From One Survivor to Another

August 13, 2014

[trigger warning: suicide]

If someone were to die at the age of 63 after a lifelong battle with MS or Sickle Cell, we’d all say they were a “fighter” or an “inspiration.” But when someone dies after a lifelong battle with severe mental illness and drug addiction, we say it was a tragedy and tell everyone “don’t be like him, please seek help.” That’s bullshit. Robin Williams sought help his entire life. He saw a psychiatrist. He quit drinking. He went to rehab. He did this for decades. That’s HOW he made it to 63. For some people, 63 is a fucking miracle. I know several people who didn’t make it past 23 and I’d do anything to have 40 more years with them.

anonymous reader on The Dish

One of the more helpful and insightful things I’ve seen about depression/suicide in the last couple of days.

(via mysweetetc)


(via thisisglorious)


August 10, 2013

sadness is not any more or less truthful than happiness

depression is not a “more realistic” view of the world, it’s a mental illness which warps one’s thought processes into a vicious feedback loop

my illness is not your enlightenment

April 15, 2013

“Chronic illness takes its toll on friendship for several reasons. We become undependable as companions, often having to cancel plans at the last minute if it turns out we can’t get out of bed on the day of a scheduled commitment. And, living in the world of the sick, we gradually have less and less in common with those with whom we worked and played.”

“Knowing these reasons doesn’t make the isolation any less painful an adjustment as we watch people disappear from our lives one by one, some after dozens of years of friendship. On top of this painful personal experience, we also encounter all the ‘healthy living’ advice that tells us that maintaining an active social life enhances both mental and physical health. And so worry is added to isolation.”

——Toni Bernhard——

(via iamkarennicole)

My best friend is my best friend precisely because he understands how my depression functions, and he knows when and when not to push me. I often want to cancel at the last second and just isolate myself, but he gets how it works.

April 5, 2013

i didn’t become a TA/peer advisor in college because i thought i would be good at it.

[tw: suicide]

i did it because when I was a first year student, I WISHED i had had someone like that to help me out. someone to answer mundane questions like “where’s food service”, and more complex ones like “how do i write a research paper” and “how do i decide what to do with my life”. 

my first year of college, i had just gotten out of a very rough place in my life. i was so overwhelmed after the first day, so alone, that i stood at the top of this tower on campus and considered jumping for a good twenty minutes. i was that bad off.

the juniors and seniors i encountered my first year were distant and stuck-up. they seemed like giants who would just brush you off, or swat you like flies. i really didn’t have an older, more experienced student to help me figure things out, and even at a small school, the professors were hard to meet catch at an open time. i got lucky— i had an awesome, supportive roommate, and i had one particular professor who took me under his wing and made sure i was okay. i also went to counseling and clicked with my first counselor there.

my first semester as a TA, i was fucking terrified. there was that one student who is always there— the one who seems unreachable and who eventually fails out. there was a plagiarism issue. there were several people who just did not pay attention to basic things like deadlines. i don’t think it was an issue of not caring— they felt out of place and disconnected. i understood where they were coming from.

my second semester as a TA, someone’s grandfather died. i had another plagiarism issue. a few people dropped out. one person almost did, but the professor and i worked with him and we figured something out. 

one summer, i had a student who was an international student. it was a class on the 60’s and 70’s counterculture in the United States. to explain the Black Power and anti-racism movements of the time, i first had to explain the Civil War and slavery and all of the context behind that. we met once, sometimes twice a week, for three months because there was so much stuff that he just did not know due to his background. after a ton of work together, he got the highest grade in the class. that was pretty awesome.

eventually i learned how to be a role model. it was a weird position for someone like me who is used to being on the sidelines. suddenly, i became the center of attention, leading discussions and occasionally teaching lessons. one semester, i met with my students for the first time, and after just ten minutes of introductions, they ALL said i was the coolest TA ever. I didn’t even do anything, they just loved me right away.

i grew to adore that group— we bonded over our mutual dislike of the class and the professor’s poor teaching skills. my favorite memory of them is ordering pizza, meeting in a study room, and helping them with their research papers the night before a key due date. i still keep up with them on facebook and see how they’re doing— i’m SO proud of them. 

if you are a junior or senior at your school, please try to reach out to the incoming first year students. they NEED someone to be there. they need friends and some of them are in desperate need of a family. i got lucky. not everyone does.

