Category Archives: Mental Health

“But She Seemed So Normal”

I hate these words. Especially when it comes to teen suicide. “She was at the top of her class.” As if that’s enough reason not to kill oneself, right there, correct? What reason could someone at the top of their class possibly have for killing themselves, they have everything going for them? “She seemed so normal.”

It makes me cringe inside, want to beat the walls in frustration. Why don’t people understand? Just because someone is at the top of their class, just because things seem fine, it doesn’t mean that they are fine.

What classifies as normal? Who judges what is and isn’t normal? People with no understanding of depression? People who have no real memory of how real and immediate the problems of a teenager seem when you’re a teenager? Much less if you’re a teenager with depression?

As a teenager, you don’t have a lot of control over your life. You can’t vote, you live at home, your parents hold the reins. It’s difficult if you’re a so-called “normal” teen (whatever that is), much less if you have depression, or identify as LBGTQ, or don’t fit in to any other of the myriad ways one is expected to in high school.

People are shocked when someone they thought was “normal” commits suicide in high school. Because the person was hiding a lot. Trying to fit in. Possibly afraid of the stigma of whatever issue they’re trying to deal with. “Why didn’t they talk to anyone?” Some people lament. Maybe they did, but no one really heard them. Not that it’s anyone’s fault, per se, but sometimes others don’t want to hear. They don’t want their images of “normality” shattered. “Not normal” is scary; it takes people away from the expected into realms of the unexplored and leads them into the uncomfortable, where things are difficult to talk about. But the difficult needs to be talked about. The uncomfortable needs to be delved into.

Teenagers today have it harder than they did when I was a teenager. Not only do they have all the issues I had to deal with, they have social media, a whole new wonderful world of torture. And those who use it for that purpose know how to do it well. And as for all of this zero-tolerance for bullying? According to the students I have talked to about it, that’s laughable. Bullying is alive and well on our K-12 campuses.

Some people think that the anti-bullying campaigns think that it’s preventing children and young adults from learning how to deal with these things on their own. I say those people didn’t have to grow up in an environment with social media, and the amount of viciousness that exists in schools today. I don’t remember the amount of hatred that seems so pervasive today, and I had my fair share of bullies. They were mean, but it wasn’t hate. If you broaden that out to statements made by adults on social media, you see a lot of hate there as well. It’s not a huge surprise it exists on school campuses.

But back to suicide. There are many, many reasons some teens feel hopeless enough to attempt it, and it’s tragic when they succeed. When the attitude is, “but they seemed so normal,” it’s no wonder that they hesitate to find people to talk to. At that age, trying to fit in is important to many kids (there are those who are brave enough to say “to hell with this” and find their own paths, and kudos to those kids), but there are some who aren’t, or can’t. They’re desperately trying to be “normal” and hide how they’re feeling, when in reality they need someone to tell them that what they’re feeling is normal, and it’s okay, and to please find someone to talk to them. It’s okay to ask for help, it’s not a weaknesses, it’s a sign of courage.

Being a teenager is hard. Really hard. It’s confusing, and sometimes things do seem like the end of the world, or that you’re stuck and there doesn’t seem like any other way. But wait. There is another way. And I know it’s not a huge consolation to hear it, but things do get better. There aren’t a lot of times I can say that with certainty, but when you’re in high school, and so much of your life is out of your control (you can’t even vote yet!), things really will get better. Find someone, anyone, you trust, and talk to them. Go on a walk. Give yourself time. Call a hotline. If there is ever a time to procrastinate, this is it. Make contact with someone. There are people who will help you, people who care about you, because you are important. Don’t ever forget that. Repeat it to yourself. You are important. You matter. You make a difference.

Normal is relative, and sometimes, being “normal” really isn’t all that important. Being safe, being loved, being accepted for who you are, and finding people who see the things in you that matter–those are the things that are important. Be who you are, not who others want you to be. You are your own “normal”, just the way you are. Your normal may be weird and funky, or depressed and odd, or whatever combination of things you can come up with, but that’s who you are, and don’t be ashamed of it. Let your flag of who you are fly, and be proud of it. There is only one you, and you are irreplaceable.

 

Mental Illness Doesn’t Discriminate, but People Do

I just left a group I had recently joined, under the impression that people who were intent on erasing the stigma of mental illness would be, well, more open-minded. I am a somewhat naive person in some respects; I will admit that. Possibly because I’m hopeful. Possibly because I’m gullible, to an extent, and I want to believe the best of people. Especially ones trying to erase the shame associated with mental illness because, after all, it’s not something a person can help.

