Author Archives: Mandy
I’ve been thinking about this for a while, I’m starting a new blog because I find the constants of the word “philosophical” very irritating. While it’s true that many of the things I think about could be considered philosophical in nature I feel that some times it’s a bit of a stretch and of course they’re topics which come to mind that have nothing to do with philosophy. Thus I’m creating a new blog which will cover everything that I think about and all topics which I might decide to write about. If anyone is still reading this blog and would like to continue following me please check out my new blog as I’ll be closing this one down in roughly a week.
My new blog can be found here: http://allthingsmertbw.wordpress.com/
I’ve been wanting to write something on hypochondria for a while now, because I think it’s one of the more misunderstood mental illness and is subjected to more jokes/misrepresentations. People have said before that I’m a hypochondriac, while it’s not something that I find to be insulting (as others some times do) I also know it’s not true. The problem with people assuming that I’m a hypochondriac is that it proves the amount of misunderstanding that surrounds hypochondria. What I have in a couple of different chronic illnesses and chronic pain, which means that I’ve often got what seems to be unconnected symptoms thus making people think I think I’ve got a million different illnesses that I don’t actually have.
I’m aware that this can be a very touchy topic because of the misunderstandings and often accusations. I mean no offense by this post, this is just my understanding of how it works. Hypochondria is characterised by a belief that you are sick with an illness and often that illness isn’t actually present, more often then not this belief is directed toward many illnesses but it can be directed toward just the one illness. Often someone who has hypochondria will not believe that they’re not sick, they won’t accept that the test results are negative/will ask that they’re done again. However it’s not as simple as everyone seems to think that it is, hypochondria is a serious mental illness and it comes with many of the same problems seen in other mental illnesses. The main similarity here is a lack of understanding from the basic community and even doctors, very few people can comprehend what it’s like for someone with hypochondria and in order to successfully help the person you need to at least give it your all to try.
Let’s attempt to see what it’s like to be a hypochondriac, this is of course easier said then done especially if you’ve never experienced any mental illness before. Think about a time when you where absolutely sure about something, say an answer on a test or solution to a difficult problem ect, but everyone else is telling you that you are wrong about this. This is similar on a much smaller level to what someone with hypochondria feels, to them every sneeze could be bird flu. The important thing to remember about people with hypochondria is that to them it is a very real possibility that their sneeze is bird flu, it is their own personal reality that they are very sick. The more often that people tell them they’re not sick the more it can cause a lot of hurt and damage to the person, they become frustrated because no one is validating the way they’re feeling. It’s pretty scary to think you’re dieing of some sort of awful illness and it’s even worse if people are dismissing you or labeling you a ‘crazy’.
Obviously medical tests will more often then not come back negative because often people with hypochondria are actually physically healthy (because they’re so scared that they’re sick) but because of the psychological stress associated with feeling sick, medical testing and being unable to find an answer to the illness they continue to feel very tried, irritable, weak and all the other symptoms associated with stress. It is very difficult to accept that you’ve got hypochondria or any other mental illness and it’s important that you support someone you know if they are currently seeing someone in order to help with their hypochondria. However I think the misunderstandings and the use of hypochondria as an insult/bullying tool doesn’t help those who do have it feel like they’re really people, plus at the end of the day someone with hypochondria is sick in a way and they should be treated with the same amount of respect you would treat anyone else who is sick with.
Always remember that to someone with hypochondria the sickness and the danger is real and you need to respect that in order to help, it might not be ‘real’ to you but it’s more then real for them.
I watch a lot of science fiction movies and TV shows and there’s a trend that I’ve noticed within this genera more then others, scifi writers tend to see Earth and humans as being bad/destructive/something to fear ect. This is of course fine with me as I happen to share the view that humanity is an awful species and should really be destroyed before they destroy Earth at the same time as destroying themselves. It does make me wonder though what it is that makes scifi writers share a rather dim and similar view of humanity. Obviously you’ve got the shows like Stargate SG1 where people from Earth are running around saving the universe (from an enemy they’ve often pissed off or alerted the presence of humanity to said enemy) from whatever alien threat but there are a lot more that have little hits or obvious declarations that perhaps humanity isn’t all they think they are.
