Dissociation At Its Finest

Dissociation At Its Finest

It's not like I'm bored or anything, I just get really tired of reality sometimes.
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When the first few days of a new semester hits, the number one thing Professors insist on doing with their students in the classroom is a self-introduction. It's completely harmless, of course, as we line our seats in a circle and we're forced to make eye contact with each other. Most of the times Professors ask questions along the lines of "What did you do over your vacation?" "What major are you?" "What's your hobby?" when it comes to actually introducing yourself. Besides the slight anxiety these self-introductions give me, I've always found them to be interesting to see what questions are asked and what my fellow classmates answer them with.

In one particular class I have this semester, apart from saying who we are and what major we are, my Professor told us to add what a quirk of ours is. I feel like the term quirk in its nature is a very loaded word because of the definitions people put on it. Some associate quirks being annoying while others think it's an unique quality about someone. Regardless what the definition is, my Professor's definition of the word meant what makes us unique and, most importantly, why it does.

While the classmates before me were introducing themselves, I was thinking long and hard to myself on how I would do the same. What makes me unique? What kind of quirk do I have that will set me apart from everyone else? Quite frankly, I don't have that many, I tend to consider myself average at nearly everything, however in that moment when I introduced myself, I went for something that could maybe provoke some empathy. I think I said something along the lines of this, "Hi my name is Maria, I'm an English major, and I don't know if I would consider this my quirk, but... I tend to easily dissociate during any part of the day. So because of that, I'm always messing around with anything my hands are holding." This then turned into a small conversation about dissociation and its impact and what it means.

It made me realize that it's something that should be discussed more, so this is where the conversation continues.

The textbook definition of dissociation can be defined as something along the lines of the disconnection or separation of something from something else or the state of being disconnected. It sounds like a repetitive mouth full of a definition, right? Well, to clarify, it does mean being disconnected in the sense that you feel like you're not really there. You may start to wonder if you're actually in the present moment or if you're in a dream. It's a weird way of explaining it, but when I dissociate, I can't articulate my thoughts and I start to almost daydream. It feels like nothing around me is real and it starts becoming pretty overwhelming.

Dissociation is not entirely a bad thing, in fact, people dissociate all the time without realizing it. You know the feeling when you're sitting in a lecture where the Professor speaks endlessly and it's pretty boring? Maybe you look out the window to distract yourself or you start daydreaming. That can be considered dissociation. You are essentially creating a different kind of scenario for yourself to deal with the current situation happening to you. However, the kind of dissociation that I go through is a little more than just simple daydreaming. It doesn't just happen during class lectures or when I'm listening to something boring, but it even happens when I'm doing something I enjoy. Dissociation in its essence is a coping mechanism towards trauma that an individual goes through in their life. Without getting too personal about anything, over the past few months, I have come to realize why I dissociate because I am also trying to cope with something. Is it trauma? Again, not going too personal into this, but it's something in that category.

It's such an odd kind of experience to go through because I'm so used to it now. It's a part of nearly every day of my life and it's kind of tiring dealing with it. Like I mentioned in my self-introduction that day in class, I tend to keep my hands on anything to help me out. Whether I'm holding a pen in my hands, messing around with my ear buds, or even playing around on my phone, I am definitely trying to make sure I'm still in reality. Dissociating sounds very scary if it's like you're losing your sense of reality, but I've come to acknowledge its presence in my life. I'm finding it easier coping with it and making sure that I can tell the difference between what's real and what's not. In fact, one of the students who went before me for self-introductions said something along the lines of how their quirk is manipulative daydreaming. In order to understand things better, they imagine reality as magic or fantasy and not only does it help them understand, but it makes it more fun. In a way, my coping with dissociation is similar in the aspect of me trying to find ways to make it more fun for myself. I mean, dissociation isn't really that fun, but it's comforting that my mind is helping me get out of a stressful situation to my own place to say the least.

With all this in mind, are you also someone that dissociates often? And if so, what do you do to stop dissociating and feel like you're back in the present? It's surprising to me how common it can be, but I believe that it's an important thing to keep in the back of our minds. You never know when you may be dissociating.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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The Truth About Narcan, Insulin, And Who Pays For What

"Stupid junkies, I have to pay for my Insulin but they get Narcan FOR FREE. Can you believe that?"

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Naloxone.

Let's talk about it. Naloxone, commonly referred to as Narcan or Evzio is a "medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose." According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Naloxone basically reverses the effects of an overdose.

As you see on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and every other social media platform in the world, "junkies" get indirectly bashed, undermined, and in a nutshell, told that they don't deserve a place on earth.

The most common argument used by "non-addicts" is "I have to pay for my Insulin for my diabetes, but they get Narcan for free? Wow, our government sucks and the system is a joke."

For those of you that don't know, diabetes is a disease in which the body's ability to produce or respond to the hormone, insulin, is impaired, resulting in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and elevated levels of glucose in the blood and urine.

There are two types of this disease: Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes that result from a variety of different factors. Diabetes can be acquired through genetics but can also be personally obtained through lifestyle, depending on the type. Aside from genetics and being born into a diabetic family, you may also be diagnosed with diabetes as a result of physical inactivity, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol, and being overweight. In other words, if you let your body go, don't work out or do some type of physical activity, let your high blood pressure go untreated, and eat unhealthy foods; you have a chance of developing diabetes.

Next, let's talk about prices.

On average, Insulin costs $200 monthly. This depends on the brand, personal insurance, coupons, and other factors such as organizations that help people get cheaper insulin.

Narcan nasal spray costs $130 for a two-time use. You can buy it at CVS Pharmacy (and other pharmacies) in states such as Ohio, Arkansas, California, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin. Some of these states may require a prescription.

Now that you know that Narcan/Evzio isn't free, it's time to talk about other charges that are brought upon addicts when they overdose. If an ambulance is called, they have to pay for it. If they are sent to the emergency room, they also have to pay for that.

The idea that "junkies" get Narcan for free is something society has made up to make drug users feel even more guilt than they already do from having an addiction alone.

Believe it or not, most of us are addicted to something that can be fatal or cause illness/injury. If you eat processed foods or sugar ridden foods every day, chances are you have an addiction to sugar. The withdrawal that someone has from quitting sugar is similar to the withdrawal that one goes through from quitting heroin. You get a splitting headache, you have cold sweats, you are moody, and it makes you sick. If you drink coffee all day on most days and you try to quit, it results in an awful headache for a few days. The addiction to cigarettes and the withdrawal that people go through for that speaks for itself; we all know a smoker or an ex-smoker.

Instead of following social norms, degrading drug users and putting ourselves on a pedestal because we don't use heroin or another "hard drug," we should advocate for the health and stand up for each other. If you see someone on the street that you know is a drug user, pull them aside and pray with them. Help them find a better life. Recommend church, rehab, or any other ideas that may be at your fingertips to mention.

The moral of the story is this: we all have an addiction, hypocrisy is at it's finest thanks to social media, and we are all human. Walk a mile in someone else's shoes before you judge them. It doesn't cost a dime to shed light on someone's life, especially when they are in need.

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