Tag Archives: chronic pain

random comments on depression

with over 1,000 blog posts, my memory of what has been written here is getting a bit fuzzy. to remedy that, i thought that once in a while i’d write a post about old posts. these here are reader comments on the topic of depression from looong ago:

it’s hard to get past the stigma. my mother was diagnosed with bipolar about 13 years ago, but since then the diagnosis has changed to schizophrenia. i have jumped up and down and ranted about “not being ashamed” etc. but when it comes to my own depression, nope there’s nothing wrong with me. i think i’m only just coming to terms with it.

from the stigma of mental illness

there is a big percentage of people who are homeless and have a disability, and often their mental health is severely compromised. no wonder, of course – even if you start out semi healthy mentally, the tough life of being homeless can really grind you down. contrary to what is often believed, homelessness is rarely a choice.

regarding stress and depression … i often think that if we were to attack the reasons for this, it would turn into a revolution … [that was a comment contributed by myself in reply to others’ comments]

from vote for mental health

i love [the] analogy of an “emotional storm” [for depression]. i hope we can take note that self-isolation comes very easily, and sometimes without our noticing it. when i was in the throes of depression, i was isolating myself quite a bit. isabella shares ways we can “safely” connect with others and extricate ourselves from dangerous isolation (contributed by jane chin, who runs one of the oldest mental health sites on the internet)

from seasonal storms

industrial society destroys mind and environment.

the fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of industrial society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. all issues are interlinked. our minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. our minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy nature.

the link between mind and social / environmental-issues.

subject : in a fast society slow emotions become extinct.
subject : a thinking mind cannot feel.
subject : scientific/ industrial/ financial thinking destroys the planet.
subject : environment can never be saved as long as cities exist.

emotion is what we experience during gaps in our thinking.

if there are no gaps there is no emotion.

today people are thinking all the time and are mistaking thought (words/ language) for emotion.

when society switches-over from physical work (agriculture) to mental work (scientific/ industrial/ financial/ fast visuals/ fast words ) the speed of thinking keeps on accelerating and the gaps between thinking go on decreasing.

there comes a time when there are almost no gaps.

people become incapable of experiencing/ tolerating gaps.

emotion ends.

man becomes machine.

a society that speeds up mentally experiences every mental slowing-down as depression / anxiety.

a (travelling) society that speeds up physically experiences every physical slowing-down as depression / anxiety.

a society that entertains itself daily experiences every non-entertaining moment as depression / anxiety.

fast visuals /words make slow emotions extinct.

scientific /industrial /financial thinking destroys emotional circuits.

a fast (large) society cannot feel pain / remorse / empathy.

a fast (large) society will always be cruel to animals/ trees/ air/ water/ land and to itself.

from our bodies, our environment

knowing that pain can be linked to depression really doesn’t do me much good, unless i take that knowledge and start looking for ways to deal with those feelings. thank you for articulating this so well; it’s helpful to read things that clarify thoughts rolling around in my brain. (contributed by nickie)

from why, what and how

[about my office] this room is very colorful !! i love it !! it doesn’t seem to be the “norm” for a therapists’ room though. i’ve sought counceling in the past and the rooms i’ve always been in were basically eggshell white with a blah bookcase with blah books on it and blah seating arrangements. i’m not sure the lack of “distractions” helped, or hurt though. for example, if i’m seeking counseling for depression, going to a “vibrant, colorful” room such as yours, would force my spirts to be uplifted rather then enhance my current depressed state. the double edge sword of that would be, my true feelings of depression might be masked by the “brightness” of your room, forcing me to not fully elaborate on my inner feelings. would it be best to be in a “drab eggshell white” room with little or no “distractions” ? heck, this could be a whole new blog post !!! “counseling rooms, distractions or places of refuge ?”

from sharing water


invisible illnesses are, by definition, not seen. there are two parts to this: the (un)seen, and the (non)seer. i’m not sure that invisible illnesses are in fact invisible.

the man with chronic pain sits on his bed at 3:00 am, a gun in his mouth, ready to pull the trigger. he makes sure his wife doesn’t see it. but it is a reality that can be seen; in some/many/most cases a reality that exists because insufficient effort has been made by the medical profession to see his pain and suffering. ask anyone working in palliative care or a hospice (and, surprisingly enough, sometimes also in sports medicine): in many cases, if you experiment long enough, a combination of drug cocktails, complimentary approaches and human(e) caring out can be found that will bring adequate relief of the horrible experience of excruciating pain.

the woman who keeps going back to the casino covers her tracks; she doesn’t want her co-workers to know how deeply she is in debt, and she is horrified at her mother finding out what she’s done with the money that aunt judy left her. but there she is, look: at the table, throwing in one chip after the other. yesterday she won $6,000! she just knows it will happen again, maybe tonight, for sure tonight! at a deeper level, she feels she is doomed, is always a few minutes away from enrolling in the voluntary exclusion program but somehow is afraid to do it. and we, we know she, or someone like her, is there, right now, this minute. she, too, is at a high risk for suicide. we know it, and therefore we can see it. even if we suspect it – maybe we are one of her coworkers – we can see it, just a bit. we don’t always need a 100-watt light bulb to tell a horse from a dragon.

the old man whose wife died a few months ago is sitting in front of the TV. his children are busy somewhere at the other side of the country, and the dog passed away a year ago. he stares at the moving images in front of him but doesn’t see them. he knows there’s a world out there but he perceives no place for him there anymore. no-one needs him. he sees no more point in talking, cooking, or brushing his teeth. his curtains are drawn; no-one can look in; depression is about to take him over completely. but there are still stories inside of him, experiences, wisdom. they can be seen by those who take the trouble to listen to him to hear him.

in invisible illness, there are things that are hard to see; it’s not easy to directly point at experiences like pain, addiction or depression. but there are also things that are hidden by the person with the illness because of shame, hopelessness, or because of the many times an attempt was made to show what’s going on but no-one seemed to care. and there are things that are not seen not because they absolutely cannot be perceived but because we don’t look and don’t listen.

that can be changed.

