Q&A Part 4: London Halfway

So if you didn’t know, I’ve been in London for 2 months now which makes me halfway through my program! Hooray! You got your questions, and I got you some answers. Lets do this.

Have you started talking with a British accent?

Haha no I have not! I think I’ve started picking up some of the lingo though but nooo no accent.

What words do you find especially different?

Although my boyfriend says it all the time, I’m still not used to the fact that people say cheers instead of thank you. I asked someone where the sweaters were and they said “the jumpers are over there.” Lets see… They think slut is a more insulting word than cunt… Uhm… I honestly can’t think of a lot thats significantly different than the usual. OH! Also a “white van man” is NOT the same in America as we found out. A “white van man” is a guy who is like a blue collar worker and middle class. Someone who fixes like air conditioners and stuff. Not child abductors.

Do you get a lot of questions about Donald Trump?

Absolutely. People are fascinated by American politics. They just completely don’t understand how people can vote for Donald Trump. Then the question is always, “Why don’t you guys just be like Britain and vote for Bernie?” and I’m like “RIGHT?!?!” But thats just my politics. Hillary ain’t so bad. But yeah no people are really quite terrified of Donald Trump, but they find him more hysterical than anything and ask if the things he say are true and I reluctantly have to say yes. Its more of an embarrassment when people ask about Trump more than anything.

What do they think of our gun laws?

They don’t get it. Thats the one thing that people 100% do not understand about the US. Guns are COMPLETELY outlawed in the UK, even policemen don’t carry guns and you can’t buy or sell guns in the UK and everyone is completely okay with this. There is quite a bunch of knife crime in England, but no guns. Ever since like one bad instance with guns, they just outlawed them. People are so terrified here that anyone can get guns. My English History professor gets flabbergasted every time he brings it up.

Do you attend classes and what are they like?

Well.. I kinda do and don’t. I have two completely scheduled classes and 2 classes taught by the professor where he kind of just does whatever the fuck he wants. My scheduled classes are my art history class and my English History. My art history class is every Tuesday and we meet at a different museum every week. Depending if we’re doing modern art or pre-20th century art, it depends which professor we meet with. We walk around museums or exhibits and talk about the art and its literally a dream come true. My English History class meets in a classroom every Wednesday night and we talk about England and its history, politics, and all that jazz and discuss about it. It sounds boring but its actually a lot of fun and our professor is just the bomb. Now my theatre and music classes are always kind of up in the air about what we’re doing each week. Sometimes we have lectures, but other times we walk around London for 8 hours going to each place that Shakespeare went or having a scavenger hunt based on songs written about areas of London. Every week though, we go to at least one theatre performance and one music performance. Its pretty surreal.

Speaking of theatre, how is that?

Can I speak completely honestly? I’m severely underwhelmed. I might get a shit ton of hate for this, but keep in mind this is my very spoiled opinion because I’ve seen a lot of absolutely incredible theatre in Miami and on Broadway. I have been to one show thats blown me away, and the rest of it I’ve been like meh or yeah that was fine. But honestly I went and saw Matilda and the main girl who played Matilda was the least expressive actress I’ve ever seen and don’t give me that “but she’s young give her a break” bullshit because the rest of the kids in that show were UNBELIEVABLE. Each time I’ve been like, “Omg I’m in London this show is gonna be amazing” and then I’m like, “eh… alright.” Trust me, I’m not the only one in my group who feels this way.

Are you going to see Uncle ____?

I will try! I don’t have a lot of time to travel outside of my group but I will certainly try!

Speaking of travel, have you done a lot?

I am very fortunate to say I have! A majority of it has been with my group though. I think I’ve traveled alone once and I’m going to Italy for Spring Break but thats about it. Every other place I’ve been has been with my group and it has been awesome. So far I’ve been to Scotland: St. Andrews, Edinburgh, Glasgow; England: Oxford, York, and Leeds. And then we’re also going to Bath at some point and Stonehenge and I’m planning on going to Salisbury and Durham cuz they got some sick Gothic Cathedrals!

