunter” which would be “Jäger” not “Yeager”. It could also be Jaeger but the umlaut, (which are the two dots above a vowel) is preferred in German writings. Using “ae” instead of “ä” is for America where the umlaut doesn’t exist on keyboards. Somebody (Fansubs and legit translation companies), didn’t do their research on linguistics and the German language before attempting to translate from German words from Japanese to English thus Yeager is used. Yeager is now widely used but it is not the actual spelling for the word “hunter” in German, which defeats the whole purpose/pun in his last name because Eren hunts titans. Jäger = “hunter”, Yeager = a rip-off of Jäger that became standardized by America due to a series of mistakes and laziness. *DONE RANT*
ALRIGHT! These shots are from Attack on Titan manga, Chapter 51, page 37. I’ve done my best to black out plot related stuffs just in case a certain extremely tall and clumsy Eren Jäger out there is still going to go ahead, ignore my warnings, and read this shit. I will explain the images after.
Pic 2 is for additional information as it reveals the removal of the brain and spinal cord. While the scientific terms were not used and exact location not specified, we can safely assume it is the top of the C1 vertebrae bone (aka the axis), right where the spinal cord and brain meet.
So in pic 1 it is revealed that the back of a titan’s neck (aka: nape/ C1-C7 vertebrae) is 1 metre. The rough estimate of a human back of neck (aka: nape/ C1-C7 vertebrae) is 10 centimetres. Let’s use titan shifter Eren Jäger as an example. He is 5′ 7″ tall = 170 cm = 1.7 metres. A titan nape is 1 metre. Where does that extra 0.7 metres go? The brain is the source of all nerve signals and control. It would make sense that that Eren’s head resides inside the foramen magnum of the titan’s head so he can control the titan. As revealed in the manga and suggested in the anime, the human and titan fuse together. If the human controls the output of nerve signals, which is along the spinal cord that comes out of at the base of the skull at the foramen magnum, then the human can control the titan. The human’s spinal cord can fuse with the titan spinal cord together at this epicenter of nervous signals. In other words, if the human can control the brain messages coming out of the titan’s foramen magnum, then they control the titan. The titan shifter must at least occupy the space between the C1 vertebrae bone and the foramen magnum cranial hole to hijack the titan from within.
***END OF SPOILERS***
I hope everything made sense. I don’t know if the anime’s official (unrevealed) anatomy agree with me or not, but to the best of my limited knowledge, and attempts to make anatomy class interesting for myself, those are the things I’ve concluded! Feel free to add on to my deductions about “Attack on Titan” and human anatomy.
Fun facts: the scientific term for the general nape of the neck area is mentum nuchae (the latin word nucha means “nape of neck”). The muscles that protect the nape of the neck area, and the muscles that are sliced when the nape of the neck is sliced begins at the part of the skull called external occipital protuberance. Y’unno when you rub the back of your head and feel bony bumps? That is the external occipital protuberance, and there the neck nape muscles begin. In a way and at the right angle, if the anime characters in “Attack on Titan” made an incision at the external occipital protuberance, they would have a lot of fun sliding into the spinal cord. >:)
I might do another “Titan X blank ” post on nerves and the brain to study for my final exam … but who knows? This post took a long time to write and organize so we’ll see. But it really helped solidify my learning.
Question 1: Where is the nape of the neck/ where is the incision most likely to take place? Nape is at the C1-C7 veterbrae/ spinal cord. The best way to sever the spinal cord without the spinal cord bones in the way is on top of the C1 vertebrae (aka Atlas).
Question 2: Where does the shifter reside? Along the C1-C7 verterbrae, as the titan nape is typically only 1 metre long, part of the human titan shifter may reside within the foramen magnum, a large hole in the skull that sits right above the C1 vertebrae where many nerves travel out. The human can use this nerve epicenter to control their titan.
Tortora, G. J., & Tortora, G. J. (2014). Principles of anatomy & physiology, 14th edition. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.