med_cat: (Blue writing)
"The Illness and Insight of Robert Lowell", from The New Yorker

Two excerpts:

"Jamison’s book is the first to bring clinical expertise to Lowell’s case; before it, the poet’s cycles of illness and recovery have been judged in scolding moral terms, or, worse, viewed as a kind of lifelong-mishap GIF, with Lowell stuck in a permanent loop.

When he was manic, Lowell smashed wineglasses and schemed to marry near-strangers. In recovery, his depressions were severe, his remorse profound, the work of repairing the relationships he’d damaged unrelenting.

But the metaphors that came so quickly to hand could again be tamed and put to use. “Gracelessly,” he wrote, “like a standing child trying to sit down, like a cat or a coon coming down a tree, I’m getting down my ladder to the moon. I am part of my family again.”

...

"But mood disorders occur with staggering frequency in creative people, and writers seem to suffer the most. A 1987 study at the University of Iowa found that eighty per cent of the writers studied exhibited the diagnostic signs of mood disorders, with fifty per cent fitting the criteria for bipolar disorder.

A 2011 study of three hundred thousand individuals showed that 'individuals with bipolar disorder were overrepresented in creative professions.'

Poets might be the most susceptible of all. They count on a certain amount of basic disorientation to do their work, which many report involves the temporary unshackling of the mind from ordinary semantic logic.

There are various names for this willed receptivity to associations: flow, inspiration, the muse. These are not the names we assign to symptoms of mental illness."
med_cat: (Stethoscope)

"Depression: let’s talk" says WHO, as depression tops list of causes of ill health

News release

Depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide. According to the latest estimates from WHO, more than 300 million people are now living with depression, an increase of more than 18% between 2005 and 2015. Lack of support for people with mental disorders, coupled with a fear of stigma, prevent many from accessing the treatment they need to live healthy, productive lives.

The new estimates have been released in the lead-up to World Health Day on 7 April, the high point in WHO’s year-long campaign “Depression: let’s talk”. The overall goal of the campaign is that more people with depression, everywhere in the world, both seek and get help.

Said WHO Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan: “These new figures are a wake-up call for all countries to re-think their approaches to mental health and to treat it with the urgency that it deserves.”

Read further: http://who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2017/world-health-day/en/

med_cat: (woman reading)
For your amusement:

19 husbands who need it all spelled out

15 parents who have a perfect sense of humor (don't know about perfect, but some of them are quite funny)


Art and society:

Prepare to be amazed by these incredibly realistic sculptures

Beyond Objectification:
Norman Rockwell’s Depictions of Women for the Saturday Evening Post


No place for self-pity, no room for fear, by Toni Morrison, written in 2004, but just as relevant today, or at any other time:

"...None of this bodes well for the future. Still, I remember the shout of my friend that day after Christmas: No! This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.

I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence. Like failure, chaos contains information that can lead to knowledge—even wisdom. Like art."

Mental health:

An artist's depiction of what it's like to live with mental illness--the most striking one I've seen

Statistics: prevalence of mental illness among U.S. adults (17.9%, in other words, just slightly less than 1 in 5)
med_cat: (cat in dress)

A psychiatrist writes to the New York Times, in defence of the mentally ill...

https://www.nytimes.com/…/an-eminent-psychiatrist-demurs-on…





(Source: Letters of Note FB page)
med_cat: (dog and book)
I've translated another one of his tales, also a long-time favorite.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A magic fairytale

Жил-был добрый волшебник. Он мог превращать песок в сахар, а простую воду в молоко, но он ничего этого не делал, так как был убежден, что чудес на земле не бывает.
Пошел он однажды на край света. Пришел, свесил ноги через край и сидит, смотрит вниз — на звезды и луну, на разные планеты.

Once upon a time, there lived a kind magician. He was able to turn sand into sugar, and plain water into milk, but he never did any of these things, because he was convinced that miracles don’t exist in this world.
One time, he walked to the edge of the Earth. When he arrived there, he sat down, hanging his feet over the edge and was sitting there, looking downwards--at the stars and the moon, and different planets.

