How do you explain to someone that the reason you're there is because you feared being there in the first place?
I am in the process of signing up with the job network again (3rd time's a charm apparently) and one of the first questions they will ask, before begrudging my educational background, is why I flunked my last interview. It's a valid question and it has a simple answer: I was anxious about ending up in the very place that I inevitably ended up. I knew it was a possibility that I might end up back in the system and so I was plagued by that insecurity. How can you perform well, knowing that you will end up in a place where your mental health is treated like a child's plaything or is analysed by people with no more psychological insights than your average Dr Philip viewer? It is all a little too much. The fact that after I interviewed so badly, I went back and performed the same job that I'd interviewed for was a hard task, but I am a professional, so that is what I did. Same as when I have been called in to fill in for someone in the same role since. I bear no grudges to my interviewers. It isn't their fault I lack the capability to speak positively about myself or represent myself confidently.
So, that's where I am, back to where it just feels bad.
“Please stop talking about this. I don’t want to hear about it…”
I have heard this in relation to both my battles with depression and my battles with looking for work in a world that isn’t fair or responsive to my applications.
I kind of wonder if these people really know what they’re saying or asking?
So, what could this be interpreted as?
To a mind plagued by the muddle of depression and anxious, self doubting thoughts, they might perceive that their words are not worth being mentioned or heard, that people really don’t want to hear about it, lest they feel some sort of responsibility to help.
Thinking along these lines, they may eventually stop talking about it altogether, for fear of constant negative comments to be thrown back at them. These comments are not helpful, and can sometimes cause deeper wounds than the person intends. For most people, their intention is not to harm, it is to present an aspect of the world that those in dark places cannot access, however harsh those words can appear. At what point though is this helping, instead of mere bullying someone into thinking the ‘right’ way instead of accepting that people need a place to vent, a place to express the light and dark that they feel plagued by.
What happens when people stop talking about the darkness within them? Nothing. You think that they’re better, that they must be getting help, but it is nothing of the sort. They’re still dealing with it, away from your negative influence, still trying to prove that they have something offer to the world, but they’re still falling apart on the inside on a regular basis because they have to do it alone, believing that to ask for help is considered ‘wrong’ and it’s asking other people to ‘support’ them in ways they’re not prepared to.
Even if your intention is to help, it can be the wrong thing to do to make this big presentation of what you think people should be doing to ‘get better’. You can’t possibly know the true depths of that person’s suffering, or of where they have been or the path that they may already been on, and your words might just be that extra push down the wrong way.
It’s fair enough to say that I’m not good at asking for help with my mental health issues. I still have low self esteem, a self worth that, were it counted by numbers would be almost zero, and a history of self destructive thinking. And yet, despite all that, I still try. I try to make my life better.
Yes, I still get frustrated when things don’t work out the way I had hoped they would. I make comments about it on social media, only to suffer a negative backlash and accusations of not trying hard enough, but these people only know a quarter of the story. They are looking through lenses at only part of the picture. The total solution isn’t as easy as they believe it is. They do not live the life that I have, they do not deal with harsh realities in the same way because they choose not to. They don’t know the true impact of their words because I don’t share it with them.
I don’t talk about the true darkness that I go through because, simply put, I don’t want to burden people with it. I don’t want them to pity me because aspects of my life kind of sucks.
This post was written in relation to Write Love On Your Arm day on September 1O. On this day, people across the world will write the word ‘love’ on their arms as an acknowledgement of the pain of the sufferers of mental health issues such as self harm and suicidal thoughts and to raise awareness of this ongoing issue.
From the day that the Rise Up Program was created, nothing was ever the same again.
Feeling a need to combat the rising unemployment rates, the Australian Government asked for tenders depicting programs that would create employment opportunities for the thousands across the country. From out of the murky shadows stepped United Front, a training facility. The whereabouts of its corporate headquarters remains unclear, as do the identities of its administrators.
United Front Presented the Australian Government with a program that not only provided unemployed people with work skills based training opportunities, but also a rehabilitation and mental health facility to combat the other issues that plague jobseekers. This program was to be a not-for-profit run piece-of-good that United Front were prepared to administer. This program was Rise Up.
Initial running costs for Rise Up were high. The reason for this was a one-of set up cost. There is nothing untrue about this statement. To engineer equipment to make such radical changes, the cost would have been quite high.
High costs were paid by all, but perhaps none more so than the individual participants themselves.
