Dragon who has been rar-ing at other dragons for a while now. Professional nerd, Seattle-ish, Otherkin, weird cosmology, genderqueer.
PSA: how to save lives in case of cardiac arrest emergencies
Dunno why this is on my mind, but it is, and I can't stop thinking about it until I type this up, so.
There are a lot of guides out there on what to do in case of someone suddenly experiencing cardiac arrest. Please study https://www.stlukeshealth.org/resources/plan-it-cardiac-arrest-how-respond right now. It is short.
This guide, like almost all guides, omits the actual "crisis management" parts. Which is fine; teaching someone what to do and asking them to do it is the most approachable way to get the information out there. However, about half of people who collapse of cardiac arrest in public receive no help. Most people know they should at least call 911 (or your local emergency services shortcode), but don't, because they are confused and afraid and don't know who should do what.
It does not matter who does what as long as all the steps are performed as quickly as possible. You will decide who does what and you will do it immediately because it does not matter what the decision is but it does matter that the decision is made, and nobody without this specific crisis training starts yelling orders at complete strangers, which is the correct thing to do because then people do things instead of stand around alarmed and confused.
* Act. If someone suddenly collapses, YOU intervene immediately. Inaction kills.
* A person who cannot breathe and has no clear pulse is dead. You are reviving a dead person. It is impossible to hurt a dead person. Correct action will probably crush their ribcage. Inaction will guarantee they stay dead. I will refer to the person who has collapsed as "the dead person" as a reminder that your emergency response will not make their situation any worse.
* Direct. If nobody is already yelling orders, you will. Order individuals around: nobody responds to "somebody" because nobody knows who "somebody" is. If anyone you give an order to does not respond after two attempts, pick someone else. Give them a third attempt in case of "What?", but not a fourth if they stay confused and immobile.
At the top of your lungs, towards the largest group of people in the area who are not already involved: "CPR! CPR NOW! EMERGENCY! CPR NEEDED NOW!"
Yell "YOU! HERE! CPR!" at the physically most imposing person who responded. If nobody responds, start chest compressions and yell "YOU! HERE! DO THIS!" at the physically most imposing person around. Demonstrate chest compressions and emphasize: "All your weight. Do not stop. Break ribs." If you have the most upper body weight among people who can move freely, perform chest compressions yourself.
You cannot hurt a dead person. If you are not breaking ribs, your chest compressions are likely not effective. "Alive with shattered ribs" is much better off than "dead".
Yell at any one person not already using their phone: "YOU! CALL 911!" (non-Americans, replace with your local emergency number.) This may be redundant, which is fine, multiple 911 calls are much better than none. People texting, photographing, or recording video are preoccupied, it is not worth your time to try to get through to them.
If you know where an AED is: At anyone who looks like they can read signs and run quickly: "YOU! GET THE AED! RUN!" Point at the nearest "AED" sign. This may get a "What?", to which the answer is "There is an automatic defibrilator near that 'AED' sign. Get it! RUN!"
If you cannot get anyone to run for the AED in two tries, or you know where the AED is but the sign is around a corner, get it yourself. Run. Yell "MOVE! EMERGENCY!" at anyone in or almost in your path.
Use the AED. It will give you directions. If someone else got the AED and begins to use it, do not interfere.
Continue following AED directions (which will include when to resume chest compressions) until emergency services arrive. If whoever is performing chest compressions gets tired, find someone else.
* If an AED is close by and the dead person looks like an adult, use the AED before any other steps. Be conspicuous and loud and order a bystander to call 911. Adolescents and children need chest compressions for at least one minute before using an AED.
* The AED has sensors to determine what it should do. It will not deliver an electric shock to the dead person unless it might help. Do not be afraid to use an AED: it won't do anything if it doesn't need to.
* If you do not know where an AED is, yell "FIND AN AED" at nobody in particular. If someone knows what an AED is, this should start them running. Regardless, start picking random people who look like good runners: "YOU! FIND AN AED." You'll probably have to clarify: "Look for a sign that says AED. It has a picture of a heart with a pulse on it. It is probably over a doorway and probably near a bathroom. An AED is a defibrilator and it is this person's best chance to live. GO!" Then point in the direction of where you think the nearest bathroom might be. Repeat, sending people in different directions.
