“A paradox of depression is that sufferers yearn for connection, seem bereft because of their isolation, and yet are rendered incapable of being with others in a comfortable way.”—Speaking Of Sadness, David A. Karp
“i’m really tired of people calling identities ‘labels’ and acting like its so laborious to acknowledge marked identities. anyone who talks about the need to erase identity ‘labels’ as if that would somehow equalize everything is kidding themselves. language is constantly changing already so what’s the problem with creating new words to describe non normative identities?”—youarenotyou
This is not an attitude of the past. This is not an attitude that reigned in the early 20th century and was beaten back by campaigners arguing for full social inclusion. It’s something that continues to be an issue, and enough of one that some disabled people have very legitimate reason to fear that their children may be taken away from them by authorities who deem them unfit to parent. These fears may be pooh-poohed, especially in discussions about reproductive rights, where the idea that some people need to fight to keep their children is viewed as somewhat whimsical or unlikely and the focus is on unplanned and unwanted pregnancy.
Hey there! I was wondering how I might be able to get a copy of your zine? I'm sorry if you mentioned it earlier, but my dash has been clogged as of late and I get easily distracted by pictures of kittens. =[
The more time I spend on Tumblr, the more I realise that some people just don’t know how to apologise properly. These seems to cause a lot of unnecessary drama and hurt. With that in mind, here is my handy-guide to apologising.
How to apologise:
Say sorry and mean it.
Acknowledge what you did that was wrong. a) If you don’t know what you did, avoid further interaction until you have figured it out. Ask friends or family for their perspective, or risk asking the person you upset/offended (note: this person doesn’t owe you an explanation but they might take the time and give you one).
Acknowledge why your behaviour/words were wrong. a) If you don’t know why it was wrong, refer to step 2a.
Acknowledge what you understand of why the other person is so upset.
Promise not to do it again.
Explain the measures you will take to prevent it happening again.
Say sorry again.
Hope the person will forgive you (note: they are under no obligation do so and this should not affect your apology at all).
Learn from the incident (and by this I mean check your privilege and remain aware of that privilege).
Move on with your life and begin implementing measures from step 5.
Make sure measures from step 5 are effective (rinse, lather and repeat).
“I’m sorry for calling you ‘crazy’. It was wrong of me to use mental health to dismiss what you were saying. It was ableist and, now that I know how much it upsets you, I won’t do it again. I will be sure to learn more about ableism, and I will definitely be more careful of the words I use in future. I’m really sorry and I hope you can forgive me.”
By contrast, this is a terrible apology (never do the bits in bold):
“I’m sorry if you were offended, but there’s no need to be sensitive about it or anything. If you could just calm down you’d realise I didn’t mean to insult you. I use that word all the time and no one else gets upset.
[Image: An animated black and white gif of a person in a suit in the audience at a theater clapping. Their face is superimposed with a cartoon face, all furrowed brows and tears welling in the eyes]
This is a really great post, and not intended to be snarky (I don’t think). Everyone messes up, it happens a lot. Some people genuinely do not know that some things they say may be hurtful to others, but if told that this is the case, it is always great to attempt to say sorry in a way that won’t cause further hurt and that shows true ownership of the mistake. Apologies, when genuinely made, are brilliant and can go some way towards healing.
i love how i can’t talk about how our culture glamorizes skinniness and encourages eating disordered behavior without getting flooded with messages about how horrible i am for shaming people with mental illness
I’ve been watching this unfold on my dash and I don’t think what you said was out of line. Indeed, many folks are prevented from getting help sooner with their EDs (especially if they are not obviously underweight) because, to a degree, their behaviour is encouraged by society. I’m not saying there isn’t a lot of stigma involved here, because there is: but, it can be hard to find a path to healing when you’re receiving positive feedback from your peers about the weight loss associated with what is, in element, a mental illness. This can push people to continue down a destructive path. I’ve seen it happen to people I know and it’s horrible.
Hello chaps, the lovely folks at @notaloneatxmas are encouraging the tag #notaloneatxmas on twitter for those out there who are spending this festive season without company, perhaps not by choice, and who are feeling a little lonely. Reach out to someone who may need it irl if you can and, if you’re on twitter, perhaps join in and have a chat with someone there who may need to hear some friendly words today. In a season that encourages togetherness, friendship and family, this can be an especially hard time for those who are on the fringes of society for whatever reason. Sometimes just a hallo or smile is all it takes to help keep someone from the depths of unhappiness. Look after each other, xxx
also i hate it when people post things like “appreciate your family” this time of year. makes me feel bad about myself and my life.
