It’s the evening of April 30th of this year. I’m sitting on the edge of my bathtub smoking. I smoke almost every day. I am standing on the edge of an abyss. Everything feels wrong and I have no idea why. I’m covered in molasses, dragged to earth. I have strange ideas, strange fantasies. Nothing makes sense. I don’t know why. [more inside]
"[O]ne thing that's really critical from an emotional agility perspective and that's actually really quick and easy to do, is to simply recognize your thought for what it is. It's a thought. Or your emotion for what it is. It's an emotion." An interview with author and Harvard Medical School faculty psychologist Susan David, Ph.D., by Sarah Green Carmichael for Harvard Business Review IdeaCast: Building Emotional Agility [audio + transcript] [more inside]
Stories are supposed to lift people up! They're supposed to be bright and fun! But these things you make... I'm just curious, do you have any idea what you're doing? Are you crazy?"
"More than 43 million Americans have depression, anxiety, or another mental health condition. But more than half never get help. Recent laws were supposed to make it easier for Californians to access treatment, but many still face roadblocks, even with insurance. In this special series by KQED's The California Report and State of Health we travel across the state to find out why it’s so difficult to get mental health care." A half-hour radio special by April Dembosky. (Links with written versions of the individual stories inside.) [more inside]
Break My Body: "What I’m trying to unravel is the difference between merely existing in a body and truly inhabiting it—to untangle passivity from receptivity. My woman-body has never been as easy for me to love, with its big breasts and disorienting cycles, as the girl-body that hurled me so beautifully through the air. To be sure, the woman-body has been good for sex, for attracting my husband’s touch, but sex is just one aspect of the whole—one that for me has never felt like a primary purpose. And as I find myself choosing not to use the body to create a child, it now seems that the one act its whole design evolved toward will be one it never performs. I’m looking for a new working definition." -- an essay by Marin Sardy [CW: suicide, mental illness]
Kay Parley, a 93-year-old psychiatric nurse and former psychiatric patient, reflects on her experiences — from institutionalization, through experimental psychedelic treatments and the advent of group therapy, to the medical model — in interviews with the CBC (~24 minutes; transcript included) and the Regina Leader Post. [more inside]
"Autism is seen like some sort of mental superpower where we can see math in the air. In my experience, this isn’t really the case." - Dispelling some myths about the autistic wunderkind programmer. Also: Why you might not want to get TOO excited about autism employment initiatives. Autism FAQ
The Chris Gethard Show started at UCB, moved to public access (previously), and can now be seen on Fusion TV and online. It's a talk show, a call-in show, a Skype-in show, a comedy show, an audience-participation show, and a grand, weird, and delightful tv experiment that also isn't afraid to explore mental health issues (previously - cw: suicide.) Season 1 full episodes (22:00 ea.). Season 2 full episodes (44:00 ea.). Wikipedia List of show regulars, characters, and celeb guests. [more inside]
The problem is that when alcohol is your solution, you’re playing a dangerous game. It’s not a question of if a heavy drinking culture will result in HR violations or if capable, competent team members will feel ostracized, but when. To say nothing of the lost opportunity to create authentic, honest relationships amongst your team. (slMedium/Backchannel)
Mania goes like this: It’s 3 am and I’m wide awake and ready to conquer the world. The rest of the world is sleeping, but I just don’t seem to need sleep. Nope, too much to do, and here are the priorities: buy a $200 belly dancing costume online, break out my oil paints and finish a painting, put shelves up in my room, work on my book (I’ll get another idea for a different book and have to start that too), start an heirloom yogurt business, research farmer’s market permit laws for said yogurt business, go to a meeting and take on a new sponsee, buy a book on the ancient myths of Egypt, read the book on the ancient myths of Egypt, fuck my boyfriend twice, practice playing finger cymbals and practice my Spanish online. Right now I’m learning conditional future tenses. [more inside]
Is Britney Spears Ready To Stand On Her Own? by Serge F. Kovaleski and Joe Coscarelli [The New York Times] For years, the life of one of the world’s most successful pop stars has been controlled by a court-approved conservatorship, designed for people who cannot take care of themselves. [more inside]
Giving free booze to homeless alcoholics sounds crazy. But it may be the key to helping them live a stable life.
A growing number of parents in Illinois who are unable to access necessary mental health treatment through Medicaid are voluntarily abandoning custody to the state so their children can get the care they need for severe mental illness. [more inside]
Attawapiskat Declares State of Emergency Over Spate of Suicide Attempts [CBC.ca] The chief and council for the Attawapiskat First Nation on remote James Bay have declared a state of emergency, saying they're overwhelmed by the number of attempted suicides in the community. On Saturday night alone, 11 people attempted to take their own lives, Chief Bruce Shisheesh said. Including Saturday's spate of suicide attempts, a total of 101 people of all ages have tried to kill themselves since September, Shisheesh said, with one person dying. The youngest was 11, the oldest 71. The Cree community — home to about 2,000 residents — saw 28 attempts in March alone. Last September, a group of five girls overdosed and had to be medevaced out of the community, Shisheesh said. [more inside]
Cole Kadzin at Broadly writes about Eating & Living: Recipes for Recovery , a cookbook with recipes and stories contributed by fellow survivors of eating disorders.
Death by Text: A teenager sent her depressed boyfriend hundreds of messages encouraging him to commit suicide. Does that make her his killer? [New York Magazine] [more inside]
“The programming community has been opening up over the past few years about mental health issues, so, I want to take this opportunity to open up about my own.” Kenneth Reitz, developer of the famed Python
requestsmodule (as well as
records, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide To Python) has written an essay about suffering a mental health crisis and discovering that he has bipolar affective disorder.
