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Fearless
Sep 3, 2003

DRINK MORE MOXIE



First of all: experiencing the symptoms of a mental illness does not automatically make a person a prohibited possessor. Seek help if you are hurting or feeling unwell.

A discussion of mental health within a firearms community is always a good idea-- in 2016, of the 38658 deaths involving a firearm in the US, 22938 were suicides. Access to a firearm can dramatically increase the chances that a suicide attempt is successful; not shocking given the immediacy and severity of the damage that can be caused by a firearm versus other methods of self-harm. With this in mind, we must go beyond being lawful participants in our chosen sport, and work towards being responsible as well. Part of this responsibility involves increasing our awareness of mental health issues with a mind to helping create a community in which people can feel comfortable talking about what they are experiencing and asking for help when they need it.

Before we launch into heavier discussions, I think it is important to lay down some basics in terms of terminology. In the popular understanding of mental health, many terms that have very specific meanings are often conflated, confused or outright misunderstood and so it is useful to establish a common understanding of some basic terms:

The difference between psychologist and psychiatrist: these two practitioners are often confused for one another. Psychiatrists are medical doctors with the power to diagnose illnesses and prescribe medication. Psychologists generally do not have this power in Canada and the US, nor do the other practitioners that one might encounter in mental healthcare (like cousellors of various types, and social workers). Both psychiatrists and psychologists can deliver psychotherapy (talk therapies), but you will find that often psychiatrists do not tend to do this regularly due to the demand for their services. Psychotherapy and counselling can be (and usually is) delivered by an array of other professionals-- in fact, something like 60% of the mental health treatment delivered in the US is delivered by social workers.

Mental illness, or mental disorder, is a behavioural or mental pattern that is pervasive, persistent and which can impair a person's ability to function. There are a remarkable variety of mental illnesses and multiple disorders can occur simultaneously (comorbidity). Diagnosis can be accomplished through a similarly varied number of tests and inventories-- for your own sake (and safety) stay the hell away from online tests and the trap of self-diagnosis.

Mental health refers to a person's condition from the perspective of psychological and emotional well-being.

Stigma is the sense of shame, disgrace, discomfort, isolation, etc. that is all too often associated with mental illness. There are a lot of really, really ugly assumptions baked into our world views (rugged self reliance! bootstraps! trickle-down economics!) that can lead us to label or make some likewise hideous assumptions about those who are grappling with a mental illness. How often, dear reader, have you heard someone who is dealing with depression described by someone else as lazy or unmotivated? The tragedy of stigma is two-fold: it demonstrates to the person on the receiving end to feel like nobody is listening (which is particularly painful given that mental illness often inculcates those feelings anyways) and in the mind of the person transmitting it, it reinforces those negative assumptions that could in turn lead them to refuse to seek help when it's their turn to feel unwell.

Rehabilitation is the process by which a person is restored to health, with that being the end goal and the stages of the process leading to it. It tends to be clearly laid out and linear in nature. This is very much a prominent feature of mental health treatment in a medical context (i.e. a hospital).

Recovery is an alternate view to mental health treatment, which is based off of the idea that a person can live a meaningful and fulfilling life while also managing the symptoms of a mental illness. This process is decidedly non-linear and is also very highly individual-- no two paths to recovery are going to look exactly alike. It can also be deeply discouraging, unpleasant, painful, awkward and any number of other less than nice things. Recovery involves confronting some often very hurtful truths about ourselves as we move through it. A person pursuing recovery might find themselves moving backwards and forwards through their process at different times.

Suicide

The presence of firearms in a household greatly increase the likelihood of a successful suicide attempt over other methods like overdose, laceration or strangulation. It is quite common for people attempting suicide through means other than a firearm to have second thoughts and seek help-- it is far, far harder to do that with something as immediately and catastrophically damaging as a firearm. For this reason, any discussion of mental health in the context of firearms must address the topic of suicide.

