Daily Archives: February 26, 2018

People with mental illness need heros

I spent Saturday afternoon at the movie theater watching Black Panther. I came home and watched Wonder Woman. Wow! I absolutely love the superheroes. I enjoy the plot line of good conquering evil.

The truth is everybody needs a hero, but people with mental illness really need superheroes. We need to hear from the people who are living well with their illness. We need to learn from those who have conquered, those who know how to deal with their struggles.

Here are a few people who I’ve found inspiring:

Jennifer Marshall is the co-founder of This is My Brave. She wanted to find a way to help fight stigma so Jennifer created a platform where people who live with mental illness can share their stories. Jennifer lives with bipolar disorder.

Gabe Howard has so many mental health advocacy titles I don’t think I know all of them. I do know Gabe is a writer and speaker, has won many mental health advocacy awards, and was a past board member of NAMI Ohio. He often does many creative podcasts. Gabe lives with bipolar disorder.

Ellyn Saks is a professor of law at the University of Southern California. She has written a book called, “The Center Cannot Hold,” and has a great Ted Talk. I admire her strength and courage for speaking openly about her journey with schizophrenia.

Michael Phelps the most decorated athlete in Olympic history has joined the ranks of mental health advocacy. He is using his Olympic platform to raise awareness for mental illness. Michael lives with depression.

Brandon Marshall is a wide receiver in the NFL whose struggle has been borderline personality disorder. Brandon has partnered with “Bring Change to Mind” and has worked hard at promoting men’s mental health.

So these are a few of the people who I have found inspirational. It’s not that they haven’t struggled or have been cured. What they have done is shine a light so people know more about mental illness.

We can have a picture that says a person with mental illness looks lots of different ways. And we can be inspired by their willingness to share part of their journey with us.

Like many of the evil doers in the superhero stories Mental illness doesn’t play fair. Mental health advocacy is not straight forward like other illnesses with advocacy efforts (think pink). We aren’t fighting for research dollars for one illness, but many. We are fighting stigma hard, only to have our progress nearly wiped out when the loud voices with access to national media platforms make an overly generalized link between mental illness and violence.

We need lots of heroes out there to help fight the battles, because I’m afraid a few inspiring superheroes are not quite powerful enough to take on the world.

But they sure do shine a bright light for the rest of us. It’s up to us to follow the path.

Good Morning!

I managed to make it through the dance competition and my daughter’s dance group did really well, earning a judge’s choice award and a third place overall award.  So that part was successful as well.

I am trying to figure out what to fix for dinner tonight and tomorrow.  I get so stumped by these things nowadays. I wonder if I’m slipping backward again.  I just have an empty mind nowadays.  I don’t know what to do.  I go see Tillie Wednesday so we will see if we can sort through some things.

Don’t know much else to say.  Waiting on my laundry to get done so I can sort it out. Very, very sleepy.  I didn’t sleep well on the trip and haven’t caught back up yet, either.


Buried Alive Psychologically

All the ‘get out, you have to move cos we’re jerks punishing you for no reason other than being low income’ stress has been an great distraction from taking a long hard look at my mental state. And I don’t mean great as in, rah rah rah, awesome. I mean, enormous. I have been so busy trying to get blood from a stone and pulling knives from my back just so I can take care of my kid and find us a home…

Now I am starting to worry about myself. Because strong as I am…I am not made of steel and concrete. I am terrified, of this other place falling through, terrified of being considered an unfit mom cos I don’t have much money, and now…Waking at 3:30 a.m. in a full blown panic realizing how little control I have over anything in my life right now…

My mind is going to very dark places and I don’t like it. I thought maybe I’d go to the hellish counseling center today, ask to speak to an on call person, but what good would it do? They think everything is behavior- they are after all ‘a behavior center’ so I could go in vent, cry, and what…walk out feeling worse cos they’ll tell me it’s all situational or my own behavior that’s the problem…That’s just gonna push me one toe closer to the edge of the ledge.

I am buried alive in every way except the kind involving dirt and eternal peace.

Yesterday I had the audacity to say to my dad that, “I just want to start trying to get out from under it all…”

And he said, quote, “Oh, hell you’re never going to get out from under it because it takes money, you don’t have any and you won’t work.”

Excuse me???I won’t work? I have tried and tried and tried. I have pushed suicidal boundaries and staved of homicidal urges trying to overcome my own mental limitations because I do want to work, I do want to do better for my daughter.