One of the shows I noticed this in was Lexx, the whole last season of Lexx was set on Earth. Earth was in the Dark Universe (as opposed to the Light Universe where season 1 opens) in the very darkest part of said Dark Universe. Earth was described by Stan as a “type 13 planet in its final stages” and was expected to be characterised by a rush for scientific knowledge that will end in the catastrophic destruction of the planet. In fact when the afterlife planets are destroyed all the souls go off to Earth and Prince (the equivalent of Hades or a guardian of the underworld) has good fun encouraging it to self destruct. Basically we’re told Earth is a bad evil place with evil people that will destroy it’s self in one of a few different ways (war being the most likely).
Sanctuary is a Canadian show where abnormal beings are kept safe by Dr Helen Magnus in her Sanctuary, it includes all sorts of different beings some which are commonly seen in fiction like mermaids, vampires, witches, huge animals ect. while others had been made up specifically for the show. The basic premise behind the whole show is that if the general public where to find out these abnormal beings existed there would be lots of experimentation and exploitation. Toward the end of Sanctuary this does happen and the human military behaves exactly as predicted and starts a huge war. We’re not given a very nice look at humanity here either.
Both Doctor Who and Torchwood have elements of distrust of humanity in them. The first few episodes in which The Doctor is played by David Tennant he defeats an alien in order to save Earth, after he has fairly won the safety of Earth and the aliens plan to leave Earth shoots the retreating space ship. The Doctor then gives the Government that ordered the strike a lecture telling them that he’d sent the wrong message “I should’ve told them to run as fast as they can, run and hide because the monsters are coming. The human race.” Similarly Jack Harkness in Torchwood is shown to be completely appalled by humanity at times, he’s far more likely to kill a threat then The Doctor but we do see times when he becomes angry with the exploration of aliens at the hands of human beings. He shuts down the fighting ring using wevals and the whole team becomes angered by the brutal treatment of an alien who is butchered alive (because it stays alive but keeps growing) in order to create cheap meat.
Warehouse 13 is a show in which a team of people go around the world collecting artifacts which cause rather nasty things to happen and the ‘good’ ones that the show explores come with bad down sides. Again here we see the need to protect these powerful things because humanity is far too likely to misuse them and there are a few characters who do try to kill people or end the world with these artifacts.
I’m sure if I really stopped to think about it a bit deeper I would be able to think of more, Blakes 7 comes to mind as does Battlestar Galactica and The X Files, however I think I’ve made my point. I wonder what it is about the scifi genera that makes this perception of humanity so common, is it the culture or are people who are drawn to scifi more likely to see the bad effects humanity has? Perhaps its because scifi writers are always looking forward that they’re better able to see that humanity has systematically gone about destroying lots of things especially those which it is fearful of. As I say I tend to agree with this view, I hardly see humanity making friends with aliens, in fact when I did get up to the episodes in which Lexx finds Earth I was all for letting Lexx eat/blow up Earth (primarily to save the rest of the universe) but because I’m interested in thought patterns and beliefs I find this topic very interesting.
I’m open about the abuse I’ve been through and for many people this is both surprising (not many abuse victims are so open) and confronting but most don’t expect that it was my mother who was the abusive one. I am, of course, more aware of the sexism within the image of an abuser because I’m directly affected by it but it really does seem to be an obvious way for female abusers to more or less hide in plain sight. I’m lucky in the respect that my mother dislikes me and so when my dad and I left the issue of custody never came up but if it had I would have been very worried about the outcome. My only salvation would have been the fact that I do have countless psychologist sessions devoted to the damaged caused by my mothers abuse, which would make up plenty of evidence as to why she shouldn’t have ever become a parent. Had I not gotten the chance to see someone about this it would be almost impossible to prove that she was abusive and it would be made all the more harder by the fact that she’s a woman. My dad would have no hope of convincing a court that she had the whole house in fear all the time…it’s just not plausible to many people after all she was ‘only’ a woman.