I was surprised, then, to find a posting after the shooting at the recruitment centers, describing the shooter as having an “extremist personality” and one of the women who’s daughter had bi-polar saying, “her daughter didn’t act that way.” I was furious. And very disappointed.

I responded that if the young man hadn’t been Muslim, this wouldn’t even be a topic of conversation, and apparently the idea of mental illness being a stigma was based on race and religion, not the reality of mental illness, which doesn’t tend to pay attention to those lines. It doesn’t discriminate. And as for the woman whose bi-polar daughter not acting that way, I said knowing one person with mental illness is knowing one person with mental illness. If we were all the same, one pill would magically cure all of us and yay, the world would be a happier place. But it doesn’t work that way. We are all individual chemical factories with unique brain chemistries and genetic predispositions. That’s why there are so many drugs out there that don’t work for so many different people, or cause paradoxical reactions (the complete opposite of what they’re intended to do).

I said I didn’t want to be associated with people claiming to want to erase the stigma of mental illness, selectively. What do they think society is doing to them? Exactly what they were doing and patting themselves on the back for. Oh yes, “Extremist Personality,” my therapist pointed out, isn’t in the DSM. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, which is what the United States uses to diagnose people. I should note the DSM-V has been highly criticized. Which doesn’t have anything to do with this. I asked how do they expect to change things when they are being so close-minded themselves?

But what do you do when the people claiming to try to make things better for people with mental illness, and I should add that at that point, it was only a few people who were agreeing with this anti-Muslim sentiment, hardly the whole group, are spouting the sort of nonsense that some people do against any person with mental illness, that keeps the stigma alive? I should have not left the group in a huff, I should have seen if what I said actually made a difference. I was hasty, but I doubt what I said made a difference. Because people’s beliefs are ingrained, and that’s the sad thing. “We don’t want our children with mental illness to be stigmatized, but if you happen to belong to a religious group we normally label as terrorists, don’t expect any sympathy?”

We need a lot more love, and a lot less hate.

p.s. I realized I should add an addendum here. I met some really great people in the group, and I hope they know who they are, because I still communicate with them, and I really admire them and what they are doing, so it isn’t as if the experience was a loss–hardly. I learned a lot about schizophrenia, as well, which I didn’t know much about. It was this one exchange that upset me.

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@Wit’s End

I just became aware of a really awesome and very necessary project on GoFundMe–@Wit’s End. It’s a web resource for parents to find the necessary mental health care and treatment for their children by entering in the type of issues their child has, and the web page matches them with appropriate agencies. It’s truly awesome! Tricia Slavik is the creator, a mother trying to help other parents.

This is the link to help fund this project:

http://www.gofundme.com/wit-send

Here’s an example of the interface:

witsend-infographic-side2

And this is what the creator, Tricia Slavik, has to say about it:

@Wit’s End will be a first of its kind resource for the millions parents who struggle to find appropriate care for their child suffering from a mental illness.

Finding help for a child with a mental illness is challenging at best and heart breaking always.  I conducted a national survey in which 87% of parents say “it is difficult or impossible to find appropriate care.” 17,100,000 children in the US have had or have a mental illness  – that number represents 34,200,000 parents. Parents desperate to get their children help.

Did you know that only 1 in 5 children with a mental illness receives treatment?  I want to change those unacceptable statistics;  I want to do it before one more child ends up in prison, addicted or hurts themselves or someone else.

Read the new Children’s Mental Health Report from the Child Mind Institute here.

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Be Stigma Free

mhm-stigmafree-badge

Befuddlement and Clarity. Somewhat.

This is a strange post for me to write, and one I didn’t think I would be writing, because I thought the whole issue was in the past and wouldn’t come up again. In fact, it doesn’t need to come up again other than for the fact that I’m bringing it up, because it digs at me a little, still. Why? Because I’m an insecure person who doesn’t like to be lumped in with the “crazies” when authors refer to fans. Granted, this was when the authors were breaking up and going through a lot of stress, and I’d been going through an extremely hard time myself, but I was trying to help, in my own misguided way, got frustrated when I thought I was being made fun of and said some things I shouldn’t have, but was immediately shut off and blocked before I could explain anything.

That is one thing I hate about the internet. The fact that someone can just shut you off as easily as they turn off the tap. Yes, I might have been a genuinely crazy person, and yes, I do refer to myself as mentally ill, but after finding out what I did last night, I had to wonder if people who are hiding bigger secrets about themselves tend to trust other people less. If they are actually less secure, or were less secure, than I was, and that was the reason for the reaction.

