Contradictions and Instagram

(minor cw: slurs and my typical swearing)

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 ūüėČ 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.

Attack on Anatomy – Titans and their “Napes”

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 ūüôā

A good ol’ anatomy meme.

A good ol’ Tumblr meme explaining how I feel.

Content warning, I understand some people may be uncomfortable¬†so¬†if 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

More memes ūüôā

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… ūüôā

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.

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(Shingeki no Kyojin Episode 5)
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There is no way the shitty swords and primitive weapons can cut through the vertebrae bone that protects the spinal cord. (Shingeki no Kyojin Episode 5)

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.

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An example of how to kill a titan. Note, there is no bone visible, or spinal cord/ vertebral column material (there has been no bones visible on all titan kills, to tone down the gore). The incision seems to be made almost below the nape. However since the incision appears to be deep, the spinal cord should be cut. A lot of  unneeded force and effort would have been exerted due to destroying the vertebral bone.

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.

 

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Note: the diagram shows “Cervical Nerves 1-8″ NOT “Cervical Vertebrae C1-C7″. There are 7 cervical vertebrae bones NOT 8. I used this picture regardless as it illustrated the spinal cord in an understandable manner.¬†(Pic from here)

As you can see, there are protruding bony structures that jut out and protect the spinal cord. The spinal cord in encased in bone.

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(Copyright @McGraw-Hill Companies Inc.)

 

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.

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On the left, we have C1 (the Atlas), and the right we have C2. Note that the hole smack in the middle of both bones (like a hole in the middle of a doughnut) is completely encircled by bone. This hole is where the spinal cord passes through.
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C1 sits on top of C2.
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This is what it looks like stacked. Now imagine 33 of these stacked on top of each other. A protected bony canal for the spinal cord. How the fuck can a bunch of tiny humans with exacto knives cut through this on a titan?
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The back of the head. The head sits on top of the C1. Note the gap between C1 and the skull to sever the spinal cord.
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This is what it looks like on the side. Note the gap to sever the spinal cord.
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The top of the picture is the back of the body (along the spine), the bottom of the picture is the front of your body (where your face and belly button are positioned). The is a human vertebrae. When you poke at your spine and feel the bones, you are touching  that spiny thing at the top of the piece of bone in the picture. As you can see, the hole in the middle for the spinal cord is protected from all sides. 
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One more picture because I can. The part labelled “spinous process of vertebrae” is the bone that sticks out along your back. As you can see, it forms a bony shield to protect the spinal cord. This was from my textbook. Reference is at the end of this post.

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Eren in a titan. Poor boy being stuck in all those muscles and bloody tendons. (Pic from here)

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!!!¬†

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(Pic was from here)

 

Another picture of the foramen magnum, this one is looking the skull in a different angle:

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The bottom of the enlarged skull in the picture is the back of the head, the top of the  pictured skull is the top of the head. Imagine the person is lying down on their back, and their face is facing the ceiling, that is the orientation. (Pic from here)
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And this is the foramen magnum location. Yep that huge gaping hole that could fit a tiny human. (pic from here)

 

***** 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¬†J√§ger … 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 “J√§ger” 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 “√§” 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.¬†J√§ger = “hunter”, Yeager = a rip-off of¬†J√§ger 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 J√§ger out there is still going to go ahead, ignore my warnings, and read this shit. I will explain the images after.

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PIC 1. Page 38. I’ve reversed pg. 38 and 37 because it made¬†more sense when out of context.
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PIC 2. Manga page 37.

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¬†J√§ger 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.

TL; DR?? 

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.

References:

Tortora, G. J., & Tortora, G. J. (2014). Principles of anatomy & physiology, 14th edition. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

5:20 AM

Hello! As of June 10th, 2017, I’ve decided to start using “CW” content warnings, or “TW” trigger warnings in my posts. My blog description already has warnings but my posts have been varied lately from food to music to whatever I’m interested in. I think it would be a good idea to use them in individual posts as well, so when I occasionally change topics back to mental health so there are no sudden suprises. Better to use extra warnings than too little! 

