Monday, September 1, 2014

Escaping from hypnotizing institutions

I'm having an interesting experience lately.

It started when I read William Dier(impossible to spell)'s book, Excellent Sheep.

In a nutshell, for me, the book threw off the notion that college culture and institutional structure is holy or even passable - and it made me feel much better about simply disliking a lot of the culture and aims of my university.

For years, I had felt there must be something wrong with me, that I chafed at the elitism of my school, that I hated lots of the required courses, that I disliked a lot of the administration, that I abhorred the costs of elite education, hat I felt pushed into a conformist, elitist, role, and that there was little tolerance for quirky, morally-conscious, unusual, loner, dissident, radical, or simply unique people in that environment.

I used to think that the problem was ME - that if I were better, I'd have gotten a job in consulting or investment banking; I'd have fit into the college culture better; I'd love the school as much as some people apparently do.

But this book helped me to see that there might have been a lot *right* in my cognitive dissonance at college. And it helped me to reconnect with that alive part of me that existed before the elite college machine confounded love of learning and excellence with, well, an aspirational climb to the top, extraordinary expense, and a colonial mentality of fixing the world since they were so great.

I really just wanted to learn, to take difficult courses, to be around other smart people with similar priorities, and  to socialize with  people who were actually like me. But instead I got Elitism USA, and everything else described in Excellent Sheep.

Sometimes it takes someone to publicly state that the emperor has no clothes to make it ok to question large institutions that are seemingly beyond criticism.

Another large institution that's seemingly beyond criticism is therapy/psychology. What could be wrong with going to a caring person who gives you attention, who's trained to help you see your blind spots, and who helps you to live better??

Well, a lot could be wrong. You're turning yourself over to an institution that historically has been used for power and control, has committed heinous abuses, has in particular been used to control women, can be harmful (although the harm is rarely studied the way that medication side effects are studied), etc.

Even the basic set-up of paying a trained "professional" to listen to you and to pronounce his or her opinion from a one-up, expert position, can be disempowering for patients.

One only has to bring up the simple matter of a disagreement. What happens when you disagree with the therapist? By social convention, their word is right, since they are in the "healthy" one-up expert position. How could a sick, needy "patient" be the one in the right? Pretty much every disagreement will be handled this way - where it's your fault for being too sensitive, for having some sort of repressed issues, who knows - somehow the problem will be found in your own psychology, since that's what the whole point of turning yourself over to them is - for them to point out flaws in your psychology.

The therapist isn't there, or at least doesn't feel like he or she is there, to learn about ways that he or she is blind, discriminatory, racist, misinformed, prejudiced, flawed, etc. - yet if these two people were meeting without the pretense of one of them being an "expert," then these things could be pointed out.

The "expertise" that people are presumed to gain from even brief schooling in therapy then extends in a grandiose way to the point that they are thought to be able to help all kinds of people with problems they have not even heard of before meeting the people, simply from their expertise.

Anyhow - I have felt under the spell of this institution too, and reading Against Therapy is helping me to throw it off.

It's wonderful to have a very alive feeling, knowing that one's own desires, thoughts, dreams, feelings, knowledge, etc. matter, and that these old institutions, created from lots of pressures in time periods that have little in common with today, are not arbiters of what's right or of who I am or anything - they are just creaky old institutions with many inherent problems, made even worse by certain social forces.

They pretend to be the arbiters/bastions of goodness, learning, right living, health, and so on, but instead they are just ways that various people make a living, that money gets shuffled around, that some people profit wildly from the vulnerability of others.

Taking intuitive needs seriously

It's one of the main things I've learned from struggles in life - including being involved in therapy and such -

to trust myself and also to take what I feel seriously even if it doesn't appear to make rational sense at the time.

I've known some things were good for me and that some things were bad for me, and sometimes I figured out months or years later why that was.

It's an approach that has been rewarding for me - taking intuitive body needs 100% seriously. If I need a lot of hugs, or to sleep near someone, or to eat a certain kind of food, you can bet I'm going to do that.

