Explaining ADD Meds

I made a Storify about Elon James White‘s excellent explanation of ADD meds: Continue reading


ADD Check-in

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:

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 vs. “Depression”


“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.

– Anne Skomorowsky, “Don’t Blame It on Depression: That’s not what made the Germanwings co-pilot murder 149 people.”


Not Alone


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)


What I’m Reading, February 25, 2015

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?

The Deadliest Prescription Drug in America? Christopher Byron, AlterNet, February 9, 2015 Continue reading


What I’m Reading, January 30, 2015

Enough Is Never Enough with Blaming Anti-Vaxxers, Science Babe, January 24, 2015

Let’s get one thing straight; if a blogger with zero medical credentials tries to claim that they have more accurate science than the vast majority of the scientific and medical establishment, they are, on every level, wrong. I promise you, somebody who got their degree at Google University and has a waiver on their website that says “my advice isn’t designed to treat anything” has nothing to lose by giving you terrible advice. A real doctor’s advice doesn’t come with an asterisk. They will give you advice that’s grounded in real science.

Friend in Need: The tragedy of my friend’s life and death is that he lived in a society that left him to deal with it alone, Saul Elbein, Texas Observer, January 21, 2015 Continue reading


Fear Leads to Anger; Anger Leads to Marmots

A friend posted this bit of wisdom to Facebook the other day:

'Angry is just sad's bodyguard.' Liza Palmer

Via Mentors Channel / Facebook

While I like the sentiment, I don’t think it tells the entire story. Anger and sadness are linked, most certainly, but anger is also a byproduct of fear. That’s the sort of anger that is most dangerous. Even Yoda agrees with me. Actually, I probably stole the idea from him.

I thought I’d expound a bit, in the form of a meme and a Big Lebowski reference: Continue reading


He Sees You When You’re Sleeping…..

Have some utterly inappropriate Christmas humor (h/t Lynn), as well as a very happy winter-holiday-of-your-choice.

Christmas Carols for the Psychiatrically Challenged

  • SCHIZOPHRENIA: Do You Hear What I Hear?
  • MULTIPLE PERSONALITY DISORDER: We Three Kings Disoriented Are
  • DEMENTIA: I Think I’ll Be Home For Christmas
  • NARCISSISTIC: Hark, the Herald Angels Sing About Me
  • MANIC: Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Busses and Trucks and Trees and Fire Hydrants and . . .
  • PARANOID: Santa Claus Is Coming To Get Me
  • PERSONALITY DISORDER: You Better Watch Out, I’m Gonna Cry, I’m Gonna Pout, Maybe I’ll Tell You Why
  • DEPRESSION: Silent Anhedonia, Holy Anhedonia, All Is Flat, All is Lonely
  • OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER: Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, …
    (better start again)
  • PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE PERSONALITY: On The First Day of Christmas My True Love Gave To Me (and then took it all away)
  • BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER: Thoughts of Roasting on an Open Fire.

What I’m Reading, December 15, 2014

Comfort Food: No one brings dinner when your daughter is an addict. Larry M. Lake, Slate, November 8, 2013

Friends talk about cancer and other physical maladies more easily than about psychological afflictions. Breasts might draw blushes, but brains are unmentionable. These questions are rarely heard: “How’s your depression these days?” “What improvements do you notice now that you have treatment for your ADD?” “Do you find your manic episodes are less intense now that you are on medication?” “What does depression feel like?” “Is the counseling helpful?” A much smaller circle of friends than those who’d fed us during cancer now asked guarded questions. No one ever showed up at our door with a meal.

Stephen Colbert schooled Fox News hard: Comedy, Bill O’Reilly and the exposure of right-wing patriotism lies, Sophia A. McClennen, Salon, December 12, 2014 Continue reading


“I am not my mental illness.”


Since writing (or being featured in) a number of pieces recently about mental health this week…I’ve had a number of commenters asking why I’m choosing to “air my dirty laundry.” Why, they wonder, do I want to share such personal information on the internet? Don’t I value my privacy? Or am I just hungry for attention?

What these commenters are really asking is: why do you talk about things as shameful and embarrassing as depression, anxiety and suicide?

What these commenters are really saying is: the things that you have written here has made me uncomfortable, although I can’t quite articulate why.

What these commenters are really wondering is: how can she be mentally ill and look so normal – what separates her from me?

The answer to that last question is: nothing. Nothing separates me from you.


Of course mental illness affects how I live my life, but I am not my mental illness. Living with depression and anxiety certainly presents its own unique challenges, but those challenges don’t define who I am…As much as I’ve had moments of vicious anguish and misery, I’ve also had too many wonderful experiences to count. I’ve felt so much joy that my weepy little heart could burst. Living with depression doesn’t mean that I never feel the good things. I do. Even if they’re not what I usually write about, I really do.

If I were given the chance to go back and, knowing everything that I know now, decide whether or not I should be born, I would choose to be alive every damn time.

Anne Thériault, “Airing My Dirty Laundry,” The Belle Jar.

See also “#notmymentalillness.”