* If someone else is yelling orders at strangers, let them. If you know where the AED is, yell "GETTING THE AED" and sprint for it. You will save time. Time saves lives. Otherwise, if you know CPR, push your way to the dead person and start. If someone smaller than you is doing chest compressions, interrupt them with "I can push harder" unless the sound of breaking ribs informs you that they are doing well enough.
* You will probably fail. Even with the best possible bystander response, with an AED immediately available, most dead people stay dead. 40% of people who experience cardiac arrest in public and receive bystander intervention survive. Without intervention, less than 5% survive.
* About half of people who die of cardiac arrest in public receive no help from bystanders. 35% of these people were killed by the inaction of bystanders.
on the nature of my otherkin identity (long)
This seems like as good a time as any to remind folks that I'm otherkin. I don't need to preface this with some explanation about how identity is all in your head and is whatever you make it; my cosmology allows for past and parallel incarnations, a universe that we can only begin to glimpse at from over here while physically incarnate on earth, and allows souls to acquire a form - which does not have to match their incarnation. I am a dragon, I have been a dragon for aeons, and I will continue to be a dragon after this planet's star burns no more.
None of us are bound to any one place or time forever. Incarnation is transitory, but souls are eternal; a consciousness is an indivisible spark of will and experience, but it has no power to act or experience anything on its own; incarnation is the only way out of an insensate hell. (Or an insensate nirvana, if you are better at keeping company with only yourself than I am.) Incarnation is, to a first approximation, recursive; I am a soul, incarnated as a complicated crystalline being of fractal nature that exists alongside itself in a multitude of places and times, which again incarnates to experience and explore forms of the universe that it cannot exist in, which incarnate and reincarnate subject to local forces and whatever passes for "metaphysics" (or just plain physics) wherever it happens to be. What else is there to do, but unwind the mysteries of the universe? We're here, we might as well figure out what "here" is.
Most of the time, I incarnate in something that at least resembles a dragon, for reasons of comfort and personal preference. This was *supposed* to be a sapient lizard planet but apparently my copy of the Hitchhiker's Guide was sixty-five million years out of date, so I've made do with the species that at least has smartphones. I can exfiltrate some brilliant works of engineering, electronics, and reinventing the process of logic for the benefit of machines - pure machines, with no souls, engaging in reasoning! Few places have laws of physics so strict that there's no easier way to do it, leading to spectacular development in large-scale mathematics and hyperminiaturized electronics, all of which can be re-applied to places that don't *need* it so didn't develop it, but could use it.
So perhaps I'm a little "old-school" by local standards, because not a word of this is figurative. I have beliefs that I freely agree are unusual, and a self-consistent and unusual cosmology to match. I read Tarot (although I'm badly out of practice) and am reasonably convinced that it works, when applied well. My consciousness is not primarily local, although it's running on a monkey meat computer that I'm not entirely happy with (but who is?) but I make it work and I know it's doing its best.
I neither require nor expect people around me to believe that my view of the universe, and my place in it, and my nature, is accurate. I believe it to be accurate, however, and I will not make psychological excuses for why; it is a reflection of the sum of what I am and have experienced and perceived; it is not abstract.
social anxiety, out-of-touch researchers
It’s bizarre to read paper after paper glibly describing double standards in social anxiety (“having more stringent rules for oneself than for others”) as produced by cognitive distortions in social anxiety or as part of maladaptive “safety behaviors” that people with anxiety use to avoid situations they falsely perceive as risky (when the social disruption created by the safety behavior is, in study after study, measured to be consistently worse). There are all these papers describing how they come about and _not a one_ of them gets to “explicitly trained by family on how and why to maintain double standards”.
I was taught that the higher standard really *is* obligatory at all times and in all places and situations, but that standard also includes tolerating much lower standards of behavior, presenting them as acceptable, and generally an obligation to hide negative judgment - combined with an obligation to harbor that negative judgment. I got direct lectures about “You can control yourself, you can’t control others” about why one’s personal standard *must* be much higher than the standards expected of others.
Probably the grossest part of this in retrospect was the occasionally-out-in-the-open undercurrent of cultural supremacism - that these behaviors that are okay for others aren’t okay for us because “we’re better than that - and and they choose not to be”.