I think we are in a situation where most people have a lot of unmet bodily needs, for a level of connection and meaning and just plain physical safety, from touch, perinatal nurturuing, and good nutrition, that's hard to achieve in this society. But those needs are still inbuilt. We don't get away from them by thinking that "no one could need that" - in the assumption that people are basically computers or machines.

A time before therapy existed

First, it's very relieving to me to be reading Against Therapy, about some of the origins of therapy in the western world, just because it's nice to see that things haven't always been this way. There was a time without therapy, when therapy was first being designed. There have been other cultures with nothing similar to western therapy. It's been a very small part of human history.

I'm also realizing how much therapy seems to be, at its heart, about making problems go away. In the early days of therapy - The rich dad who pays for a therapist to make the daughter get in line, when what she is upset about might be valid. The family who ships off the daughter who doesn't submit to a subordinate role in society or who wants to read and learn.

Even these days, when you read therapists' summaries, they say they will help clients to make their problems go away - help them get through transitions, eliminate problem anxiety, and so on.

This is a very top-down, control-heavy approach to the world. Rather than letting people go through what they are going through and feel what they feel, there are assumptions that they should be feeling, thinking, and acting in prescribed ways.

Why is it so difficult to question therapy?

Why is it so difficult to question therapy?

There are people who would say in a heartbeat that most conventional doctors are harmful, the pharmaceutical industry is bad, the food system is corrupt, and so on, but these same people are reluctant to criticize therapists as a whole and will protest that "some therapists are good."

I'm sure that some conventional doctors, some pharmaceutical medications, and some parts of the food system are good, too. But people don't feel the need to defend those organizations in the same way.

I think a few factors could be at play:

1) Most of us have some sort of investment in therapy, whether having gone to therapy ourselves, having encouraged others to go to therapy, or even just feeling that therapy would be there for us if we ran into trouble and needed it. Some people have spent substantial amounts of money on therapy or spent large amounts of time there.

It's difficult to question something that one has an investment in.

2) The entire public might be in a similar situation regarding therapy as patients are in, as described in my previous post. Patients who show up for therapy end up in a position where refusal to be treated or to agree with the therapist's assessments of one's problems can be labeled resistance or seen as a sign of mental illness. One has to choose between being submissive and docile ("well") or being resistant and seen as unwell.

The same goes for the public at large. To publicly state that you will not be subjected to therapy is to call out the question - why not? What is it that you're hiding? Why don't you want to submit to these morally-superior experts? Is it because you know you are mentally ill and don't want to be found out?

When being willing to submit to therapy is seen as the paragon of good mental health - and therapists encourage this assumption by saying that it shows "health" that people show up for therapy, and that those who refuse to go are in denial or hiding something, and that almost all problems could be made better with therapy  - then opposing therapy is set up as the lack of mental health.

However - we do call out surveillance as a basic ill, and people can advocate against surveillance without automatically calling up the assumption that they have something to hide. Perhaps we should call out therapy in the same way - as a basic ill that sets up a non-reciprocal, vulnerable situation for members of the general public.

Problems inherent in therapy

I've been thinking about therapy. I'm reading Against Therapy.

In its initial assumptions, therapy assumes that there are greater and lesser degrees of mental health or awareness, and that it's good for people with so-called lesser mental health to "hang out" with people with greater mental health, who will "colonize" them and show them how to be healthy.

(This isn't really that different from saying something abhorrent, such as that some races or genders some sexual orientations are better than others and that people can benefit from spending time around their "superiors" to train them to be more like the dominant group.)

This assumption, which came about at a time when many current social conditions (women voting, etc.) were not as they are now - is somewhat colonial, paternalistic, etc.

How did we come to the conclusion that people can train, talk, force or enlighten others into greater mental health, or that colonial forces can train "natives" to be "civilized?"