To have my own father kick me when I am already down that way…

I just want to go to sleep and wake when this nightmare is over except it’s not a nightmare. This is my new life. Rent that’s 50% of my income, deposits I can’t pay, monthly bills that will leave me lucky to fill a tank of gas to drive to appointments and buy a bag of cat food. I am under because this move to Armpit and this senile landlord were dad’s idea cos both were supposed to save me money and give me and Spook security. Instead it’s made everything so much worse.

And I am trying to keep my chin up, dig my heels in, and say never surrender like Corey Hart but ya know what?

Psychologically, after 5 months without seeing a psych professional, let alone a competent, caring one, and all this stuff hurled at me…I feel like emotional ground beef. And I have tried to transfer it all into angry rants to avoid looking whiny or weak but…

I’ve hit my wall. My disorders are winning. I feel like I’d be better off dead. And I am shouting at that devil and I am not going gently into that good night and I am waving both middle fingers cos I am strong and this will pass but maybe that’s the thing…

The housing thing probably will straighten out and pass.

My mental state and the lack of competent psych care here…That I fear will never get better.

And I am so damned scared I may as well be the 8 year old instead of Spook but it’s the truth. She will never see my crying like I am now and I will never say anything to her except “Hey, it’s scary, but we’re gonna be fine cos we have each other.”

But I am terrified. And I am breaking. I see the new shrink like March 8th but now I don’t even know if I will have enough gas to get from Armpit to town to keep the appointment. And I don’t hold out much hope this one will be any better than the dreadful doc nurse was.

I’m buried alive but some sadistic fuck was kind enough to leave me a straw to breathe through so I can breathe, I just can’t move or escape or….do anything to help myself.

Feeling this way is a sort of death of its own. Death of the soul, last gasps of hope and spirit. And I am still not waving the white flag but I have to wonder…just how many strong intelligent people with their own mental demons refusd to wave that flag and it didn’t do a bit of good.

I know 3 people who didn’t make it out alive.

I don’t want to be one of them. Suicide kills but it’s as illegitimate a death as it is living life with these problems. When I die, I want it to be not because I broke…but because it was simply my time to go. I deserve that much dignity after a lifetime of even my own father running me down like I have no value.

Donate here if you can, please.

Why I am Supporting National Cupcake Day

If you are wondering which chronic condition is served by National Cupcake Day, you’ll be surprised by the answer. I guess you could call it chronic because it is sadly so common. It brings awareness and funds to the increasing problem of caring for stray and abandoned pets. That’s right, it is honoring the SPCA’s and …

People with depression use language differently – here’s how to spot it

I think we already know that people with depression use more negative emotion words. We/they also use more first person pronouns, ruminate more about issues, and so much more. This is a detailed article about the communication style of people with depression. Very interesting.


Mohammed Al-Mosaiwi

Kurt Cobain’s song lyrics were loved by many. Maia Valenzuela/Flickr, CC BY-SA

From the way you move and sleep, to how you interact with people around you, depression changes just about everything. It is even noticeable in the way you speak and express yourself in writing. Sometimes this “language of depression” can have a powerful effect on others. Just consider the impact of the poetry and song lyrics of Sylvia Plath and Kurt Cobain, who both killed themselves after suffering from depression.

Scientists have long tried to pin down the exact relationship between depression and language, and technology is helping us get closer to a full picture. Our new study, published in Clinical Psychological Science, has now unveiled a class of words that can help accurately predict whether someone is suffering from depression.

Traditionally, linguistic analyses in this field have been carried out by researchers reading and taking notes. Nowadays, computerised text analysis methods allow the processing of extremely large data banks in minutes. This can help spot linguistic features which humans may miss, calculating the percentage prevalence of words and classes of words, lexical diversity, average sentence length, grammatical patterns and many other metrics.

So far, personal essays and diary entries by depressed people have been useful, as has the work of well-known artists such as Cobain and Plath. For the spoken word, snippets of natural language of people with depression have also provided insight. Taken together, the findings from such research reveal clear and consistent differences in language between those with and without symptoms of depression.


Language can be separated into two components: content and style. The content relates to what we express – that is, the meaning or subject matter of statements. It will surprise no one to learn that those with symptoms of depression use an excessive amount of words conveying negative emotions, specifically negative adjectives and adverbs – such as “lonely”, “sad” or “miserable”.

More interesting is the use of pronouns. Those with symptoms of depression use significantly more first person singular pronouns – such as “me”, “myself” and “I” – and significantly fewer second and third person pronouns – such as “they”, “them” or “she”. This pattern of pronoun use suggests people with depression are more focused on themselves, and less connected with others. Researchers have reported that pronouns are actually more reliable in identifying depression than negative emotion words.

