Surly Thursday, Mind and Body Edition

Sometimes I have to save up my surliness for today, which I have a little, but honestly I could probably peg the whole post on the fact that (TMI ALERT), a year and a month after I got my giant fibroid removed and my uterus scorched, guess whose door Aunt Flo started knocking on last night?? FUCK OFF AUNT FLO, NOBODY INVITED YOU. The bleeding isn't bad so far, but the abdominal pain is horrific - I thought I was dying last night. Then I realized what was going on and was immediately nostalgic for five minutes ago when I was dying. I had deleted Pink Pad off my phone! I had traveled care-free! I had not gotten rid of all supplies because I'm not a complete idiot (ha, that's a total lie, I meant to, I was just too lazy). 
Actual footage of my current mood

I've done some reading and I can't really figure out if this is just how it goes sometimes or if I'm actually dying. I guess I'll go to the doctor. For now I'm just bitching and swearing a lot.

We were in Thunder Bay visiting Matt's mom and her husband on Bell Let's Talk day. I have some serious reservations about this event, given what I've heard about how Bell deals with its contracts in prisons (more about that here, if you're interested), but I don't begrudge anyone who uses it as a jumping-off point to talk about their own experiences with mental illness. Browsing Facebook before bed, I came across a post by a friend I know from a long-ago baby playgroup, linking to an article she had written about how she is "always working on her mental  health".

I clicked on it. I really wish I hadn't. It was a new-agey, anti-science, non-evidence-based load of crap about how she'd finally "taken responsibility" for her own depression and used a combination of "various self-help gurus' books, podcasts, self-awareness training classes, diet and exercise" to replace anti-depressants. It was full of catchphrases like "a breakdown is an opportunity to break through!" and "transform your thinking!" and ended with a "theory" that "thoughts are more powerful than anti-depressants".

I felt like I'd been kicked in the gut. I was hurt. I was angry. I was baffled by the raft of fawning comments on the post. I commented that I really took issue with people who claim that the Power of Positive Thinking can replace medication, and asked if she would tell someone with asthma to just think oxygenated thoughts, and she said "I get it, thanks for sharing!" I can't help feeling like she doesn't, in fact, get it. 

Are we not past this kind of horse manure? Can positive thinking have an effect on one's outlook? Absolutely! Is talk therapy and CBT a valuable adjunct to medication? Yup! If for whatever reason you have a deficit of the neurotransmitters you need to survive and function, are all the catchphrases in the world going to make you better? NO THEY ARE FUCKING NOT. Not to mention the fact that training yourself to think only positive thoughts can be inherently toxicIt's twenty fucking twenty, people. We don't pray the gay away, vaccines don't cause autism and you can't just positive think your way to mental and physical health. 

I didn't unfriend her at first. I try not to do things like that in anger, and I do believe in trying to work through disagreements before severing friendships (not that we were ever terribly close). But I couldn't stop going over and over it and wanting to open it up again with her, and I realize there would be no point. I can't imagine she'll notice, or care even if she does - why would she want to be even Facebook friends with someone too weak-minded to think her way out of depression and anxiety? There are a lot of things I will overlook in a friend - turns out this isn't one of them. I guess we agree on one thing - to a certain extent we're responsible for our own mental health - to me that means taking my medication and limiting my exposure to toxic people. 

Then there's the library ebook system. Which I love. But there's a borrowing limit of ten books (yes, that's plenty, shut up), and if a hold becomes available it will say "it looks like you already have ten books out. Return a book in order to borrow your hold or try to borrow it anyway". Like...what? I am dealing with an automated system here, there is no appeal, there is no sweet-talking, there is no clemency, this is a wholly futile endeavour you are counselling, WHAT FUCKERY IS THIS ANYWAY? 

Deep breath. Feel free to share your own surliness, or go the other way and spout sunshine and loveliness, I promise I'll be receptive either way. 

Comments

Swistle said…
UG UG UG I HATE THAT POST EVEN FROM THIS DISTANCE

I have an acquaintance who occasionally posts similar things about the miraculous healing that comes just from eating particular exceptionally righteous foods! It's so simple! And then she posts photos of her meal, with like a dozen annoying hashtags that ring in my mind later, and I wonder how much longer we can be even Facebook friends. She does the annoying posts jussssst infrequently enough that I haven't yet clicked unfriend.
the queen said…
I LOVE Surly Thursday! I second everything you said.
Ernie said…
You did not go through all that female surgery, discomfort, and torture to deal with a monthly pain in the gut, no way! It is one thing to expect it - even when it is under control, but to be blindsided AND feel like you are dying. That just bites. I hope it is a one time thing.

This mind over matter bitch is the worst. By the way, I have in laws who believe in praying away the gay and a sister in law that believes immunizations cause autism, just in case you think my family frustrations are not legit. I cannot believe this person put this stuff in writing and then SHARED it. What?

