College Thoughts

-Personal life update, feel free to disregard.-

My first semester of college is right around the corner and I couldn’t be more excited! I had a pretty rough high school experience, so it’s exciting to actually want to go to school. My plan so far is to do a year at my current college and then hopefully transfer into a nursing program. Anyone that knows me is aware that I overly plan ahead. I’m already stressing out on how I’m going to get all my prerequisites done in time to apply. BUT. I’m trying to stay in the moment and not get so far ahead of myself.

I’m so excited to start this chapter of my life. I’m nervous about how my mental health will hold up and if I’ll be able to handle all of this change. I’m nervous about being away from all of my friends and family. I know everyone around me is definitely tired of hearing me talk about college (oops).

Goals for my first semester:

  1. Establish a schedule
  2. Get more organized and stay that way
  3. Find a study method that works for me
  4. Stay in the moment
  5. Manage my mental health and ask for help when needed

I made the brilliant decision to take 17 credit hours. Cross your fingers y’all.

How do you guys feel about me posting personal life updates once in awhile?

Let me know in the comments.

Peace,

MaKaela

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Gun Control Slam Poem

 

 

Content warning: Suicidal mentions

I will never be able to own a gun

because when I was 13 I swallowed a bottle of pills and woke up a week later with a ventilator down my throat, dreaming of how easy it would be to find a gun.

My moods are like Russian roulette. You will never know when I’ll leave you damaged and raw.

I’ve never played poker, but when I get up in the morning, I might as well. It’s always a gamble who I’ll be today.

I will never be able to own a gun because some days I am bulletproof and the next I am the bullet. 

when you tell me you do not believe in gun control, I urge you to think about  all the young people in the world who have found more comfort in pain than they have ever found in you.  

-MaKaela

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Food for Thought: Social Media Distortion

I catch myself mindlessly scrolling through Facebook/Instagram/Twitter and the same thought goes through my head. What am I not doing to have such a beautiful life? Am I the only one missing out? The truth is, social media is designed to show your highlight reels.

Even with that knowledge, it’s easy to get lost. It’s even easier to develop higher and stricter expectations of yourself and others. While the idea of self love/realness is spreading around, a lot of people are left wondering “why doesn’t my life look like that?”

What would happen if we actually showcased our bad days? The messy hair, acne breakout, “I’ve -worn-the-same-sweatpants-for-a-week” look? Would social media become more or less appealing if we showed that vulnerability?

This week, I challenge you to take the time to recognize that no ones life consists of only highlight reels. Be vulnerable. Even if it’s only for you to see.

“Vulnerability is the only authentic state. Being vulnerable means being open, for wounding, but also for pleasure. Being open to the wounds of life means also being open to the bounty and beauty. Don’t mask or deny your vulnerability: it is your greatest asset.”

-Stephen Russell

Love,

The Practical Queer

a.k.a MaKaela

Accutane Nightmare

(personal story ahead)

About 3 months ago, I chose to take accutane after struggling with acne most of my teen/adult life. I didn’t realize how much it would change me as a person

I had originally tried Accutane at 16. The mental health side effects were creeping in. After 2 years, I figured im on the right medication to control my bipolar. Boy, was I wrong.

The first month was manageable. The second things started going downhill. By the third I barely recognized myself. I was constantly suicidal, exhausted 24/7,crying for no reason, and just being incredibly rude to everyone I love. I ruined friendships, relationship, and family connections.

Throughout all these side effects, I kept convincing myself that I could handle it. It only pushed me deeper into my self destruction.

If you are considering taking Accutane, please exhaust all options before doing so. None of this was worth it.

(Tldr : Accutane put me in the deepest pit of my life)

Stay safe, you are worth so much.

Xoxo,

The Practical Queer a.k.a MaKaela

Autism Speaks: Advocating for the People or Themselves?

As many of you may know, or may have seen on social media, it’s “Autism Awareness” month. You’ll see cars proudly sporting puzzle piece decals, #AutismAwareness. But what message does that really convey to autistic folks?