Backed. Some people come from family situations that it’s best to release themselves from. Ain’t no shame in that. Enjoy this festive season with whomever you are happiest and most comfortable around: create your own family. x
I see a lot of discussions on tumblr about privilege, most notably the binary between the oppressors and the oppressed. The Internet provides a space for many silenced voices to be heard, which provides an ambivalent space for me to navigate as a feminist, queer, radical, person of color.
I’m just going to be blunt and cut the jargon.
We need to fucking heal together.
Fighting amongst each other in semantics battles and screaming at each other only does work to divide us.
Have we forgotten the teachings of Audre Lorde? Our differences are our strengths, let it inform our activism and guide our words.
Here’s the thing about privilege: it’s unearned. That’s right, privilege isn’t something that people ask for, nor is it something to feel guilty about. What’s important is that you understand that your position, your unearned advantages, create limitations and boundaries, whether it’s epistimological (knowledge-based) or material. This means you aren’t going to know a whole lot of shit about other positions because you haven’t experienced them, and never will. Meaning, if we want to heal together and move forward, we have to be open to the idea that we don’t know and therefore, should listen to each other so that we can learn and grow.
In feminist ethics and post colonial studies, giving equal weight to all voices has become incredibly important, especially to the disenfranchised subject. Theory has often been a site of empowerment for disenfranchised people(s)—people of color, queer and trans folk, poor people—but in my experience, theory doesn’t heal. Theory allows you to articulate the fucked up shit that you’ve known all along, how unfair it is to be targeted by the police, glares and stares of strangers, assumptions made about you in relationships with others, etc. But theory doesn’t give you what you need to heal those wounds, it empowers you to find ways to do that.
One of the best ways to heal that I’ve found has been through community building and finding intimate connections with other people: intellectually, spiritually, physically, and emotionally. However (I’m guilty too), often times arguments over privilege, policing of language (that’s racist, that’s abelist, therefore you’re a horrible person conversations), and elitist theories can turn community building / healing spaces in to violent spaces. I think these battles and arguments about privilege often create tension and animosity between groups that should be learning and growing from/with each other.
We all want to change the fucked up status quo. Let’s start with something we can manage: the spaces we create, the relationships we have each other, and the connections that we build. Yelling and screaming at each other about being privileged (white, cis, abel-bodied) or trying to defend one’s privileged position to legitimize themselves in spaces (thus erasing a lot of violent experiences of others) are counter-productive to the healing that we all need to do before we can tackle the behemoth of the fucked up world we live in. Listen to each other, let our different privileges and experiences inform knowledges about ourselves, and let’s do our best to create our utopian visions of an anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-homophobic world in our community building efforts.
THIS is what my disorganized thoughts have been trying to voice (well, more detialed). We gotta stop fighting to get anyway.
Was thinking of an example earlier. Two people are walking in a field where they will direct walk into other. Both have been walking like that without troubles and are “right” to be walking that way. In order not to crash, either one of them has to move aside, or either has to move halfway aside. If one of them is forced to move aside alone, that one will feel resentment because they had to change for the other, but the other didn’t. If both move aside, it will be more equal. If neither moves, they crash and cannot continue.
reblogging an old post of mine because I see a lot of discussions of privilege-shaming or oppression olympics going around tumblr.
[Image: A screen cap of Demi Lovato’s twitter account (@ddlovato) which says ‘Dear Disney Channel, EATING DISORDERS ARE NOT SOMETHING TO JOKE ABOUT’. Below it are four gifs (I don’t know which show they’re from, sorry) showing a person saying ‘You’re adorable / I could just eat you guys up / You know, If I ate’. The last gif is of all of the characters laughing.]
A letter written by Mr. Stephen Fry to a girl suffering from depression (Fry himself has diagnosed bipolar disorder).
I’m so sorry to hear that life is getting you down at the moment. Goodness knows, it can be so tough when nothing seems to fit and little seems to be fulfilling. I’m not sure there’s any specific advice I can give that will help bring life back its savour. Although they mean well, it’s sometimes quite galling to be reminded how much people love you when you don’t love yourself that much.
I’ve found that it’s of some help to think of one’s moods and feelings about the world as being similar to weather.
Here are some obvious things about the weather:
You can’t change it by wishing it away.
