Advice

On a necessary breakdown

I was the one raped by a cop a year ago. Besides some dude that was on and off again before and after that, I haven’t really been physical with anyone. I’ve felt asexual for so long… Until last night I was with a guy I’ve been dating. It got physical for the first time last night and I had a physical reaction- there’s no better way to describe it besides straight PTSD. I was so scared I’d ask him to stop and he wouldn’t be one of the outliers that stops on the first hand push away or “no.” But he did. But I still cried and had to explain. He held me and was amazingly sweet, even told me he’d sit in the waiting room at therapy when I mentioned I definitely need to go back, but I still feel torn up inside. I didn’t think it still had a hold of me, but now I feel like it will always creep back into me when with someone new. How do I accept and live with that? How do I live with this? I got so angry last night because I had convinced myself I cleansed myself of it months ago, but now it feels like such a major part of my story forever.

 

It will not always creep back into you. You will get better. It will always be a part of your story, but you will not always have to live with it.

There was a part of you that didn’t think the rape still had a hold on you, and there was a part of you that manifested all of that asexuality you felt. One was a coping method of the thinking part of you, and the other was a coping method of the feeling part of you. Both parts were doing their best to protect you from pain, but they weren’t reconcilable, and they certainly weren’t sustainable.

It really is okay that you had a breakdown. The physical reaction you had was a good thing, one that quite frankly was inevitable. You needed to have it. You needed to feel all of that pain you’ve been avoiding. I know it didn’t feel like anything positive, but it was. It was progress.

You’re absolutely right to want to go back to therapy. You’ve still got some work to do, and this is the perfect time to do it. On a practical note, I highly recommend you find a therapist who specializes in EMDR. It really works, and it’s exactly what you need for the kind of trauma you experienced.

I know you aren’t feeling it at the moment, but this is you healing. You’re ready to move forward now in a way that you weren’t before, and things will be different. It won’t be an act of cleansing this time. It will be an act of acceptance, and you will get better.

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Advice

On your mental health

The person I’m sleeping with is convinced that my mother is a monster. He’s never met her. All he knows is that at the age of twelve, I was taking paxil, lamictal, Ritalin and 200 mg of trazodone to sleep.

All of those drugs were prescribed by a psychiatrist and I don’t believe my mother wanted to hurt me, but I’m starting to think my boyfriend has a point when he says she “poisoned” me to make me easier to deal with.

He’s convinced that this “abuse,” which lasted for years, has permanently altered my brain. I have been mostly unhappy since I was 12, so I wonder if he’s right: I have a lot of trouble with my emotions and relationships; although I’ve never done anything intentionally cruel, I am not an easy person to know. I’m sure I meet the criteria for being a toxic person.

He thinks I should find a doctor that will help me detox and deal with underlying problems. I agree. I had been thinking about that exact thing for years before I met him. But I actually don’t know how to live without drugs. When I’ve tried coming off them before, I was overcome with despair and self hatred. I have been hospitalized twice, both times after coming off the meds. (Mental hospitals, by the way, are incredibly dehumanizing and abusive, as you probably know)

So I’m not sure what to do. On some level I’m choosing between my loyalty to my mother and my trust in this man, right?

 

I’ve got a bad feeling about this guy. He sounds awfully controlling, especially for someone who rises to the level of “the person I’m sleeping with.” As a general rule, I don’t let dudes I’m regularly fucking have any kind of opinion about my mental health. Who is this guy you hesitate to call your boyfriend? Where the hell does he get off telling you jack shit about your medication or your mother? Seriously, if he’s making you feel like you have to choose loyalties between him and a family member (particularly one he’s never even met) then stop sleeping with him and run.

Also, we need to talk about how you use the word toxic. Stop referring to yourself like that. You have a mental disorder that causes emotional dysregulation, and yeah, it’s probably wreaked havoc on your past relationships, but that doesn’t mean you’re toxic. It means you’ve got some problems with your neurochemistry, some of which might best be solved with medication. That’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with being on mood stabilizers. It doesn’t mean you’ve been poisoned. It doesn’t mean you need to detox. (Again with the idea that you’re somehow toxic.) Clearly, you’re someone who benefits from the meds, and again, you shouldn’t be made to feel bad about that. Quite frankly, this guy is kind of an asshole for thinking he knows better than your treatment team.

