How To Keep Your Breakup From Making You Literally Sick

One from a female reader!

The first time I ever smoked a cigarette was the night my fiancé broke up with me over the phone. After he told me he didn’t love me anymore and that I could keep my engagement ring, I hung up, went into the kitchen, and grabbed a cigarette from an open pack that belonged to my dad. I didn’t think twice — I just needed to burn something.

The end of that relationship was so sudden and unexpected that I didn’t know how to process it. So, I smoked cigarettes and started drinking alcohol excessively. Hanging out in bars and getting wasted had never appealed to me, but I had just turned 21, so I figured, why not? For a few brief hours every Friday and Saturday night, three or four Long Island iced teas could help me forget how devastated I felt the rest of the week.

“Breakups are painful — literally,” says Rosie Shrout, a postdoctoral researcher at Ohio State University who studies the intersection between health and romantic relationships. “Just like any other stressful experience, breakups can cause a psychological and physiological stress response, meaning our bodies produce stress hormones that wear and tear on our mental and physical health.”

Too often, we turn to behaviors that affect our physical health — such as binge drinking, smoking, using drugs, or exercising too much — to help cope with the aftermath of a relationship ending. We may view these behaviors as a way to get back at our ex, or we may turn to them because our inhibitions are lowered or our self-esteem has been damaged, Shrout says.

That was Penny’s* experience. The 31-year-old says she started drinking heavily, getting high, and hooking up with people who didn’t make her happy after she discovered her boyfriend had cheated on her. “Drinking and getting high numbed me, and sleeping around gave me validation,” she says.

Shrout says that while these types of responses are not uncommon, they’re also not great coping strategies. You might feel better in the moment, but these behaviors “don’t treat the emotional distress from the breakup and can even contribute to long-term health problems.”

Research shows that romantic relationships play a role in a person’s overall health — and not always for the better. One study found that people who said their closest relationships (including those involving an S.O.) were filled with conflict had a 34% higher risk of developing heart problems, even after adjusting for things like age and overall health. Another study found that people who were married and unhappy had higher blood pressure than those who were single. Researchers have also found that women who’ve dealt with multiple breakups have worse mental health than women who’ve managed to avoid heartache by staying single or sticking with their very first romantic partner.

But let’s be real: The chances of that happening in 2019 are pretty slim. We will all likely experience a bad breakup at some point. Knowing that, here are a few ways to stay healthy during those tough times.

Unfollow your ex.

To preserve your well-being, Joy Harden Bradford, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist in Georgia, recommends disconnecting from your former partner on social media — at least for now. “A lot of times when we’re trying to stay connected with the ex, we’re trying to answer questions that social media will not give us the full answers to,” she says. “We’re trying to see if they’re hurting as much as we’re hurting or if there’s somebody new that they’re dating.”

This can create more emotional distress than forcing yourself to let go. And, as Bradford explains, that distress can manifest in physical symptoms, such as headaches, stomachaches, random pain or tension. Thanks, but no thanks.

Stay active.

Working out might be the last thing you want to do after getting dumped, but exercise has been proven to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety and increase self-esteem. “It doesn’t have to be full-blown Orange Theory every day,” Bradford says. Even a walk around campus or a few yoga poses while you binge on “Stranger Things” can be beneficial. The endorphins you get from exercise can help stabilize your mood — and yes, that’s true even when you’re convinced you’d rather spend the next six hours with your face in a tub of popcorn.

Get nutrition.

It’s not uncommon to lose your appetite post-breakup, especially if you’re really sad. The stress of a broken heart can unleash a swell of hormones and put your body in survival mode. As a result, the urge to eat becomes secondary — even a plate of authentic savory tacos from your favorite Mexican restaurant can look unappetizing. (The horror!) If that’s the case, Bradford recommends a smoothie or meal replacement shake. “Sometimes it can feel really hard to eat,” she says. “I typically will recommend people drink because that’s a little easier.”

Find a voice box.

Showing up to a party without your ex will likely raise questions, especially if you’ve been joined at the hip since day one. If it hurts too much to talk about the breakup, ask someone you trust to give people the heads up on why you’re riding solo. “When you are telling the story over and over again, sometimes you get stuck there,” Bradford says. “You can’t move on to the healing place if you are stuck in the reporting place.” Ask a friend to simply tell it like it is so everyone can move on: “Yes, they broke up, and no she doesn’t want to talk about it. How was your week?”

Allow yourself to feel all the feelings.

Everyone deals with painful events differently. Avoidance, however, is not an effective coping mechanism. “Those feelings don’t go away because we’re distracting ourselves,” says Bradford. “[It’s important to] really allow yourself to sit in the depth of those feelings, even though it sounds really miserable. There is no way for them to go away unless you actually allow yourself to experience them and then come to realize you can come out on the other side of this.”