Using the term “awareness” creates a negative connotation, promoting fear and stigma. Autism speaks portrays autistic youth and adults as burdens that need to be cured, instead of human beings that are capable of living a fulfilling and happy life.

Where it Began

Created less than a decade ago, founders Bob and Suzanne Wright created Autism Speaks. Inspired by their autistic grandson, they dreamed of promoting effective advocacy, treatment, and family services. While the idea was strong, the foundation became anything but uplifting.

Did you know that out of all the proceeds donated, about 4% is used towards serving families with autistic family members/providing care for autistic adults and youth? If you take a look at the annual reports on their website, it’s nice and padded. A high percentage of funds are put towards a “cure.”

Controversy

In 2009, a video was released entitled “I Am Autism.” It was created for Autism Speaks. The video is quite disturbing and was taken down later. It features a series of different people, with an eerie voice narrating. The part that stood out the most was:

I work very quickly

I work faster than pediatric AIDS, cancer, and diabetes combined.

And if you’re happily married, I will make sure that your marriage fails.

If that didn’t disturb you, I’m not sure what will.

What You Can Do

Instead of using the term “Autism Awareness” replace it with “Autism Acceptance.”

Before you “light it up blue”, try these organizations that advocate for autistic youth and adults:

Autistic Self Advocacy Network

National Autistic Society

Autism Network International

Autism Women’s Network

TASH

Happy Autism Acceptance Month,

xoxo

The Practical Queer (a.k.a MaKaela)

When You Feel Like Giving Up

“It’s probably my job to tell you life isn’t fair, but I figure you already know that. So instead, I’ll tell you that hope is precious, and you’re right not to give up.”

-C.J Redwine

If you’re reading this right now, I’m going to assume you’re at a point in your life where things might feel a bit hopeless. Maybe you don’t know what you want to do. Maybe you’re struggling with a relationship issue. Maybe you just feel like life is too hard. I’d like to thank you for seeking out advice. Something in you is still holding on, because you’re reading this.

Take a deep breath. It might feel like nothing will change right now. I want to reassure you that every second, things are changing. How you feel right now can be different in an hour. Even if you might not feel it, you are constantly changing.

I want you to know that I am so incredibly proud of you for taking the time to be here. It’s hard being a person sometimes. It’s okay to admit that. So what keeps you going? What has gotten you this far? For me, I live for simple things. New books to read, warm showers, early mornings when the grass is still dewy, thunderstorms, concerts, and the people I love. What makes you want to wake up in the morning? (Or afternoon if you’re a night owl like me.)

What I Want You to Know:

You are valuable.

You are irreplaceable. There is only one, incredible, unique, you.

You matter. Your feelings, your voice, your brain, your actions.

You are enough. Even on the days where you don’t feel like it.

You deserve to be treated well.

You deserve love and respect.

I cannot promise you will feel instantly better, but I can promise you one thing.

Life is fluid, constantly changing, and worth waiting around for.

I want to thank you for taking the 5-10 minutes out of your day to listen to what I have to say. That is 5-10 minutes you might not have thought you could live through, but you did. So what now? Right now, this is the best time to self care. It doesn’t have to be a fancy bubble bath and wine to be self care. Sometimes self care comes in the form of eating dinner and going to bed early. Scheduling a therapy appointment. Whatever you need to do at this time to feel better, do it. Be gentle with yourself. There is only one you.

Remember that you are important.

Love,

The Practical Queer, a.k.a MaKaela

My First Week with Hearing Aids

On February 1st, I received my much anticipated pair of hearing aids! It was an emotional moment, not only for me, but my audiologist.

First thoughts: Wow, everything is very…. loud? There’s music in the waiting room? Everything is so intense.

My audiologist has his secretary ask me a question from the other room and I’m able to respond. I can’t believe it. We do a few tests, sound checks, cleaning instructions, etc. Then we step outside. I never realized how much sound there is outdoors. Birds. Lots of birds. Traffic is booming. I can’t believe how loud it is. I’ve been able to hear all of this, just not to this degree. I never realized how much I was missing until I got to hear it. Wow.