Thats all I got for now folks! Keep an eye out for more q&a sessions when I announce them on twitter or my up and coming facebook page and you too can have a question answered! For now, enjoy the slideshow of what I’ve been up to thus far!

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Have a day filled with kittens, Okay?

Zoey K.

Follow me on: Instagram: okayzoeyk Twitter: @okayzoeyk

Q&A Part 3: a lil superpower

I have a super power.

Except for the fact that I didn’t know that I was unique in this until I was 18 years old. I have a condition called synesthesia. Synesthesia is the production of a sense impression relating to one sense or part of the body by stimulation of another sense or part of the body. So to put this in normal people terms, I see color when I hear music, and sometimes when I hear voices or sounds. But synesthesia isn’t limited to this. Other people associate color with numbers, letters. Some people feel instruments in their limbs or taste music.

So I asked the kind people of Facebook and twitter (and my flat mates) and here are your questions about my strange condition being answered!

What does it look like?

So think about when you zone out. Y’know how you kinda see and kinda don’t see whats really there? My synesthesia is in that same part of my mind. The color moves with the music and tends to change color with the key. For voices, its more sharp and sudden, but still has a warm glowy look to it.

How does that affect you?

It makes music significantly more enjoyable. Again, I didn’t realize that I was alone on this until I was 18. Every note on the keyboard has a color, but once you start combining notes into chords and triads, the color suddenly changes so its impossible for me to truly have perfect pitch just through my synesthesia. Sometimes its really overwhelming.

Do you think you view the world differently?

Absolutely! I think I see the world in a much more creative way. Its making music much more magical. I also feel like I’m seeing music’s secret identity. Like I’m getting a 360 degree view of what music is.

Does it freak you out at all?

Sometimes. When there is too much dissonance, I can’t see color at all and instead it looks like static in my head. Seeing color for people’s voices completely freaks me out and when I do see color for every sound, its terrifying.

About that seeing voices thing, how does that happen?

I only see people’s voices when I’m either high or having a severe panic attack. I don’t know why either of those things triggers it. Possibly because my mind is more active? I’m not sure. When I’m high its a very pleasant experience but when I’m having a panic attack, I literally see the color of every person’s voice and it is completely overwhelming.

What was your first experience with synesthesia?

I guess when I was super young. My parents played Vivaldi’s Four Seasons for me every night before I went to sleep and I remember those pieces always having color. The first piece was always a light blue and then got darker and moved to orange. I remember the first time I realized I had synesthesia, we were listening to John Coltrane and my mom was talking about synesthesia. When I mentioned I’ve always seen color for music, she asked me what color the song was and it was navy blue.

How has this affected your study of music?

Its been incredibly useful. Since every individual note has its own color, I’ve been paying more attention to it so I can tune better. I can see when a piece is starting to get out of tune when the color of the piece starts to change hues. I’m working on my pitch by focusing more on the colors of the flats and sharps of notes.

Are there any negative effects?

It can get overwhelming. Sometimes I get sensory overload and have panic attacks and I have to be in complete silence for a while. But thats only happened every once in a while. Its a very enjoyable experience otherwise.

What notes are what colors?

C: White. D: Blue. E: Red. F: Orange. G: Green. A: Black/brown. B: Purple.

Thank you all so much for your questions! Please continue to ask me. I am an open book. (or open blog..)

Have a day filled with kittens, okay?

Zoey K.

Follow me on: Instagram: okayzoeyk Twitter: @okayzoeyk

Q&A Part 2: The toughies

So to preface round two, I want to say that no two people experience these disorders the same. Everyone’s experience will be completely different, but we all are united by having these disorders. So while these answers may not be true for you, they are true for me, and they may be true to others. This also took me days to write. I was unsure what to say and how to say it but here it is.

Let’s go.

What is it like having anxiety? 

Anxiety…anxiety is like having someone constantly at your side pulling you away from everything. Its like having an overprotective mother that won’t let you go on the jungle gym because she heard about that one time some kid cracked his head open and god forbid that happen to you because it totally could. Anxiety is a chain wrapped around your wrists and your ankles thats constantly tugging you back into darkness.

