Disclaimer: Below is a list of things to do instead of cutting, burning, bruising, or any other form of self harm. Please keep in mind that unfortunately, not everything on this list will work for everyone. So, if you try something and it doesn’t work for you,…
This is a good list. I used to go and buy cheap crockery from opshops and smash it all against walls and on piers. When I was in group therapy we would go to a local park and scream “FUUUUUUUCK” as loud as we could until we were all exhausted. We called it Fuck Therapy. It worked because you would sometimes end up laughing, other times screaming until you cried, but it always worked. People did look at us funny, but sometimes that helped too.
I was prompted by what you wrote about getting excited about seeing websites with a consideration to visually impaired accessibility to tell you that I'm really thankful that you use image descriptions. They're always pretty detailed and I like that you don't assign gender to people if you don't know how they identify. Thank you.
Well, this has made my day. Thank you for your feedback!
I have an interview tomorrow for a job at a wonderful national charity in the UK which provides services for people with complex needs, including mental health problems, substance addiction / misuse, and learning disabilities. When I saw that their website includes options to change the size and colour of the text for increased accessibility, I got really happy and excited. Social justice nerd for life.
Hi. I was just wondering if you could help me out. From about 2 years ago, I'm slightly fallen into a depression that's been on and off. But the problem is that I don't know why I'm depressed? I have a good home life, and almost school life. but sometimes when the mood shrikes me, I feel untterly and completely alone to the point where i begin to cry so hard that i actually run out of tears. i've self harmed, but that doesn't have an affect. all i want to do is end it all at that very moment.
[Trigger warning: depression, suicidal ideation - sorry I couldn’t put it before the question]
Thank you for writing. First of all I’d like to say that there isn’t always a narrative for depression. It is thought to be a result of gene evironment interactions and, though many people fall under the category of depression, individual symptoms and putative causal mechanisms are often very different i.e. the extent to which genes or environment plays an important or noticeable role varies from person to person. For some people, they can clearly see that particular life events have been associated wth their depressive eisodes. For others this is not the case; they may feel that their life is, on paper, perfect, but yet they feel ahedonistic or low. So, please don’t feel alone in this. Have you sought professional help or advice with this? If I knew which country you were in, I might be able to recommend some contacts. Do feel free to write back any time..
It is tough for people whose illnesses are not readily apparent. I almost think it is a coping mechanism for other people to marginalize other people’s illnesses. Almost as though, if one acknowledges that someone is chronically depressed or something of that sort, the reality hits that no matter what they do they are not content. It can be scary to think of. How a person can just not be happy as much as they wish they could be. Like my grandfather is chronically depressed and rather than playing if off as a non-issue, I must take into account his feelings during all situations past, present and future to ensure that I can make his time at least somewhat enjoyable without telling him to ‘snap out of it’ or ‘get over it’ and that can take some major meditation.
Excuses like the above are just cop outs. It is a slippery slope. It is walking on eggshells. It is like neurosurgery on feelings. Delicate like a faberge egg. And if you truly care, not just about the one person but about all people, you will consider them and not tell them to just ‘snap out of it.’ Just be there for them. Support them (in moderation) rather than shrugging it off because that support can really help life a person’s spirits, even just a little.
Anna-Rexia ‘Adult’ Costume – A strongly worded letter
A costume company have created an ‘Anna Rexia’ Halloween costume, complete with name badge and tape-measure style belt. There’s an email address on the page if you wish to send your thoughts on the matter to the manufacturer.
“My father got sick when I was 22… and I was poor. And my father had an ulcer, and it exploded, and, you know, all these toxins get in your blood - and basically, my father died 50 days after his ulcer. So I had a father get sick while I was poor.
My mother got sick while I was rich. I don’t really wanna get into to it, but my mother was sicker than my father, okay? And my mother’s alive. My mother’s fine, okay?
I remember going to the hospital to see my mother and wondering, was I in the right place? Like, this is a hotel! Like, it had a concierge, man! …If the average person really knew the discrepancy in the healthcare system, there’d be riots in the streets, okay? They would burn this motherfucker down.”—Chris Rock, responding to host Bill Maher asking if he ever went to the emergency room as his primary healthcare provider, on Real Time
The title is the only introduction you need to convince you to read the piece.
I’ll pull a couple quotes:
People with autism […] typically disappear from public view after they leave school. As few as one in 10 hold even part-time jobs. Some live in state-supported group homes; even those who attend college often end up unemployed and isolated, living with parents.
Across the country, neighbors, employers, colleagues and strangers are warily interacting with young adults whose neurological condition many associate only with children
On independence for the autistic:
Post-high-school programs that have had some success in placing adults with disabilities like Down syndrome in rewarding jobs are often ill suited for those with autism, whose challenges center more on social and communication barriers than basic cognitive functioning.
