"Hey Twitter: if you've struggled with depression, what's the most helpful thing anyone ever said to you? Literally asking for a friend. (I've dealt with it, too, but I'm running out of personal wisdom to share.) @gaileyfrey @mariabamfoo @anne_theriault @
Also, “depression is anger turned inward.” In health, we feel rewarded by demonstrating agency in setting and achieving goals. Own your preferences and distinguish them from habits formed by symptoms. Look for what is important & what is possible.
psychology  depression  anxiety 
What’s Next for Stacey Abrams? - NYMag Rebecca Traister
She made her first personal spreadsheet in the wake of a bad breakup in college, sitting in the Spelman computer lab laying out her goals for the next 40 years. Back then, it was writing a best-selling spy novel and being the mayor of Atlanta. “Though my list was … driven by grief and the need to reclaim my sense of self,” Abrams writes in Lead From the Outside, “the point was that I was letting myself experience the feeling of wanting itself: acknowledging in print … that I was allowed to dare to want.”
profile  politics  racism  demographics  gerrymandering 
7 days ago
Profile: Lindy West on Writing Online, and Hulu’s Shrill
“Once I got past the scariness of it, it was helping me, it was helping other people, it was helping my career … It all worked out,” she tells me as we continue our loop around the city. “So why did I keep doing it?” She shrugs. “What’s the point of writing something that doesn’t move anything?”
writing  career  tv  profile 
8 days ago
Claudia Fleming’s Grub Street Diet
pastry chef on Long Island, Gramercy - her day (good recs)
nyc  travel  pastry  baking  profile  career  inspiration 
9 days ago
What Class Rage Feels Like - NYMag
Publishing editor talks about inherited wealth - lies and misrepresentations and how she drops friends who are subsidized esp those who pretend they aren'ts. It is infuriating. It'd be me...
finances  economics  writing  publishing 
12 days ago
Echoism Is the Little-Known Condition that Affects Victims of Narcissistic Abuse - Broadly
it is thought that malignant narcissists tend to be aggressive, antisocial, and egocentric. It made for an upsetting and traumatic childhood. When she saw pain, she fed off it like a vampire.”

Sarah lived in all-consuming fear of her mother. As she grew up, she learned to keep quiet and hide her own desires. Essentially, she didn’t develop a sense of self. Sarah was an echoist. Highly sensitive, compassionate, and emotionally intelligent, echoists are extreme people-pleasers.

People with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) are exploitative, entitled, and lack empathy, Malkin explains. “They’re so addicted to feeling special that they’ll lie, steal, cheat—whatever it takes to get their needs met, no matter the cost to others.” As a result, emotionally sensitive, empathetic people can become echoists if they are exploited by narcissists in childhood. Malkin places echoism at the far end of the narcissistic spectrum he has developed: echoists have a fear of being needy, special, or selfish.

Narcissistic abuse includes psychological manipulation tactics like shaming, isolation, gaslighting and stonewalling. “One of the experiences that is so corrosive to [echoists’] self-esteem is that you don’t feel like a person,” says Malkin. “You become an echo of this other person.”

“I used to go to... look at myself in the mirror,” says Sarah, “This sounds very odd, it wasn’t a vanity thing— [it was] more like [I] checking I was still there. My sense of self was so weak. I hated any focus of attention on me. I wanted to be invisible.”

“He lacked empathy, was very selfish and critical, always projecting blame onto me. He basically made me feel like nothing I ever did was good enough. So I tried harder and harder to please him.

“[My siblings and I] were hyper alert to people’s emotions, their facial expressions, because we needed to make sure they were happy.”

The Echo Society runs support groups and workshops. Part of the focus is on developing physical, emotional, and psychological boundaries. “It’s areas like self-esteem, assertiveness and growing comfortable with saying ‘no’,” says McCloskey. “We also get into simple things like self-care; they’ve neglected their own self-care because they’ve been looking after the narcissist.”
psychology  narcissism  echoist  echoism  DSM  abuse  parenting 
13 days ago
How to be a joyful pessimist — Quartz
Struggle helps cultivate resilience, and American “workism” is misguided. But Duhigg and Thompson also ignore a more fundamental issue. It’s clamoring for happiness that makes people miserable.

People who are deeply invested in the idea of achieving happiness are more likely to obsess over failure and negative feelings. Because these are unavoidable in any life, the high expectations create more stress that leads to increased negativity.