I remember before my dad decided to leave my mother I was looking for a place to live by myself, I was aware that to stay in that environment with her would eventually result in a successful suicide attempt. However all the agencies that I spoke to about finding housing for a 16 year old didn’t actually believe that my abuser was my mother and coupled with the fact that I was subjected mostly to psychological abuse they said I couldn’t prove that I needed the help. I was more or less turned away because it’s harder for people to believe that a female could be abusive. I was only months away from being homeless and even with the attempts I’d made on my own life none of the people who where suppose to help actually helped me.
I worry about the people who have been in similar situations to me but didn’t have an amazing dad to save them from being more or less scared out of their own ‘home’ and I worry about the men who are being abuse by women and who are unable to find help because the notion of a female abuser is so foreign. For men I imagine that the sense of shame that comes from being abused would be compounded by societys view that men should be able to protect themselves, of course a man 5 feet tall can protect himself from a woman who’s 6 foot 2 inches (rolls eyes). This sort of narrow and thoughtless view needs to be exposed for what it is, an easy way to hide abusers and we’ve got to stop it. I can’t understand why it’s so easy for people to turn a blind eye to this, especially since psychological abuse can do as much if not more damage then physical abuse and it is true that women are far more likely to be psychologically abusive then men.
A wide verity of women rant on and on about how they want to be seen the same way that men are seen but it’s simply not true. Women want to be on the same paid grade as men, they want to occupy the same jobs that men do and all the other good things (of course there’s nothing wrong with wanting these things) but they’re more then happy to be treated differently when it comes to the bad side of things. No woman wants to fight for her right to be seen as a potential rapist (yes woman can force men or other women), murderer, sociopath or abuser. Clearly no decent person whats to be thought of like that BUT as a whole gender you can’t complain that you’re not treated equally when you only want the benefits of said equality. So I guess I’m the extremely unpopular person who calls for the realisation that women can be just as cruel as men and if you want equality you’ve got to accept that.
This is another element of human behavior that completely baffles me, I simply can’t understand the reasons behind holding a fundamentalist or extremest believe. Some people have very ‘smartly’ replied that I just don’t have anything that I believe in, which is obviously not true…most people who know me know that animal welfare is something that I believe in and something that’s also very important to me, and I believe it’s very important to remove the stigma from mental illness. However I accept reality as well, the reality is that people will always eat meat and there will always be people who have the belief that all people with a mental illness are dangerous killers (which obviously isn’t true), whereas many fundamentalists and extremest seem to have an inability to accept the reality behind their belief.
Fundamentalists and extremest tend to take what is originally a good idea and apply stupid means of bringing their method to peoples attention, which of course actually does more damage to their cause then good. I’m referring to any fundamentalist or extremest group/behavior “Bible Bashes” for example take the good idea of a belief in God (which can and does do good for a lot of people) and apply the stupid means of harassing everyone by shouting out the front of a church or big train station that we’re all going to hell for not believing as they do. This of course has the effect of not only annoying people but can actually scare people away from a belief in God after all who in their right mind wants to believe in a God who damns someone to hell forever for only stealing bread for their family to eat?
I’m frequently arguing with vegans about their damaging approach to animal rights and welfare, they seem to think that by demanding people become vegan or trashing research labs that they can change the conditions when we all know that this simply isn’t true. I don’t have a problem with people being vegan and blogging about the benefits of veganism but I do have a problem with the way they think it’s ‘sinful’ to date a meat eater or to say that people will always eat meat, I personally feel the downside to this I’ve known many people who are reluctant to talk to me once finding out I’m vegetarian because they think I’m going to push my eating habits onto them. Instantly we see the problem with that sort of behavior, people don’t like it and they don’t respond to it. Exercise and healthy living can be taken to an extreme and I’ve see this happen before too, in fact how often do you hear blah blah is bad for you? Do you actually care about whatever new thing it is that will kill you or increase your risk of cancer, heart disease or whatever other illness? I know I don’t, I use to pay some vague attention but now everything is bad for you! I remember reading an article about chemicals in furniture that’s slowly killing you and I have to say that it was the most ridiculous and stupid serious article I’ve ever read…you’d better get rid of your couch and bed because they’re making you sick. Its the same with exercise, running in particular is pushed onto a lot of people but very few of the people pushing running realise that it’s actually really bad for all of your joints. You see when you step a certion amount of jolt is pushed back up your body and though all your joints when walking it’s not too hard on your body unless there’s a specific reason for their to be extra pressure in your step an example is running because you’re stepping down harder when you’re running you’re causing more jolt and thus more shock to go up the joints of your body, also if you’re over weight you cause more pressure. Exercise is also addictive, or the chemicals released because of exercise is addictive and many people who exercise to extremes every day in this situation your body doesn’t necessarily have enough time to recover from not only the flood of adrenaline, cortisol (which is particularly harmful to the body if it’s constantly present in large doses, it’s what makes you sick from stressing too much) and nor-adrenaline but also from the stress on your joints and muscles.