January 28, 2013

celexa has made me care about poetry again.

i don’t understand, but i am not going to question this.

the only downside right now is that i’ve been having extremely realistic dreams for the past week. and i experience at least five full-length ones every night and recall each of them when i wake up, so i feel like i’ve already lived an entire week by the time it is tomorrow. it’s kind of emotionally draining but it has helped me process some issues absurdly fast, so it might be useful in the long run (if it doesn’t make me very tired).

December 15, 2012

[TW] The Marble Theory of Depression or Explaining How People Become Suicidal


(Trigger Warning)


Imagine your life as yourself standing over a wooden barrel that is half filled with marble. Everyone around you has their own barrel half full of marbles that is their lives.

Each marble represents an accomplishment ,a good deed, a good feeling.

Let’s say the barrels are all half full of marbles that represent love and praise you received from your parents, grandparents, your family, etc. I know not everyone starts out in real life with that kind of loving support, but for this, we’re going to imagine the barrels are all half full. 

It’s now your job to fill the barrel the rest of the way up with marbles on your own.

You get a good grade on a paper. You add a marble to your barrel.

You tell a joke and people laugh. You add a marble to your barrel.

You get hired for a job. You add a marble to your barrel.

Someone nice tells you they find you attractive. You add a marble to your barrel.

You clean the bathroom. You add a marble to your barrel.

You receive a hug from your friend. You add a marble to your barrel.

You donate money to a charity. You add a marble to your barrel.

You make someone smile. You both add a marble to your barrel.


But you have to take marbles out of your barrel when something happens that makes you feel bad or you don’t accomplish something.

You don’t wash the dishes and the food gets all hard and dried on them. You take a marble out of your barrel.

You are late for work. You take a marble out of your barrel.

A family member yells at you. You take a marble out of your barrel.

You meet someone you think is cute but they only seem interested in talking to your friends. You take a marble out of your barrel.

You don’t pay a bill on time. You take a marble out of your barrel. 

You skip a meal because you’re too fat. You take a marble out of your barrel. 

You get a cold. You take a marble out of your barrel. 

Someone spreads a nasty rumor about you. You take a marble out of your barrel. 

You try to talk to someone about your problem and they don’t want to listen. You take a marble out of your barrel. 

So you’re trying to fill up your barrel. 

But you have depression. You’re like a wind-up toy that keeps running down and having to be rewound. You’re still moving, still putting marbles into your barrel, but you have to stop and wind yourself up frequently. 

Every time you do this, you’re losing time that you could be using to gain marbles to put in your barrel. 


You look around and it’s like everyone you see is steadily putting marbles into their barrels, and you notice their barrels are looking a lot more full than yours. When you notice this, you take a marble out of your barrel.

After a while, others start to notice your barrel is not filling up as fast and start talking to each other about it. You take a marble out of your barrel.

They tell you to spend less time winding yourself up and more time collecting marbles. But it’s like they’re running on electric batteries and don’t understand that you have to wind yourself up or you’ll stop completely. You take a marble out of your barrel.

Some people even pick up marbles that should have been yours, because you’re not filling your barrel fast enough. You take a marble out of your barrel.

You criticize yourself to figure out what’s wrong with you, why you are wind-up and not battery operated. You take a marble out of your barrel.

When your barrel isn’t filling up, you get really angry and disappointed with yourself. You take a marble out of your barrel.

Your gears are getting worn down from so much winding. Your movements become jerky instead of smooth. You put more effort into moving more slowly and smoothly so no one will notice and criticize you. If they notice, you take a marble out of your barrel.

