I’ve been trying to write about my mental illness for a year now aka Why you are the reason I couldn’t.

6:06 PM Moi Sanom 0 Comments

http://dialog.studentassociation.ca/index.php/mental-illness-the-power-of-stigma/

Johnny Clyde wrote this a few weeks back and I asked him if I could share this with all of you. I have been wanting to write more personal stories and view points on here (which you can find in the About me section), and I thought that this is quite fitting. Mental illness is an important subject which I believe does not get talked about enough. As a Neurodiverse person myself, I feel like our view points and stories are underrepresented and should be shared more. 
If you have any stories or experiences to share on the subject I would love to hear them!  

I sincerely hope you’ll read all of this and not just judge me as someone whining about mental illnesses. I hope that you read this to cure yourself of at least some ignorance. If you think mental illness is a joke and you see this while refusing to read it, you’ve got issues yourself that you need help with. From now on I will be referring to mental illness as neurodiversity. This is because I am simply different than a neurotypical person. Not defined as someone with an ailment, but rather defined as someone who is simply different.
I am neurodiverse, and it’s ridiculous that I am so embarrassed to admit it. 
Even as I write this I doubt myself that I’ll actually post it.

http://lukepearson.com/2010/01/alright-but-not-quite.html
This was Johnnys profile pic when we met. Very fitting, me thinks!
 I lived my whole entire life thinking I was ‘normal’ (whatever that means).
I knew that for myself, I was odd. I never identified with anyone, I never felt that anyone ever felt or thought the way that I did, but I was convinced that I appeared completely normal and regular to everyone else. I’ve always been called weird, which never bothered me, but when people call each other weird because they don’t like their sauce, the word ends up not meaning anything to me. 
So I was weird, like everyone else. I didn’t know they meant I was actually weird, as in different than they were. So until I was 22 I lived my life like this. I didn’t know why I cried at movies at different parts than everyone else, (I watched the beginning of Up like a statue, unfazed, but when they’re sitting on the curb at the end counting cars….I lost it) I didn’t know why it took me months to be able to speak to people like they’re humans (I went into every new school and job knowing that I wasn’t going to be able to talk to anyone until at least 2 months, and probably another 6 months until I feel comfortable enough to talk about myself) and I especially didn’t know why I just could not relate to a single soul. Literally no one around me felt the same way I did about things, because I’d ask them and they’d laugh and say it’s weird. I’d ask them “you know how everyone loves pretty images, like trees in moonlight and such..but do you ever look at a tree branch in the moonlight and your stomach almost starts to hurt like your body is trying to remember something important that could change your entire existence and you don’t know what it is but you feel like crying, like there’s an entire life you’ve left behind that you just can’t remember just because this branch and this wind and this moon all met in this one specific part of your vision like the is is the universes language and we just can’t understand it yet?” And it’s not a joke, I am completely serious, but I laugh along because I am embarrassed by their reaction. 
I’ve been going to therapy for the first time in my life this past year and have been diagnosed with mental illnesses which completely caught me off guard. You live your whole life thinking you’re normal, then doctors tell you you’ve got social phobias, depression, PTSD, and Aspergers (possibly more to come, time will tell ;D ) Whew, that’s really hard to admit even still. 

http://www.fastcocreate.com/3018089/schizophrenia-paranoia-depression-and-other-mental-illness-brought-to-life-as-real-monsters#1

I denied it at first. 
There was no way. 
I was like everyone else, it’s just my way of thinking is different, but it turns out I’m not the same. 
I was embarrassed. I thought I must be stupid, because in America we’re taught that neurodiversity (mental illness) means you’re stupid. It means something is WRONG with you. 
Something that needs to be corrected. 
But besides that, I was embarrassed for another reason, and that’s you’re fault.