Any extreme or fundamental belief is harmful to whatever it is that you actually believe in no matter how “good for you” it might seem and this is something that I tend to see very clearly so I’m often confused as to why so many people have these damaging beliefs, why is it that people can’t take a step back and say “People think with their own brain so they won’t always believe what I do?” or “Blowing up an animal testing lab is only going to make them retest the stuff they just tested.” I’ve never understood this attitude that people have about forcing others to do something the way that they do things, in fact I remember I use to get very annoyed when my brother copied the way that I did things and I still feel similar. I like to think for myself and the fact that so many people seem to be hell bent on not only thinking the way someone tells them but telling others how to think really confuses me, as Socrates said “The unexamined life is not worth living…” to me this has always meant that it’s important to question things and come up with your own answer which I feel fundamentalists and extremest beliefs are missing.
This topic only comes up every now and again but each and every time it does I’m always passionate about it, there’s lots of issues that I feel passionate about so it’s impossible to remember each and every one (apparently I’ve got a lot of opinions lol) but I was recently reminded about this one.
I take anti-depressants every day in fact I take 350mg of Effexor-XR and it’s the third one that I’ve been on, it took some fiddling and that wasn’t really any fun but they do really help. I know that there are lots of doctors who will hand out psychological medications as if they’re lollies and I’m not advocating that people who don’t need medication take medication but I don’t think that taking a total view either way is a good thing either.
There’s a lot of natural medicines around which are also great, I personally use aromatherapy for all sorts of things from head aches to nausea to colds I would much rather use the natural essential oils then use a pain killer (especially given my rather bad history with painkillers, from OD to rare allergic reactions I’ve had my fair share of pain from them) however I’m not about to stop taking my anti-depressants because they’re chemicals.
Most who have suffered from a mental illness will tell you that once you do find the right medication they can help immensely, of course you get the people who don’t respond to medications at all or who have very bad side effects with little to no gain from many and that is the nature of any medication. You shouldn’t not try a medication just because there is a chance of a side effect, I get a dry mouth from mine but I also know that without them I’m not stable enough to make any real progress. Of course you should be careful with starting or stopping a medication especially the psych ones because some of them can and will have a pronounced withdrawal should you randomly stop taking them and for the first few days you can be a touch more emotional one way or the other (I was).
I really do believe that some medications are worth trying and yes they’re worth the risk of the rare reaction (which you should be aware of just in case, you want to stop before it really becomes a problem) after all I still try medications if they’re necessary as they occasionally are. To not try something that could make your quality of life better would be like not trying a new food because you could have a reaction from it. I know some medications are bad and the side effects are very nasty, I’m not saying they’re the ones to take on the contrary I avoid anti-anxiety’s and sedatives like the plague because I know they make me ‘zombie’ like which doesn’t help but I don’t shy away from other medication just because I could react to it.
Try to keep an open mind, if your doctor says you need psych medication don’t assume it’s the worst thing possible think about it in terms of how you’re currently doing and then decide if it’s the best thing for you. You might think that you’re stable enough to work on your problems without medication and that’s fine tell your doctor that but if you’re stuck in a hole/ditch and falling farther then maybe the medication will help you to stand on a ledge so that you can work at getting out, that is what I did and I’m so much better off for it.
Normally I don’t like to push my own ethics especially since this blog isn’t really aimed at that but I feel this one in particular must be shared because the people face such a large challenge and they deserve support. I promise this will not become a regular thing.
