Category Archives: Skepticism

A Message to Team Assholes.

So.

in your attempts to destroy Atheism+, Feminism, and the divisiveness of the basic logic that says “women are people”, you have “succeeded” in getting Jen McCreight take a break. Congratulations.

I put “succeeded” in scare quotes because you have essentially done nothing.

Some would use the phrase, “You’ve won the battle, but not the war.” I wouldn’t even go that far. I wouldn’t even say that you’ve won a damned fistfight.

You are, and have been, losing. You’re losing spectacularly. Every time you become angry that a woman doesn’t want to be propositioned in an elevator, every time you harass and sexualize a girl for the crime of posting a picture of herself, every time you insist that women are hypersensitive harpies that lie about harassment, every time you discuss whether or not it’s okay to rape someone if you have a reason for it, every time you become vitriolically upset at the idea that marginalized people want to organize a safe space, every time you graphically harass a blogger so much that she takes an indefinite break from blogging, you lose a little more.

Every time you show your true colors, someone new sees you for who you are. Someone who previously didn’t see a problem now sees it thrust right into their face. Someone who didn’t see a reason to act is mobilized into action. Someone who was afraid to speak up becomes angry and vocal about their opinions. Someone who already did all that they thought was possible is empowered to do more.

Every time you play your hateful game, someone new joins our team.

It is too late for you to win. You will only become less redeemable from here on out. You are past the event horizon, and there is no turning back. We are organized, we are angry, and every time you attempt to fight us we become angrier and we become stronger.

You attempted to disarm us by stealing our grenade, and left us with the pin. You advanced further onto our territory, and stepped into our minefield. You have, in your attempt to defeat us, defeated yourself just a little bit more.

So congratulations on that little “success”.

Steve Irwin, privileged asshole hunter.

This is either the worst thing I’ve ever made, or my magnum opus.

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a PSA

TRIGGER WARNING: The word ‘stupid’, the word ‘misogynist’, naughty bad words, words, punctuation, images, colors, lines, fluffy hampster creatures, people, shirts, monitors, keyboards, tables, chairs, viking paraphernalia, trigger warnings.

Right. So. I made a thing to address a, um, pressing issue.
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Oh, Jon.

So I’m trying to fall asleep listening to Jon Stewart again, and what does he do?

He invites someone who wrote a book on ‘Anonymous’  to talk about… Anonymous.

Oh, Jon. Fool.

It still boggles my mind to think that people actually believe that the phenomenon of high school/college age kids fucking around on the internet warrants… much of anything, really. Not books, not fear, not attention. Please, stop giving them attention.

Oh, and taking them seriously.

Here’s the clip that I’m talking about:

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-june-18-2012/parmy-olson

It starts out with Jon mentioning Anonymous bored teenagers on 4chan wanting to ruin the author’s life. Now, I’ll concede that it’s very likely that someone heard about the book and started a thread about it, and then a couple dozen self-righteous manchildren attempted to absolutely destroy her with their usual methods of ordering pizzas to her address while wearing Guy Fawkes masks before  getting scared and hiding under their beds from the federal raid that was surely incoming to quell their terrorist activities.

But, y’know, that’s the extent. This woman isn’t in danger of anything that can’t be accomplished through ordering things to people’s addresses. Unless she’s deathly allergic to free mormon bibles, she can sleep easy.

The author then goes on to discuss her research- namely, how she contacted a “representitive” of the “network” to speak to a “UK representative” who was a “senior member” of anonymous.

For the uninitiated, that last sentence is actually just utter bullshit. ‘Anonymous’ does not have representatives, nor is it a network, and a person who is from the UK and considers themselves a member of anonymous  is not a “UK representative” any more than me getting a house in Britain would make it a US Embassy.

Now to give the author some credit, she does point out that the entire idea of Anonymous bored teenagers on 4chan having power is a mirage. Sadly, she honestly should have just stopped there.