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)
An aspiring documentary filmmaker records the post-college struggles of her best friend...sorta. (SLYT)
When he died this week at the age of 44, Benoit Violier was considered by many to be one of the top chefs in the world, presiding over the three-Michelin-star Restaurant de l'Hotel de Ville Crissier near Lausanne, Switzerland. His death is the second suicide of a successful, high-profile young chef this year. [more inside]
"We’re launching Mental Health Week at BuzzFeed today because media can play a huge role — for good or for ill — in how people see themselves and understand their mental illnesses. We see it around the globe: a shift from seeing depression, anxiety, and other disorders as shameful personality flaws, and toward understanding them as the illnesses they are."
"[F]or a while now, think pieces have been fretting over the increased fragility of American college students, and blaming it on … well, whatever the writer thinks is wrong with kids and/or society today." What if it's just not true? [more inside]
NPR: Despite a 2009 law designed to prevent this from happening, "since January 2009, the Army has 'separated' 22,000 soldiers for 'misconduct' after they came back from Iraq and Afghanistan and were diagnosed with mental health problems or traumatic brain injury. As a result, many of the dismissed soldiers have not received crucial retirement and health care benefits that soldiers receive with an honorable discharge."
"What is Social Anxiety Disorder?": The Atlantic's Olga Khazan interviews Stefan G. Hofmann, the director of the Social Anxiety Program at Boston University. (SLTheAtlantic)
"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]
The state of mental health in Bangladesh - a photo essay. Other photos from Bangladesh by Allison Joyce.
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]
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 the past 12 months, workers in the entertainment industry considered taking their own lives almost seven times more than the general population. Almost one in every 14 performers surveyed admitted to making an attempt on their life. For roadies and technicians, the figures were even more troubling, at almost one in 12. That compares with roughly one on 30 for the wider Australian population."
Unsurprising to anyone in the industry, startling to those outside, a recent study (pdf) sheds light on the sickness within the Australian entertainment industry [more inside]
Unsurprising to anyone in the industry, startling to those outside, a recent study (pdf) sheds light on the sickness within the Australian entertainment industry [more inside]
"I Reviewed Jail on Yelp Because I Couldn't Afford a Therapist." Why people are using sites like Yelp to vent and offer tips about prison and jail.
The Cook County Jail, the nation's largest single site jail, recognizing that it handles the largest number of mentally ill people of any facility in the country, has been taking steps to help the mental ill in its cells. Last month, Nneka Jones Tapia, a clinical psychologist who previously ran the mental health program at the jail, was appointed as the executive director. Many of these improvements were put in place after a damning 2008 report by the US Department of Justice. Sheriff [more inside]
Use of K2/Spice continues to rise, despite public health officials in many parts of America declaring it a national health crisis. But let's take a look back. Like many in the American military where its use remains twice as popular as marijuana, some early users may have thought that K2/Spice (or "synthetic marijuana") was a safer, more responsible alternative to weed for managing their substance abuse problems and for self-medicating anxiety disorders. After all, until recently, it was still sold legally throughout the country, and convenience stores everywhere sold the stuff. [more inside]
"Humans as Superorganisms: How Microbes, Viruses, Imprinted Genes and Other Selfish Entities Shape Our Behavior" by Peter Kramer and Paola Bressan discusses the idea that an individual homo sapiens is only one component of the human superorganism we call a person, focusing on the psychological and psychiatric ramifications thereof. (Paola Bressan previously.)
“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]
"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]
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]
In September 2000, a teenager suffering from Bipolar Disorder named Kevin Hines attempted suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. A confluence of fortunate events (such as a Good Samaritan Sea Lion) came together and Kevin not only survived but did not suffer major mobility loss, as many other people who survive the fall do. Today he works as a suicide prevention/mental health awareness advocate and has authored a memoir. He is featured in the 2006 documentary The Bridge.
Following the apparent suicide of an undergraduate student, Yale University's community is grappling with questions and concerns about the school's handling of students with mental illnesses. In ""When Mentally Ill Students Feel Alone", The Atlantic discusses the school's policies, how they may be discouraging students from taking needed time off to address mental illness, and broader questions about the rise of mental health diagnoses on college campuses and how universities can better address their students' mental health needs.
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.
Quiz: what mental disorder do you have? (adjusted for scientific accuracy)
"Let’s note that I write this while experiencing psychosis, and that much of this has been written during a strain of psychosis known as Cotard’s delusion, in which the patient believes that she is dead. What the writer’s confused state means to either of us is not beside the point, because it is the point. The point is that I am in here, somewhere: cogito ergo sum." (via)
Over the past 20 years, medical researchers have found new ways to quantify the effects of the relentless violence on America’s inner cities, [and are] only now beginning to trace the effects of untreated PTSD on neighborhoods that are already struggling with unemployment, poverty and the devastating impact of the war on drugs. [...] Despite the growing evidence of PTSD in civilians, little is being done to address the problem. Hospital trauma centers often provide adequate care for physical wounds, but do almost nothing to help patients cope with the mental and emotional aftermath of trauma.
Brave and afraid and heading down the longest road [Part 1/3] The cars made a wet rushing sound as they swept past him, close enough that he could feel their motion in the air. He was certain if he tried, he could reach out and touch them. Mike Bourne stretched out both arms, fingertips extended. He was walking in the middle of the busy street. The yellow line on the pavement told him where to go. He thought of it as the yellow brick road. It would take him somewhere, he knew, somewhere beautiful. [more inside]
Inside a group of young paedophiles and their fight to stop themselves from offending. Needless to say, trigger warning. [more inside]