Being Transgender Isn't the Problem. We Are.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016 by Meg   •   Filed under General

Transgender identity, as a broad term, is the idea that some people do not conform consistently or unambiguously to the typical (or accepted) notions of “male” or “female”. When we hear the term, it is often used to describe someone like Caitlyn Jenner whose gender identity (sense of themselves as male or female) or gender expression differs from that usually associated with their birth sex. However, not everyone whose appearance or behavior is gender atypical will identify as a transgendered. Tim Curry in The Rocky Horror Picture Show isn’t necessarily transgender just because he loves women’s lingerie. He could just be a proud dude in panties.

But the issue is far beyond dressing a certain way or acting a certain way. The transgendered population is under attack at every turn due to forces they cannot control. I mean, why are we so worried about where people can pee for fuck’s sake?

Gender identity, like sexuality, exists on a spectrum. And as a society, we disregard anyone who doesn’t fit into these little tiny boxes of “normal.” We label them as mentally ill. We try to take away their inherent human rights. And that is a huge part of what triggers depression and anxiety and suicide in misunderstood and persecuted populations. 

In short, being transgender isn’t the problem. We are....  continue reading

Herbs For Depression: Combating Sadness with Turmeric and Star Wars

Thursday, December 17, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under Physical Health and Emotion

Our dog's name, roughly translated into Latin, means "Star Wars". So I feel compelled to at least mention the fact that Star Wars VII IS ALMOST HERE, YOU GUYS! But because I do not have a sci-fi fangirl blog, I need to keep all this excitement in check and stick to the psychology. So let's get to it. 

There are a number of vitamins and minerals that are critical for emotional health, from magnesium, to zinc to vitamin B to vitamin D. Like the diverse forces of the Rebel Alliance, all of these contain properties that are required for appropriate functioning of the brain, often on a cellular level.

But did you know that there are certain herbs that may be useful in reducing mental health issues as well? 

Let’s talk about turmeric, an earthy, almost-bitter-but-not-quite herb often used with curry in Indian dishes. It’s not just for curry anymore.

Yoda would approve....  continue reading

South Carolina, Self Regulation and That Child Beating A$$hole

Thursday, October 29, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under General


South Carolina....just fucking no.

I worked for quite some time with at-risk children in a school setting. School was skipped, homework left incomplete, and defiance, aggression and “back-talk” abounded. Did the kids’ smart mouths and disrespectful attitudes ever make me want to hit them?

Hell to the no. Because I’m a fucking grownup with fully-developed self-regulation skills. And because there are always reasons for negative behaviors. Seeing only the behavior without considering its underlying cause is a short-sighted and ignorant way to handle the situation.

When I see the teenager on the now infamous video, I see a girl in pain. How about we discuss the fact that she was in foster care due to issues at home? That she was asked to leave because she glanced at her cell phone (and apologized for it at the time)? That her “defiance” was her stating that she had done nothing wrong? (Another girl agreed, and was also arrested.) Does it matter that the officer in question had a history of violent behavior? Does any of that matter?

The sad fact is, to many, the circumstances leading up to her beating do not matter. And when I see people disregard this, I see broken people. I see deep-rooted issues. I see the little children they used to be hearing, “Don’t whine, there’s no excuse for that behavior.” I see dysfunction in the masses.

This girl needs help, not violent repercussions. Not abuse. And in the video I saw, the officer was most certainly abusive. Violent. Scary. The adolescent brain is a little unstable and labile as a rule. But the cop is not a child. He showed a gross lack of self-regulation. He lost control. He himself is broken, very likely another victim in the ongoing cycle of abuse endorsed by our society. He needs serious help, not high fives....  continue reading

When Love Isn't Enough: The Aftermath Of Suicide

Thursday, September 10, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under Depression

We watched you die. 

It was a slow, meandering type of death, one punctuated by success and woe, optimism and hopelessness. No one suspected you’d slipped so far down into the abyss as to assume that today was the day. 

But I should have known. I have seen it before, oh how many times, the quiet looks of fevered desperation, the tears that come more often, the rage that bubbles beneath the surface, waiting for a reason to erupt. The need to blame someone else, something else, anything else, for the burning, molten hatred that eats at you like a cancer until you’re hollowed out and sick. 

But you weren’t a patient, and I was just your “almost” sister....  continue reading

Do We Need To Worry About Suicide Contagion?

Wednesday, September 09, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under Depression

Many people have issues talking about suicide. First, there is horrible social stigma associated with it: you “commit” suicide as if it were a crime. Family members left behind rarely clarify cause of death due to shame and the prevailing societal belief (or at least personal feeling) that they are somehow at fault. We see, “after a long battle with cancer,” but not, “after a long battle with depression,” in obituaries.  Because you can’t catch cancer from someone who died. 

So why do we think we’ll catch suicide? 

The portrayal of suicide “victims” by the media or in school settings may be one reason we see suicide contagion or “copycat” suicides, especially among adolescents or young adults. When we glorify suicide, make the suicidal into martyrs or heroes, or glamorize the action itself, we run the risk of contagion1. Detailed descriptions of the method used to bring about one’s death may also contribute to the likelihood that someone may try to copy those actions. Likewise, if we talk about suicide as the shocking or inevitable action of an otherwise “normal” or successful person, there is a higher chance that others with mental illnesses will identify with the person in question and follow suit. There was great concern following the death of Robin Williams because of the way the media idolized him, discussed their love for him, instead of being specific about the pain he caused through his death....  continue reading

Romanticizing Mental Illness, Kurt Cobain and Posterboys for Teen Angst

Tuesday, August 25, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under General

What happens when we emulate the behaviors of our favorite rock stars? 

The Nirvana Age was a prime example of the romanticization of mental illness, and one that stands out as particularly poignant to me as a child of this era.  Kurt Cobain spoke to us because we were broken too, the epitome of teen angst. He was an example of what a little bullied child could aspire to. He was proof that even a troubled little boy whose parents shuttled him from one home to another could find love in legions of fans. We heard his brokenness, saw his success and aspired to overcome as he had. 

But he hadn’t. And instead of acknowledging that this guy needed help, high school students embraced Smells Like Teen Spirit as their anthem. Like Robin Williams, we saw only what we wanted to in Kurt Cobain.

And we were wrong....  continue reading