 

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5 Tips For Better Post-Sex Hygiene

Post-sex clean ups help prevent infections and STIs. Here are five tips that can help you stay healthy.

There are two kinds of people: those who don’t stress out about cleaning up after sex and those who do. According to experts, the correct approach is a healthy mix of these two behaviors.

Clean up varies depending on a lot of factors. Whether your partner was male or female, if there was a partner in the first place, whether you used a sex toy, etc. — no matter the variables you should at least do the bare minimum of clean up after each encounter to prevent infections..

Here are five simple tips that can help your private parts stay healthy.

Empty your bladder

The main thing you should do after having sex is to empty your bladder. This is very important for women since their urethra and bladder are located closely together and penetrative sex facilitates the entrance of bacteria. No matter if your partner is very clean, is wearing a condom or using a sex toy, any addition into the vagina alters its ecosystem and makes it more likely to develop infections.

Keep your cleaning simple

Forget about douches, perfumes and special soaps. Don’t do that. Plenty of studies and doctors have said that applying these products is bad for you, especially if you have a vagina and decide to alter its delicately balanced interior world. Douches and extreme soaps get rid of the healthy bacteria in your vagina, creating more possibilities for infections and irritation.

After you have sex, clean the outside area of your penis or vagina with warm water and, if you want, some mild soap. You don’t have to jump out of bed the minute you’re done, just clean yourself up at some point early on. Who wants to sleep or put on clothes when feeling all sticky anyway?

sex relationship
Photo by HOP DESIGN via Unsplash.

Have a glass of water

You’re going to want to pee after having sex in order to get rid of some bacteria, so drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.

Wear loose fitting clothes

Bacteria thrives in hot tight places, so don’t hop inside your tightest jeans after having sex. Wear underwear and pants that fit you loosely, allowing air in, or don’t wear anything at all.

CBD Is Changing Sexual Health And Wellness
Photo by KatarzynaBialasiewicz/Getty Images

Clean your sex toys

Bacteria and all sorts of viruses can stick to your sex toys after you’re done using them. Be careful and clean your toys after each use, reading through their instructions. Sex toys are some of the easiest objects to ruin by cleaning them up incorrectly or by using the wrong kind of lubricant.

 

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What It’s Really Like to Be Sober Curious: When an Alcohol “Break” Becomes Permanent

In the spring of 2018, 42-year-old Kim Banks found herself in a lonely place. Struggles with anxiety and depression interfered with life as a wife, mother of 5-year-old twin boys, and her work in public relations. Despite self-improvements like daily exercise, healthy eating, and good sleep habits, Banks wasn’t happy.

“I was feeling lots of anxiety and depression, along with irritability, even though I was trying to do all the right things,” she says.

In the back of her mind, Banks describes a nagging thought, “Give up the alcohol.”

“I was in a constant, daily argument with myself,” she says. At the root of was the question: “Should I drink tonight?”

Photo credit: Instagram/@kimbanks_reset
Photo credit: Instagram/@kimbanks_reset
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Banks ended each workday with a few glasses of wine. On weekend nights out with her husband, she describes “going a little hard,” and leaving a wave of bad feelings for the next day.

“I knew I needed to eliminate alcohol, but it was the last thing I wanted to eliminate,” she says. “I really enjoyed wine, and I definitely bought into the idea alcohol enhances experiences,” she continues. “Tell me to give anything else up but the wine.”

Initially, Banks describes a curiosity around “taking a 30-day-break” from alcohol. She researched online for information about what impact alcohol has on the body. “I mainly searched for success stories from people who gave up drinking for 30 days or more,” she explains.

Her online searches turned up first-hand accounts of people like herself, who hadn’t suffered major life-altering consequences from drinking, but saw their drinking as problematic all the same. Others identified as “alcoholic” but blended traditional 12-step recovery with other support among fellow “sober curious” followers.

Banks made the decision to go alcohol-free. “I was thinking, ‘This isn’t making me happy anymore, but it’s ingrained in my daily habits,'” she says.

How Giving Up Alcohol Became a Wellness Trend

Ruby Warrington’s 2018 book Sober Curious is something of a guidebook for this less-threatening, label-free, booze-less trend. The book describes Warrington’s “gray-area problem drinking.” Uncomfortable with the label “alcoholic,” she developed a following of like-minded non-drinkers via her book, podcasts, and social media. Banks is one of many who either gave up drinking altogether or drink more mindfully.

Sober coach Rae Dylan lives in New York City and sees the trend up close. Cities like New York City and Chicago are seeing a rise of sober-free bars and events. Instagram and Facebook pages devoted to alcohol-free living boast followers in the tens of thousands.