I mean I can be talking about a cool movie then BAM! Something upsetting. For serious and upsetting topics I’ll make them bolded with stars (***) on the top of the post. For non-upsetting things like media spoilers or minor things (such as warnings or minor phobias that will not trigger memories) I will just warn beforehand. The format may change depending on the post. Eg. I have a picture of a real spider in my post = (CW: “arachnophobia”) which will be placed before the spider picture can be seen. Eg. I talk in depth about suicide = ***TW: Suicide*** at the top of the page or near it, with enough spacing for the content to be unseen. It will take a bit of experimentation with formatting until I find a stable one. 

I think trigger warnings are important. It isn’t self- censoring or anything. It’s when a topic is upsetting or brings back unwanted memories that can make one unhappy. One should be able to choose their own happiness even in the form of reading.

This is my relaxing, safe space, and I want to make it yours as well. 

being open and instagram

My personal goal of starting this online journal was to be comfortable with being open. At the beginning, it meant sharing my struggles with mental health, and learning how to communicate my thoughts (from my depression diagnosis to my current bipolar diagnosis and everything in between!!). This was my form of shouting into the void, and getting everything negative out. I feel more comfortable doing that now, and I am able to discuss updates on my mental health with my mom, or make jokes about it with my family. I don’t get into the nitty-gritty with them, but overall summaries. Through the shadow people scare, I learned that telling people and reaching out ASAP meant my problems would be solved ASAP. In a way I guess it was also a test of me being able to get help when needed… which I succeeded.

That being said, I’ve distanced myself from my friends. I’ve never discussed my mental health with most of my friends. There are literally just 8 people, including my family, who knows about my current diagnosis because I told them. When I was in the hospital last year, some friends who had no idea I was having a major episode of depression, got a sudden text that I was in the hospital. They took the time and cleared last-minute schedules to visit me the next day. I felt like an asshole for seeing their concern and love, yet never opening up for these people whom I’ve known and trusted for years. It felt like I betrayed them and was a shitty friend, and they were a bit upset because it seemed like I didn’t trust them enough to share my personal struggles.

But I think in general I don’t like talking about my mental health. It doesn’t define me so why does it matter? I don’t want my mental health to define me, or people to say “Oh, there’s that bipolar girl”/ “OMG, that is Amanda, she has bipolar disorder”. I want my mental illness to be irrelevant like my favorite fruit, watermelon. No one says “Oh there’s that girl who likes watermelon”/ “OMG, that is Amanda, her favorite fruit is watermelon”. (On a tangent, I also hate being called short or referred to as the short girl. You’re just asking to be on my hit list. I am petty and will literally hold a grudge against you forever. I can still list the people who have made height jokes about me. Unless it is a professional environment I will not hesitate to let you know your jokes are not appropriate nor appreciated).

Anyways, I have an Instagram account ( upsidedown_turtle ) that is rarely in use, but connected to all my friends. Over the past month I’ve put the website to this blog up and down and up and down on Instagram because I was afraid. At first I was scared of being open about sharing my mental health struggles and having people define or judge me for it. But I’ve decided to let it stay for now. If people judge me for it in reality, so be it. I know who not to waste my precious time on. I have no time for people who won’t accept me and will not spend time convincing them to do so. I may take it back down in the future but for now it will stay.

That being said, those that do care can learn more about me, and choose to support if they want. I hope my friends understand that this is a gesture of me attempting to be more open/honest with them. I understand I can be distant and not good with conversations in person, but this is an honest view into what is going on in my life to make up for it. Life is busy, and I have little spare time, but catching up with me can be easier by this. Written communication is easier than verbal small talk. I hate small talk…. but this is a rant for another day. 

the Shadow People pt. 2

Tuesday, March 21, 2017. 12:00 Midnight.