If you are having thoughts of suicide

Suicidal ideations, or thoughts can manifest in different ways. In some cases, people might find themselves exploring the idea of what it might be like if they weren't around anymore. In other cases, they begin to plan the method of their death. While the latter is clearly more severe, both are serious issues and deserve to be treated with appropriate care. If you find yourself having thoughts like these, please consider finding ways to limit your access to firearms until you are in a healthier headspace. Some ways to do this are:
-Secure your firearms in a locked safe or cabinet and give the keys needed to access them to another person;
-Secure your firearms with someone you can trust to watch over them.

If these are not possible, the goal should be to find ways to ensure that access cannot be achieved quickly-- forcing yourself to take a significant amount of time to reconsider what you are planning to do and seek help should be the goal. Some ways to do this might include:
-Comprehensively disassembling your firearms and storing the components in multiple locked containers;
-Securing your firearms and freezing the keys in a block of ice.

Regardless of what you choose to do in regards to your firearms, seek help. It may take some time, but you can feel better.

If you suspect someone you know might be having some thoughts of suicide

As mentioned suicidal ideations are basically expressions, be they verbal or written or otherwise, of a desire to self-terminate. These can be detected in the language a person uses in conversation-- if you notice that a person you know is sounding more and more sad or hopeless, check in with them and see how they are doing. In the case of small children, hearing things statements that reflect a desire to see a recently lost relative or pet are a possible indicator. Giving away prized possessions can also be a warning sign, particularly if the language accompanying the gift suggests sadness or sounds hopeless or like a good-bye. Risk escalates dramatically in light of painful events like deaths in the family, relationships ending, business losses, etc.

IT IS VERY MUCH A MYTH THAT ASKING A PERSON ABOUT SUICIDAL THOUGHTS WILL CAUSE THEM TO COMMIT SUICIDE. So summon the moral courage it takes to be a little awkward-- ask and check in. I think that you will find most of the time people are glad someone cared-- and the worst-case scenario is that you are planting a seed in their mind that you are a safe person to talk to if they ever really do need an ear to listen.

What happens if someone comes to you and wants to talk? First of all, good on you. You've demonstrated to someone that you are kind and caring enough to be trusted with something intensely personal. Listen to them-- hear them out. Check in with them by paraphrasing what you think you have understood from what they have shared. This demonstrates to them that you are paying attention, and also helps make sure that there is a shared understanding of what is happening. Unless you are being an ignorant poo poo or telling someone to kill themselves, there is very little you can do that is going to make things worse. Take a moment to recognize two very important facts with the person talking to you: first, that it takes a lot of courage to be vulnerable and to admit that one needs help, and second that there is very clearly a big and important part of the person you are talking to that wants to live. If there wasn't, the discussion wouldn't be taking place. If at any point you see clear indications that a person is in danger, contact emergency services.

One of the best things you can do if you are feeling down is to talk to someone. Our imaginations are very vivid places, and painful feelings can seem much larger in there-- talking about those feelings forces them into daylight, where they aren't so scary.

Know some resources in your area. Canada and the US are too huge to do a comprehensive list here, but there will be some different websites, articles and services highlighted at the end of this post.

Anxiety and Depression

There are a huge array of different possible diagnoses that exist for mental illnesses. The most current catalogue of these is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, also known as the DSM-V. I am neither interested nor qualified to really lay down a broad list of different mental illnesses that one is likely to encounter, so in this instance I have opted to focus on two extremely common forms of mental illness (particularly in light of what is going on today) and what you can do to help alleviate (but not cure) the symptoms. If you are experiencing either of these things, especially depression, it is important to seek help and treatment-- your family doctor or a reputable GP can be a good starting point and will be well placed to refer you to other local specialists.

These two mental illnesses can be caused by imbalances in brain chemistry, but also by traumatic events, significant life changes , family changes, environmental factors and other influences. When discussing this post with poeticoddity, it was sagely pointed out that:

quote:

Example: Sudden job loss often causes depression. It's tempting to think that finding a new job will fix the depression, but being depressed will make it harder to find a new job or find one that helps with the depression.

