The dream of waking up and randomly finding the source of your depression.
The frustrating way people talk about mental illness versus other illnesses.
1. It wasn’t the greatest. My mother had me when she was 17 and still in school. As a result, my grandparents watched me whenever she wasn’t able to do so, and as time passed, that happened more and more often. They actually ended up raising me but still encouraged a relationship with her. Looking back, I’m convinced that did a lot more harm than good. She just wasn’t ready to be a mother so young; she was the sort who was very social and loved to party and needed to be part of the in-crowd. When she was finally ready for children, she went on to have a replacement kid — a “do-over”, someone once described it — who, to this day, is by far the favorite child. My mother and I are not close at all, and I still have a lot of lingering issues I’ve needed to work through over the years because of it.
2. My parents have two sets of kids. They raised my older brother and I when they were teenagers and had my little brother and sister toward their 30/40s.
Growing up my parents had no money or family support. We didn’t have many toys, we ate simply and the presents we got were necessities wrapped up nicely. What they did have was time and energy and we were rich quality time.
Now my parents are much better off having finished school and established themselves professionally . My (20 years younger) siblings are drowning in toys and camps, playgroups and activities…but my parents are tired. I took for granted how much time and energy my parents had to simply play and engage with me as a kid. I can’t help but see the activities as a way to get the little ones out of the house and the toys as an apology for being burnt out.
I have a great relationship with my parents. I like them as people and enjoy their company. It was (and is) odd to watch them become adults, settle into themselves and their lives. It did set me apart from other kids growing up and of course other parents and teachers whispered. I put effort into living well to spite them. My parents sweat blood to make sure siblings and I have what we need, and we do. Occasionally we joke about about being neighbours in an old folks home and racing walkers down the hallways.
1. That when you say you’re broke you really are. They always think you must have some money. I find my middle class friends and family will always assume I can come out for a meal or to socialise when I tell them I’m out of cash. I guess middle class people always have some savings and aren’t checking the back of the sofa for loose change.
2. That not everyone is poor because they’re lazy or stupid or just didn’t try hard enough. There’s this deeply embedded belief in our country that poor people somehow deserve to be poor, and it’s amazing to me how blindly people believe this.
My parents have worked my entire life, often more than one job at a time. When I was in high school both my parents had two jobs, and we could still barely afford stuff. And it’s not because they’re lazy, that’s for damn sure. It’s not because they’re dumb, either. It’s because shit fucking happens sometimes, man. It’s been nearly the same for me.
My husband and I are much better off financially than we were a few years ago, thanks to a lot of hard work, but we’re still not even middle class, just living paycheck to paycheck and some months, having to sell something to buy groceries. My husband had a second job delivering pizzas for a while, just to make ends meet. I’ve seen for myself how insanely difficult it is to get out of debt and get ahead.
Literally every time I’ve managed to get a little money in the bank, something happens like a car breaking down or someone having to go to the hospital, and wipes it all out. Shit’s hard and being poor sucks. I’m never going to be rich; the best I can hope for is to eventually be comfortable. And it’s not because I’m fucking lazy.
As much as everyone dearly loves the whole “hard work will make you rich!” line, I’m sorry, it’s not really true. Yes, hard work is a huge component, BUT, so is luck, and a million other things you have no control over. Christ, just look at how many people got fucked over during the economic recession. That had nothing to do with how hard they did or didn’t work.
The way of life can be free and beautiful.
Protester and riot police crying together Sofia, Bulgaria, 2013.
Luther Standing Bear was an Oglala Lakota Sioux Chief who, among a few rare others such as Charles Eastman, Black Elk and Gertrude Bonnin occupied the rift between the way of life of the Indigenous people of the Great Plains before, and during, the arrival and subsequent spread of the European pioneers. Raised in the traditions of his people until the age of eleven, he was then educated at the Carlisle Indian Industrial Boarding School of Pennsylvania, where he learned the english language and way of life. (Though a National Historical Landmark, Carlisle remains a place of controversy in Native circles.)
1. Praise, flattery, exaggerated manners and fine, high-sounding words were no part of Lakota politeness. Excessive manners were put down as insincere, and the constant talker was considered rude and thoughtless. Conversation was never begun at once, or in a hurried manner.
2. Children were taught that true politeness was to be defined in actions rather than in words. They were never allowed to pass between the fire and the older person or a visitor, to speak while others were speaking, or to make fun of a crippled or disfigured person. If a child thoughtlessly tried to do so, a parent, in a quiet voice, immediately set him right.
3. Silence was meaningful with the Lakota, and his granting a space of silence before talking was done in the practice of true politeness and regardful of the rule that ‘thought comes before speech.’…and in the midst of sorrow, sickness, death or misfortune of any kind, and in the presence of the notable and great, silence was the mark of respect… strict observance of this tenet of good behavior was the reason, no doubt, for his being given the false characterization by the white man of being a stoic. He has been judged to be dumb, stupid, indifferent, and unfeeling.
4. We did not think of the great open plains, the beautiful rolling hills, the winding streams with tangled growth, as ‘wild’. Only to the white man was nature a ‘wilderness’ and only to him was it ‘infested’ with ‘wild’ animals and ‘savage’ people. To us it was tame. Earth was bountiful and we were surrounded with the blessings of the Great Mystery.
5. Kinship with all creatures of the earth, sky and water was a real and active principle. In the animal and bird world there existed a brotherly feeling that kept the Lakota safe among them. And so close did some of the Lakotas come to their feathered and furred friends that in true brotherhood they spoke a common tongue.