Aside from the questions about whether mental illness should be thought to exist, it's sometimes hard to say who is more mentally "healthy" -

A therapist who might be stuck in a rut, having followed the profession because of family pressure to be a doctor, who sees his patients as inferior, who prescribes psychiatric drugs even though he knows about the side effects and long-term dangers, who entertains pharmaceutical reps, and who dislikes his life-

or a patient who comes, with poor emotional control, who's endured abuse and traumatic life experiences, who nonetheless hopes against hope for relief and who keeps engaging in terrifying, disempowering situations, including therapy, out of an innate optimism and desire for relief.

I'm sure that the therapeutic situation, with an artificial, paid relationship, the danger of transference, and the way the doctor can pronounce upon the patient without the patient being able to do the same, could trigger the traumatized person into a show of her "mental illness" - such as being angry, resisting, disagreeing, protesting, etc.

But this would just be used as more "evidence" that it was the patient who was mentally ill.

Oftentimes in therapy and psychiatric situations, patients - who often have endured trauma and abuse in the past - find themselves in disempowering situations where they are again at risk of dismissal, being written off, dehumanization, etc.

In some cases they are at risk of very serious things including forced treatment, forced hospitalization, being drugged with drugs that take away their normal cognitive functioning, or being forced to take drugs long-term. They are faced with the danger of becoming objects in a system designed to protect not them, but the people in power (doctors, therapists, psychiatrists, pharmaceutical companies) who profit from their being treated.

When patients recognize this and protest, their protest is taken as evidence that they need treatment - sometimes the only evidence.

It would seem that the effective "proof" of mental health is something very unhealthy indeed - complete submission to disempowering situations and complete acceptance of one's "illness" and the treaters' mental superiority. One has to grovel in order to appear well - or as well as a patient can appear. Those are the only options - groveling but "well" for a patient, or sick and resistant.

This isn't just at play in hospital settings or obvious situations. It's also at play anytime someone seeks any kind of therapy. The initial assumption of the therapist's superior mental health, or the effective assumption of such a mental health differential that is respected for the purposes of therapy, complicates things for "patients" and can make it difficult for them to stand up for themselves or even to leave.

My partner and I have seen a therapist for a few months, and I've noticed this phenomenon. I took issue with several things the therapist said that pretty explicitly denied my serious illnesses and my sanity in interpreting them, and when I tried to say why what he said had been such a problem, both my partner and the therapist said I was being too sensitive. I tried numerous times to bring up what severe problems I was having, but the effect was only that I appeared "traumatized" because these comments were bothering me so much, or I was shuttled away from that topic because we were spending "too much time" on it.

Because of the assumptions of therapy, it's quite easy for the therapist to decide that my concerns were a sign of my own mental illness or trauma, rather than legitimate concerns from a sane person.

When it comes down to it, the only way therapy can help people as a profession distinct from just empathetic listening and solidarity, is to point out flaws or oversights in their thinking, ideally in a framework that matches the therapist's training (so that what is provided is different from what an involved friend might provide).

So ... no matter what happens in therapy, that will tend to be be the therapist's ultimate focus - trying to help more than a layman by using their training to show the client what they are missing in their own thinking. In essence - having more accurate thinking than the client.

What might actually help much more would simply be to have an appointed person to talk to who agrees to give a listening ear and support and actually to learn about and empathize with what the person has experienced - not telling them what to do about it but just having their suffering seen by someone else.

Some of the only helpful things that therapy can provide could be achieved just as well from group education classes, such as education on Nonviolent Communication, communication in couples, trauma release techniques. Or peer support for trying new ways of living, trying new things, committing to taking care of oneself, etc. This doesn't require any individual analysis of people to tell them obvious things such as that their traumatic, lacking backgrounds impacted them, and it can be much more affordable, social and fun.

It seems to be an odd hangover from the Victorian era that we still think it's a good idea for people to turn themselves over to people who will analyze them and tell them what's wrong with their thinking.

Of all the ways to handle stress in one's own life, how did this remain an accepted way?

