‘A SOCIAL SUICIDE PROJECT’
Wondering into a pyramid of emotion
The throbbing of mental constraint and the desolation of ego
I walked through water
Becoming one with my breath and keeping a constant
Perforated vision so not to distract my mind
from its goal.
I had to re-find myself and in-turn
It is possible I am wrong about everything and it is possible that I am completely full of shit. These are my experiences.
Around the age of 12 my sister took me to my first ever show ‘Red Sparowes’ an instrumental band full of intensity. I was a very intense child. It was in the second grade that I have my first accounts of obsessive actions and intense, pulsating thoughts that wrapped around my brain like earth and the sun. I would sit in class with my head hurting so bad that I couldn’t focus on the teacher, so I would make up my own math assignments and fulfill them at my desk while she was professing English to the class. At that show where my sister reluctantly let me mosh my way to the front, I finally felt comfortable in a place where my insanity was welcomed. I would look around at all the teenagers and 20 somethings while the band would progress into louder drums and even louder distorted guitars and see the sheer aggression in their faces, but this aggression had love. The emotion was completely raw and authentic. I had never experienced that, and I saw a sense of logic to the chaos that brought this culture its purpose. It was a place for social norms to go and fucking die.
People only respect those who
they feel are a better version of themselves.
And fuck those people
And it’s true, people want to fit in, people want to feel normal but what about those mavericks who get outcasted by their peers. It’s amazing to watch social norms and the patterns in which the occur. Race taking place of religion, wealth in opposition of truth. Watch ignorance. See its patterns and acclimate yourself to it. If you are aware of someone else’s ignorance, then you should be fully aware of what is making that person ignorant. To adjust yourself and be able to converse with this person and rise you both to a better understanding is the ultimate service you can perform. When you approach a person from a mountain top they cannot hear your shouts at the surface.
But abolish it. I find myself running away from the fashion scene, the art scene and the students and towards the dropouts, the punks, and working-class adults. I love the people in my scene but the longer I’ve been able to sit in it, the more we grow stagnant. Continually change your surroundings and continue to be uncomfortable, that is the only way to change and grow. Commit Social Suicide and you will find a better version of yourself.
‘A Social Suicide Project’ continued
Following “A Social Suicide Project” I was compelled to express through design my struggles with bipolar OCD. Nearly 1 in 5 Americans experiences some type of mental illness.
This human commonality is the inspiration, thrust and vision for the ‘MILITANT’ project. I believe that there are those among us, the leaders, makers and shapers of thought that should band together and encourage a MILITANT attitude and approach toward the subject of mental illness.
The amount of aggression and animosity seen and felt by my peers is astounding. We’re overwhelmed by the buzz of ever escalating political bickering. We’re demoralized as we watch the schools we attend fall into disrepair and feel abandoned by teachers forced to seek greener pastures. Kids and young adults feel ever mounting pressure, often to the point of collapse. Under-exposed adults often have never gained a reasonable understanding of illnesses like anxiety and depression and lack the emotional vocabulary to offer effective help. Too often a person of influence may end up brushing off a serious illness as “just a phase.” I’ve learned that this patronization leads to a kind of resentment which is a common contributor to depression.
It is understandable that a parent would rather not believe that their child is depressed or anxious. Every parent wants their children to live normal and wonderful life. But it’s time we got the fuck over ourselves. MILITANT is about aggressive education and sharing. It’s about understanding that mental illnesses are a state of chemical imbalances in your brain and body. It’s about releasing yourself from a false self-induced stigma.
It’s about healing and sharing and growing and becoming a soldier that fiercely protects and offers steadfast prescience for those experiencing common struggles. Join us. Education is powerful. Use it. Share it.
‘THE ILLUSION OF CONTROL’
The fixation of supremacy over others or the justification of that to yourself diminishes the reality of what it means to be human. Society often corresponds to the subconscious turmoil of control. We want control over our future, our jobs, our households or even the dramatized and often brutalized ideals of romantic relationships. It’s easy to forget the responsibility we have as an intelligent species to be free. To be free from worry and to be free from the grips of opinion. To let go of control is to be free.
