Thank you to Imgur user SteelMakesMeH for sharing his experiences living with Dissociative Identity Disorder, previously known as Multiple Personality Disorder. Hopefully this can open up a conversation about a much-stigmatized topic, and allow people to understand it a little bit more. Because knowledge is power!
First, to answer some basic questions...
What caused me to develop MPD/DID?
I will answer this question at the end, because it's a bit traumatic so I don't want to start with something so dark. Most MPD/DID is usually caused by a severely traumatic event/s.
What is a "switch"?
A switch is the moment an alternate personality (a.k.a alter) takes over and I loose all track of time.
What causes a switch?
Many things can trigger a switch. Anything from a song or smell, but usually it's caused by large amounts of stress (for me anyways).
Do I know whats going on when I switch?
No. With the exception of one time, it's usually like flicking a light switch of snapping your fingers. One moment I'm living my life then in the blink of an eye it could be 5 hours later.
What is the longest switch that has happened?
17 years. I'm the primary personality but not the original. I have been in control for most of our life. But occasionally the others wrestle control from my hands.
Can others tell when I've switched (or I'm about to)?
Yes. when I'm about to switch I develop an uncontrollable tick in my jaw (sometimes a strong tick that looks like a seizure. It usually happens because I'm fighting back).
How different is each alter?
Apparently each alter talks, walks, writes, eats and has sex differently (yes.. I just said that)
Is it painful to switch alters?
From time to time. It can be violent (for me)
How many "Alters" Do I have?
4 but it used to be 6. I have (with professional help) managed to integrate 2 alters (making me more "whole")
Can I "hear" my alters?
For the longest time... No. But about 3 years ago I began hearing Fynn in my head (you will learn about him soon enough). I thought I had schizophrenia but after some testing we found out I didn't. As for the others.. I don't want to hear them.
Okay, here are some stories...
1. So here's how it all started...
The start of the blank spots. One of the first times I developed a blank spot (switch) I lost 4 hours. Thankfully it happened at home around my (now) ex-wife. She was only my GF at the time though. I was standing in the kitchen making some soup when I was suddenly standing in the backyard with my GF looking at me very strangely. All I could say was "what the hell just happened?". I didn't understand what was going on and my GF wouldn't tell me anything. I didn't find out that my first alter had shown up until one month later when she finally broke down and said I turned into a very intelligent child before her eyes who called himself Fynn (my favorite alter). I spoke with a lisp and knew things about my childhood that I normally couldn't remember. It was then that I began seeking professional help. Many people trained in psychology will agree that those who have MPD/DID are either faking it or too much of a risk to treat (it could ruin their career). So finding help was hard. Very hard.
I just remember those days as being very taxing and frightening. It's not easy having doctors think you are lying.
2. The Day The Doctors Believed...
I will never forget the moment I was finally able to get help. D.I.D was starting to take its toll on me. I had a nervous break down. I was brought to the hospital and they were (Continued)
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told about my issue. Of course they scoffed like I said, it's common for psychologists to believe that DID is a made up thing. But it didn't last long. They had taken me into triage so they could get my vitals. Everything was through the roof. They were worried I was going to have a heart attack or something. It was at that moment that I switched (in front of EVERYBODY). Just like a light switch. My vitals returned to normal and I was sitting calmly while looking at everybody. My GF at the time knew what was up and said "FYNN!! Let him back out NOW! In moments my vitals were back to critical levels. I didn't know any time had passed. But the look of shock on the face of everybody in the room said enough. Needless to say... I began receiving the help I needed.
Most of this was told to me by the doctors and my GF. I didn't truly get to witness it.
3. The time Fynn saved my family.
This story happen 7 years ago. I know this because my son is 7 years old. At this point my wife was now my ex and I was happily with somebody who cared about me and understood what living with D.I.D meant. We were about to have a baby and I was also going back to school to get my G.E.D. I was running on very little sleep. When my son was born I had everything set. I had just moved back to my home state and was staying with my aunt. Crib.. check, diapers.. check, nursery.. check, All the things.. CHECK!! Son enters the world.. check. Then things went bad.
I came back to the hospital after school, exhausted and barely able to hold my head up. I entered the room and my GF was crying in her bed and my son was nowhere to be seen. I panicked. It was then that a child services worker came in to give me bad news. Apparently my GF's ex-husband (a monstrous piece of crap who is currently in jail for some very bad things) had managed to (Continued)
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use his connections to add red flags to my GF's file. They were going to take my son away from me.
I fought it.