The whole hype over ‘Anonymous’, ‘hackers on steroids’, ‘internet terrorists’… it is an illusion, created because people aren’t adapting to the internet as well as the people who do not know a world without it. To invoke Clark’s third law, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Technology is incredibly advanced, and as a result, people are becoming convinced that 14 year olds who got bored and stumbled onto 4chan are magicians.

And, y’know, as someone who wants to consider herself a skeptic I have to address this. 14 year olds who stumble upon 4chan and become illusioned with the idea of being an elite hacker terrorist in a secret club are not magicians.

But for those who really fail to grasp this entire concept, I’ll explain.

First off, no, anonymous is not a group. It’s an adjective. That’s all. If you’ve ever been too lazy to fill out your contact information when commenting on an article, congratulations, you are now a member of an elite hacker organization. Anonymous is not a group that has any special power. All it is- in it’s entirety- is the result of what happens when you mix normal human tendencies with the illusion that you will not face repercussions because you cannot be identified. People are assholes, and people like to feel like they’re elite and important. Mix those two together on a popular website that expects you to post anonymously (contrary to what the author of the book claims, you are not entirely forced to be on 4chan) where the illusion that you cannot be found is present and you get anonymous.

That’s all. There is literally nothing else to it, besides the details of the smoke and mirrors that allow them to look fancy.

Those smoke and mirrors, again, are just  the result of people not understanding technology. When anonymous takes down websites, all they’re doing is essentially zerging them. Nobody is hacking into anything and for the most part, 90% of those involved don’t even know what they’re doing. They downloaded a program that some guy made and followed the instructions in an image someone else posted and then they started reciting the cover up they’re going to make when the FBI busts them. Because they’re dangerous terrorists, you know.

I really wish there was more to explain, seeing as how poorly understood the whole topic is, but there really isn’t. That’s what makes it sad.

All the people who write about ‘Anonymous’ need to do, should they be able to stand the rampant misogyny and casual racism, is spend a while on 4chan (long enough to watch an entire ‘Operation’ be born and die unnoticed, at least), and they’ll be experts.

And then they can just sit there and think, “wow, I was actually about to take that group of fuck ups seriously” before going off and writing something useful, instead of something that would serve no purpose other than to stroke the egos of those who like to fancy themselves as internet terrorists in a secret club.

Anyways it’s 4am, and I don’t know why I stayed up writing about this for so long, but at least I’m tired now.

 

I hope.

24 DAYS

Is how long I’ve been on my period. Still going strong.

Seriously, four days ago and we’d be half done with a biblical flood.

some build a fucking ark, because if this goes on any longer I’ll start killing cute animals.

Maybe drowning them.

I can’t wait until I go to my doctor’s appointment tomorrow! I can’t remember if the sheet asks the length of an average period or the length of your last period, but it’ll be DAMNED FUN writing a double-fucking-digit number in that space.

I don’t even know what I’ll put down for what I came in for. “I’ve had my period for over three weeks” just doesn’t have much of a ring to it. Needs more capslocked “FUCKING”s.

Maybe I should bring a rake, so I have something to fuck my doctor with if he suggests that this is normal.

Then I could tell him that the bleeding is normal. I mean, that’s just your body’s natural reaction when someone FUCKS YOU WITH A RAKE.

NATURE.

TL;DR: My uterus tried to give birth to itself for a few hours today despite the fact that I gave up allergy medicine for midol, and women’s health care is a fucking joke.

EDIT- BONUS AWFULNESS: When I’m actually at the doctor I get to decide between answering the “what’s your sexual orientation” accurately and dealing with the stress that comes with outing myself to someone whom I don’t trust to keep such things confidential, and putting myself down as ‘straight’ like usual and hating myself as a result.

I bet the decision will involve checking boxes and then crossing them out and then rechecking them multiple times. Again.

The rage train has no breaks today.

Or sympathy.