If it’s dark and rainy it really is dark and rainy and you can’t alter it.
It might be dark and rainy for two weeks in a row.
It will be sunny one day.
It isn’t under one’s control as to when the sun comes out, but come out it will.
It really is the same with one’s moods, I think. The wrong approach is to believe that they are illusions. They are real. Depression, anxiety, listlessness – these are as real as the weather – AND EQUALLY NOT UNDER ONE’S CONTROL. Not one’s fault.
They will pass: they really will.
In the same way that one has to accept the weather, so one has to accept how one feels about life sometimes. “Today’s a crap day”, is a perfectly realistic approach. It’s all about finding a mental umbrella. “Hey-ho, it’s raining inside: it isn’t my fault and there’s nothing I can do about it, but sit it out. But the sun may well come out tomorrow and when it does, I shall take full advantage.”
I don’t know if any of that is of any use: it may not seem it, and if so, I’m sorry. I just thought I’d drop you a line to wish you well in your search to find a little more pleasure and purpose in life.
My dad is caring for a new young guy with psychosis. This chap lives alone and has had one Christmas card this year: from the healthcare company that employs my dad.
Lest we forget that the severely mentally ill are still often social pariahs. This festive season can often exacerbate feelings of loneliness in those on the fringes of society. Regardless of any religious beliefs you may or may not have, if someone you know is battling with mental illness, maybe take this time to reach out to them.
Because it’s super fucking disingenuous. Am I “differently abled” because I’m a shitty singer, or because I’m excellent at mathematical logic? No? Am I only “differently abled” because I have certain disabilities? Then all you’re doing is just swapping out one term for another without critically engaging with what those terms do or should mean AND USUALLY WITHOUT ASKING DISABLED PEOPLE HOW WE/THEY FEEL ABOUT THE TERMINOLOGY-CHANGE. Like I’m just saying. I have never met a “differently abled” person who identified as such.
Also, people who use the phrase “differently able” generally point to either coping/over-compensating mechanisms OR characteristics like trustfulness or naivety as proof that the condition in question isn’t defined by a lack of ability, but rather a different set of qualities altogether. This is fucked up because it frames disability as being inherently shameful and “bad,” but also because the common factor for these “good” characteristics is that all of them inevitably represent failure to challenge the systems of violence that are enacted upon people with disabilities. Oh excuse me—people who are “differently able.”
One of the things that upsets me most in this world is when my fellow radical mental health activists decide that it’s beneficial to shame those who, for whatever reason, choose to take psychiatric medication or seek treatment from the mainstream establishment.
This isn’t aimed at anyone in particular, it’s just something I’ve been thinking about, something that for a long time kept me away from radical mental health circles.
“If you were to press your heart close up against somebody else’s heart eventually your hearts will start beating at the same time. And two little babies in an incubator, their hearts will beat at the same time. Love that. So if you have somebody in your life that is prone to anxiety, like myself, and if you happen to be a calm person, you could come up and hug me heart to heart and my heart hopefully would slow to yours. And I just love that idea. Or maybe yours would speed up to mine. But either way, we’ll be there together.”—Andrea Gibson
Ableism must be included in our analysis of oppression and in our conversations about violence, responses to violence and ending violence. Ableism cuts across all of our movements because ableism dictates how bodies should function against a mythical norm—an able-bodied standard of white supremacy, heterosexism, sexism, economic exploitation, moral/religious beliefs, age and ability. Ableism set the stage for queer and trans people to be institutionalized as mentally disabled; for communities of color to be understood as less capable, smart and intelligent, therefore “naturally” fit for slave labor; for women’s bodies to be used to produce children, when, where and how men needed them; for people with disabilities to be seen as “disposable” in a capitalist and exploitative culture because we are not seen as “productive;” for immigrants to be thought of as a “disease” that we must “cure” because it is “weakening” our country; for violence, cycles of poverty, lack of resources and war to be used as systematic tools to construct disability in communities and entire countries.