Having anxiety is living in constant fear. Fear that people don’t just not like you, they hate you. Fear that you’ll get a panic attack at a moments notice. Fear that it will never end. Fear that you’ll lose everything you love because anxiety will eventually drive everyone and everything away from you. A fear that doesn’t make any sense. You know in your heart its not sensical, that it lies, that it can’t hurt you, but your brain believes it anyway.

Anxiety is a buzz kill but its also dangerous. Its the voice in your head telling you to drink more when you’ve clearly had enough, but it is telling you to do it because it promises it will shut up when you have just one more shot. It tells you to do another hit on that bong because it promises the anxiety will go away if you get more high than you already are. It lies.

Anxiety makes you question everything you know. It questions yourself, it questions your beliefs, your loved ones, the things you hold dear, your friends, everything.

In summary: it sucks. I don’t wish it upon anyone.

What is it like having depression? 

If anxiety is chains, depression is the ball at the end of it. Its a ball you constantly have to drag with you. Some days, you are fortunate enough to be given permission to leave the ball home so you can feel what it is like to be rid of it. Other days, you are forced to have the ball put back on your constant chains and have it weigh you down.

Depression is the voice in your head who convinces you, no promises you,  you’ll feel better, if you kill yourself. It tells you sweetly and kindly. It tells you you’re a worthless piece of shit and no one likes you when clearly there are loads of people who not only like you, but love you.

Depression is your worst bully, and then it is your only friend. It chains you to your bed, pulls your smile down, and gives you the mask so that no one knows. No one can know. “People will leave you if you’re anxious and depressed.” It says. “Hide it. Be the bubbly person that the world wants you to be. No one will ever know.” But they do know. And they don’t ever try to leave you, they try to help you. But sometimes the comforting makes it worse because you feel like you’re wasting their time and then you feel worse.

Depression sneaks. You’ll be having a great time, grateful for everything and everyone around you, and somehow it convinces you otherwise. It jumps up, surprises you, and then clings to you and never lets go.

What is having a panic attack like?

So imagine this. You’re having a cup of coffee. The sun in shining, you have a newspaper or a good book, whatever. The moment is nice and refreshing. Nothing is stressful, its just a time to relax.

Then suddenly, your heart rate goes up. Its not the normal heart rate going up because of the caffeine from your coffee. It feels like your heart is having a race with yourself. It feels like it could stop if it ever slowed down. Because your heart has suddenly decided to sprint, your breath gets knocked out of you. You suddenly find it difficult to even take a simple breath but somehow your mind convinces you that hyperventilating will work. Because you’re hyperventilating, you get light headed. You think you’ll pass out. But there is no possible way you’ll pass out because your heart is going at the speed of light. The hyperventilating also makes you lose some feeling in your extremities. Your hands start shaking. You can’t hold your cup of coffee because your fingers suddenly can’t grip and the coffee sloshes with your quivering hands. You can barely speak because you can’t get a good breath. If you manage to speak, it comes out in a quivering whisper where you can barely get a word out without stuttering.

While all of this is happening, your mind is freaking the fuck out. It is convinced you must be dying, that you need to be taken to a hospital, that you’re having a heart attack, a stroke, some sort of terrible disease. It is telling you that you’re weak, that this is why you’re not strong, your relationship will be ruined because of this, you can’t go out because of this. It strikes fear into your heart.

Imagine this continuing for about 20-40 minutes. This is just a normal panic attack that I have often, sometimes once a week, sometimes once a month, sometimes multiple times in one week for multiple weeks. There is one trigger I have figured out and that is being overwhelmed and exhausted. Most of the time, it is for absolutely no reason at all. Sometimes it is worse, where I see color for peoples voices (I will get to my synesthesia in another post) and I want to claw my skin off, and sometimes its not so severe and I can walk home and lie in bed until it goes away.

So what do I do when I have one? I often try to get alone as soon as possible or have someone rub my back while I tremble and just wait it out. Sometimes its so bad I need a benedryl to physically reduce my heart rate back to normal. This puts me to sleep which is fine, but I end up exhausted either way.

