Anxiety and Depression as Evolutionary Response to Adversity

Anxiety and Depression as Evolutionary Response to Adversity

We evolved to feel depression and anxiety in response to difficult experiences because it serves a purpose. We’ve also evolved to depend on each other as a community. One without the other is going to go poorly for us, and I fear that is exactly where we are now. The large increases in rates of depression and anxiety, not to mention what seems like our complete inability to make a dent in the rates of suicide in the US, might just be because of this imbalance.

So be good to each other, and stay connected to each other. It’s what we need most in times of adversity.

When Trauma Response are Helpful – And When They Aren’t.

When Trauma Response are Helpful – And When They Aren’t.

In the big picture, the thing I know that I need to do is to be aware of when I’m in that mode and act accordingly. There can be some great benefits to hypervigilance and there can be some real downsides. If I’m aware of it, I can scan the environment as necessary without ignoring other important, but not dangerous, bits of information, and watch out for my own overreactions. I can consciously use the skill that I learned as a trauma survivor for my own good without it wrecking my day-to-day life or causing more anxiety.

It’s a tricky line to walk, and I’ll be the first to admit I don’t always do it so well.

Are We Past Stigmatizing Mental Health Issues?

Are We Past Stigmatizing Mental Health Issues?

Nothing tells me that we still have a long way to go when it comes to stigma like learning about a clearly distressed young man getting killed on a subway while other passengers sat and watched. Because his situation was uncomfortable. His manic behavior made them uncomfortable and all of the compassion for other people who struggle with mental health issues went right out the window in this case. This wasn’t a well-put-together person speaking calmly, this was very different. The same core issue – mental health – but different results. One group is acceptable. The other not so much.

That’s stigma.

There’s a New Form of Stigma Around Mental Health and It’s Extremely Dangerous

There’s a New Form of Stigma Around Mental Health and It’s Extremely Dangerous

If you can’t read that, or Twitter starts blocking embeds again – at the mention of a pediatric psychiatric hospital Rep. Cox said “You might want to check that place for grooming”.

Yes, the very mention of providing mental health care for children is met with a suggestion that it is a place for grooming. Because, of course, anyone who encourages kids to talk about their mental health is out to groom them for sexual abuse.

This is a dangerous path that we are on.

Florida Sends the Wrong Message when Allowing for the Death Penalty in Child Abuse Cases

Florida Sends the Wrong Message when Allowing for the Death Penalty in Child Abuse Cases

I get it. Punishing child abusers is an easy public opinion win. No one wants to punish abusers less. As survivors, though, we must balance that with what is best for the child. Testifying in a child abuse trial is a traumatic experience as it is. We shouldn’t be asking kids to take responsibility for taking the life of their abuser on top of that or spend the rest of their lives knowing that someone died because they spoke up. Nor should we be arming abusers with another way to manipulate kids into staying silent.

We should focus on what is best for a survivor’s healing so they can have a life after abuse because that is possible.

Heal Without Judging How Others Heal

Heal Without Judging How Others Heal

The same can be said for inpatient treatment, therapy, exercise, gardening, micro-dosing, meditation, religion, etc. There are so many things that have worked for some people in healing. The list could get long, but no matter how many items we add, one thing will be true for every item. They all worked for some of the people some of the time and never for everyone all of the time.

Healing is hard. Those who are trying to heal from trauma deserve our respect and encouragement. They don’t need a ton of judgment about how they are healing. Stop making it harder with your judgment.