i’m trying my best, i’m trying my best to be okay
i’m trying my best, but every day it’s so hard
And i’m holding my breath, i’m holding my breath ’til i can say
All of the words i wanna say from my heart…
Today’s post is part 2 of this series giving you a bit more insight about me. A lot of the stuff i’m going to talk about today have to do with mental health and other similar themes, so if you are sensitive to those, please make sure you’re prepared before reading further. i feel like i’ve talked a lot about some of this stuff, but, again, i’m motivated to share these things with you because there is a particular group of P/people who see fit to judge me without coming to ME and talking to ME about ME.
Stigma and discrimination around mental health are alive and well – of course in real life, but also in Second Life. You’d think in an environment where you can be anything you want to be, P/people would be more accepting of individuals’ differences, but i’m unfortunately learning the hard way that S/some are not. S/some are just the same judgmental assholes as T/they are in real life: taking a look at someone who’s different than them and assuming they are someone to be ‘fixed’. That they are somehow ‘wrong’ for being different.
i had hoped that in this particular community of P/people that my openness about my diagnoses would inspire those more close-minded P/people to get to know me as a person beyond whatever label i’m operating under at any given moment. Whether i’m manic… or having an ‘aspie moment’… or experiencing an intense mood swing… i’m still a person. i’m still imy. And i thought i could show P/people in this community that.
Especially in being there nearly 3 years.
You’d think after spending nearly 3 years around someone, you’d realize they were different and, if you were a human being with even half a conscience, try to figure out how to better relate to them. i’m CONSTANTLY trying to learn how to relate to other P/people better… i suppose i went into this Community 3 years ago under the assumption that T/they would do the same.
You know what they say about assuming, though.
Anyway… i mentioned a few things above that elude a bit to the things i’m going to talk about today, but for clarity’s sake, i’m going to talk about 3 different conditions that affect my everyday life, interactions, etc: Autism Spectrum Disorder, Bipolar II Disorder, and Borderline Personality Disorder.
Let me start with Autism Spectrum Disorder. For any that may not know particularly what this means, the definition i’m pulling from Psychiatry.Org states, “Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental condition that involves persistent challenges in social interaction, speech and nonverbal communication, and restricted/repetitive behaviors. The effects of ASD and the severity of symptoms are different in each person.”
i was diagnosed very late in life in comparison to some, not having been diagnosed until my 20’s. There exists a stigma even within the ASD community about women with Autism, with some even holding the extreme belief that it’s not possible for women to have Autism.
Diagnosis in boys is much more common, especially at younger ages. As a kid i was just deemed intelligent, but socially awkward. It was assumed that because i was fat and not one of the ‘popular girls’, i just had more difficulty making friends and interacting socially. That it was self-esteem related and not necessarily a disorder.
Which, fair enough. i had body images issues early on. i talked a bit about that in Part 1 a few days ago.
The severity of my symptoms became more apparent as i got older and finally led to a diagnosis. i am on the higher-functioning end of the spectrum, which i suppose makes me ‘fortunate’. i can still communicate verbally, i can mostly function day-to-day, but there are 2 things that affect my daily interactions the most: 1.) my bluntness, and 2.) the assumption that i lack empathy.
First, i am incredibly blunt. i don’t see the purpose of beating around the bush and often just say what’s on my mind, what i’m thinking, etc. i’m not the person to ask if your ass looks fat in a pair of jeans, because if it doesn’t fit you well i’m going to tell you that. i understand that hurting peoples’ feelings is a bad thing, and i don’t intentionally try to do that, but as a person who appreciates the truth over trying to preserve my feelings, i offer that same thing to everyone else in return. Some appreciate it/understand it. Some don’t. Some get it a bit more after i explain, others never will.
The second piece that affects my interactions a lot, probably even more than the first, is that people generally assume because i’m autistic and don’t really understand a lot of social norms and nonverbal communication that i lack empathy. Bringing it back to the example of my bluntness – when that bluntness hurts someone’s feelings, sometimes it’s assumed that i don’t care about their feelings and can’t empathize at all with how my words might hurt them.
That isn’t true. However, what IS true, is that it takes me longer to process my empathy than it does others. Because, contrary to popular assumption, i feel a LOT of it.
And with the instant-gratification society we live and interact in, i find it incredibly difficult to just stop mid conversation and say, “i need time to process this before i can answer you fully.” And the few times i have tried that, with P/people in this Community in particular, i was then pressured to continue the conversation/answer their question/etc… so even if i communicate my needs, 9 times out of 10 they aren’t respected or met, in terms of processing my feelings and giving a more ‘acceptable’ response. So, instead, they get the raw, unfiltered reply of what i’m thinking and then blame me when it hurts their feelings.
