Anonymous asked: when i was younger my mom used to tell me i had "avoidance issues" wasn't sure what that meant until now. now when i wake up everymorning ifeel depressed and unmotivated, and iconstantly worry about going to class b/c people will see me and see what i'm doing, so lately i've been avoiding class/socialization and it's been adding up. ilive alone and it's getting harder and harder for me to go to class. idon't want to fail,and nowifeel embarassed that i'm afraid to go and don't know how to explain
Ok, I know this one first hand and can totally sympathize. I used to be able to go weeks at a time without leaving my room or saying a word to anybody and it was a vicious cycle. Though I had no motivation because I couldn’t anticipate anything good coming from the day, the gradual sense of achievement I amassed by getting back out there and getting even simple things done slowly helped me. You’ve identified yourself that the root of this seems to be depression and anxiety - are you receiving any treatment for these (medication or therapy?)
When I was trying to recover I set myself 2 alarms in the morning: one to wake up/get out of bed, and one to get out of the house by. I found that if I didn’t leave by a certain time, I wouldn’t leave all day. Do you live with other people or know anyone who might be able to hold you to this sort of plan? I found having someone pestering me or waiting for me helped me to get out there…
I also recognise the embarrassment you might be feeling about class. Do you have a personal tutor or a student support service you can call on? If your teachers are not total turds, they should support you if you level with them and tell them you’re struggling with these issues but you care about the course…
E-mail me at mindovermatterzine at gmail dot com if you want to talk more. xo
Anonymous asked: hi! a few things [TW- ABUSE]: 1) i love this blog. <3 2) i'm in an abusive relationship currently (likely getting out of it soon), and my mental illness(es) are often used against me i.e. "i don't really treat you that badly; you're just crazy," said to me after i was choked, shoved and dragged across a floor. are there any statistics out there on the rates of violence against mentally ill people, due to the vulnerability that whole "just crazy" thing creates? i can't imagine i'm the only one.
also, when i actually sought out some moderate help after the aforementioned incident because i could barely walk from being pushed to the floor multiple times and additionally had marks all over my face from being grabbed by the head, like his nails had been digging into my face, he tried to say that i had “scratched” myself because i’m ~crazy~. luckily, my one condifant knew he was lying. sadly though, i could see that kind of thing working..which terrifies me to the core.
sometimes i find myself in the troubling pattern of defensively saying, “i’m not crazy!” when i AM a little crazy and really want to own that in theory…but what i’m really saying is, “don’t invalidate me! i’m not imagining the way you’re treating me; please don’t try to dismiss me like that!” except it never comes out that way because i’m usually panicking by then. any insight into this perhaps? how can i get that across simply?
Hey, first up: are you safe? I really hope you’ve managed to find help and support and to get yourself out of this terrible situation. Please message me again - I’m worried about you.
You may have seen the statistic I posted doing the rounds about how “Women with disabilities are twice as likely to experience domestic violence as non-disabled women.”(x) Nearly 40% of women with disabilities report being victims of domestic violence(x) and let’s be honest: that’s a conservative estimate, because for every woman who reports it, there’s more hidden in fear.
Data for men, non-binary and trans* folks is unfortunately harder to come by, but it seems to be the case across gender that domestic violence is more likely to be experienced by people with disabilities. While you may not choose to identify as disabled, mental illness falls under this…
A recent study by KCL found that men and women with mental illness, regardless of diagnosis, are more likely to have experienced domestic violence than the general population.
I’m sorry to get so academic on you thus far, but you did request statistics/evidence and it sounds like you might be looking for some validation of your experience. (By the way, yes your experience is totally valid and - though I wish it wasn’t so - shared by millions of others).
What you mentioned about your abuser stating that nobody would believe you because you’re “crazy”, I think this is unfortunately why many mentally ill folks are more likely to be victimized by an abusive partner. The abuser thinks (or knows) they hold a position of power, not only physically and emotionally, but epistemologically. They know that their partner faces significant barriers to reporting the abuse above those which exist for people without disabilities e.g. fear of losing a caregiver, inability to verbally communicate as a result of a disability (I’m not just talking motor impairments to communication but severe social anxiety, cognitive symptoms etc), and fear of not being taken seriously.
If you’re looking for a succinct way to reply to your abuser, I can’t think of shorter than “FUCK YOU”. However - and I really hope this isn’t needed because you’re out of the relationship by the time you read this - you might consider telling them that yes, you are crazy which doesn’t make you a bad person, but they’re an abuser, which totally does.
Sending love your way, xoxo
Sorry for the recent paucity of posts and high percentage of those as reblobs. Life has kind of got in the way lately. Will try harder. xo
This post is some personal observations I have made about people’s perceptions of The Autism Spectrum. When I refer to “people”, I don’t mean “all people”, I just mean the people I’ve encountered personally, whether in real life or talking to online.