Вдруг добрый волшебник почувствовал, что рядом с ним кто-то стоит. Он скосил глаза и увидел петуха, который пристроился на самом краю и преспокойно клевал звезды.
— Что ты делаешь! — забеспокоился добрый волшебник. — Ведь так мы останемся без звезд.
Петух перестал клевать.
— И правда, — сказал он, — мне это как-то не пришло в голову. Но согласитесь — здесь же больше нечего клевать.
— А зачем ты забрел на край света? — спросил добрый волшебник.
— У меня просто не было другого выхода, — сказал Петух. — Так сложилась жизнь — ничего не поделаешь.

Suddenly, the kind magician felt someone sit down next to him. He looked askance and saw a rooster, who had ensconced himself at the very edge and was very calmly pecking at the stars.

“What are you doing?!” the kind magician exclaimed, worriedly. “If you keep doing that, we’ll not have any stars left.”

The rooster stopped pecking.

“That is true, now that you mention it,” said he, “I just hadn’t thought of that, somehow. But surely you must agree--there is nothing else to peck here.”

“But why did you wander to the edge of the world?” asked the kind magician.

“I simply had no other option,” said the Rooster. “That’s how life turned out--nothing I could do about it.”

Доброму волшебнику захотелось узнать, как складывается жизнь у петухов, и петух охотно ему рассказал.