”—Mia Mingus, Moving Toward the Ugly: A Politic Beyond Desirability
i don’t usually use tumblr for personal writings or indeed anything overtly personal, it’s more of an escapism, but i would like to share this for anybody interested who has stumbled upon this place. (warning: my nickname at work is ‘soapbox’ for a reason…)
i received my mind over matter zine (issue #1) yesterday, in my humble opinion it is a wonderfully put together collective and the beginnings of something, well, really bloody great. it is a zine about all things mental health related, with submitted personal contributions and informative pieces etc.
it does feel like i eat, sleep and breathe mental health sometimes (i suffer from a condition and am also a registered mental health nurse) but i do feel that it is imperative that those who are aware, familiar or curious about mental health talk about it. and continue to talk about it. share experiences, learn something new.
anyway, here is the link, check it out: mindovermatterzine.tumblr.com
I am so overwhelmed by the responses I have been getting so far. It’s such a simple concept: allowing people to talk about their experiences without judgement or censorship - I’m really glad readers are as stoked about it as I am. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!
I received my copy in the post today, I read it start to finish in one hour. It’s a magazine produced by/for mentally ill people and covers some highly controversial issues and a lot of interesting other topics (although the description and diagram of lobotomy was pretty gross I have to say). Please followers take a look.
The thing that really sucks about when epileptic Tumblr users complain about GIFS is that for many of us, Gifs are what Tumblr is FOR. I have many times followed accounts just because they are Gif-based. That’s what I like and what I seek out.
I know it doesn’t seem it, but I DO empathize with people who suffer from disabilities. But it is the height of arrogance to enter a space like Tumblr, which has multiple uses for multiple people and claim discrimination when some people use one of the system’s basic functions. It is the height of arrogance to claim that people are being oppressive because their blogs contain painful material. You DO have some control over your life! The argument that “it shouldn’t be disabled people’s responsibility” is irresponsible and hostile to reality. Of COURSE it is your responsibility to protect yourself.
I’m not epileptic, but I have high anxiety. I used to be unable to get through a movie—any movie—without coming near the verge of a panic attack. Not only action movies, but even slow-paced romantic dramas. But I am an adult and not a selfish brat, so I took responsibility for my limitations and I never once blamed anybody else when I clearly chose to watch a movie in the first place.
You have two choices here: One, you can take the steps to disable GIFs. Two, you can cease using Tumblr. Animated images are a large part of this website’s interests, perhaps you would be happier looking at Twitter which is all-text.
Either way, buck up, bucky.
I don’t think it’s that difficult to tag a post with “epilepsy warning” or “seizure warning” if there’s a flashing gif. I think it’s ridiculous to ignore the needs of people who follow you. I didn’t realize that gifs were harmful until someone pointed it out to me, and now I do tag everything that flashes with the aforementioned tags. To me, it’s two seconds to type out a tag to a post.
Hey, OP. Folks with epilepsy/folks who are otherwise sensitive to flashing gifs do take steps to protect themselves; those steps happen to require (extremely) minimal effort (more like mindfulness, really) on the part of everyone else for it to work. You have to tag #epilepsy warning or #seizure warning. That’s it. They do the rest.
Accessibility is not an indulgence.
Stop acting like a baby whose toy is being taken away. Nobody is trying to confiscate your gifs. All that’s being asked of you is a little consideration for folks with disabilities, and you know what? It says a lot about you that you resent them for it.
Yes to all of the commentary: just tag your shit and leave it at that. It’s a case of basic consideration for the health of others and takes about 0.5 of a second.
I’ll link again to my trigger warning post here. OP: y’all can read this or not, I just really hope, in the kindest way, that you reconsider your position on this kind of thing.
hey sweetie, I brought your zine but feel sad if you are barely breaking even, should I donate more than the cost? you deserve to make the cost it takes to produce + postage! I have brought art zines before which are production cost + cost of postage to wherever you are! anyway look forwards to it anyhow <3
My dear, please don’t feel bad! Of all the things to spend my money on I think the zine is a great investment - I’m sure I’d just spend the money down the pub anyway! There’s a donate button on the right-hand column on the main page of the blog should you so wish, but really you mustn’t feel bad on my behalf! I hope you’re keeping safe and well, x
I think this counts as a #heyfaridah, even though it was in an e-mail.
I just wanted to let you know my zine arrived today - haven’t had time to sit down properly with it yet, but I’m looking forward to it! Looks really amazing, you should be proper proud of yourself.
