About Monday Night

I swore I wouldn’t get political. I swore that I would keep my opinions about what’s going on in America to myself. I swore to not let it bleed out onto social media.

But after Monday night and seeing some of the fallout from the presidential debate, I have to say something because this is galling.

I do not make it a secret that I am someone who lives with a variety of mental illnesses that debilitate my ability to live a normal, functional, adult life. The doctors, therapists, school counselors, and teachers I have encountered over the past twenty-three years have described it as thus: generalized anxiety with social phobias and some shades of agoraphobia, chronic depression or bipolar type II, sensory processing issues, and “(vague gesturing) Somewhere on the autism spectrum” due to elements of ADHD and Asperger’s being expressed, chronically, as early as four, five years-old; since all three (well, two, with Asperger’s expulsion from the DSM) exist on, well. A spectrum.

What a rat’s warren of words. It’s easier to lay everything out in the context of day-to-day functionality. I’ve found that examples and comparisons work the best when explaining it to others.

After Monday night’s debate, I now have a short-hand way to refer to how I interview for job positions: Donald Trump’s performance in the first presidential debate, without the interruptions, talking over, and snarky comments.

Bullet points are nice and easy to read, so please allow me to explain this comparison further:

  • Persistent and uncontrollable tics. Trump’s snorting is practically a meme at this point. My hand-flapping and frequent gesticulation, most especially when I’m anxious and trying to collect my thoughts in a conversation, is just as noticeable.
  • Inability to answer questions. Trump went off on tangents and, from all appearances, seemed to forget the question while trying to navigate through the sheer mess of what he was saying. This is likely my biggest problem when interviewing: My brain is in panic mode, “fight or flight and I just want to flight from this room” so I can hardly listen and process what I’m being asked. But to sit there in silence while trying to pull my thoughts and understanding together is an interview no-no; I need to say SOMETHING so I will go off on the first thought I have that may or may not result to the bulk of the question. For example: “Where do you see yourself in five years?” My brain is like “OKAY so we need to say STUFF RELATING TO THIS COMPANY while also EMPHASIZING STRENGTHS” so I will talk about my writing and computer abilities. Only that’s what I get stuck on talking about. I catch myself, mid-tangent, but I cannot remember the question. I remember “FUTURE” and so I talk about how awesome learning to program would be or maybe becoming a therapist to help people who are like me and HOLY SHIT I cannot stop talking until I manually cut myself off. And leave the point awkwardly hanging.
  • Similar to that mess up there, I over-emphasize the points that my panicky brain thinks are good. So the answer might just turn into “In the FUTURE I will be a published author while still advancing the FUTURE goals and mission statement of your company all in the FUTURE.” Complete, of course, with physical hand gestures and syllabic stressing. How much did Trump want to emphasize his PROPERTIES and ENDORSEMENTS on Monday night?
  • Inability to control facial reactions. Trump read, to me, as contemptuous but overwhelmed, just on facial expressions. I saw no composure, no poise, and, certainly, not a shred of dignity. When an interviewer asks me a question that prompts thoughts of “oh shit how do I answer this” my expression is…”oh shit how do I answer this.” Just as composed, poised, and dignified.

It’s no small wonder, then, that every single job that I have interviewed, with only a resume preceding the interview, I am never called back. After all, with the job market the way it is, someone with my education, my capabilities, my capacity to learn, my writing abilities…Most certainly, that candidate has also applied. But that candidate doesn’t have a panic attack in the interview room. That candidate is able to approach the interview as a conversation, a dialogue, and present themselves as someone who doesn’t crack under pressure. Me? I’m trying to end the experience as quickly (but politely) as possible so I can have a panic attack in the car and thank every God and angel I can think of that it’s over. I certainly won’t get the job but the interview is OVER and the danger is GONE. And, in that state of mind, that’s all that matters.

The only jobs that I have held had tests to complete before submitting the application. The teller job? Mathematical test. Call center job? A multiple choice test navigating heavily-idealistic inbound customer calls. Data entry job? They wanted a minimum 30 WPM and I just tested at 80+ WPM. I would not be surprised that those who have hired me, even after the catastrophic interviews, they look at the tests and say, “Well, she’s a disaster in-person, but holy crap does she kick our testing standards in the teeth.”

With all this in mind, I have to admit, I’m shocked that people looked at Donald Trump’s performance Monday night and declared him the winner. Not even considering Hillary Clinton’s performance. They saw Donald Trump press his case for becoming President of the United States of America with all the grace of a young woman with a debilitating anxiety disorder.

And people judged him capable of being the President.

So, I would like to ask the job interviewers who judge Donald Trump’s performance as acceptable, even laudable:

How about you hire me?

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8/1/2015 – Acceptance

Nearly a year since I started this space of screaming into the void, ostensibly as a daily exercise, but then my capacity to write anything I would ever feel comfortable with the thought of others seeing evaporated. Tears in a desert. I am not okay and I am not well, but I told someone important that I would keep writing, so here it is. Me, writing. Raging internally because the truth is a weapon that will slit my throat as surely as any act of self-destruction. If I must die, then I want to, at the very least, exercise control over the way in which I leave the world.

So maybe this is less a potential resource of writing things, or coping with neurodivergence, and maybe more shitposting akin to Tumblr, though I have to say, that particular medium scares the shit out of me. I won’t stress about writing “engaging material” or something that will make what I blather about more of interest to a usual audience. I don’t think I ever displayed myself as any sort-of authority on writing, or anything else, but I loathe the thought of it anyway. If I ever taught writing classes, it would be in a forum like the alleged philosophical trades of ancient Athens. Every writer has a fresh perspective on the medium. Yes, you too. If I insist that is true of all writers, then I must insist it is true for me, as well as for you, imagined reader. There are no teachers, no students, among writers seeking to learn. There is only experience and observation to be traded.

Well, beyond the groundwork of grammar and the mechanics of writing. To best break the rules, one must know what the rules are, and what is communicated in breaking those rules.

Anyway, this is more of a “I’m alive and will be trying to post daily, though those daily posts might be kind-of soft and silly” but hey. Maybe this is a living will. Maybe is just a way to immortalize my observations and insight so another may benefit from them, that other being someone like me, or a casual observer watching the flaming car crash with polite interest.

Today I will rest, read things I enjoy, and maybe start the process of making Baldur’s Gate playable on my machine. For, as ill as I’ve been lately, I have done things that are fun. And I thought about sharing my silly ruleset for the Sims 3, as well as my tips for people struggling with Nightmare mode for Inquisition. Maybe I’ll put those together and…Who knows.

So I’ll end this with something this important person tells me all the time, even though I can never make it true. But maybe you’ll have more luck?

Be kind to yourself.

Writing 101: No Equivalent Exchange

Assignment

(Part three of a series exploring existence with anxiety and depression, previous parts found here.  Content warning for potentially upsetting material, as I’ll be reflecting on a particularly troubling day, which includes references to suicide and suicidal idealization.)

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Writing 101: The Worth of an Atypical Mind

Assignment

(As a companion to my previous post concerning life with anxiety and depression, this post comes with a similar content warning concerning my own thoughts on these conditions.  Though this post should be a bit more positive…I’d rather not risk someone in an uneven state-of-mind blindly encountering writing that may be potentially damaging.)

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Writing 101: The Casualties of Anxious Living

Assignment

Content warning for this post, since I’ll be discussing my own experiences with anxiety and depression.  Per the instructions, this is the first in a series concerning this topic; rest assured, I will also include a warning for those.

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