I understand the desire to live life without the drugs, but you have to consider what that has meant for you in the past and what that might mean in the future. If you spent the next couple months slowly coming off your medication under the strict supervision of your doctor while concurrently starting some kind of behavioral therapy, that might prove to be a worthy endeavor. At the same time, you might have another episode and have to go right back on the medication, perhaps even involuntarily. You have to be in the mindset where that isn’t failure, where it’s okay to need a little medicine to live your best life.

Oh, and one final note. Your mother was not an abusive monster for taking you to a psychiatrist at age twelve. That was her taking care of you. That was her loving you. That was her dealing with a difficult situation as best she knew how. I’m not hearing that she whacked you upside the head with a bunch of chemicals just to make you docile. I’m hearing that you have a genuine disorder that bears significant consequences if left untreated, one that has continued into adulthood. Again, that’s okay. It doesn’t mean you’re broken or toxic or somehow less worthy of leading a normal life. It just means you were dealt a shitty hand, and you have to take care of yourself thoughtfully, responsibly, and without the input of douchebags who think that sharing your bed somehow grants them a medical license.

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Advice

On being smacked with awareness

Sometimes the fact that i am a breathing living human hits me so hard that everything feels surreal and i forget how to walk and breathe? Usually it wears off after a few minutes but recently this feeling can keep going for about an hour. Its like i get freaked out of being alive and aware of every little movement and thought. I truly feel that i am here and completely conscious about everything around me at that point. Its like i have taken psychedelic drugs.

This can at times be a wonderful experience but lately it just freaks me the fuck out.

Any idea what this is?

 

Yes, totally. What you’re describing is a shift in consciousness from a mental state of identifying with your thoughts and emotions to a mental state of present moment awareness. Essentially, you’re being smacked upside the head with a rather aggressive and involuntary form of mindfulness.

It’s kind of awesome, actually. Most folks have to meditate their faces off to reach that mental state. You’re one of the people who just gets it dropped on them. Treat it like a gift. Don’t resist it. That’s why it’s freaking you out, because you’re trying to control it. Don’t do that. Just go with it. You can play with it a little, and by that I mean be playful, but it has to come from a place of peace and/or joy.

If you start to get freaked out, just let your breath anchor you. You can always fall back on a gentle awareness of your breath, and you will be fine.

 

 

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Advice

On getting over yourself

I’ve just read your piece “On a beautiful mess” for the fourth, maybe fifth time since you posted it. It was the first time, however, that it brought me to tears. That girls’ words have resonated with me before, but never so strongly. I’m too tired to wait for an answer to arise inside me though. My therapist suggested I go on antidepressants a few months ago but I just can’t do it. If I start taking them, I won’t be ‘me’ anymore; my personality, my true identity will be covered and shaped by those pills. It feels like I’ve got no way out since I can’t live a normal life without them either. I don’t believe that a human life has any inherent value really, not more than any animal’s life, or that we’re here for a reason or that there’s anything ‘on the other side’ so why not end this? I’d rather kill myself than be a fraud, a ‘happy robot’… I guess my question is — is a life worth living if you know you’re not really yourself?

 

I’m very sorry that you’re suffering from depression, but do yourself a favor and quit being such an asshole. Taking antidepressants doesn’t make you a fraud. They don’t turn you into a “happy robot,” and you’re a fucking idiot for saying shit like that.

It’s perfectly fine if you want to be an existential nihilist, but it’s not okay to be a whiny little bitch about it. Sure, life is meaningless and death is likely to be an eternity of nothingness, but so fucking what? That doesn’t mean life is without inherent value. Life is incredibly valuable. Life is precious. Life is all we’ve fucking got, and the reason you’re such a gaping asshole is because you’ve been given an opportunity to vastly improve the quality of yours, and all you can do is whine about it. Fuck you.