...and this is absolutely correct.

Anxiety

Not all forms of anxiety are negative-- bringing some notes or documents home to review out of concerns about an upcoming work presentation is an example of healthy anxiety. Anxiety triggers our fight/flight/freeze response and essentially acts as an internal warning alarm that alerts and prepares us for a possible danger, hazard or cause for concern. This is great when there's a real, true danger at hand, but when this happens without any clear threat-- when the fight/flight/freeze response activates without clear reason-- the anxiety becomes a serious issue. There are something like 11 different types of anxiety that are generally recognized in adults, but they broadly share a number of common symptoms. If you've been feeling the following regularly and for a prolonged period of time, it might be a good idea to talk about how you have been feeling with a professional:

- A feeling of worry, dread, fear or deep insecurity out of nowhere;
-Is regularly occurring;
-Is intense enough that it impacts your ability to function in your day-to-day routine.

Panic attacks are probably one of the most common forms of anxiety disorder-- these are intense feelings of dread or imminent doom so intense that you feel as if you might die. Panic attacks can result in rapid, shallow breathing, a tight sensation in one's chest, narrowed vision and a host of other symptoms. While panic attacks feel absolutely awful, they are not fatal. Being as how all of us are adults here, it is worth mentioning that some of the symptoms of a panic attack can also be symptoms of a heart attack-- so if you've got any kind of medical history that indicates that could be a possibility, get checked out to make sure that's not the problem.

Anxiety is cyclical in nature-- it begins with the activation of that fight/flight/freeze response and grows as we attach thoughts to the feeling of worry or dread. Because there is no clear threat, these thoughts are typically worries about things that are remote possibilities or even what we might rationally be able to recognize as utter bullshit. As we devote more time and brainpower to thinking about the things that the anxiety has stirred up, we make ourselves more and more anxious. Learning how to identify how you experience the cycle can help you manage the anxiety so that you're less likely to get overwhelmed by it-- your thoughts, feelings, behaviours and physical reactions are all connected and offer a great deal of insight as to where you are in the cycle and how to stop it or feel better.

Some helpful ways to manage anxiety:

- Breathing exercises like this: https://www.calm.com/breathe
- Distracting yourself with hobbies or chores that can help you take your mind off of things
- Cognitive Behaviour Therapy based interventions like this: https://maps.anxietycanada.com/courses/my-anxiety-plan-map-for-adults/?_ga=2.192125996.781530043.1585636267-1218915442.1585636267

Depression

Depression is a sense of deep and lingering sadness or despair that persists for weeks or months at at time-- and for some people, longer. It is one of the most common of all mental illnesses and affects people of all ages and social situations. The feelings of misery are so real and so intense that they impact a person's ability to function-- common symptoms can include:

- Feeling sad or down;
- Feeling irritable, or even angry;
- Feeling helpless or hopeless-- or trapped;
- A deep sense of isolation or loneliness;
- Trouble concentrating or focusing on things;
- Feeling drained of energy;
- Losing interest in things you used to enjoy;
- Pulling back from friends and family;
- Significant changes to sleep patterns and appetite.

This list is by no means exhaustive, and it is worth noting that the exact symptoms can vary substantially from person to person. Depression can also co-occur with other mental illnesses, particularly anxiety. This is a real and serious mental illness: those dealing with it are not lazy, or low energy-- they're fighting against something that is merciless and monstrously powerful.

If you are supporting a friend or loved one who is dealing with this illness, it can be helpful to focus on assisting them with meeting their corporeal needs. For instance, try to ensure that they are eating regularly and healthy food (to counter act the disruptions to appetite), be present frequently (to counter act the sense of isolation).