“School is over when it’s over,” Ms. Stanton-Paule told her assistants. “And then it’s like, life.”
On spending time building friendships vs. job skills
Of course she wanted her son to have a friend. It was just that the responsibility for Justin’s future was suddenly almost unbearable, she apologized. She wanted so desperately for him to live up to his promise.
So this story is a happy one. It tracks how much dedicated work goes into helping people like Justin live and support themselves independently, and Justin is really happy to have such a team behind him. Hopefully his success, and the success of others around him, will encourage more funding for similar programs across a broader area (the area where Justin lives is unusually accepting towards non-neural-typical students and employees).
The article says that Justin falls in about the middle of the grand autism spectrum, what are the prospects for people who are not as well functioning as Justin? And what about the people who are “higher functioning,” but not at the level of the average worker? And what about the high functioning person who can hold her own with the average worker? What sort of opportunities and help do they get? I have my own bitter answers to these questions…
“I said that the cure itself is a certain leaf, but in addition to the drug there is a certain charm,
which if someone chants when he makes use of it, the medicine altogether restores him to
health, but without the charm there is no profit from the leaf”—Plato (Charmides, 155-6
But a cigar in the hands of someone with oral cancer is not just a cigar.
But that’s because we know that smoking causes cancer. Not shaving isn’t a symptom of a mental illness. Not shaving isn’t even a symptom of there being a lapse in self-grooming or whatever, because some people just don’t like to shave. That in itself isn’t a symptom of anything. A man with a beard isn’t considered to be mentally ill because he hasn’t shaved his face - one would just assume he has grown/keeps a beard. Not shaving your pits/legs/whatever is no different to me, it’s personal choice.
I’m not saying that changes in self-grooming/personal hygiene/appearance aren’t something to take notice of when assessing someone’s state of mental health, because sometimes there are things to look out for. I’m just pointing out that in this instance it means absolutely nothing and a psychiatrist telling you that you should shave your armpits is absolutely out of order.
Ten points to Sian, who always says what I would like to, only better… and more eloquently.
Any health professional telling you to shave your armpits is unnecessary. And I wasn’t inferring that lack of self-grooming is causal. When diagnosing a presenting patient, appearance is one factor that can help. All ‘symptoms’ of mental health taken on their own with no other do not mean that a person is suffering, but found together form the patterns we use to diagnose.
I completely agree that stereotyping is unfair and wrong. But it is how diseases are learnt, in patterns. But you’re right. Someone who’s wearing a low cut, short dress certainly isn’t to be defined as manic.
I just read my post and realized I totally went off on one, apologies. I think this says more about my unresolved issues with how angry my postgrad teaching made me than anything else. You’re right, they’re useful indicaters as part of a cluster of symptoms, but the teaching I received was trying to say that X(dressing a certain way) = Y (a certain mental illness). I rage just thinking back on it.
Sorry what? That is really not cool behaviour at all. It does annoy me that on the Mental State Examination used by the NHS there are things to note about appearance such as whether the person is dressed ‘inappropriately’, appears ‘unkempt’ or seems dirty or unshaven. That’s then used to help infer mental state.
PUHLEEEASE. Hairy arm pits and unbrushed hair doesn’t necessarily mean you’re depressed or anhedonistic, maybe you just don’t wanna shave your arm pits.
SOMETIMES A CIGAR IS JUST A CIGAR.
But a cigar in the hands of someone with oral cancer is not just a cigar.
Wait, am I following this analogy wrong or are you saying that failing to shave your armpits is a causal mechanism in mental illness? (As cigars are to cancer)
I just have a big problem with these issues since my postgrad lectures where they said things like ‘If the person presents with a lot of piercings and tattoos and is dressed ‘provocatively’ (whatever that means), this can often be a sign of the reckless behaviours of borderline personality disorder’. Uh, what? The signposts given in teaching are so stereotyped and offensive. Wearing ‘inappropriate’ clothing might just mean you’re into fashion, not necessarily that you’re manic. I think there are better, more reliable indicators of pathology than lazy assumptions about the lifestyles of the pierced and tattooed, or female-presenting persons who choose not to remove their body hair. We don’t all go down back alley parlours for tattoos on a whim after a drunken night of wild, unprotected sex (not that I’m judging: sex-positive feminist speaking), and it’s just stereotyping to caricature all people with BPD like that too. Like, why does being heavily tattooed mean you’re reckless? I have nearly £1000 of tattoos on my body, and have had over a dozen piercings. I was on waiting lists for >6 months, sometimes a year, for every single tattoo, from artists I knew to be brilliant and fully health accredited. I’m also the least ‘reckless’ person you could probably ever meet, so if I present to mental health services, I might be misdiagnosed based on assumptions structured by a largely white, middle class, male profession.
