if only they knew

i hung out with a friend today.

i don’t really consider myself to have many friends. maybe that’s because the words mean different things to me. i only have maybe two or three, all of which i rarely see. i keep people at arm’s length, trying not to let them get too close to me. not because of my social anxiety and deep-rooted fear of people, though there’s that too.

i keep people away because it drains me too much to bring them any closer. the buttons of a phone, the maneuvers of a shower, the voices around that rattle like bones in my ears and mind. the words of a conversation cut short because i suddenly don’t remember what we were talking about, or what i was saying just seconds ago. even without going out somewhere, the strings of communication that humanity treasures so dearly and demands so much of feel taut within just a few short minutes.

to try to explain this to someone one has just met, a stranger with no idea of what living with debilitating and unapparent disabilities is like, is like trying to explain the concept of physics to a stuffed bear. the worlds are just so far apart that there’s little room for leeway in one direction or another.

if only they knew.

i keep people away because i don’t want them to worry. to force them to try to comprehend something that so severely impacts your ability to function in the world, even with things so simple as lifting a fork to your mouth. i keep people away because i don’t want to concern them with something so heavy of a burden that belongs to no one but myself. because i don’t have the energy to battle every single day with their preconceived ideas of what living and dealing with human interaction is like with disabilities. because any energy i put into interacting with these people will at some point result in pain. not just emotional or mental, but also the easily neglected physical pain.

because i know, oh so well, that they will not have the patience to stay with me when it takes me minutes to formulate one sentence, minutes to move from one area of a room to another, hours to get dressed during the day or to even get out of bed. to listen when i halt one conversation short because i don’t remember what i was saying, only to pick it back up from that point hours later.

i will never have the words to explain how much it takes to open my eyes in the morning, how much it takes to cook myself a simple breakfast, or to move myself to a chair just to sit in the house all day.

if only they knew. maybe then they would understand my definition of friendship.

call to arms: Help save Dryads Rest

Tags

, ,

this is not something that i typically do. but we are in desperate need of your help.

my aunt, widowed and living in extreme poverty, has been served an eviction notice from her mortgage lender. this lender, being a part of a nation-wide classist housing scheme and financial crisis from the illegal inflation of false debts, has been relentless when addressed and asked for assistance. they seek to drain every penny from her, despite her self-employment in a dying field.

she currently lives in the middle of rural woodlands, in a rundown and falling-to-pieces house with the company of her goats and dozens upon dozens of extravagant hand-made costumes of various eras. she rents out this property to groups in LARPing [live action roleplaying] communities and groups developing systems of roleplay therapy for neuroatypical folk, such as those in the autistic spectrum. this property is her only semi-reliable source of income, aside from rarely selling a costume to a customer. with my family and i on the other side of the country and both of my grandparents on her side of the family deceased, she will have nowhere to turn to.

my mother has set up a donation button through paypal on my aunt’s blog page. but even if you cannot donate yourself, please try to help us help her by signal boosting this call. link it to people, reblog on tumblr, any way you can. we need all the help we can get.

update

Tags

, ,

thanks y’all for your responses to my last entry. i did manage to find something that i’m going to try, when i went looking for indian soap nuts locally i found a small package of laundry powder that doesn’t have fragrances, dyes or unnatural chemicals that i got for $3.50. an ok price for a trial run – if that doesn’t work out then i’ll try something else. fortunately i don’t have to worry about fabric softener, i have dryer balls that work pretty well. and the natural store seems to have expanded their stock bc the brand that i bought for my body wash is there now, and said brand has shampoo and conditioner. not the same brand for the shampoo and conditioner i’m using now, but still worth a shot and at a much more affordable price.

so yes. i’m going to be trying that powder out tomorrow when i don’t have work and i have the spoons, after i buy a tablespoon [pun not intended] for it today. thankies for caring and helping me out, i do appreciate it and i think y’all are wonderful <3

one part snark to one part seriousness

Tags

, ,

dear customers, coworkers and other such individuals who douse themselves in fragrances and then proceed to invade and poison my workplace:

you reek.