The kind magician wanted to know how life turns out for roosters, and the rooster readily told him.Read more... )
med_cat: (woman reading)
Something for everyone, I hope! Most of these are entirely unrelated to each other. Here goes:
~~~~
Mark Gatiss Responds to “Sherlock Bond” Critic in Rhyming Verse

"No Middle Ground?" by Jim Wright, regarding politics, acting civilized, and whether the end justifies the means.

Media, morality and the neighbor’s cow: When did Ayn Rand become the Republican Party’s bible?: "The value-neutral media "ideal" has left us with a society drained of kindness and mutual responsibility", by Neal Gabler

Arnold Schwarzenegger: I am not a self-made man

compare with this one:

American Huckster: The Untold Story of Napoleon Hill, the Greatest Self-Help Scammer of All Time, by Matt Hovak

6 Reasons Why Intelligent People Fail to Be Happy

Sane Thinking About Mental Problems--another perspective

"On Mourning", a thoughtful article by the writer Ann Leckie

(many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] supergee for all these)

What are some of the most mind-blowing facts about the United Kingdom?--originally from Quora, posted by [livejournal.com profile] notabler

The Taste of Medieval Food

"When speaking of medieval foods, most people think of one or two things: drab, tasteless foods, or the historically inaccurate meals served at medieval reenactments where patrons eat sans utensils while watching some sort of entertaining reenactment. Both conceptions couldn’t be further from the truth."
med_cat: (cat in dress)
You may not like or agree with all of these, but I thought some people might find it an useful resource:

Calming Masterpost, from carpentermaid on Tumblr
med_cat: (Ad astra)
7 small things you can do right now to feel better after the 2016 election results

When Trump takes office in 70 days, the risk begins. Here's how you can take control now.

Trump cartoon with a quote from H.L. Mencken
(thanks to [livejournal.com profile] lindahoyland for this one)

("As democracy is perfected, the office of the President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and complete narcissistic moron." H.L. Mencken, "The Baltimore Evening Sun", July 26, 1920)

A List of Pro-Women, Pro-Immigrant, Pro-Earth, Anti-Bigotry Organizations That Need Your Support

(gotta love the URL ;))

101 ways to take care of yourself when the world feels overwhelming

(I don't agree with every one of these, but some are good, and--YMMV :))

Read the touching letter a principal wrote to his students after the election.

Women Record Several 'Firsts' With Wins In U.S. Senate, Elsewhere

First Female Deaf President at Gallaudet University Says Her Job Is To Listen
med_cat: (cat in dress)
Dear Ones -

I want to offer you something today, which I hope might make you feel a little better, if you happen to be worrying about anything. (And who isn't?)

It's about the difference between the word "worry", and the word "concern".

The word "worry" comes to us from the Old English verb "wyrgan", which means "to strangle". The word "worry", therefore, shares a similar root to the word "wring". Both words mean to seize something by the throat, and choke the living breath out of it.

How's that working for you?
Read more... )
med_cat: (cat in dress)
Anastasiya Rubtsova, from FB; English translation's mine

На днях клиентка говорит мне с мучительным стыдом:
- Никто из нормальных людей не будет жрать чипсы в подъезде прямо из пакета. Вы, например, так не делаете наверняка.
Да ладно. По-моему, если уж жрать чипсы, то именно так – в подъезде, радостно, тайком от родных, хрустя пакетом и облизывая с пальцев соль. Что там еще вредного, глютамат натрия, специи? Вот их еще облизывать. Ну а как еще прикажете есть чипсы – ножом и вилкой, с фарфора?
Но тут, конечно, не в чипсах дело.

A few days ago, one of my client told me, with great shame:

"No normal person would ever be scarfing up potato chips right out of the bag, while standing just inside the door of the apartment building. I bet you never do such a thing yourself."

Oh, come on now. In my opinion, if one is going to scarf down potato chips, that's exactly the way to do it--just inside the door of the apartment building, happily, in secret from your family, scrunching up the bag and licking the salt off your fingers. What other bad for you things are in the potato chips? Sodium glutamate, spices? There, you should lick them off your fingers too. How else is one supposed to eat potato chips--with a knife and fork, off a fine china plate?
Of course, it's not the chips that are the real issue here.

Read more... )

med_cat: (cat in dress)


A Mighty Girl

"Failing well is a skill. Letting girls do it gives them critical practice coping with a negative experience. It also gives them the opportunity to develop a kind of confidence and resilience that can only be forged in times of challenge," writes author Rachel Simmons. However, numerous studies have found that girls in particular struggle with handling failure well. In an insightful Time article, Simmons explores why girls may be so vulnerable to failure and how parents and educators can help them see failure in a more positive light.

Studies have found that girls are more affected by failure than boys because girls, especially intelligent girls, are prone to believe that it’s talent, not practice, that leads to success -- in other words, that failure is a result of lack of ability. One factor affecting girls related to failure is “stereotype threat.” If she fails in an area that girls are stereotypically not considered to be good at -- science or math, for example -- rather than consider a poor test result to be a correctible issue that could be improved by further study, it may simply confirm her belief that particular area is not for girls and add to her self-doubt about her competency in the subject.