6. This concept of life and its relations was humanizing and gave to the Lakota an abiding love. It filled his being with the joy and mystery of living; it gave him reverence for all life; it made a place for all things in the scheme of existence with equal importance to all.
7. It was good for the skin to touch the earth, and the old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with bare feet on the sacred earth… the old Indian still sits upon the earth instead of propping himself up and away from its life giving forces. For him, to sit or lie upon the ground is to be able to think more deeply and to feel more keenly. He can see more clearly into the mysteries of life and come closer in kinship to other lives about him.
8. Everything was possessed of personality, only differing from us in form. Knowledge was inherent in all things. The world was a library and its books were the stones, leaves, grass, brooks, and the birds and animals that shared, alike with us, the storms and blessings of earth. We learned to do what only the student of nature learns, and that was to feel beauty. We never railed at the storms, the furious winds, and the biting frosts and snows. To do so intensified human futility, so whatever came we adjusted ourselves, by more effort and energy if necessary, but without complaint.
9.…the old Lakota was wise. He knew that a man’s heart, away from nature, becomes hard; he knew that lack of respect for growing, living things soon led to lack of respect for humans, too. So he kept his children close to nature’s softening influence.
10. Civilization has been thrust upon me… and it has not added one whit to my love for truth, honesty, and generosity.
By Shireen Dadkhah
When I was 16, I was diagnosed with clinical depression. After the diagnosis, my uncle slapped me on the back and said, “Welcome to the family kid,” while my family all compared drugs around the kitchen table. I’m extremely lucky that my family not only accepted that depression is a real, serious issue, but they understood it. (I come from a long line of clinically depressed people.) They were mindful to make sure that my depression wasn’t used as a crutch or an excuse, but thankfully, I never once heard the unhelpful “Just suck it up and deal with it,” and for that, I will be eternally grateful. (I also wrote about 10 brutal truths single people never talk about.)
Depression is different for everyone, but over the years I’ve noticed a few things that don’t seem to waver. They hold fast in their level of suckiness and they seem to apply to most everyone I’ve talked to that’s dealt with depression.
1. I’m not choosing to be depressed.
This isn’t a choice I’m making. My cat dying or my car being totaled aren’t the reason I’m depressed. Those things are tipping points, they push me over an edge I was already standing at. Depression is a chemical imbalance. Yes, there are things I can do and medications I can take but at the end of the day this isn’t something I’d choose for anyone and certainly not myself.
2. Your brain is the enemy.
For me, having depression is like walking around with a mean, petty, awful little friend in my brain all the time. It’s constantly telling me how awful I am, how I’m not good enough and how nobody likes me. And just like the negative comments on a blog post, those thoughts stick. Trying to convince yourself that your brain is wrong is no easy feat.
3. Telling me to “suck it up” makes me stabby.
Don’t tell me to “suck it up.” Don’t tell me to watch a sunset or exercise or appreciate the joy that is being alive. That’s about as effective as me telling you to go walk it off after you’ve broken your arm. It isn’t going to fix anything. Depression isn’t logical. You can’t reason with it or apply coconut oil and suddenly be better.
Having doubts about who your date or partner is normal, but too much of it may be a sign that you should end it altogether. Remember that there’s no way to force a relationship to work. Every couple is different, though the signs of a failing relationship are all too often the same.
Here are 15 signs to help you decide whether or not you’re with the right person.
1. You don’t feel like yourself with them
They might think that the world revolves around them and urge you to put in more effort just to fit into their circle. Being with this person feels like having to put on a show and change character. You’re not thrilled about having to learn all the things they are interested in, and they don’t even try to do the same with your interests. No relationship is worth sacrificing who you are.
2. You haven’t introduced them to your friends and family
…and if they have then they are probably not comfortable with them. There’s a reason you haven’t introduced them to friends and family, and it’s not because you’re too busy. It could be that you’re embarrassed, which is already enough of a reason for you to pull the plug on the relationship.
These sad and captivating photos tell the story of a Zoo like so many others. German photographer Elias Hassos perfectly captures the sadness of animals living in small cages – the boredom of spending every day of their entire life in the same spot and never knowing the feeling of freedom. The photos were published in German Greenpeace Magazine together with an article on the changing concept of zoos and their necessity.
For centuries, we’ve imprisoned animals in small cages just for our entertainment. Nowadays, more and more visitors feel compassion for caged animals – behavioral scientists criticize concrete enclosures and artificial light while radical animal rights activists call for an end to “life imprisonment.”
While the intention behind starting zoos might have been honorable, many have, unfortunately, become more similar to a car collection than an animal conservation effort.
As animal rights organization PETA has said, wildlife in captivity often “spend much of their time pacing, walking in tight circles, swaying or rolling their heads, and showing other signs of psychological distress.” Obviously, animals will always do best in the wild, roaming free in their natural setting, rather than living in poorly decorated and artificially lit living spaces.
Even the argument for conservation hits a few flat notes. Few animals in captivity are endangered, as Zoos prefer to showcase exotic species to wow the public. This is entertaining to humans, but not beneficial for the animals.
To be fair, there are beneficial organizations aiding in the conservation of endangered animals. The San Diego Zoo, for example, cares for Nola, one of the last four Northern White Rhinos in the world. Without their aid, she would likely be killed by poachers within days.
But, overall, it is the minority seeming to be investing in the well-being of the animal long-term, and this is likely why most animals in captivity live shorter lives than they do in the wild.
This is exactly what photographer Gaston Lacombe sought to convey when shooting his series entitled “Captive”. The pictures below expose the conditions many animals live in each day, detached from their natural origin.
Credit: Gaston Lacombe