With worn gears, you can’t run as long as you used to. You are taking even longer to gain marbles for your barrel, You take a marble out of your barrel.


Eventually so many marbles are gone that your barrel is nearly empty. You might still be adding some marbles, but they don’t make you feel very good about it. The marbles look pretty small and insignificant in the vast emptiness of your barrel. When you notice this, you take a marble out of your barrel.

With an rapidly emptying  barrel, you can’t seeing the point of evening bothering to wind yourself up anymore. You’ll never get caught up now. You take a marble out of your barrel.

Others can’t see into the bottom of your barrel like you can. They can only see the top part of your barrel. They know your barrel isn’t as full as it should be, but they think you still have plenty of marbles left. They still think you can afford to lose a few marbles to criticism and they believe pointing out what is wrong will motivate you to fix it so you’ll get busy gaining more marbles. You take a marble out of your barrel.

You are staring down into the vast emptiness of your barrel all the time and you don’t tell them that you are almost out of marbles. You don’t want to talk about it. You take a marble out of your barrel.


When you get down to your last few marbles in the bottom of your barrel, you take out your windup key and throw it away.  

And the people around you who have their barrels half full can’t understand why. 

Let’s say the barrels are all half full of marbles that represent love and praise you received from your parents, grandparents, your family, etc. I know not everyone starts out in real life with that kind of loving support, but for this, we’re going to imagine the barrels are all half full. 

^ should not be forgotten

November 22, 2012

speaking of the zombie apocalypse

i’ve never seen a storyline about someone on antidepressants or antipsychotics or any number of other medications with severe withdrawal symptoms struggling to get what they need

that should really be written. it’s super common

November 22, 2012

Yesterday someone told me that self harm wasn’t an addiction


reblog if you disagree.

reblogged: (via)
1,501 notes
November 21, 2012


It would be nice to have something to blame my feelings on, instead of just general “your brain is working poorly right now.” At least I’m on an upswing now. Anyway, it was obviously a dream because in real life, big blue ticks make me happy.

well this gave me a tattoo idea



It would be nice to have something to blame my feelings on, instead of just general “your brain is working poorly right now.” At least I’m on an upswing now. Anyway, it was obviously a dream because in real life, big blue ticks make me happy.

well this gave me a tattoo idea

October 28, 2012

Ruby Wax on mental illness, [x].

avoid the comments on this video. they are terrible.

September 20, 2012

Checklist for effective satire: Pictures for Sad Children

After replying to that last post, I started to think of even more qualities that good, effective satire has. Let’s run through them:

1. It takes a specific political position. Without a clearly defined position, you can’t have satire. Simple as that. John Campbell’s piece is good on this— it is written as a non-apology, with little remorse. However…

2. The political position in opposition to the satire is widely supported. Everyone can agree that punching kittens is bad, but not everyone agrees that depression is real. In fact, many people think it’s fake. 

3. It takes a position that is extreme to the point of being unbelievable. Example: Jonathon Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” suggests eating children to solve mass hunger. Because many people believe that depresison is fake, John Campbell’s position becomes harder to identify as satire.

4. It uses exaggeration/hyperbole to tell the audience that it’s not serious. Example: Stephen Colbert frequently uses images of eagles, stars and stripes, and so on to call up the trope of the super-patriotic Republican. 

5. It uses a voice that is unlike the expected or socially required voice. A great example of this is how The Onion regularly uses profanity in its headlines; real news agencies do not. John Campbell’s piece sounds just like everything else he has written. If he had changed it up it would have been very obvious what his intentions were.

6. At the end of the piece, the majority of the audience can agree that it is satire. Obviously a lot of people don’t.

7. It uses statements that actually mean the opposite of what they are saying. If John Campbell was trying to point out how ridiculous it is to think that depression is fake, he could have said something like, “oh yes, I have been faking an illness that regularly kills ______ number of people every year”, or “the only thing I regret is not being even more despondent. Instead, I somehow managed to keep a regular work schedule and earn a wage even through my fake depression”— the actual meaning being that some people who are depressed actually die, and many people who are depressed struggle to earn a living.

