"Let Them Walk": Overparenting, Eroding Community Relationships and How to Make Your Kid Nervous as F*ck

Monday, April 20, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under Psychology of Motherhood

If you guys know me, you’re probably aware that I’m a feminist. To me, this is about respecting the rights of other women, about embracing our differences and offering support. 

And I’m a little pissed off. 

Every week I see another story on some mother who let her kid walk home from school, or go to a park alone or god forbid walk to a friend’s house. Their children are being detained, mothers arrested, families torn apart if only for an hour or a few days.

Do the charges get dropped? Well, sure, almost always. But it SHOULDN’T BE FUCKING HAPPENING IN THE FIRST PLACE. 

If children walking down the street alone was really all that criminal, all of our mothers would be in jail. If your mom wouldn’t have called the cops for it, you probably shouldn’t either. “Free-range parenting” isn’t a new fucking thing. It was always just a normal thing until the last few years when we suddenly got super nervous. 

Helicoptering is the recent parenting fad, much like the majority of parenting fads that came before. And over vigilance is easy to fall into; after all, in our history we probably had some times where leaving a kid alone meant they got eaten by a saber-toothed tiger

But we aren’t in a place where we need to be on constant watch for a goddamn tiger. We only think we are....  continue reading

Bipolar Disorder, Creativity and Surviving Mental Illness Through Humor

Thursday, April 09, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under General

“Bipolar disorder isn't a death sentence, but it is a life sentence. How I do the time has changed.” ~Lance Burson, Surviving Mental Illness Through Humor

In the last post (here), I discussed bipolar disorder as an evolutionary system bent on survival, with periods of productivity interspersed between periods of depressed function as a way to reserve resources. With all these evolutionary links, and twisty interconnected brain wiring, it is no surprise that those who suffer from bipolar or related conditions tend to experience periods of creativity, either due to the wiring itself of due to a need to use creative process as an outlet. 

To drive this point home, I’ve invited one of the editors of Surviving Mental Illness Through Humor to share her experiences with creative release and Bipolar Disorder. Then I am going to tell you more about this book because it’s a rarity that you find something that normalizes so many conditions in one place and everyone should read it....  continue reading

Tangled Minds: The Link Between Creativity and Bipolar Disorder

Monday, April 06, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under Evolutionary Psychology

Highly creative? Outside the box thinker? You might be more prone to mental illness. 

Creative individuals have a higher risk for pathology from mood disorders, schizophrenia spectrum disorders and substance abuse issues4. For some of these creative types, depression or anxiety stems from seeing things differently compared to those around them. In other cases, condition symptoms lead to a need for some type of outlet, and creative endeavors like art or writing fit the bill. 

However, many have creative minds as a symptom of their diagnosis because the same systems that trigger the condition also lead to the ability to think creatively. This seems particularly relevant in the case of bipolar disorder. 

Now this is surely not to assert that everyone with bipolar disorder is a creative genius, or that those who happen to be creative necessarily suffer from bipolar disorder. Instead it is more an exploration of how those things might go together. Because creativity is pretty bad ass and we all want to know some of the things that cause it right? 

Let’s take a ride....  continue reading

Rocking the Boat (and Everything Else): Stereotypic Movement Disorders, Autism, Triggers and Treatments

Thursday, April 02, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under General

Stereotypic movement disorders or bodily focused repetitive movements (BFRM) are repetitive actions that may involve physical harm to the person doing them. In smaller children, these movements may be normal as they try to control very big feelings. But they can become problematic, especially in older children. While no specific cause has been found for some stereotypic movement disorders, they do tend to increase with stress, boredom and frustration. And there is a great deal of overlap between stereotypic movement disorders and impulse control disorders like excoriation (skin picking) and many specific behaviors can fall under both the impulse control umbrella and the movement disorder umbrella.

Stereotypic movement disorders are common in those with OCD, younger children, abused or neglected children, those with mental retardation and the autistic population. SMDs also tend to be present with stimulant drug use, such as amphetamines and cocaine, though whether you should walk up to a crack addict and yell, “Hey! That’s a stereotypic movement issue!” is a grey area. I’m going to go with, “Leave him alone,” but that’s me....  continue reading

Birthday Candles and Bullsh*t: Menopause, Depression, Anxiety and Grieving

Monday, March 30, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under General

Nothing makes you want to say, “Fuck you,” to Mother Nature quite like menopause. 

From irregular periods to vaginal dryness to sleep issues to weight gain to hot flashes to thinning hair, to dry skin to a loss of breast fullness, it’s a bitchslap of epic proportions. There is also a loss of elasticity in the vagina which can lead to pain or bleeding during intercourse. As if we needed any more bullshit going on down there after pregnancy made our bladder leak every time we sneeze. 

Menopause can be caused by hormonal changes, hysterectomy (particularly of the ovaries were removed), chemotherapy, or ovarian insufficiency, a condition where your ovaries don’t produce enough reproductive hormones. Ovarian insufficiency can be related to genetic factors or environmental factors such as lack of proper nutrition and is more common in those with certain autoimmune diseases. 

But the changes are not all physical. There's shock, grief at aging, a sense of uselessness, depression and anxiety, insomnia and the list goes on. Let's check out why those things happen and some remedies that can help reduce the symptoms.

Fucking Mother Nature....  continue reading

10 Things I've Learned in the Year Since My Father's Death

Monday, March 23, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under General

A year ago, my father passed away. Massive coronary, completely unexpected, utterly devastating. I wrote about it in Grief From Love. The outpouring of support was humbling and I cannot thank you enough. But I also got many questions about it. Did it get better? How did things change? Today I will do my best to answer those questions but I may have done it even better in "Alien Landscape," a short story I wrote that used metaphor to explore my emotions. For more on "Alien Landscape," click here. Otherwise, read on....  continue reading