“Happiness is a good thing, but setting it up as something to be achieved tends to fail,” Bastian told Time. “Our work shows that it changes how people respond to their negative emotions and experiences, leading them to feel worse about these and to ruminate on them more.”

The fact is that you have to consider misery and discomfort in any existential calculation. These are essential elements of being—a lot of things don’t go right. Even under the best circumstances, we get hungry and tired, and need to pee. The best relationships involve pain, and the greatest jobs are also tedious. Nothing can be fun all the time, and some stuff that ends up enjoyable may seem dreadful while you’re doing it. Pretending otherwise, expecting a steady sense of pleasure and satisfaction, only compounds suffering.

suffering is inevitable. All living beings struggle their way into existence and survive with pain, physical and psychic, until they die. To escape this cycle is impossible—but if we make peace with the process, then we are also more able to appreciate the difficult adventure.

Our desires cause us pain. Learning to want and need less can help us to minimize our suffering,

even sans Buddhism "liberating yourself from the expectation of happiness lightens your load. It makes life a little easier when you are realistic but resolved, rather than deluded, desirous, and determined to have the impossible. By calculating discomfort and struggle into the mix, you can remain cautiously optimistic, knowing there’s surely trouble ahead, but that you will face it with grace."

Try to start understanding that there are no bad cuts on this porker called life, and that all the feelings are fine. Happiness is necessarily not lasting, and if you chase it, the emotion will elude you. It’s precious and momentary. That is what makes it so delightful.

The bot is not trying to make you happy. Rather, it’s trying to make you reflective. For example, if you tell the Woebot you are anxious, it will ask you to consider whether there are positive aspects to feeling concerned or worriedserves some purpose you haven’t yet considered.

Because the language we use shapes our reality, CBT exercises call attention to the lexicon of our thoughts. The idea is that as ideas and feelings arise, we become more capable of appreciating their fluidity. Thoughts are not solid. They shift shapes, come and go. The practice teaches control through engaging with your thoughts and reframing them

A kind of defensive pessimism is perhaps the best approach. It’s like carrying a mental umbrella, knowing that the weather is changeable.

Your expectations will not be met, because reality is always more strange and complicated than imagination, which also mean something more interesting than you know could yet be on the horizon. Know, too, that even so, dull moments will abound.

(badly put section on CBT as arguing with each thought "as your own attorney" also incredibly badly put that the point of that is to make all sides seem valid and therefore meaningless - so advocating argument AND relativism/a nihilist approach to thinking and morality)
psychology  happiness  buddhism 
14 days ago
Do Not Disturb: How I Ditched My Phone and Unbroke My Brain - The New York Times
"changed my lock screen to one that showed three questions to ask myself every time I unlocked my phone: “What for? Why now? What else?”

"“Your life is what you pay attention to,” she said. “If you want to spend it on video games or Twitter, that’s your business. But it should be a conscious choice.”

"her program focuses on addressing the root causes of phone addiction, including the emotional triggers that cause you to reach for your phone in the first place. The point isn’t to get you off the internet, or even off social media — you’re still allowed to use Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms on a desktop or laptop, and there’s no hard-and-fast time limit. It’s simply about unhooking your brain from the harmful routines it has adopted around this particular device, and hooking it to better things."

Psychologists have a name for this: “phubbing,” or snubbing a person in favor of your phone. Studies have shown that excessive phubbing decreases relationship satisfaction and contributes to feelings of depression and alienation.

But I cannot stress enough that under the right conditions, spending an entire weekend without a phone in your immediate vicinity is incredible. You have to try it.
technology  addiction  psychology 
14 days ago
op ed - Frank Bruni - NYTimes
What do those who’ve reached the highest tiers in their fields have in common? Is there a secret to that kind of “success”?
Talent absolutely matters, but I don’t think it’s the consequential quality. I know plenty of talented people who haven’t gotten as far — by conventional and of course subjective measures — as some of their less talented peers have.
Ingenuity counts. So do charm, charisma or whatever you want to call the ability to make people like you, believe in you or both.
But above all of these I would place single-mindedness. Most of the people who get far prioritized getting far. They put in the extra plotting and, in some cases, scheming to make it happen. Often, but not always, they put in the extra time. They sacrificed and jettisoned the things that needed sacrificing and jettisoning: hobbies, leisure, occasionally even friends.
And in more than a few cases, they were shameless — when it came to promoting themselves, for instance, or when it came to taking credit. They were ruthless. I’d like to say that a conscience helps one’s ascent to the top. But at least as often, it impedes it.
politics  success  psychology 
14 days ago
Emotional and Psychological Trauma - HelpGuide.org
excellent summary and background on trauma and PTSD

the usual but also advocating for ongoing care - this is your deal, a chronic condition (as far as you know)

Trauma recovery tip 1: Get moving. Trauma disrupts your body’s natural equilibrium, freezing you in a state of hyperarousal and fear. As well as burning off adrenaline and releasing endorphins, exercise and movement can actually help repair your nervous system.
22 days ago
Why Is There Evil? | Psychology Today
generalities that's aren't particularly helpful...