8. At the end of the piece, the people who belong in the group you have sided with can agree that it’s satire. If John Campbell’s piece was intended to poke fun at people who call depression fake (siding with people who have mental illness or depression), then it failed, because responses have been mixed.

9. At the end of the piece, the people who agree with the position you’re attacking are very rare.  There are always a few weird outliers who actually agree with the position the satire opposes (example: famous people accidentally taking Stephen Colbert seriously), but a large portion of your audience should not. I should not be getting people telling me to kill myself, nor should others.

So there you go. John Campbell failed 8 out of 9 common requirements for effective satire. With each successive quality that an attempted satire does not achieve, the chances that it will actually be considered satire drops drastically. If Campbell was trying to help us, he failed miserably and he should face criticism for it (especially after spending years talking about these things). It he was serious, that’s obviously not okay.

September 20, 2012

so, let’s say


that John Campbell is a person who has depression and, in his inflammatory post, was trying to satirize ableism. This is what I think is true, partly because of the new post “outing” other content creators—some of them are people he’s friendly/cordial with, and I don’t think that he’d suddenly lash out this way at them.  I think it mostly, though, because in Campbell’s art he’s demonstrated an understanding of depression as an arbitrary and very real condition that can strike anyone, regardless of how “nice” their life is.

I don’t feel that this changes the validity of the amount of rage that’s been levied at him. 

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yeah, even if he did intend for it to be satire, his failure to do it effectively is very clear. in all successful satire of a serious subject, there have to be clues (not necessarily obvious, but at least noticeable) that it is a joke. that can be achieved either by holding a position that is so absurd that no one could believe it (see: cannibalism in “a modest proposal”), or by using extreme hyperbole to exaggerate one’s claims so that people get the message (see: Stephen Colbert).

unfortunately, Campbell does neither. there are many, many people with depression out there who have had others question the validity of their condition— it’s not an extreme position in any way to claim that depression is fake because a society that values people based on their work capacity inherently tries to minimize it. and in terms of hyperbole, Campbell just doesn’t do it. lots of very direct, plain statements are not in any way a form of exaggeration.

because of this, I have to conclude that he is either 1) a really obnoxious, privileged jerk, or 2) he somehow failed to consider how his work would come across despite having worked with the subject matter and people deeply engrossed in it for years. both conclusions are reprehensible, and (if it’s for real) the simple apology that people keep touting to excuse him does not in any way make up for it.

September 19, 2012

Let me clarify:

Art can: 

  • Be offensive
  • Push the limits of what we consider acceptable
  • Do things that make us uncomfortable

But only good art will:

  • Actually have a point in its offending people, and… 
  • if it does offend people, it does so without hurting and destroying a lot of identities/lives/struggles

Just because someone does something “artistic” does not mean it is necessarily good. And someone arbitrarily calling their work “art” doesn’t automatically make it immune to criticism.

So if someone fakes a terrible illness for the selfish purpose of making lots of money and feeling “like they belong”, their simply creating something and calling it “art” does not mean they are suddenly perfect, nor does it make what they did okay. Not at all.

If you think it does then you really need to re-examine your standards, because by those rules even my fingernail clippings and empty pizza boxes are artistic— which is totally absurd, because obviously you have standards already, since you chose this particular webcomic out of 1000000000s of other media in the world.

The question is whether you care because you’ve been there, someone you love has been there, or you just like people and empathize…or you don’t care, because you’re an apathetic person who thinks it’s okay to make fun of people’s horrible traumatic experiences. In which case, just save us the trouble and admit that you’re a terrible person instead of trying to feebly defend yourself by saying it’s “art” and art “has no bounds”. You’re not being artistic or defending art. You’re just being an ass.

It’s not okay to call a scientifically and personally proven illness fake. Especially not when people already struggle to have said illness respected. Art is no exception to this. The end.