I am therapy’s biggest champion. I’ve been seeing my therapist for … oh, nine years now? Dr. A is my longest term relationship, outside of my family. I credit her for helping me overcome so many of my issues, learning to forgive, and getting me through some truly heartbreaking times. And therapy isn’t just for when life feels really, really hard — when I’m feeling good, I still get just as much out of my weekly therapy sessions, as self-awareness is a never-ending journey.
Therapy, though, is still something many people raise an eyebrow at. They think it means you’re crazy, or fucked up, or suicidal. I would love to see therapy become even more normalized, rather than an extreme measure for the deeply wounded. One thing that is maybe helping (and also maybe hurting) that cause is the rise of televised therapy sessions on reality TV shows. I’m not talking about Dr. Phil — fuck him. I’m talking about both reality TV stars allowing the cameras in on their existing therapy sessions, or signing up for therapy-themed TV shows like “Celeb Rehab.” Just how legit are these therapists? What’s their approach to therapy? Would I ever hire them to shrink my head? Let’s review…
A note: There’s a lot of trigger-y, very heavy material in this particular essay, including descriptions of graphic fictional violence (in nightmares) and mentions of sexual violence. I included it to paint as clear a picture I could of what it feels like to have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. All respect given to those who wish not to read that sort of thing: You take care of yourself however you need to.
“Wild,” the film adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, came out this weekend and I know I’ll see it eventually, but it’ll probably be with a pretty heavy heart. I never read the book, either, although I read Tiny Beautiful Things and loved it.
I could just about write a eulogy for the 2014 that wasn’t. In February, I started making plans to quit my job and travel by plane, bike, train, and bus all across the United States. It didn’t work out. Right now, I was supposed to be in Florida visiting an old friend and her baby and trying not to get eaten by alligators.
That was all for the best, as long as “the best” is held to a moderate standard. I’m glad I got to spend my year with my lovely boyfriend and work on our relationship. I’m glad I got a therapist. I’m glad I got off of medications that were doing more harm than good. I’m glad I started writing and ultimately got a full-time job doing it. I’m glad I live in a nice new apartment and have a pretty good idea of what my boundaries are and how to keep myself healthy. That is a textbook definition of “a good life.” Keep reading »
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.
Keep reading »
Radar is calling it “shocking” and “bizarre” that Jaylen Fryberg’s friends and classmates miss him, that they have good things to say about him, and that they’ve built a memorial for him by the memorials for his victims at the Marysville-Pilchuck High School fence. Late last week, Fryberg shot and killed one classmate and seriously injured four others before turning the gun on himself.
By all accounts, Jaylen Fryberg was a nice kid from a good family. You don’t have to be a bad person to own or shoot a gun or feel like hurting someone, and you don’t have to be crazy. Remember when six-year-old Dedrick Owens killed a seven-year-old classmate? He said “I don’t like you” before he pulled the trigger. He did it in front of classmates. To me, casually, these situations sound remarkably similar. A fifteen-year-old — going through puberty, dealing with the stresses of adolescence, and inexperienced with dealing with a breakup — is not necessarily that much more emotionally intelligent or composed than a six-year-old. He was a kid, not a maniac. Keep reading »
Bye Felipe is an Instagram collection of Tinder creeps curated by Alexandra Tweten, an Los Angeles-based journalist inspired by her own bad experiences on Tinder. The difference between Bye Felipe (the name is inspired by the “Bye, Felicia” meme) and other blogs dedicated to exposing assholes on dating sites is the particular kind of asshole they expose: The guys who escalate and get angry reallllly fast if women reject them, don’t answer them, or simply exist, in some cases.
The Atlantic is calling this a “feminist” initiative. It pains me to think that asking men to be basically decent and polite is part of a non-mainstream political effort to erase the gender gap, because it seems like it should just be something that everyone does for the sake of doing it. But it’s women, not men, who are experiencing sexual harassment online — in dating apps less of the time and on social media more often. That gender difference means something about men’s attitudes toward sex and women, specifically that they feel entitled to sex and entitled to women. In that context, sexual rejection isn’t just a normal part of human interactions, it’s a denial of something they perceive to be rightfully theirs. Keep reading »