How does one advertise a product aimed at bowel evacuation? It is difficult to go wrong with unicorns, but you don’t want to stray too far from your central message. The people behind the Squatty Potty decided to hearken back to the centuries-old urban legend about soft-serve ice cream actually being the poop of enchanted unicorns. (You might just want to stop reading here.) Continue reading
Republicans are having to face a reality in which HIV is no longer just affecting gay people and drug users in big cities, and it’s exposing some uncomfortable realities that were already glaringly obvious, but which people still like to pretend don’t exist.
It wasn’t supposed to happen here. Not in Austin, a one-doctor-and-an-ice-cream-shop town of 4,200 in southeastern Indiana, nestled off Interstate 65 on the road from Indianapolis to Louisville, where dusty storefronts sit vacant and many residents, lacking cars, walk to the local market. Not in rural, impoverished Scott County, which had reported fewer than five new cases of HIV infection each year, and just three cases in the past six years. Not in a state where, of the 500 new cases reported annually, only 3 percent are linked to injection drug use.
But it did. And it could happen in many more backwoods towns just as unprepared as Austin.
As the largest HIV/AIDS outbreak in Indiana’s history roils this Hoosier hamlet, it reflects the changing face of the epidemic in the U.S., as a disease that once primarily afflicted gays and minorities in deep-blue cities rises in rural red states. This new evolution of HIV is also forcing a new generation of Republican policymakers to confront its orthodox opposition to remedies such as government-funded needle-exchange programs.
I’m hung up on that first sentence, “It wasn’t supposed to happen here.”
I can’t tell if the author of this article is using this sentence with any sense of irony at all. Continue reading
The hashtag #ADDcheckin has been active on Twitter since yesterday, when Elon James White started it so people could share their experiences. There’s some great stuff there, but I absolutely have to share this one:
One useful definition of ADD for me is "an inability to accurately conceptualize time." #ADDcheckin
— Brienne of Snarth (@femme_esq) April 2, 2015
I use time-tracking software just so that I’ll know how long I spend on specific tasks. Sometimes it helps me manage my time well, but mostly it just lets me document how long seemingly simple tasks can take me.
To put it another way, as I said to someone just yesterday, “We’ve probably been talking for 10 minutes or so, but if you told me it’s been an hour, I’d believe you.”
Here are a few other resources I’ve picked up today from people tweeting the hashtag: Continue reading
“Depression” seems to signify social ills for which we have no solution, from violent, homicidal behavior, to health illiteracy, to our culture’s neglect of the elderly. Constructing societal deficits as a medical problem does everyone a disservice—because treatment specific for depression won’t work for people who don’t really have depression. People who need social support can be expected to benefit most from programs that provide social support—not from psychiatrists.
Chronic anxiety is miserable. There’s the waiting: will I panic? when? will it be as bad as last time? will I be safe? can I get out? It is often co-morbid with depression: I can’t do this forever, I just want it to stop, I want to be normal, I want to stop worrying, maybe I should just drive into the ocean. It seems relentless. Years of relentless, agonising fear.
We’re chronic anxiety people. Our anxiety has been treated and it hasn’t gone away. Sometimes it bores the people around us. It definitely bores us. God, it’s boring. So we push forward in spite of our very boring fear. We climb out of bed every (OK, most) days and we exist in the world inside a fog, and some days the fog is light and it blows away for a while, and some days the fog is thick and it rolls in around us and we suffocate.
People don’t make ad campaigns for us. Our anxiety is not so easily classified. Our symptoms aren’t always identifiable. When I’m at my most anxious, I look right into the face of the man I love and I can’t remember who he is. How do you put that in a mood-lit commercial? I am insane, I am crazy, I am the only one who feels this way.
I’m not. I’m just a person with an anxiety disorder. There are millions of us, out there in the world. We carry our anxiety with us like a colostomy bag, filling it with fear, emptying it into the quiet corners where we sit and we breathe. Sometimes, we find pockets of peace.
I will die, I will die.
But not from this.
– Anna Spargo-Ryan, “I exist in a fog. Some days it blows away, but some days it’s heavy and suffocating” (h/t Marc)
Depression is a Drug, Matt Coateson, Elephant Journal, February 16, 2015
Depression is like being addicted to the state of drug withdrawal. Any addict who knows that feeling of being incomplete, agitated, guilty and miserable knows what it is to be depressed. They believe they can, and often do, find temporary respite from this feeling by attaining and using their drug of choice—only for it to run out and they have to go through the cycle all over again.
Depression sufferers do not have the respite. They may not have the physical withdrawal and discomforts of the drug addict (although psychosomatic symptoms can be severe for those who make them so), but they also very rarely, if ever, find respite from the mental issues. When I did have a good day, as a depressee (I’ve also decided that that’s also a real thing), I used that as an excuse to make myself feel worse.
What right do I have to have a good day, to feel okay? Here I am, feeling miserable, feeling suicidal, making people worry about me, hating myself and I have the audacity to have a moment where I feel okay. I must be a terrible person, to feel good briefly, when I claim to be depressed. What scum I am, to claim I’m incapacitated by a mental illness and then smile today?
Blame the Muslims: how government and media stoke the fires of Islamophobia, Lindsey German, The Age of Blasphemy, February 12, 2015
Why are the approaches to different groups of terrorists so different? Part of the reason is racism: Muslims are portrayed as fanatics and extremists, caught in a clash of civilisations where the good guys are representatives of western civilisation while the bad guys are identified with backwardness, superstition and barbarity.
This dichotomy conveniently ignores western lack of civilisation, whether through two world wars and a holocaust or through the creation of empires which ruled over whole peoples – many of them the same who are being demonised here. It also ignores the record of Muslim culture historically.
There is one overwhelming reason why this happens however: the wars themselves. There is a refusal to link terrorism with the wars which have taken place over a decade and a half, and a refusal to see that one of their outcomes is a rise in Islamophobia.
There is a hideous symmetry in this: as the wars involving Britain and the US have become more mired in failure, so civil liberties have come under greater attack and the rise in Islamophobia has become more pronounced.
“The bills! The bills!”: A Japanese woman’s experience giving birth in the United States, Fran Wrigley, Rocket News 24, February 13, 2015 Continue reading