In 2012 I lost control for the first time. Growing up, every relationship I obtained from friends and family, to romantic relationships, was constructed based on my control. I was pronounced ‘father of the group’. I was the care taker. Each of my friends played a specific role, from the lazy stoners to the aggressive fighters, we all share a period of adolescent disposition. And this disposition was the loss of our adolescence. Every moment we spent together was a fast-forward button waiting to collapse the base of our teenage years. This set the precedent for the teenage angst that still resonates heavier than lead with this group. Sinking to the bottom fastest was my partner in mischief, who’s name we will refer to as Illusion. Where I was the aggressive pacifist he was the first to fight and where I was the first to think he was the first to jump. Everything about our friendship challenged my previous construct of relationships. In 2012 I lost control. We would steal his fathers’ car every weekend to go do doughnuts in our girlfriend’s driveways or take black-n-milds through neighborhood walks to find trouble to get into. We were hated by so many people in school because we went out of our way to break the confines of the school’s social normalcies. Despite constant suspensions and inconspicuous lectures from adults, we would never stop. In 2012 I lost control. They fought because they were angry, I was angry because they were. They only subconsciously knew why they were upset but the full scope of their behavior was lost on them. Granted they were some badass kids, but they were brilliant, often more intelligent than the other kids in school. I believe this played a huge role in consideration to their anger. In 2012 I lost control. The last car had been stolen and the last trip to school had been taken. Illusion made his final brilliant act. Illusion lost control of his fucking mind and brought brass knuckles to school, ready to forge metal. I could no longer play father. In 2012 I lost control.
The illusion ended with more of a haze of smoke than a parade of bangs. I wish the vibrations of this year had settled in my ears faster than they did, but the illusion is often comprised of processes that cannot be taken by shortcut.
“The spontaneous rapture,
the absolute disconnects of body and mind
When the soul is alternating between conscious and unaware
I am not a doctor but an expert on self-examination
Without any cure, an ongoing disposition
I am the most judgmental person to ever walk this earth.”
Judgements are often a shortcut. Think of the last time you were truly judgmental. The hypocrisy of your judgement more than likely came from your self-image of inadequacies. Things like not being enough, not inspired, over-weight, under-weight, or anything less than your ideals of perfection. The short-cut is taken place once you have given your control to your insecurities. Now instead of making the attempt at bettering yourself you have given into complacency; degrading them has risen you back to satisfaction and backed you away from self-improvement.
I gave away the illusion and Illusion, after over 2 years of hiatus, returned to my life. My judgments consumed my every thought. Anger settled in my heart like maggots in dead trees. I was angry that someone I trusted so deeply could do something so idiotic, something so irresponsible that inevitably predeceased the abandonment of all his friends that loved him. After pretending nothing had changed for some time, me and others couldn’t live with the weight of Illusions bullshit. In 2014 they abandoned him, and I returned to my father like status. The Illusion of control had set deeper into my roots. I had never seen such dysfunction. Fortunately for me my family is rather, well not normal, but loving and understanding. Illusion’s was not. In a house of three crying kids, an alcoholic father, an angry sister, jailed eldest brother, tortuous older brother and concerned mother; illusion couldn’t handle his surroundings and settled for a less than adequate romantic relationship. Drugs began to control his movements the way puppeteers govern their puppets. The manipulation of societal pressure had induced a coma on Illusions conscious. Now his talents evicted him. The errors of his ways proceeded him, in a way that overshadowed any redeeming qualities he may have previously acquired. Even his smile could forecast a paralysis of unfortunate events. Now when I see his smile I see height measurement lines, a number and a description of what happened. This was the year Illusion went away for a long time.
We grew accustomed to the dirtiness.
Some of us even began to like it, began to long for it.
I couldn’t stand it.
Its unbearable to watch but impossible to look away.
The personality of someone can be defined as the
qualities that form their distinctive character.
If you know anything about drugs,
I think those can define a person wildly more accurate.