Fought it hard right then and there. In the end they gave me 10 hours to produce a child friendly environment at some place other than my aunt's house. My only option was my hoarder grandmother. I got to the house only to find that the room I could use was piled to the ceiling with crap. I broke down. Then the singularly most wonderful thing about having MPD/DID happened to me... I switched.. Fynn (that wonderful guy) stepped up and took over. In 8 hours he managed to clean the entire room. He not only cleaned it.. He frigging set it up. It was perfect. And for me it all happened in the blink of an eye. It was like magic. To this day my (now) fianc still worships the ground he walks on (and so do I).
This is why I will always be happy to hear Fynn.
4. April Fools... D.I.D Style
This is less of a story and more of a statement...
You think getting pranked on April 1st sucks? Try having multiple people in your head taking turns setting up traps for you. Most of them were harmless but I really didn't care for finding thumb tacks in my bed.
5. The Ultimate Goal
Anybody who truly suffers from MPD/DID has one goal in mind... Integration. We want to turn all the people in ours heads back into ONE person! I have managed to integrate 2 so far. On one occasion when integration occurred, my crippling fear of spiders disappeared. Really went away. At one point I would scream and run if a spider came within 5 feet of me. Now I play with them.
Its just one of those things that makes me stop and think "wow" the human brain can do some cool/weird stuff.
6. The Day Fynn Made Me Watch
Don't get ahead of yourself. Let me tell the story before you judge the title. Now from time to time I've (Continued)
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Now from time to time I've learned that my alters all seem to hold a fragment of the original person. I'm calm, casual and creative (I'm a blacksmith and prop maker). Fynn hold the memories (childhood and stuff like that) plus he is the only one that can speak to the others. Then we have Arsehole. He holds on to obscene amounts of anger and resentment. So fast forward to 10 months ago. Stress was beginning to build again but not in a serious way. Just enough to annoy Fynn. I hadn't been eating much (which is Fynn's biggest peeve) so it was time for me to learn about another trick Fynn was hiding up his sleeve.. he could make me.. watch. Talk about messed up.. imagine only being able to look through the eyes of another person without having control over what they do or say. It could have been worse than it was. Instead of something horrible happening, Fynn forced me to watch as he ordered FIVE 20 piece nuggets McDonalds and ate 4 of the boxes. I threw up soooo bad and had the poops for a week.
Fynn.. I love you.. but eff you for that one!
7. Sometimes I read letters written to me by an alter
Because people have asked.. Yes.. I occasionally find letter from Fynn, but it's usually when I'm down and he's trying to make me smile. My favorite one was when Fynn wanted to let me know that he fed the baby and changed his diaper so I could rest (yeah.. that's a bit weird)
8. Not all alters are nice
Let me tell you about the First Appearance of The Arsehole
Not all alters are nice. But this was the first time the original had made an appearance since this all started so it was rather tame. I was talking to my fianc when I noticed she was getting more and more upset but I wasn't doing anything. It all ended in a massive blow up. Later on when we were ready to talk again I started hearing about things I said that I didn't remember saying. It wasn't until Fynn's next appearance that we found out Arsehole was switching in for small moments and adding his own comments to our conversation. Fynn was upset as well.
8. This is the story of how my MPD/DID started...
WARNING!! Things are about to get bad people. This is your chance to stop reading because things are about to get graphic (stories not pics). Starting with how I got MPD/DID....
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How I got MPD/DID... Mine was worked on most of my childhood. But the fracturing event (the event that literally "splits" my personalities) came in my late teens. I had made some bad choices and gotten into some hardcore drugs. Over time I ended up owing money to a fairly large drug dealer (something you don't want to do). I was grabbed off the street and held captive in a motel while they reenacted the chainsaw scene from the movie Blow. Yes.. a person who owed a lot more money than I, was taught a permanent lesson. Watching somebody get dismembered has a way of destroying a person mentally. I was then dropped on the side of the highway a couple states away from home with nothing but a pair of pants. This is my first memory. Not knowing my name wandering around the streets. I had a cellphone but didn't know how to use it. The original had checked out (for good it had seemed). It was now my job to live this life.
I started getting comfortable with switching (for the most part) but then the Arsehole decided to come back out after a very long hiatus. But he was different. Bitter, anger, vengeful, potentially violent. I didn't/don't trust him. He stayed out for 3 days. 3 days of nightmare for my fianc. All he wanted to do was get high or hurt me. He resented that it wasn't his life anymore and he had a response. But I didn't find out until I regained control. It was then I felt pain in bad places.