P/people are weird.
If i can’t get P/people to listen to me about needing time to process, then i make an attempt at disengaging completely. i also try to disengage when i can’t see the conversation being productive anymore.
An example from this Community in particular is that the Person in charge of the program i specifically worked with, after i had resigned from doing so and after a conversation with another program head that i will address later, came to me to accuse me of deleting things from the Calendar. The only thing i ever did with their calendar was fill in topics and descriptions in the Google Calendar events. i had done so for the month and a half or so that was to be my last cycle of workshops, and so when it was determined i wouldn’t lead those after all, i went and removed the topic from the Event Name and the topic description from the Description box. i left the event there as-is, just removed the information i’d added. This Person believed that i had been the one to delete the event entirely from the calendar and directly threatened me in our conversation.
About the time threats are involved, a conversation is entirely counter productive. i had to ask Her 2 separate times to please exit my IM’s, as i didn’t have any involvement with Her program anymore and so there wasn’t anything else for U/us to talk about. She ignored me the first time and finally stopped talking after the second time.
But then, again, P/people wonder why they don’t like answers they receive when they refuse to listen and continue to push me. P/people are weird, i’m telling you.
There is a third thing that affects my interactions as well, and it goes hand-in-hand with the first: i communicate very directly. Unless i’m emoting/roleplaying/something else that involves a defined creative writing scenario, i communicate very directly and simply. This direct style of communication is often interpreted as disrespectful. When really i’m just, again, not beating around the bush. i’m just telling the truth, as i see it.
This happens particularly when i’m put in a situation that is unexpected. Another example from this Community is that it was brought to my attention that People were being sent to my workshops for credit for a program i didn’t write them for… and that made me intensely uncomfortable. That put the burden on me to educate Them, and that was not what those particular workshops were intended to do.
i found out it was happening maybe 10 minutes before one of my workshops was set to begin, and i reached out to the Person in charge of that particular program and expressed my discomfort. i didn’t have time to pre-plan and re-write and fully process what i was feeling in that moment, so my message came across very blunt and direct, and that interaction was later cited as an instance of “disrespect” towards that Person.
Meanwhile, that Person’s response to my concerns was basically that He can do whatever He pleases with my workshops. Leaving me to basically just ‘deal’ with it, like i have no control over my content and who it’s meant to reach anymore. But that wasn’t disrespect…? Make it make sense.
The second thing i wanted to address today is Bipolar II Disorder. In order to define this disorder specifically, we have to define a few pieces:
- According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Bipolar Disorder, generally, is “Bipolar disorder (formerly called manic-depressive illness or manic depression) is a mental disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, concentration, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.”
- Bipolar II Disorder, specifically, is “defined by a pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes, but not the full-blown manic episodes that are typical of Bipolar I Disorder.”
Now, you’ll notice that the definition of Bipolar II points out the distinguishing characteristic of what makes it different from Bipolar I: hypomania vs. mania. But what’s the difference?
According to an article on Healthline.Com, “Hypomania is a milder form of mania. If you’re experiencing hypomania, your energy level is higher than normal, but it’s not as extreme as in mania. Other people will notice if you have hypomania. It causes problems in your life, but not to the extent that mania can. If you have hypomania, you won’t need to be hospitalized for it.”
So i suppose if there’s any kind of silver lining of Bipolar II it’s that the ‘highs’ aren’t as bad as they are in Bipolar I.
This disorder, as well as Borderline Personality Disorder are the largest part of what characterized my interactions within this Community, and are ultimately what led to my removal from it (without making even an ATTEMPT at understanding these disorders, how i deal with them day-to-day, or even trying to TALK to me about the issues they apparently had with me).
An interesting thing to note here, according to the NIMH again, “Some studies indicate that the brains of people with bipolar disorder may differ from the brains of people who do not have bipolar disorder or any other mental disorder.”
This was something i have always believed about myself, for as long as i can remember. Between the Autism, the Bipolar, and the Borderline, it was something i always just… knew. My brain wasn’t wired the same as a neurotypical person. As such, interacting with me is different than interacting with a neurotypical person.
You’d think that would be common sense at some point, but apparently it isn’t to E/everyone.
There was ONE Person in this Community that gave me hope for it and its M/members. He was the reason i stuck around for so long, despite the judgment and the discrimination. It had taken awhile, but He finally seemed to understand that interacting with me was simply different. That different methods had to be used with me, but that i ultimately DID want to learn and DID want to serve and DID have a deeply submissive spirit.