Speaking of which, there is no such thing as “you.” There is no “true identity” that exists as some static, concrete artifact to be covered and shaped by antidepressants. That’s not how it works. That’s not how any of this works. Your fear of antidepressants is childish and ignorant, and the whole dumbfuck myth that you won’t be “you” anymore is insulting to the millions of people whose lives have literally been saved by selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

Take the fucking pills. That’s not a suggestion. That’s an order. While you’re at it, quit “waiting” for the answer to arise inside of you. That’s such a lazy way to think, and with that kind of shitty attitude, you’re not gonna stumble onto any profound revelation.

Like I’ve said before, the answer does exist. It’s already inside you, and it really has been there all along, but you’re never going to find it as long as you keep clinging to this depressed, whiny version of yourself that you insist is your “true identity.” It’s not.

Seriously, get over yourself. Tell your therapist that you’re ready to try antidepressants, and take the fucking pills.

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Advice

On where to start

You said my question was stupid and I don’t have any information to claim otherwise. I know a little about the political landscape but not anywhere near enough. I’m worried I’m just parroting fear-mongering bullshit that I’ve heard on the news or in articles on the internet, but I also don’t want to invalidate everything I know (or think I know) about the world. Something about Hillary Clinton scares me, but I’m not sure if that’s just the propaganda working very well. The solution is to read more but I don’t want to internalize more trash. Where should I start?

 

First, read Ezra Klein’s Understanding Hillary. Then read Michael Arnovitz’s Thinking About Hillary — A Plea for Reason, and since she scares you for no particular reason, see if you can spot yourself in Michelle Golberg’s The Hillary Haters.

 

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Advice

On having reservations

Maybe screaming down left wing voters for “having reservations” about Hilary is exactly the problem. Because that’s the entire Democratic Party approach in a nutshell, and it’s not working very well so far hey. Maybe, just maybe, some of these reservations are actually fucking legit and worth talking about. Maybe, this is time to talk about how a two horse race is a fundamentally flawed example of democracy.

The “Democratic” party expectation (and it is an expectation) that; —“If you are left-wing leaning you MUST vote for this person, no question about it, OR else YOU are responsible for fucking the world up with the Trump monster”—- is so incredibly far out of touch it’s condescending. Not to mention ironic. But I guess it does illustrate a fairly typical American view of ‘democracy’.

The truth is, Hilary Clinton neglected the core “Democratic” constituency long ago. Hilary Clinton will continue bombing the Middle East , funded by the banks, and we will continue on with the neo-liberal status quo, with rising global inequality and environmental destruction.

Maybe people don’t want that future. Maybe the conversation shouldn’t be about Clinton v Trump. Maybe the conversation should be creating a better system, for the long term.

But that’s hard, I know. Especially when screaming VOTE HILARY over all the (often valid) reservations is so easy.

 

Maybe, maybe, maybe.

Maybe you should quit acting like party unity is a fucking disease. Maybe you should recognize that creating a better system is a painfully slow process measured in decades rather than election years. Maybe it should occur to you that in this particular election, your left wing reservations are more dangerous than right wing ignorance. Maybe I should just tell you to go fuck yourself.

Listen, kid. You need to grow a thicker skin, because you damn well know what it is I do here. You love the way I write when you agree with me, but now that we’ve got some minor political differences, suddenly I’m condescending? Get the fuck out of here.

And you know what? As long as you’re voting for Hillary, we can sit around all day and talk shit about her centrism, her hawkishness, or her shitty position on Palestine. It’s a bit of a stretch for you to define truth on behalf of the core Democratic constituency, but hey, we can ramble on about global inequality and environmental destruction and the faults of a two party system for as long as you like, as long as you’re voting for Hillary.

I promise, kid. Screaming you down for having reservations is not the fucking problem. People like you deciding to stay home on election day is the fucking problem, because if Hillary loses, all those other problems that you care so much about won’t mean dick in an administration run by a narcissistic demagogue.

Your frustration with the system is justified. Truly, it is, and I totally understand your desire to make the conversation about something else, but you’re a childish asshole if you think you actually can. The conversation is about Clinton vs. Trump. You don’t get to change that.

Have all the reservations you want. Hold your fucking nose in the voting booth if you must. Resent the shit out of me for telling you this, I really don’t give a fuck, but goddamnit vote for Hillary.