Apparently he had decided that if he couldn't live "his" life then he was going to make mine as miserable as possible. He started with a razor blade and began carving EVERYTHING. I had officially stepped out of the world of strange and into the world of terror. I had somebody in my head that I couldn't get rid of that was dead set on inflicting as much pain on our body as possible. Thankfully there was no lasting damage with my bits but my torso will be forever covered in scars.
Arsehole truly hated me. The carving sessions started becoming a regular event. I had to do something about it. In come the doctors and the meds. But nothing helped. Oddly enough, he didn't start to calm down until I started making a collection of first person shooters for him. It seams to be his muse. He's never truly happy but there are few things that can be done. I need to work on integrating him but the idea scares the heck out of me.
At the worst.. doctors have counted over 800 slice marks over my body (not scars). It's painful and scary and it forces a level of paranoia in me. I now have to ask myself after a switch, "What have i done?" "Have I hurt anybody?" "Am I hurt?". These are questions nobody should have to ask. but it was a fact of my life at that point. That was a year ago. With help I have had only 1 day of switching in that time (yesterday). Which leads me to one of the scariest things that can happen to me.
9. Occasionally I will switch and be truly lost
Sometimes I can't find myself anywhere. Waking up in the middle of a forest (clothed) covered in mud when you were just taking a bath is traumatizing in itself. But it's these things you learn to live with. As for this problem itself. I have started trying to create a GPS system in my shoes so I will never be lost again.
Also, for the record, these are my personal experiences. I don't know how they compare to other MPD/DID cases. I'm only going by what I've witnessed and been told by those who were around when I switched.
Now for some follow up questions...
What does integration feel like?
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Nothing. It feels like nothing at all. Just one day you are... different.
How old is Fynn? Does he age?
He started out telling everybody he was 7 but a few years ago somebody told him it was his birthday.. he has been 9 ever since. Yeah, it's weird. (I heard my family talking about this earlier today)
You said there were 4 alters. What about the 4th?
We don't know a lot about him. He's only come out once, looked around and found himself disgusted with humanity in general. He didn't stay out long and hasn't been back since.
I've read articles saying MPD is fake. Why should I believe you?
I don't care if you believe me. But if it's because of my use of the term MPD, I use it because not a lot of people know what D.I.D is. D.I.D is indeed REAL.
What do you think of shows like Split or United States of Tara?
I've never seen em. I don't watch many movies and I never watch movies involving D.I.D expect fight club (because I didn't know that is what is was about) due to the chances it could cause a switch.
If you aren't the original, are you an alter?
Yes. But I have been out so long that most people in my life know me instead of others.
Is "Arsehole" The Original?
I thought so but that has been brought into question.
How do relationships work? Do different alters have different partners?
In a way, yes. I'm still trying to figure out how to answer this one in a way that's easily understood.
Does Arsehole have a name?
Yes. But I don't use it. I will only call him an arsehole.
Have you ever played games with any alters? Like chess with Fynn or something?
Yes actually. I love chess but Fynn is better. The day will come when i beat him :)
So the original was into drugs, are you drug free? If so, did you feel withdrawal symptoms or know that's what they were?
He was into cocaine. I don't remember if I got sick or not. It was a long time ago. Though I can tell if an alter has taken anything.
Do you know who your parents are?
Yes. My mother is a wonderful person. My father is not so wonderful.
You mentioned you had 6 alters before you integrated the other two. What were the other 2 like?
One was a female child named Purrecka who hated watermelon and loved getting into trouble. The other was just an angry dude. Nobody ever got to ask him his name. He's also the one that liked spiders.
If you think you have D.I.D...
If you find yourself asking the question "Do I have D.I.D?" or "What can I do to find out if i have D.I.D?" You need to do the leg work. You have a task ahead of you. Start with questions. 1st. whats causing this concern?
2nd. Am I blacking out? If yes: am I moving while blacked out? Am I talking to people? Do I act weird? When I wake up am O standing or on the ground? If you find yourself answering yes to these questions seek a doctor. Seriously. Before you can even think about D.I.D you need to eliminate all other possibilities. Blacking out can mean other things. Blacking out then waking up but acting different or talking funny could mean seizure. That's no laughing matter. Seizures can make people do strange things. Make sure you are perfectly healthy. But to do that you need a doctor's help.
3rd. When did it start?
4th. Were others around? Can they tell you about it?
