Self-Acceptance Archive

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  • My Experience with Wicca and Pagan Spirituality

    When they asked us in rehab that March of 2013 what our spirituality consisted of, I said that is was “Somewhere between yoga and fireflies.” I was getting very into yoga. I felt that the states of greater transcendence I reached while practicing to be closest to the spiritual as I, a die-hard atheist, could get. I felt that the grandeur of nature and expanse of the universe was a higher power, but I couldn’t get behind the idea that the universe would have anything to do with me or want to help me. I felt insignificant in the galaxy, a mote of dust, a sheep, as AA professed.

    Art with Mental Health Detritus

    I enjoy using pill bottles and Saphis casings as frames for my mixed media oil paintings. Stockpiling and creating from the detritus of my illness makes me feel as if I am doing something positive and healing. In so openly declaring my illness in visual art, owning it, I feel I am working towards destigmatization. These three paintings were created in the same series of recent work.

    How To Lose Friends and Not Yourself

    You are not the sum of what your friends tell you. Despite what people say, no one knows you better than you know yourself. They receive a projection of you. You know how you are, and you know how you tick.

    My Experience with Detox and Outpatient Rehab

    My alcoholism reached a head in spring of 2013, brought to desperation by the death of my wife and my subsequent despair. By this point I was drinking from three pm onward everyday, first wine and then vodka, whiskey or rum. Nothing would bring her back, but I could annihilate myself. It was starting to dawn on me, though, that this was making me nothing but miserable. I wasn’t going anywhere or doing anything. I wasn’t socializing or running errands. I could barely cook. Being on disability, I wasn’t working. My full-time job was getting to the bottom of the bottle.

    I want Sexual Accountability

    Trigger Warning: Mention of rape

    I am beginning to pathologize the sexual desperation I have felt for a cis-male-flesh-cocked lover in my life lately. This is new for me as I have mostly never been able to enjoy penis-centric heterosexuality and I consider myself exclusively queer. I have been incredibly weighed down by my sexual dysfunction for my entire sexual life. By sexual dysfunction, I mean my inability to experience healthy arousal, be orgasmic and/or connect sexually with another person without fear of becoming triggered. I haven’t had many positive end results when attempting to experience sexual pleasure with another person of any gender/orientation.

    Naming Names – Putting Agoraphobia Into Words

    I still don’t know how to talk about agoraphobia. I’ve been trying to figure out how to explain it to people since I was 16 years old, but I’ve been largely unsuccessful at putting it into words. I’ve mostly just stayed quiet about it and used vague “anxiety” euphemisms to describe why I can’t hang out / go to work / go to class / go grocery shopping / whatever, and have also spent a lot of time struggling to come up with “legitimate” ways to account for what I do with my time while NOT doing these things, especially since spending [lots of] time alone or in my “safe zones” is actually super positive for me. For almost 20 years, I’ve had no concept of how to talk about this enormous part of me that has both limited me in humongous ways and also shaped me into the wonderful weirdo that the people close to me know and love.

    My Experience with Dissociative Identity Disorder (Lily)

    Trigger Warning: Self-Harm, Abuse, Rape, Human Trafficking

    I’ve been half-aware that I’m multiple since about the age of fourteen, when I started to realise that it really wasn’t usual for people to experience severe blackouts and time loss and memory issues (lasting hours, days, weeks, months and even years); that it wasn’t usual for people to so routinely and constantly be addressed by a completely different name by strangers who will insist that you have met them and that your name is something else; that it wasn’t usual for moods and personalities and tastes to change so drastically and so constantly. I had no word for what I was experiencing; I had no knowledge and no understanding and after about a year of being so, so aware of this I finally told my (then) therapist about those experiences. The result? A long lecture about self-diagnosis and “making up more lies to make my supposed PTSD more believable” followed by being asked about where I had researched Dissociative Identity Disorder and that I did know that it was made up and not real and that nobody would ever believe me. So, for almost ten years I hid it except from a very close friend online and one of my partners (he lived with me so it was very difficult to hide).

    I’m not in denial, what are you talking about?

    I would like to welcome the newest member of our writing team, Starfish. In her first post with us, she tells us her coming out story. Thanks for sharing with us, Starfish!

    When I decided to confide my doubts about my sexuality to my mother when I was 13 years old, I had a vague idea of how she would respond. She had always impressed upon me that discrimination was bad and that homosexuality was ok and not to be made fun of. When I choked out, ‘I think I might be bisexual’, I thought she’d be surprised. Maybe ask if there was a certain girl I liked.

    Fighting for Responsibility of Ourselves

    I would like to welcome the newest member of our writing team, Kaity Marie Baldwin. In her first post with us, she talks about taking responsibility for one’s own mental health. Thanks for sharing with us, Kaity!

    It took me a long time to realize how lucky I was: a psychiatrist, a therapist, medication. All of these arranged in my life to provide the support I so desperately needed but wished I didn’t. Who wants to see a psychiatrist for the rest of their lives? Who wants to need therapy sessions? Support can sometimes be a reminder of why you need it, and it makes you feel so helpless.

    Bad Psychiatry Still Haunts Us

    In 1988, when I had just turned 14, I made the life changing mistake of trying to figure out what I was using the materials I had on hand. In this case, it was a copy of the book written by Dr. David Reuben in 1968, “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (But Were Afraid to Ask).” The book came from my mother’s top shelf on adult topics, and for a kids just hitting puberty and dying slowly with the changes, I needed answers. Namely, why did puberty feel so wrong, why did I feel a need to be female, and why did I pray every night to wake up right.