When people first learn about autism, it’s because their new friend [be it a real person or a fictional character] has been described as “having autism”. These people, not really understanding what autism is yet, look at their friend’s characteristics and decide that all the traits they have are autism - that’s what autism is, it’s being like Sherlock, Abed Nadir, Einstein, that quiet kid in class, your friend’s nonverbal son. The stereotypes can be nice (look at all the aspergers characters in film, books and television, which paint most of them as eccentric, bad with people, but nevertheless geniuses) or they can be bad (like “Autism moms” complaining how difficult it is for THEM to raise their child… or Louis Theroux’ documentaries painting a bleak portrait of autism “sufferers”).
At this stage, the person learning about autism usually seems to think of it as a binary state… like a lightswitch. They’ll tell you you either HAVE AUTISM and are therefore exactly like the stereotype they’ve created (lights on) or you DON’T HAVE AUTISM because you’re not exactly like that stereotype (lights off).
If they’ve read up a little more, they might have seen the word “spectrum”. Now they have a more generalized view of autism. But they get the idea of “spectrum” wrong - they see it as a linear thing: a number-line, a scale, a dimmer switch or volume control, from Zero to Autistic — or from “low-functioning” to “high-functioning”. At that point they say silly things like “You’re very high-functioning!” or “No, but I mean like, the really really autistic kids, who, like, can’t do anything because they can’t talk”. They invent this linear relationship between a person’s verboseness and “how autistic they are”.
A lot of people seem to get stuck at this point, so I think the word “spectrum” requires some explanation.
When I see the word “spectrum” I immediately imagine a rainbow, or light being split from a prism. I’m sure most people do. And sure, the spectrum of colours is derived from the electromagnetic spectrum - we get different colours at different wavelengths - it’s a continuous range.
BUT- where does white light come from? White light is a combination of all those different wavelengths. You can create new colours by mixing different colours together. You can make colours brighter by adding a little bit of the other colours. You can mix the wavelengths together at different intensities. There’s a lot of ways of combining colours.
Which essentially what the autism spectrum REALLY is. Which is why labels like “high functioning” and “severely autistic” are dumb labels. Just because one autie excels at public speaking doesn’t make them unanimously “high functioning”. Conversely, I know of nonverbal auties who are masters of writing. To tell someone with a vibrant imagination, intense emotions, passionate interests and brilliant intellect that they’re “low-functioning” because they don’t vocalize their thoughts out loud is a massive insult. To refuse someone’s pleas of help because they’re “too high functioning” is also a shitty thing to do (I’m looking at you, ATOS).
There’s lots of ways in which we function, some of which are interdependent, others independent, and the levels vary wildly between autistic people, and they also vary wildly in non-autistic people too:
- Long-term memory
- Short-term memory
- Physical awareness
- Spatial awareness
- Vocal ability
- Verbal reasoning / ability to understand instructions
- Linguistic skills
- Mathematical and logical skills
- Executive function / Planning
- Ability to filter information
- Processing speed of sensory input
- Ability to focus / attention span
- Emotional self-awareness
[These might not be the exact distinct cognitive ‘functions’ as according to all the sciencey literature, this was verbatim]
I see my functions as a bar chart. In the version I drew it’s a prism splitting white light into the whole spectrum, but the different colours fade out at different places (and it’s a homage to Pink Floyd :p). That bar chart can vary throughout the day, be markedly different on different days, and is always changing over time.
In times of anxiety all the functionality unanimously drains out of me. In a nice chilled out environment it all comes trickling back.
When I’m in the zone doing something I enjoy, some of those rays of colour will be shooting off the image :D
(Note how there’s no lines on the image denoting the “average person“‘s ability towards a particular function, because this shit is nigh on impossible to quantify person-to-person. All you can do is compare yourself to yourself)
I think that’s more accurate than “low functioning” vs “high functioning” ??????????
Safe spaces are kind of like ghosts. I don’t trust anyone who is super into believing they actually exist
Why is social anxiety associated with being “cute” because my sister has had it her whole life and watching her grow up locking herself in closets because she couldn’t go out in public and seeing her nearly cry at age 23 in the supermarket because she’s too scared to ask for help with something is not cute it’s sad and horrible
Being skeptical that another person can be incapacitated by a mental illness because you cope just fine with your problems is basically the same as saying “I don’t understand why other people’s brakes fail, because my car works great.”
Submitted by ftmbiter:
I was assigned as female at birth but I identify more with a boy than a girl. I have this gender identity disorder that is one of the causes for my eating disorders and since I feel abandoned by the other ftm guys I am always scared and anxious because non-trans people don’t understand that I have these problems because I’m not too self conscious about my body. I feel always scared and anxious also because when I was 15 I had a nervous breakdown… intrusive violent thoughts and other and I always fear it could happen again. I also need to be seen constantly… That’s all, I suppose. I’m writing it non-anon because If anyone have any advice or if you can feel my pain… I would be happy.
Fantastic news today as the Mental Health (Discrimination) Bill gets Royal Assent, putting an end to archaic laws that discriminate against people with mental health problems. This is an historic step towards ending the widespread discrimination that people with mental health problems face. Obviously laws are only part of the battle, but they’ll certainly make a huge difference.
Read more about it here!
This is a comic about self-injury…And though it is not especially descriptive, trigger warnings apply.