I’m not up to date on the “gossip” in the M/M Romance world, because there are a fairly close-knit group of people I follow and talk to. The two authors I was following, but didn’t anymore after that incident, I had no idea what was going on in their lives anymore. I heard rumors about a woman who had been pretending to be a man writing M/M Romances, which I didn’t really pay attention to. There are so many women writing in M/M I didn’t see what the fuss was about.

It was about the putting on of an identity and presenting that identity as an author to fans, who connect pretty passionately at times. I had no idea that A.J. Snow wasn’t a man, or that Theo Fenraven was twice the age I’d thought and had been born a woman, but is a man now, and really, always has been. I hope I phrased that right, Theo, if you read this–if I messed up, it’s unintentional. I never saw you as anything other than a man, although, as you said, a younger one. I kept what you told me a secret, and I’d hoped that had proved I was worthy of some trust on your part, and I didn’t mean what I said; I was very, very frustrated and of course had no idea of the difficulty of what the two of you were going through on top of just separating.

The problem is that I am basically WYSIWYG–I have never been able to put on a persona of any type, so I am just me, for better or worse, and I have a thin skin, mostly for worse.

That isn’t really important here, but it is in a way for the reason that I am impressed with how well both authors were able to present their images to the public. I can understand how some fans would be really upset to find out those identities weren’t real, but a true fan is one who would give you their support whatever the case. A.J. Snow had an excellent reason for changing her identity, and I think she’s extremely brave, both for pressing on with the identity and for coming out. I know this is late support, but you have mine, even if I am one of the blocked crazies. And Theo, you have my support as well. I think you’re both fantastic friends for sticking together and supporting each other the way you did, and I’m so happy A.J. Snow has met someone she’s truly, truly happy with. Theo, I’m glad you’re out of the grey you were so miserable in and someplace warm and sunny, and your photos are as gorgeous as ever.

Because whatever their author identities, it doesn’t change the quality of their work, which is excellent. Sometimes people have to do things for reasons of their own which have nothing to do with the fans. Fans need to be mature and accept that. People don’t like fairweather friends. What about fairweather fans? Authors are people too, with lives that are sometimes messy and hard, really hard, with difficult decisions. Would you rather respect an author for telling you the truth, a difficult decision for them, or turn your back on them for being honest? Yes, it may burst your bubble, but I can’t imagine living a lie, sort of why I wrote that I can’t live with a persona online–I can write in a fantasy world, but I can’t live one online. The closest I come is when I sometimes get a little delusional and think sometimes people are better friends than they are. I don’t know if that’s always delusional or just hopeful.

I know that’s a really odd image to put up, but I bought those socks, compression socks, because I realized I might be wearing them for a while (I do wash them, obviously) after I was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease (non-progressive–still trying to figure out why I have it). The point of that is that it’s invisible. No one knows I have it unless I say something, in real life, and online, no one knows at all unless I say something. I know you can’t compare socks and sexuality (unless you have a sock fetish, granted, some of these are kind of cute, but I don’t think they count), but there are people who want to make some things invisible and they try to force everyone into little boxes of invisibility so they don’t have to see or hear the truth.

I think what A.J. Snow and Theo Fenraven did deserves admiration and respect, as well as the support of those who have been their fans. It does hurt to be lied to, but when someone is also willing to tell you the truth, you should listen, because there’s often a really good reason. It doesn’t change who they are (in real life)–it changes something that never existed in the first place.

So I may be mentally ill, with my ups and downs (I can relate to fear of crowds and the need to escape, I have a generalized anxiety disorder that used to cause panic attacks; I’m on medication for it now, but there’s still a lingering fear sometimes, and being around a lot of people is exhausting. I was also “mobbed” at work for a year and a half at my last job, which makes it hard for me to be around groups of people or to trust groups of people, so there are some things I can relate to, if not everything) but it still hurts to be a blocked crazy. That was before this, because I didn’t even know this happened until last night and I just felt compelled to offer my support. Neither of you deserve any ill treatment for having the courage to be who you really are, and I think it’s terribly sad that we live in a world that makes it so difficult and harsh. Love is love. A good book is a good book.

I wish both of you the best and all the happiness you deserve. And sunshine. 🙂

 

To Narcissistic Mothers

From a daughter.

Why try? Nothing is ever good enough. That’s why I said whatever I thought, because you didn’t listen. It didn’t matter, I always had to apologize, even if I was right.

“Why do you argue with people who aren’t capable of thinking rationally?” my best friend asked, and it dawned on me why. Because I used to do it every day. It’s just a habit I never got rid of. A piece of baggage I still carry. No one stuck up for me then with you, no one does now. Because you’re still always right.