BUT HEY ALL OF THIS FUN UTERUS STUFF I GET TO DEAL WITH IS WORTH IT, RIGHT? BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, MIRACLES OF CHILDBIRTH AND THE BLESSINGS OF BEING A WOMAN AND EVERYTHING.

If hell was a thing, I’d want the first guy who told a woman that being more or less disabled because of a shoddy reproductive system was a ‘blessing’ to be burning there.

Actually, everyone who says that.

Everyone.

Man, this is the most blindly hateful post I’ve ever made. I don’t think it even has a concise theme past “I hate everything  to do with being female.”

Except boobs.

Sometimes.

EDIT #2- Okay my doctor got away with calling it normal.

Despite how stuff like this is listed under “contact your doctor immediately” on my pill’s side effects.

Of course, he did explain that there was a way to stop it.

Which would have been nice to hear, I dunno, when I started the pills.

But no.

“Oh right that happens and is apparently common, I just decided to not tell you what to do if it does so you could spend a month BLEEDING ENDLESSLY”

Get on birth control to be able to live without being out of commission for a week every month…

Get a ‘perfectly normal’ side effect that does the opposite of that.

Time to pine for a hysterectomy.

Don’t worry, it’s normal.

Maybe it’s even natural.

If you follow the loons that believe in alt-med and homeopathy, you’ve probably  heard something like the latter statement at the very least. Natural remedies, natural ingredients, natural natural natural. Of course, natural is meant to mean “good” here. Good, and normal.

Normal gets used a little differently. While ‘natural’ is a way to claim that entirely neutral (sometimes bad) things are good for you, ‘normal’ tends to be used to say ‘what is supposed to happen’, be the ‘normal’ thing good, bad, or fucking ugly.

You know. Racism? Normal. Cisnormativity? Normal. Heterosexuality? Normal. Religion? Normal. Carrying a rapebaby to term because abortion makes Jesus cry? Normal.

‘Normal’ is kind of just a fun way to say things like “shut up, this is how things are supposed to be” and “shut up, you shouldn’t be complaining”.

Now normally, I tend to regard arguments that involve something being ‘normal’ and ‘natural’ with general apathy. If a homeopath wants to sell his natural homeopathic arsenic antidotes, if a bigot wants to declare racism normal or homosexuality not, I’ll be more worried about the fact that they’re asshats than the words they use. I mean, they’re just words. Whether people think homosexuality is an abomination, or an abomination against nature isn’t too big a deal for me. I’ve just never felt that splitting hairs over word choice was an important thing to do.

Until now, anyways.

Some backstory: I take birth control to not have periods. Now, I’m not mentioning my need for it in the “I’m holier than all of you girls taking it for contraceptive purposes” way. I’m mentioning it because there’s a delicious bit of irony in it.

Because as a result of taking birth control to not have periods, I have had a period for two weeks now. I missed a pill, doubled up the next day (which is, for those of you who don’t take birth control, what you’re supposed to do), and continued on with life. Now, sometimes you get itty bitty babby periods because of this. Sometimes, maybe real periods.

But this time..

Two. Weeks.

And going strong.

I’ve started considering it a biblical flood, and I’m damned near tempted to start referring to tampons as “Falcor the luck dragon”. Maybe Artax, actually, because that shit is a veritable Swamp of Sadness.

Anyways, I wanted to make an appointment with my gynecologist because TWO FUCKING WEEKS. 

The receptionist’s response? “Oh, that’s normal.”

Normal.

Now, my first response to this is that I do not fucking believe that this is normal. Nobody warned me of this side effect. I was told to take pills like this, not that doing so would unleash the fucking red sea upon me. 

But the more I think about it, the more that that response seems silly.

Because as far as I’m concerned, I do not give a flying fuck how normal this is.

Let me reiterate; I’ve spent the last two weeks gushing blood from my crotch. I take medication so as to not have blood gush out of my crotch when it only lasts three to four days. Why the fuck do I care if it’s normal when it’s two weeks?