“I see it as part of what’s happening all around us,” says Dylan, who works with recovering addicts and alcoholics requiring protection from the press, nutritional guidance, mental health issues, medication, and detox. “People are more interested in a healthy lifestyle and part of not-drinking is part of this healthy culture which recognizes it’s not healthy the way Americans drink,” she adds.

In particular, the idea of not drinking in what some consider awkward social situations, like a bar atmosphere, is encouraging, Dylan believes. “It’s a good thing; the movement gives younger people, who may feel pressure to drink or do drugs, another outlet,” she says.

“Instead of feeling pressure to drink,” Dylan continues, “the focus comes off labels like ‘alcoholic’ and, instead, people focus on having a cool virgin mojito with maybe organic cane juice.”

Finding Like-Minded Non-Drinkers

Banks admits her first steps into a sober lifestyle weren’t easy. Friends and family didn’t object, but they had difficulty supporting what they couldn’t understand.

“I was surrounded with casual drinkers who didn’t understand why someone would choose to give up alcohol without being an alcoholic,” she says. “I wasn’t a rock-bottom alcoholic, so it wasn’t a black-or-white issue for me.”

Instead, the issue, like Warrington describes, was more of a gray area. “I was tired, my skin was breaking out and I had tried everything else,” she continues. “I knew in my heart what I needed to cut.”

Finding support from other non-drinkers meant turning to the internet and social media. At first, Banks was unaware she was part of the sober curious movement. Her first steps going wine-free centered on setting up an Instagram page to record an initial 30-day break from alcohol. “I would post things like, ‘This is my second day without alcohol!’”

Today, Banks has nearly 6,500 Instagram followers celebrating her alcohol-free experiences. She credits this early support with her sober lifestyle today. “There were so many supportive people on Instagram,” Banks says. “I felt like I had these online pen pals who really got what I was going through.”

She describes the connections as uplifting without shame. Followers celebrate her victories and help her navigate rough days. Plus, she knows she has 24-hour access to a community of support. If she and her husband go out for the evening, she’s only an Instagram away from others who are also abstaining from drinks on a weekend night.

Trend vs. Lifestyle

Living in Greenville, SC, Banks doesn’t have the luxury of countless, trendy sober bars to visit. But, time away from drinking has made it easier and less appealing to go backward. She says she focuses on the reality of drinking versus the fantasy.

During a recent family vacation, Banks said the idea of having a drink sounded tempting. She reminded herself, however, of the reality behind the “one drink,” which included, for her, likely more than one drink, a bad night’s sleep and heavy anxiety in the morning. “In the beginning it was so hard, but now I’ve had so many experiences under my belt, and I feel more confident,” she explains.

“I think through the drink,” she explains. “I admit to myself I have the urge, but I know the ‘idea’ is way better than any glass of wine.”

The days of pushing through moments of temptation are fewer and further between. If she needs support, she knows her Instagram followers are always nearby, along with other sober curious friends she’s made on the journey.

Her friends and family are still casual drinkers, but Banks has been abstaining from alcohol for the past year and a half, and has no intention of going back to her evening wine. “I love waking up at 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning without a hangover,” she says.

Enjoying sober experiences has left Banks feeling healthier, more focused, and more present for her husband and children. In addition, her family’s finances have improved without the steady purchase of wine. She says her husband is proud of her accomplishment, and her children are enjoying a more active family life with hiking and trips.

“There are so many physical and emotional benefits from intentionally taking a break from alcohol,” says Banks. “It opens a whole new world. I’m a better friend, wife, and mom,” she adds. For now, she remains alcohol-free, one day at a time.

 

 

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5 Things Mentally Strong People Do; Things You Need To Do To Cope With The COVID-19 Pandemic

The global lockdown caused by COVID-19 may seem like a forced vacation to some people. But for many in isolation, the restrictions, fear and uncertainty can make it seem like torture. According to Psychology Today’s report, the stress that people are experiencing during the coronavirus pandemic may lead to negative feelings that will result in anxiety, depression, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

(Photo : Pixabay)

How Can You Cope With The Pandemic? Here Are The Things Mentally Strong People Do!

This collective trauma may feel bleak, but it isn’t the first crisis faced by the world. According to the report, research investigations in various crises, such as 9/11, were conducted to show how individuals are coping with the events in both maladaptive and adaptive ways.

Researchers have studied the behavior of mentally strong people, how they think and act through adverse experiences. Here are some suggestions, based on evidence, that may help people not only manage the pandemic, but also decrease the long-term mental effects it may have.

5 things mentally strong people do to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic

1. They accept their feelings as normal.

According to the American Psychological Association, mentally strong people tend to accept their feelings as a normal thing since the pandemic is a time for both personal trauma and collective trauma.

They understand that feelings such as anxiety, fear, anger, and hopelessness are normal because there is too much information to be processed at once during the pandemic.