no, seriously. i know i’m supposed to be providing superior customer service, but once you step anywhere near my workplace, even if only in passing, i cannot think once the air is tainted. my head gets swimmy, i begin choking and coughing, and one hell of a headache starts piercing me right behind my eyes. this isn’t bc i think you smell bad, which people often think when someone starts coughing only when in your general proximity. it’s bc i’m disabled, and my sense of smell has become more powerful than most people can even imagine. there are days where i can be left choking over an entire shopping cart of clothing bc there is one article in there somewhere that had been washed.

people may think i am kidding when i say these things as literally as i do. i would then urge you to speak with one of many people who has chemical sensitivities, to perhaps show you that this is not a case of one or two people. several people [tho numbers are unknown] are bound to their homes or must go through extreme measures just to step outside of one’s home in order to run basic errands or even see their own doctors.

perhaps then you might be able to understand. or if not, at least stay away from my fan.

————

snark aside, this is a call for aid.

as my last post has suggested, i am in relapse. this is odd for me, as i do not typically relapse during summer months – typically it happens during the winter with the snow and severe cold. i don’t know why it’s coming up so early for me this time, but it’s left me in quite a sorry state. most of it i already know how to handle. but for one reason or another, my sensitivities have shot through the roof. this is quite alarming seeing as i’m still only just learning about how extensively chemicals inside and outside of my home are affecting me [albeit without the assistance of my doctors]. as such there are things that have never affected me before [or at least not that i am aware of] but are now, such as showering and laundry supplies.

i’ve been taking care to try to remove some of the problematic chemicals and fragrances where i can, tho finances make this difficult. shampoo and the likes i think i can work with, but i need help with ideas from my readers for the laundry situation.

currently i use the purex complete 3-in-1 laundry sheets. my fiance introduced them to me bc of how difficult and painful it is for me to use bottles of laundry detergent, both in carrying and in pouring. the sheets meant that i could do my own laundry without assistance, and i wouldn’t have to put them off for ages bc i didn’t have the energy [well i still put it off but not for as long]. but now for one reason or another these are starting to set me off, and last week i nearly had to call into work bc my own clothes were starting to make me sick. i need a way to do said laundry without including the potent chemicals and fragrances in most laundry detergent, in a way that will not further aggravate my disabilities [joint & muscle pain/weakness & low energy primarily, and esp since i will have to bring said products down a flight of stairs at least once], and in a way that i can reasonably afford seeing as i am also incredibly poor. access to products around here is quite limited and expensive – a single reasonably sized bottle of fragrance-free shampoo here can cost me about $17. meaning i would likely have to start getting these products online, which poses the problems of shipping costs and questions of how safe their products actually are.

so yes. given the complexity of my situation, and how little experience i have in searching for such products seeing as it hasn’t been a problem in the past, i am in desperate need of your help. i am hoping that someone will have ideas and experience where i have none.

i won’t apologize anymore

Tags

, , , ,

my heavily threaded guilt complex developed over oh so many years has been getting to me. telling me that i should feel bad for not posting as frequently as i have, as i should, about subjects that i know i should be talking about but just haven’t had the energy for it.

but see, the problem with that is that i shouldn’t have to feel that way. it’s bullshit, ableism fed to us telling us that we should be more productive, that we should be performing for people, that our bodies and minds do not matter in light of the demands of others.

things have been quiet here. not because i’ve given up, or because i’ve lost interest in writing, but because i’ve been doing my best to take care of myself first. the battles with relapses do not leave much energy for lengthened, eloquently constructed, edited posts. and while a part of me feels as if i should be sorry for this, i need to come to terms with the simple fact that i shouldn’t. my health is a higher priority, even when blogging about said health, and i won’t be shamed about lessened ‘productivity’ anymore.

i won’t apologize anymore. it will be a long and tedious battle, but here it is a start. a journey to reclaim my body and mind for me, not to be taken from me by the demands of the people around me.

there are a few posts and ideas that i’m still in the middle of working with. they’ll be posted eventually, possibly ‘late’, once i can get all of my thoughts together. which isn’t an easy task, but one to be done on my own time.

the mole hill that is dermatillomania

Tags

, , , , ,

trigger warning for description of compulsive actions (hell, i know it’s happened to me) and a long rant about society’s sexist body shaming

[image is a zoomed in snapshot of someone’s lower face. showing just the lips, cheeks and chin below the nose, the contrast between their incredibly pale skin and several open red sores is significant.]

