Saturday, March 16, 2019

Hypomanic tiefling goth girl

Note: this post contains frank and straightforward discussions of mental health issues. This isn't a request for sympathy. This isn't a request for help. This is me getting things off my chest, and being open about the significant impact a recent diagnosis has had on a lifelong condition.


Not a manic pixie dream girl. Not the girl next door. Not normal.

Nature and nurture both contributed. (But diving into that isn't where we're going today.)

The last few years have been a mess/whirlwind/nightmare/time of growth/catastrophe, depending on my current frame of mind, and how I look at them.

I hunkered down, closed in on myself, survived a bunch of tumultuous life changes that still have me pretty shook, if I'm being completely honest.

Since my last post here I've had two major medical diagnoses. I've been to the ER three times. I intentionally severed relationships that, back when I wrote that last post, I thought would last the rest of my life.

Some parts of it I'm not ready to talk about yet, like the severed relationships. I only cut those ties back in July, and those wounds still hurt. Sometimes, when I'm sad and weak and down, I question if I did the right thing in cutting those folks out.

…but this isn't what this post is about so…

Let's pick apart this post's title working from the end: "hypomanic tiefling goth girl"

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Butterfly's Tale


This has little if anything to do with tech, but everything to do with me and my life. The last several days have been dark and horrifying, and I've been trying to come up with a way to explain them to people.

This is a triggering post. If you have a history of emotional or sexual abuse, please, feel free to skip reading it.
If you need a powerful gut wrenching story to share with your friends and family and loved ones who haven't been abused feel free to share it.
This is a story of how one young woman was broken by the world, and why she's terrified of what is about to come next.
It was brutally hard to write, and as such, commenting is disabled.

Butterfly's Tale

By Vanessa White, November 12, 2016

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

My Hovercraft is full of Eels: It's like spoons, for anxiety!

So many folks are familiar with the Spoon Theory of what life is like with an invisible illness.

Which is honestly fabulous. As someone with a couple invisible illnesses (asthma, allergies, and IBS) and close family members with others (lupus and rheumatoid arthritis) that follow the the spoon model of issues the further the spoon theory spreads the better.

However, the spoon theory doesn't map well to panic and anxiety issues.

As someone with a history of trauma who has anxiety issues that can be debilitating I've been mulling over how can I explain to folks what happens when I get pushed over my anxiety edge and wind up triggered and/or having a panic attack.

Well, at first I thought "it's like a gauge in an RPG and once you fill it up suddenly you get to use your combo attack, but its actually a panic attack" but that doesn't grok out well to everyone.

Then I needed a way to tell my coworkers "y'all, I gotta go, I'm going to have a panic attack if I don't" or "I have passed the threshold and am now having a panic attack/triggered state" and I thought back to Monty Python.

My Hovercraft is full of Eels.


It's a random line in the Dirty Hungarian Phrasebook skit that is utterly nonsensical and supposedly vaguely sexual but…

It's perfect for my needs. Especially if you imagine the eels are the shrieking eels from the Princess Bride. (Refresher, for the folks who aren't familiar.)

Let's imagine our brains as being hovercrafts with a more or less set volume in them.

We can carry around most of the stuff we need to get by, and everything is typically pretty happy.

Then the anxiety eels start infiltrating your hovercraft.

If its an eel here or there, no big deal — you can self-care them away and bail them out.

But when you're overwhelmed, when you start to get triggered — you can't bail the eels out anymore.

They start piling up and shrieking.

You can try to keep going about your daily life in your hovercraft, but they get in the way, and trip you up, and they distract you with their constant keening wail.

Sure, maybe you can press on, and fight your way through the eels, and keep being productive for a while, but the eels just keep coming in.

Eventually you have eels up to the place where you can't move anymore. Your hovercraft is full.

Maybe one of the big old crafty eels wraps you up, and hold you hostage.

The options at this point are pretty limited.

Once the hovercraft is full you can't function anymore. You have to focus on getting the eels out of your hovercraft and repairing the damage they've done to it.

Clearing out the anxiety eels is not easy. To really, truly keep the eels from coming back you have to address them with compassion individually and get them to stop shrieking. Sure, you can bail them out without doing that, but they will come back.

"I see you eel. I understand why you broke into the hovercraft and stopped me from carrying on with my life. I'm working on the issues you represent, and I need you to go back into the waters of my unconsciousness and let me keep making progress."

I know eventually I can calm down the eels that are a part of me, and given enough time I can release the eels that aren't (because we all have societal introject eels that are forced upon us), and given time, I'm sure the eels will live happy eel lives in my subconscious.

For now though, I gotta go grab the bailing bucket. International Women's Day has the eels in a furor.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Various Methods of Escape

Hallucinate in high fidelity
The pieces of a plan
Extraction of the highest quality
Blood from my own hand
A line of lyric looping through my head
Nobody listening
It doesn't really matter anymore
Yes it doesn't mean a thing

I've gotta let go
I've gotta get straight
Why'd you have to make it so hard
Let me get away

An eye for chasing wonders to behold
Statements so profound
A place to bury everything I did
And burn it to the ground
A fire illuminates the final scene
The past repeats itself
I cannot tell the difference anymore
I cannot trust myself

I've gotta let go
I've gotta get straight
Why'd you have to make it so hard
Let me get away
I've gotta let go
I've gotta get straight
Why'd you have to make it so hard
Let me get away

NIN: Various Methods of Escape, from 2013's Hesitation Marks. (http://www.nin.wiki/Various_Methods_Of_Escape)

It hurts too much to be at the conference. I feel like most everyone from the US there hates me.

So… I'm going to hide in my room until just before it's time for me to give my talk.

I wish I'd never been part of the community. What little good I've done is outweighed by how miserable of a failure I am, and how many people hate me now.

All I want at this point is to be left alone.

My talk slides are scheduled to auto-post at the end of my talk, for anyone who wants them.