If you are feeling what could be consistent with depression, it is important to speak to a mental health professional. Depression is a real and serious mental illness and can have significant impacts on a person's life-- in some cases, the feelings of despair can become so intense that a person might consider suicide. While even mundane tasks can feel monumental when a person is feeling deeply exhausted and drained by the depression, self-care is extremely important in helping to manage it. To the extent that it is possible, try to seek out opportunities for exercise, good nutrition, human contact and to follow through with routine tasks like taking a shower and doing laundry. Most importantly, be kind and patient with yourself-- depression is a serious mental illness, not a personal failing. How you are feeling is not your fault, and you do not deserve to be blamed for that.

Depression can be treated through a variety of means, including medication and various forms of talk therapy. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy can be helpful, for instance, in helping a person better know how the depression is affecting them, and through that how to process or challenge the intensely negative thoughts and feelings it causes. You can feel better, but it will take time.

Resources

911- Useful in an emergency situation if a person is injured or you have clear reason to suspect that they are in imminent danger of self-harm.

https://www.crisistextline.org/ (Also available in Canada and the UK). These guys offer crisis counselling services, with a mind to helping a person cool down from a heightened state, or to connect with emergency services if needed.

https://www.linesforlife.org/ These folks have a wide array of resources for all sorts of different groups-- the elderly, veterans, kids, addictions, and also offer services in Spanish.

211 In Canada, most provinces maintain 211 numbers to help residents connect to community and social services in their areas.

811 In Canada is a telehealth number in most Canadian provinces

Good 2 Talk A crisis support line in Canada for University age people-- usually 20-30. 1 866 925 5454. Currently running in Nova Scotia and Ontario.

Kids Help Phone A crisis support line in Canada for pretty much anyone under the age of 30. 1 866 668 6868, also has a chat service at kidshelpphone.ca

https://anxietycanada.com/ Age-appropriate resources for anxiety, including a self directed Cognitive Behaviour Therapy course.

http://depressionhurts.ca/en/default.aspx Same, but for depression!

The following is cribbed from TGRS's list of mental health resources (thank you Koalas March), which they have graciously allowed us to duplicate here. As most of our readership skews heavily towards the US and Canada, I have focused primarily on those areas. The full list can be found here: https://forums.somethingawful.com/s...hreadid=3843901

quote:

Depression Hotline:1-630-482-9696

Suicide Hotline:1-800-784-8433

LifeLine:1-800-273-8255

Trevor Project:1-866-488-7386

Sexuality Support:1-800-246-7743

Eating Disorders Hotline:1-847-831-3438

Rape and Sexual Assault:1-800-656-4673

Grief Support:1-650-321-5272

Runaway:1-800-843-5200, 1-800-843-5678, 1-800-621-4000

Exhale:After Abortion Hotline/Pro-Voice: 1-866-4394253

Child Abuse:1-800-422-4453

I will close by stating that I am operating from a caucasian heterosexual cis-male perspective. Views and resources from other perspectives are both very much welcome and highly encouraged.

Many thanks to poeticoddity for their input into the material that went into this post.

Fearless fucked around with this message at 06:07 on Apr 1, 2020

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Applesnots
Oct 22, 2010

MERRY YOBMAS



Thanks OP!

I Demand Food
Nov 17, 2002


Thanks for this, OP!

I just wanted to reiterate that the stigma around mental health is absolutely bullshit. If you need help, get it. It's not a weakness in any way. Being able to work through issues, feelings, and emotions is much better than drowning in them and some disorders only get worse over time (especially if someone tries to self-medicate).

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



I'm giving this a sticky. I'm also leaving it open if people want to discuss this stuff, but keep the conversation on the rails. I don't want this thread wandering off into the standard TFR stream of consciousness.

Fearless
Sep 3, 2003

DRINK MORE MOXIE



I Demand Food posted:

Thanks for this, OP!

I just wanted to reiterate that the stigma around mental health is absolutely bullshit. If you need help, get it. It's not a weakness in any way. Being able to work through issues, feelings, and emotions is much better than drowning in them and some disorders only get worse over time (especially if someone tries to self-medicate).

