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 »
When I went to the MoMA, I went not knowing what exactly they had in their collection. I do that with museums — why spoil the fun of discovery? I went to the National Gallery of Art in 2012 and was preoccupied with a Sol LeWitt and a Lawrence Weiner before I rounded the corner and happened upon Tony Smith’s Die, a seminal minimalist artwork that I never dreamed of encountering in person, the kind of artwork that absolutely requires your physical presence in order to actually understand the artwork, and I was floored and overwhelmed by how lucky I felt to be in the same room as this object. Keep reading »
Oh, great, there’s a new weight loss app for kids. That’s awesome. I know I would’ve loved that when I was a kid.
You know what was the best thing about my childhood? Everything that didn’t have to do with being hyper-aware of my weight and what food I was or wasn’t “supposed” to eat. Like, seriously, everything else. I loved school, I was in community theatre, I took art classes, I played dress-up with my sister, I listened to music, my family went to museums, we road tripped, I had awesome adventures with my friends. But I was very tall, kind of stocky (genetically), and overweight on top of that. Not extremely overweight, just chubby. But it was treated like a fucking crisis, both by my parents and doctors and by my peers, who called me the Pillsbury Dough Girl, poked my stomach, and then got mad at me when I didn’t accordingly feel like going “hm-hmmm!” Keep reading »
I get behind on “Doctor Who” — being cable-less will do that to you — but this week’s episode was being widely touted as one of the best in years, so of course I had to make it a priority to watch. When “Doctor Who” is good, it’s really, really good; it is at heart a celebration of humanity, and as much as The Doctor’s companions can be cast as his accessories, he’s often also their foil, the vehicle by which they have the opportunity to express their humanness.
I’m not too cool to admit that I’ve taken life lessons from “Doctor Who” — I abide by John Green’s definition of “nerdiness” as “unironic enthusiasm about the miracle of human consciousness.” (I’m also not so pretentious that I consider my opinion on it invalid despite the fact that, no, I haven’t watched the original series, so there.) I named my blog for a quote from “The Power of Three.” I have “Allons-y!” tattooed on my leg. I think one of the show’s strengths is its zeal for adventure and discovery, not just in terms of travel to distant places, but in terms of introspection and self-discovery: see “The God Complex,” or really any regeneration. The show’s protagonist has to find out over and over who he really is. Keep reading »
Ever since I heard about Robin Williams’ devastating suicide, I’ve been thinking about this post and how I was going to write it. I’ve thought about it as I was drifting off to sleep. What did I want to say? How did I want to say it? Would it come out right? Would I even know what to say? What sorts of emotions would this stir?
The word suicide is even like a black hole of sorts. It’s expansive, never-ending and dark, and no matter how much you talk about it, there’s always more than can be said. Always. I wish I could say that you can’t relate, but unfortunately, I know far too many of you can. Maybe you’re even grappling with what to say and trying to find the words to comfort a family member, a friend and even yourself. It’s been 11 years since my father’s suicide, and I still fumble to find the right words every single day. So today, I will write them. Not just for my father. Not just for Robin Williams. But for me and for you — and for the millions that live with the effect of suicide every day. In my darkest days of grief, these are the five things I’ve learned about suicide… Keep reading »
“‘Man goes to doctor. Says he’s depressed. Says life is harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world. Doctor says, “Treatment is simple. The great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go see him. That should pick you up.” Man bursts into tears. Says, “But doctor… I am Pagliacci.” — ‘Watchmen’ excerpt via Patton Oswalt
I want to talk frankly about how to support people who are suicidal, from the position of someone who has been suicidal at times herself in her teenage and adult life. It can be incredibly difficult to be a support person for someone struggling with these issues, and I get asked a lot what to say or what to do. I’d also like to create a basic support guide for someone with daily mental health issues like depression or anxiety, but that’s another post (and there’s some resources out there).
I’m someone who has often been told that I’m just so strong and so many people look up to me and I shouldn’t ever consider suicide because people need me, etc. etc. etc. I know it’s all meant well, but it makes me feel like an animal in a cage, unable to express how I feel because I’m constrained by other people’s opinions of me and my own reputation. It’s not healthy for me, or for anyone. It’s ok to break down sometimes. It’s ok to reach the end of your rope.
And we need a community to help prevent this from happening over and over again. Keep reading »