“Suicidal feelings are not the same as giving up on life. Suicidal feelings often express a powerful and overwhelming need for a different life. Suicidal feelings can mean, in a desperate and unyielding way, a demand for something new. Listen to someone who is suicidal and you often hear a need for change so important, so indispensable, that they would rather die than go on living without the change. And when the person feels powerless to make that change happen, they become suicidal.
Help comes when the person identifies the change they want and starts to believe it can actually happen. Whether it is overcoming an impossible family situation, making a career or study change, standing up to an oppressor, gaining relief from chronic physical pain, igniting creative inspiration, feeling less alone, or beginning to value their self worth, at the root of suicidal feelings is often powerlessness to change your life – not giving up on life itself.
I’m so confused and angry and sad. I know it’s time for a lot of big changes, and I’m putting a lot of effort into making them. I’ve come a long way. But it’s so slow, and so much. I just want to get through this already, I feel like I can’t take another day like this. I just want to love and be loved, experience new things and enjoy the things I know.
It is important to do good things frequently and with no ulterior motive. You oughtn’t just do them because you think people are watching. In fact, I think you should do at least five nice things every day that no one knows about. Secret acts of good will to subtly improve the world. A silent revolution from the heart.
Helen Marnie, better known as the main voice of frosty synthpop outfit Ladytron, recently took a break from her day job to deliver her first solo album, Crystal World. On paper, this seems like a good move because after four albums ranging in quality from solid to exceptional, Ladytron finally released their first dud in 2011 with Gravity The Seducer. Unfortunately, Crystal World doesn’t do much to fix the group’s recent shortage of ideas. That said, there is one moment that reminds me of the past glory that made me fall in love with Helen in the first place. “Sugarland” has just the right mix of ingredients to get our hairs standing on end: Ominous bass, frozen synths, echoing guitars, and Marnie’s determined yet somehow still indifferent voice in command of the whole operation. The album may not match the high standards we’re used to from our Scottish songstress, but at least “Sugarland” is helping me remain hopeful for her next attempt.
Best Moment: After a verse and a half, this mysterious, theremin-like noise drops into place at 1:18 and Marnie begins mirroring herself just enough to bring things up to another level.
Many adults are put off when youngsters pose scientific questions. Children ask why the sun is yellow, or what a dream is, or how deep you can dig a hole, or when is the world’s birthday, or why we have toes.
Too many teachers and parents answer with irritation or ridicule, or quickly move on to something else. Why adults should pretend to omniscience before a five-year-old, I can’t for the life of me understand. What’s wrong with admitting that you don’t know? Children soon recognize that somehow this kind of question annoys many adults. A few more experiences like this, and another child has been lost to science.
There are many better responses. If we have an idea of the answer, we could try to explain. If we don’t, we could go to the encyclopedia or the library. Or we might say to the child: “I don’t know the answer. Maybe no one knows. Maybe when you grow up, you’ll be the first to find out.
Mental illnesses, no matter the form, are trying to deal with. Psychology and the brain are just now being understood and medication for many illnesses is still quite new. And yet, often people say insensitive things about mental illness, whether unintentional or otherwise. It can be difficult for many of us dealing with an illness to continually hear things like, “people with mental illnesses are crazy” or “if you just try hard enough, you’ll get better.” So I thought compiling a very small beginners list that gives people without mental illnesses some understanding could be helpful.
1.) The mental illness, disorders, and disabilities spectrum is vast.
Immensely, seriously, hugely vast. Like ever-expanding universe huge. Despite the two being medical issues, you wouldn’t classify a skin lesion under the same category as a cold, would you? Similarly, not all mental illnesses are the same. It can span anywhere from autism, depersonalization disorder, social anxiety, to dyslexia. It’s okay not to know something about a mental illness, I doubt you know everything about all of the physical ailments and illnesses in the world. However, if someone you know is suffering from a mental illness, it would be nice to ask them about it or look it up, rather than simply assuming “Asperger syndrome just means awkward.”
2.) Don’t assume mental illness means crazy or violent.
This goes with the first thing to know, but it should be stated very plainly that in hundreds and hundreds of studies, it’s known that people with mental illnesses are more likely to be the victim of a violent crime rather than the perpetrator. Statements, then, such as, “Let’s just prevent the mentally ill from owning a gun” are offensive. Even in illnesses where delusions and hallucinations are common, violence/erratic behavior is still NOT more prevalent for them to be more violent than people without mental illness. It’s easy to blame those with mental illnesses for the problems in society, but it does little other than to make those with mental illnesses feel alienated.
3.) Sadness isn’t depression, having a mood swing isn’t bipolar, and washing your hands isn’t obsessive-compulsive.