  • Solicit help from a total stranger
  • Pay a very large amount of money that rivals what one spends on food (if paying out-of-pocket), or else use insurance and have private details of one's life recorded and shared with a corporation in a framework of diagnoses
  • Enter a one-sided relationship where you are infantilized by being attended to but not having to attend to the other person (can be triggering to people who have unmet needs for such care)
  • Enter a relationship where it's possible one could develop unrequitable feelings for the therapist due to having one's needs for attention met in an unprecedented way
  • Set oneself up for frustration when the care might be greater than what one typically receives, but it is not open-ended (the session ends at a certain time), so it recreates the childhood frustration of getting comfort but then having it taken away
  • Be in a situation where if conflict arises, you will not win - you are not in a position where you are able to win, simply by entering a relationship where you are by definition inferior
  • Share enormous amounts of highly private information about yourself with someone who is not doing the same
  • Be in a situation where the therapist could invoke the power of the state on you, to have you arrested or hospitalized, but you do not have that power over the therapist

I return to the conclusion that what actually helps people is not being in a one-down situation where they can be told how they are wrong but rather:

-Egalitarian education (the same as any other kind of education on any other topic - sharing information in a pleasant way with people who want to learn it) - e.g. education on communication styles

(This is brought up in this article, The Case Against Therapy - that if what you need from therapy is education, then you need to go to someone qualified to teach about what you want to learn, not someone with professional training in "therapy.")

-Solidarity and support, ideally from people who have experienced similar things and actually understand - so that one is not left alone with one's suffering but rather can share the burden with empathetic other people

Therapy doesn't really provide these - either of these would be a large break from traditional therapy and would require a different set-up - such as a group class with a peer leader, or peer support groups with no trained leaders.

Even the idea that people need a place to go where they can be selfish and only talk about themselves should be questioned. How is this beneficial? It infantilizes patients and takes their power away from them, if they are in a situation where by definition they can offer nothing to the other person - no help, no insights, no wisdom.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Why I choose initials over publishing with a female name

I decided to publish my book with just my initials and last name.

Why was I so averse to using my first name (which is, by the way, a female name)?

Well - let me put it to you this way.

Many female names include elements like e's and a's at the end and diminutive features (modifying a male name to a female name by adding something to make it less imposing).

How would men feel if they all had diminutive, cutesy, names and had to publish under those names, like:
  • Mikey
  • Billy
  • Sport
  • Danny

    Or for the sake of illustration, what if a lot of men's names were modified to be more diminutive?

    • Thome (rather than Tom)
    • Briane 
    • Michaele 
    • Johne
    • Richarde
    • Chrise
    • Christophere
    • Ronalde
    • Jasone

     Let's imagine some notable mens and make the author's names into more cute or diminutive versions of the male names:

    The Sun Also Rises, by Erneste Hemmningway
    Lolita, by Vladimire Nabokov
    The Sound and the Fury, by Williame Faulkner
    Catch-22, by Josephe Heller

    I mean, is there some element where you take these books a little less seriously if they are written by someone with a cute or gentle name?


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Hidden prerequisites for obvious psychological tasks

This is my blog where I hope I'm fairly anonymous, and I basically develop my ideas over time without having to present them in a fully developed form.

I'm developing an idea, from my personal experience, of the following phenomenon:

Sometimes people are aware that they need to do something that they don't currently do. Maybe they need to see themselves as individuals, take care of themselves, have higher standards, put themselves out there, etc.

However, there often seems like a block, where they just can't do it, no matter how hard they try. It just doesn't seem to be possible. People can feel ashamed of themselves for not being able to do this thing they know they should do, that most people do.

There might be a different way to look at it. In my experience, this situation usually means that there is *something else* that the person needs to do first, as a prerequisite for doing the other thing. Until they discover this lower-level task, they might not be able to do the thing they set out to do.

