"Suicide in the United States has surged to the highest levels in nearly 30 years, a federal data analysis has found, with increases in every age group except older adults. The rise was particularly steep for women. It was also substantial among middle-aged Americans, sending a signal of deep anguish from a group whose suicide rates had been stable or falling since the 1950s." (slNYT) [more inside]
Today is World Bipolar Day. The international event, held annually on March 30, coincides with the birthday of late artist Vincent van Gogh, who many believe had bipolar disorder. Actress Patty Duke was one of the first famous faces to speak out about her experience as a bipolar individual, which makes her passing yesterday a particularly poignant loss for others living with and advocating for a better understanding of mood disorders and mental illness. [more inside]
If you’re just not a morning person, science says you may never be. Morning people and night owls are born that way. It's time we accepted that. An "abnormal" circadian rhythm has been linked with ADHD, mental illnesses, and chronic disease. What if embracing your natural circadian rhythm is the real missing key to improved health? [more inside]
"Depression stole decades of our lives together. Depression lies. I have to tell the truth." Eleni Pinnow writes in the Washington Post about the obituary she wrote for her sister, Aletha.
Two years ago, flamboyant fitness guru Richard Simmons vanished from public life and now his close friends are worried he's being held against his will in his Hollywood Hills mansion
...binge-watchers reported higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression than their non-binge-watching counterparts. The study found 77 percent of participants watched TV for two hours... link to paper: Viewing Patterns and Addiction to Television among Adults Who Self-Identify as Binge-Watchers
Step 63: Panic. All jesting aside, executive function skills are important. The ability to start new tasks, switch easily between tasks, pause before responding to something, and plan for the future all seem like small, simple things. But many people struggle painfully with them, especially when difficulty with them is treated as a personal failing. (Turns out it's more complicated than that.)
In a 'sick' society, sanity is relative - "Is it good to be 'well-adjusted' to rapacious capitalism and consumerism? What defines 'mental health' (or illness) in such a culture?" Is Humanity Getting Better?[1,2] (via)
Zoë Quinn explains “why [she] just dropped the harassment charges [against] the man who started GamerGate.” (via Ellen Pao’s Twitter.)
Life with hypochondria, as described by an anonymous and humorous buzzfeed user.
New Yorkers Alice Bradley and Deanna Zandt made a podcast about life and depression. It’s all going to be okay. Probably.
Jane Marie writes about On Going Off My Depression Medication During Pregnancy.
Depression is the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 30 percent of Americans at some point in their lives. But despite half a century of research, ubiquitous advertising, and blockbuster sales, antidepressant drugs just don’t work very well. The science magazine Nautilus explores the use of ketamine to treat depression and prevent PTSD. [more inside]
During the Depression, the Works Project Administration put American men to work on large-scale, highly-visible undertakings, like dam building and highway construction. Women, too, needed work, and some of them found it through WPA Sewing Rooms, where they earned wages for making clothing for low-income Americans. [more inside]
Jonathan Zittrain gives a Ted Talk on the internet as a random act of kindness. But as we approach the holiday season, and holiday depression, netizens can bring kindness to real life. [more inside]
In the early 1960's, drugs like LSD and psilocybin found their way out of university labs and onto the street -- and their value as medicine was lost as their status as protest and party drugs emerged. Mass recreational use, conservative political forces and a continuing media frenzy ensured the vilification of hallucinogens – until drugs like LSD and magic mushrooms were completely outlawed in 1970. Serious medical research would not begin again until the early 21st century, four decades later.Turn on, tune in, and heal thyself - CBC's Ideas presents High Culture, a 3-hour (2--3) series examining the use of psychedelics to curb anxiety, alcoholism, and depression. [more inside]
A 5-year study of 333 Australians found those with the short-short version of the 5-HTTLPR promoter of the SERT serotonin transporter gene were more likely than other adults to be depressed if they had suffered abuse as a child. However, if they hadn't suffered childhood abuse, they were likely to be happier than the rest of the population. This may help resolve inconsistent previous results about the effects of the allele.