In addition, ordinary people are adept at giving self-serving justifications for why their actions are not immoral, a kind of motivated inference. Guilty feelings can be resisted by concocting stories about how situations are ambiguous, actions have complex consequences, and other people are worse. For example, corrupt politicians may be able to convince themselves that they really are doing their best.
psychology  morality 
22 days ago
Life Advice From Kenny Shopsin
On the meaning of life:
“The only way to not be crushed by the stupidity of life is to pursue something energetically and gain as much satisfaction as you can before it gets stupid — and just ignore the fact that it’s stupid. The whole thing is shitty. You’re gonna fucking die.”

On confidence:
“If you understand your intrinsic value in the world, you can put up with a lot of shit and have a happy existence.”

On the point of goals:
“My stupid goal: I’ve risen above that and I don’t need a goal, I’m just stupid. I just float free, knowing that after you’ve pursued a stupid goal for a long time, even if you understand it’s not important, you understand it’s a device to help you overcome the absurdity of life.”
philosophy  goals  arbitrarystupidgoal  eating  food  restaurant 
22 days ago
"I Believe There Are More Good People Than Bad" | Psychology Today
One of the most fundamental lessons of social psychology (see Milgram, 1963) is the fact that bad or antisocial behavior is much more likely to be the result of situations that facilitate antisocial behavior - rather than by some internal qualities that are somehow uniquely held by “the bad people.” People don’t come in good versus bad varieties - people are good - and we need to create social structures and systems to harness the goodness in people
psychology  morality 
22 days ago
American moms: let's stop feeling guilty and start getting mad | Katherine Goldstein | Opinion | The Guardian
"It is amazing what we as mothers can do, and how we stand on our own two feet. But I don’t think we should just accept our lot in this country, because it doesn’t have to be this hard."

Excellent rundown of all the ways that motherhood is discriminated against and creates crises where there needn't be ones.
sexism  parenting  kids 
22 days ago
Hypervigilance - The Book of LifeThe Book of Life
At some point, long before we could cope, we were frightened very badly indeed, so badly, we have never really recovered a faith in the solidity of anything. Something so challenging unfolded, it has jammed our minds in a state of alarm, even when the outward conditions have changed

when we are alone and the pressures mount once more, we may simply have to stand back and observe the hypervigilance do its thing: smash our plans and hopes, and unleash panic in a way that will knock us out for the day or the month. We should forgive ourselves. This is a disease like any other. What can be hardest, but most important, to believe is that being an adult means having options. We can push back against bullies, move away when it gets too much and tell others what we need from them. We don’t need to be hypervigilant because we have the option of true vigilance: if there were to be real dangers, we would now have the inner resources to greet and fight them in good time. We can worry when we need to, not just because we exist.
psychology  anxiety  threat  debotton  bookoflife  schooloflife 
22 days ago
By mollycoddling our children, we're fuelling mental illness in teenagers | Jonathan Haidt and Pamela Paresky | Opinion | The Guardian
Not sure I agree with the premise or the results they reach - it seems political and reverse-research, I.e. "we believe this and will muster support for our opinion about children and young adults" vs. any full data to suggest that this is the critical factor in bad outcomes.

"In the book we describe how they began using the language of safety and danger to describe ideas and speakers, and to demand policies based on the premise that some students are fragile (or “vulnerable”). Terms such as “safe space”, “trigger warning” and “microaggression” entered the language. These, we believe, are requests made by a generation that was deprived of the necessary quantity of social immunisations. Students now react with a kind of emotional allergic response (often referred to as being “triggered”) to things that previous generations would have either brushed off or argued against.
psychology  parenting  kids 
22 days ago
Five Things I Wish I’d Known Before My Chronic Illness - The New York Times
“In trauma therapy we call this ‘integration,’ the task of integrating a new reality into one’s life and worldview,” Mr. Lundquist said. “This emotional work can look a lot like grief therapy for a passing loved one.” Try to be patient as you get to know the new version of yourself.
illness  health  psychology  medicine 
22 days ago
Opinion | Donald Trump’s Phony America - The New York Times - Frank Bruni
They’re favor traders, corner cutters, rule breakers, perk hoarders. They’re notorious examples of types that many of us see all the time. How many people owe their success to exaggerating their talents, grabbing credit when it doesn’t belong to them and projecting a potency that’s really smoke and mirrors? How many depend on the continued support of people who bought the performance in the beginning and don’t want to admit that they were duped? Trump and Holmes are such achievers in extremis.