Here are some "prerequisites" I've identified in my own life:

  • Before being able to know what I want and desire, I have to be able to feel my body and feelings in the first place
  • Before being able to relax and do fun things, I have to cultivate a feeling of safety (I like the exercise in Psycho-Cybernetics where you imagine a really safe environment. even a beach doesn't feel safe enough to me)
  • In order to be able to feel things at all, you have to feel your anger first to remove that block to feeling
  • In order to be in your body, you have to feel your birth trauma first (before the nerves open up and you can literally start to feel more of the meat and muscle of your body, rather than just the minimum)
  • In order to make your life good for yourself and to see yourself as someone worth making happy, you have to be IN your life, to have landed there, and that seems to require having felt any birth trauma (after doing more birth trauma work and trauma releasing exercises, I felt like I was landing in my body as though I had parachuted in, and that I was really "here" now, rather than having one foot somewhere else)
  • In order to relax, you need a lot of your bodily processes to be going fairly well, such as not having too many chronic infections, having enough minerals, etc - otherwise you'll be distracted by being spurred to look for whatever you are missing (this is a GOOD thing- you don't want your body to relax and stop looking when you need something you don't have, in the wild)
 In general, I'm very skeptical of approaches that assume the body is just dumb and that it needs to be corrected by force, e.g., to be MADE to relax or to be MADE to see itself as a worthy individual. I think these things happen naturally when prerequisites are met.

A lot of the prerequisites seem to involve giving the body large doses of things it tends to need in general:
-Vitamins and minerals and quality nutrition
-A safe enough space to feel and work out its trapped emotions
-Respect, hugs, social esteem, acceptance

The examples of peer-run respite, compared with psychiatric hospitalization and pharmacological treatment, serve to illustrate this contrast.

In the first case, you are giving people very basic things they need: acceptance, belief, a safe space, rest. In the other, you are forcing behaviors from a top-down perspective, or even forcing the behaviors chemically. While the latter might give more dramatic and controllable results, the former approach is more conducive to long-term well-being.

In the end, it's my belief from my experience that the body is REALLY, REALLY smart. It's hard to compete with millions of years of evolution. The whole scientific/rational thing has only been going on for a few hundred years, and it was only recently that we realized that vitamins existed or that plant microRNA existed.  Yet somehow without any of this rational knowledge, the humans' whose genes we have were able to survive in sometimes very difficult environments. Animals survive with oftentimes much less awareness and intellect than we have. There's some sort of very powerful machinery inside of us that draws us to things that are good for us.

Sometimes the main thing getting in the way is rationality and social conventions - our assumptions that this thing "can't" be that important.

For example, feeling the entirety of birth trauma has felt critically important to me for years -- so important that I found myself being self-sabotaging at times in order to create traumatic situations that would help me to feel this initial trauma. In some cases, feeling this trauma seems to be more important to people than life itself, exemplified by the way that many suicides parallel people's birth traumas (see research from Switzerland). Taking this innate feeling seriously - that I need to feel this trauma (and the safest way is just drawing up the feelings in a safe place or doing trauma relasing exercises that stimulate trauma release by triggering some of the body's normal ways of expunging it) has been incredibly valuable to me. I would have missed out on this if I hadn't gotten to the point that I take my innate urges very seriously, even if they contradict social assumptions that one's birth "can't" be that important or have such long-lasting effects. (If we just consider epigenetics and critical periods, OF COURSE birth experiences and large drug/Pitocin/epidural exposures at birth can have long-lasting effects.)

Excellence for its own sake, and market research

Now that I'm doing some data analysis for work, I'm realizing what a strange commitment I have to the principles of doing good work.

It's almost like a religion to me, that it matters to find results that are REAL and not just that seem real. I want to find things that are true and not just report things for the sake of reporting something.

It's interesting that I have this commitment to quality, even aside from what will get me results at my own place of employment or that will make the

It's interesting about making the customers happy. Yes, it can make them happy when they get really interesting results that I can basically prove are true from many angles. But they are also made happy by simple results that are easy for them to work on without thinking about it too much. There can be politics at their offices too, and they are trying to look good to one another.

I think I'd like to get into meta-research in market research eventually, such as looking into what market research practices actually contribute to success, or studies of respondent %s, or just of what we are doing that's accurate and what's bs. Because I really hate it when people make efforts for no reason at all. Having so little energy due to illness has made me extremely protective of effort, in a way that can sometimes make me a better employee. I really want to make sure that everything we do is worth doing.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


I wonder what degree of stress it causes to highly gifted people that it is hard for them to talk about or own their differences or identities without seeming elitist.