I felt uneasy and stressed the whole night. The previous day, I had a disagreement¬†with my dad. Finals were coming up, deadlines were coming up. It was dark outside. I got into my boyfriend’s car as he was driving me home, I was seated shotgun side, shut the door, placed my backpack on my lap and put my seat belt on. The car light went out. I felt something, like a presence and felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up as if someone was breathing on it, and watching me. (My boyfriend told me after the fact that he noticed me breathing heavily and he was calling my name but I was unresponsive, staring straight ahead). He put his hand on my shoulder and loudly called my name. That is when I noticed his hand on my my shoulder, and turned my head to look at him. His hand felt foreign and¬†to be honest, I didn’t recognize him at first or understand what he was saying. (I was told at this point I began hyperventilating). ¬†Then I saw a shadowy human form lying down on the backseat of the car, it’s head on¬†the driver’s seat side so I, on the shotgun side was able to see their whole upper body when I turned my head to look at my boyfriend. As I looked my boyfriend in the eye, in my peripheral vision, I saw the shadowy figure rise to a sitting position and begin to lean forward, reaching for me. I thought it was going to kill me.

(I was told at this point, that my scream and body language of fear was so genuine that my boyfriend actually believed that there was someone in the car. I fumbled and opened the car door, unlocked the seat belt, and jumped out of the car, throwing my backpack onto the wet pavement, and crouched with my back to the car. I was also apparently shaking, crying, and hyperventilating and looking like I was having trouble breathing as if having a panic attack). I do remember the asthmatic-like tightness in my chest as I tried to breathe while trying to look for a place to run away and hide to, and something to defend myself. My boyfriend came around to hold me to calm me down. Eventually I did.

I still had to get home. It was difficult for him to coax me back into the car (because I would starting crying and panicking once I walked towards the car) and we had to check all around the backseat of the car and the surroundings to make sure the shadow person was gone. Finally I entered the car because he turned on all the lights inside the car. It was unsafe, but he drove me home with all the lights on in the car and walked me to the door. I wasn’t planning to let my mom know, but as soon as I stepped into the house and saw her I broke down in tears and told her everything, with the help of my boyfriend over the phone.

It was a valuable lesson for me, despite the scary hallucination. Because I let everyone know of my fear, and they understood how real this fear was, my boyfriend replaced all the old light bulbs in the house, as well as install better lightening to light up all the dark spaces in the house, so it would reduce the possibility of the shadow people appearing. My mom now leaves¬†a dim light on at night so the house isn’t completely dark, and keeps the night lights handy. She also takes extra precautions in case there is a power outage whenever the weather is bad. Dad installed blindingly bright motion detector lights so that the short walk from the car parking to the door is easier (it was previously¬†usually pitch black). It has made everything drastically easier.

However, since that incident, I’ve had to sleep with the lights on in my room. It has caused a drastic change in my sleep schedule as I can’t sleep when it is dark outside despite my room being lit up. I am scared that when I close my eyes, I will feel something breathing on my face and neck again, and when I open my eyes I fear seeing the shadow people in their now more realistic form, hovering over my bed. I can’t sleep at night without fearing the shadow people popping up in my lit-up room because as far as I’m concerned, when I close my eyes and see the darkness behind my eyelids, it is enough fuel for the shadow people. I’m more vulnerable to panicking when I am in the dark since I’ve gotten a taste of how terrifying it is. My heart rate rises when I’m in the dark and I need to turn the lights on or they will come. I am afraid to see something so frightening and fear for my life-like that again. Now I stay away from anything scary, including: YouTube gaming videos of Resident Evil (which I used to watch), horror comics, being careful of ads (in case they are a trailer for horror movies…. which has happened and I almost peed my pants), many things involving supernatural things… ect. Also now I get scared at sudden movements even more, or break down crying when someone (unintentionally) scares me.