so. i want to talk to you about dermatillomania. dermatillomania is the compulsive need to pick at one’s skin. sometimes it’s related to stress and anxiety, sometimes it’s related to bodily dysmorphia (where one perceives their body as literally warped in ways that are not apparent to society), sometimes it’s related to obsession and compulsion. sometimes it’s related to more than one of these things at once, leaving addressing it very, very difficult.

how one perceives their dermatillomania is always different. i would not be able to tell you how it feels for someone else. but i can say that for me, it’s related to obsession over skin being ‘imperfect’ with all of its little bumps and variations. i rub my fingers against my skin when i’m thinking and when i’m stressed or anxious, which makes me aware of those little bumps. and because i have ocd, and in my head it focuses a lot on what isn’t ‘perfect’ or ‘in place’, that rubbing becomes clawing. and that clawing does not stop until the imperfection is gone.

now. why did i call it a mole hill? because that’s how society perceives it. they feel that we are ‘making a mountain out of a mole hill’. that we are making a big deal over nothing, and just need to stop and act normally like everyone else.

if that’s the case, then that’s a pretty damned big mole hill.

the thing about dermatillomania and many other related anxiety or compulsion disorders is that it’s not something you can just ‘stop’. it’s triggered in one way or another, sometimes trauma, sometimes the person’s individual ability to process and handle stress (which, before people start up on that too, is neurological and thus not something that can just be ‘stopped’ or ‘chill out’). and then it becomes one of someone’s various compulsions when coping with stress. some pull at their hair. some grind their teeth. some bite their nails. and some of us pick and claw at our skin.

when you’re dealing with something that becomes a large part of how you respond to stress, it’s not exactly easy to stop. i’ve tried bandages, both on the sores themselves (or the scars and scabs they produce) and on my fingertips. i’ve tried people verbally correcting me. [1] i’ve tried people physically correcting me. [2] i’ve tried cutting my nails. and so far, nothing has worked.

why?

because what i am battling is not just my need to claw. no. what i am battling is society having taught me that our bodies are flawed, and that we have to seek out every manner possible to correct it. we have to fight against a world that says our skin must be smooth and clear, no matter what. we’re told that airbrushed models are real depictions, that these are what we have to look toward, that if we can’t achieve this we’re of little worth – if any. we battle a standard of beauty and perfection that is artificially created by industry, constantly tossed products and labels in order to make us buy ourselves into this dream world that doesn’t exist outside a magazine producer’s copies of photoshop.

and because of it, is it any wonder that most people who have dermatillomania are women? and those of us who are subject to society’s rampant sexism because of how our body is, even if we don’t necessarily identify with it or how society perceives it?

like many, i was fed this garbage from a young age. and with the development of my ocd comes compulsions shaped by society’s perception of me and my life. and so i strive internally for that perfection, for the smoothness that my fingers seek.

and yet instead of the smooth, flawless skin that society has taught us that we should reach for, sores and welts form. glaring redness that grabs people’s attention, in a fashion that is far from desired. for seeking what society has told us to seek, we are shamed for what that society perceives as disfigurement and self-injury. the skin that we try to fix, we are told to hide away because it bothers others.

because yes, people do notice. and people do comment, and people do try to correct you without you wishing them to. i have had complete strangers, that i had no desire to speak with, try to give me tips on clearing acne.

this mole hill? is not so small. this mole hill is much bigger than you perceive it to be, because it’s been told to hide for so long.

and the real mole hill is society’s lack of concern for the harm it inflicts upon people, for telling them who they must be and how and why. the real mole hill is the fact that people don’t give a damn unless your ‘disfigurement’ bothers them.

we are not making a big deal over nothing. this is a big deal. because it’s directly related to the system our society has constructed, that attacks so many people for not meeting up to some preconceived standard that is impossible to achieve.

[originally posted on tumblr]


1. no, having people correct me when i do something i want to stop is not abuse or harassment. i’m kink, and discipline is a large part of how my mind functions. if someone i view as holding a position of authority over me that i care about and hold them to of my own accord, then i am more likely to listen to their verbal corrections over my own.