You're welcome, all.

This is all very much true-- it takes tremendous strength and resolve to be vulnerable and honest with yourself. That being said, it is also very much worth pointing out that counselling or therapy is not an easy process as either will involve deeply personal and very likely painful or uncomfortable conversations that one would typically rather avoid. Feeling better is certainly possible, but it does take a lot of resolve, hard work and dedication to accomplish and for this reason, I have immense respect for the people that try.

nankeen
Mar 20, 2019

by Cyrano4747


admin edit: this person is a tremendous rear end in a top hat and if they ever post in TFR again Iíll perma them

(USER WAS BANNED FOR THIS POST)

Second admin edit: Oh, its avshalom.

(USER WAS PERMABANNED FOR THIS POST)

(USER WAS PUT ON PROBATION FOR THIS POST)

DakianDelomast
Mar 5, 2003


I'm going to drop in like a ghost and throw this down. Not enough people know about this organization so I will shamelessly plug it here.

https://www.dbsalliance.org/

I co-run my own local chapter here in Georgia, and these groups are all over the place. We're peer run organizations and are inclusive to anyone. It is a support group for people who have bipolar or depression disorders, or sometimes are just going through some poo poo. No requirements for diagnosis and no AA style bullshit. Most of the times we just talk. I've heard stories from everyone, and every walk of life. Our group runs it like an open forum where every person gets to talk, and if someone wants to get something off of their chest, we let them. There's little pamphlets, and we like to check on each other, but mostly it's about a single idea: You're not alone.

I've struggled to tell people about what it is like when I can't get out of bed, or I can't sit still because I just have to move or I feel like I'll die. But in a place like a DBSA session, they all understand. They know what that feeling is like. Knowing and believing I am not alone has gotten me through some dark times. So if I can share that with anyone, I will.

Obviously we are shut down for the pandemic, but there are online resources on the site, and it still would be good to get in touch with your chapter leader. Also for anyone that is worried, it is a secular group, so you don't have to worry about anyone praying the demons away.

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



Thatís a great resource thanks for bringing it up.

FYI donít be afraid to post resources in here. I donít want this to be a chat thread but itís open for a reason. If you have stuff like this to make people aware of or if you are having problems and want to know where to look feel free to use this thread.

Edit: and it goes without saying (but Iíll make it explicit) that if you post something asking for help and go ďoh poo poo that was a bit more than I wanted on the InternetĒ Iíll be happy to nuke it using the power of admin.

lite_sleepr
Jun 3, 2003




quote:

One of the best things you can do if you are feeling down is to talk to someone. Our imaginations are very vivid places, and painful feelings can seem much larger in there-- talking about those feelings forces them into daylight, where they aren't so scary.

It's as simple as this, really.

I went away for almost 3 years because I wound up in a terrible place mentally.

I went to an inpatient facility for PTSD treatment in Salt Lake City for 30 days, then came back home. Got rid of just about all electronics save a cell phone. I cancelled/closed/deleted every social media application because social media is terrible for your mental health. I did this for 19 months and only recently started coming back to online haunts, but taking baby steps, and there are definitely online places I will not go back to. Twitter and Facebook chief among those places.

I'm far from a mental health professional but after having gone through a whole host of treatments to include medication, days of talk therapy, I feel like I'm pretty good at being a gigantic ear to listen to what people might be going through. If you don't know where to start, just PM me and we'll see what we can do to help get you to take your first step to getting better.

Fearless
Sep 3, 2003

DRINK MORE MOXIE



I spoke with a client a couple of months ago and they shared one of the best perspectives on mental healthcare I've heard, and it's something that I keep coming back to when a client asks "I'm doing ok. Should I connect with a therapist or counsellor on an ongoing basis?" The answer my client gave was (paraphrased), yes and the sooner the better. We often wait to connect with a professional until we are in a really bad place and that can make getting better so much harder. It often takes quite a bit of time to connect with a professional and time spent on a waitlist is time that you're not getting the help that you need. Beyond this, the professional relationship between client and practitioner takes time to foster and if this is well established when you're starting to hit a low point it is very much an asset at pushing back against the illness and figuring out how to feel better.

