Life Experiences: An Alcoholic Parent

Certain positions you’re in are able to teach lessons you never really wanted to learn.

Case in point: Being the child of an alcoholic parent.

When you have a parent who is an alcoholic, there are a lot of hushed words that are never cleared up. Direct communication is waived as a way to avoid conflict, which could actually help the situation if used correctly. Hurt feelings go without elaboration, and wounds become scars that somehow break and fester in the wake of new offenses. It’s tough when the other parent is not alcoholic, because they have had to struggle with this experience years before you were even thought of. You may refuse alcohol, becauseΒ what if I turn out like them?

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Needs vs. Fears

I have been lazy for the majority of my summer, and on one hand, I don’t regret it. I took on far too much last semester, and I had resolved to make my vacation between semesters as stress-free as possible.

On the other hand, I’ve been lazy for the majority of the summer. I’ve been waking up as late as five-o’-clock in the afternoon for the past few weeks, and I’ve gone through the same routine. I wake up, eat and/or watch YouTube videos, have dinner with my family, then either get straight back into watching videos or playing an MMORPG. I do sometimes add to the fan fiction I talked about in a previous post, but aside from dates with my boyfriend and errands with my mom, I don’t get out much. That ordinarily wouldn’t bother me, except that now…it does.

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What it REALLY Means to be “Triggered”

If you’ve been on the Internet for any amount of time, chances are you have encountered the word “triggered,” or have seen a “trigger warning.” It became a meme, but as many things often unfortunately do, it was then turned into a disqualifying phrase. To say someone has been “triggered” has been synonymous with calling someone overemotional, their responses overdone, and designating what they have to say as less-than because they responded in a certain way. It has also been used to mean someone strongly disagrees with a stance. I have seen this most often used against the discussion of social issues, namely feminism. Because of course, “overemotional” responses can be disqualified as valid right out of the gate, right?

As someone who has struggled with mental illness–as well as someone who has known sufferers of mental illnesses–I started using this word about six or seven years ago, and it wasn’t meant to disqualify a position or a person. Me and other sufferers I’ve known have used it to alert someone to our mental state, which could mean the difference between a good mental day and a bad mental day. It could even go unsaid verbally, but there would often be clear nonverbal signals that let other people know, “I’m not okay.” Likewise, “trigger warnings” have been used to alert people with certain stressors to avoid content in order to not experience undesired symptoms.

But don’t just take my word for it. Let’s take a look around, shall we?

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“I DID A GOOD THING :D”

Last week, in the third installment of Why My Brain Sucks, I said there was an upcoming research competition I’d be participating in. Seeing as I contracted food poisoning a couple of days afterward, I haven’t been able to recount the experience in text form until now.

I couldn’t sleep a wink the night before. I think I got less than five hours of sleep, and only from what can be called two glorified naps. Regardless, I woke up at 5:30 AM to get ready for the 7:30 AM bus out of town, dressed all spiffy in a slacks suit. There was another student on the bus sitting in front of me, so we were able to have ridiculous conversation in order to wake ourselves up from being complete zombies. A television show plot combing plants and CSI came up, but we thought it was really awesome at the time. I had originally been planning on taking a nap on the way there, and I think I took a short one just before the bus got to our stop, but I didn’t mind the least. I also value a hearty conversation, no matter how silly (especially when I’m sleepy).

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Why My Brain Sucks 3

Tomorrow is the research competition, and I’m hardly excited about it. This sucks because not only is this my first time participating in something like this, but it is also my sponsor’s first time participating in that role. He puts a lot of stock into my ability to give a great presentation tomorrow, and I can’t help but think someone else should be doing this instead of me.

My suit is hanging out so I don’t forget that’s what I’m putting on tomorrow morning, and I’m about to put the finishing touches on my presentation. However, there is only a hint of nerves. Everything else is a dark hole in my head where excitement usually comes from. Other people might think I’m being really calm despite the circumstances, when the truth is that I don’t want to be. I’d welcome those emotions, because they’re normal.

I have exercised caution in telling even the closest of friends about my darker days. I don’t want to mar whatever positive image they have of me inside their head. It could be considered a dishonest thing to do, but can anyone blame me for wanting them to feel okay, even when I can’t muster it? I say this because I opened up to someone, and I fear I’ve lost them. This could be real, or could just be my stupid head talking, but either way I do feel like they’re gone. Even if this person told me everything was fine, I would have to disagree–things don’t feel like any semblance of okay.

There is an abyss in my head where thoughts and emotions should sprout from. A chunk of my chest has been cored out and hidden from me, and the absence is most definitely felt. I feel like less than half a person today, sitting in a classroom full of people who were really super happy. The guy next to me even remarked on it, and then noticed I didn’t exactly blend in. He didn’t ask further, because maybe he sensed I didn’t want to chat about it. It could have also been the fact that class was starting, but either way, it was one of those moments when I felt like I really didn’t fit in.

I’ve started to feel like I shouldn’t have been in certain places, doing certain things. Nothing illegal, mind you—sitting on the bus yesterday morning, talking to people at school, other such daily activities people don’t normally think twice about. It’s like I made a last minute decision and everything somehow feels wrong. All the while, life goes on around me, and no one knows the storm brewing inside me.

Why My Brain Sucks 2

I spent today trying to convince myself that it was going to be a good day. I had at least gotten my class reading done for today, even though I had totally forgotten about the minor group speech in class. I don’t know how my introduction managed to “blow away” our professor, but I’ll take it. I wasn’t in the mood to do much of anything today, much less talk to other people and present. I know that may sound antisocial, but such is the nonsense of an addled mind—I can be peppy and talkative one day, and run on autopilot anywhere from minutes to hours to a day later.

I asked for an egg and cheese omelette and got mac-n-cheese, instead. Normally this wouldn’t bother people, but for some reason today this had a profound effect. All I could keep thinking were things like:Β You should have just gone next door for a burger. No, you’ve been eating too many of those; the sandwich stand is healthier. You could have even just asked for the basic pasta+sauce combo and avoided the trouble. It seemed like just another notch in a day I couldn’t put faith into being a good one.

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Why My Brain Sucks

I feel it—the need to complete my work, borne of knowledge and routine. As a college student, this actsΒ as a clock that is always ticking. I know it well, have improved its parts over several years, and since I had to start on an academic schedule that was virtually my own I have felt something else

Procrastination—the desire to do anything but what I am supposed to be doing. At first, I thought it was just a matter of being lazy, of having to get over myself and “hop to it.” I internalized that if I got something done I would feel more motivated to do other things, and that works sometimes. However, it doesn’t work all the time.

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