Something you know about me if you’ve known me for any decent length of time… i just like seeing other P/people happy. Even if it’s at my own expense, sometimes. As long as O/others are happy, i tell myself i can deal with however i feel. (Which we all know i actually can’t because… again… processing emotions isn’t my strong suit.)
He gave me the hope that if He could figure out the best way to ‘reach’ me, that He could help O/others, and i could finally feel like i fit in and was accepted somewhere. It started when He learned that physically grounding me… He put me on the floor and stood on my hair so i couldn’t run or fight or anything… helped to emotionally ground me. This was something i didn’t even know about myself at the time. It was like a lightbulb went off for Him that i COULD be taught. And a lightbulb went off for me that i wasn’t some kind of terrible submissive just because i needed P/people to deal with me differently.
Which is why the fact that it was Him who ultimately removed me broke my heart. He of all P/people knew and understood… at least better than the rest of them cared to understand… i trusted Him to advocate for me. And He didn’t. He, instead, turned on me. Abandoned me.
And i have a hard limit against Abandonment. It really does my head in. He knew that.
i’ve talked a lot about my Bipolar II and how it affects me generally, so i wanted to focus a bit on how it affected me specifically in that Community.
The third and final disorder i want to talk about is Borderline Personality Disorder.
To define Borderline Personality Disorder, we again return to the NIMH, which says, “Borderline personality disorder is an illness marked by an ongoing pattern of varying moods, self-image, and behavior. These symptoms often result in impulsive actions and problems in relationships.”
This, i think, is the thing that affected me the most in this Community, and when i say ‘this’, i mean their lack of understanding of this Disorder in particular and how it affects those that deal with it.
“People with borderline personality disorder also tend to view things in extremes, such as all good or all bad. Their opinions of other people can also change quickly. An individual who is seen as a friend one day may be considered an enemy or traitor the next. These shifting feelings can lead to intense and unstable relationships.” – NIMH
Borderline and Bipolar share a lot of the same symptoms, except with Borderline, things are much more extreme and much more frequent. But this black and white thinking is exactly how my brain works, and exactly how i view P/people, particularly within this community.
For example, that Person who was so understanding in the beginning and was trying to learn me? The moment they’ve abandoned me now, i don’t foresee being able to continue a friendship with Them ever in the future.
After all, He betrayed me in the biggest way someone could: i opened up to Him and allowed Him to learn me… i made myself vulnerable to Him in hopes of learning how to best interact with O/others and how O/others can best interact with me… and He ultimately turned on me and abandoned me. There’s no coming back from that. At least for me.
It was also the self-harm and intense suicidal thoughts and ideations that come along with this Disorder that led to the largest issue i personally had in that Community.
October of 2019, i was hospitalized for my own mental health and well-being. i spent 4 days in my local ER while they found a bed in a facility that could help me and then 4 days in that facility once one was found. i knew i would likely end up checking myself in… and in preparation for such, i wrote letters to certain P/people that i considered close to me, with the exception of one. One of the letters i wrote was to a person who was a particular stressor in my Second Life that was part of what was leading me to the mental state that allowed me to entertain these self-harm behaviors and suicidal ideations in the first place.
Each letter had a standard beginning paragraph, letting them know that if they were receiving that letter, i was in the hospital and didn’t know how long i’d be gone, but i promised that when i returned, i’d be feeling much better. i asked them specifically to not share where i was/what was going on with anyone, and that if they were that worried about me and needed to talk to someone about it, they could ask my friend who was distributing the letters who else had gotten one (aka: who was safe to talk to, who already knew.)
This paragraph was at the beginning of EVERY letter, even the letter to the woman who was part of the problem. The only difference is that the rest of the letters were pretty generic, “Thank you for your concern and support over the last little bit while i’ve been going through shit, i promise i’ll be better when i get back.” Her letter, however, was different.
In her letter, i told her the truth. i told her i knew much more about the lies she was telling P/people in the Community than she thought i did, i told her how much she’d changed since she went there and how ashamed i was that i even brought her to the Community in the first place. i didn’t hold back. i laid it all bare. But i wasn’t gossiping (talking about her behind her back), because the letter was addressed to her. i wasn’t spreading rumors, because i was telling her how i felt about her behavior and what i knew. i wasn’t causing an ethical issue within the sim, as the letter was addressed specifically to her and only meant to be seen by her.
However, unbeknownst to me, she shared the letter i wrote to her in its entirety with several P/people, Dominants and submissives alike in that Community. Those people shared it with others. Who shared it with others. And before i knew it, by the time i got back, i was hearing about how ALL the discussions on the sim that week i was gone were addressing Ethics, Rumors, Gossip, etc, and were indirectly referencing the letter, without giving names.