I have talked to my psychiatrist about this issue. I have the option of taking some anxiety medications (due to the panic attacks and anxiety symptoms I get, but I don’t have anxiety), or I also have the option of taking sleeping pills to, y’unno, help me get rid of my beautiful dark circles and help me fall asleep before the ungodly hours of 5AM (I’m typing this right now at¬†2AM). I chose neither. Why? Because I’m a stubborn asshole that thinks she can handle everything by sheer will alone even though my mental state is a fucking mess…. Also I don’t want to deal with the side effects. The lithium side effects are barely manageable for me. I can’t deal with the anxiety ones or the sleeping pills. The negatives outweigh the benefit of the drugs. I am also tired of taking so many medications all the time. I just want to go back to “normal” even though I will never go back to that state of medicine and mental illness free bliss.

My psychiatrist suggested one last treatment option which I am not ready to start yet. It is forcing myself to be exposed to my fears in frequent short periods that increase in length as I get better, and treating myself after each session. Basically I’m making myself into Pavlov’s dog and¬†conditioning myself to get over my fear. Except I’m both Pavlov and Pavlov’s dog…. so does that make me¬†Schrodinger’s cat?

 

P.S. I’ve put this off for a while because I have shitty habit of delaying anything related to my mental health and in writing and in reality. (I mean really, I delayed asking for help last year with my mental health until I literally needed to go to emergency. Go figure.)

 

the Shadow People pt.1

Whatever you do, don’t Google that. I did once in an attempt to understand myself, and it scared the shit outta me, which made everything worse! Whoohooo ūüôā

I’ve been trying to write this post for a while, but I just didn’t know how to approach it. I mean, how do you summarize your life experiences and condense it so it is understandable, even though you, yourself doesn’t understand it?

Basically whenever I am in a low/depressed /stressed/tired mood, and I walk past a dark room/ dark area, I feel like there is someone or something watching me standing in that dark spot. I’m too scared to analyze it like a protagonist in a horror movie. My reaction is to GTFO or casually ¬†speed walk away as if everything is normal (but my heart is pounding and the hairs on my body are standing).

They look like faceless black mannequins with no defined body features. Like an androgynous bald shadow. They’re usually standing with legs and arms slightly apart. What would be the face is staring at me, and the head rotates to follow my direction. ¬†I don’t know if it’s the same one each time. But I know if I turn the lights on in that room where it appeared in or shine a flashlight on it, it will vanish/ teleport away to haunt in another lightless place.

Power outages are my weakness. I used to cry and panic as a 10-13 year old. Parents didn’t know why though…. just thought the shock of sudden blackness. As I grew older I managed to hide it and not panic, but my heart would be racing as I tried to find a source of light. (Side note: thank god for cell phone flashlights!)

It’s embarrassing because I’m not afraid of the dark… I’m afraid of the things in the dark. I feel pathetic if I tell someone about this because I don’t want to seem like a coward or be judged. I absolutely hate being called a coward (possibly more than being called short, because height is a fact, and I’ve gotten used to the teasing/ developed ways to calm myself whe pissed at short jokes). It is disappointing because I can public speak, I can kill spiders, I can scream profanities at catcallers, I can do so much, but when I’m sad at night and I turn the lights off to sleep, I am afraid of that thing that appears over my bed. I don’t even know what it wants!! To kill me? Strangle me? Just watch and stare at me all night? Knowing what it wants would help because I could think “What’s the worse that can happen….. (_______) me”? I just want to get things over with… but apparently my agenda doesn’t coincide with that of the shadow people.

Fun fact, when I was 13 or so, I had a dream where I woke up and was still in my bed. A shadowy figure that was shaped like me was standing at the foot of my bed. It jumped up and landed on me…. and I actually felt it. It strangled me and I felt like I couldn’t breathe (sleep paralysis hooray). Finally it took a knife out and stabbed me and I “died” (aka fell back asleep). It has stuck with me ever since as it has been one of the most vivid sleep paralysis incidents with shadow people involved. There has been more than one incident unfortunately.

