Worries, Concerns, etc

Hey there, blogworld.

A weird thing happened earlier today. You might have noticed that over on the right side of the blog home page, I have a little area I like to call “Poll-Land” (different from Poland in many ways) that has a bunch of open polls. The one that’s gotten the most responses is the first one, which asks what has brought you to the blog. That has a write-in option.

Today, I checked on the write-in responses just because I’m curious and I hadn’t in a little while, and one of the answers to the question was a very simple “I am suicidal.”

Hmm. That stood out among the usual “Reddit,” “the west wing,” “friends with your parents” responses. (which I do appreciate, of course)

There is obviously the possibility that the response was some kind of trolling or joke or something, which I don’t find to be especially funny and hi, I (a real live person) read those responses, and please don’t say shit like that. But I’m going to proceed as if that’s not what happened because I like to think that even on the internet, people are mostly genuine.

So, to the person who wrote that, if you were serious and if you have returned to my blogland, this is for you.

First off, I am in no way trained to help you out with that! The US National Suicide Prevention hotline is 1-800-273-8255 and I encourage you to call it! They’re trained to help you out and will do a far better job of it than I could.

But beyond that, I’ve been feeling lately that a lot of the chatter on MS message boards and online communities is scarily defeatist, and if you’re suicidal because of MS (which can often cause depression) or because you think MS has ended your life, you need to stop going to those places that are populated with nonsense like that. It’s always the most pissed off people who take to the internet (like my dad on Trip Advisor), and if you need advice about how to feel better about having MS, they’re not the people to talk to.

MS has not ended your life. “Milder” MS is harder than most unaffected people think it is, mainly because a lot of the consequences are invisible. Other people can’t look at you and see that you’re dizzy or nauseous or having cognitive difficulties or exhausted all the time or that your hands and feet are numb. And they’ll dismiss you as healthy and move on. This can cause a lot of frustration and anger. I get that. But another thing that those people don’t see is how much strength it takes to let yourself look healthy and be out and about and trying to live as close to normal a life as possible. They don’t know that you have to make a million little brave sacrifices.

You’re already not letting MS ruin your life if you’re doing that. And if you’re staying at home and letting MS disable you more than it needs to, try to think about how much potential you still have. There are new drugs that are going to be available extremely soon, there are support groups, there are hotlines, there’s friends and there’s family. And if you feel like some of those resources aren’t available to you, please email me or something. Because I added in a fancy Contact Me! page. And I will get back to you ASAP.

Love and worries,

Me

 

 

Why Are Women Bad Feminists Sometimes?

Disclaimer: This has been said before (like here!) but I think it’s important that women in all spheres (even the most liberal) think about this problem and how they can fix it. Also, hi, this is a blog post not about MS. 

 

I’ve been thinking for a while about writing a post on why women are terrible to each other. I think what’s been holding me back is a combination of a) fear, b) not knowing the answer, and c) a lot of negative feedback. Like, don’t I know that saying this will just provoke other women? I don’t think any of those reasons are good enough anymore. So hi. I have some thoughts. 

I’ve been hearing for many years that women in academia eat their own. And at first I thought this was just an academia thing that was weird and built out of intellectual competition, but I’ve been realizing that it’s not just academics. It’s comedy and body image and performance and social situations. Women are in constant competition with each other, and I’m really not chill with it. 

When you go to the gym with a friend and they’re trying to beat your calorie count on the stationary bike, that’s not healthy. When the comedy groups I’m in have auditions and the women in the groups are being more critical of the women auditioners, that’s not really okay either. (Full truth: I have participated in those situations too. I’m not good at this stuff either.) 

Why are women in constant competition with each other? I think my basic theory on this is that women are underrepresented everywhere. In politics, it’s extremely evident. Women make up just 18% of Congress. And in college admissions, more women than men typically apply to schools, and the same number of women and men are often let in, because many schools want to keep the ratio as close to 50/50 as possible. I have a lot of feelings on that ratio, but moving on… Anyway. I think that because women are so underrepresented, there’s a constant feeling (even in arenas where the ratio is 50/50) that there are only so many spots for women and we just have to push each other down to get those spots. That’s fucked up. This desire to be smarter, funnier, skinnier, and prettier than all other women is natural in a sense (natural selection! don’t be the weakest!), but the way that it’s manifesting isn’t healthy. Instead of women wanting to be the best that they can be, just for themselves, most women seem to mainly care about being better than the women around them. Can you go to the gym more than your friends? Can you be in more extracurriculars? Can you get better grades? Is your significant other prettier than theirs?  And how much sabotage are you willing to get into to get to that “better than her” spot? Based on what I’ve witnessed (at college, in high school, middle school, at work), it’s a lot of sabotage. A lot of this also comes from women who self-identify as feminists, and who openly blame that ol’ heteropatriarchy for all of women’s problems. And yeah, the heteropatriarchy sucks, but women are also fairly awful to each other. 

Since I don’t really expect to fix this problem, I have an alternative: help your fellow women out! But wait, don’t do it for the right reasons. Don’t do it because the more women in a given field means more equality between the sexes, and definitely don’t do it out of compassion. Do it for the wrong reasons. Do it because if you let more women in (though only the qualified ones!), you can actually prove that you’re the best. If you’re the only woman somewhere, it’s really easy to be the best woman. But once you have something to compare to, you can really show off. And don’t be the best by sabotaging those other women, be the best by working hard and striving. And then, if you’re still the best? It’ll mean more. 