2. They limit news and media exposure.

The research stated that there are two main predictors of how well a person will cope with a pandemic or crisis. The first is how they feel vulnerable with their own lives before the pandemic even started. The second one is how much news information they consume during the pandemic.

This may lead to PTSD or various trauma. Being exposed to the media 24 hours a day can activate an individual’s “fight or flight” response, which may lead to traumatic stress. Mentally strong people avoid consuming too much media, choose responsible and reliable media or print outlets, and limit their exposure to distressful images or content.

3. They limit social media exposure.

This is also linked to limiting news and media since mentally strong people know that social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are unofficial news channels and deliver news based on the people’s preferences and behaviors.

Mentally healthy people tend to avoid using social media platforms for news sources. Or, if they can, consume it carefully and judiciously.

4. They meditate.

Different studies have long revealed that long-term meditators can recover from a traumatic experience or a stressful event better.

The benefits of meditation include reduced stress, less anxiety, decreased depression, increased attention span, and an overall improved emotional well-being.

5. They focus on facts.

According to Marsha Linehan, the Ph.D. creator of Dialectical behaviors Therapy (DBT), people have three states of mind; rational mind, emotional mind, and wise mind.

Being emotional is a natural thing during the pandemic. However, choosing to use the rational mind by listing facts and logical information can decrease unnecessary negative thoughts. Mentally strong people tend to think and discern before accepting any information from any source.

 

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Lockdown Might Lead to a Drop in STI Rates, But It Could Also Spark an Increase in STI Stigma

Fear of coronavirus infection could spark renewed fear of sexually transmitted infections

Bad news: Pandemic lockdowns are putting hookups on hold all over the world. Better news: Pressing pause on hookups might also halt the spread of sexually transmitted infections and give more people a chance to get tested before potentially passing on an infection to a new partner. Worse news: Global panic surrounding the viral coronavirus pandemic could prove as contagious as the virus itself, possibly sparking a regressive resurgence of STI shame and stigma.

Going back to the silver lining for a moment, doctors in the U.K. posit that lockdown conditions could greatly improve the nation’s sexual health, with Dr. John McSorley calling this period of relative sexlessness a “game changer” and urging people to get tested before lockdowns end and everyone returns to their regularly scheduled sleeping around.

“If we could test and treat everybody for their infections now, that would be a game-changer going forward as people slowly move towards normality,” McSorley, a sexual health doctor and president of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, told BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat.

Justin Harbottle, of sexual health testing organization SH:24, echoed McSorley, calling this period of pandemic-imposed abstinence a “once-in-a-lifetime event” for the future of sexual health. “Even at the start of the HIV epidemic, I don’t think you had such a clean-cut period where collectively – as a population – people stopped having sex with new partners,” said Harbottle.

Unfortunately, one thing we definitely did have during the HIV epidemic was plenty of shame, stigma and moral panic surrounding sex, sexually transmitted infections, and the people who contracted (or were presumed likely to contract) them. And as STI anti-stigma activists have pointed out, our current panic surrounding the coronavirus pandemic could cause those attitudes to crop up again.

ella dawson

@brosandprose

Now that we’re all talking about how important it is to get rapid COVID-19 testing to slow down the pandemic…

| ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ |
| When were |
| you last |
| tested for |
| STIs? |
| _______|
(\__/) ||
(•ㅅ•) ||
/ づ

ella dawson

@brosandprose

I’m worried that the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic is going to lead to even more ignorant, knee-jerk fear of common viruses like herpes and HPV, and a strengthening of STI stigma in general. People are scared of infection right now and that attitude will ripple.

“I’m worried that the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic is going to lead to even more ignorant, knee-jerk fear of common viruses like herpes and HPV, and a strengthening of STI stigma in general,” writer Ella Dawson wrote in a tweet last month. “People are scared of infection right now and that attitude will ripple.”

More recently, Dawson has noted other similarities between flawed responses to the pandemic and misconceptions surrounding sexual health. “The people who are pushing to re-open society because they think the COVID-19 pandemic is exaggerated are the same people who think I’m an immoral disease vector because I have herpes,” Dawson wrote in a Twitter thread Monday. “Some people think they’re not at risk of COVID-19 because they’re too good for it, they’re the exception. They ascribe morality and inherent worth to whether or not they’re at risk of contracting a virus,” she continued, comparing the coronavirus response to an all too common line of thought that casts STIs as a kind of punishment for sexual wrongdoing or inherent moral failure.

“‘I don’t need to wear a mask, I’m not at risk of COVID-19’ is the new ‘I don’t need to wear a condom, the girls I have sex with aren’t dirty sluts,’” Dawson concluded.

ella dawson

@brosandprose

Replying to @brosandprose

It makes sense, honestly. Some people think they’re not at risk of COVID-19 because they’re too good for it, they’re the exception. They ascribe morality and inherent worth to whether or not they’re at risk of contracting a virus.