Did you ever think that you may still be ill because you think you know more than the “doctors” you see? You don’t see them long enough, because as soon as they say something you don’t like or disagree with, you switch to someone else. You need to see a rheumatologist, not all these other people. They’re fine to go along with traditional Western medicine, but they don’t seem to be working too well on their own.

But I’m “too sick” to know how sick you are. And your illness has become like a pregnancy; “since we’ve been sick,” dad says now. What will the product of this be? An enlightenment of sorts?

Why now, when I’m down and ill myself, tell me what a difficult child I was, colicky and hard to deal with. Because I said we had a narcissistic family structure? Why now, when I was pushed from all sides to have children, tell me you really support my decision not to have them? Twenty odd years later? I’m “too sick” to be a good parent? I stuck to my decision myself because I didn’t want to pass on any mental illness. It was a good decision, and I did it without any encouragement from you then, I don’t need your praise for it now when it sounds like a backward compliment.

I am still looking for my mother, and now you’re swallowing my father too. We are getting over the flu, we have been tired, we have just been so busy, busy. We fill up our time with DVDs. How are the Roosevelts these days? We are one unit now. I can still have good conversations with dad unless we talk about anything medical. Which is everything, just about. A life consumed by illness.

Is this all because one doctor told you it was in your head? Get over yourself. Thousands of women have heard that, from more than one doctor. Yet they persevere until they find an answer. I try to fill out a medical history form and I don’t know truth from self-diagnosis. Your flights of fancy about what you cannot possibly know are possibly killing you. You know nothing about what your insides look like, just what your imagination tells you. But you don’t listen, because I don’t say what you want to hear, and I’m tired of apologizing. I live under death now from someone who made the decisions you have been making. Thinking you know more than the doctors. That you have the right to do what you will with your own body, which is true. But it effects more than just you.

And I know it’s hard, to feel crappy and tired and achy, and to not know how you’ll feel from one day to the next. But I’m not too sick to keep from trying to see the right doctors to try to fix the problem. Or problems.

The thing is, I know it’s not your fault. I know it has to do with your upbringing. But your hatred is so strong, and there are so many unresolved issues that you have, I don’t know how you’ll work them out. But that’s for you to figure out, not me. I have my own issues to work on, to recover from. Ones you were too sick to notice were happening, or to understand truly when I talked about them. So I don’t talk about them, because there’s no point.

The thing is, I don’t know that we will be friends, that I will be able to talk to you about things. Because you haven’t been there. Your personality changes. You’re lucid, then you’re not. You’re not rational. You can’t be reasoned with. I don’t know why. No one is ever good enough, really. But there’s nothing I can do about that. That’s your issue, or issues. I see someone else’s life being ripped up by a narcissistic mother, only she’s strong enough to stand up for herself and fight back, and her mother isn’t passive aggressive the way you were. It doesn’t just all wash away, water under the bridge, forgotten. There are scars, behaviors, adaptations of behaviors that I’ve done for years without knowing why.

I write this out of frustration for the other daughter whose narcissistic mother makes her cry every time she’s with us, and I ache with the inability to do anything for her except listen, because the pain is too raw for her to offer advice. But she’s leaps and bounds ahead, because she wants a therapist now, and knows what the problems are. But I hate that she says the same things I still do thirty years later, that they’re already ingrained, how easily the damage is done and how hard it is to repair.

Women already have strikes against them in society, how to look, how to behave, asshole misogynists who think it isn’t rape if you have sex with your unconscious wife, standards of unattainable beauty, men who want to control your body with religion. Why does it have to be this way with our mothers?

This One I Will Let People Make Up Their Own Minds

I subscribe to a newsletter online, it might actually be helpful to some people–it usually is for me: it’s called Medical News Today, and covers what is new in many medical fields. I’m particularly interested in what’s going on in depression research and some of the other medical areas, and while I’m supposed to be keeping away from the news, there’s usually nothing upsetting in it to me. Until today. An article published by Drs. Wiltermuth and Cohen, titled, “I’d Only Let You Down’: Guilt Proneness and the Avoidance of Harmful Interdependence.” Now, from the title it doesn’t actually sound so bad, it wasn’t until I read the abstract that I got upset and sought out more information. This is from USC’s business site:

USC Marshall Research has Implications for Team Building in the Workplace
December 23, 2014 • by News at Marshall

Some people hate to disappoint—and you should definitely get them on your team. It turns out individuals who are highly prone to feel guilty for disappointing their co-workers are among the most ethical and hard-working partners. However, new research suggests that these highly guilt-prone people may be the most reticent to enter into partnerships.