"Every society struggles to care for people with mental illness. In parts of West Africa, where psychiatry is virtually unknown, the chain is often a last resort for desperate families who cannot control a loved one in the grip of psychosis. Religious retreats, known as prayer camps, set up makeshift psychiatric wards, usually with prayer as the only intervention." NYTimes. Links contain upsetting images and video. [more inside]
Dallas County district attorney Susan Hawk's life fell apart after she took office: divorce, depression and thoughts of suicide. After she fired some of her most experienced staff and amid allegations of erratic or unstable behavior, she vanished from public view in late July. Nine weeks later, she re-emerged to announce that she had undergone two months of treatment at a mental health facility for Major Depressive Disorder. She says she’s ready once again to serve. Is she up to the job? (Some links in this post discuss suicide / suicidal ideation. Some readers may find linked content disturbing.) [more inside]
"The efficacy of antidepressant medication has been shown empirically to be overestimated due to publication bias [...] The efficacy of psychological interventions for depression has been overestimated in the published literature, just as it has been for pharmacotherapy. Both are efficacious but not to the extent that the published literature would suggest"
Last month, former NHL enforcer Todd Ewen committed suicide. Earlier this year, former NHL enforcer Steve Montador died suddenly after struggling to cope with substance abuse and depression. In 2011, former NHL enforcer Derek Boogard overdosed on alcohol and painkillers, former NHL enforcer Rick Rypien committed suicide, and former NHL enforcer Wade Belak (probably) committed suicide. In 2010, former NHL enforcer Bob Probert died of a heart attack; his brain showed evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). As of today, the NHL "has 'no desire' to settle a class-action lawsuit that alleges negligence and fraud by the League regarding concussions." [more inside]
You Feel Like Shit: An Interactive Self-Care Guide "This is meant to be an interactive flow chart for people who struggle with self care, executive dysfunction, and/or who have trouble reading internal signals. It's designed to take as much of the weight off of you as possible, so each decision is very easy and doesn't require much judgment."
There is plenty of space in the cultural conversation for stories about what it was like to have been depressed, but there isn’t much space or tolerance for narrating the experience in live time. That behavior, especially online, is called attention-seeking, or oversharing, or desperation. The sole exception to this rule is the cry for help, but the depressed person who isn’t sure which help to cry for is given little clearance to talk at all.--Depressiongrams: A Photo Essay
In a new study from researchers at Columbia University, of nearly 22,000 full-time workers (from a dataset from the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions), they saw that 18 percent of supervisors and managers reported symptoms of depression. For blue-collar workers, that figure was 12 percent, and for owners and executives, it was only 11 percent.
"Since I was a little girl I’ve been afraid of monsters. I’d put garlic on my window ledge to ward off vampires and sage in the corners to protect me from zombies. Even as a young adult I lay on my ratty futon surrounded by library books terrified someone or something would break into my apartment. After my daughter was born, my fear escalated. I’d check the front door several times a day to make sure the deadbolt was secure and the chain latched. At night I lay in the dark, my mind sending out waves of panic."
"What you want to avoid is panic. What you want to teach yourself is that you deserve better than lying alone in a dark room, imagining yourself buried." || Diana Spechler for NYT's Opinionator: 10 Things I'd Tell My Former (Medicated) Self, the final installment in Going Off, a series of essays recounting the challenges Spechler has faced in gradually discontinuing her regimen of psychiatric medications.
As she's laid to rest, questions remain about whether her arrest was good policing, a bail system that is especially harsh on the poor, the stigma of marijuana use, treatment of depression and, of course, the long history of American racism, as seen in Waller County, Texas, were the initial incident occurred. [more inside]
A new study from Northwestern University examined the potential link between cell phone use and depression. "The study found a depressed person’s average daily phone usage clocked in at 68 mins, whereas non-depressed individual’s came in at 17 mins." source [more inside]
“A semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life." [more inside]
After seeing a young friend struggle with body image and depression, Florida-based photographer Natalie McCain was inspired to start the Honest Body Project, a series of portraits of mothers showing their beauty and imperfections to their children, paired with their stories in their own words. “My goal with this project is to help mothers everywhere learn to love their bodies and wear them proudly in front of their daughters,” McCain says. “Stop calling yourself fat. Stop shying away from being in photos. Stop body-shaming. Learn to love your body, and in turn, set a good example and start conversations with your children about how women really look.” A small number of images may be NSFW or triggering. Further details within. [more inside]
"Child actor-turned-maligned-Star-Trek-character-turned-geek-icon Wil Wheaton has been fairly open about his struggles with mental illness and depression. But for those who haven’t heard about that side of his life before, Project UROK spoke with the actor/writer about the way his anxiety affects him and why he eventually chose to seek help. We’re debuting that interview exclusively here on The A.V. Club." By Caroline Siede; direct YouTube link. [more inside]
"Yes, depression lies. And it's very hard to not believe it when it's there, because it's very much in the foreground and it totally convinces you. And it's not always that it necessarily lies, but it gives you the very, very worst interpretation of your reality. Yes, so I think time proves that life doesn't always get worse. And also very few things get worse than wanting to jump off a cliff, you know. You're kind of at rock bottom by definition of being suicidal. So it's almost ridiculous that depression says everything's going to get worse from there, because very few things get worse from there." Matt Haig talks to Lynne Malcolm about his experience of depression and the reasons he found to stay alive. [more inside]
The myth of the pregnant mother who is high on hormones has had considerable staying power. Something sentimental in us likes the notion that the physical discomfort of pregnancy is outweighed by the thrill of nurturing a new life within your own body...We have not acknowledged how appropriately anxiety-ridden pregnancy is, how traumatic the change in identity that accompanies prospective motherhood can be. (slnyt) [more inside]
SLNYT - Suicdal treatment-resistant depression vs. DBT One man's experience with dialectical behavior therapy, or DBT. Previously, and again. [more inside]
Joyable’s website, full of affable sans serifs and cheery salmon rectangles, looks Pinterest-esque, at least in its design. Except its text didn’t discuss eye glasses or home decor but “evidence-based” methods shown to reduce social anxiety. I knew those phrases: “Evidence-based” is the watchword of cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, the treatment now considered most effective for certain anxiety disorders. Joyable dresses a psychologists’s pitch in a Bay Area startup’s clothes.