Of course, maybe the receptionist just meant “nope, you’re not dying” by “it’s normal.” Which is fantastic and all, but that doesn’t mean I’m fine with it. I still want it to stop.

I’ve got an appointment with my gynecologist next Thursday. My gynecologist is a man.

If he tells me that it’s normal that I’ve turned into a bloodgeyser, I’m going to be compelled to ask him when the last time that happened to him was. You know, considering how normal it is.

Or I’ll ask the last time he had to spend each day for two weeks dealing with the fun that comes with periods.

Or constantly having to worry in the back of his mind that Artax might be dead.

Like I’ve had to.

For two weeks.

But I should really just not be complaining about it. It’s, you know, normal. Natural.

Just like the buckets of period blood I’d love to collect and present to them if they tell me that.

On Male and Female Strength Differences

I just started an Archery class today, and promptly learned that my coach is a sexist.

So I’mma do a little post on male/female strength differences today.

Mainly, the notion that in any given group of people, the men will be unilaterally stronger than the women.

 

There’s a few things that I want to point out to begin with. First off, yes, average strength differences between men and women do exist. Thing is, people interpret this to mean that every single man is stronger than every single woman. I’m really sort of tempted to attribute this to the piss poor quality of math teachers here, but I digress.

For the mathematically challenged, here’s an example; two little lists of numbers:

X: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Y: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

The average of x is 3, while the average of y is 4.

We can see three things clearly here: Y is, on average, a greater list. We can also see that there is a huge overlap in the two lists. Finally, despite X being smaller on average than Y, there are quite a few instances between the two lists where a number on X is larger than a number on Y.

 

Now, when we talk about numbers, nobody is going to say that X’s 5 is lower than Y’s 5, or Y’s 3, or that any given number taken from X will definitely be lower than Y. That’s stupid.

But we do similarly stupid things when giving those numbers genders.

 

When presented with a group of women and a group of men, there’s no logical reason to assume that one given woman and one given man are going to have a predictable strength difference.

Let’s say that the women in the group can lift, oh, 50 – 100 pounds. The men in the group could lift 70 – 120 pounds. Even though the strongest man will be stronger than the strongest woman, it’s not a good idea to assume that if you grabbed a woman from her group and a man from his group, the man would be stronger. Maybe he is, but assuming that he is makes no logical sense. It’s perfectly likely that he can only lift 60 pounds when the given woman can lift 80, fitting perfectly within both of their groups while going against the averages- which is perfectly understandable. Groups of people make up the averages, but averages do not make up groups of people, and making assumptions about individuals based on a group average is foolish.

 

Now, there’s a second thing I want to bring up.

Strength isn’t something that a person is born with. Nobody punches their way out of the womb and declares themselves strong, or similarly flails out and then declares that they’re weak, and this isn’t just because babies can’t talk.

Strength is something that you have to work towards. While women on average may develop less muscle mass than men, but past this the strength of an individual is based on individual habits. A man who does no physical exercise of any kind is going to be weaker than a woman who exercises. A woman who has trained herself to be able to lift 100 pounds will be stronger than a man who has trained himself to lift 90, and so on.

But obsessing over gender differences is silly. Gender is not the only thing that determines whether or not someone is predisposed towards building muscle mass or not. Different body types also determine how easy it is to gain muscle mass,  but we don’t see people splitting into different teams for different body types and ethnicities. And yet, we do this for (or shall I say, against) women.

This is a problem. It’s sexism, as much as people like to scream “body differences!” at anyone who suggests as much. I won’t call sexism on the fact that strength averages between genders involve a discrepancy- that’s true- but judging individuals by a group average is stereotyping, and unreliable. My archery coach informed the women- unanimously- that we should go for a 20-25 pound bow. Men, 25-30 pounds. To be fair, I’m surprised there’s an overlap at 25 pounds, but it brings up an important point. Why are we assuming that a woman wouldn’t be able to pull back 30 pounds, or that all men should be able to pull back 25? Why don’t we just say “when trying out bows, stick to the 20-30 pound range”, and leave out the narrow worldviews? If it just so happens that the entire class fits into his gendered ranges, then great. But if a woman can pull back 30 pounds, then it shouldn’t be assumed that that would be for the men. Similarly, if a man can only pull back 20, he shouldn’t be pushed to pulling 25, simply because otherwise he’d be in the “girls’ range”.