Negative words and first person pronouns can give a clue. hikrcn/Shutterstock

We know that rumination (dwelling on personal problems) and social isolation are common features of depression. However, we don’t know whether these findings reflect differences in attention or thinking style. Does depression cause people to focus on themselves, or do people who focus on themselves get symptoms of depression?


The style of language relates to how we express ourselves, rather than the content we express. Our lab recently conducted a big data text analysis of 64 different online mental health forums, examining over 6,400 members. “Absolutist words” – which convey absolute magnitudes or probabilities, such as “always”, “nothing” or “completely” – were found to be better markers for mental health forums than either pronouns or negative emotion words.

From the outset, we predicted that those with depression will have a more black and white view of the world, and that this would manifest in their style of language. Compared to 19 different control forums (for example, Mumsnet and StudentRoom), the prevalence of absolutist words is approximately 50% greater in anxiety and depression forums, and approximately 80% greater for suicidal ideation forums.

Pronouns produced a similar distributional pattern as absolutist words across the forums, but the effect was smaller. By contrast, negative emotion words were paradoxically less prevalent in suicidal ideation forums than in anxiety and depression forums.

Our research also included recovery forums, where members who feel they have recovered from a depressive episode write positive and encouraging posts about their recovery. Here we found that negative emotion words were used at comparable levels to control forums, while positive emotion words were elevated by approximately 70%. Nevertheless, the prevalence of absolutist words remained significantly greater than that of controls, but slightly lower than in anxiety and depression forums.

Crucially, those who have previously had depressive symptoms are more likely to have them again. Therefore, their greater tendency for absolutist thinking, even when there are currently no symptoms of depression, is a sign that it may play a role in causing depressive episodes. The same effect is seen in use of pronouns, but not for negative emotion words.

Practical implications

Understanding the language of depression can help us understand the way those with symptoms of depression think, but it also has practical implications. Researchers are combining automated text analysis with machine learning (computers that can learn from experience without being programmed) to classify a variety of mental health conditions from natural language text samples such as blog posts.

Language analysis can help diagnose depression. Dmytro Zinkevych/Shutterstock

Such classification is already outperforming that made by trained therapists. Importantly, machine learning classification will only improve as more data is provided and more sophisticated algorithms are developed. This goes beyond looking at the broad patterns of absolutism, negativity and pronouns already discussed. Work has begun on using computers to accurately identify increasingly specific subcategories of mental health problems – such as perfectionism, self-esteem problems and social anxiety.

That said, it is of course possible to use a language associated with depression without actually being depressed. Ultimately, it is how you feel over time that determines whether you are suffering. But as the World Health Organisation estimates that more than 300m people worldwide are now living with depression, an increase of more than 18% since 2005, having more tools available to spot the condition is certainly important to improve health and prevent tragic suicides such as those of Plath and Cobain.



I honestly thought things had maxed out on being as bad as they could get.

Then today my dad and stepmonster and brother all set out with vehicle loads of stuff to move into the new place…


The 78 year old landlord who can’t remember his own name rented the place out from under us AFTER showing it to us Thursday. He actually rented my Elm St property to someone else this morning and says, “I forgot about you but they had the money up front.”


So there we were, vehicles full of stuff, nowhere to take them, and the landlord’s son was encroaching on my personal space cos nice as he is, he has some mental problems stemming from motorcycle wrecks so even a polite word or half ass smile makes him think a woman wants to sleep with him…I was in tears, furious, hopeless, and here is this guy touching my shoulder and telling me to calm down and smile and no matter how far I walked away or even sat in my hunk of junk car seething, he kept coming at me….I am not a mean person and he seems like a very sweet man with good intentions but today was NOT the day considering the way his father totally screwed me and Spook over.

So the dad and stepmonster get the old man to show us his other properties, ALL of which are in worse shape than what we’ve been living in and he says he won’t rent them anyway until they are cleaned up and repaired and thatn could be weeks.

And all I could think was, “8 years I have kept a roof over Spook’s head even after the donor abandoned us and left us penniless and now this elderly fuck puts me in a position of us living on someone’s sofa like I can’t even pay rent!!!” Six of us were trying to stress upon him the urgency of my situation and ten seconds later, he forgot all about what any of us said and told us it’d be a month or two before any of the properties he showed us would be liveable thus him willing to rent them.

I punched the roof of my car and leaned my head on the steering wheel and just let some tears slip. There is no bigger failure than not being able to put a roof over your kid’s head. It’s not like we got evicted cos I was ever late on rent. I didn’t do anything wrong. It’s not my fault I am disabled, I do the best I can, and it sure as hell isn’t my fault that I am forced to chase the damned donor job to job for support while the law provides him 6 weeks before he has to pay a cent. My God, I can’t deny my kid food for six hours without being labeled negligent and yet the law protects deadbeat parents to the nth!