The Adjustment Period

The adjustment period has been rough so far. I’ve had to go back to my audiologist a few times, due to some static sounds (or maybe just sounds I’m not use to.) So far I’m only wearing them about 6-7 hours a day, because it can be VERY overwhelming in public. I’m struggling to gauge how loud I’m speaking/how loud my actions are. I realize this will become more natural in time, but right now it’s rough. Sounds like paper sound like tin foil, and things like knuckle cracking sounds more like knuckle breaking. To my hearing aid users, what was your adjustment period like?

I will most likely be updating monthly (or trying to.)

Xoxo

The Practical Queer, a.k.a MaKaela

PTSD Speaks: We Aren’t Just Veterans

PTSD is a whole-body tragedy, an integral human event of enormous proportions with massive repercussions.”

Susan Pease Banitt

PTSD. You’ve probably heard about it in commercials or from your neighborhood veteran. But what is it?

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder:A disorder in which a person has difficulty recovering after experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event.

The past few weeks have been particular rough for me, with PTSD flare ups being there more often than not. I call them flare ups because sometimes it’s like the chronic pain, other days worse than others but always lingering behind the corner.

I dealt with a lot of guilt in the beginning. Thoughts like “your event wasn’t traumatic enough to give you PTSD.

Others have it worse.”

You need to move on.”

A lot of people won’t understand your feelings. Some might try to relate. A small few will quietly understand, due to their own struggles.

What I want you to know:

Your traumatic event is valid.

Your feelings are valid.

Your triggers are valid.

Your responses are valid.

There will always be someone that understands, and if you can’t find that person near you, I will be your person.

We are not just veterans.

We are sexual assault survivors.

We are car accident survivors.

We are abuse survivors.

We are countless life altering event survivors.

Resources: Suicide Hotline-1-800-273-8255

Veterans Crisis Line- 1-800-273-8255 Ext. 1

Sexual Assault Line: 800-656-4673

Xoxo

The Practical Queer, a.k.a MaKaela

Fuck Your Stereotypes: Living With Bipolar

“Sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning and you think, I’m not going to make it, but you laugh inside — remembering all the times you’ve felt that way.”

 Charles Bukowski

Like other people, being officially diagnosed as bipolar was one of the most shocking and relieving things I’ve ever experienced- like hearing the answer to a question you already knew the answer to. After being officially diagnosed, I began learning how to manage and learned more about myself on the way. Here are my top 5 stereotypes

1. You don’t act/look/sound bipolar

You don’t look like a psychiatrist, I mean, what?

Most people have a general assumption of what being bipolar means. TV usually showcases extreme highs and extreme lows. While that can be the case, bipolar is a very manageable illness. Bipolar is complex and has many different categories and criteria. It’s important to realize that no two cases look alike.

2. Medication is the only way to be stable.

Refer to stereotype numero uno, where I mention that no two cases look alike. For some, medication is a fantastic way to manage mania/lows, while others find more holistic approaches that work for them.

3. Bipolar people are violent.

The truth is, the risk of violence for bipolar patients and non bipolar patients is about the same. The idea that being mentally ill makes you dangerous has been disproved countless times. Violence can be a symptom during an episode, but can be managed with the correct treatment and prevention plan.

4. Mania is fun!

Mania is usually a time of lack of good judgement, doing things you wouldn’t usually do. This might appear to be a good time, but in reality is dangerous for the person and the people around them. No one has the same manic experience, but the theme is usually the same: risk taking. This is another thing TV has glorified to appear as fun and full of endless opportunities, but in reality can leave you seriously injured mentally, physically or financially.

5. If you exercise/eat this/etc. you’ll be cured!

I saved this one for last because it is something I am passionate about. Everyone has their own treatment plan and the things that do or do not work for them. There becomes an issue when you tell someone they’re not treating it correctly. One last time for the people in the back, no two cases are alike. 

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xoxo-

The Practical Queer, a.k.a MaKaela