For the past few years, a small group of psychiatrists, researchers, educators, and game designers have run a quiet but intense footrace to become the first to earn FDA approval for a medically sound, prescription-strength video game for ADHD. That’s not a metaphor. They are seeking approval for a game that a doctor can actually prescribe..In this excerpt from his new book, posted on Medium, journalist Greg Toppo discusses a variety of new neurogames and how they may in the future treat conditions like ADHD and anxiety, strengthen skills like multitasking and mindfulness, and reduce the need for pharmaceutical interventions for children. (Fair warning, the article has an animated header image that may annoy, so you may want to scroll right on down past it before you start reading.)
On Instagram, Madison Holleran's life looked ideal: Star athlete, bright student, beloved friend. But the photos hid the reality of someone struggling to go on. "Maddy, have you found a therapist down there yet?" he asked. "No, but don't worry, Daddy, I'll find one," she told him. But she had no intention of finding one. In fact, she was, at that exact moment, buying the items she would leave for her family. [more inside]
Every April for the past several years, Fantasy Cafe has published a series of guest posts for Women in Science Fiction & Fantasy Month. This year, the article that generated the most discussion was "'I am ... ?': Representation of Mature Women in Fantasy" by Mieneke from A Fantastical Librarian, who asked, "So where are the older women in fantasy? Mature women who are the hero of their own story?" The many other guest posts this year offered an interesting range of questions, observations, and reflections--often by well-known names in the field. [more inside]
Tim Ferriss interviews Jim Fadiman Involved with psychedelic research since the 1960s, Fadiman discusses the immediate and long-term effects of psychedelics when used for spiritual purposes (high dose), therapeutic purposes (moderate dose), and problem-solving purposes (low dose). Fascinating stories about solving really hard science problems, healing PTSD, depression, and trauma.
Character actor Daniel Von Bargen ("Seinfeld", "Lord of Illusions", "Super Troopers") has died at the age of 64. One tragic footnote is his 2012 suicide attempt that led to his long illness. Here are some facts about Diabetes and Depression and, as always, there is help for those who need it. (Post Title Quote here)
Pre-therapy, this is the only thing I was ever taught, implicitly and explicitly, about sadness: It is bad.Journalist and author Mac McClelland explores the relationship between recovering from PTSD and learning how to live in the presence of sadness: How I Learned To Be OK With Feeling Sad. [more inside]
You do not want it. If you've got it, you should definitely try to get rid of it, fast as possible. Whatever you do, don't subject other people to it, because they do not like that.
Sadness can be legitimately problematic, absolutely. If your sadness comes from seemingly no place or even an obvious place but keeps you from participating in life or enjoying anything and refuses to abate no matter how long you go on letting it express itself, you of course can't keep living like that. But culturally, we aren't allowed to be sad even for a little while. Even when it's perfectly sensible. Even when, sometimes, we need it.
Football fans – and here I naturally include myself – act as if they are mentally ill. This is an article that is nominally about football, but is just as much about the pressures of modern life and the plight of men (in particular, but not exclusively). This is both a very personal account and an observation of how others behave. It is about being a football fan, but also the impact of social media on our appreciation of life (and sport), and how constantly striving for more can lead to increased unhappiness – even if you attain it.
We met at 18. We wed at 24. At 27 I checked my wife into a psych ward—for the first time. How mental illness reshapes a marriage. [more inside]
"We know that people may be genetically pre-disposed to depression and anxiety disorders. We also know that specific life events may trigger depressive episodes in those who have previously been the picture of mental health. But so far we've been unable to identify one single, definitive catalyst. However, new research suggests that, for some people, depression may be caused by something as simple as an allergic reaction – a reaction to inflammation; a product of the body, not the mind." [more inside]
Could depression be an infectious disease? Might hallucinogenic mushrooms be an effective treatment for depression (New York Times link)? Do antipsychotic drugs hinder long-term recovery from episodes of schizophrenia?