For all my coach knows, there are women in his class who spend their weekends in the gym and men with exercise schedules closer to mine- which is nonexistent. He should respect that stereotyping is useless in determining actual strength between individuals, and that such comments serve to convince women that they actually are weaker. Which isn’t something that I appreciate, really.

 

Now, for the reason that I decided to make an entire post on this matter:

As I left class today, I asked my coach what sort of exercises I would want to do to strength train for Archery. After all, I’m not exactly a person who loves exercise, so I wouldn’t have a clue which muscles are involved in shooting a bow, or for that matter, how to strengthen them.

The response I received was “women’s pushups”.

Not pushups, but the ones for women.

And that pissed me off.  Without knowing my history, he made the assumption that I couldn’t do a simple god damned pushup based solely on the fact that I’m female. It’s offensive, but I must admit I’m lucky. There are some women who would become discouraged and add that to the brainwashing that tells them that they will always be weaker and lesser than men.

Now if you’ll excuse me, despite the fact that I haven’t worked out in years and I’m a frail little womanfolk, I’m going to go do legitimate fucking pushups.

No, you are not a psychic.

In response to this video, and all other psychics like this woman:

Asking vague questions and making vague statements, and then asking more vague questions and making more vague statements that go along with the answers to the initial questions isn’t being psychic.

That’s just playing twenty questions. 

Seriously, the entire premise of that game is that you start with one question “I see an M or J?” and then being told yes “Well yeah, there’s an M” or no “Uh, that’s my daughter, not my mother” and then going from that until you reach a conclusion.

And really, assuming that a little girl might be friends with a little boy is about on par with “Is it larger than a breadbox?”

Vaccines, Stupidity, Disproportionate Responses, et. al.

I went and got vaccinated against meningitis the other day, as per a requirement for enrolling in community college.

I tend to complain a lot when I get vaccinated against things. I elect to have it done in my left arm, because I use it considerably less and so I can pretend that it’s been lopped off  and I can’t use it for a few days while I wait for the soreness to go away. I treat my vaccinated arm like it’s a volatile explosive or something– If I exert any pressure on it, if I lift anything more than a few ounces, well gee, that fucker may very well blow right off. I sleep on the other side of my body so that I don’t crush and destroy my poor, weakened arm.

I keep the bandage on for about a day, even though after an hour there’s a voice in my head saying “Okay seriously, if you’re still bleeding now you probably have leukemia.

I’m basically a complete nut about it.

And yet I go and get all of the vaccinations required of me. Hell, I even get the non-required ones like Gardasil, because you know what doesn’t seem fun? Cancer. Kinda like how meningitis sounds like a real downer, and tetanus would just really ruin my day.

It helps that my “reaction” to vaccines are pretty much me being a hypochondriac, but the thing is? Even if I went and got vaccinated and then spent the rest of the day feeling like I’d eaten rotten poison and dead kittens, vaccines would still be worth it.

But apparently, there’s a growing number of people who go along with the thought process “Little Suzy might get the sniffles? Fuck that,   Measles sounds considerably better.”

But of course, they don’t think like that; they believe that since they don’t see people with measles, they can’t possibly get measles. Which in a sense is entirely true! It’s why vaccinating parents/caregivers/etc. against whooping cough is an effective way of preventing it in babies, who can’t be vaccinated but certainly can get whooping cough. It also provides a bit of a safety net for people who can’t get vaccines for legitimate reasons (read: too sick, not too stupid).