5th. Look into your past. Most real D.I.D cases originate at an early age (like 7 or younger). At that age the level of elasticity is more fragile. Think of it this way.
6th. invest in a small camera for your home or person so you can hopefully catch one of these moments.
People Explain Which Strange Things Are Considered Normal In Their Home Country But Weird Everywhere Else
What is in the water in the United States that compels people to walk around in their homes with their shoes on? Try doing that in South Korea––people would be so mortified. I have a sibling whose apartment is carpeted from wall to wall and who walks around inside with his shoes on all the time, tracking in any manner of dirt and dust from outside. Egad! I get chills just thinking about it. And as an American, it's something I've noticed people from other countries love to comment on.
We learned a lot more about things that are considered normal in other countries after Redditor monitonik asked the online community,
"What's normal in your country that's considered weird in others?"
"I grew up in Australia..."
"I grew up in Australia and migrated to Ireland about ten years ago. First thing I noticed was people in Ireland really like to talk about death in everyday conversation: Who died. When the mass is. The removal of the body and the anniversaries of their death. It's so normal in conversation."
"Leaving a baby..."
"Leaving a baby bundled up outside to sleep. When my previous neighbours had a baby, sometimes I would pass it on the porch, just sleeping. Including in winter as long as it wasn't too cold."
And in the United States, rest assured that child services would be called ASAP.
"In Japan, there are public toilets in a few places where after urinating, you can opt to view a general health assessment report."
Sounds like a privacy issue, no?
"I live in Malaysia..."
"I live in Malaysia and nearly everyone here uses at least three languages in a sentence."
Spend some time in Miami. The official language of the city is Spanglish.
"There's this sport..."
"There's this sport in Finland called eukonkanto, where men participate in running a specific distance, all while carrying their wife or girlfriend. Winner gets their woman's weight in beer."
"It's a small country..."
"Probably talking to people so that no one else can hear you except the person you are directly talking to.
It's a skill almost all Dutch people have, I have found, but it can be very unnerving for other people because you can be sitting pretty close to two people having a conversation and have no idea what they are saying.
It's a small country and very densely populated with people who value their privacy. It's a survival skill, really."
Can we bring this to the United States? Why are people so LOUD here?
"Some areas in the country..."
"Saying "hi" or waving to strangers. Some areas in the country take it even further and you're considered rude if you drive through a residential street and don't wave to anyone walking as you pass them."
"If you're walking with a dog..."
"Walking all over the countryside along ancient footpaths (as well as bridleways and byways, and a lot of disused railway tracks that have been designated as footpaths). These paths often go across privately owned land; the landowners are required by law to keep the paths clear, and if they put up a fence to provide a gate.
If you're walking with a dog, you're expected to keep it under control around livestock and when the path crosses a road, but otherwise it's just accepted that dogs are going to run around sniffing everything."
"We have robots..."
"We have robots at busy intersections and crossing points to assist and control traffic flow."
Nice to see Chappie is getting some work.
"The other day..."
"I teach in Japan but grew up in America. The other day my students asked me wide-eyed if Americans really wear their shoes inside. I told them yes and that sometimes my dad would cross his legs like this while we sat on the sofa and I could touch the bottom of his shoes. They were super grossed out. "Eew, why would you wear shoes inside! That's so dirty!" These kids are 2nd graders so it starts pretty young."
It never hurts to travel––you'll broaden your horizons and learn more about other cultures! When the pandemic's over––I mean actually over––and it's safe enough to travel, I might just hire someone to play my wife and take part in that Finnish wife-carrying contest. Some beer sounds great.
Have some observations of your own? Feel free to tell us all about them in the comments section below!
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The brain a fascinating part of the body. No, its the most fascinating.
Scientists have said for years that we'll never know all about the brain and its functions.
So if it is so fascinating and so capable and awesome... why does it stall? Why does it overload?
Why aren't we all gifted with photographic memory? The brain definitely has a full storage issue. And we all suffer.
Redditor u/MABAMA45 wanted everyone to fess up to and just embrace all the things the brain can't handle by asking:
What can your brain just not comprehend?
I'm a smart person. I read, I study, I comprehend. But certain types of math can send me to the funny farm. I tried trigonometry in high school. I needed a therapist after a week. My brain hates math. It is what it is. I give up trying.
Louder!Meme Reaction GIF by reactionseditorGiphy
"I can't comprehend why any company would think I'm more likely to buy their product if they make their commercial 20db louder than all other commercials. Instant boycott."