My whole life I’ve been living with these things without knowing it, but I’ve been soaking in all your jokes and insults along the way. Your jokes about mental illnesses. Your jokes about killing yourself because you lost a match in your game, your jokes about how autism is a polite word for retarded (I hate that word), all these jokes hit me all at once the second I was diagnosed. 
So thanks a lot for making me embarrassed to be who I am and who I can’t help to be. 
I didn’t get the jokes then and I certainly don’t get them now.  
So it took me a really long time to get over that, and I accepted it. 
I accepted myself again. 
I realized that all my weirdness and the way I look at the world and my artistic ideas and my personality are all me, not my neurodiversity. The only reason I think the way I do is because of me. All of my thoughts are mine, not my neurodiversity.

However, mental illnesses effect people in different ways and that needs to be respected. 
Just because my depression doesn’t cause me to want to jump out of the window (I think this has more to do with my immense fear of death, though) doesn’t mean people aren’t constantly having thoughts of suicide with their depression. 

Side note: Stop comparing mental illnesses. 
Your depression will never mean more to me than it does to you, as mine will never mean more to you than it does to me. There’s no reason to compare, I see it happening a lot and it’s very sad. I think the most respect you can give someone is simply taking them serious. Don’t be an asshole and laugh at the 13 yr old girl posting pics of herself crying because you think she wants attention. 
So now that I’ve admitted it, if I do indeed post this, I want to sometimes talk about my experiences and bust some myths and such. So this time I want to talk a bit about having Aspergers. 

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=457642924252013&set=a.253901434626164.84885.251944244821883&type=3&theater

So, I have Aspergers and it’s not funny or fun, really. 
First I want to say that people with Aspergers are not all the same. 
So I am only speaking for me here. 
There’s a lot of things that I simply can’t do because of Aspergers. A lot of people are shy or introverted, but for me it’s extreme. Where sometimes you might be able to coax a shy person into singing karaoke, I’m likely waiting at the park next to the bar because I can’t handle being inside.
 It’s not just the social anxiety, it’s the noises. I hear in 2D whereas most people hear in 3D. 
This means that basically all noises hit me at the same time around the same level, so a car driving by outside is as loud or sometimes louder than your voice. I can hear the fridge buzzing constantly and a fly on the wall distracts me from what’s being said on TV. It’s not that I can hear better than you, I just can’t control it like you.  
With 3D hearing you’re able to separate the sounds and actually tell where they are coming from and kind of control the volume. So already bars are a nightmare for me. The music is loud, the people are loud, clanking glasses, spinning fans, forks knives plates, shouting, the tv, chairs scooting, all of this going on at once for me and I’m supposed to try and listen to what you’re saying so that you don’t think I’m a freak with bug eyes in my own little world. It’s not hard, it’s impossible. It is actually impossible. I do try, and I enjoy myself when I’m able to do it, go into social places and have fun. Play pool or whatever, after a while I am able to relax. 
But you probably have no idea what it’s like to buy tickets to your favorite musician who you’ve been idolizing for years and when you go to stand in line to get inside you feel like you’re going to puke because you’re already surrounded by the people you’re about to be enclosed with in a small room with super loud music and everyone is dancing (dancing is very strange to me) and it gets to be too much and sometimes you leave the line. You don’t get to see your favorite musician, you waste your money and your time and you feel like an idiot. This stuff happens to me all the time. 


I’ve never really had friends, I was that kid in school that everyone liked and you’d high five me in the hallways but we’d never talk or hang out. I had a few friends that I’d occasionally drift in and out of friendship with and that was nice, I appreciate that they accepted that I wasn’t a reliable friend. I’d stop talking to everyone in that circle for a year or more and then just pop up again. 
I can’t help it. 
It makes me never able to keep friends and I hate it. 
I’m lonely, always have been and probably always will be. I try so hard to keep relationships going but I just can’t. I can’t always bring myself to go to social events so I stop getting invited, and then I’m not in the circle anymore. 
Constantly alone and I hate it. 
I remember this one example, I was invited to one of my only friends wedding, I was asked to write a song for them to walk down the aisle for. I was extremely nervous but so incredibly honored that I was actually able to overcome myself for the wedding. I arrived early, set up my guitar to perform, and just sat in this chair the whole time. I didn’t walk around or talk to anyone, just this awkward guy wearing a suit 2 times too big just sitting there. People came up and talked to me and I couldn’t look at them, felt so stupid. So the time comes and I play the song and I sit in that same chair for the remainder of the ceremony, the second the “kiss the bride” stuff is over I was gone. Everyone lined up for food and I grabbed my guitar and held it in front of my like a shield as I fled down the stairs, not even able to talk to my friend and congratulate him. I fled to the park and sat on the bench for two hours because I was too embarrassed to show my mom that I didn’t stay for the after wedding stuff. That isn’t funny. 