Those two things work, though, because we’ve got a nice thing called herd immunity, which works similarly to a plastic bubble of immunity. To expand this metaphor, we have a big plastic dome-o-notmeasles that we all live in. Some of us have our own little notmeasles bubbles, which is great for us. However, some of us don’t have our own bubbles. Ideally, that “some of us” would be entirely composed of those who are too sick to be vaccinated, but due to this anti-vaccine crusade, that “some of us” is growing. Those people still live under the big plastic dome, and so they’re pretty much safe as long as measles does not penetrate our bubble.

The thing about diseases, though, is that they like penetrating bubbles. It’s kind of what they do, how they survive. It happens when someone who isn’t personally immunized comes in contact with a disease, catches it, and then goes back into the bubble where everyone else is. Suddenly, this isn’t a notmeasles bubble, it’s a measles bubble. Full of measles.

This metaphor is becoming a bit stretched. Let’s change it from a bubble to, say…

A school?

Right. So we have our school with 100 students. A few years ago perhaps, only 1 of these 100 were not vaccinated- maybe she has a weakened immune system?  But the other 99 were vaccinated, so they kept her safe.

Fast forward a few years, one kid has autism. The parents, who don’t understand how correlation doesn’t equal causation, assumed that this was caused by a vaccine (protip- that doesn’t happen, if there was any doubt). The parents then go and start a crusade against vaccines! Fun.

Now 50 out of the 100 students are unvaccinated. This poses a problem.

I don’t know the actual statistics, so I’m going to pull one out of my ass. let’s say that, while unvaccinated, you have, oh… a 2% chance of catching the disease. 1 out of 50.

When we only have one unvaccinated child, it’s sort of like  rolling a 50 sided die once. There’s a very low chance she’ll end up with measles, and if she does, only she is affected. That’s a maximum of 1 child out of 100 getting a horrible disease.

But if we roll that dice 50 times, it’s statistically probable that we will land on measles atleast once. Let’s pretend we did roll the measles dice, and now one of our kids has measles.

So, 50 unvaccinated kids (one with measles!),  50 vaccinated kids (one with autism!)

Fast forward a very short amount of time, those 49 other unvaccinated kids were exposed to measles from the single child, and now 90% of the children who weren’t vaccinated have measles. In real life, schools would close pretty damn quick, but keep in mind that there’s a sizable amount of time between that one child becoming infected and then showing enough symptoms to be diagnosed in which he could infect any number of other students.

so now we’ve got 45 kids with measles. 45 kids who wouldn’t have had measles if they had been vaccinated. 45 kids who wouldn’t have spread it to other kids and infected other kids if they had been infected.

One goddamned kid who infected the whole unvaccinated population of the school just because his parents thought vaccines were evil.

One kid who couldn’t be vaccinated for legitimate medical reasons, who relied on the herd immunity to protect her, and who was infected by people who don’t understand how that works.

And one kid with Autism that wasn’t caused by a vaccine, whose parents jumpstarted this whole thing.

 

Anti-vaccination crusades are bad, okay?

On depression

I’ve dealt with depression (and social anxiety) for around five years now. As this issue is given more light in the skeptical movement, I’ve been tempted to write a post about my own experiences.

At the moment I can’t think of a good way to write out my story in full, it being long and rather convoluted, but I do have two points that I want to make to sum up my thoughts on depression at the moment.

First, I want to talk about the nature of depression.

I’m currently in a Junior in high school, and working on my courses from home. To spare you of a long explanation (which I will go in depth about when I do finally get a story together), this is essentially because it provides a less stressful environment in which I can handle my depression. It’s also worth mentioning that, for reasons I will also go into later, I’m unable to get proper therapy or drugs to help with depression.

To my mother– and I am sure many others– this sounds like avoidance.I’m not going to deny that it is. It very much is avoidance, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. No, avoidance does not make my depression go away, a fact that sometimes makes itself very apparent.

But there’s something I want to say about that, about the fact that I’m merely avoiding depression as opposed to combating it.

When you live with depression, your first goal isn’t to live an entirely normal life.