On average, girls are also more likely to give up in a stressful academic situation; Harvard economist Claudia Goldin found that female students were much more likely to drop an Introduction to Economics class if they weren’t getting As. They are also more sensitive to how evaluators praise them: one study found that "praising elementary-school students for fixed traits and abilities, like being 'smart' or 'nice,' undermined intrinsic motivation for girls, but not boys." Alternatively, Simmons writes, "Praising effort ('You worked really hard on that') over ability has consistently been proven to motivate all kids, and especially girls."

Ultimately, she observes, "girls need educators and parents to challenge stereotype threat, reminding them that ability can always be improved with effort, and that who they are will not determine where they end up." And, girls need to have the space to experience failure and not be rescued by adults -- a practice which sends kids the message that they are incompetent and incapable. Reminding all children and girls in particular that the only way to improve is lots and lots of practice -- or, to put it another way, to fail lots and lots of times -- will help ingrain the understanding that failure is only the end of the line if they don’t try again.

To read Rachel Simmons’ entire article on Time, visit http://ti.me/1NTwDGU

To learn more why failure matters, check out the excellent parenting book Simmons' cites in her piece, "The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed" at http://www.amightygirl.com/the-gift-of-failure.

In the inspiring picture book, "The Most Magnificent Thing," an inventive young girl learns that everyone makes mistakes -- the important thing is to keep trying! For ages 4 to 8 at http://www.amightygirl.com/the-most-magnificent-thing

For a wonderful picture book about the value of taking risks and embracing and learning from mistakes for ages 4 to 8, check out "The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes" at http://www.amightygirl.com/the-girl-who-never-made-mistakes

For more books for children and teens starring Mighty Girls who keep going even in the face of failure or other types of adversity, visit our "Resiliency" book section at http://amgrl.co/21U1M5F

Rachel Simmons is the author to several highly recommended books for parents of girls, including "The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence" (http://www.amightygirl.com/the-curse-of-the-good-girl) and "Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls" (http://www.amightygirl.com/odd-girl-out).

med_cat: (cat in dress)
There is such a thing as a harmless little white lie.

The best anecdote I know about this came from President Jimmy Carter’s mother, who — when her son was running for president — was visited down in Georgia by a pushy New York journalist, who demanded to know, “Is it true that your son has never told a lie? Seriously? NEVER?”

Mrs. Carter thought about it, and said “Well, Jimmy has told some white lies….”

The journalist thought she had Mrs. Carter in trap and said, “Aha! But isn’t a white lie just a lie, all the same?”

Mrs. Carter said, “No, white lies are harmless.”

The journalist said, “Give me an example of a harmless white lie.”

Mrs. Carter said, “Well…remember when you came into my house today, and I told you that it was very nice to meet you? THAT was a white lie...”


(from Elizabeth Gilbert's article "Truth and Kindness", full text below)

Dear Ones –

The biggest emotional trouble I’ve ever gotten into in my life always stemmed from the same dilemma — when I was torn between telling the truth, and being kind.

Both matter immensely to me.

Both of these virtues (truth and kindness) are top-notch, A-grade, golden-ticket qualities, recognized by every human society in history as being essential for basic goodness.

I want to be unfailingly honest, but I want to be a REALLY NICE PERSON.

But here’s the thing: I’ve traditionally had trouble figuring out how to be both. Because sometimes the truth really hurts people, and I never want to hurt anybody. So — for most of my life — when I had to choose between truth and kindness, I always went with kindness. Because my need to not hurt people was bigger than my need to be truthful.

Also, isn’t it a fact that most people — no matter what they may claim — actually don’t really want you to tell them the truth? (Or so my reasoning went, anyhow.) As a Ethics Professor of mine taught me back in college: “Most of us grew up in families where our parents DEMANDED the truth, but they couldn’t DEAL WITH IT…and so we all learn how to lie.”

Didn’t the world teach you how to lie, too, in order to keep things peaceful and smooth? So aren’t you doing people a favor, when you them what they want to hear? Isn’t that nice of you?

No.

Here’s the thing I have finally learned, after years of struggling and suffering over this subject )
med_cat: (dog and book)
Elizabeth Gilbert

Dear Ones:

Once I went to visit a therapist because I was afraid I might be a sociopath.

The reason I felt like a sociopath, is because I thought I was feeling THE WRONG EMOTION. Specifically, my story was this: I was a 30 year-old married woman, and I was supposed to want to have a baby — because that’s what married women are supposed to want when they are 30 years old. But I didn’t want to have a baby. The thought of having a baby filled me not with a sense of joy, but with a sense of dread.

So I figured I must be a sociopath — obviously! — and I went to a therapist to confirm this diagnosis. This woman helpfully explained to me the difference between a sociopath and myself. She said, “A sociopath does not feel any human emotion. You, on the other hand, are feeling plenty of human emotion, but the problem is, you believe you are feeling THE WRONG EMOTION. “

That’s why my life was falling apart — not because I couldn’t feel, but because I couldn’t accept my true feelings as legitimate. I was suffering and falling into depression because I still believed that there is a way that we are supposed to feel about every single life event (some sort of industry standard) and if my feelings deviated from that industry standard, then there was something deeply broken and wrong about me.

I do not believe that anymore.

We are not Dell Operating Systems, people.

Read more... )

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