So, what the fuck do you get when you mix it all into a blender
For one druggy milkshake.
Where the world feels like it’s pointing its maniacal finger at you, your only reaction is to panic and act compulsively. Behavior becomes erratic and your mental state becomes caffeinated. The Global Point. The world is out of control, so you try to control your own. This is the Illusion of Control.
Vickie Cocklin LLC. Master of psychiatry writes on her experiences with OCD.
My nerves were always bad. I was a worrier, like my grandmother. Doctor after doctor, test after test. Creams for the hives, pills for the bleeding ulcers. Sleep meds for the sleepless nights. Nothing for the bizarre body movements, nothing for the racing thoughts or the need to touch the roof of my mouth with my tongue 4 times to calm my nerves. No one could hear all the chatter in my poor little 16-year-old brain that had been going on for as long as I can tell. Nor did I ever tell anyone. That chatter interfered with my ability to pay attention in school, sleep, eat or maintain friendships. After the state championship volleyball game, I saw a picture of my team, the champions, celebrating. However, I was off a little from everyone although I was one of the star players. I was pushing my foot into the ground. How bizarre I thought as I looked at the picture. Actually, how sad. It was embarrassing so I switched that compulsive touch for finger presses, because it was easier to hide. I finally made it through high school.
I made it rather successfully through college with my anxiety. It became an effective way to manage all the to dos of university and having a full-time job. When I started my own business however, the intrusive thoughts came back. In a way that was significantly unmanageable. Pressing my tongue or fingers was not enough. Counting tiles, excessive exercise or checking the door so many unnecessary times never slowed the chatter down. I cannot count how many times I drove back around the block to make sure everything was okay. This time the chatter took on a more disturbing pace and feature. It used to be about perfection and still was however, now there was a component of fear and harm. I am a therapist for goodness sake this is not supposed to be happening. So, I went to a psychiatrist who promptly diagnosed me with OCD. What?! I am just stressed. Even though I had laughingly used the term OCD about myself I did not believe it. Now I had to really hide what was going on with me because I was also working with clients and I did not want to be judged or tell my family. Interestingly working with clients was the only time I could focus; my brain was in the moment but the minute I left everything flooded. I went on meds and got relief. I began to run and meditate. I reduced my caffeine, sugar and protected my sleep. And worked with a wonderful therapist that taught me more than university ever could.
She taught me that my life long struggle with anxiety fatigued my brain. My brain got tired so it put in a skill. Not a healthy one. But it was a skill. We called it a blanket. The blanket of OCD. Because it covered up all my anxiety that I was not having success treating. Now all I was concerned with was the touching door knobs, fingers and all the chatter. Wow. There it is. As I learned to deal with my underlying anxiety and starve the compulsions that the obsessions wanted relief from I got better.
As a therapist I got better too. It allowed me to be a great diagnostician because I can quickly see when someone is struggling with the chatter or voices or that monkey in your brain, whatever you call it. It also created a deep understanding and compassion for the suffering. I know it well.
Many children get diagnosed improperly as troubled kids when they are struggling with OCD. ADHD is one of the misdiagnosis and will firmly exacerbate it. It is estimated that 1 in 20 children suffer with OCD. Many people hide their OCD or think it to be normal. Those that suffer in silence usually do so because of the stigma still placed upon mental illness. OCD is an equal opportunist and affects equally across gender lines. So often it is accompanied with depression, anxiety or with bi-polar disorder. Mental illness is like having the flu or a cold. Take care of it. Get treatment. Don't hide from the reality that you are not well and you will find a healthy way.
It has taken me a long time to disclose my own struggles. I make no excuses for doing so but, I do understand how I have bought into the dogma of our society at a young age. It can appear to be easier to hide OCD and we can become masters of it. I thought not disclosing my struggles was saving everyone else the burden but in fact it was creating different problems. Finally I broke, I could no longer hide my internal issues. Those issues were affecting everything, so I reached out. Which was the beginning of a new and completely different understanding of mental illness.