"The sheer size and scale of the universe. Like the fact that you can fit all the planets of the Solar System between the Earth and the Moon. Now realise how far apart all the planets are in the Solar System. This is practically next door compared to the distance between our Sun and the nearest star."
"There are billions of stars in our Milky Way (with the majority having planets of their own). The sheer scale of the vast emptiness involved means that even when our galaxy merges with the Andromeda galaxy in 4.5 billion years' time, there will be very, very few actual collisions between stars."
"Then there is the void between galaxies, and that it takes billions of years for light, at its speed (massless, and the fastest speed possible), to travel between galaxies, speaks of the sheer emptiness and distance in that void. I can't quite fathom it."
"What was there before the universe, what was there before that, and that and that and (you get the idea)."
"Before" implies that time exists on both sides of an event, but that is not true when we are talking about the universe. Like how there are no positive numbers less than 0, there are no times before the beginning of the universe."
In the Words...
"Language, the fact that we all collectively decided separately and divertingly that certain sounds have meanings and that other sound mixed with those can change the meaning."
"Thanks for all of the upvotes and the award :3."
"Adding onto what I said, sounds are just vibrations in the air that out brains interpret into the sensation of hearing. Really we're vibrating the air at each-other and those air vibrations to your brain contain meaning. When you think about it like this language is not too dissimilar to the internet in a way. Makes you realize how crazy and unique of a skill language really is, with-ought it we wouldn't have a civilization."
"Another interesting thing related to this is when people call your name. Even if your in a crowded area with hundreds of people talking around you and you think your tuning them out if you hear your name you immediately notice, Some part of your brain must be constantly listening."
"Here are some other things my mind can't quite grasp:
- Computers, the fact that my phone is performing countless mathematical operations constantly.
- the plank length, if I understand it right it's the smallest distance anything can move, like a pixel of space.
- the human body and animals in general, were a collection of (large number but idk how large) cells all working together in various systems some how sustaining a brain that is able to be conscious, it's a miracle animals work at all let alone what they're capable of.
- why my ankles crack when I walk.
- what the future will be like, the world is changing so fast it's likely the future will be nothing like we think and it's coming." - Flaer15
I'm EmptyFun Floating GIF by Tomas BrunsdonGiphy
"My little brain can't comprehend the vast emptiness of space and the fact it supposedly just stretches on forever and never has an end. Kind of wild when you try imagine it."
Like any other muscle or organ in the body, we have to listen when pain is inflicted. We have to recognize discomfort and deal. Why don't we allow the same respect to our brain? It will tell us when enough is enough.
Simplicity...Work Working GIFGiphy
"How a simple calculator works. I can do math. I'm actually very good at it. How does a little plastic box do it though? Always boggled my mind."
"Dates. I am considered a historian by my family due to my knowledge on most world history, but God dang dates... I could be talking about WWII and say it happened the same date as WWI."
Billions of People
"That all the others persons I talk to or see, have their own thoughts, own inner dialogue and own life. For gaming analogy sometimes I just feel like others are NPC and I just can't comprehend that there are more than 7 billions person just like me."
The profound feeling of realizing that everyone, including strangers passed in the street, has a life as complex as one's own, which they are constantly living despite one's personal lack of awareness of it."
Now That's Too Much!
"I have a PhD in astronomy and MSc in Physics, and had to take ~2 years worth of quantum mechanics courses. It's one of those things where you can take solace that even with all that education on it all I can say is no one else really understands it either."
And the Dark?
"Light isn't affected by time. So... other things could just exist outside of time? Like, if you were a photon that traveled at light speed for a million years and then hit an alien's third butt, you'd experience it as instantly being a million light years away."
"A photon moves at the speed of light through space, but is standing still in time."
"A person at rest moves at the speed of light through time, but is standing still in space. When you accelerate through space, you're simultaneously decelerating through time. That's why observers will see your clock slow down when you begin accelerating at relativistic speeds. It's referred to as time and space dilation. Makes more sense once you realize that."
"There are people who don't have an internal dialogue with themselves. So, they never question if they are right or wrong. They never wonder if they are treating someone fairly, or if they are nice or mean."
"They can change their minds with no information, but it doesn't involve the process most of us go through when confronted with an opinion, or new data. It's not common, but it's not entirely rare. When I learned about this, I just couldn't understand how it was even possible."