That is how I prefer to play guitar
 It isn’t all bad, though! Aspergers. 
I am able to solve complex things easily. A lot of people think inside of the box, some people think outside of the box, and I’m kind of off in the ethereal not knowing the box exists. 
Which is nice, I think. 
For me. 
It allows me to not be constrained with the obvious answers. Sometimes it inhabits my common sense, though. I do admit. (Ok, often. Ok…daily.) If I drop a glass my first instinct might be to go to the store, buy a bunch of duct tape, come back and cover the whole floor with strips of duct tape, then peel it off along with the shards. When the obvious thing would be to sweep or vacuum. I am able to recognize patterns extremely easy. I can kind of turn it off and on, so if I watch a movie I can turn it on and predict the entire movie, not just the ending but everything in between. (to the amusement of my fellow viewers) depending on the movie of course, just based off of movies of the same genre or the style of the writing so far with like a 90% accuracy. I don’t like to do it because I don’t enjoy the film anymore, but I am able to. Which can be put to good use sometimes ;D 
I also have a super unbiased look on the world, which is extremely nice. It’s difficult to explain, but people with Aspergers tend to be incredibly non judgemental people. This goes from viewing a women’s opinions the same as a mans (society seems to have a very hard time with this) to speaking to a child or baby as if they’re an adult. Which can get confusing, obviously. The best way I describe this to the few people I’ve told is that if there is like a 3 yr. child in the same room as me, I’m going to be incredibly shy. I’m not going to be able to look at this kid in their eyes, or talk to them. Even though I know they don’t even have a developed memory yet. I’ll have the same reaction as if they were 30, not 3. Eventually I might warm up a tiny bit, and I’ll have a conversation with them. I’ll talk about the planets not as if they’re an exciting art project but as I really see them even though the conversation very well could be over the childs comprehension. Baby talk doesn’t exist for me. 
A comparison I like to make is if you take a neurotypical person and sit them at a table in a Psychiatric hospital, they’re going to talk to everyone as if they’re a child. “Oh I see you’ve got crayons there, do you like to draw then? Why don’t you draw me something.” 
It doesn’t make you a horrible person, but it’s automatic. You automatically think of yourself as better than they are, or if not better, higher. Like a different level. I don’t. I will sit at that table and have the exact same conversations I’d have with you. (whoever ‘you’ may be) 
I’m obsessive as well. Which so far has only been mostly positive for me. Luckily I’m obsessive about art. So about 5 months ago I decided it was time I learn to animate. I sat down for about 14 hours each day for three days and taught myself how to animate. The thing is, I didn’t even realize it. I didn’t even think about it, it just happened. I learned one thing, experimented for a few hours, moved onto another idea, and it just branches out like that. It doesn’t stop, and so by the end of it I just kinda stood back and said “huh! I know how to animate now!” 

I made this one week after teaching myself to animate

That’s very useful for me. It allows me to work like a madman, I generally work on my art around 13 hours a day when I’ve got something to work on and I don’t even realize it. I don’t eat when I should or sleep when I should or take breaks at all, which is something I’m trying to work on. 
Ok I wrote too much. Which is another thing, I don’t know when to stop. If I find something interesting, I’ll just talk and talk and talk so I’m going to stop for now. I sincerely hope that someone out there finds this useful, and I want to tell you that people are incredibly stupid and ignorant and whatever or whoever you are, you’re amazing. Even if you have to spend some time wondering how you can possibly be amazing with all your flaws, I promise you that you are indeed amazing. Especially if you read all of this ;D

I’ll try to bring myself to write more, you can follow me here if you’d like

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http://www.chicagonow.com/moms-who-drink-and-swear/2013/10/three-things-you-need-to-know-and-understand-about-mental-illness/