They also have a competitive advantage: They’re without shame. There’s a whole lot you can do once you’ve slipped that tether. To the unscrupulous go the spoils.
politics  trump  graft  corruption 
22 days ago
The Choice of Childlessness – Human Parts
On both choices being a gamble. You don't know.
feminism  kids  parenting 
22 days ago
This writer explains why millennials ‘refuse to grow up’ in viral thread. | GOOD
Bill Maher was a dick (again) and this milennial provided an excellent summary of why the collapse of the social support network and financial stability in the US contributes to people holding onto things like comics. "In the vacuum left by the loss of reachable life goals, we 80s kids kind of figured: fuck it.

Why the hell should we give up what is good & joyful & rich of the art & accoutrements of childhood in exchange for a yawning grey void? How was that ever considered a fair deal?"
humor  finance  economics  babyboomers 
22 days ago
The deadly truth about a world built for men – from stab vests to car crashes | Life and style | The Guardian
Insane and complete summary of how women's health and safety and needs aren't considered across the board. Painful to read.
sexism  misogyny  data  research  medical  healthcare  safety 
22 days ago
I Don't Grieve Over His Cruelty. I Grieve Over Yours.
The loss of people who support Trump is harder than Trump himself (who's basically one racist asshole)
politics  anger  psychology  racism 
23 days ago
When You’re in the Depths of Depression, Asking for Help Isn’t Always an Option – SheKnows
Excellent summary of the subjective experience of not wanting to ask for help, why you don't reach out (absent the question of failure on the part of those you reach out to)
psychology  depression  anxiety 
23 days ago
Opinion | It’s Not That Men Don’t Know What Consent Is - The New York Times
Startlingly to-the-point summary of the difference between what young men say about consent and how they act.
consent  sex  sexism  assault  rape  college 
28 days ago
What does reconciliation after genocide mean? Public transcripts and hidden transcripts in post-genocide Rwanda: Journal of Genocide Research: Vol 11, No 1
"For respondents, reconciliation: (i) requires punitive justice informed by a hierarchy of responsibility for crimes; (ii) does not necessarily involve forgiveness; and (iii) is repeatedly referred to as returning to “the way things were before.”
truth  reconciliation  forgiveness 
5 weeks ago
Voters should look beyond “authenticity” in 2020.
The truth is that the current field of Democratic nominees is full of messy and complicated individuals. That’s fine. It is one thing to demand that political leaders be consistent and coherent about policy. It is something else entirely to demand “authenticity” in the form of being either familiar enough to be a cartoon character or completely uncomplicated in all matters of character and temperament. Before we begin to trash people who haven’t even begun to become the leaders we hope for, let’s recognize that this kind of fundamentalism helped bring us a president who can only be counted on to never surprise us at all.
politics  lying  authentic  trump 
5 weeks ago
My Anxiety Goes Away When I'm in Crisis
For one, anxiety is adaptive...People with anxiety often have thoughts that are focused on worrying about negative outcomes, and therefore they have behaviors to mitigate these negative outcomes. People with anxiety do things like check and recheck work, problem-solve and make lists, all in an attempt to ensure a good outcome. In situations of true crisis—a family emergency, loss of a job, things like that—people with anxiety are very well-equipped to gather those resources, to be sharp thinkers with good problem-solving skills, and to kind of worry about outcomes in a way that really helps them, Distler says.

Distler says that in the world of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)...worry is a behavior. It’s an active process, Distler says, that uses language and one’s thoughts to problem-solve and think about potential outcomes to situations.

“When there are actual problems, you don’t have to use the language and that process as much because you’re actually taking action,” Distler says. “So it’s a different behavior. Instead of doing the worrying, which is one behavior, you’re replacing that with action.”