It is so nice to be in environments where those differences are recognized but not idealized, praised, or made to be strange.

Why does one have to have one of the only identities that's really, really not respected if you are proud and clear about claiming it?

It must be similar to having some other identity that is not very accepted at present.

I think there is something along the lines of "IQ-ism" that goes on, where people with high IQ are shamed or made to be freaks or scolded for mentioning it.

It's really not better! It's a minority. It is not better. It doesn't make life "better."

Another difficulty with this identity is that in order to claim it, you're expected to keep performing it. It's an identity that requires constant performance. Suppose you get sick or you're underemployed - in the public eye, you no longer have this identity, even if who you are hasn't changed.

Hard to recover for its own sake

It seems like it's difficult to achieve health for its own sake.

Because when people try to get better simply to "get better," the implicit goal is to get better for the sake of other people, so that one will no longer require the care or treatment or special treatment that a sick person gets.

Many people assume that "getting better" is better than being sick, but I'd like to encourage people to examine their assumptions about why that would be. I would guess that chief among them are reasons related to fear and not wanting to impose on others, or else financial fears, such as needing to get better so that one will not require expensive diets or special treatments.

I don't think fear is such a great motivator for health.

It seems that the body can get things together in order to feel better if there is a good reason it believes in that will be more rewarding than whatever it is doing now, such as a relationship, a major goal or dream, etc.

Perhaps this is built into us as a social species - that if our bodies sense that we are aiming to make a contribution or to get some major interpersonal or social or relational reward, that it's worth putting things together so that we can succeed at that. But if we aren't, we might as well languish in autoimmunity and low functioning, since we don't seem that useful or connected to the community. And the health of the community might be built into our genetic expression programs just as much as our own health. Genetic expression doesn't always favor the individual and in some cases seems to be designed to dispose of individuals who aren't that important or beneficial to the group or who aren't that healthy; to get them to self-destruct.

To counter this, we might need to detoxify, feed ourselves high-quality nutrition (or even high amounts of whatever is missing, to counteract deficiencies), and do things that gain us recognition and demonstrate that we are contributing in ways that are valued.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Overwhelming absorbing challenge is nice

I'm realizing that a big issue I dealt with in college is that I love being in over my head and having so much challenge happening that it absorbs me, and I really dislike being bored.

I loved that feeling of being challenged and overwhelmed so much. Unfortunately, by the time we got to finals I was often really struggling.

I've been good at just figuring things out; for instance going to a Spanish-speaking country and taking two weeks of classroom lessons and then hanging out with people who spoke only Spanish and speaking only Spanish with them for long periods of time, getting by with the amount of Spanish I knew from the lessons and from context. I loved that challenge.

I also liked working at a coffee shop where I'd often be juggling multiple orders at once.

Currently, I like cooking six or so different items for dinner. It's fun to be so absorbed in the tasks.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Positive thinking only works if you have the right conditions to start with

I just wanted to comment on something that I think I touched on years ago.

Frequently healthier people will tell sick people they just need to change their outlook or change their thinking or something in order to feel better.

However, they fail to recognize that approaches like this only work for problems to a certain degree, if the brain and body are in sufficiently good shape.

After a certain point, if you are so toxic and glutathione-deficient and low in ATP and low in vitamins and minerals, thinking is going to be limited in what it can do. Because (surprise!) thinking and positivity and all those things have to work through physical mechanisms at some level, such as hormonal changes or brain changes, and if you're extremely depe

It's like people telling you that all you need to do is push on the pedal harder in order to get your car to go faster, when your car is faltering because it's running out of gas. That approach (pushing harder on the pedal) only works if other conditions (such as having adequate gas) are met.

Different people might see different balances of how much mental versus medical/physical approaches work for them. Some people might get a lot of benefit from meditation or positive thinking, or be able to pull themselves out of problems that way, and that's great for them. But for my own body, the situation seems to be so dire in many ways that the main things that have helped me have been physical things like removing myself from certain toxins or providing certain missing ingredients. Doing something right along those lines can do more for me in a few days or weeks than years of positive thinking or trying to control my brain would do.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Working on my book

I've been getting my book into a more final form.

