Mental Health Stigma

Even people with the best of intentions have a tendency to stigmatizing mental health.  Those of us dealing with mental health issues can include ourselves in that group of people with the best of intentions.  The linked article discusses how easy it is to try to categorize those people as good people and bad people, but that’s not always the case.

While there’s certain amount gallows humor that comes with dealing with our own mental health, sometimes our judgment of ourselves can be overly harsh.  Depression lies.  Anxiety lies.  OCD lies.  Mental health issues say we are less than what we really are.  The truth is the mental health diagnoses don’t identify us, they only identify a condition that we can treat and overcome.

Clipart stolen from Clipartmax

To Medicate Or Not To Medicate

Crossed paths with an article today discussing treating depression, anxiety, and  insomnia without prescription drugs.  Red flags immediately went up when i saw the headline and initially read the article.  Those of us who suffer from issues such as depression, anxiety, and OCD, also often find insomnia being a symptom and a related issue.  We also find ourselves subject to many suggestions and much advice to avoid medications, because of side-effects and bad information about mental health medications.

However, the article does contain this statement, “Experts said a good practice would be to discuss alternative treatments with a physician. It might also be helpful to consider complementary medicine, which is utilizing alternative treatments along with standard medicine.”  The author of the article does responsibly acknowledge that sometimes medication is required to treat mental health issues and offers what they term as “complimentary medication”, the concept of using alternative solutions along side medical solutions.

Clipart stolen from Clipartmax.

Diet and Exercise to Treat (Not Cure) Depression

Seeing several links today to stories discussing a study linking exercise and an increase of physical activity to a decrease in feeling depressed.  Responsibly, the reports of this study emphasize that they see a decrease in symptoms, not an elimination of depression.

On a similar vein, I saw a couple of links connecting the Mediterranean diet to improvements of depression symptoms.  Again, the information discussed decreases, not eliminations.

Now, on to idiots sciencing.   News is coming out of Washington state that declared a state of emergency because of 31 cases of measles reported in the state.  Once again, anti-vaxxers spreading bad information and bad science about vaccines led to more people declining those vaccines and putting the greater populace at risk.

The problem here is the anti-vaxxer crowd does this based on not just junk science, but also junk math.  In logical fallacies and statistics, there is a concept known as “Correlation does not imply causation”.  The important thing to keep in mind is just because two sets of numbers may appear to be linked, in this case, the increase in number of autistic children and the increase in vaccines, are not necessarily linked.  As many who work with special education note, the increase in the number of autistic children is because of better diagnoses and not because of an increase in causes.

Clipart stolen from Clipartmax.

 

Sometimes the Smartest Person in the Room is also the Dumbest

There was a time when I believed there’s no way actual scientists would behave like the scientists I saw when watching movies like Jurassic Park and Prometheus.  Then, I met actual scientists in school and through the military. It didn’t take long to realize real scientists were definitely the kind of people to drink their own mystery concoctions or create a virus that turns everyone into zombies.

While one of the primary focuses of this blog is depression, and that will remain so, this week was a relatively good week for depression.  For me personally and as far asadvice from well-intentioned idiots.  However, that’s not always the case for me or anyone else.  So, with that in mind, here’s a few helpfull numbers.

 
From an idiot sciencing perspective, this was a pretty good week for stories.

First up, it was revealed that during the Cold War, in the 1960s, the U.S. Air Force pursued a plan to stop the rotation of the earth in the event of a Soviet missile launch.  A guy even wrote a book about it.  The idea was to stop the rotation of the earth so the missiles would fly right past the U.S. and fall somewhere else, I’m guessing the ocan, but the article wasn’t clear beyond the desired effect of missing the U.S.

The second item I offer for your enjoyment is a few articles came out this week making the claim that in July 2018 Russian scientists thawed out and revived two worms they found in the Artic permafrost, one from 32,000 years ago and the other from 41,000 years ago.  Oh Those Russians.  I’ve read the book and seen the movie.  You’ve read the book and seen the movie.  Apparently, no one in Russia has read the book or seen the movie, because they thought this was a good idea.  So far, no zombie apocalypses, but then again, it’s only been about 6 months.

The third item comes from the newly-elected Congresswoman from New York.  She stated, “The world is gonna end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.”  So, there you have it, straight from the mouth of the newest political messiah, we’ve only got 12 years left.  So maybe that Texas preacher wasn’t wrong about Blood Moon signaling the End Times, maybe he just got his count of them wrong.