The EndSeason 2 Episode 10 GIF by The SimpsonsGiphy
"Death, obviously I understand why people die and all that but just thinking what happens afterwards. What's it like for the said person that died, is it just blackness? Is it like they're dreaming??? Reincarnation?? This probably sounds very stupid but I don't care 🤦🏻♀️🤷🏻♀️"
There is so much to learn, and even more that we'll never know. And that's ok. When the brain is full, it's full. Seems like just a part of life. The mysteries will sometimes stay illusive.
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It's okay to hate things.
Some things deserve to be hated. Internet trolls, people who mistreat animals, and individuals who talk during the movie are most definitely worthy of the scorn they gain. However, there are some items and topics which could do with a bit of rebranding. Instead of being "Hate Me," they instead deserve a sign that says, "I'm Really Not That Bad."
What doesnt need the hate it gets?
They say you hate what you don't understand. Clearly, they were thinking of things like the entries below when they came up with that expression as all of these fit the bill of being hated for not being understood.
It Cycles Past Judgement Into Comfort
"Sleeping with stuffed animals. You're never too old for that."
"Somewhat mature: Not needing a stuffed animal in order to sleep.
Very mature: Sleeping with one anyway because you don't give a f-ck what other people think."
Long Live The King
Most unfairly villainized and maligned animal in the world all because of some stupid Disney movie. They are not scavengers at all they hunt 90% of their prey and lions steal food off of them far more than they steal off lions. They are highly intelligent predators with an equally important role to play in the ecosystem."
They Go Through More Than Anyone Will Realize
I can personally confirm that I was a piece of work in grade school--then high school. And it wasn't because of teachers--it was because of me."
"As someone in high school rn, I agree with this. They get paid too little to deal with my laziness and bullsh-t"
You might have been told, either by a friend or a family member or some misguided news source, that the following topics are deserving of your hate. That their mere existence is something to shun and hate.
That's not the case.
It Tastes Soooo Good
"MSG. It's like salt but on crack and exploding with flavor."
This was a pretty racist phenomenon that got built up around Asian restaurants in the 70s and 80s.
"Essentially some study came out that MSG was bad for you and caused headaches, racing heart and basically anything else that might be considered bad. They even came up with a diagnosis for it "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome" and it was recognized as a legit medical diagnosis.
However, the FDA had already tested it and on retest found that it was still basically as safe as anything else you put in your food. .
The original studies were really flawed in that they weren't blind and there was already this perception that MSG was bad because they were racists/xenophobic."
You Know Bananas Don't Normally Look Like That, Right?
"GMOs. Humans have been slowly doing that since we started cultivating crops, now we can just do it quicker. And there are millions of people who rely on GMO crops to not starve to death."
It's important to be cautious about your own safety and well-being. No one is trying to convince you to take unnecessary risks.
However, sometimes that thing you were worried about might not be as deadly as you imagined.
They're Not All Chernobyl
"People freak out because of the radiation but almost everyone is oblivious to the amount of crap a coal or oil powerplant dumps in the atmosphere."
"Nuclear waste is relatively easy to store and modern nuceal powerplants have good safety records."
They're Just Words
Chemist here. The word "chemicals"
Toxicologist here. "Chemical free" ugggggg makes me so mad. Anything can be toxic at the right dose
Seriously. Don't Be That Parent.
"TV shows made specifically for toddlers. They are toddlers. It's all colors and shapes and being excited over simple things. That's what toddlers are about. YOU don't need to watch the show. It's not for you."
Do certain things and people deserved to be scorned? A look at Twitter will say a resounding, "Yes." But with a keener eye, and a closer look, you'll see that misinformation or misunderstanding can guide misguided to hate.
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Going to college is an exciting experience. You meet new people, learn about the world and the inner workings of society, and make lasting friendships. As fun (and expensive *cough, cough*) as higher education can be there is a reason that only one-third of the US population 25 and older have been able to complete a four-year degree program. It is hard and burnout is real.
Going through university was filled with both happiness and sometimes tears for me. I loved school and found my classes interesting, dove into extracurriculars, and had that perfectionist drive to get all A's... totally not sustainable. It hit me I was totally burnt out about two years in while enrolled in an algebra class.
I wanted to give up, I was flustered and spent way too much time trying to get a great grade in a class that just wasn't clicking for me. What did I do? I had to take a step back and reflect on what I would tell a friend in the same shoes. I would tell them they don't need to be perfect, that getting a C+ in one class wasn't going to wreck their whole GPA, and for the love of God drink water too won't just coffee.
Self-care and stealing extra sleep, even just an hour nap, can go a long way to refreshing your drive. The takeaway really was just to show me the same love and support I'd been putting out to those around me. You deserve it, too!