Guess what, Karen! Viruses don’t discriminate.

ella dawson

@brosandprose

“I don’t need to wear a mask, I’m not at risk of COVID-19” is the new “I don’t need to wear a condom, the girls I have sex with aren’t dirty sluts.”

None of this is to say that the doctors urging people to take this time to prioritize their sexual health are promoting stigma. People should absolutely get tested before hooking up with any new partners post-lockdown (though that’s always the case, lockdown or no lockdown). But as discussions of STIs inevitably get pulled into the coronavirus conversation, it’s important to avoid transposing fears about coronavirus onto other infections, especially those with a history of stigma.

Illness of any kind is never a punishment for wrongdoing, nor is it a reflection of someone’s worth or standing, moral or otherwise.

 

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Out of Work Strippers Launch Boober Eats, the Topless Meal Delivery Service

With so many people staying home and avoiding the nightmare that is the supermarket at the moment, meal delivery services like Deliveroo and Uber Eats are exploding in popularity. But a new player is threatening to take a stranglehold on the market, and frankly, we aren’t complaining. Dancers at the Lucky Devil Lounge in Portland, Oregon have launched a new meal delivery service that combines the convenience of fast-food with the pizazz of a strip club. That’s right, Boober Eats might just be good old-fashioned American ingenuity at it’s thriftiest.

Out of Work Strippers Launch Boober Eats, the Topless Meal ...

 

According to reports, once you order a meal online (generally pub grub and wings), Lucky Devil Lounge will get cooking immediately, dispatching two nearly-topless women in pasties to hand-out the goods. It all started as a joke on social media for Lucky Devil Lounge owner Shon Boulden, but after receiving hundreds of positive messages about the idea on St. Patrick’s Day, he decided to give it a shot.

“It’s crazy,” Boulden told the Oregonian. “We mutated our one business into a totally different style of business. All the calls, people are just giddy and fun. Sometimes it’s a surprise for someone, sometimes it’s a birthday, sometimes it’s people that are really stoned.”

While Boober Eats is a hilarious way to get in on the growing food delivery arena, Boulder’s initiative is actually doing a lot of good. About 25 of the original 80 Lucky Devil Lounge dancers are running Boober Eats deliveries after the club essentially shut down for patrons. What’s more, the strip club’s bouncers are also back to work, operating as drivers and security guards for the nearly topless delivery girls. If there’s one thing to be learned from the Boober Eats tale, it’s that amid a tireless tirade of negativity and despair, there are good stories everywhere.

God bless America.

Portland Gentlemen's Club Launches 'Boober Eats' Food Delivery Service

 

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15 Bumble Bio Ideas To Use During The Coronavirus That’ll Rack Up Matches

No pressure or anything, but what you write in your bio could mean the difference between a right or left swipe. IRL, you can catch someone’s attention with a flirty smile across a packed bar, a witty joke deployed via DM slide, or bold moves on the dance floor. On dating apps, however, you have a limited number of words (and photos) to make that crucial first impression. Dating apps are more crowded than ever these days, so check out these Bumble bio ideas to use during the coronavirus pandemic.

Odds are, you’re spending more time than ever swiping away now that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended social distancing. The key to attracting quality matches, of course, is to put your best foot forward — and a clever bio is a great way to show off your personality and sense of humor.

A warning: Now is not the time to test out your edgiest jokes. Kindness and respect are always welcome on dating apps — so please, steer clear of offensive jokes that make light of people who are sick, out of work, or on the front lines.

This is easier than you might think. Need some inspiration? The following bios are ready to use — all you have to do is hit copy and paste. Whether you’re searching for your soulmate or just a pen pal to casually flirt with, these bios are bound to rack up the matches.

Shutterstock

1. Seeking someone that looks at me the way I look at the last roll of toilet paper RN.

2. Now accepting Venmo payments for our next virtual date: [insert handle here].

3. Current hobbies include: mindlessly looking inside my fridge every 20 minutes, panic-scrolling Twitter, maybe chatting with you?

4. Pros: looks decent in a face mask. Cons: spotty WiFi signal.

5. Using this sitch to work on fulfilling my dream of becoming a TikTok sensation. HBU?

6. Please remember to practice safe sext (washing your hands for at least 20 seconds).

7. Signature scent: Purell.

8. Current theme song: “All By Myself.”

9. I’m just a human, standing 6 feet away from another human, asking them not to move any closer.

10. Looking for my Prince Charmin.

11. Tell me your go-to quarantine snack and we’ll go from there.

12. FYI, I make a mean quarantini.

13. Apparently, what you stock up on says a lot about you. For me, it’s coffee and wine.

14. Major points if you can send me the perfect coronavirus-meets-Tiger King meme.

15. There’s a 50/50 chance I’ll be wearing PJs on the bottom during our next virtual date. Just trying to kick things off on a note of pure honesty.

