I can’t count how many people have come to me both on tumblr and in real life, with first and second-hand stories saying “Well, I think I might have [mental illness] but all the friends I ask say I’m fine, so now I don’t know what to do.” I’ve even personally talked to people who thought they had schizophrenia, but were thrown into self-doubt because friends told them they were fine even after the person in question told them they heard voices on a regular basis.
And I think I have an explanation—and solution—for everyone.
The stigma surrounding mental illness in our culture makes it into this big, bad, terrible curse, rather than a medical problem. No one wants to be labeled as “crazy.” And no one wants their friends labeled as “crazy.” So when a friend approaches us with concerns about mental health, when they say, “So I think I might have depression/schizophrenia/GAD/OCD etc;” I think, that on at least a subconscious level (or maybe a conscious one, whichever,) we think that person is looking for reassurance that everything’s okay. The easiest way to do that is to tell the person they’re “normal.” Especially if we haven’t personally seen them do anything that would mark them as mentally ill (because often people with mental illness learn to adjust their behavior around other people to fit in). Sometimes we’ve normalized our friend’s behaviors, so the fact that they wash their hands a lot doesn’t mean they should ask their doctor about OCD (even though hand washing is the most commonly used example of compulsive behavior)—they’ve always been kind of a neat freak! It’s just who they are!
The problem with this is that:
1) Rather than looking for comfort by being told they are fine/healthy/normal/whatever, often what a person is seeking is someone to trust with their concerns, to get advice about what to do, to have someone sit down with them and work on this problem together.
2) When someone approaches a friend about the possibility of mental illness, they’ve already spent months or weeks thinking this through and gathering the courage to tell someone. Casually shutting them down almost always ends with that person spending even longer mulling over their mental health alone, and now with a heaping helping of self-doubt getting in the way of reaching out for help or answers.
Rather than trying to help by denying your friend has any mental illness, remember that having a mental illness, while certainly difficult and often damaging, is not the end of the world. View this friend reaching out to you as them taking a first important step in getting better and asking you to be a part of their support network through that difficult process.
So instead of saying “I don’t think you have [mental illness]” or any variation of that sort, try:
- Offering to help look up resources on the web about symptoms and treatment
- Encourage them to talk to their doctor (if they have access to one) and help them come up with questions to ask
- Tell them that whether or not they turn out to have any mental illness, that you will always be ready to listen when they need a friendly ear
Don’t be afraid of the possibility that your friend may need help. Don’t be afraid of the idea of mental illness. Abandon the stereotypes and the stigma and embrace your friend as they take those daunting first steps towards diagnosis and recovery!
This and also people will cry bloody murder about ~*~self diagnosis~*~*. The idea of someone having autonomy over their own mental health is very taboo in this culture, I think.
But I really like how you pointed out that people will protest because you dont fit the stereotype and you actually have humanity.
Patients taking the antidepressant Effexor (venlafaxine) should be aware that the drug manufacturer Pfizer has issued a recall of one lot of the medications after they discovered one bottle contained a heart drug used to treat atrial fibrillation.
The medication found is Tikosyn that was discovered in one bottle of Effexor XR. The heart medication could cause abnormal heartbeat that could cause symptoms of dizziness, sweating, pallor and fainting.
Patients should check their antidepressant for lot numbers 130142 and V130140, with expiration date of October 2015. Also recalled is Effexor XR with Greenstone lot number V130014, which expires in August 2015.
The antidepressant recall includes two lots of Effexor XR® 150 Mg Extended-Release Capsules and one lot of Greenstone’s Venlafaxine HCl 150 Mg Extended-Release Capsules.
The FDA warns the interaction between the heart drug Tikosyn and venlafaxine “could be fatal”.
Hi friends - if you know anyone who might use the medication, please reblog/signal boost
well fuck i’ll have to check mine when i get home
Yo, check with your Pharmacy as well, give them a call/go to the store and ask. When these things happen all pharmacies get the notices and check their products (mostly cause we gotta ship ‘em back) Also, you only need to be careful if you’re getting the actual bottle and not amber vials.