In their truly unfortunate existence, these people refer to themselves as 'we'. They have lost all personal identifiers of their former lives. Their time is spent in the endless pursuit of long term employment. This journey can last anywhere between three and six months, depending on the individual needs. If required, a participant is enrolled in a unit of study. Scholarly types may excel in such an environment, but many of the 'We' feel pressure to pass a course that they have no interest in.
Their futures are pre-determined for them, filling industry gaps without care for individual wants or needs.
At the time of publishing, it has been suggested that for those who defy orders, reasonable or not, plans for enforced conscription in the armed forces are already in place.
The rumours of behavior modification have never been fully proved by this media outlet or any other despite effective searches.
For every element of truth that we uncover, several lies surround it, thus making the truth all that more surprising and ridiculous.
The truth of the We has been difficult to find.
That alone leads questioning minds to wonder why
When I wrote the post about building a desk, I never thought it would get the amount of reads that it did. At the time, I didn’t really have a clear idea about how gender image, when discussed without referring to sexuality, could be seen.
Anyhow, I did some research over the last week and I read this book called Delusions of Gender: The Real Science Between Sex Differences and it raised some interesting points about how we see particular genders and how those expectations of societal ‘norms’ can shape and damage us.
If we see a child dressed in pink, we assume that the child is a girl, just as we assume the child dressed in blue is a boy, because that is the way we’re told to think, ever since we were children ourselves. It is what society and retailers expect of us as we see onesies in those pastel colours all over the place. To overcome any errors when talking to friends who have infants, I ask the parents what the child’s name is before making any out-loud assumption on gender.
“Cross-gender behaviour is seen as less acceptable in boys than it is in girls: Unlike the term ‘tomboy’, there is nothing positive implied by its male counterpart the ‘sissy’. Parents were aware of the backlash they, or indeed had, received from others when they allowed their children to deviate from gender norms.” Page 2O3
I put a reference to this quote on Facebook to debate with my friends. The responses were interesting, with one person asking if Tomboy was ever used in a positive way. Possibly this was after my comment that it was semi-positive, though never having referred to myself of had it used to refer to my own behaviours, I may have the wrong end of this. I know of people who used this term as they were growing up to define themselves and their behaviour when it went outside of social expectations for females.
I didn’t grow up with brothers. If someone needed to bring wood up for the fire, including cutting it up, my sister and I were expected to do it. My mother and father shared lawn mowing and cooking duties. If my car needed an oil change, my father taught me how to do it, so I didn’t have to rely on others to fix it. I will try to lift heavy items myself safely, but will ask for help if needed from anyone near me. I can put up a tent by myself. My use of manual tools to put together shelves and desks isn’t a thing of perfection, but the fault of that lies in my home-grown skills and not in my gender. I was even in the scouts briefly, leaving because I was made to feel uncomfortable because of my gender minority.
This book discussed a lot of issues relating to gender stereotypes and how we can restrict our own choices because of gender expectations.
Have you ever been put in a situation where gender stereotyping has stopped you/ restrained you from participation in cross-gender activities?
I was watching roller derby training last night, seeing how skaters whipped off of each other when I realised, not for the first time, that since I began roller derby several years ago, a lot has changed in the evolution of the roller derby whip, at least for my league.
I'm not an expert or anything remotely cool like that. I choose not to do contact now that I'm not aiming to get my star levels of minimal skills, but as I watch, I do notice how things have changed.
It used to be that, as the person giving the arm whip, that you weren't allowed to hold onto the other skater. You were just there to give up some of your momentum to help them. I can see the point of directing skaters on the right path though, but sometimes it seems a little less powerful.
It's more noticeable, to me, watching them give and take booty whips. It used to be that you really pulled on another skaters hips, really almost pulling them to a backwards stop, now it's almost a gentle caress of their hips as people skate past.
It is probably just a change in the way that we're training as opposed to a genuine fear of whipping properly for fear of hurting your own team-mate.
It's also possible that I'm just rambling because I haven't blogged in a while.
Image for this blog piece taken from: http://www.kaboodle.com/reviews/whip-it-roller-derby-t-shirt
I haven’t written anything new in ages. It all seems to be rethinking old ideas that flourish brightly but never make it past the whole ‘idea’ stage.
It’s the dreaded Writer’s Block, here with me in all its nasty blankness.
Even writing this is like a trial, feeling like I’m using up space on my computer where something else might go.
Instead of writing I’ve been thinking, stressing and making fun of reality tv and the people that populate them because that seems to be the extent of my brain capacity lately.
Even putting together a submission for a publisher takes me forever, thinking about what to write instead of letting my instincts take over my fingers.
There isn’t much else to say.
“Hey Muse, come back! I want to be a writer again!”
Please come back muse.
I miss you and the work we create together.