...I thought perhaps I was dealing with these crises well because I was, for lack of a better term, busy. My anxiety is at its peak when I have nothing to do—when I’m stuck inside on a snowy day, for example, or when I’m sitting idly at the doctor’s office. (Many psychologists, including Distler, support the idea that lacking a full, stimulating, and structured schedule can exacerbate anxiety.) I spend so much time ruminating during times of calm, I wondered if it was possible that being thrust into these crises simply didn’t leave enough mental space for me to worry.

patients with GAD tend to be more activated, meaning they typically have higher blood pressure, a higher heart rate, and higher states of arousal in general. They also had less reactivity to stressors, which could imply that they're always activated. “The thought or hypothesis was that perhaps [people with GAD] are just better poised in a time of crisis,” Distler says. “They’re already ready to act.”

perhaps anxious people are under control in a crisis merely because they’re relieved the compulsive worrying is gone.

“Real disasters are a cinch compared to the shit we make up in our heads,” she writes. “Actually, they’re a relief. When the future does arrive, we’re always okay.”
psychology  anxiety  generalanxiety  crisis 
5 weeks ago
Self control is overrated. Willpower is too. - Vox
1. People who are better at self-control actually enjoy the activities some of us resist — like eating healthy, studying, or exercising. So engaging in these activities isn’t a chore for them. It’s fun.“‘Want to’ goals are more likely to be obtained than ‘have to’ goals,”

2. “People who are good at self-control have better habits … seem to be structuring their lives in a way to avoid having to make a self-control decision in the first place,” Galla tells me. And structuring your life is a skill.

3. Some people just experience fewer temptations. Our dispositions are determined in part by our genetics.

4.t’s easier to have self-control when you’re wealthy.

As anyone who has struggled with a diet knows, willpower won’t work in the long run. And failures of inhibition are too often confused for a moral failing. We blame willpower failings for weight gain, even though it’s genetics and our calorie-laden environments conspiring against out waistlines. We blame addicts for not restraining their urges, even though their addiction has a biological hold on their brain.

And overall, psychologists are shying away from the concept, as years of work suggesting that willpower is a finite, essential resource has come under intense scrutiny.

In a specific situation, sure, you can muster willpower to save yourself from falling back into a bad habit. But relying on willpower alone to accomplish goals “is almost like relying on emergency brake when you are driving your car,”
willpower  psychology  selfcontrol  discipline  habits  planning  fitness 
5 weeks ago
Why U.S. cities should stop whining and embrace winter - Curbed
So cool: Edmonton, Scandinavia places that avert winter-month isolation via city planning, public spaces, creating gear and clothes that are nice + warm, etc.
winter  weather  snow  ice  architecture  publicplanning  fashion  civics 
5 weeks ago
How Far Can Our Outrage Go? | Literary Hub
long read on what outrage does to us chemically and how it affects us as individual humans
outrage  emotion  psychology  manipulation 
6 weeks ago
The Mind-Body Problem - The Book of LifeThe Book of Life
The best we can do to overcome the mind-body problem is not to fiddle with our clothes, invest in hairdressers or endanger our health with plastic surgery. We will never be able properly to align mind and body by outward sculpting. The solution is to recognise that the problem is an existential part of being human and therefore to strive always to remember, in spite of all the visual evidence, and in a spirit of love, that the bodies of others are very separate from the character of their minds
looks  cosmetics  tsol  schooloflife  debotton 
6 weeks ago
The Disaster of Anthropocentrism - and the Promise of the Transcendent - The Book of LifeThe Book of Life
What happens to us here and now is framed as overwhelmingly important; it is all there is. And so everything that goes wrong, everything that frustrates or disappoints us fills the horizon of being. The idea of something bigger, older, mightier, wiser and nobler than us to which we owe love and obedience has been stripped of its power to console us.

In modernity, we have been left without these comforts and reliefs, tormented by a stupefyingly vast sense of our own importance in a nevertheless wholly indifferent universe.

there is in general nothing left to awe or relativise us. Our immediate difficulties and burdens, our conflicts and pains are, it seems, all there is – and so they loom ever larger and more desperately in our agitated minds.

Today, the transcendent is real, but disorganised and fragmented. Religions organised it: they interpreted it; they ensured our regular contact with it: they took it to the centre of shared public culture; they insisted on its importance. It could not be dismissed as sentimental or merely private: they made it public and gave it its proper status. There continue to be endless opportunities to meet the transcendent but for the moment they seem to be left to individual chance. This power to bring a consoling perceptive to our troubles is not harnessed by any powerful institution that has our best interests in view. The consolation is there, but we live unconsoled, waiting for the transcendent to be mastered and applied to our inner squalls and sorrows.
tsol  schooloflife  debotton  mortality  anxiety 
6 weeks ago
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