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.
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.
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.