I also saw your post about the costs - when I mentioned that before (about the paypal fee stuff) I wanted to say that you know…I know this is your baby and you just want it out there and in a way that’s easily available and accessible for all, but none of us want you to struggle to cover your costs or anything as a result of you putting out the zine. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having different postage costs for different countries or anything like that - everyone understands that it costs more to post overseas! It’s totally up to you what you do and how you do it, but just know that we’re all so proud and supportive of you and what you’re doing and you shouldn’t feel bad about being realistic about what you charge so that you’re able to cover your printing and postage! Plus, you’re offering a free pdf of it so it’s available for everyone to read even if they can’t afford a hard copy, you know? And I’m excited to contribute to future zines (if you’ll let me!) and if there’s ever anything I can do to help, you only need to let me know.
Hope you’re well,
I’m going to go ahead and file this under ‘reasons why I am putting this out’. People are so friendly and supportive and rad and, really, I can’t hold all the feels I have for you. Thank you.
Do you have somewhere I can donate the extra money?! xx
Hey peach, please don’t feel obliged! I’m happy to get it out there. I’ll just have to rethink Christmas a little is all but it is totally worth it to know that an issue is winging its way to you and all the other babely babes who have ordered. There is a donation page on the main page of the blog but seriously, don’t sweat it.
international shipping sucks so much :( if i were you i’d get people to send another few pounds to cover the postage for them
The UK orders are just about breaking even. i guess I was just naive to think that basic postage abroad would be so much! It’s ok, my mistake. I’ve adjusted post costs now - it may just be a matter of having to seek out distros in target countries….
Society provides few options for people in crisis other then mental hospitals, religion and psychiatric drugs. The value of freedom, love and community do not end when you’re in crisis. In fact, they can save your life. The key is empowerment — What do you feel really helps?
A mutual support group is simply peers listening to and helping peers as equals validating, if not ‘endorsing’, feelings. You can learn to form one yourself. Or ask community resource organizations for lists of ongoing groups. Shop around: Some groups push the mainstream, disempowering, medication-based mental health system. Though in a pinch, finding any group may be helpful for validation of your situation if you find yourself without any support.
Natural nutritional and herbal approaches include vitamins, St. John’s Wort, etc. Eat healthy and/or consult an herbalist.
Practicing meditation or spiritual disciplines may help you relax. (However, joining a cult is not therapeutic, so take care not to have your vulnerability exploited by a seemingly perfectly nice bunch of people who promise to rescue you…)
Try to remember to breathe.
Ecopsychology is realizing nature and wilderness are our greatest healers. Spend some time outside the city to get centered and get away from pollution which is in itself mind-altering.
Exercise, dance, biking and physical movement often prove helpful for depression, etc.
Art, writing a journal, making a zine, playing music, singing, and other forms of personal expression are often safe ways to break the silence with others, and even yourself, about inner pain.
Acupuncture, massage and other body work can be ways for others to give your whole self some gentle attention.
Respite: In other words, focus off the crisis and onto what you find joyful for a while, until you can gather more resources.
Don’t neglect your basic human needs: sleep, eating, shelter, fresh air, etc.
Keep in mind that some current emotional crises may be caused by traumas from the past, which may need to be emotionally and consciously processed in order not to keep recurring.
Find a counselor who actually supports your self-determination. Ask lots of questions, especially about confidentiality, if someone else such as your parents, boss, or governmental program is paying for your therapy.
There is no shame in using psychiatric drugs if you know they work for you.
Many communities have 24 hour a day crisis hotlines or crisis centers. You can call 800-SUICIDE if you’re thinking about killing yourself or 800 646-HOPE to reach a local rape crisis line for survivors of sexual violence.
Social change: Actually address the stressful factors in your environment. Revolution can heal. If you have a loved one in crisis, consider asking them if you and/or their counselor can hold an emergency gathering or potluck to weave together their mutual support network of trusted friends and find out what they truly need at this crucial time. However, don’t act over their heads. CRISIS PREVENTION Everyone will eventually have a crisis. For example, if you love deeply, you may one day grieve deeply. The question is, Are you prepared for your crisis? It is a good idea to develop your network of support, now. Modern society isolates. Some day you may need a shoulder you can trust to weep on.
EVADE THE BRAIN POLICE
If you find yourself threatened with psychiatric coercion, it’s a good time to get real calm, real fast. Authorities, shrinks, doctors, cops, schools tend to provoke, and then diagnose your *reactions* of fear, despair and anger. So when they provoke, act even more calm. Know your rights, get a lawyer, and find real help soon.
I totally just saw, babeface! I am rly glad. also I am rly hppy that your calm necklaces were met with the good reception they deserved. you are so considerate and kind. Best of festive wishes to you and your lady. xxx