Scott S. Wiltermuth, assistant professor of management and organization at the USC Marshall School of Business, along with Taya R. Cohen at Carnegie Mellon University, explains how guilt proneness may prevent people from forming partnerships in “‘I’d Only Let You Down’: Guilt Proneness and the Avoidance of Harmful Interdependence,” which will be published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Understanding this phenomenon, managers can make the best decisions about team building and increase productivity.

The Guilty are Good Workers
Highly guilt-prone people (i.e., people with a strong dispositional tendency to feel guilty for wrongdoings) make valuable work partners because a concern about letting others down drives them to complete at least their fair share of the work.

“Because of this concern for the impact of their actions on others’ welfare, highly guilt-prone people often outwork their less guilt-prone colleagues, demonstrate more effective leadership and contribute more to the success of the teams and partnerships in which they are involved,” Wiltermuth explained.

However, these same behavioral tendencies may, in some instances, also lead these individuals to be reticent to enter into certain partnerships at work.

In five studies, Wiltermuth and Cohen demonstrated that highly guilt-prone people may avoid forming interdependent partnerships with people they perceive to be more competent than themselves, because benefitting a partner less than the partner benefits them could trigger feelings of guilt.

“It may come as a surprise,” Wiltermuth said, “but our findings demonstrate that people who lack competence may not always seek out competence in others when choosing work partners.”

In studies where Wiltermuth asked participants with whom they would like to partner to complete a task, given information about their potential partners’ expertise in that area, highly guilt-prone people with less knowledge or skill in that area were less likely to choose the most competent partner. They were afraid to contribute less to the task than their partner and, thus, let them down.

But They Won’t Ask for a Bonus
In the studies, highly guilt-prone people were also more likely than others to opt to be paid on their performance alone and to opt to be paid based on the average of their performance and that of others whose competence was more similar to their own.

“Guilt proneness reduces the incidence of unethical behavior,” Wiltermuth said. “Highly guilt-prone people are conscientious. They are less likely to free-ride on others’ expertise, and they will sacrifice financial gain out of concern about how their actions would influence others’ welfare.”

Those in supervisory roles can use this research to create the most effective dynamics in the workplace and increase productivity.

“Managers could try to ensure that highly guilt-prone people are creating the partnerships and perhaps even assuming leadership roles on teams,” Wiltermuth said, “despite highly guilt-prone people’s fear that by accepting these leadership positions they might be putting themselves into position to let their teammates down.”

http://www.marshall.usc.edu/news/releases/2014/guilt-complex

Above link goes to USC’s Marshall Business school.

Now, part of me sees the advantages in this, the other 95% screams out that it’s taking advantage of the guilt complex, which isn’t a good thing, as is something a lot of people with depression suffer from. I was so upset at the thought of people being used for something that makes them so easily manipulated by others that I simply started to cry. Granted, I’m going through dosage changes of my current med. I’m wary of businesses ability to use things like this in ethical and moral ways, and since I don’t think it’s ethical or moral to start with… I know businesses use personality traits already. In our society, which is so Corporate centered, the person at the top gets the money (the CEO), the heading, “But They Won’t Ask for a Bonus,” was just another kick in the stomach. So people shouldn’t get paid what they’re worth. It’s like Scrooge. This is a particularly Capitalistic p.o.v., where the concern is for how much the people at the top make. Look at where the US is compared to other countries financially. Last. Along with other English-Speaking countries that had followed the same model; eliminating apprenticeships, not caring so much for the workers and caring more for the shareholders and the CEO in terms of who benefits financially. The European model is different. Germany was at the top. They have apprenticeships. They are not as Capitalistic as we are. No, I don’t know a lot about business, only that they do things differently than we do, and the reason they have companies that have been around for a couple hundred years and are still at least all or partially family owned is that they are invested in the companies at a personal level. They are proud of them. Koh-I-Noor, who makes some of the coolest darn pencils ever, is celebrating their 222nd anniversary this year. They are Czechoslovakian. I’m noticing this a lot in art supplies from Europe. Faber-Castell has been around for a very long time, at least a hundred years, maybe longer. They did merge with another company. I don’t think they play the crazy take-over games there–I would have to ask my friend who lives in Germany, but I don’t think he pays a lot of attention to business either. He tries, like me, to support indie businesses, of which I’m a supporter as well. And which I’m sure doesn’t use guilt in their employees as a factor for putting together teams.