So I feel like there’s a cultural disconnect in all these studies pointing out that a lot of these behaviors - being excessively deferential and uptight among them - are socially detrimental to one’s immediate relationships: they seem to completely ignore indoctrination that someone is simply less of a person for failing to hold to higher standards.
Cultural conservatism is like that, from my experience. “Your innate worth as a person is dependent on keeping these particular standards” is a reasonably effective inoculation against allowing oneself to believe that behaviors are acceptable just because they’re acceptable to, and invited by, literally everybody else.
Part of my tendency to get despairing and overwhelmed in “party” environments is watching myself suck the enthusiasm right out of anything by being so inhibited and unable to get past it despite wanting and trying to. I usually try to leave unnoticed when I realize that I’m dragging others down. Which is, of course, a “safety behavior” in the parlance of well-researched psychology journal articles explaining why the most consistently effective forms of therapy for social anxiety disorder focus on exposure while explicitly stopping safety behaviors. I feel like treatment around “relax, other people will put up with all kinds of shit” misses the point. It’s not about what people will put up with, it’s about not making anyone else’s experience worse.
Slept for ten hours again. (I was late starting work on Friday because I overslept then, too; that totaled 11 hours, I think.) Pretty sure my worse mental health lately is associated with sleep deprivation and general exhaustion from busy days. Weekends alone won’t fix it, I have to fix my sleep habits again.
mh, social... not anxiety but permissions?
I don't know how to teach myself that it is okay to do things I have *literally been invited to do* and have been made aware are absolutely, 100%, straightforwardly within local social norms. "things" includes _really fundamental tasks_ like sending IMs or participating in the chat of an artist's stream.
I grew up being taught that most things other people participated in were not appropriate for me. My mother had an awful lot of harsh words for things she didn't like, which was an awful lot of things. (Enough that my social anxiety and general social challenges in school were made worse by having very little common cultural ground with my classmates.) It was also an important (and at times direct and explicit) lesson in passive-aggressive behavior: how to be nice, friendly, and supportive to people to their faces and then turn around and tell your child in the car on the way home _exactly_ what you really think and why he'd _better_ not ever be like that. It sort of taught me to assume I would be judged harshly behind my back and folks around me would go out of their way to make sure I didn't know about it, although that *isn't* a primary part of my social anxiety - it "helps" that my mother was _very_ up-front about letting me know when I'd disappointed someone.
In the same way, I was taught that it's inappropriate to accept invitations because they're usually socially obligatory to offer and it would be an inappropriate, severe imposition to take them at anything near face value. The guidelines for detecting the difference between a true and a false invitation were always a moving target, because false invitations constantly shifted to resemble true invitations. Here I use "invitation" to include "permission". And so I learned it was my job to enforce other peoples' social boundaries for them, because people will extend obligatory invitations they aren't in any way prepared to make good on, and then do exactly that if called on them because they really do feel obligatory to offer and to perform.
So I learned I'm not actually allowed to do anything other than read quietly by myself or entertain relatives and the occasional friend approved by my parents (hey, side question: how many times per year is it normal to see your friends, during elementary school years, outside of school? I feel like "four to six" is low), and I should presume that statements to the contrary are false.
I moved out of the Midwest fourteen years ago but I guess I still haven't left it, in some ways.
When I was young, whenever I failed to meet the social expectations of others, my mother would make sure I knew about it in great detail if she caught wind of it, because I obviously needed to learn better manners.
How I felt- either about the other person, or in general - didn’t matter; I needed to “behave”, which included the obligation to pick up and act on implications (especially to avoid subjects or steer others around them), be friendly and chatty *when spoken to* and otherwise stay out of the way, and entertain my younger relatives if any were present and keep them out of trouble.
In retrospect I think I see where the “inadequacy” core of my social anxiety comes from. I was taught that the way I felt was irrelevant and I was only acceptable when I was entertaining others on their terms.
I can get caught in a really nasty feedback loop where I’m out-of-sorts because I need social contact, and I can’t tolerate social contact because I’m out-of-sorts and don’t feel able to fake it or be the gracious host I was taught to always be - even as a guest. So I just get stuck, hating myself more and more with each passing moment for being defective.