To me this is especially relevant advice because many forms of mental illness can be cyclical in nature-- they can and will come and go-- so taking the time to get in touch with a professional with whom you are comfortable when you are feeling well can pay off in the long run. I'm not advocating that one sees a counsellor every two weeks regardless if it is necessary, but rather that you get in touch with one, establish a therapeutic rapport and keep in occasional contact so that if things do get difficult you'll have another support that you can use to feel better.

poeticoddity
Jan 14, 2007
"How nice - to feel nothing and still get full credit for being alive." - Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five

Fearless posted:

I spoke with a client a couple of months ago and they shared one of the best perspectives on mental healthcare I've heard, and it's something that I keep coming back to when a client asks "I'm doing ok. Should I connect with a therapist or counsellor on an ongoing basis?" The answer my client gave was (paraphrased), yes and the sooner the better. We often wait to connect with a professional until we are in a really bad place and that can make getting better so much harder. It often takes quite a bit of time to connect with a professional and time spent on a waitlist is time that you're not getting the help that you need. Beyond this, the professional relationship between client and practitioner takes time to foster and if this is well established when you're starting to hit a low point it is very much an asset at pushing back against the illness and figuring out how to feel better.

To me this is especially relevant advice because many forms of mental illness can be cyclical in nature-- they can and will come and go-- so taking the time to get in touch with a professional with whom you are comfortable when you are feeling well can pay off in the long run. I'm not advocating that one sees a counsellor every two weeks regardless if it is necessary, but rather that you get in touch with one, establish a therapeutic rapport and keep in occasional contact so that if things do get difficult you'll have another support that you can use to feel better.

Re: Mental health cycles:

It took me until grad school to identify a depression cycle with a 2-year period.
In retrospect, I should have identified it earlier, but applying that level of analysis to introspection is difficult and I discounted the pattern because of major life changes.

  • Second grade - bad year
  • Redistricted to a new school end of third grade
  • Fourth grade - bad year
  • Best friend moves end of fifth grade and first death of a family member
  • Sixth grade - bad year
  • Middle school starts and one of my closest friends isn't coming because he was at my school because his mother was an employee, so he's not in the district
  • Eighth grade - bad year
  • First encounters with romantic rejection in ninth grade, quit the religion I was raised in, and had nagging background anxiety that the post-9/11 craziness would lead to me being drafted after I finished high school
  • Tenth grade - bad year
  • Get dumped shortly into senior year by girlfriend who was a year ahead of me and moved off for undergrad
  • Twelfth grade - bad year
  • Overwhelmed with coursework and end up changing major and started drinking for the first time
  • Second year of undergrad - bad year
  • Living off campus for the first time and trying to work while taking a course overload and being a research assistant in two laboratories at the same time
  • Fourth year of undergrad - bad year
  • Start grad school
  • Wait, why is this year bad? It shouldn't have been any worse than the first year of grad school...unless...

Around that time I started figuring out behavioral changes that would stave off the worst of it and being able to predict it like clockwork means I can take preventative measures as well as assess whether or not it's something I need help with.
Although 2020 is a dumpster fire, it is an even year, so it is a good year. I did pretty well in 2019, but it was a bad year because that's just how my brain works, and 2021 will be a bad year for the same dissatisfying reason.

A fun artifact of all of this: If I ever find someone who'd be a good permanent romantic partner, I know that I need to be with them through an odd-numbered year to know if marriage is doomed prospect or not.

As far as more generally actionable content, for anyone who's not familiar with it, BlahTherapy is a site where you just chat to strangers with a venter/listener dynamic of your selection. It's hit or miss like any random-chat matching, but the entire point is to be able to talk about your issues with a completely stranger and there's no way for someone to send you photos of their junk unless you click on a link like an idiot.