Anonymous asked: My apologies if this question is too personal to answer, but I was wondering if/how your mental health impacts your relationships?
Hi! No apologies needed. I think when I was younger and hadn’t been diagnosed as long / was crap at self care etc, it really did affect my romantic relationships and draw some of them to a premature end (I was needy, emotional, histrionic, withdrawn, all sorts.) Also in all those relationships I was the only ‘mad’ one, so I had trouble explaining things or being understood.
Now I live with my partner who also has his own diagnosis. We’re getting really good at reading each other, caring for each other or supporting each other’s self care, talking about our mental health, thoughts and feelings. In this way I find my own experiences to be helpful in trying to empathize and relate to his. So yeah, I’m glad we both have our own problems because I’m convinced that together we’re stronger.
In terms of family relationships: not at all. My family are super clued in and on point all the time about mental health, so I’ve really never had any issues with them on this: they’ve always been very supportive.
And friends? I have way less than I used to because after my breakdown I became quite socially anxious / introverted but the ones I do have around are golden and the ones who’ve fallen by the wayside I don’t miss.
[Image: Two traditional-style skull tattoos with sad faces and tears. The one on the left has blue tears and is licking snot from its nose and says ‘SO SAD’ above it. The one on the right has pink and yellow tears.]
Went with my
friendedit: partner today to get some ‘sad sack skulls’ tattooed. This is the secondedit: third tattoo I have relating to my mental health: Depressive and proud.
Reblobbin’ my own tattoo because I like it so why not. Also changed ‘friend’ to ‘partner’ because who was I even kidding?!
“Elefriends is a supportive online community where you can be yourself. We all know what it’s like to struggle sometimes, but now there’s a safe place to listen, share and be heard”
So excited to see that Mind have launched a new mental health support site elefriends.org.uk today: check it out! xo
I’ve just joined & my profile’s here. Hope to see some of you on there!
The mind is beautiful because of the paradox. It uses itself to understand itself.Adam Elenbass
STOP CALLING THINGS “LAME.”
If you are not LITERALLY lame yourself, you don’t have the right to say it’s not offensive. You don’t have the right to use the word as a pejorative (meaning “bad,” “ain’t shit,” and so on). I don’t think a lot of people who have disabilities that affect their ability to walk would be thrilled about you using it to describe them, either.
If you ARE, you have the right to reclaim that word FOR YOURSELF. NOT FOR OR ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE.
Just thought I’d post about this (AGAIN) because it seems like some people forget. (Or don’t care, in which case… there’s nothing I can say to make them care.) I suspect they don’t have a physical reminder of why that matters.
I’m not much of a reader of FWD, but here’s an excerpt from Ableist Word Profile: Lame:
When people first start thinking about ableist language, “lame” is one of the first words they eliminate, and it’s a word worth examining. It is usually used in a context which suggests that something is bad, boring, or not worthy of attention. A word often interchanged with “lame” is “gay,” which is, of course, homophobic.
And also not very creative.
“Lame,” derived from a word which literally means “broken,” is an original Old English word. We’re getting to the roots of ableism here, people! At any rate, the word was used historically to refer to people (and animals) with difficulty walking. It’s a bit unclear when people started using the word in the context of events/situations/objects, although it appears to have started around the 18th century.
“Lame” is an ableist word. It’s an ableist word because it assumes that having difficulty walking is objectively bad, and that therefore, a word which is used to describe difficulty walking can be safely used as a pejorative to mean “this is bad.” Using “lame” reinforces ableism in our culture by reminding people that disability is bad, and that it’s so bad that it can be used as a shorthand code to talk about bad things in general. Incidentally, the related “lame-brain”? Also ableist. Just so we’re all clear on that.
One defense of this word which I sometimes encounter is “well, I know someone who is disabled and they use it,” or “I know someone who uses it self referentially.” Both of these things may well be true. I am certainly not going to override your experience. But not everyone views “lame” in a neutral or positive way. Here’s a selection from a comment left at this ain’t livin’ by FB, a regular reader:
Please imagine men AND women staring at you who either: want to insult you because you limp, want to point out that you limp, want to know why you limp, want to point you to an elevator or their personal medical specialist, and, very ocassionaly, want your number because they think you’re attractive. And you know what makes these stares complicated? You never know why they’re staring, except that there is an 80% chance it is about the limp, and absolutely no chance they’ll just leave you alone to mind your own business.
That’s how some people feel when they hear the word “lame.” And when we talk about language usage, it’s worth considering how our use of language impacts others. Not the people we know, the people who assure us that our language is ok, but the people we don’t know. The people whom we are hurting with our careless language use. Eradicating ableist language is not about meeting some politically correct ideal (and when did “politically correct” become a pejorative), it’s about thinking about our actions and considering the ways in which they impact others.
Language has power. We have power when we use language. Language is often used to oppress and abuse. That is what this series is about, an attempt to break the ableist habits of English language users because those habits enforce ableism in English-speaking societies.
So, what are some good alternatives to “lame”?
Try thinking about the situation the word is being applied to. Some suggestions might be: bad, boring, dull, not worth my time, frustrating, irritating.
[bolded emphasis is my own]