(this post was written in honour of invisible illness awareness week, september 14 to 20, 2009)

in honour of the paralympics: some disability links

in honour of the paralympics, i thought i’d share with you some of my disability related links in stumbleupon. here they are:

the people at profy have an article about social networking for the hearing impaired.

tagdeaf is one community that is open to everyone, from deaf to hearing, though it focuses on the deaf and hearing impaired. it offers few special features, concentrating instead on the social aspects of networking and making new friends, with a few extras like photo sharing. other social sites for the deaf, deaf and hearing impaired communities include deafhello, deafpassions (a deaf dating service) and VEESEE (a community based in the uk), to name a few.

even mainstream sites have gotten in on the act. facebook, for example, has one of the largest growing deaf communities of any existing social network site.

ableist language alternatives

iris: a gaming network is a discussion board that seeks to subvert the status quo in gaming in attempt to find ways to rid the gaming industry of it’s strong racist/homophobic/sexist/ableist biases with a particular focus on feminist concerns. in my travels there, i noticed this discussion. it offers some alternatives to ableist or otherwise bigoted language, with some interesting discussion on regional variation following. i’ve appended the list of alternative slurs for your reference. for more on ableist language, check out this recent post from feminist philosophers. in both places, the discussion around language seems to get people quite excited.

buddhists: disability and karma

the recent chatter about whether a person born disabled is being punished for bad karma in their last life pisses me off. not for the reason you might suspect (that i’m angry infants are being, in effect, blamed for their disabilities), but because i don’t think of my disability as a bad thing. [for the record, i became disabled at 7 months old with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis that has not gone away and has left me unable to work.] i’ll state it again, clearer: i’ve found that my disability has had more of a positive than a negative effect on my life.

fellow vancouverite (ok, surrey-ite) glenda has 5 tips on how to make blogs accessible to people with disabilities. here is an example:

bloggers are inundated with spam comments. captchas – completely automated public turing test to tell computers and humans apart – are frequently used to weed out spambot comments from human comments.

however, because captchas are typically images of distorted characters, this information is not accessible to screen readers, leaving people who are blind unable to post a comment. as darrell shandrow, a screen reader user, said visual captchas are “no blind people allowed” signs.

another blogger friend of mine, nickie, who lives a little further down on the west coast (washington, right, nickie?) asks a very interesting question: what does my pain need?  it is a beautiful reflection on living with chronic pain.

my pain needs soft clothing, warmth, soft blankets, strategically placed pillows. it needs scents, aromatherapy which lifts the mood and calms the spirit or relieves pain, it needs warm baths, gentle hands, sitting in silence when the burden is too much to bare.

and while we’re in the neighbourhood, superblogger chris pirillo introduces us to earl, a geek from canada. he live streams. and he has cerebral palsy.

how’s your news is an amazing project – talk about alternative news. reporters swarm small and big places and report it … nothing special, huh? well, all these reporters have serious disabilities. see the world from their perspective!

i guess famous people with disabilities is something the guys’n’gals from how’s your news could cover. in the meantime, the people from disabled world have done it.

and to top it all off with a bang, a great post by another one of my blogging friends, disability, transgender activist, writer and publisher jay sennet: there are no rules.  this is so cool! jay posts an image and then describes it for any seeing-impaired people who might be reading his blog. and of course it also helps understand the image better.


one of my favourite sayings is, “acceptance is the key.” it’s something that can be misinterpreted as fatalism, as acting like a doormat. but that’s now how it works. acceptance is saying, “ok, this is what is. this is what presents itself. let’s deal with that, rather than denying what’s going on or deluding myself.”

my wonderful blogging friend nickie has written a very insightful post about acceptance. nickie is a young woman who lives with RSD, a severe chronic pain condition. please go to her blog and read what she has to say; her wisdom goes way beyond her age and her illness. here are a few teasers.

one topic which i still struggle with in dealing with RSD, and pain in general, is acceptance. i find it difficult to accept the pain, and the challenges it brings to my life. i want to get better; i don’t want to accept the pain, and the way it’s gotten worse. but recently, i started to realize that maybe, i don’t have to accept the whole thing, just little parts at a time, and maybe each part needs to be accepted multiple times.

i frequently want to have needs which are exactly the same as the needs of other. but that’s not always possible, and i’m working on accepting that.

another need is the need for relaxation and self-care time.

one thing which i frequently need to accept is that i need to acknowledge my feelings, acknowledge my pain and acknowledge the things i do well. … one example is blogging. i’ll sometimes write about how upset, sad or challenged i feel in dealing with something. i usually start by writing “i feel bad about writing this, but…” then write in depth about whatever it is i am upset about. that simple step seems to help a great deal.

accepting the need for mutual support … one of the common values of americans tends to be the desire for complete independence. we don’t like thinking we need support.

acceptance is a journey, because we need to find the right level of acceptance. for example, accepting the need for acknowledgement is good, but accepting it to the level where all i do is acknowledge my feelings and pain wouldn’t be healthy.

thanks for sharing yourself with us, nickie! you make the world a richer place.