Redditor peachyjams asked:
"What are some tips for a burnt out student?"
The Reddit community gave this user some wonderful tips and tricks to help with student burnout.
Go at your own pace.
“Don't pressure yourself into 4 years. It's OK to take it slower. Balance out your schedule with more enjoyable elective credits if you can, or just take less courses in a semester if possible.”
“Obviously things like financial aid, living costs (if not living at home) and others may play a factor in how many courses you need to take or how quickly you need to complete college, so if you can't take less courses, talk to your advisor or counselor and work with them to carefully plan out each semester so that your coursework is balanced IE: You don't end up accidentally taking Calculus + "Fun," art class that was 1000x more work than you thought it would be in the same semester.”~zachtheperson
“Burnt out doesn't begin to cover it.”
“I feel very qualified to answer this. I have been in college continuously since I was 18, and I'm now 32. I have 2 years to go before finishing my doctorate. I currently have an associate's, bachelor's, and master's. I have also worked the entire time. Burnt out doesn't begin to cover it. Here is how I stay sane:
- Give school as little bandwidth in your life as possible. "Good enough" are the two most beautiful words in the English language. Get Bs on things. Write your assignments and due dates on a master calendar, block off times to get them done, and try to avoid thoughts of school outside of those blocks.
- To increase productivity during your work blocks, use Freedom or something similar. I paid for a lifetime subscription and in one class alone it paid for itself. It just blocks access to your distractions on the phone and computer while you get stuff done.
- Tackle other hobbies in life that you see progress in outside of school. Even if it feels like school will never ever end and you're on a treadmill of misery going nowhere, you can go somewhere in other areas of your life. I'm currently training for a marathon, just started learning cello, I mentor first gen college students, and I'm in a book club. Pick your poison, but try to put away the laptop and push yourself in a non-academic area.
- Your social needs may vary, but try getting together with other people not in your circle of school misery. Join a sports league (yuck for me but maybe not for you). I host regular dinner parties. Volunteer. Now that vaccines are out, make sure you get one then connect with other people.
- DO NOT TAKE A BREAK. When you stop school even for a semester you know what it's like to be happy and not have the weight of misery pulling you down. You won't want to go back. Slog through and just do it.
- Don't reward yourself with damaging things. Don't eat or drink your rewards for school or you will be unhealthy and unhappy when you're done. Reward yourself with something positive instead."
If I had to recommend one book, it would be 'Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle'. Basically, it goes into the science of feeling burned out, why it's bad for you, and how to fix it on a physiological level."
“If you don't want to read the whole thing, if I could distill the most useful information it would be: exercise. The author digs deep into the science (which I love) behind why it works SO DAMN GOOD, but if you hate science and reading, trust me. Go for a run a few times a week, lift weights, dance a lot, just get your heart rate up. Good luck. School sucks."~bicycle_mice
You don’t have to be perfect.walking dead love GIFGiphy
“If you're an A student I would suggest lowering your personal bar. Being constantly burnt out isn't worth the 0.2 difference in your GPA and if you're worried about career prospects there are always comparable fields that aren't quite as competitive.”
“Trying to get an A in every class takes disproportionally more work. If you can get A's and a few more B's while getting to chill every once and a while and not stressing, do that.”~SlightlyOvertuned
Lists are seriously underrated.
If your sensation is of being overwhelmed (i.e. you have an impossible amount of work to do with no end in sight) more than burnt out (you are exhausted and becoming detached from the work), then two tips:
- Realise that it's not infinite. If you stick it out until graduation (and I hope you do!), then many of the problems you're accumulating will be wiped clear. Perhaps your GPA/final grade won't be as good as you want, but remember that whatever you're facing now - this too shall pass. Knowning that there is an inevitable light at the end of the tunnel is useful for me.
- Make a list. If you are the under-organised type, making a list of things to do each morning on a sheet of paper dramatically reduces the stress level that those items cause you. You can implement some fancy to-do software if you prefer but tbh a daily todo is simpler and more effective...”~alexandicity
A book and a blanket? Make it so.read new york GIFGiphy
“When I was a burnt out student I took solace in a comfort zone activity. Something unrelated to my school work that I could dive into for a little while when I needed a break. For me, this was reading the Lord of the Rings.”
“What works for you depends one what's in your comfort zone, but it should be something that you can easily pick up and put down again when it is time to get back to work.”