Imagine coming home from your own personal hell being hopeful that you were beginning to receive the help you need only to find that a Community of P/people that was supposed to be your Home now all know very intimate details about your real life that you didn’t tell them. You have no idea what their personal thoughts or opinions are on mental health, suicide attempts, etc. You have no idea if they can empathize with you or if they just think you’re crazy.
And there’s no way of knowing until they interact with you. Will they treat you the same as they always did? Will they treat you differently? Will they completely ignore you because you’re just ‘the crazy girl who tried to kill herself’ now?
i didn’t feel safe in my own Community. i never did again, after that. And that was over a year ago. And despite being violated in that way… despite not feeling safe in my own community… despite feeling like it could never be ‘home’ again when i didn’t know how P/people would view me… i only asked for 1 thing:
Seems simple enough, right? After all, 1.) She violated the one thing i asked of everyone who got a letter: don’t share it with anyone because i was barely able to admit to them how bad it had gotten for me, mentally, and 2.) She had violated Linden Labs’ Terms of Service by sharing real life information about a Resident without that Resident’s consent, 3.) She acted against the best interests of the Community in violating my consent.
And all i wanted was for her to apologize.
It took over a year of BEGGING one of the Sim Owners to make her do so before He even tried. He kept making excuses for her… that He couldn’t make her apologize if she didn’t mean it. That He couldn’t make her apologize because she was a collared submissive and He couldn’t control her behavior. Etc etc. But as a Sim Owner, you can, in fact, insist that members show respect to each other, and in doing so, an apology would be warranted.
i finally did get an apology… about a week after the one year anniversary of my return home. And it basically amounted to “I’m sorry you feel that way.” Zero accountability at all taken for what she did. For the things she took from me. That violation of my privacy… that safety i would never experience again in that Community… the trust issues that developed further as i tried to get to know new P/people in new Communities… nothing.
Just “I’m sorry you were hurt.”
But i’m the one that’s disrespectful. i’m the one that’s such a problem. All i ever wanted was to serve that Community and its members to the best of my ability. For a long time (about 2 out of the 3 years i spent there… up until the violation of privacy incident) i devoted 90% of my SL to this Community. Any skill i had was T/theirs to utilize. Anything i could do for T/them, i did. Anything i couldn’t do, i learned.
All in the hopes that if i showed the conscious effort to serve the Community, that the Community would make a conscious effort to understand and embrace me.
But despite all i gave to T/them, all i did for T/them, that effort was never returned. Which ultimately showed itself in its final form when i was removed without ANYONE reaching out to speak to me about ANY issues that they supposedly have.
These supposed problems… this supposed pattern that had reached a point of no return… no one bothered to speak to me about it at all.
So i suppose in an ironic twist of fate, the Gossip, the Rumors, and the lack of Ethics all belong to this Community… and not to me.
i know at least one of Y/you will read this. It’s not my hope that Y/you pass it around and suddenly E/everyone realizes what a mistake they made and they try to take it all back. Y/you have all shown Y/your true colors, and there’s no reversing that. But i’ll be damned if Y/you all get to sit back and claim ignorance… not knowing what i was dealing with while i was trying to simply fit in. No… Y/you should have to live with your prejudice and discrimination for the rest of the time Y/you serve as leadership for that Community.
i can only hope that Y/you decide to treat others with more sensitivity than Y/you ever offered to me.
Shape || Mine
Body || Lara Body (v5.3) | Maitreya
Head || Nova Head (Evolution Line) (v2.5) | Lelutka
Skin || Daisy Skin (Tan Tone) | MILA
Freckles || All Over Freckles (Dark 50%) | MILA
Lipstick || Stay All Day Lipstick (Dark) | MILA
* Hair || Cordova Hair (Red HUD) | Stealthic
* Shirt || Lewdy Gamer Shirt (Fatpack) | Spoiled
* Bottom Pasties || Bratty Nipple Patches (Fatpack) | Spoiled
* Top Pasties || Gamer Babe Pasties Glossy & Mate (Fatpack) | Spoiled
* Panties || Lewdy Gamer Panties (Fatpack) | Spoiled
* Leggings || Lewdy Gamer Leggings (Fatpack) | Spoiled
* Headset || 2CUTE Gaming Headset (Fatpack) | Spoiled
Walls || Modern Panels Medium (Black) | Abedul
Desk & All Props || Gamer Girl’s Desk (Black) (v2) | Backbone
Chair & Pose || Gamer Girl’s Chair (Black) (v2) | Backbone
– Pose used is ‘Chill’ inside the Singles menu
Location || Home
Blogging Tune || “Trying My Best” – Anson Seabra