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Advice

On third party voters

I fucking love my boyfriend, but I’m running out of arguments against his libertarianism. He is truly team Gary Johnson 2016. Help me find the right words to express why I think libertarianism is insidious and not the whole picture?

(To be fair, he always listens to what I have to say and we’ve come to the uneasy agreement that, while we hold most of the same beliefs, he simply has more faith in “individual choice” than I do.)

 

Libertarianism is for selfish children. Your boyfriend is a selfish child. Worse than that, he’s an self-aggrandizing sanctimonious asshole who’d rather use his vote to make an empty, ego-gratifying statement about “individual choice” instead of eagerly voting for Hillary Clinton in light of a grotesque clown like Donald Trump being the Republican Nominee.

I detest people who vote for third party presidential candidates. Some of you are probably too young to remember, but Ralph Nader’s Green Party candidacy cost Al Gore the 2000 election. Contemptible fuck-puppets like your boyfriend are the reason we got George W. Bush.

I will never forgive the Green Party for their role in the 2000 election, and if a Gary Johnson/Jill Stein circle jerk gets in the way of Hillary Clinton winning the presidency, I will hate the Libertarian and Green Parties even more than I already do now.

I know you want me to give you the magic words that will remove your boyfriend’s head from his ass, but there aren’t any. He’s gonna sit up there on his insipid pile of half-assed libertarian principles and pretend he’s on moral high-ground, and there’s not a god damn thing you can do to stop him.

He knows Gary Johnson will never be President, and he knows there’s a real risk of Donald Trump winning, but he doesn’t care. He’s such a selfish piece of shit that he would rather stroke his own smug-fuck male ego than do his civic duty to prevent a narcissistic garbage monster from having the nuclear launch codes.

Your boyfriend can go fuck himself, and you can tell him I said that.

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Advice

On your boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend

I’m obsessed with my boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend, or rather, with my boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend’s self-presentation. I feel good with him — secure, everything — after a year of togetherness. I feel as pretty as I normally do, which is not that pretty, yet also not (I hope) overly concerned with my face. And yet I can’t stop looking at pictures of her face, her outfits, her new nails. I no longer remember when or why I started.

The other day, I started looking through her tagged images. From there I started looking through her friend’s Instagrams for pictures of herself she’d untagged. I noticed she had untagged a photo of herself with my boyfriend, taken with what seemed to be a selfie stick, from about a month after he and I started dating, when he said he was no longer seeing her. I want to ask him about it, but I don’t want him to know what I’ve been up to — not because it’s wrong, but because it will make me seem pathetic in his eyes. I’m sure she’s not spending hours looking at pictures of me.

Am I pathetic? Am I…sympathetic? How do I find enough sympathy for myself to stop doing this, and should I try to get sympathy from him, or will I only get — only deserve — scorn and pity?

 

On general principle, never be jealous of anyone with a selfie stick. That being said, as much as it would please you, I seriously doubt that your boyfriend would react with scorn and pity if you were to bring up a year-old Instagram of him and his ex. You’re aiming a bit too high with scorn and pity. Those are soap opera emotions, which I suppose is my polite way of calling you a drama queen…

Read the rest over at Real Life Magazine.

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Advice

On some sage advice

You’re so desperate to sell your stupid book you’d rather answer questions that can serve you as a way to promote it more. What a shame, I come here for some sage advice I can relate to, not to see you answer obviously planted questions by you just so you can link your book to Amazon.

You’re a sellout to your own greed coke. Shame.

 

You want some sage advice? When a writer provides you with nearly a decade’s worth of free entertainment without so much as a single advertisement or sponsored content of any kind, you do not whine. You do not complain. You do not act like an ungrateful little shit-goblin by calling that writer a sellout.

What you do is show that writer some fucking respect and graciously click on the provided links and pre-order several copies of that writer’s book, because over the years the writer’s words have played a small but relevant part in your development as a human being, and you’ll eventually want to give the book as a gift to various people who are important in your life.

Then, after pre-ordering multiple copies of the book, you send a heart-felt note to that writer apologizing for your shitty attitude and rude behavior.

Shame, indeed.

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