Archive for January 2015

Treating Depression in a Pagan Context: a Response   1 comment

I’m a good week behind in responding to the Wild Hunt’s article “Treating Depression in a Pagan Context“, largely because I’m in a place where spoons are at a premium.  I’ve got several ongoing projects at the moment, along with two jobs and obligations to my family and friends when I’d like nothing more than to spend a week staying in my flannel pants and playing video games to soothe my jagged edges.

But respond I must, I think.  Even if I believe the article was written in good faith, and from the perspective of wanting to help people out there.  Even if I believe those interviewed were doing their best to explain their points of view and what helped them.  Even if I know I tend to overreact to the idea that incorporating our beliefs as Pagans into daily life requires a shiny wrapping and a bow stamped PAGAN...because, of course, to me it doesn’t.

I’m not here to write about those things, though.  The fundamental flaw in the article, as I see it, is the conflation of the emotion called depression and the mental illness called Depression.  Or, as I like to characterize them, lower-case depression, and capital Depression.  You see, there’s a difference between the two.  One of them might be “…a relatively common condition, which should be resolved within a couple of weeks with self-care…”, but the other definitely isn’t, and those of us who are diagnosed with capital Depression can certainly attest to it.  And, even though the article notes at the end that “…outside help should be sought for any depression which lasts for more than a few days”, I don’t think it is clear enough about the differences to be truly helpful.

So, in light of this, I’m going to try to provide some additional information that I feel is both important and left out of the article in question.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has what I think is an amazing description of Depression on their site, and notes that there are several forms of depressive disorders.  In addition, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has a fact sheet that is easy to read and clearly points out that lower-case depression is not the same as capital Depression.  While Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses, it is not as common as the emotion with the same name and it does not resolve after a few weeks of self-care, like the common cold.

There are amazing resources out there for people trying to differentiate whether they are depressed or have Depression, and in addition to the ones I list above, the American Psychiatric Association’s website has some fantastic articles and tools.  In particular, the Online Assessment Measures section of the site includes patient questionnaires that can be used by clinicians to assist in diagnosis of Depression and other mental illnesses.  I’m especially fond of the Severity Measure for Depression – Adult, which does what it says on the tin.  Now, this questionnaire follows the guidelines of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, version 5 (DSM-V) and needs to be scored by a clinician, but a person who suspects that they might have Depression could do way worse than complete the questionnaire and take it in to their physician.

I truly hope this information helps someone, and that future articles from The Wild Hunt that tackle mental illness are clearer about what they’re actually addressing.

(And, for the record, I’m highly annoyed that WordPress won’t capitalize the D in my URL.)

Posted January 22, 2015 by veggiewolf in Depression

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Polyable Moment   Leave a comment

I realized today that I’ve not really written anything polyamory-related since May of 2014, and while thinking about what I could write I landed face-first in a polyable moment.

What is polyable?  Well, it’s a portmanteau – polyamory + teachable = polyable.  Basically, something happened today that made me go, “Aha!  This is what it’s all about.  I can use this as an example of how polyamory works.”  After all, once someone learns I am polyamorous, the questions start: who, what, where, when, how?  WHY????  I don’t mind the questions – hell, I’ll talk about anything if asked to, and human behavior is right up there as one of my favorite topics, along with sex and religion.  Oh, and my cats.

So, who?  Well, right now my only partner is my husband.  The post I linked above explains the break I had with my other main partner, and I’ve not really been up for hitting the dating market (I know I’ve mentioned before that DATING SUCKS MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF ASS.)  I don’t tend to count my platonic relationships as part of my polyamory; I know some people do, but it’s a case of YPINMPBYPIOK (your-poly-is-not-my-poly-but-your-poly-is-ok.)  If I did, I’d be close to maxing out the color choices in my Google calendar.  So, at some point I’ll end up hitting OK Cupid again and steeling myself to meet people unless a potential partner just falls into my lap while I’m playing Dragon Age: Inquisition.

*looks up at the ceiling hopefully*

What?  I define my version of polyamory really well in this post from 2012, so I don’t think I necessarily need to do it all over again…unless someone wants to see it here?  Let me know.

Where?  Everywhere.  I’m polyamorous everywhere.  I may not speak about it in all venues (over dinner with the parents and the aunt who is a minister?  Ummm, no.), but I am polyamorous.  I can behave otherwise, for a while, but the truth will out.  For the other version of the where question…also everywhere.  *winks*

When?  All the time.  See my answer to Where.  More practically, when my schedule permits.