I have calmed down a lot, but I am appalled that this is considered psychology, and is being published as such, and as seemingly acceptable practice. It’s published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. I wrote a comment to the “article” on MNT, definitely influenced by the fact that I had a terrible experience at my last job and my current state of depression, which is accompanied by some feelings of guilt as well:

My opinion on this research is that using people because of their tendency to feel guilty about letting others down, “but they won’t ask for a bonus” is sick and unethical, and part of the reason that I hate the structure of business culture in America and other places that use tactics like this. At others’ expense to get ahead, and make more money for themselves. And this is Psychology? I subscribe to this, MNT, because I have MDD and have been suffering from a long episode of severe depression for over a year. I want to see what is being done to help other people like me who are running out of options, and also what is being doing to help with the other health issues I have, chronic kidney disease, migraines, etc. Not how our psychological problems can be used against us for profit. This is so disheartening. I recently had a breakdown because of stress and a med change that jumped too quickly for my system. If any of you corporate types read this and think this article is a good idea, consider the following; the Abilify that keeps some of your employees that may have guilt issues coming to work costs approximately $1,100 out of pocket, and some insurance companies only cover enough so they “only” have to pay around $431. That’s per month. That’s just one drug of many. Some of us have tried all the lower level, first line of defense against depression drugs, and they don’t work, so we have to up the ante. I’m very happy knowing I’m a long term guinea pig for Merck, when they don’t even know the dosages yet for their latest foray (that I’m aware of) into the anti-depressant market, but when you’re in a battle against depression, and you do happen to have a lot of guilt, you don’t have a lot of choice. It’s so nice to know that I’m a good candidate to help people, not because I’m altruistic, which I am, but because I also feel guilty for a lot of things which aren’t even my fault. Thank you for your support in my healing process by using me or people like me for your own ends. I’m not equating that everyone with guilt issues has depression, but often they do go hand in hand. For you to get ahead and build your little successful teams, how much are you putting out for your employees’ health insurance? What do you really know about your employees? I am so disgusted by this–you can just say that this is some troll, someone raving because of their “mental illness” that they would rather not see the “mentally ill” side of. But this is the truth, and sometimes is takes a mentally ill person to point it out in a way that you can see it for what it really is; not a good business decision, but an unethical money-grubbing ploy.

I hate the fact that I get melodramatic when I’m upset, but I have issues with people so isolated from real life, either because of socioeconomic reasons or Ivory Tower reasons (I considered going on to get my Ph.D in English Lit and teaching, but that fact, the isolation from reality, is one of the reasons I didn’t), that their grand “ideas” for improving business, despite how good they sound in their bios and how impressive their educational backgrounds, and despite the fact they are writing about psychology, they seem to know nothing about the morality of dealing with people empathetically, which in my mind is the most important aspect of treating people with and earning their respect. That’s how you get them to work their best for you. Acknowledge them as human beings, give them a living wage, good health insurance, days off without question, flexibility with their schedules if they need it; acknowledge that life is messy and it doesn’t just fit into a little box because the office manager wants it to. They may have sacrificed their life, but the people who work for them don’t have to. Genuine kindness and understanding, knowing the people who work for you, are what win their loyalty. Treating them with dignity. Do we really need to resort to using their guilt against them? Just because it’s easier than actually doing any of the aforementioned? Big business is killing itself. It merges and takes over and bloats itself like a giant amoeba, until, eventually, will it just collapse on itself? Because an amoeba is an ever changing thing, with no strong foundation, and without that foundation, in this case, the workers, the companies are only as strong as their weakest link. And when they resort to using guilt because it gets more done for less money from them, the word pathetic isn’t adequate. And if that’s what the psychological research is telling them to do? The psychological research from people who pride themselves on their interest in moral and ethical behavior in the workplace, what is the world coming to?

There are a couple of Robin Williams quotes I’ve been wanting to put somewhere, and I’ll probably make them email signatures at some point, but for now here they are, and feel free to use them as your email signatures if they touch you. They sort of have to do with the topic, kind of, but the first, I think, more with perserverence, and the second, a little how I started to feel at work, which was a sign I was in the wrong place, and if it weren’t for the financial issues, I should have left before a lot of what happened did.