Got suspicious the downstairs closet was making us sick. Dug through it, threw out a bunch of stuff, discovered the air was making us itch and our eyes and lungs and fingers were burning. There's now an air cleaner parked in there on high - not for the first time, we did that when we first moved in too because the place was left perfumed and reeking stale cigarettes, which the obnoxiously strong air fresheners were hiding when we did our initial tour of the place - and after a day or two of that we're going to head in and wipe the walls down with isopropanol, then water, then dry them off, and then hire a local HVAC company to clean the dust out of our air ducts, and then maybe the increasingly severe medically unexplained symptoms Rakeela has been having will go away.
This isn't the first time accumulated dust seems to be the culprit of making Rakeela sick. A rolling cabinet thing full of a multi-year accumulation of computer cables and debris did that before; aggressive cleaning helped long-term but kicked up enough toxic dust Rakeela developed pneumonia; it accumulated dust _again_ and this time it was picked up by 1-800-Got-Junk because if we couldn't touch it, we clearly couldn't use it, so just getting it _out_ was the right thing to do.
So, in this area, accumulated dust can develop into something that is moderately toxic to me and highly toxic to Rakeela, and I'll take that as a warning that my habits of cluttering closets with excess junk that just kinda ferments there for years must be fought even more actively than I already have been. Hoarding disorder runs in my family and I see my own vulnerability to it and I refuse to allow it to develop; I just have even more reasons to have less stuff now.
so, @kat has inadvertently reminded me
When I was a young child, my family got our first CD player (it was a major purchase, somewhat bigger than a VCR, and wired into our hi-fi sound system; it fit exactly under the record player, clearly designed to stack there). CDs were expensive, so our supply of them only grew slowly over time.
Among literally the first CDs my parents ever bought was an assortment of Andrew Lloyd Webber tracks, which I was kind of obsessed with. The "Cats" soundtrack came soon after. (It was a couple of years before they got the full "Phantom of the Opera" soundtrack.)
It's thirty years later and I still listen to those specific albums kinda regularly. They're comforting and familiar to me now. It's also something of a window for healing, for me: as musical preferences go, it's objectively silly and widely derided, but I'm comfortable taking joy in it anyway, accepting that its frivolity and banal targeting of commercial viability is just part of its identity. Being comfortable with myself liking something - _anything_, really - is something I have a hard time with for a lot of reasons, but having a really low floor on the amount of dignity associated with something I enjoy helps anchor me and fight that off: almost nothing bad in my life (other than a few earworms) has ever happened from enjoying something undignified and I don't need to worry about dignity or status in things I like now; I don't live the kind of life, or want to live the kind of life, where that matters.
I'm not good at "letting my freak flag fly", and I feel bad about that because I feel like it "should" be easier, being surrounded by queer nerd people should be easy mode for acceptance. But I worry anyway about whether I'm maintaining my image as necessary - I feel like I'm going to alienate people for being different from what they expect, and while expectations in queer spaces are a lot closer to reality, they're still prone to be pretty far off. Weirdly enough, it's at work that I have the *least* trouble with this; there seems to be a work-acceptable stereotype for "cheerful, friendly, very eccentric engineer" and _that_ is close enough to on-point that I can do that just fine. I don't know if finding a stereotype I'm okay with is really better, though, since it's still the same kind of thinking.
I've been doing the same VR fitness thing for slightly over a year now, and I've noticed that in the warmup/cooldown videos, across the course of that year you can see the fitness trainers getting more muscular. It's amusing to see the effects that switching exercise systems had on people whose day job was already "host fitness classes".
I've also learned what to expect from the trainers, though, and that made today's workout a little sad, because it was really easy to tell that when it was recorded, something was really, really *off* with Coach Ranier Pollard and he was doing his best but really his enthusiasm and energy just weren't there and it made me wonder what was wrong and worry about him a bit. He perked up halfway through the workout, but had kinda lost it again by the end.
Supernatural is basically Beat Saber with scoring based on velocity of strike and charts designed for maximum body motion rather than video game challenge, so the role of the trainers is mostly voiceovers. It's a weird combination of Beat Saber and an encouraging podcast sometimes. I also do believe them when they say the trainers are doing the same workouts and recording accordingly, since they seem to know exactly when someone's form is most likely to slip and how - holding too much tension, holding breath, slouching, etc. It's distinctly different from Generic Enthusiastic Voiceover, which is interesting to me.
Dragon who has been rar-ing at other dragons for a while now. Professional nerd, Seattle-ish, Otherkin, weird cosmology, genderqueer.
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