who the heck knows anything, anyway

Monday, June 12, 2023

june 12

I started this blog in (*checks timeline*) 2010. I was a borderline child (I don't know if you've met many 20-21 year-olds, but they are still pupae. I'm not sure a person can be described as fully-formed until the age of 27...if ever). Looking back at old posts--which I just unarchived--I am a little embarrassed. I don't know what I've written in the ~200 posts prior to 2022. Am I somewhat worried about people scouring my shit for absolutely stupid things I've written? Yes. Because people can be really mean. But I've never been a really mean person, so I don't imagine I've said many mean things (at least not targeted at groups of people that aren't conglomerated into The Government of Any Particular Country). Still, the fear remains. I'm hoping you are all kind to me and my past self. 

Past-self didn't know a lot about me. She didn't really know that she was sick--she had ideas, inklings, but not the clinical words to put to it. 

I thought I had run-of-the-mill depression, but didn't see anyone for it. I learned (professionally) in 2012 that I also have OCD. I learned in 2017 that I also have type II bipolar. Honestly, these should have been diagnosed when I was in high school. The signs should have been a hint to the adults around me (self-harm, periods of insomnia, periods of hypersomnia, trichotillomania, paranoia, near-crippling anxiety, physical compulsions that helped me "prevent" plane crashes and being murdered...the list goes on) but--as close as the early-mid 2000s are to now--mental health interventions were not easily available, and I was "high-functioning" (which, to be fair, did make it a little less obvious if you weren't looking for it). There was a hangover, I think, from a 1990s fear of over-medicating children. I was also afraid of being diagnosed with something bad. My maternal grandmother had a host of mental health issues, and she was estranged from everyone. A "bipolar" diagnosis of any kind was, in my eyes, a point of immense shame.

Around that same 2016-2017 time period, I learned that all of my crazy physical body issues were related to a trifecta of conditions abbreviated to EDS/MCAS/POTS. It led to an exciting few years of figuring out medications that worked together. I'm still working on that, in fact; juggling pills and tinctures and physical interventions, constantly assessing my state of mind in case something's amiss. Honestly, I feel like my body is The Great Betrayer; it doesn't do so many things it's meant to.

I haven't written in years. I had to stop tattooing when I got really sick, and Oregon does not make it at all easy to get re-licensed, so I haven't started again. I've done freelance art stuff off-and-on, which is great, but all those comics I used to write? As I said, I haven't written in a long, long time. I developed mild aphasia for a couple of years, which didn't help. My blog was generally abandoned in 2015. 

It's the writing that hurts the most. I spent my life writing--wanting, deeply, to be a writer. It felt like a super-power, too; it was the thing I was good at (not sure the blog demonstrated this, though. haha). I had stories in my head, I had a laptop, and I had a host of professors and peers cheering me on. I even got a few things published. But after I graduated with my MFA, something inside of me died. My thesis advisor and I had very different ideas, and my whole thesis--two years of work with other advisors--was gone. I had to rewrite everything. What I came away with was dead words on a dead page bound in dead cow skin. 

All this is to say that I'm very different now. I have more nuanced views of the world. There are things I can't do--I know that--and there are other things I very much wish I was doing. I can't be everything I want to be. None of us can. It can be painful, but we grow, we transition into new beings. We are each a Ship of Theseus, all the way down to our cells.

Vulnerability shouldn't be a curse, but a gift. So I'm leaving my old posts up. Please, again, be kind to my young self, for all her flaws and strange perspectives, because she was her own person as much as she is a part of me. She deserves to be remembered.

Aside: I'm glad that "kids these days" have a chance to get help early. The internet is full of resources that didn't exist when I was a kid, and many parents are more familiar with the early signs (because many in my cohort are having kids, and a lot of us have mental health issues). I wonder who I could have been if I'd had help sooner. I'm very (extremely) lucky in having found a partner who cares about me so much that none of this has affected our relationship, but in another universe, baby Killian grew up to be a paleontologist or a neuropathologist because wasn't too terrified to take college science classes. She probably has a lot of student debt, but she's always knee-deep in dirt or elbows-deep in brains.