2. i don’t mean with smacks or anything. i mean gently moving my arm away from where i’m compulsively reaching to when i start to claw (typically my face). smacking me would probably just make it worse and make me lose trust in who i’ve entrusted this to.

misdiagnosis and being the crazy patient

Tags

, , , , ,

This is my post for may’s Blog Carnival of Mental Health, developed by Astrid and hosted by the madosphere, on the theme ‘patients and professionals.

mental health professionals and i don’t have a very good track record.

ages ago, i remember my mother trying to get me to go to therapy. i declined, because i was sure at the time i was fine. this was after the hell that was middle school, but before the mental and psychotic hell that was high school. as far as i remember, the only reason she brought it up was because a psychic told her to. i remember her saying that the person insisted that i wasn’t crazy, but i still needed the help. i think she was just trying to reassure my mother that the stereotypes surrounding mental illness aren’t true, and while yes, my trauma did significantly impact my development and perspective of the world, by no means was i like society’s depiction of the crazy person that paces back and forth talking to themself(ves) [1]. that came later.

high school hit and things went to hell again. this time i became so drenched in my own darkness that i couldn’t see the reality outside of my own. this is what led to my hospitalization the year of my graduation.

that hospitalization is why i’m so skeptical of mental health professionals in regards to my own situation.

during my two week stay, i attempted to make it clear that i was hallucinating, i was delusional at the time, and yes even though because i’m crazy i knew this and could make people aware of such.

except that instead of listening to me, they went with their perspective of my health, diagnosed me with depression, fed me medication that i never needed and never worked, and forced me into social situations that made me incredibly uncomfortable. i was forced to participate in group therapy and group activities, despite my severe social anxiety, and any attempts to resist this would lead to me being written up. for those unfamiliar, being ‘written up’ is essentially like written warnings – you got only so many before your ‘privileges’ (see: group activities that i never wanted to be a part of in the first place, or use of colored pencils for drawing or writing) started to be revoked. being more afraid of confrontation than my peers at the time, i didn’t push any further. had i known the extent and reasoning behind my social anxiety, maybe i would have pushed harder.

needless to say, this was a problem. by instilling a hierarchy of power, and asserting that power in a way that worked on their perspective of the patient instead of accepting and working with input from that patient, they did not allow for the development of trust. any lack of trust, and thus any ‘acting out’ based on their perspective of the situation, resulted in the patient being punished for their ‘behavior’ instead of any acknowledgment for why they might be acting in the manner they are. not allowing for the development of trust means less communication between the patient and the mental health team (staff, nurses and psychologists/psychiatrists), and less willingness to work with each other. less communication means less progress, and can result in continuous spiraling or, like in my case, hiding every problem in order to be left the fuck alone, and eventually discharged on the idea of ‘improvement’ that was never actually there, just a farce i put up to be left the fuck alone.

now, because of that lack of development of trust in this first attempt, i have little to no trust of any mental health professional i come into contact with, meaning i’m less likely to seek help with coping with my illnesses. granted, i did eventually seek out help again, but it took an abusive relationship and psychotic breakdown to do it. that and DID – someone in our system seized control long enough to actually get us to push forward toward therapy and treatment, instead of ignoring it entirely. because we would have.

this story isn’t the first. far from it. there’s a lot of us with these horror stories, largely in part because of the stereotype that crazy people don’t know about their own mental distress and thus can’t be trusted to actually seek treatment, because obviously they’re not in touch with reality to know that they’re, well, not in touch with reality.

except for one small problem – uh, actually, frequently we do. the problem isn’t that we don’t know, though in some instances we may not. the problem is that when we do, people don’t listen to us. because in their eyes, we don’t actually know, the fact that we think we know must be a delusion. and thus they focus on their perspective of how we feel. WHAT THE FUCK?

see, treatment of one’s illnesses and disorders (be they mental or otherwise) is dependent on two factors – the professional treating the condition(s) and the patient being treated. the patient must articulate the symptoms and what they experience so the professional knows what to possibly treat, and what direction to look in when coming up with said treatment and diagnosis. the professional must listen to these described symptoms in order to come to a reasonable diagnosis that makes sense with the symptoms described. because, yanno, treatment won’t work if you’re treating a condition that’s not there.

no, just because we’re crazy doesn’t mean we’re making it up, or we’re wrong because we obviously perceive our symptoms differently than how the rest of the world does (hint: this concept doesn’t actually work, as how symptoms work is how we’re affected by them and thus perceive them). believing this creates that hierarchy, placing the ‘professionals’ above the patients instead of them working together on equal ground. and that hierarchy affects trust and how willing we are to work with those professionals in the first place. if we do not trust you, you cannot adequately treat us, and no, you can’t force treatment on the unwilling. that disconnect just makes things worse in the long run.