The petition below is one to stop Russia from taking a backward step and allowing the slaughter of the stray animals that are in the country, animal welfare organisations, volunteers and the public have been denied an official voice in the discussions about how best to deal with the stray population and much of the legislation is kept hidden from the public. It has been show that if properly managed and followed trap, neuter/spay and release programs work better then killing and many animal rights people want to see more control in pet breeding to help decline the amount of strays otherwise the killing will have to be constant and wont make any difference anyway.
These people face a corrupt government who are far more interested in lining their pockets then in what the people want and an information black out, in many ways I feel more sorry for them then I do the poor animals as their battle seems unwinable. I really think that the people of Russia deserve help and support of anyone who has the spare time to sign their name, so I’m sharing this petition. Please visit the sight below!
I’m part of an activist site so that I can keep up with animal related news which is important to me, but the website I’m apart of also has other issues that it covers including a “Healthy Living” section and this section has a tendency to baffle me. I scanned one article that was about how fish is actually one of the most toxic foods that we can eat (which did have back up to support it) but the author of this article took the idea too far, as often seems to be the case in this section. Today I just read another one about 20 types of foods that you should just stop eating all together.
This got me thinking about all the different foods that we’re told are in fact bad for us, hell even carrots can turn you orange if you eat too many of them. I realised that the people who are so concerned about their health that they’re cutting out huge sections of food are not only missing out on some great food (cause lets face it there’s days where it is fanatic to sit down with a pizza and watch TV) but they’re also likely to cause more damage to their own bodies. I might not have been very good at it before I got sick but I firmly believe that everything in moderation is fine, of course you’ve got to know yourself since it would be pretty stupid to eat a peanut if you’ve got a deadly allergy but there’s no point in not eating something because currently science says it’s bad for you.
A good example of this is eggs, they’re quite high in cholesterol and the yolk is rather high in fat and yet anyone who knows anything about protein will tell you that raw eggs in particular are a great source of protein. Another example that I love is sugar, have too little of it and you can be depressed, weak, shaky and pretty sick but of course if you have too much it can also kill you.
I find that I get agitated when people try to give me eating advice (especially now that I’ve got to follow such a strict diet in order to keep my stomach semi happy) since they assume that what they’re doing is best. I try to avoid giving out specific advice unless I’m asked about the types of fiber or how to avoid upsetting reflux and the only reason why I’m comfortable doing this is because I’ve gotten my information from doctors and then tested it on myself otherwise I avoid saying you should cut out all chocolate from your diet. If we where all to suddenly stop eating foods that could be bad for us we’d all starve to death!
It’s important not to make eating into something that you need to do to live rather then something that you do actually enjoy because (in my experience) it then makes it just that much harder to eat. It’s a similar feeling to going to work, you know you have to but you don’t particularly get any real joy out of it…you’re going through the motions. I use to look forward to meal time but now it’s just something that I have to do because otherwise I can’t live, it’s work and the more enjoyable foods you cut out of your diet the more likely it is that you’re going to end up feeling the same way as I do. Remember everything in moderation!
This post is only going to be short, I’m a bit sick at the moment but I’m watching Dead Like Me and the idea suddenly came to me.
So I’m referring to the actual skellington in the black robe and hood. Most people are under the impression that the Grim Reaper actually kills people and thus they are under the impression that he/her/it is evil but this isn’t the case. The Grim Reaper is more like a guide, he/her/it is there to meet you to help you get use to the idea of being dead to help you understand what it means to be dead. To live your life under the impression that death is an evil force constantly out to get you is only going to make it harder to accept when the time does come.
Believe it or not but I’ve actually faced my own death a couple of times and even the first time I wasn’t actually scared as such, I was worried about what sort of pain I would die in…I was also agitated that I’ve made friends between the time I tried to kill myself (short story, I was in an abusive house hold with no other out) and the time that I was dieing of dehydration. What didn’t happen was any sort of anger/frustration at the Grim Reaper or death, I just accepted what was going on. It was the same both times, ironically what bothered me most was the fact that I was in Emergency so long lol I actually got board.
If you start to see death as being nothing more then ‘something that happens’ you wont have as much of a problem when and if your in the situation. Of course everyone takes these things differently and I can’t say it will help for sure but I know it helps me.