Sparkly don’t read

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The letter I sent my senators and representatives

about the Murphy Bill and real mental health change.

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Tomorrow there’s a social media campaign against the “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act”. It was proposed by Represesentative Tim Murphy in response to the Sandy Hook shooting, and apparently the UCC shooting has prompted more interest in it. What it would do, if it becomes law, is reduce privacy protections on healthcare records relating to mental health, make it easier to force people into psychiatric treatment they don’t want, and move government funding away from community support programs and towards institutionalization.

So tomorrow I’m going to indulge my desire to rant about this stuff a little more. For now, I’m going to bed.

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My brain has an autopilot setting. I think most people’s brains do.

It’s what lets us get ready in the morning when we’re half-asleep, without putting our clothes on backwards or using our toothbrushes on our hair (usually). It’s what takes us along the same route to work every morning, even when we’re paying more attention to the radio than to the road. There’s probably a technical term for this, and I might even have been taught it in a psychology class once, but I can’t remember, so I’m calling it “autopilot”.

I depend on my autopilot a lot. My conscious mind can be pretty awesome, but it can also be pretty slow to react when something unexpected happens, and pretty easily distracted. I depend on my autopilot not just once in a while when I’m very tired, but every day. To keep from getting lost. To turn off the lights. To turn off the stove. To bring my keys with me (and to lock the door). To cook dinner. To reply when people call my name. To do my job. Every day.

Because I depend on it so much, it fails me pretty often, too. Not by disappearing entirely, but by putting me on the wrong pre-planned track. I drive to the wrong place. I get out ingredients for a different meal than I intended to make. I reply to the person trying to get my attention, but get their name wrong, or use a greeting that doesn’t make sense.
So, I depend on my autopilot all the time, but I don’t really trust it.

This means I also don’t completely trust my memory of what I’ve done. If I’m not paying close attention to what I’m doing, I can easily do something wrong on autopilot and not realize what I’ve done.

I depend on my autopilot constantly, and I am constantly double-checking and second-guessing it. I love all the things it lets me do, and I hate that it causes me so much stress. I love being careful and capable and precise, and I hate that I can’t trust myself.

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Realization of the day

I underestimated the traumatizing potential of arguments, in general, not just ones about topics that clearly relate to your real life.

Someone I follow on Tumblr was talking about a really horrible-sounding experience they had, where someone argue-harrassed them about evolution/creationism. Which is a fairly abstract and impersonal issue, but when someone pushes you into discussing it and then does everything they can to avoid having an actual honest discussion with you… I have felt that way a lot, I realize, and it can be pretty awful.

I’ve felt like that a lot in classroom discussions, mostly, which is kind of weird to think about but there it is.

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The UCC Shooting

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In theory, I totally want to be a part of this conversation about accessibility at fan conventions. In practice, I have absolutely nothing to contribute. Because the idea of making other people be quiet when a situation is too loud for me, instead of either dealing with it or leaving, is just completely outside what I normally think about.

Like, “there should be quiet break rooms” = yes, definitely, this is a useful idea, I would use them.

The idea that party rooms could be quieter = ?????


I did learn that one of my local-ish conventions tapes its costume competition and other big events, and makes them available to watch on the TVs in the hotel rooms. With closed captioning, even. That’s pretty cool.

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Allergic reactions and me

Because I haven’t written this out before (at least I don’t think so) and presumably it will be helpful in some way.

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Today in things I shouldn’t be reading

I followed a link to this from Twitter and the tweet made it sound like it was going to be a thoughtful essay about allergen awareness in school kitchens. It’s a heart-wrenching and fairly graphic story about a kid being exposed to an allergen at home and how terrifying it is for his parents.

So yeah, result: reading about severe allergic reactions still freaks me out.

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Probably in no small part because I didn’t eat an adequate dinner. Tomorrow: cooking.

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