“I wanted to share that side of my story, because I know there are so many other people out there that have gone through things like that, and you always feel like you’re the only one going through that. You walk out the door, and you see someone you know, and they ask you how you are, and you just have to say you’re fine when you’re not really fine, but you just can’t get into it, because they would never understand. Well, then comes along a song that speaks to you, that makes you feel like ‘Gosh, I can get through this if she can get through this, I can get through this.’”
Katy Perry got real about the lyrics to her song “By the Grace of God” in an Australian TV appearance. The lyrics allude to contemplating suicide, and Perry confirmed that she really did experience those feelings. After her divorce from Russell Brand she struggled with depression, and I love her reasoning for being open about that in her music. At our lowest moments in life, it’s so easy to feel like we’re completely isolated. I’m so glad Perry uses her platform to remind others that they aren’t alone. Music can be a life changer when we need it most. [Refinery 29]
There’s a new app out called Samaritans Radar, offered by UK mental health charity Samaritans, that allows users to sign up to have their friends’ Twitter accounts monitored for words and phrases like “suicide,” “tired of being alone,” “hate myself, “depressed,” and “help me.” The app then sends the user a notification so that they can respond to their friend.
It’s a really, really nice idea at heart. But it’s flawed, and people are speaking out about it. The basic problem is this, as this blogger who has Lupus and deals with mental health issues points out:
You might also be thinking “What’s the big deal; they’d see your Tweets if they follow you anyway.” It’s the idea of being monitored by strangers for what they perceive as signs of suicidal ideation, who are then prompted by an app on what steps to take.
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Lucca is a little bit jealous of my loom.
I can’t even start to explain why I love weaving so much without first explaining, as best I can, what it feels like to have an ADD brain. While I think I would still love weaving even if I didn’t have attention deficit disorder, its therapeutic and meditative qualities have been a life changer.
I don’t really know what other people’s brains are like, but mine has about 7-10 actual trains of thought going through it at once, and those trains of thought are speed bumping over other smaller thought distractions which appear and then vanish just as quickly as they arrive. Of those 7-10 actual thought strands, only a few of them are actually clear and followable; it’s like my brain is thinking about more than I could possibly keep up with, so the goal is to try really, really hard to focus on just one or two of those things running through my brain, letting the others reduce to a murmur in the background. The popcorn thoughts appear out of nowhere and can throw me off — “MY IM IS GOING OFF,” “OOH CUTE SHOES,” “SQUIRREL!” — and suddenly I’m like, “Ack, what was I thinking about? The layout of my new apartment and where to put all of my furniture? No, no, no, wrong one, Amelia, don’t follow that train of thought now, that’s for later. You were thinking about how to write this essay about your ADD — oh Christ another blinking IM, better click it!” Keep reading »
Oh thank goodness, someone finally says that mindfulness practice isn’t for everyone. Neuroscientist Catherine Kerr studies the effects of mindfulness practice on the brain, and is a practitioner herself, but denies that it is the emotional and scientific wonderdrug it’s been made out to be.
Kerr was an author on a 2005 paper that claimed, tentatively, that mindfulness meditation — basically, focusing one’s attention on the feelings, sensations and emotions in the present moment — increases the thickness of the cerebral cortex, which many news outlets jumped on as proof that meditation is absolutely an effective treatment for stress and depression for everyone. Kerr is much more reserved: There’s evidence that meditation is beneficial to brain function, but not enough to paint it in the unfalteringly positive light that some have done. Keep reading »
I’ve had anxiety and depression for years, long before I started therapy and began taking medication under the advisement of a psychiatrist. I look back at my teenage and college years and see glaring signs that I was unhappy but didn’t know how to put it into words that anyone, including myself, could understand. Mental illness runs in my family, the most notable example being my dad, who died nearly two years ago from drug addiction, something that developed as a “coping” mechanism for his untreated mental health issues, if you ask me. I’ve taken my mental health very seriously as a result, as I’ve seen far too tragically what can happen if you don’t. I’ve been seeing the same bad ass therapist for eight years now and my prescription for Lexapro, an anxiety-focused anti-depressant, has helped clear the fog so that I can delve deep into the exacerbating issues. I think I’ve made an extraordinary amount of progress in that regard, though I’ve come to accept that a dull, ever-present level of sadness might always reside within me. In some ways, I’ve been oddly okay with that. As an extremely sensitive person, I don’t know that it would be physically/mentally possible for me to exist in this world, with all its terribleness, and feel completely happy. To me, the pursuit of total happiness is a blind one — to actually achieve it, you’d have to be just that. Blind.
With that said, I know enough about my brain chemistry to be aware of when I’m feeling an unhappiness that is outside the realm of what I consider normal. And for the last, oh, eight months to a year, it has become increasingly abnormal. Keep reading »
The results of a UK study on depression and exercise show that it’s possible that exercise is as effective for treating depression as therapy or medication. The researchers caution, of course, that better studies need to be done to come to a conclusion.
But cool! Maybe that’s one of the reasons we get depressed in the winter (I was not going to the gym during the Endless Winter this year, that’s for damn sure). Medical News Today goes on to review the chemical reasons that exercise helps with depression: It increases our levels of a protein called PCG-1a1 that purges substances from the body that are harmful to our mental health, and also helps our enzymes to speed up the conversion of a stress-linked metabolite called kynurenine into kynurenic acid. Keep reading »