 

So…now ya know.

Have a day filled with kittens, okay?

Zoey K.

 

 

Q&A Part 1: the basics

So I decided that maybe people want to get to know me a bit better, understand anxiety and depression a bit better, or just have burning questions. I have a list of some brief questions first, and then later we’ll get to the deep stuff. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comment section below and I will answer them!

Lets get started with some basics.

Where are you from? 

If you haven’t read my letter to Miami, that answers the question. But I am born and raised in Miami, Florida, specifically in Coconut Grove. Now I go to school at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon.

What are you majoring in?

Art History and Music with a vocal performance concentration.

Did you always want to do that?

Heeeeeeellllll no. Up until my junior year of high school I 150% wanted to be an actress. My heart was sold on it. I was willing to do anything to be on Broadway. I had been in the theatre community since I was in elementary school and I had been in every play in middle and high school. And then I took an art history class and my whole life changed. I always knew I wanted to keep music in my life because I’ve been doing it since I was 5 years old. I’m still open to change in my life. Who knows? Maybe I’ll go to med school when I graduate. (Doubtful but who knows)

Favorite artist?

Really? Um… uh… nope. No honestly I don’t think I have one. I do have a favorite painting though: The Arnolfini Portrait by Jan van Eyck (incase you didn’t see my post about that one)

How about music. 

When I say I like something from every genre, I am 100% serious. I really do. But my favorite band is the Decemberists, but I’m a metal head, a jazz freak, an opera enthusiast, growing EDM liker, country dancer, anything.

Have you ever been in love? 

Yep. Before my boyfriend (who I am currently in love with) I was in a relationship with a great guy for 6 years and I was definitely in love with him.

Puppies or kittens?

Are you fucking kidding me? Thats like asking me to pick a favorite child. They’re both amazingly adorable.

Did you always know you had disorders?

Well this took a turn from puppies and kittens. Nope. I had a hunch when I was in 8th grade that I was depressed because it was the first time I wanted to kill myself, but my mom convinced me that I wasn’t. I couldn’t even imagine having anxiety. I just always thought I was ridiculously hard on myself. Like REALLY hard on myself. I’ve been terrified of heights since I was 8 years old and I’ve always been a bit of a hypochondriac.

When were you diagnosed? 

I was diagnosed with a panic anxiety disorder when I was 18, a month before I went to college. I started having panic attacks in April of my senior year of high school. I was never officially diagnosed with depression until college.

What happened? 

I  was going to prom with a friend of mine. Sure I missed my boyfriend at the time, but I was determined to still have fun even without him there. However, while I was in line for photos, I suddenly couldn’t breathe. My heart was racing and I didn’t know why. I had to be escorted home because they were worried. So I came home from prom early with my shoes over my shoulder and tears in my eyes. Although it was my favorite prom look, it was definitely my least favorite prom. Then, I had 2 panic attacks later that week, one that ended up with me in a hospital. I broke up with my boyfriend that May because I was worried about my mental health, but then I continued to have them nearly weekly the entire semester.

And how about the depression?

Thats for another post friend. In short, lets just say it had to do with some really really REALLY mean girls and nearly a divorce. Also I was depressed all of my senior year of high school.

Where did okayzoeyk come from?

I’m not sure. I think that I’m “just okay” so I’m okay zoey k. The underneath title came from a snapchat my friend made of me of that photo.

Why did you decide to make a blog talking about your weird ass life?

Well, I think a lot of other people are like me and maybe feel really alone. I want to reach out to those people and show them that there are people who are as strange and weird and suffer from similar mental disorders and are still trying to get through life. Plus, there are so many misconceptions about mental health. I think if I start being more real about it, people will take it more seriously and get educated. Plus I think my life is kind of funny and nice despite it.

Thats all I got for tonight. Have a great day filled with kittens, Okay?

Zoey K.

P.S. Question: Why do you always sign out like that?

Everyones day should always be filled with cute animals. Its an automatic happy thing. Why not have a day filled with kittens?