Seeing the shadow people also gets worse when there is “fuel” for my imagination. Eg. if I watch a scary movie or see a goddamned Facebook Ad for a scary movie trailer that was COMPLETELY uncalled for nor had any warnings *cough*. I’ve tried getting over my fear by using the Resident Evil video game series. But (1) I start shaking the moment I start the game (2) the zombie jumpscares and the creatures the creep up behind scare the fuck outta me (3) watching game plays of it on YouTube help but the gruesome images are stuck in my head (4) scientifically the gruesome creatures are fascinating but not when the lights are out and my imagination goes berserk.

Curiously, I am completely okay with haunted houses. During and after haunted houses I do not get scared. Nor do they provide fuel for my overreative imagination. But I am not okay when I get scared on purpose or accidentally in broad daylight or indoors at home. I do not get scared at school or public places both with or without lights. Public washrooms are an exception… they are public and have lots of people using them BUT if the lights are off/ there is a power outage and there are mirrors in the washroom, I’d rather pee in a bush. All the scares happen in secluded, usually private settings with few to no people other than myself. And of course, without lights. I also cannot look in a mirror in a dark setting. I feel scared of reflections in a mirror and sometimes don’t recognize myself, or fear seeing a shadow person standing behind me in the mirror.

To be honest, I’ve learned to adapt to this. Lights, lights, never enough lights. The price for this is a high electricity bill but hey, it’s better than hallucinating! This hasn’t been much of a handicap until last month, which will be explained in detail in my next post.

Why did I write this at 4AM? I can’t sleep anymore thanks to all those visuals. Ugh

4:41 AM

I can’t sleep. I’m worried about my turtle, Popcorn. I’ve got 5 (yes, FIVE) turtles: Watermelon, Big Mac, Cheeseburger, Pizza, and Popcorn. The biggest is Watermelon (HUGE AND HEAVY, weighs god-knows-how-much, and requires two strong hands to hold, and picking her up involves the whole body) is the biggest followed by Big Mac, Cheeseburger, Pizza, and Popcorn is the smallest (slightly larger than a closed fist). Aggressive Pizza and flirty Popcorn are brothers. Always hungry Big Mac and cowardly Cheeseburger are a pair; gal pal BFFs. Watermelon… well I posted on here about her a year ago about how I found her. Fun fact, Popcorn likes to flirt with Watermelon…. whom is quite literally at least 10X (ten times) his weight and size. Popcorn is always rejected. Turtle interactions are entertaining. 

Popcorn hasn’t been eating for the past few days and spends all his time curled up out of water on his sunbathing rocks. As of yesterday, he has a bit of a runny nose on top of all that. He is quite sick. 

Today he has been transferred to his own isolated aquarium where the water is warmer and he has a warm UV light concentrated on him during the day. I really hope the warmth allows his immune system to get rid of his sickness. There are no turtle specialist animal hospitals nearby and I don’t want to travel far away to one with a distressed and sick turtle. The trip might do more harm than good. 

Also I feel very bad because I was entrusted by the first caretakers of Popcorn and Pizza to take care of them, twoish years ago. I don’t want to let them down. In addition, all my turtles are a big, happy family together and it wouldn’t feel right or happy if one passed away. I would look at Pizza every time and apologize that his brother passed away because of my incompetence. I don’t want that to happen. But I don’t know what else to do. I feel helpless, useless, and worried. All that has been done has been done. I hate this waiting and hoping. I love each and every one of them and I feel terrible because Popcorn is so sick and I don’t know what more to do. I wish I could help. I expected all my babies to outlive me, not die young. 

One of my life goals is to have an outdoor all-season garden greenhouse and build a large pond in that greenhouse. All my 5 turtles will swim and be free and warm and safe in the locked greenhouse. The greenhouse floor will be filled with edible greens, the pond will be gigantic, sparkling clean and filled with fish to hunt, and food to eat. There will be lots of rocks everywhere for them to climb. It will be called “Amanda’s Turtle Sanctuary”. Popcorn needs to hang on until I can build it.