It's been interesting for me, since the process this time around mostly consists of writing things that, once I write them, are obvious, but which I haven't heard other people point out. These are things that I only identified since I had a few conversations with other people in this position and realized I wasn't the only one who felt this way. Or things that these people suggested that I hadn't thought about before but realized were true.

It's very relieving to calmly write obvious things. This book isn't taking some controversial stance on a question that's been debated ad nauseam. It's just saying things that people haven't taken the time to observe or say but that are obviously the case. Why haven't people said them? Too much stigma involving the whole thing, maybe? Various stigmas and prejudices and types of invisibility?

- - -

I've been doing the book this whole time as a treatment, since I thought it could create a bridge back to my prior life or prior identity. Currently I'm using it as a way to have some consuming project or identity that gives me pride. It's working; I am feeling better overall, although a little wired.

- - -

The Bartonella and Lyme treatment continues. I've added EDTA as a biofilm buster. Every now and then I get a brief few seconds of pleasure that reminds me of how life used to be. I'll actually feel my emotions feel different if I see something beautiful or listen to a good song. This is how it should be. Maybe I'm getting some endorphins back.

I'm also getting dermatographia again and these weird hot red rashes on my knuckles. Very strange. Very bright red, blotchy rashes there. Just there.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Mansplaining in chronic Lyme and ME/CFS

Is telling female patients they don't know the cause or origin of their symptoms a form of mansplaining? I think it is.

Even if done by a female doctor to a male patient, it still feels like mansplaining.

See this tumblr (Mansplained) for examples of mansplaining.
Issues it happens over in chronic Lyme and ME/CFS:
  • What people should be doing for treatment (or the lack thereof) - e.g., you should just work on your outlook and not take supplements (thanks, person without the disease for knowing better what to do than someone who researches and compares treatment approaches!)
  • What causes symptoms - e.g., you don't realize it, but your symptoms are caused purely by anxiety (thanks for presuming knowledge of both how I experience anxiety and how I experience these symptoms, and thanks for forgetting that thousands of other people have these same symptoms!)
  • What chronic Lyme disease or ME or CFS are - e.g., even if the person does not have the disease or specialize in treating it, they assume they know more than the person who has it (thanks for knowing more than I do, from a newspaper article or two, about the disease I have and you don't!)
  • Differentiating between physical and emotional symptoms - e.g., telling a patient that while certain symptoms are physical, others are emotional, without getting the patient's opinion

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

I'm learning a lot lately about all of this, so some of my posts might seem to contradict one another.

I'm starting to see it's possible to hang onto feeling, to exert feeling, to assert feeling, to say I FEEL.

I saw a friend writing about her mold avoidance journey that started recently by necessity:

It's great to see someone writing about how it really feels and what it involves.

But I'm also seeing that being in a feeling state doesn't make people more human. Being alienated from one's feelings is ok too. IT's still being human. Even not being able to feel many feelings at all is part of the human experience.

Is it really better to be in a chewing-cud, relaxed, socializing non-traumatized state? It's different but not necessarily better. It depends on the circumstances. If things truly are safe and the state is an unneeded hangover, then sure, get out of the scared state. But there are times and circumstances where being sort of dazed and unaware are better.

Guide to getting what you want from this blog

If you are a healthy person, you might like posts on: meaning of life, spirituality, nonduality, how health affects personality, weird ideas, criticism of medicine, ideas for better healthcare, feminism, thought experiments, personal growth.

If you have Lyme or invisible illness, you might like: explaining Lyme, Lyme disease, Lyme and family, explaining Lyme, illness and esteem, Lyme rage, emotional fatigue, illness and identity, discrimination against sick people, illness and young people.

If you are going through recovery from illness, read recovery after illness.

I love hearing from readers. You can reach me at the gmaill address freeideasblog1.

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