No, when you live with depression, your first goal is to live.

When you have that goal under control you can move on to trying to function at a minimum. When you can function at a minimum, then maybe you can move up to functioning like a normal human being.

Avoidance allows me to live. It allows me to function at a minimum. To someone who has never suffered from depression, this likely doesn’t sound like an accomplishment. It is. It is an accomplishment when this avoidance allows me to go weeks without feeling crippled by depression, when I can actually get work done and be productive.

Some might say that this is because avoidance is an easy way out. Indeed, avoidance is easier than the alternatives. That’s why I’m still alive and writing this post today; because I took the easy way.

There’s no reason to fetishize difficulty when the goal is living. I’m playing a game where I have a single life, and if I die I can’t hit the reset button. Of course, everyone else in the world is playing the same game, so why can’t I play it the same? Because my game is bugged. If the game of life is a platformer, then my character is programmed with an extra affinity towards pools of lava and bottomless pits, and when I’m jumping over those like everybody else, I have to put that much more effort into it.

In short, easy mode to one person is hard mode to someone with depression. Don’t fault us for sticking to those modes.

 

Now for a second point on the topic of the nature of depression.

My mother has made it clear before that when I’m avoiding the things that trigger anxiety and depression, I don’t appear depressed. This unfortunately leads her to believe that I don’t actually have depression.

I’ve thought of this some, and realized something.

Someone who has a severe peanut allergy will not show symptoms of a peanut allergy while avoiding peanuts. Depression is the exact same way. We don’t doubt that a person with a peanut allergy truly has one just because we haven’t witnessed it, and yet when a person with depression can actually go a while without feeling depressed (because they avoid the triggers, similarly to someone avoiding peanuts) we doubt that they ever had depression.

Which is just damn wrong.

Damn wrong, and dangerous,

I’ve been asked before, by my mother, what would happen if I were to be forced out of my avoidance and made to live a normal life.

I couldn’t reply to her, not out of not knowing the answer, but out of hesitancy. It was very clear to me that suddenly being forced into a very stressful situation in a stressful way would end similarly to someone with a peanut allergy being force-fed peanuts– in a hospital.

I try, very slowly, to move myself into being less nervous socially. At the moment that manifests itself in enrolling at a community college to take extra courses there, something that despite definitely being social doesn’t quite trigger that much anxiety in me. It’s a safe slope up towards normal functioning.

And that safe slope is necessary. Just like a paraplegic can’t ram her wheelchair against a staircase and go up, I can’t jump from the bottom of this pit of depression up to the top.

It’s also worth mentioning that it’s really quite silly to ask a depressed person, or a person with anxiety in any form, why certain things depress or panic them. We can’t point to one thing and say “yep, it’s that” and then make “that” go away and never feel depressed or panic again.

We just… are depressed. We just do have our anxiety triggered by things. We can’t think our way out of it, we can’t will ourselves out of it. It’s irrational sadness and irrational fears, and those can’t be killed by rationality, nor can we pinpoint reasons for said irrationality.

 

Now, for my second point.

The recent decision of the skeptical blogging community to embrace mental illness is just beautiful. So often do people get depression wrong. So often I’ve heard anecdotes that range from “I was sad once and got over it” to “I had depression once, and then it went away forever once I took pill” which are just so god damned wrong.

So it’s refreshing when I see posts like this one where the writer so clearly gets what it’s like to have depression (even after experiencing a minimal form of it– that in itself is amazing, because true understanding of depression is usually limited to those who experience it).

It’s beautiful to read things like “I am amazed by Jenny, by Allie, by Chris and the thousands of others who fight to survive every day and find their way through the darkness, only to know that it could consume them again at any time.” Because that is so damned accurate. Depression does act like that. You fight through it, and then it consumes you at random.

It’s just so refreshing to know that there is some real light being shed on the actual truth of what depression is like. After dealing so long with such wrong information, truth and accuracy are the greatest things ever.