I used to think that checking up on someone made me seem overbearing, or like someone’s worried mom. Having grown up with a mom who was constantly worried about everything and always causing me to roll my eyes at her overprotective nature, I balked at coming across that way to my peers. Then, I dealt with my own depression and anxiety in my mid-twenties. Even though I sought therapy, I hesitated for a long time to confide in anyone close to me, or give any kind of window into the fact that nothing was as “fine” as my facade indicated. I feared judgment, or worse, dismissal in the form of comments like,”Oh, just get over it.” If just one person had noticed that I wasn’t quite feeling like myself, I know I would have felt far less alone.
It’s true. Statistics show that there is absolutely certainty that someone you know, who is right around you, is struggling with anxiety or depression right now. Simply paying attention, and being supportive, goes a long way.
Why it’s SO important to check in on your friends and let them know you care
Despite the fact that most people with mental illness are never violent, news stories about violence often focus on whether a person’s mental health problem was responsible, according to a new report.
Only about 4% of interpersonal violence in the United States can be attributed to mental illness, the study authors conclude, yet close to 40% of news stories about mental illness connect it to violent behavior that harms other people. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), people with severe mental illnesses are more than 10 times more likely to be victims of violent crimes than people in the general population.
This is what stigma looks like. If society tells you that people with mental health issues are dangerous, and to be avoided, why would anyone dealing with one want to come forward and seek help?
But, read that last bit again, people with mental health issues are 10 times more likely to be a victim of violence, not a perpetrator.
Most Violent Crimes Are Wrongly Linked to Mental Illness
The media can be a great tool for increasing public awareness about sexual violence, but it can also pose challenges for some survivors. Portrayals of sexual violence in movies, television shows, the news, and social media can prompt negative reactions, from flashbacks and anxiety to feelings of sadness or irritability. Below are a few ways to help limit your exposure to media that could prompt these uncomfortable experiences.
This is a pretty good place to go for child abuse survivors to think about how we take in various media as well, especially as it possibly deals with issues of sexual and other types of child abuse.
Scientists are making headway in the search for solutions to one of the most vexing problems in mental health: How to predict who is at risk for suicide.
Researchers are hunting for so-called biomarkers, such as patterns of brain activity on fMRI scans or levels of stress hormones in the blood, linked to suicidal thoughts and acts. They are creating computer algorithms, fed with tens of thousands of pieces of data, to come up with measures of risk. They are looking at sleep patterns and even responses to specialized computer tasks that can reveal unconscious biases toward self-harm.
The need is great. The reality is that it is very hard for psychiatrists and psychologists to identify who is at risk for suicide. They rely heavily on simply asking patients.
As Instapundit is fond of saying – Faster, please.
So here I am, in my 40’s, trying to heal and put my life back together. The problem now is that I’m having a ton of emotional distress trying to process all of these factors: the abuse, the bullying, relationships, and my mother. At this point I’m just not doing a very good job of it, I fully admit it here and I’ve admitted as much to J and my trusted friend/colleague.
The progress I’ve made in those others areas seems to have stalled out and been put on the back burner. That is unbelievably frustrating since I know I have a long way to go in all of those areas to feel more healed and comfortable with where I am now and where the blame should go for those events. Yes, I still blame myself at times, but I’m getting better at not doing that.
As I read Matt’s post, I started thinking about workplace productivity. Yes, you read that right. That’s because one of the things you’ll learn very quickly is that multitasking is probably a myth. No one actually multitasks. They just bounce from one task to the next, and then back to the previous one.
Healing isn’t any different. If there’s an issue taking precedence in healing right now, other issues will, by necessity, take a back seat.
And that’s ok. As long as one area is seeing healing, you’re on the right path. It’s not a race, it’s a process, and processes are ok so long as they are continuing to get to the end result.
Healing from abuse feels like a juggling act.
Silence is a dangerous thing, just ask Chris Anderson. But even when we do talk about male sexual assault, harmful stereotypes and inaccurate myths too often cloud our understanding of the problem. It’s time to change the conversation, by debunking these misconceptions and allowing male victims the dignity of their own stories.
Even well meaning people fall victim to believing these stereotypes. We like to think of ourselves in the survivor community, for example, of being beyond that, but I can tell you as a male victim of childhood sexual abuse, there are many people in that very same community who assume things about me that aren’t true.
Go read this and consider that victims come in all shapes, sizes and types. None of which matters when it comes to the support they need.
“New data shows 40 per cent of Canadians say they’ve experienced feelings of anxiety or depression — but haven’t sought medical help.
The numbers come from a survey of more than 1,500 Canadian adults by Women’s College Hospital and Shoppers Drug Mart.
The results offer a striking look at the level of stigma and shame still surrounding mental illness with 42 per cent of respondents saying they would be embarrassed to admit if they did have a mental health issue.
“People, despite everything, see it as a sign of weakness,” said Dr. Valerie Taylor, psychiatrist-in-chief, department of medicine at Women’s College Hospital and scientist at Women’s College Research Institute.”
And this is why we have to continue talking about mental health.
None of the songs on the list were ones I listened to when I needed some motivation, but we’re they yours?
For me, being kind of a punk/alternative fan, it was much more about songs like Sometimes by Midnight Oil, or The Clash’s I’m Not Down.
What would you add?
News flash: It is never ok to rape a child.
Unfortunately this is an ongoing epidemic that happens all the time. Whenever you see headlines about teacher/student relationships, they all tend to focus on the teacher’s level of attractiveness, not on what’s really important; the fact that a child’s life has been severely changed by these teacher’s acts of sexual assault.
Do you know how much therapy some of these kids will need after this?
Christopher Anderson, Executive Director of MaleSurvivor explains, “Whenever an adult with power an authority chooses to engage a child in sexual activity it is not a fantasy, it is not “hot”, it is not a dream come true. The correct term for this is abuse. Plain and simple. Many of the male victims of these molestations are kept in silent suffering because so many people think it’s better to make jokes about teachers raping students than it is to offer survivors our support.”
Unfortunately, we have come to accept certain narratives about sex that are hard to break, or that some people benefit from so they have no desire to break. One of them, of course, is that women can’t rape males, because males, no matter the age, are always “up for it”. If a 13 year old girl is not old enough to consent, then a 13 year old boy isn’t either, and without consent, it’s rape.
Yeah, it’s that simple.
“Likened by some to the gay rights movement, with its beginnings in personal revelation, the groundswell to lift the stigma connected with mental illness has had a multiplying effect accelerated by social media. The more people who “come out” about their mental illness and are met with acceptance, the more others feel it’s safe to do the same.
Since the beginning of this year, millions have tweeted about their mental illness, many using established hashtags. For example, the campaigns #imnotashamed and #sicknotweak were tweeted 75,000 times and 139,000 times, respectively, since Jan. 1, according to an analysis from Twitter. The movement #BellLetsTalk, which began in Canada to “start breaking down the barriers associated with mental illness,” received 6.8 million tweets in January from all over the world.”
This is good, it’s so important for anyone dealing with mental health issues to know that they are not alone. But, it’s also important to understand what “coming out” may mean in terms of places where stigma still exists, including the workplace and within the family. I love when anyone feels strong enough to be honest and share their stories, but I don’t want anyone to feel pressured to do it before they are prepared to face that possibility.
It’s your health, and your story. You can choose how to tell it, or not.