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”
–Robin Williams

“I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone.”
–Robin Williams

 

leavingbio.net

leavingbio.net

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Dear Facebook, Redux

No sooner than I post my post and happily move along to writing my review of well, a very nicely illustrated children’s book about mice who cook delicious cheese soup, which reminds me, I need to get the recipe, than I am posed with my first dilemma about not having a Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr account. I may still have a Tumblr account but don’t remember how to get into it. I did mention in my previous post that there is a good side to social media. It has just boppopped me on the head and reminded me of its existence. It’s ridiculous that I needed a reminded, because I have helped fund a few projects on this site–Kickstarter–and really think it’s the future for people who are in any way clever about anything and want to do something about it. For me, specifically, this is in the way of art and publishing, but I get pulled in the tech direction sometimes; that’s how I first found out about the site. My boyfriend is a gamer, and he started to help fund some PC games he thought looked interesting. I’ve checked out the games since, and was particularly pleased when a bear simulator, yep, a bear simulator, where you get to be the bear, was successfully funded. That was one cool idea. Who’d have thunk it? All the projects I have donated toward, however, have been publishing or art projects, and they have all (yay!!) been funded–except for one, which is in tech, that I read about on Softpedia (I will admit that Softpedia for Mac is my homepage) and immediately thought, “I am so there!” because there are a lot of things Apple does really well, except wireless and keyboards, in my experience. I have learned to live with the keyboard. The wireless issue I’m still pretty darn ticked off about, not that my posting a post or a whole series of posts would do anything, but seriously, Apple, I’m beginning to question my commitment to SparkleMotion. I know I’m not a tech person. I wish I was. I can fix some things, I just can’t tell you how I did it. I can break them, too–I learned that on a PC, unless you know what you’re doing, you don’t mess with the .dll files. But I have a Mac again. Don’t mess with the registry or the library unless you have a really good reason. I have done that and my computer lived to tell the tale. But the wireless–months now, Mr. Cook, months. Worse things have happened at sea, but while I may have issues with the dark side of social media, there is the light, and that’s what I’m here to discuss.That doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally think someone should be flying from the yardarm. Looking for networks, on…looking for networks…on…looking for networks…on. You get the idea. If this is something I have done to prevent the happy union of my iMac and my Airport Whatchamacallit Tower thing (memory issues, did I mention the memory issues? My RAM, not the computer’s) however they both shall be happy together, I am fully willing to admit it was my fault, but I really don’t think it was. Anyway, again, not the main topic of discussion.

By de-activating my Facebook and Twitter accounts, I also cut off two of the areas of information dissemination for some of the good things on the internet, in this instance, the Next Keyboard for iOS, and I really hope I won’t get in trouble if I use the picture they have on their site. It probably says somewhere in the tiny print that I can’t, but for now I’m going to say, in all honesty, I don’t remember seeing that in tiny print. See, this is where the moral conundrum comes in, and I’m not talking about the picture. For the developers of Next Keyboard, they needed some help to get the project off the ground, so they turned to Kickstarter.

Now, my best friend and I have discussed how, in the olden days (no, not the 80s, even though things from then are now considered practically antique on Etsy) there used to be Patrons of the Arts, people who, when they found someone whose art they liked, would support them while the artist did whatever work the patron wanted. That way, an artist could live, though not exactly doing whatever they wanted, now that I wanted. I imagine that if any cherubs on the ceiling had been making rude gestures, we’d have heard about it by now. But music, art, writing, there were patrons for all of these things. Now, while you wouldn’t think so to look at it on the surface, society doesn’t value these things as much, unless you’re from a certain socio-economic level of society and up. Before anyone gets huffy, look at school curriculums, and the teachers on staff of public schools across the nation, and find out how many of them have full time music teachers and full time art teachers. At ONE school. I know of districts who employ full time art and music teachers yes, but on Monday they’re at Chestnut Elementary, Tuesday they’re at Walnut Elementary, Wednesday they’re at Filbert Elementary (I had to get that one in before I stopped, this is Oregon), and so on. The arts are languishing at lower levels of education. If you look on Kickstarter, I’d wager there are more than a few projects to try to get some sort of art, music, or literature program at an elementary school somewhere. And there’s no stratification in society. Oops. I’m not supposed to be talking about these things. No news. I can’t just forget everything now, though, can I? The important thing is, Kickstarter is making a difference. Five of the documentaries that made it to the Academy Awards were funded through Kickstarter. That’s the only one I can think of right off, but the number of video games on Steam funded through Kickstarter–55 (I had to ask my boyfriend that one). These people on Kickstarter are making a difference, and by funding them you are helping them to make a difference. Check out Kickstarter’s website after you look at Next Keyboard’s info here, and, especially if you’re an iOS user, send a little love their way:

photo-1024x768
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/robjama/next-keyboard-the-perfect-keyboard-for-iphone/widget/video.html