For this last item, let me clarify my political views.  I worked for the government for approximately 15 years, so, of course, I trust very little of what they do and say.  Politically, I would describe myself as something between a JFK liberal and libertarian, meaning I don’t fit into anyone’s current political boxes.  Lastly, when it comes to politics, I view myself as a humorist first.  It doesn’t matter which side makes the claim, irresponsible statements should be pointed out so that we can all laugh at them together.

Name Inspiration

The inspiration for the new and improved name of this blog comes from an article that showed up in my Facebook feed.  The article’s headline promised “Never Feel Depressed or Anxious Again“.

Being a depression and anxiety sufferer myself, I was instantly intrigued in the possibility for a cure.  Being a skeptic, I couldn’t wait to see what new advice was offered.

The link clicked and I waited to see what new wisdom would be given.  The article went on to outline 11 things one could do eliminate depression and anxiety.  Disappointment set in as I read the usual list of useless cures.  However, my curiosity peaked, I set about to discover the qualifications of the science and medical genius behind this advise and lo and behold I discovered the author was fully qualified to be a musician, yogi, humanitarian and freelance writer.

I know what you’re thinking.  Yes, I am a freelance writer too.  However, I recognize my limits and do not offer anything on this blog as medical treatment or scientific discovery.

Things were said, comments exchanged with other readers, and a new inspiration to blog was born.

My biggest fear with purveyors of bad advice regarding depression and anxiety is that such advice will lead to delays in seeking, or even the non seeking of, real professional help.  For those with depression and anxiety that delay could even be deadly.

The problem as I see it is depression is like alcoholism or addiction.  Wait, let me explain.  (I felt a disturbance in the force, as if millions cried out in anger.)

When I relate depression and anxiety to alcohol and addiction, I’m not saying we all belong in AA or NA meetings or in institutions.  However, like these other forms of mental disease/chemical imbalances, there is no cure, only treatment.

One of the greatest misnomers of depression is that you take your meds and you’re depression goes away.  But, every depressive experiences depression differently.  The meds prescription that works for you comes about through trial and error by your psychiatrist and you.  The reality is that for some, antidepressants work the same as some other medications and vaccines.  It doesn’t eliminate the problem and it isn’t meant to; yet, it does lessen the impact when a dark period comes in.

I began my journey with depression years ago.  I remember first seeking help around eighteen years ago or so.  However, due to bad advice and job-related fears, I stopped pursuing the help I needed.  Instead, I struggled with my depression until a few years ago.

My one piece of advice if you’re experiencing depression or anxiety is don’t wait, get help.  It does make a difference.

Clipart stolen from Clipartmax.

Welcome to the Reboot

It’s been a while since this got an update.  I’m in the process of reworking things here, so bear with me.

A few weeks ago, I experienced a series of three references to my personal blogging.  I began to consider what I wanted to do here.  Then, about a week ago, I encountered a blog post dispensing bad medical and science advice for persons with depression and anxiety.  At that point, I saw the way forward for this blog.  Thus the name.

I know, I know.  Another blog about depression and anxiety?  Yes and no.

First a little about myself.  I am a freelance writer and military veteran living in the St Louis area.  I also suffer from a major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety, and OCD.  Yes, there are a lot of blogs covering depression and axiety.  (Links to some of my personal gotos will be added soon.)  However, I haven’t see (m)any covering those from the perspective of a military veteran.

Sure, there are PTSD blogs out there, but this one isn’t PTSD related.  A few news reports of terrorist attacks near me, witnessing 9/11 live through radio news, and sirens going off in Saudi Arabia and South Korea aren’t really the kinds of experiences that result in PTSD.  I don’t have it, and will only discuss it where relevant to other things.

However, not having PSTD doesn’t  make one immune to depression and anxiety, nor does it mean an easy transition from the world of the military to the world of the civilian.

One of my goals here is to serve as a source of help for others who may share similar experiences and let them know they’re not alone.  Another goal of mine is to point out (and usually mock) bad advice, whatever forms it may take (but especially in the realm of medicine, science, and politics).

This will be a story of my experiences and my journey.  You may have similar experiences, but these are mine.

Clipart stolen from Clipartmax.