People Who Look Down on You for Mental Illness

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Sometimes I’ve worried about being so open about my own mental illnesses and specifically, my struggles with depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. There is a part of me that absolutely know that there are a few narrow-minded people who probably read my posts (if they even bother) and then feel superior or like there is something wrong with me because I have these struggles. Some of these people are even distantly related to me in one way or another. I can see them being gleefully smug, shaking their heads and thinking people like me make all this up for attention or just don’t want to be working members of society. I can hear the Fox News points they would reiterate right now.

So, knowing that is likely going on behind my back, why do I even bother? Because I want to be genuine and real. I want to be me. I want to be honest. I want to help others feel less alone. And I figure if those people mocking me weren’t too narcissistic or proud to seek help, a psychiatrist or psychologist would have a field day with them anyhow! After all, who is the worst person? The person that has real struggles and issues and admits to them and works on them, or the person who thinks they are better than everyone else and has to gossip behind other peoples’ backs to feel better about themselves?

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The Idea of People

"Lust and Envy" by Maranda Russell

The Idea of People
Written By: Maranda Russell

I love the idea of people,
but I must admit
the reality
often fails to meet
my high expectations.

Moving Sale! Selling a House is a Pain in the…

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So…my husband and I are in the process of selling our home and looking for a smaller, less expensive place. We simply don’t need a big house with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a full basement, and lots of other room just for the two of us. I have quickly learned that getting a house ready to sell is a nightmare in some ways though! Here are a few things we are dealing with:

*This past weekend we had a moving sale. Man, that was rough! Getting stuff ready for the sale, dealing with all the people the day of the sale (two of which got in a heated exchange over a tea cart they both wanted), having people trying to wander off and take stuff from parts of the house that were NOT for sale (one even took a couple pictures off the wall), having to get the leftovers ready for charity to pick up, and throwing out my back so that now, two days later, I can barely do anything.

*My idea of clean is obviously not a realtors idea of clean. I am not an extremely dirty person, in fact, I’m normally quite organized, but I am kind of bad about dusting, washing windows, and other stuff like that I simply don’t think of much. I also tend to have to pick what tasks are most important due to my health problems, so when I do clean, obvious messes, stains and frequently used areas get first priority.

*Having four cats makes it really rough to get a house in showing shape. They constantly make messes, and get cat hair in every square inch of the house.

*Apparently, when showing a house you have to “stage” everything. I’m supposed to take a normal, lived-in home and make it look like the showcase floor of a furniture store or something. Not enough furniture = bad. Too much furniture = bad.

*I never realized there were so many things wrong with our home until seen through the eyes of a realtor! Other people often comment that our house is really nice, but after listening to the realtor, I felt a little bit like I was living in a shanty or something.

*Trying to fix the timing so that we will have a new home to move into at the same time we find a buyer for our current home is stressful. Really hoping we don’t end up having to live in a motel or something in between!

Yes, I have autism and I am proud!

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Not too long ago, after a lengthy round of psychological testing and lots of other mind-probing activities, my psychologist broke the news to me that I do officially have autism. The autism I have is a high-functioning type called Asperger’s (or at least it used to be called that, now they are starting to just refer to it as “high-functioning autism”). So why did I even go at my age (30 years old) to be tested? Because of some of the issues I was having, especially with sensory problems and anxiety.

I have always had sensory problems. In fact, I still have to cut all of the tags out of my clothes, can’t stand the feel of many clothing materials against my skin, refuse to eat many foods due to texture and scent issues, cover my ears when I am around certain high-pitched noises and sometimes have mini panic attacks in large crowds due to the overwhelming amount of noise and movement around me. I have learned to control myself so that most people don’t notice in public, but believe me, if you lived with me, you would think I was crazy sometimes.

As for the anxiety, I always knew I had generalized anxiety and social anxiety, especially around “small talk” situations. I am fine talking at length about things that interest me and that I know a lot about. In fact, I have learned to limit how much I talk about my “obsessions” because it starts to bore others after a while. In the past, I just survived the anxiety by avoiding most social situations, but now that I am finally living my dream as an award-winning author, the last thing I want to do is give up that dream because I am afraid of discussing the weather with strangers.

So anyhow, ever since I have been diagnosed, some people seem to act like it is some big, shameful secret I should hide. Heck no. I am proud to be who I am, eccentricities and all. I do not consider myself “disabled”. At only 30, I am following my passion, have a wonderful marriage (to a very understanding husband) and have the true love and devotion of those closest to me. That is another thing, many people seem to thing being autistic means “unable to love”. Not at all. Sure, we can be harder to get to know and seem out of it and self-absorbed at times, but once we let you in and get close to you, we can be some of the most loyal people around.

So, yeah, we might rock back and forth or hum when we get nervous or get lost every time we venture more than five miles from home. We may stare off into space all the time or freak out over stuff you don’t understand. We might have weird eating habits and lots of OCD tendencies that raise eyebrows. We may collect nerdy stuff and want lots of alone time to recharge. But we have very good hearts underneath it all. And remember, just like so-called “normal people”, no two autistic people are exactly alike. Get to know us as individuals. If you take the time to do that, I truly believe that you won’t be disappointed.

Are you a book snooper?

I’ve always been one of those people who like to snoop around someone else’s house.  I’m not the kind of person who snoops through the medicine cabinet or sneaks into someone else’s bedroom, but I am constantly on the lookout for one thing…books.

So why do I search out books?  Personally, I believe that you can tell a lot about another person by the kind of books they read.  You can quickly find out if they have a nerdy streak, are into history, read nothing but celebrity magazines, have a taste for classic literature or get their kicks from comic book collections such as The Simpsons or Garfield.

I take notice first of the books that are lying around on coffee tables, kitchen counters, bathroom counters or even the floor.  That way you have a snapshot of what they are in the middle of reading (or have just finished reading).  If there are no books lying around anywhere, I look for bookcases and check out the titles offered there.  It is really fascinating when you find a book you would have never imagined that person owning.  Like a mild-mannered person owning a collection of books on sexual fetishes, or a fanatically religious person owning Southpark comics.  I don’t pass judgement, but it’s interesting to see how much more there may be below the surface to the people you thought you knew well. 

Just in case you are a closet book snooper, here is what you would find in our house right now.  On the coffee table are two Oprah magazines, a 2nd grade literature textbook, a collection of classic horror stories, a book about a Mengele twin who survived the holocaust, a book about weight loss for teenagers, several books about writing and two books about controversial issues that Christians are often afraid (or unable) to reasonably discuss.