 

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10 Agonizing Truths Depressed People Never Talk About

There’s no reasoning with it. So don’t even try.

Here’s a great post from one of my readers. Thought it was worth sharing.

When I was 16, I was diagnosed with clinical depression. After the diagnosis, my uncle slapped me on the back and said, “Welcome to the family kid,” while my family all compared drugs around the kitchen table. At that time, I didn’t know how to deal with depression, but I’m extremely lucky that my family not only accepted that depression is a real, serious issue, but they understood it.

They were mindful to make sure that my depression wasn’t used as a crutch or an excuse, but thankfully, I never once heard the unhelpful, “Just suck it up and deal with it,” and for that, I will be eternally grateful.

What causes depression? It can be a number of factors, but depression is different for everyone. And over the years I’ve noticed a few things that don’t seem to waver. They hold fast in their level of suckiness and they seem to apply to most everyone I’ve talked to that’s dealt with depression.

1. You don’t choose to be depressed.

This isn’t a choice I’m making. My cat dying or my car being totaled aren’t the reason I’m depressed. Those things are tipping points, they push me over an edge I was already standing at.

Depression is a chemical imbalance. Yes, there are things I can do and medications I can take, but at the end of the day this isn’t something I’d choose for anyone and certainly not myself.

2. Your brain is the enemy.

For me, having depression is like walking around with a mean, petty, awful little friend in my brain all the time. It’s constantly telling me how awful I am, how I’m not good enough and how nobody likes me.

And just like the negative comments on a blog post, those thoughts stick. Trying to convince yourself that your brain is wrong is no easy feat.

3. Telling you to “suck it up” will never work.

Don’t tell me to “suck it up.” Don’t tell me to watch a sunset or exercise or appreciate the joy that is being alive. That’s about as effective as me telling you to go walk it off after you’ve broken your arm. It isn’t going to fix anything.

Depression isn’t logical. You can’t reason with it or apply coconut oil and suddenly be better.

4. Nobody can fix it.

And that sucks. There are medications and there are things that I can do that will help mitigate my depression, but they won’t fix it. There’s nothing anyone can say or do that it is going to fix my brain. I wish more than anything that there was a magic cure-all that would tip the scales back to center for my brain, but there isn’t. What works for one person might not work for another.

What works for you might suddenly stop working. That’s the thing about depression: it’s an ever-evolving disease. Once you think you’ve got things under control, it’ll contort and poke at a tender spot you didn’t even know existed.

5. It’s going to suck for the person dealing with the depressed person, too.

I’ve been on the other end of things, and not being able to help someone I love when they’re in the middle of a depressive episode is awful. Just know that there’s nothing anyone can say that a depressed person will believe or that will pull them back to surface where reason lies. This reality is very tough.

6. Relying on a pill is awful. 

I came to terms a long time ago that every night I’m going to have to take a little white pill. Having to rely on medication for anything is hard but relying on it to make you feel normal, whatever “normal” is for you, is extra difficult.

7. Finding the right meds might make you feel like a science experiment.

Finding the right medication, or in some cases medications that work, is daunting. I’ve had to switch meds a handful of times and every time left me feeling like a husk of my former self.

Even with proper weaning, coming off some medication is like detoxing. Outside of the physical effects, there’s just something about the whole process that makes me feel like a high school science experiment.

8. Depression makes you selfish.

This was one of the first things I noticed after I was diagnosed. I spend so much time in my own head thinking that I rarely have the ability to look out and think about others. It’s also one of the things I hate most about my depression.

I have a damn good group of family and friends, and not being the friend they deserve is hard. But learning how to deal with depression means coming to terms with this.

9. You take away the things you love when you’re depressed.

Everyone has signs when their depression hits. For me, I start taking away the things I love. I stop writing. I stop picking up my camera. Depending on how deep it is, I’ll stop feeding myself or bathing as often as society would like me to.

There’s no point in my mind. Everything sucks and it’s going to continue to suck whether I write about it or take a picture of my cat.

10. Sometimes not being here sounds like a great option.

The reality is, most people who’ve dealt with depression, especially long-term, may consider suicide. Some will form a plan and think it over for months. Some will decide on the spot.

For me, there was never any plan. I never wanted to die, per se, I just wanted to not be here. I just wanted to stop constantly feeling like I was feeling.

Because the thing about depression is, you can’t escape it. You can’t set it down in the morning, go to work, and pick it back up when you get it home. It’s everywhere. It’s at your best friend’s wedding. It’s at your desk at work. It’s at the gas station when you’re pumping gas. You take that little terrorist everywhere with you and sometimes you just need a break.