Effexor and Tikosyn look waaay different and any tech/Pharmacist would probably have noticed. We open the bottles, pour out the pills and count them. Believe me, someone probably would have been secretly playing that “One of these things is not like the other.” game.
Venlafaxine kind of looks like Tikosyn? But not really, and since there’s no generic Pfizer’s name is literally on the pill so…
make your tumblr the best space for you
you are not on this site to please others or cater to things that upset you
surround yourself only with the things you want to see
your dash should lift your spirits, make you think and smile
if it doesn’t, don’t feel bad about unfollowing or doing whatever you need to do that is right for you
first and foremost, ensure that tumblr is a safe, fun space for you
Can we please give a shout-out to every teen who’s parents refuse to recognize their mental illness and force them to live without the help they need
People who struggle interpersonally, who seem unhappy, or who get into a lot of conflicts are often advised to adopt the approach of Nonviolent Communication.
This is often not a good idea. Nonviolent Communication is an approach based on refraining from seeming to judge others, and instead expressing everything in terms of your own feelings. For instance, instead of “Don’t be such an inconsiderate jerk about leaving your clothes around”, you’d say “When you leave your clothing around, I feel disrespected.”. That approach is useful in situations in which people basically want to treat each other well but have trouble doing so because they don’t understand one another’s needs and feelings. In every other type of situation, the ideology and methodology of Nonviolent Communication can make things much worse.
Nonviolent Communication can be particularly harmful to marginalized people or abuse survivors. It can also teach powerful people to abuse their power more than they had previously, and to feel good about doing so. Non-Violent Communication has strategies that can be helpful in some situations, but it also teaches a lot of anti-skills that can undermine the ability to survive and fight injustice and abuse.
For marginalized or abused people, being judgmental is a necessary survival skill. Sometimes it’s not enough to say “when you call me slurs, I feel humiliated” - particularly if the other person doesn’t care about hurting you or actually wants to hurt you. Sometimes you have to say “The word you called me is a slur. It’s not ok to call me slurs. Stop.” Or “If you call me that again, I’m leaving.” Sometimes you have to say to yourself “I’m ok, they’re mean.” All of those things are judgments, and it’s important to be judgmental in those ways.
You can’t protect yourself from people who mean you harm without judging them. Nonviolent Communication works when people are hurting each other by accident; it only works when everyone means well. It doesn’t have responses that work when people are hurting others on purpose or without caring about damage they do. Which, if you’re marginalized or abused, happens several times a day. NVC does not have a framework for acknowledging this or responding to it.
In order to protect yourself from people who mean you harm, you have to see yourself as having the right to judge that someone is hurting you. You also have to be able to unilaterally set boundaries, even when your boundaries are upsetting to other people. Nonviolent Communication culture can teach you that whenever others are upset with you, you’re doing something wrong and should change what you do in order to meet the needs of others better. That’s a major anti-skill. People need to be able to decide things for themselves even when others are upset.
Further, NVC places a dangerous degree of emphasis on using a very specific kind of language and tone. NVC culture often judges people less on the content of what they’re saying than how they are saying it. Abusers and cluelessly powerful people are usually much better at using NVC language than people who are actively being hurt. When you’re just messing with someone’s head or protecting your own right to mess with their head, it’s easy to phrase things correctly. When someone is abusing you and you’re trying to explain what’s wrong, and you’re actively terrified, it’s much, much harder to phrase things in I-statements that take an acceptable tone.
Further, there is *always* a way to take issue with the way someone phrased something. It’s really easy to make something that’s really about shutting someone up look like a concern about the way they’re using language, or advice on how to communicate better. Every group I’ve seen that valued this type of language highly ended up nitpicking the language of the least popular person in the group as a way of shutting them up.
tl;dr Be careful with Nonviolent Communication. It has some merits, but it is not the complete solution to conflict or communication that it presents itself as. If you have certain common problems, NVC is dangerous.