Do not downplay these very real illnesses. Don’t normalize the actual debilitating social anxiety your friend has by saying “the other day I almost had a panic attack!” Some people try to say these things as a way to relate, but ultimately it belittles what people with these illnesses commonly deal with. Don’t joke about being bipolar because “you totally went from hyper to grumpy in about five minutes.” You aren’t. That’s not what the illness is, so please don’t say it.
4.) Self-harm isn’t any less serious because you feel the person is just “trying to get attention.”
For many people, self-harm is a way to get a release for anger, depression, numbness, or a combination thereof. Though their wounds might be visible, it’s still the sign of a very serious issue and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Self-harm is usually explored when other options have run out or the person feels like nothing is working. Help is needed, so curse your judgment. Same goes for people who mention wanting to die; even if you feel it’s attention seeking, it should be taken seriously every time.
5.) Don’t treat a person inferior because of their disorder.
This shouldn’t need to be said, but somehow I still see people automatically revert their language to elementary standards when they find out a person is autistic. Unless you are told explicitly someone needs simpler speech, this comes off as really insensitive and ignorant.
6.) Medication isn’t a magic fix for many of us.
Some of us can’t take medication. Many people that deal with bipolar disorder have to take a combination of countless medications. Sometimes for an undetermined amount of time they will work and then, randomly, they will stop. Our brain might fight the medications. Sometimes they just don’t know why it won’t work, which is why most anti-depressants and anti-psychotics warn upfront of suicidal tendencies. Some medications make extreme improvements and with others, it’s the extreme opposite. Don’t tell someone to try new medications or that they need to be medicated. Some of us have to live by coping without the help of medication.
7.) Don’t tell people with mental illnesses they need to “choose to be happy” or that “others have it worse.”
It isn’t about choosing to be happy or well adjusted. If it were that easy I would have chosen years ago not to have bipolar. I am sure most people wouldn’t choose to be dripping in sweat in their car, trying to talk themselves into walking into work, fighting their anxieties to do everyday things. I am absolutely positive the huge majority of people would “choose” happiness if it were that easy. Most people I personally know with a mental illness get angry with themselves because they know of other people in the world that “have it worse” than them. Hearing this does not help; if anything, it simply increases the self-loathing many of us cope with.
8.) Realize that help isn’t always readily available.
Whether the doctors aren’t available, or the insurance/payment isn’t viable– help just isn’t there sometimes. Also, mental illnesses are still misunderstood and sufferers are usually shamed. Some people have gotten help and a diagnosis but couldn’t maintain a long-term relationship with their doctor due to funding.
9.) If someone’s behavior drastically changes, please reach out and help.
Providing support without shaming them is important. Don’t tell them how “bad” they’ve been; tell them you’ll help them receive help and the treatment they need. Do not ignore suicidal actions or tendencies.
10.) Try to understand how hard it is to cope with mental illnesses, disorders, and disabilities.
I can’t even describe or try to put into a metaphor how life altering it can be so it’s hard to make someone understand. Just try to keep in mind the science is still new, the medications are new, and help is hard to find. Try not to be insensitive, belittling, or offensive to those suffering from them.
Raphaelle Standell-Preston has had a busy year. In 2013 she managed to release both a Blue Hawaii album with her buddy Agor Cowan, as well as a new LP with her main band, Braids. “December” is the highlight on Flourish // Perish, and it’s everything we could hope for in a Braids jam. A great ethereal, bubbling backing line, an intermittent floating synth, and heapings of Raph’s immaculate voice. Throughout the song, she keeps asking what she’s living for, and while I can’t answer that question for her, if you ask me, finding songs like this are certainly on my short list.
Best Moment: While it’s pretty subtle, the floating synth that first appears at 0:41 never fails to make my eyes widen.
“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”—Henry David Thoreau (via misswallflower)
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”—Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (via creatingaquietmind)
“Not everything is supposed to become something beautiful and long-lasting. Sometimes people come into your life to show you what is right and what is wrong, to show you who you can be, to teach you to love yourself, to make you feel better for a little while, or to just be someone to walk with at night and spill your life to. Not everyone is going to stay forever, and we still have to keep on going and thank them for what they’ve given us.”—Emery Allen (via sayeda313)
“So often we try to make other people feel better by minimizing their pain, by telling them that it will get better (which it will) or that there are worse things in the world (which there are). But that’s not what I actually needed. What I actually needed was for someone to tell me that it hurt because it mattered.
I have found this very useful to think about over the years, and I find that it is a lot easier and more bearable to be sad when you aren’t constantly berating yourself for being sad.”—John Green (via onlinecounsellingcollege)