Note to our readers: If you ever need to talk to someone about depression, please call 1-800-273-8255. Someone will always be on the line. You are loved.

 

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5 Ways Women Try To Impress Men (And Why They Don’t Work)

Women do a lot of silly things to try to impress men; I know this, because men do a lot of ridiculous things to impress women, too. It’s like the circle of life, only it ends with quiet sobbing into a pillow.

The elements of sexual attraction aren’t too complex. Though, even accepted societal norms for picking up a guy often miss the mark because women overthink things. Here’s a look at some of the most surefire ways that women think that they can impress a guy—and why they’ll fail miserably every time.

1. Perfume

No man I know minds when a woman smells like nothing—a simple stick of deodorant accomplishes this. Women who slather on the perfume end up smelling like the front counter of Macy’s, and it’s a bit of a turn-off. A spray or two there might be nice for a special occasion, but I can’t think of a situation where I’d ever think, Man, she’s nice, but I’d like her better if she smelled like someone was pouring a stream of animal urine that vaguely smelled like flowers onto her head.

2. Tanning

Tanned skin wasn’t seen as a necessary beauty treatment in American society until the last 20 years or so, with the exception of the taxidermy community. Now, it’s reached a fairly feverish pitch. Tanning salons are all over the place, waiting to help you turn your skin into a sort of orange, glowing monstrosity that looks like it was sprayed out of a can (and in some cases, it actually is). There are men out there who are impressed by a good tan, but they’re what the scientific community calls “pig-ignorant slimeballs.”

3. Name Brands

You shouldn’t wear name brand clothes that cost more than they need to just because you want to impress men. If you’re trying to impress women, this sometimes works, but name brand items don’t do much for any man other than Ralph Lauren. And just to prove that men don’t know anything about brands, I just referenced Ralph Lauren. I have no idea if he makes good clothes. Probably not. But he’s the only designer I could name.

4. Makeup

Makeup doesn’t do a lot for guys. In small doses it’s alright, but if I want to get eyeshadow all over my clothes, I’ll go see the Cure in concert.

5. Cosmetic Surgery

It almost sounds trite to say that cosmetic surgery is ugly and disgusting. Everyone claims to hate it; yet, it’s still a thriving industry. The thing is, though, the cosmetic surgery industry caters to a specific kind of person—the type of person who wants to look fantastic at all costs. The industry isn’t set up for making people beautiful. It’s set up to make people think they look beautiful. And if the results were fantastic, well, then all’s fair in love and war. Ultimately, breast augmentation, fat reduction, Botox treatments … all of this looks terrible to men, women, small children and animals. Plastic surgery may eventually provide a way for people to cheat themselves into looking younger, but right now it’s more lip service than anything else, pardon the pun.

What futile attempts to impress men do women make? Post in the comments section below.

 

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No, There Is No Such Thing as ADHD

There is no brain condition that generates some disease called ADHD, and none has ever been demonstrated. And no child should be given amphetamines.

No, there is no such thing as ADHD.

 

Somewhere along the line, we have lost the understanding that kids come in all shapes and sizes. Some kids are active, some are quiet; some kids are dreamers, others are daring; some kids are dramatic, others are observers; some impulsive, others reserved; some leaders, others followers; some athletic, others thinkers.

Where did we ever get the notion that kids should all be one way?

Parents these days are subject to pediatric “experts” who proclaim that kids should follow some prescribed rates of physical, mental, and emotional growth. If they deviate from the “mean,” then there is a problem. Parents are intimidated and worry that there is something wrong with their babies.

Every child matures in his own way, in his own time. Every child is different. We need to throw away all the bell curves of “normal” — you know, developmental milestones. Parents worry if Johnny is a happy breastfeeding pudge-ball, heavier than his appointed weight; or crawls differently; or isn’t walking yet; or isn’t talking at his appointed hour; or still isn’t toilet trained (very few make it to adulthood without getting toilet trained).

There are experts at every turn, such as those who proclaim knowledge that a pudgy baby will create fat cells that will create weight problems for life, which is nonsense. Parents, leave these poor kids alone and enjoy them. Raise them well — you know, with boundaries and love.

Apparently, differences mean that we should make children conform to the idea that there is some ‘normal’ that all kids should be. If they’re active, give them amphetamines; if they’re moody, give them Prozac; for fears, give them benzodiazepines; and while we’re at it, let’s give them antipsychotics, or Lithium and other mood-stabilizing drugs.

What in the world are we doing?

My focus is on the interplay of temperament and trauma to demonstrate how the fiction of ADHD took hold in the first place. Dr. Peter Breggin and others have addressed the issue of giving amphetamines to children with compelling clarity. (see a “Towards a Ban on Psychiatrically Diagnosing and Drugging Children”).