we might be the crazy patients, but that doesn’t mean we don’t know how we’re affected by our crazy. after all, that crazy is affecting us – we are the ones that live with it day in and day out, the hours of the days and the days of the years. we are the ones that see inside our heads, hear the thoughts racing through our minds, feel the emotions that roll up and down and inside and out. this isn’t something you can just put a hat on with shiny lights and see everything that we think and feel. you have to be able to trust us, that we’re the ones that know how mental illness affects our lives. but to know that, we have to trust you. and that doesn’t work out so well when the system and the people within work against us.


1. i know my wording here seems awkward. basically, i use the term themself as a singular gender neutral term to refer to other individuals, while reserving the term ‘themselves’ for those of DID or plural systems. typically folks use ‘themselves’ even in reference to one individual, but due to my experiences with the DID and plural communities, and being nonbinary with a self-preference of the singular they for pronouns, that usage always feels awkward for me, so i avoid it. i understand that this isn’t typical usage, hence the clarification.

what lurks in the night

Tags

there is this Thing that happens to me when i try to sleep sometimes that terrifies the shit out of me.

i don’t know what it is, or why it happens. but my body goes numb, i start to feel like i’m moving but i can’t actually move my body – i have no control over it. i try to fight against it, but the weight against me is so strong that i barely budge. and i can see my body moving without me, the room at different angles as i twirl around in my bed or fall off.

and then my eyes open, and i realize it isn’t real.

but see, it looks so real. it feels so real. i can feel every second of it, and i panic. i panic and scream internally and i want to shout out and get help from anyone i possibly can, even though no one can see me or hear me and i can’t open my mouth to utter a word.

but sometimes, what’s even more terrifying is that even when i open my eyes, sometimes it happens again. i get a quick moment of relief, and then i’m out of control over my body again.

it cycles. it can cycle anywhere from four to five times before i realize after my eyes open again, that i have to move somehow or else it’ll happen again. i shift positions and my eyes close.

and then it comes back for me.

there is no way to make it go away. no amount of shifting, no amount of mental control or comfort. as long as i lay there, it will come after me. the only way i get relief is if i leave my bed and do something else, keeping myself up until i can’t stand it anymore and my body starts to sleep for me.

only then, only then will it leave me alone. until another night when it comes to terrorize me again.

this Thing, i call it that because it is something i can never reclaim for myself. this Thing, i have no control over when it happens or how or why. it decides my fate for me. and it terrifies me. every time it starts to happen, the shouts start in my head.

NO NO NO NO NO NOT AGAIN NO LEAVE ME ALONE

and then eventually, after it’s had its fun with me, it goes away. for how long, i never know. days, months, sometimes a year or two.

i never know. not until the panic starts. not until those screams start, as i feel the numbness take over my body.

every time, i hope that it’ll go away for good. that i’ll get some sort of peace.

but i never know.

Tags

, , , , ,

i feel like i’m floating.

laying on my back, staring at the sky as i drift upon this river of…. ???

i’m not sure. i can’t see it. i feel its waves splashing against my skin every so often, ice cold one moment and boiling the next. and each boiling wave leaves patches of scars, numb to sensation, numb to the world. until another wave splits them open, leaving the raw muscles and nerves exposed. waiting for the next wave, bracing myself for the pain to come as this unseen force jabs needles into the open wounds. waiting for another boiling wave to seal them, to numb me until the next assault comes.

but then i realize, in the fog of my mind that fractures and fades into abstract nothingness and yet pierces with such clarity for brief moments of obsession, that i do know what this river is. i know what these waves are, and why they assault me so.

can you sense it? the clattering of voices, family and friends, peers and coworkers, absorbed in their own worlds as, without their knowledge or understanding, their voices turn into those waves, those needles that pierce my exposed soul with such calculation.

this river, so carefully constructed by the structures of society, swallows up all of those it deems its victims, drifting them into nothingness one moment and screams of such intensity that one can’t see nor hear anything else the next. this river, which flows with such ferocity and yet delicacy, the master of the puppets within its currents, the puppets that attack us and yet have no understanding of why, or why we’re bleeding.

this river, which goes by the name of ableism.