I am surly because Coach works late on Thursdays and I could not find a way out of driving Curly home from dancing class (that is 25 minutes away), so I had to get to a book club I wanted to attend INCREDIBLY late. It worked out fine, but I reminded Curly on our speed-racer drive home that I am at the end of my rope with dancing. Curly: after an apology for messing up my night and a long pause . . . 'I just really love Irish dancing and I am REALLY glad that I have a mom who drives me there. So, thanks.' which officially made me feel like dirt.

I have to drive to St. Louis for the weekend for Tank's volleyball tournament. I bring whatever food I can to save money (plus celiac) and he has done nothing but bitch about me encouraging him to pack breakfast food for the morning that I won't be there (he leaves right after school with another mom tomorrow but I am driving down Sat morning b/c we have sis-in-law's 50th Fri night). The hotel is very expensive and he doesn't even play until Sat late afternoon but they make you pay for Fri night whether you need it or not. Plus he plays on Monday and has to miss school and I had to cancel my babysitting people which is money lost. Someone needs a good dose of grateful talk on the long drive home on Monday!

I have a cold that I was hoping was getting better but I had a headache this afternoon and now worry that I will end up with a sinus infection and will hate sitting at a volleyball tournament even more.

Bonus/silver lining - During time when I am not watching volleyball games, I hope to find time to finish reading your last post about the books you forgot to review because you are a completist (is that what you called yourself?).

By the way, I read your comment to someone about your son being at school in New York. My oldest is a senior in New York. His school is about 45 minute drive north west of JFK.
What the hell, uterus? Although I HAVE heard that near the end of period-time, there are a couple of big periods, and then you're done with them. But! I don't know how that works with ablations. Go see your doctor for sure.

As for that article...you were right to unfriend that person. No need to keep toxicity in your life through online things. I'm a believer in the power of healthy choices/ positive thinking AND ALSO SCIENCE AND THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY. Jeez. I mean, great if that's a thing that worked for that woman, but we all know that health in any capacity is not one size fits all. We all have to do what works for us as individuals, and that can mean many different things INCLUDING medication.
StephLove said…
I'm sorry, about all of it. Sounds like you're better off without that friend, though. And you probably should go see a doctor.
Busy Bee Suz said…
It sounds like your uterus needs a good talking to; maybe it just has a bad attitude? Kidding! Coming from someone who has dealt with the worst periods on the planet (I couldn't leave the house 1-2 days a month for most of my life) I really empathize with you. I hope this was a one-time deal-can you ask for a refund though?

Isn't it so crazy how we didn't really know people until we were FB friends with them? I mean, you can really get the gist of a person's soul from their good or stupid posts/sharing. Your friend sounds like a nut-job. I have a lot of them, but mostly they're nuts about politics and both sides too. Which really is the issue....we shouldn't have SIDES. Geeze American, get your shit together.

My youngest has been struggling with depression/anxiety for years. She sees a therapist, but her Dr. has suggested she see a psychiatrist and possibly try some medication. She's been putting it off for fear of side effects, stigma, etc. I'm hoping she finally goes and at least gives it a try. I hate to see her struggle so much. Meditation and reading uplifting quotes just won't do it for her either.


Mary Lynn said…
My daughter keeps getting teachers who intersperse lessons on the actual subjects their teaching with little pep talks about the power of Mindfulness and thinking your way into better mental health. It drives her buggy. She knows they mean to help, but so much of what they say is simplistic pop psychology and, as she says, if she’s still working things after 4 years (off and on) of CBT, a 20 minute talk from a non-professional is hardly likely to be the thing that makes everything click for her or for any other student in the class.
Tudor said…
My son's best friend had a math teacher who made them do mindfulness every day in class, and this particular kid doesn't like math, and was coming to class dutifully to slog through the math, and really couldn't handle the mindfulness, so one day he just climbed out the window during mindfulness.

I know you know this, because I already told you this story, but very likely there is somebody else out there who also needs to hear it ;)
Lynn said…
Just chiming in to agree you were right to unfriend. It's almost the anti-Bell Talk day to post something like this. I thought Bell Talk was ALL ABOUT letting people know that mental illness requires medical help sometimes and there's no shame in that. Isn't this the opposite?

I really hate people who are "miraculously cured" of something, be it depression or cancer or having bad hair, and then are converted like disciples and can only present their solution as THE solution. That's a cut-you-off situation for sure.

Also: I am now a little freaked out by Busy Bee's comment about how you never really know someone until you are Facebook friends with them. At first I was nodding along because yes, a few people I know not-very-well have revealed themselves there to be weird right-wing nutjobs and/or people who do not share my sense of humour. But now I am thinking about what I am revealing about MYSELF over there. Now i have to go look at every post I've ever made and delete anything embarrassing.

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