I am a big advocate for non-violent communication and this is an excellent critique on it.
Your abuse does not have to be what you consider to be the most severe kind to matter.
Your abuse did not have to last years to matter.
Your abuse does not have to be worse than anyone else’s you know to matter.
Your abuse did not have to be something you were completely helpless to prevent in order to matter.
Your abuse did not have to endanger your life to matter.
Your abuse did not have to cause PTSD to matter.
Your abuser did not have to be cruel in every moment for your abuse to matter.
Your abuse did not have to break bones and leave scars to matter.
Abuse is abuse is abuse. You matter. What happened to you matters. It is not a competition. You do not have to have had the most tragic experience for your abuse to matter. It all matters
how to make your discourse more accessible to people of all backgrounds (please feel free to add more ideas in the comments)
- be clear, concise, and concrete.
- use Simple English when possible.
- explain important/technical terms that readers may find confusing.
- link to resources when possible.
- use a font that is easily readable for people with dyslexia, hyperlexia, and other disabilities.
- and use large print. i personally recommend 16 point Arial.
- try to avoid slurs and other offensive language.
- have an accessible blog theme.
- list any applicable triggers at the beginning of the post, and tag gifs.
- avoid bolding, italicizing, or ALL CAPS-ing as much as possible.
- if you can, type text descriptions under any images, for those with screen readers or on mobile.
- avoid walls of text with no paragraph breaks.
- try to include a summary at the end of long posts
- if a post involves numbers, try typing them in different ways. ex: i have one (1) cat
- regarding accessible themes, make sure your background is a color that doesn’t strain the eyes if you look at it for a long time, like black. if you can’t think of a good color, tumblr blue works
- also regarding accessible themes, make sure the color of your text is easy to read on the background color (no pink text on red background, for example)
- avoid using a font size below ten (10). i recommend twelve (12) as a minimum honestly
And where are the sober spaces? We often talk about “building safer spaces”, and yet our fundraisers are not safe for people that have a current or past history with addiction. They are not safe for people that have experienced abuse because of alcohol/drug dependent partners or family members. And they are definitely not safe for everyone if there is a possibility of police interference. Consent violations also occur more often in non-sober spaces. Don’t we want to ensure the safety of event participants after the event has ended? Including alcohol limits who can attend, what conversations can occur, and who wants to organize. These events usually end with no advancement of our movements, and do not build long lasting, genuine connections.
I am interested in building and sustaining more sober spaces, bridging intergenerational gaps (especially in the queer community), and being accessible to ALL peoples, not just college kids. I am tired of people throwing around the word “community”, when what we really mean is our close group of (amazing and supportive) friends and acquaintances.
I made a thing! Feel free to add onto it! Especially about treatment cause I know next to nothing, like I said in the slide.
I don’t want to hop on the BPD convo that is happening because I’ve never had that diagnosis, but it just reminds me of how long I’ve been denied medical care because I was diagnosed as Bipolar instead of having my C-PTSD acknowledged. It seems as though mental health providers will do everything in their power to ignore or diminish the importance of abuse in our lives. Instead of saying “you are a survivor of abuse and that abuse creates very real physical and mental symptoms” most of what I hear is “You need to find a way to cope with your emotions better because your illness can make you over-react”
And this goes for physical conditions as well. I’ve had chronic pain that significantly impacts my quality of life for at least the last 5 years, and when a doctor sees any indication that I am Bipolar, or sees the new C-PTSD diagnosis the conversation immediately turns from “how can we help minimize this pain” to “you’re just over-sensitive, you need to de-sensitize yourself to the pain. Get on some anti-depressants and see a therapist”
To top that, my condition is auto-immune. Most auto-immune suffers are women, and it remains significantly under-researched and under-treated. They’re trying to diagnose me with Fibromyalga right now, which used to be referred to as “bored housewife syndrome”
Sorry, those posts just got me thinking.