this river, which goes by the name of psychophobia.

i feel it, its splashes against my limbs, the moist chill that remains as each wave fades away, the numbness of my skin as all warmth is sapped from me.

do you?

or do you sit along the banks, watching, waiting, as it swallows up another ‘neath its fangs?

will you work with us, as we fight against the current downstream, to build a dam and wrest its control? will you work with us, as we climb along the walls of this dam, limbs quivering as the pain drains every last drop of energy, to reach the top and try to find those still drifting?

or will you sit, watching, waiting, feeding this monster with each oblivious word, wondering why people are drifting away and seemingly not bothering to cry out for help?

blogging against disablism day: this divisive world we live in

Tags

, , , , , ,

Blogging Against Disablism Day, May 1st 2011

The Blogging Against Disablism Day logo. It is a five by four grid of various color backgrounds and colored icons of people. One of the icons is of a wheelchair user, the standard icon that is used to mark accessibility services for people with disabilities. Another icon features a person with a cane. The image links to the official release of the Blogging Against Disablism carnival for 2011.

So many hands. So many different hands. Yet, they’re all striving for the same thing.

Click.

Watch the screen flicker. Once. Twice. Three times. A wave of color, forever flowing. So many colors, and yet so few. Like a rose. The rose of sanity, pure white in color. Flicker. Watch the petals change, the colors of the rainbow morph into each other. Red to purple and back again. A never ending cycle.

What do you see today?

Look at the TV guide as zombies claw at the screen. Rotted skin, barely attached to bone. The broken nails, striving to get out. Flicker. Another zombie. Flicker. A third zombie. One, two, three. Three bodies of decaying flesh and bottled insanity, screeching as they try to climb out.

Click.

There goes a picture frame, flying across the room. This woman just found out her husband was cheating on her with her sister. Another picture frame. A lamp. A clock. Feel the gun out in the open, the bullets rushing through the air. One, two, three. Three bullets implanting themselves into a liveless body, blood staining the carpet as it tries to escape.

The rose of sanity, forever changing. Forever wilting as the petals crumble to dust. One, two, three…

Click.

One last flicker of the screen, and it goes black. Waiting until tomorrow to begin. Another day. Another rose.

this was written on October 4th of 2004, before my eventual hospitalization. typically i do not publish things that were written in my private journals. but today is my exception.

society’s concept of mental illness is connected to one idea – a starch lunacy that lacks any form of rationality, that no one ‘sane’ can connect with and understand. behaviors that seem without meaning, ideas that seem impossible, responses to worlds that do not exist to the senses of others. these are the ‘others’, the crazy ones, the insanity that cannot be trusted and must be locked away. these are the ones who, if they attempt to speak up and portray ‘rational’ thoughts, are not to be believed. after all, they’re crazy. right?

and then, for those who are able to present rational and coherent thoughts, who can articulate themselves in ways that make sense to both the person speaking and to those that are listening, their mental illness either isn’t as severe as others or as the person claims it is, or they’re faking. for attention. funnily enough, if you ask, many times us crazy folk will tell you we don’t even want the attention to begin with, we just want to be left alone!

this sort of mindset turns society’s concept of mental health into a dichotomy, where mental illness is irrationality and incoherency, and ‘sanity’ is when one is able to articulate rational, coherent thoughts while maintaining a suitable level of functionality in everyday life. and this dichotomy ignores any possible levels in-between these concepts, as well as failing to address the fact that it’s blatantly wrong to begin with. the quote above, in stark contrast to my typical posts, is an example of how rationality and coherency doesn’t determine levels of mental health, be it whether or not one is mentally ill or how ‘severe’ that mental illness is (for them).

this dichotomy is one of the reasons why so many people with mental illness aren’t taken seriously, because people assume that it’s all about raving madly, lack of control and throwing cats out windows. people ignore that when they’re communicating with people, they’re not communicating with the mental illness itself. it is a part of us, but it does not define the entirety of us, and it varies just as much as individuals themselves do. it’s also one of the many reasons why many people with mental illness do not receive adequate care. a lack of recognition for anything outside of one’s preconceived notion of what mental illness entails, and a lack of recognition for the people affected, both by mental illness and others’ asshattery.

we’re not taken seriously when we seem sane, and we’re not taken seriously when we seem insane. what kind of twisted irony is that?