I mean, yes, at the extremes, it’s more reliable. Like, if someone is wearing a tin hat and tells you it’s because they’re protecting themselves from a mind-reading government, that’s a pretty big pointer to delusions of thought withdrawal associated with psychosis. But there are always exceptions to rules.
Anyway, away from my problems about inferring pathology from dress, I think it’s just out of line for a psychiatrist to tell their patient to shave their arm pits. It’s unnecessary, judgmental, and not conducive to a healthy theraputic relationship.
[Trigger Warning: Discussion of suicide attempt and lobotomy]
Patricia Moen (PM) was lobotomized 1962 at the age of 36. This is the first time she and her husband Glen (GM) have spoken about her lobotomy.
GM: My name is Glen Moen. I am 79 years old. I signed the release for Pat’s lobotomy.
PM: We have not talked about it, since I had the lobotomy - I don’t think ever. My husband is not a great communicator.
GM: I don’t talk to her anymore than I have to.
PM: Glen - be nice! (both laugh). We’d been married about 13 years, and it just started. I cried all the time. I just was mentally no good.
GM: One night I came home and she said, “Well, I’ve done it now!” She’d taken a whole bottle of some kind of pills….
PM: That’s when the doctor decided it was time.
GM: He told me this was the last resort. I didn’t know what else to do.
PM: Dr. Freeman said you can come out of this a vegetable, or you can come out dead. And I guess I was miserable enough that I didn’t care.
GM: I was kind of worried because of the operation of severing a nerve in the brain…It sounded kind of wild to me!
PM: …He was afraid he was going to lose his cook.
GM: And I don’t like to cook.
PM: I remember nothing after I saw Dr. Freeman. I don’t remember going into the hospital, or having it done, or how long I was there. That’s all gone.
GM: We were coming back from San Jose after the operation, and Pat informed me that she couldn’t wait to get home because she wanted to file for divorce.
PM: Hmmmm…. Don’t remember that at all. I don’t think I said it.
GM: I think I just went on driving and ignored the situation and began to wonder to myself how much good did this operation accomplish. Really, I can see no changes in most areas except she is much easier to get along with.
PM: You didn’t see any change in the way I kept house? Or the way I—
GM: Nn… no…
PM: I was a more free person after I’d had it. Just not to be so concerned about things…. I just, I went home and started living. I guess is the best way I can say— I was able to get back into taking care of things and cooking and shopping and that kind of thing…
GM: Delighted at the way it turned out. It’s been a good life.
After a rough night of sleep for me last night, I had a lot of anxiety this morning. That included higher heart rate, racing thoughts, nausea, and fear. I wanted to make a post about some quick easy things you can do to relieve that kind of anxiety in the early morning.
Do some deep breathing exercises and/or meditation. I’m a bit of an early bird and I like to sit in quiet meditation for the first hour that I’m awake. I do deep breathing and just try to relax. It helps set the tone for the rest of the day!
Eat breakfast mindfully. When I wake up with anxiety, I have a huge knot in my stomach. I often don’t feel like eating at all. Once I’m done deep breathing, I try to eat a meal slowly, focusing on the taste. This helps with the nausea.
Take a warm shower. Most people shower first thing in the morning anyway, but focusing on the feeling of the water on your skin and using the shower as a way to center your thoughts is an important self soothing tool.
Get into a positive mindset. For me this usually means reading something that gives me strength, listening to positive music, or talking with a friend. Any of those things help me keep my chin up and set the tone for the rest of the day.
“The kind of people that say “political correctness gone mad” are usually using that phrase as a kind of cover action to attack minorities or people that they disagree with…. And if there is some fallout from [political correctness], which means that someone in an office might get in trouble one day for saying something that someone was a bit unsure about because they couldn’t decide whether it was sexist or homophobic or racist, it’s a small price to pay for the massive benefits and improvements in the quality of life for millions of people that political correctness has made. It’s a complete lie that allows the right, which basically controls media now, and international politics, to make people on the left who are concerned about the way people are represented look like killjoys. And I’m sick, I’m really sick– 84% of you in this room that have agreed with this phrase, you’re like those people who turn around and go, “you know who the most oppressed minorities in Britain are? White, middle-class men.” You’re a bunch of idiots.”—
(Stewart Lee is one of the UK’s finest stand-up comedians. Like, truly. He’s like a British Bill Hicks)