I knew dealing with anyone associated with dad would be a bad idea. And I also knew that moving to Armpit was going to end up doubling monthly expenses thus leaving us unable to even buy basic hygiene products or internet or gas for the car.

Allegedly the house he showed us ‘can be’ ready for us in a week, but I won’t hold my breath on him remembering it or getting it fixed even if his son, the touchy feeling crowding one, does the work and vowed to me that he would personally get started tomorrow and have it done for me and Spook. I have zero faith in anything or anyone now and I think it’s warranted, considering how we got screwed.

Not to mention this house is not even an 1/8 as decent as the Elm street place. The former tenants left food rotting in the fridge, sink, stove, they left dirty cat boxes and busted aquariums with rotting fish so the entire place smells like decomposition. The floors are caving in worse than what we already have here in slumlord utopia. I’m not convinced it can even be made habitable but then, I am so upset and frustrated and depressed…maybe I can’t see the sunlight even if I am faking it for my kid.

I just….this is just…unbelievable.

Which was why I started the fundraiser in the first damn place because I knew the people with the cash on hand would trump us who can barely come up with the first month’s rent and utilities. I wanted to raise the money so we could have some security, some peace of mind, to get out of this hellish nightmare I can wake from. I am a damn good mom but if I can’t even provide her with a home cos I keep getting lied to and screwed over by these landlords and such…

Maybe I should let the dinor have her since he seems to keep a roof over his head. Obviously I can’t even have a successful fundraiser for the BEST DAMNED REASON ON EARTH. for my kid. Because you don’t know what hell or heartbreak is until an 8 year old asks, “Mommy why are we gonna be homeless?”

I did NOTHING wrong to deserve being forced to move.

Yet it’s like…

I’m buried alive and there’s no way out. What’s to say in the next 24 hours this senile old man won’t decide to rent the house out from under us cos someone else comes forth with the full $800 to move in? Not to mention I had the power set to turn on at the Elm place tomorrow, now I have to try to cancel that and get it transferred and that is gonna come with fees and penalties again THROUGH NO FAULT OF MY OWN!!!!!!

If we ever manage to get a roof overhead and get moved…I am seriously thinking it might be time for me to let Spook have a long weekend with the grandparents while I sneak off for a self committal to the psych ward. I can’t take much more, I just can’t. I am not a wimp, I am not a spoiled brat, I am just a human trying her best and getting kicked to death and damn it….

I need help.

All I wanna do now is sleep. But then come the nightmares and incessant and I thought this other place was a lock thus helping keep from flipping out but now I have to worry that the old man is gonna stab me in the back again so maybe sleep and nightmares are just as hellish as consciousness.

This isn’t woe is me. We got fucked over from every angle by multiple powers that be and we didn’t deserve any of it. And the one time in our lives when we need a successful fundraiser to help us…FAIL.

I am thankful for the kind soul who made the first donation today. It meant a great deal that you were so kind and generous.

Spook and I could use a few more people like that cos…this isn’t ‘Help pay to neuter my cats’. This is ‘help us get a roof overhead please please please before they take my kid away and I am committed indefinitely cos the human mind can only handle so much, especially when already altered by disorders…

I just…want us to have a home, be together, and start working on rebuilding things. But until the perpetual anxiety, stress, and backstabbing due to lack of funds on top of the depression is lowered from fever pitch…

I am very, very scared. People will take care of my child if I can’t but no one will take care of me, not even the psych professionals whose job it was to make sure I didn’t end up this bad off.

I’ll suck it up, swallow the tears, and be brave and badass tomorrow.

Tonight…I have every reason to feel the way I do.

I just hope it passes cos losing my kid is not an option just because I don’t have $800 laying around to be the more impressive tenant for the landlord.

And also…I hate hospitals, I really don’t want to be signed in, voluntary or otherwise.

I just need one or two things to go right, to help give me strength, to remind me I am a good mom even if I am broke and struggling mentally. Just one or two things, for the love of pegacorn.

Now I am gonna cry and get the toxicity out and hope tomorrow I will be a badass again. Or if I can’t be a badass…at least give me strength to stay afloat, because I love my daughter and she needs me, and I need her. And we need some help.

Penny Positive #63

From An Optimist’s Calendar


I didn’t go to Taos today like I’ve been planning for months.  I missed my plane and figuring out the next steps was suddenly more than I could manage.  Instead, I retrieved my suitcase and came home.  Relieved.  Exhausted.  Aware, now, of how fragile and diminished my capacity has become recently.  Which is okay.

I took care of myself by coming home.  I will continue to do so.

It’s all Okay.