How?  Well, if you’re talking definitions again, see my 2012 post linked above.  If you’re not, here’s where the polyable moment comes in: I communicate.  I tell people what they need to know even if I’m afraid they don’t want to hear it.  Especially if I’m afraid they don’t want to hear it; if I’ve angst over saying something, it is probably something that needs to be said.  So, earlier, my husband told me something via IM and I communicated back.  I told him how I felt about what he was saying, and how I felt about him, and how I want to move forward with bringing more people into my life.  We communicated, and it was profound like so many of our conversations are – we were so on the same wavelength that I felt we were vibrating on the same frequency.

The thing is, my husband’s polyamory only matches mine where we intersect with each other.  It works differently for him – he’s more emotionally open and more welcoming of romantic love, and I am, well, like I said, go read my definition.  I’ve broken off relationships when emotional connections have grown in directions I couldn’t handle, and when I can’t give people what they want/need from me (two in the past few years, actually).  My husband is completely different than me when it comes to love…and I love him so much for that, and want him to be happy.  So, I communicate so he knows where I am.  He communicates so I know where he is.  We communicate, and it is awe-inspiring to me.  Today’s communication, simple as it was, was polyable – I’ll be able to refer to it as an example of how my polyamory works and it just might give people some more insight.

Finally, why?  Why do I do this or, as people have asked, why would I choose this, or just why, for gods’ sakes why???

I could be flip and say why not, but the truth is that other relationship styles haven’t worked for me and this one does.   Monogamy didn’t work for me; polyamory and non-monogamy do.  I’m fortunate that I get to have the relationships I want, in the manner I want, without compromise, and I see no reason not to do so.

Thoughts?  Questions?  Good polyable moments?  I’d love to hear them!

Posted January 8, 2015 by veggiewolf in Polyamory, Terminology

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A Crack in the Road   Leave a comment

I’ve decided to take a break from therapy.

I’m slightly shocked by this decision, honestly – I’m of the opinion that those of us who take psychotropic medications should be in therapy at some point, and just because I don’t think it needs to be for life, I still feel weird about stopping.  And, I’m not sure if it’s going to be a long-term or short-term break.

Here’s the thing: I last saw my therapist (the new one, not The Amazing Dr. Barb) two weeks before Christmas.  My schedule intervened, and then hers intervened, and I was supposed to see her at lunch time today…but my work-from-home day changed to Mondays and the commute from my office to her office is way too long for a lunch break.  So, I planned to text her to tell her that my schedule changed again…except the more I thought about going, the more it felt like a horrible chore.

I am not used to therapy feeling like a horrible chore.  Even at my most fucked-up, emotionally overwhelmed, screaming and crying, not-wanting-to-deal-with-reality, spoonless times, therapy was constructive and I actually looked forward to it.  It was like putting a puzzle together, or dumping the entire toy box out onto the floor to figure out what things belong together and what things don’t.  It was…good.

Therapy now is not good.  My new therapist is good, and she says all the right things, and she’s not horrified by me, and I’d probably recommend her to other people.  I just don’t think we fit each other.  It isn’t one of those overwhelmingly bad fits like the dozens of people who told me promiscuity wasn’t something that people who were sexually assaulted did.  (Yeah, I know.) But, there’s something just not right about it and, as a result, I dread going because I know it’s going to feel all awkward and weird.

It’s like a series of bad dates, actually, with the person everyone tells you is right for you, and so you date them, and even though there’s no chemistry you keep doing it because there’s nothing really wrong with the person.  And, quite frankly, if I want bad dates, I can go back on OK Cupid and meet all of the people who message me insisting that their spouse doesn’t understand them.

I’m also, kind of, bothered by the fact that she only communicates by phone or text.  And, quite frankly, I’m still annoyed that she isn’t Dr. Barb.  These things are not her fault.  I know they’re not her fault but…yeah.  So, I texted her and let her know I wanted to take a break and that I’d contact her in a month or so.  By then, I should know if I want to give it a try with her again, or find someone else, or just stop for now.

Blargh.  I wonder if I’m actually sane enough to attempt going without entirely, or if I need the safety net of being able to go back.  I wonder if I will go back.  Oh well, at least medication is a definite – they’ll pry my Paxil out of my cold, dead hands.

Posted January 7, 2015 by veggiewolf in Depression, monsters, self-esteem

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