Posts Tagged: mental health

Ask Baba Yaga: How Do Relationships Survive Mental Illness?

Transcript after the jump.


The Cost Of Mental Health Care for a Semi-insured 23-year-old

In retrospect, I can see that depression first struck me when I was 14: Suddenly, laying in bed doing nothing seemed vastly more appealing than doing any of the things I had loved for years—dance, skiing, even school. My high school Livejournal is filled with my confusion about my unpredictable moods, but I assumed that all teenagers were moody and that everyone felt the same as I did. It wasn’t until I got to college that I realized something might actually be wrong, and it took until I was 20 to get diagnosed as bipolar and put on medication.

I’ve been in various forms of treatment for years now: [...]


"Bedazzled by the prospect of unraveling the mysteries of psychic suffering, researchers have spent recent decades on a fool’s errand—chasing down chemical imbalances that don’t exist. And the result, as Friedman put it, is that 'it is hard to think of a single truly novel psychotropic drug that has emerged in the last thirty years.'" [The New Yorker]


Hearing Voices

A not-insignificant number of individuals who routinely hear voices find that it ain't no thing (admittedly, their voices appear mainly to provide a commentary on their day, i.e. "eating some toast, huh? it's nice out!" instead of more classically delusional/malevolent manifestations.)

Other voice-hearers who ARE troubled by their voices advocate a clinical approach which investigates why they hear what they hear, and the implications for their individual preoccupations, instead of necessarily prioritizing an end to the auditory hallucinations themselves. Some doctors worry that attitude will provide an excuse for the dangerously delusional to avoid seeking help.

So, really, is this just another flashpoint in the anti-psychiatry [...]


Medical Student Syndrome

I was once CONVINCED I had Boerhaave syndrome, an extremely rare condition where your esophagus is ruptured and acid and air spill into your chest, because my chest tickled after a small bout of coughing. I spent two hours in the dark, unable to sleep, listening to my chest with a stethoscope, and UpToDate-ing (our version of WebMD) the various ways in which I'd be dead before morning. I ran to the Emergency Room and told them I needed a stat Gastrografin Esophogram, stat as in: yesterday. The attending took one look at me and said, “Congratulations, you're a cliché! Go Home.”

—Did you know that first- and second-year medical [...]


Four Unfunny Truths About Laughter Yoga

I went to laughter yoga the other night, I guess because I live in a big city and sometimes wear stretchy pants in the street and pretty regularly force-feed myself kale.

Regular yoga is no longer the cure-all for your out-of-balance, toxins-infested mind-body; the cure-all is laughter yoga. Basically, laughter yoga is the new method for scrubbing out our dirty bodies and changing our brain chemistry and banishing sadness and stress from everyone. Forever.

The idea is that laughing is good for you (science says so, after all), and that pretending to laugh can be just as good for your health and wellbeing as actual laughing. So that’s what you [...]


Obsessed, Nervous, or Just Hungry?

I can tell you the exact moment I became a nail biter. I was 6 years old, watching my mom get dressed for work. She paused to mull something over, chewing on a nail. My reaction: "How cool! How grown-up! I think I'll try it."

I never stopped. It was embarrassing — like wearing your neuroses on your sleeve. At parties, I learned to wrap my fingers all the way around my wine glass, so that my nails faced my chest.

Amy Standen considers the recent proposal to add "pathological grooming" to the OCD section of the DSM — the manual used to diagnose mental disorders. Not considered: the relative [...]


"You’re not supposed to be mine. You were not supposed to be made."

The New York Times has a piece today on the range of mental illnesses surrounding pregnancy that can no longer quite be summed up as post-partum depression, and a few women share stories that must have been frightening to speak about, both then and now:

When Benjamin was born, six weeks premature, Ms. Guillermo recalled thinking, “You’re not supposed to be mine. You were not supposed to be made.”

She had loved breast-feeding Christopher, but pumped milk for Benjamin. “I could not stand to have him at my chest,” she said. “I was like a robot. I changed him, I fed him, I burped him. Because I never [...]


Writing, Depression and Learning How to Handle Attention: A Conversation with Allie Brosh

Hyperbole and a Half blogger Allie Brosh, who pairs her true-life stories with evocative drawings to inspire laughter and tears and sometimes both, has a book out. In it, she shares hilarious stories from childhood, recounts her recent struggle with depression, explores the search for meaningful identity, and contemplates the psyches of her two dogs. Like her blog, her book is titled Hyperbole and a Half, and like her blog, it is great. I spoke to Allie about what it's been like to find herself a role model for others suffering depression, how she feels about the internet, and what she really hopes people will notice [...]


"On Falling Apart"

Let me tell you: if you already think people are monitoring you, if you’re already worried that people are plotting against you, then being locked up against your will by people who want to monitor your thoughts feels like literally the worst thing that can ever possibly happen. It feels like all your fears are coming true.

Sady Doyle wrote a comforting — no really! — essay  for Rookie about being diagnosed with bipolar II disorder, and where you go from there.