Every single person is absolutely unique. No two of us are alike. Even identical twins are not the same. We all have our unique constellation of temperament. I want to emphasize that by temperament, we are talking about inborn temperamental styles, not pathology. (See “The Nature-Nurture Question—The role of ‘Nature’ comes from our genetic temperament.“)

Our temperament digests our parental nurture all the way through our development. Together, they create the varied and wonderful scope of human personality. Our cortical imagination, oriented by our temperament, writes a specific and nuanced character world in each of us, which is as unique as our fingerprints.

And so it is with nature and nurture for all of us. Our temperaments differ; our salient environments differ; our parents, our culture, and the happenstances of our lives differ. The specific qualities of our parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, teachers, friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, and the moment-to-moment experience of our lives are all unpredictably alive. Our adult character is created out of all of these forces and is absolutely unique. No two snowflakes are alike, but we are all snowflakes. And we all form the same way.

To understand ADHD, we need to look at differences in temperament, as well as the degree of responsiveness, abuse, and deprivation that is digested into our plays of consciousness.

A typical child, often a boy, may have an active temperament. One can readily tell whether a child is active or passive. Active children sit and walk and climb early in childhood. They take off at the beach. The active child is naturally physical, physically expressive, and action-oriented. He is oriented to active, muscular, good aggression. In the context of good-enough loving, the active child, identifying with his active strength, operates as a take-charge doer.

(The passive child is not oriented by muscular, good aggression. In basic orientation, he is more absorbed elsewhere. He tends to be off daydreaming. The passive child depends more on someone else to provide shelter from the storm. He identifies as the recipient of action rather than as a doer.)

The next temperamental attribute is that our active child tends to be an externalizer, rather than an internalizer. What does this mean? The orientation of an externalizer is to look outward. With good enough love, he feels secure with love from others. In the context of deprivation and abuse, he is predisposed and oriented to feel attacked or criticized by others. He locates the source of attack, hatred, or criticism as coming from a person outside of him. For example, from a legacy of shaming abuse, an externalizer experiences being actively shamed by a person outside of him and will react to it. His orientation is as a blamer. As such, he would be inclined to blame and fight with others.

(An internalizer will carry a source of loving internally. In the absence of good-enough loving, instead of blaming and fighting, he will attack himself. It would manifest as self-hate: “I’m bad; I’m inadequate, I’m stupid, I’m ugly,” etc. In the context of shaming abuse, an internalizer, would feel ashamed.)

Our active child would tend to be more narcissistically inclined than echoistically oriented. His orientation is to operate from his sense of self, as opposed to an echoist who operates from the point of view of other people. In the context of deprivation and abuse, his “me” orientation focuses on himself as the injured party and isn’t as centered on thinking of others. He is furious and outraged at slights and injuries directed at him from others. He leads with an exposed nerve and indignantly feels, How dare you treat me this way?

And finally, this child tends to more of a participant and less of an observer. A participant is naturally oriented to be immersed in and emotionally involved in activities. He easily and naturally engages through feeling.

(The natural orientation of an observer, on the other hand, is to process at a distance, rather than be immersed in the feeling relatedness of the scenario of the play. An observer tends toward thinking, caution, circumspection, reticence, and figuring things out.)

So what do we have? An active, externalizing, narcissistic, and participatory child. Remember, there are no pejoratives associated with these qualities. This type of constellation generates the attributes of leaders and athletes. In many cultures, these children are valued rather than devalued. They grow up to be fun energetic people. They may show behaviors that get them called ADHD, but they are normal kids. They are easily bored, need to run around a lot, and may have short attention spans, except when they are interested. These actually are stereotypical boys. They can be fidgety and impulsive and may concentrate poorly, but there is nothing wrong with them.

In the context of deprivation and abuse, they may be prone to spin out of control. They may act out more and blame and fight. This may be a signal that something is problematic in the family and needs to be attended to. Many families don’t like to hear this, but the attention deficit may mean that the parents are giving insufficient loving attention to the child.

What is called ADHD, in general, is merely one part of the constellation of temperaments that make up the human condition. Even within this group, temperaments will vary. No two children are the same. And the specifics of deprivation and abuse vary with every child. Not only that, but there are also many other issues that can be very misleading. I give one example in “How Do Our Children Get Misdiagnosed With So-Called ADHD?

Certainly, symptoms present themselves, but they need to be correctly understood. All of these children need to be properly evaluated to understand what they need. It might be help for the family. It might be a more open classroom. It might be to help teachers be better teachers. But one thing is for sure:

There is no brain condition that generates some disease called ADHD, and none has ever been demonstrated. And no child should be given amphetamines.

 

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