Tuesday, January 29, 2013

750 Words Became 1,033

I just got through looking at the stats meant to assess my mood based on my entries.  Now, I know I said I didn't believe in those, but it was interesting to reaffirm I'm more introverted than extroverted, as are most of the participants on 750words.com.  This makes total sense, since writing is largely an internal, solo activity.  It was also interesting to see that compared to the rest of the world, I'm significantly less distracted when writing these entries, but I only write 20 words per minute, compared to higher numbers throughout the world.  I don't use a lot of fillers like "um," and it seems the numbers for those are high, worldwide.  However, I do use many more cause/effect transitions, which also doesn't surprise me because I tend to connect ideas quite a bit.  Additionally, the charts show I'm upset and anxious a lot, don't focus on family, and that I sound self-important.  Well, it stands to reason that since I'm using this exercise as a brain dump and have had lots of stress, yes, this is "all about me" and I am indeed upset.  One other thing--most people are writing around 950 words, while I am trying to stick to 750 because it's a fun editing challenge.  The exercise takes me an average of 37 minutes, which is interesting because supposedly 750 words is about three pages.  I'd be a lot faster if I didn't have to constantly fix my typos and casually edit.  I say "casually" because there are sentence structure and grammatical errors in these posts, but I don't bother with them too much. 

It has occurred to me that I should use these exercises to write something more meaningful. In fact, I recently posted a call for submissions on mental health issues.  It's a paying gig, and my work has been published in the mag before.  I've written a good deal about mental health and disabilities, but it has all been pretty ranty and/or informal, and yes, self important, because I talk mostly about myself.  I'm not sure I want to spend the time dragging up bits and pieces of old posts, researching and synthesizing to pull together an article because, well, I'm not in the mood for one thing, probably because I want to re-focus as opposed to hyper-focusing on things like PTSD, ADHD, depression and anxiety.  I've got a running theme on how women are dissed by the psychiatric world in that tremendous assumptions are made by the male-dominated profession which doesn't take into account things like hormonal and metabolic fluxes as they relate to effectiveness and side-effects of medication.  While I've got personal anecdotes supporting my theories, I'd have to do some serious research to back them up, and honestly, I don't think there's much out there because if there were, I would not have had so many problems with medications.  But maybe I'm just underestimating the field because quite often, psychiatry annoys me.

While there is a need for mental health, there is often a glut of "let's talk about your past," repeatedly overriding the need to move on.  Let's think about that.  If you're in therapy for ten years and it's not working, something is wrong.  It could be because the approach isn't working for you.  It could also be that each time you switch therapists, you have to start from scratch.  It could be that therapy makes you hyper-focus on the problem, especially if you have a condition such as ADHD which can already encourage hyper-focusing.  Therefore, no matter how much therapy you get, even if it's in conjunction with medication, you could be stuck for the rest of your life. 

When I was in college, I knew a lady like this.  She was in her fifties, on multiple medications and had been in therapy since her teens.  She never got over her traumatic, early childhood.  For the rest of her life, she lived with anxiety, depression, eating disorders and other illnesses along with the tendency to focus on the past.  Now the good news is, she was able to go on and get a master's degree in psychology and volunteer to help underprivileged kids.  But as far as I know, until her death, she was unable to work for significant pay, survived through state and federal welfare programs and could not stop hoarding.  In some ways, she was a success story, but in others, I wonder.  Absolutely the educational community adopted her and encouraged her because if they didn't, she never would have gone as far as she did.  We were all so proud of her for making and reaching goals in spite of her challenges.  But I would love to have known what was going on with her therapist/doctors.  She'd had the same psychiatrist most of her life, and when she discovered he was retiring, she became suicidal.  What kind of dependence had psychology nurtured to get her to that point?  Could she have gone further in life had she received different/better medical care?  Was she on the correct medications?  Were any of her issues related to gender, and had those been properly addressed?  We can't know, but I can tell you, all her medications had negative side effects such as reversing her sleep cycles and making her hands shake uncontrollably.  Clearly, something was wrong.

I don't want to be like this, and I do everything I can to achieve success.  But between society and scientific limitations, I'm not progressing the way I would like.  I'm often impatient and crabby and resentful about this (uh-oh, I see the "upset" meter just rose) and blame just about everyone, myself not excluded.  There's a reason for this, though, and it's not just about me, even though my rants are.  When will psychiatry address the specific needs of women instead of labeling them with some bogus term that stigmatizes and paralyzes?

I see I am over 750 words again, but I think I'll leave it this time.  Some of the information here is too important to ignore, and I hope someone will note what I am saying and take action. 

I'm not going back to edit any more, either.  Yup.  Too lazy.
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