Category: Health

A note about depression

Image of a folded purple and turquoise ribbon representing suicide prevention

Trigger warning: depression and suicide

In the past week, fashion designer Kate Spade and chef-turned-traveler Anthony Bourdain both died from suicide — and that’s on top of all the people we haven’t heard about because they’re not deemed newsworthy enough for the public to acknowledge their pain or their passing. I don’t, and can’t, know what was going on in their head, how they felt or why they made the decision they did. But I do know what it’s like to have depression, and what it feels like to be on the edge of that kind of decision.

Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s reproductive rights

A female doctor in a lab coat sits with a female patient, looking at a clipboard

Women aren’t stupid. (I mean, on average.) Over time, we’ve begun to vote, work, sign for our own credit cards, and helm blockbuster movies and society hasn’t collapsed under the weight of our unfettered ignorance. Certainly, given accurate information to work with, we’re capable of making decisions about our own bodies. We’re capable of deciding if we want to have kids, when we want to have kids, and how many kids we want to have. And that is precisely why so many groups lie their little asses off when the subject of reproductive health arises: because they want to be the ones making the decisions.

Stop scapegoating and alienating vulnerable people

Movie still from "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," set in a high school, with a young man in the foreground looking off into the distance as two young women stand in the near background, talking about him

People on all sides of the issue seem to be looking for some kind of solution to school shootings and mass shootings in general. Which is good. They’re doing that at the expense of innocent, vulnerable people. That’s bad. Pro-gun control, pro-WalkingUpNotOut, everyone is pinning this violence on people who had nothing to do with it, are already dealing with enough on their own, and are actively harmed by being saddled with that blame.

Reproductive organs: This is the shit I’m talking about

Three blood bags, with female/moon goddess symbols on them, labeled "Sacred Blood of the Divine Feminine - Only for Use in Flux with the Universe"

[Trigger warning: transphobia]

This is the shit I’m talking about: TERFs love to insist that women are not defined by our reproductive organs, until they need an excuse to exclude trans women, at which point we’re defined exclusively by our reproductive organs. And they always have to throw in a little goddess-moon-divine-menstruation magic, too, and that’s another one: Conservative Christians using their religion to police women’s bodies is wrong, but using foofy sacred-divine-goddess mysticism is perfectly acceptable for TERFy purposes.

I am not my reproductive organs.

A rat terrier wearing a white terrycloth bathrobe

I don’t want to have kids. I don’t need or want to be defined by a biological process and a couple of organs that I don’t even need. Reproductive organs don’t define womanhood, and I am not my ladyregion, and conflating them doesn’t do anyone any good.

Birth control pills are for healthcare. And other stuff.

Waist-down photo of a woman on the subway with her legs crossed at the knees and ankles

Passage of the Affordable Care Act provided a major benefit to women of reproductive age: Employers with religious or moral objections to birth control weren’t allowed to exclude those benefits from health plans just because they thought birth control was wrong. When Trump rolled back that mandate — effective immediately — he removed that protection, meaning that women whose prescriptions had been covered could now have to pay out of pocket for medication crucial to their lives. And it can be crucial — hormonal birth control is essential to treatment of conditions like endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, fibroids, and debilitating periods.

It’s also good for other stuff.

Trump has rolled back the ACA protection of birth control coverage, slut

Trump holding two babies, one crying, and making a scrunched-up crying face at an appearance in Colorado Springs

The Affordable Care Act, passed in 2012, included one provision in particular that was crucial to women’s health: It prevented employers from excluding birth control from employer-sponsored insurance plans just because they had a religious or moral objection to it. Now the Trump administration has decided to roll back that mandate, effective immediately, because every single thing Obama did must be undone and it’s perfectly reasonable for God-fearing employers to dictate what women can do with their bodies.

Why I talk about mental illness

Close-up of a woman's smiling face, shot with way too much flash

I haven’t been shy about discussing my mental health on this blog. There’s a lot of privilege behind that — I know that I’m probably not going to suffer ill effects to my life or livelihood if people know about it. That isn’t the case for everyone with mental illnesses, and I would never insist that anyone come forward to talk about theirs if they aren’t comfortable doing so. That’s one reason I talk about it: Because I can, and it needs to be talked about.

The Las Vegas shooting was a tragedy. That doesn’t mean mental illness is at fault.

A wide shot of Vegas casinos as seen from the street, with people milling around

In Las Vegas Sunday night, a gunman in the Mandalay Bay hotel used many, many automatic weapons to rain fire on fans at a country music festival, killing 58 people and injuring more than 500. We currently have absolutely no idea why. And while it’s natural to speculate and distance ourselves when we’re scared and confused, declaring it a mental health issue without evidence indicating that it’s so isn’t helpful to anyone and is actively harmful to people with mental illnesses.

Let’s talk about inspiration pr0n.

Rebecca Schmitt, Rashema Mason, Griffin Furlong, and Crystal Tarbell are incredible young people — they endured homelessness and incredible emotional hardship to become valedictorian at their high school and earn college scholarships. Their stories make for inspirational, heartwarming reads — unless you pause long enough to ask, “In what world should a girl and her family end up homeless because they can’t afford her mother’s cancer treatment?”

Week 1 in the Trump White House: So that happened.

In case the blackening of the skies, shaking of the earth, and disembodied screams of the damned didn’t clue you in, Donald J. Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States one week ago today. (Just kidding; as Trump himself will tell you, there were no blackened skies because the rain stopped and the sun came out the moment he started speaking.)