 

Image

 

(yes this is a real poster that I own) 

MS in the News is Confusing!

Hello there, dear readers, it’s time for yet another episode of What On Earth Is The Media Talking About!

(previous episodes include: Ann Romney being confusing, Fox News being confusing)

So this was on the CNN front page. For those of you who don’t like to click links, “this” is a story about the first ever NBA player with MS. Which is cool! Yay, we can play sports too! (though, dude, how are you dealing with the heat? Isn’t it hot on basketball courts? There seems to be a lot of sweating)

Things that bother me though:

“Just as important as what he can do for the Mavericks is how inspirational a tale he provides.”

OH, crap, I totally forgot that the point of people with disabilities is to be inspiring to other people! If you’re disabled and just living a regular life, you’re not as inspiring as you should be (though you’re still inspiring!) but if you’re disabled and doing something special or that requires some sort of rare skill, you are an inspiration to us all! You keep going, you. No, actually, this is stupid and condescending and shouldn’t be how we talk about people with disabilities. I think the dude just wants to play basketball. That’s what he was doing before his diagnosis, and it’s what he’s doing after. Also, the team probably wants him to be good at basketball. It’s probably not as important to them whether he’s inspiring.

“It’s nothing short of heartwarming to see a player battle his way back from not just a supposedly career-ending injury, but an unprecedented one. No other NBA player has acknowledged having MS before, rendering Wright an innovator.”

MS is not an injury! MS is an autoimmune disease that causes neurodegeneration! I mean, sure, it injures your brain, but I really would not ever refer to it as an injury. He also can’t really battle anything. There’s not a cure. There is no battle. We’re not fighting the good fight out here. Also, I’m pretty sure the “acknowledged” is just to cover bases in case some other NBA player is like “Guys, I had it this whole time!” but it’s some really confusing language.

“There is no cure for MS, and while Wright also said the risk of him suffering another episode is minimal, it’s still very much alive.”

This could be Wright’s own mistake, but relapses can happen to anyone, at any time. No cure, remember? Article, even you just told us there’s no cure! He could totally have another relapse!  He might just be trying to cover his own ass so he can keep playing basketball and not be seen as a risk, but it’s an easily fact-checkable thing.

Chriswright_original_crop_exact

But whatever, good luck with the whole basketball thing, and happy MS Awareness week, everyone! Awareness is a neutral term that means nothing, but I’m glad that people are aware of MS. (sarcasm) (so much sarcasm)

love,

Cade

(current status: Zonked out on Zomig, alliterating freely!)

Scleversary the Second

So it’s been one year (and a day since I’m a day late) since my heavily critiqued (by my father) one year blog post, and more to the point, two years of MS down. Many more to go, unless science gets on their shit. 

I’m feeling my MS pretty acutely, shall we say, as I’m just finishing up a relapse and am on a new drug that makes me into a zombie and also makes me have a ridiculously short attention span. I feel pretty incapable of solid thoughts and my boyfriend keeps describing me as either “glazed” or “loopy.” So, like, that’s cool just kidding. 

As such, I can’t promise that this blog post will be any better or more philosophically sound than my failure of a blog post last year! I’m sorry! You guys (dad) are really critical! With no further disclaimer other than a sincere apology for being bad at blogging, here goes.

Well, these have been quite the two years. To the now ex-boyfriend who said he’d break up with me “if it changed me,” (it being MS) it did in fact change me, for the better, and I’m really pleased to no longer be dating you. 

I hate to say the for the better thing, because I’ve read (and agreed with) so many critiques of the whole “I wouldn’t trade my disease for anything, life changing moments, blah blah blah” thing. However, it definitely did help me to grow up a bit and it made me braver. I feel like I need to be organizing these thoughts better (remember how I’m on weird drugs now? ugh). It’s list time. Here we go. List of thoughts. Screw drugs, man. 

  • I recently had an argument with someone who proclaimed me to be healthy and suggested that I was letting MS affect my life more than it should. This someone was definitely a medical doctor and needs a serious MS education, but the argument made me realize that I kind of think the exact opposite. I think that I’ve been living with not enough regard for my medical condition (a thing which is far from healthy) and I need to start making some smarter choices that reflect the fact that I have this frickin autoimmune disease. 
  • I’m beginning to suspect that I can’t be an organ donor? That makes some sense, I guess. But that’s sad. 
  • It would be nice if Teva (the company that makes my meds) could a) stop sending me crooked needles that I can’t tell are crooked until after I’ve already stabbed myself (because I have to put them in an auto-injector that takes off the needle cap) and b) stop trying to block BG-12 from coming out because yeah, it would take away a bunch of their business, but they’re making a flawed product and a lot of us would really rather be on a pill than on an injectable. 
  • I’m as per usual grateful to the people in my life (housemates, siblings, family, friends,  a cappella broz, stand-up folks, tha boyfriend, professors, etc etc) who make things so much easier and more fun and stick up for me and hang out with me when I’m sick and are just awesome people. Special cred to Will Dubbs who came up with the term Scleversary. 
  • When I’m off these drugs which I hate, which will hopefully happen soon, I’ll write something more intelligible (and hopefully intelligent) and it’ll be great but for now these are my thoughts. 

Love and TWOYEARSDOWNLEZGO,

Cade

(this is me and the boyfriend trying to take a picture together and my baby brother photo-bombing hardcore) (happy blog post to all and to all a good night)