Living With Dying

Thursday, February 19, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under Mom Stories/Opinion

A cancer diagnosis changes everything. 

"Emotional roller coaster" is a phrase that does little justice to the upheaval one feels after diagnosis with a major illness, terminal or not. And the fear. So much fear. While many have thoughts about whether there will be pain or how long they have, worry about the loved ones left behind is a huge source of worry, particularly for parents. So I have invited a friend to share her experience with metastatic breast cancer. Cancer is messy, but there are ways to cope. For more insight on dealing with a cancer diagnosis, check out Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person, A Breast Cancer Alphabet and My Cancer Mommy....  continue reading

"F*ck This Shit": Female Veterans, Trauma, Informed Consent and Working Towards Something Better

Monday, February 16, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under General

War comes at a great cost to the people who fight. 

We are great at programming people to be soldiers. At this point, we can adjust the brain at will in order to make sure that the people we send to fight our battles will do what we need them to, to protect American interests. 

But we suck terribly at reintegrating people. I’ve seen men hang on desperately to the notion that, “All Commies are the devil,” because they needed to believe it lest they recognize that they murdered women and children who could have been theirs. I have also seen the ones who recognized that these things were not true reduced to such horrendous guilt that they were never able to function again. 

This is the real cost of war. Sure it’s about money and about political interests and a whole lot of other shit, but the price we pay is too high to justify it unless we assume that the “greater good” outweighs the lives of the people who volunteer to protect these interests. Which for the most part, we do as a nation. And, for the most part, veterans assume that their ultimate sacrifice is  for something greater than themselves, and they face this with trepidation but ultimately nobility. 

But this post isn’t about whether it’s worth it to us as a nation. It’s about informed consent. Because while these men and women go in with the knowledge that they might die, they are not often informed that the emotional issues acquired during their stints may persist throughout the rest of their lives....  continue reading

Why Doesn't He Want Me? When Your Drive Is Higher Than His

Thursday, February 12, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under Sexuality/Relationships

Anyone who has ever been turned down for sex has some feelings around it. Women who are denied feel rejected and unattractive. We get frustrated, sexually and otherwise. We may also feel anxious, as if the relationship is threatened. This is based on an evolutionarily relevant drive to have sex as a way to increase attachment and reaffirm bonds (and if you want to learn more about that, check out The Evolution of Desire, The Anatomy of Love or Mothers and Others).

In short, we don’t always want to high-tail it to the closet for some solo fun with the magic bullet or rascally rabbit (and if you don’t know what those are, you should). Sometimes, we want the connection, the closeness. We want a partner. This whole reaffirming bond thing may be why couples who have more sex have more marital satisfaction even when they have less than ideal communication skills otherwise1.

But it’s a bigger issue than immediate hurt feelings and a little argument over him not being in the mood. Conflicts over intimacy tend to be recurrent and ongoing2 which does not lead to happier relationships overall. And this issue is heightened, with more anger and aggression, when one or both partners is depressed, especially if it’s the husband2

And when it’s the wife who has a higher drive, we have a few other issues to contend with....  continue reading

Anxiety, Alcohol Use and 13 Ways to Cope With Panic (Besides Drinking)

Monday, February 09, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under Anxiety

Social anxiety is strongly linked to higher levels of alcohol abuse1, possibly due to the way alcohol lubricates vocal chords and actually allows nervous folks to speak in public. A little social helper to get you through meeting new friends, right? 

But anxiety is more strongly connected to alcohol dependence than alcohol abuse so those with anxiety may have a predisposition to end up addicted2. Either that or people mistake the withdrawal symptoms for anxiety which skews the data. Either way, over time, alcohol triggers worsening anxiety issues, leading to more need for more alcohol to reduce ever climbing emotional symptoms. 

Uhoh. 

There are ways to cope without the alcohol, and we’ll get to all that in a minute. But you need to understand what you’re up against....  continue reading

To B Or Not To B: The Relationship Between B Vitamins, Depressive Symptoms and John Wayne Bobbitt

Friday, February 06, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under Physical Health and Emotion

Folic Acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 are critical for physical and emotional health. Those with severe deficiencies in this class of vitamins may have striking symptoms such as easy bleeding and bruising, pale skin, sore tongue or rapid hearth rhythms.  When levels are not low enough to maintain these symptoms, subclinical B vitamin deficiencies are often overlooked or misdiagnosed as mood disorders since health practitioners may be unaware of the psychological implications of low vitamin B.  

It's kind of complicated because there is more than one B vitamin that is critical for mental health, but I'm game if you are. Let's do this. (That's what she said.)...  continue reading

"Who Are You Calling Depressed, Assh*le?!" The Relationship Between Depression and Anger

Monday, February 02, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under Depression

Depression is usually categorized by a lack of pleasure in things you used to enjoy, lack of energy, changes in sleep or appetite, trouble concentrating and worthlessness (see a full list of symptoms here in What Is Depression?) But there is one symptom that isn’t brought up as often because there is some taboo around it: anger. 

That’s right, all you non-depressed folks. The depressed population don’t just lay in bed feeling sad. There’s a whole slew of other stuff that goes with it. So do me a favor and don’t do something stupid like tell them to snap out of it, okay? If they could, they would. And if you mutter something of that nature, I will support them punching you. (Steps off soapbox.) 

Anyway, anger attacks are present in both obsessive compulsive disorder, and Major Depression and all three often occur together1. They are also common in anxiety, post-traumatic stress postpartum depression and other conditions like Borderline Personality Disorder. And if you get caught with PPD, PTSD, OCD, depression and anger, watch out. 

Good times. Fucking mother nature....  continue reading