We’re now almost four weeks out from the shooting at an Oregon community college that killed nine people and injured ten more, and we know what that means: We can now stop “caring about mental health care” without guilt. Time heals all weaknesses in the mental health system, and while it becomes a subject under great scrutiny whenever a gunman commits a mass shooting, the passage of time, and the accompanying passage of fear, washes away those concerns pretty effectively. (Until the next shooting, of course.) And it happens isn’t because we manage to effectively address all of our problems in the interim but because discussions purportedly focused on Improving Mental Health Care are actually all about Protecting The Good People From The Crazies.
[Content note for depression, anxiety, and the medical treatment thereof]
In a series of posts on the NYT’s “Anxiety” blog, starting in February, Diana Spechler has been documenting the process of (with her doctor’s supervision) going off of the prescription meds that had been treating her anxiety, depression, and insomnia for over a year. Going Off opens with “Breaking Up With My Meds,” outlining how she came into psychopharmacology and why she wanted to get out of it.
[Content note: Suicide and mental illness]
Yesterday, after a long battle with depression, Robin Williams took his own life. He left behind a family that loved him dearly and a legion of fans who loved having someone to make them laugh and cry and think, even as he himself was so frequently in a dark place. He made kids’ movies with jokes that only adults would get, he made movies for adults that made you forget he was the genie from Aladdin, he made a few zany comedies that possibly made you stupider just by watching them but were so entertaining that who cares, and he made people feel better. He gave joy.
Read on for a self-indulgent blather about mental illness, medication, creativity, and a little bit of self pity. Or don’t. Whatever. Potentially triggery for bipolar II.
[Trigger warning for eating disorders]
For most of my youth, my exposure to eating disorders had been pretty much limited to Lifetime-style movies where the pretty young woman desperately wants to join the cheerleading squad and starts exercising all the time and throwing up her food, and everyone compliments her on losing weight, except for her abandoned former best friend, who is the only one who can tell that Something Is Very Wrong, and eventually she collapses at school, and then there’s inpatient treatment and a roommate who’s been Doing This For Years, blah blah blah meaningful self-discovery, blah blah happy ending, blah blah ED hotline blah.
Post-childbirth PTSD is as common as post-partum depression, but we don’t talk about it. As many as 1 in 13 mothers experiences PTSD. PTSD is more common in women who are survivors of sexual abuse, and women who have traumatic births.
You should definitely read this essay about being involuntarily committed and diagnosed with a mental illness. It is actually significantly more uplifting than that makes it sound.
Feministe friend Jessica Grose has an important series up at Slate on prenatal depression, its pervasiveness, and the stigma still attached to it (Part 1 is here; you can click through at the bottom of the piece to read parts two and three). After detailing her own experiences with depression during her pregnancy, Grose looks at the utter dearth of conversation (and certainly empathy) for women who are pregnant and clinically depressed. She writes:
Trigger warning for discussion of dieting and food restriction. I have a confession to make. Over the last six months or so, I’ve lost a significant amount of weight. It’s my first time that my weight has gone down since…
I’m a millennial. I’m a recent college graduate—no matter how much more established colleagues in their late twenties and early thirties say, “I know how hard it is to be a recent grad” or an MSNBC (or any other news…
This article in the New York Times Magazine is a must-read. It looks at the many ways our system is failing the mentally ill and their families — how there are few good options, and mentally ill people end up being cruelly cycled through emergency rooms and jails while their families hit wall after wall in trying to get help. I wish the author would have focused a bit more on the civil liberties issues — there are bars to involuntary commitment for good reasons — but the current set-up isn’t doing much good.
This is a highly subjective account of my experience with FAAB on FAAB childhood sexual abuse. Trigger warning for detailed account of abuse. In addition, I want to emphasize that this piece is explicitly about *my* process, and I will be focusing on outlining the difficulties I encountered in my recovery, and discussing what I believe could have helped me heal more quickly and fully.