So, I guess, one has to weigh out the pros and cons. For me, I know I won’t go back on unless I have to–but I will help people how I can from here, because they deserve it. These are brilliant and talented people, programmers and artists (an interesting juxtaposition, because in a way, it’s all art; isn’t there beauty in a perfect program?). Social media gives these projects the attention they need to succeed. On the same theme, I wouldn’t want it just to be limited to things like this. I think most of what happens and goes on is just fine. I was normally able and even eager to discuss news items and support the causes I believe in, and will be able to do so again, once I’ve recovered some resiliency. Facebook, in my experience, in the groups I “hung out” around, was fine. Twitter confused the h*ll out of me, quite frankly. It was worse than Facebook in terms of reporting every single thing someone does. But it also seemed much more likely to have gangs of, for lack of a better term, thugs (I don’t like the term trolls–trolls are from fairy tales and I’m sure if one were to do enough research, there were nice trolls. Not in Norway, though, if you’ve ever seen the Norwegian movie, Trolls, which I highly recommend. It’s just a downright awesome movie. And there was that phase back in the 1970’s, which then repeated recently, with the fuzzy haired trolls–I loved those. So, no, I won’t call them trolls). They’re thugs, and they’re out to beat up people’s reputations and online personas without caring that there are real people involved, seemingly at the drop of a hat–they literally seem to go around looking for arguments. That I won’t abide. The unfortunate thing about that is no sooner than you kick one off, they’re back with a new email and new username before you can say “venomous thug generator.”

I don’t understand people who have no moral qualms about having more than one username that they go under, say, to cast more votes in something, or to manipulate a situation using different names so others actually think there are more people involved than really are. I’m creeping back to the dark side again, aren’t I? Maybe I’ve either just had more bad experiences with others on the internet, I’m a thug magnet, or I’m just very thin skinned. Probably all of the former, coupled with the fact that I have a strong sense of right and wrong, but I am willing to admit, oh, this is bad, but I have to do it, I have to, there are at least 50 shades of grey. No, there are a lot more than that, it just takes a discerning eye. LOL. I know because I look in the mirror. 🙂 I prefer silver, even though it makes me sound like an elf. Not that I have anything against elves. Let’s just not go there.

There are some people, especially after reading this post, who might say that giving anyone the freedom to blog is as bad as signing in with Facebook. That may or may not be true, although after having some trouble learning (am still learning, thank you) about my new Kobo, having a small explosion about how it’s supposed to be partnered with indie bookstores but I couldn’t get the books I bought at indie bookstores on my Kobo, downloading the user’s manual, in English (Kudos to Kobo for how many languages they offer support in), I learned that it’s supposed to have facial recognition and you can turn it on by moving it in small circles in front of your face. I am guessing there is some prep to this, for example, it learning my face, which will simply not happen–I am odd enough in real life without moving an eReader around in front of my face to turn in on, and doing it in the privacy of my own home, and thinking about what it would like, would just make me laugh, also most likely rendering it useless. So I found that out and ended up getting the Aldiko app to upload all the books I had bought, along with the free goodies (All Romance eBooks, great for free reads, and they carry lots of good diverse fiction as well, AND I realized last night–yes, sometimes I have the supreme gift of oversight, if you hit the Omni lit tab (how many times have I looked at that Omni lit tab?) it’s a whole, regular bookstore! OMG! Thank you, Aldiko! I seriously wouldn’t have checked that out if not for that app, and we’re talking years that I have been using ARe. I am not saying how many, it’s just too embarrassing). I am annoyed that the libraries won’t mingle. This is one of the places my tech knowledge falls flat on its face and cries mercy. They’re not computers, but…they sort of act like them…I can’t fix it! I can’t figure it out! I’m a reader, Jim, not a miracle worker! Not with these chameleon tech things. iPhones included. Though I have managed to get my Kindle working, somewhat, again after it futzed out.

And so we’ll come full circle here. I think a lot of the difficulty is from attempting to use wireless at home that is simply not a happy camper. Do you or do you not want me to use my iDevices at home, Mr Cook? Because for some reason, this Looking for networks…on…looking for networks…on…looking for networks…on…looking for networks thing doesn’t seem to be working to well for them, or their VPN. I’m beginning to wonder if it’s a conspiracy, after I started having problems with the VPN not be able to stay on. A collaboration? Cast aspersions, me? In this country? Wait, homing in on news territory again. Sigh. So I have to resort to my TV hero memes, like Trust no one. Fix the wi-fi and I’ll have to stop casting aspersions, won’t I? Prove me wrong. I just want things to work, that’s all.

Alright, I think I’ve gone on enough. I want to do some reading. I have a challenge goal to meet.

Die Augen Schließen

Die Augen Schließen

 

Because I may seem lost does not mean

I don’t know where I am.

Because I exist does not mean

I know who I am.

At this moment, flaws and graces,

I am me,

And I am learning.

 

W. Clements