“To this day, I still read the Lord of the Rings when I get stressed or overworked. In fact, I am reading it now, for the 48th time.”~khendron
“Lots of things you could try! Sleep. 8 hours a day, wake up spontaneously without an alarm and if you feel the need do a 30-90 minute power nap in the afternoon.”
“Meditate daily, 5-30 minutes to start in the morning or whenever you feel comfortable. Limit the consume of caffeine.”
“Plan a healthy diet you can stick to, reducing the amount of junk food first to focus later on the composition of your main meals, snacks and so on. Eat plenty of greens, fruit, nuts and drink mainly water or sugar free drinks.”
“Take cold showers. Those are a huge boost, especially in the morning. Decompress. As someone said, take the days you need to just do nothing during your week. Last but not least, workout! Start small, build the habit and stick to it!“~Tha_Sin
“...it's pretty normal in our over worked society.”
“Burnout is real. It means you have given too much of yourself to something, and you need to recover. While deadlines don't wait, professors often will. “
“You have to communicate with them if you are struggling. If they are worth their pay, they will do their best to accommodate you. It's unhealthy to continue under so much stress. Be kind to yourself.”
“Nearly everyone experiences this at some point in life, and it's pretty normal in our over worked society. Do what you can to clear your mind. Assign yourself a certain number of hours to completely shift gears away from all these responsibilities.”
“Set an alarm if you have to, but give yourself enough time to reach a stage of full body relaxation. You can try walking, meditating, sleeping, whatever your body needs. Just listen to it! There is no shame here. You must care for yourself and keep a balance. Deep breaths, often.”~VaginaWarrior
“Yes to this advice!! Let teachers know ASAP that you are struggling and often they will be able to make accommodations or offer help. Also, looking into counseling services that are offered through the school is definitely worth taking advantage of while that stuff is accessible and free.”~shannonbta
“because a b*tch needs water...”
“My bad day thing is I have to get up, eat (even if it's takeout), put on fresh bedsheets because if I'm having a bad day in bed it might as well be comfortable and smell good, have a shower (even just shoulders down) and go for even a small walk, even if it's to the shop or to get myself that takeout."
“They're not huge things to do but they're very difficult on some days. And I don't always do them all, maybe I just eat and shower, or go for a walk, or just change my bedsheets. But all of them are small tasks that feel like mountains but once I do one or two of them they're so so easy, and I benefit from them all mentally or physically or both."
“And I have a litre bottle of water and cup of tea at my side at all times because a b!tch needs water and there are few things as comforting as a good cup of tea in a warm mug to me."~thisisausername-2021
“I didn't pull a single all-nighter in my 4 years of undergrad.”
- “Don't listen to your fellow classmates who boast about study 60+ hours a week, they're either exaggerating, straight-up lying, or have an incredibly inefficient study method. There will be times where you really need to be studying hard for extended amounts of time (ex. finals week), but for the vast majority of the semester it is completely unnecessary to do that in order to get a good grade.”
- “If you do find that you need excessive study in order to do okay in a course then you need to reach out to your TA(s) and professor. Most universities have free tutoring services, use them.”
- “Seriously just take more breaks and get more sleep. I didn't pull a single all-nighter in my 4 years of undergrad and now that I'm in med school I don't have any need for that either. Without real breaks and sleep your brain's ability to actually store and organize all the information you've studied goes out the window. This is harder to do if you need to work to support yourself but you need to find some semblance of healthy sleeping habits if you want to be able to make it through all 4 years.”
- “Eat real food. Don't just live off of snack foods and coffee, your brain isn't going to work properly if you don't fuel it. It's generally cheaper to buy canned and frozen fruit and veg so if you're on a budget try those aisles. Additionally, most places have some sort of charity or community pantry/soup kitchen, use it if you need to.You don't need to be completely destitute in order to reach out for help from these places, if you are struggling to make ends meet get help from your community. It is not weak, it is not shameful, it's being smart enough to accept that everyone needs help now and then.”
- “I mean it, don't pay attention to classmates and social media influencers who say they spend all their time studying. They almost definitely aren't and if they are they have an unsustainable view towards work/school that will bite them in the butt later on.”~JSD12345
Treat yourself to a mini-vacation.
“If you have any extra money (I know, easier said than done) book the cheapest AirBNB you can find within the area you can get to with the transportation you have available. Go alone or bring a friend, and have a mini-vacation, just for a night or weekend. It's very refreshing to have a change of scenery, even if it's in your same city.”~goshawkgirl
These are some great ideas to help cope with the all to real burnout. Remember to show yourself the grace you give to others because your best is all you can do.