Fearless
Sep 3, 2003

DRINK MORE MOXIE



This is why I like CBT/DBT so much. Being able to map out the cycles or triggers of a mental illness helps to demystify it and can be an incredibly powerful tool for managing the symptoms of such an illness.

Captain Log
Oct 2, 2006

Captain Log posted:

"I AINT DYING! Choo choo motherfucker!"




The thing I always, always, always try to emphasize to anyone I'm talking with who has troubles with depression/anxiety/manic episodes/etc is simple. But I want to shout it from the rooftops everyday with the hope at least one person pays attention -

Depression is a creeping illness. It slowly seeps into your life and seems completely controllable. But it away takes more and more, one inch at a time. Long before you can realize, it's wrapped around your neck like a loving constrictor.

Do your best to stomp that snake before it gets around your neck.

madeintaipei
Jul 13, 2012



Captain Log posted:

The thing I always, always, always try to emphasize to anyone I'm talking with who has troubles with depression/anxiety/manic episodes/etc is simple. But I want to shout it from the rooftops everyday with the hope at least one person pays attention -

Depression is a creeping illness. It slowly seeps into your life and seems completely controllable. But it away takes more and more, one inch at a time. Long before you can realize, it's wrapped around your neck like a loving constrictor.

Do your best to stomp that snake before it gets around your neck.

Thank you. That... actually kind of helps.

moths
Aug 25, 2004







Captain Log posted:

Do your best to stomp that snake before it gets around your neck.

Speaking as someone who has previously made peace with "i just don't go on the sad half of the room," yeah this was an excellent description of how insidious depression can be.

If you find yourself making compromises with "normal," talk to someone. The worst thing that'll happen is you make a friend

Captain Log
Oct 2, 2006

Captain Log posted:

"I AINT DYING! Choo choo motherfucker!"




In the Tactical Thread, we got off on a tangent and started talking about PTSD and trauma responses. Specifically flight or fight type of stuff with some triggers mixed in.

Let's keep the conversation going here, because it's an important conversation. Especially for people with firearms as a hobby.

Just keep in mind this is a more or less public place and anyone can read this. For as much as I wear my experiences on my sleeve, I have my boundaries about what gets discussed out in the open. With that said, I'll literally talk about drat near anything over PMs if need be.

Fearless
Sep 3, 2003

DRINK MORE MOXIE



There are a range of possible responses that can occur in response to a traumatic event, or pattern of events. We are most familiar with fight or flight, in which we are primed to fight back to ensure survival, or run the hell away from danger for the same purpose. There are also three other responses that can take place when the other two are not possible: freeze, in which the muscles of our body lock in place, but ready to move if the opportunity presents itself; flop or faint, in which we might be so thoroughly and massively overwhelmed that our muscle control and conscious thought processes shut down (either via blacking out or dissociation) as a defensive mechanism and finally fawn or befriend, in which we submit to an aggressor in the hopes of maximizing our chances of survival.

Fight, flight and freeze are commonly seen in response to acutely stressful events like an accident, a criminal act or battle. Flop and fawn can be more often observed in cases of sexual trauma, or complex trauma (in which the symptoms of trauma manifest in response to a prolonged pattern of traumatic events like domestic violence or chronic abuse). That being said, it is important to note that human beings will exhibit a range of highly individual responses based on our life experience, resilience and myriad other factors, and these five are not strictly associated with a particular event or person. All of these are valid, human responses to moments or periods of extreme stress and should be treated as such. Concepts like "cowardice" in response to traumatic events are archaic and tend to promote stigma in survivors and society at large.

Fearless fucked around with this message at 08:56 on Feb 9, 2021

Gray Stormy
Dec 19, 2006



Captain Log posted:

In the Tactical Thread, we got off on a tangent and started talking about PTSD and trauma responses. Specifically flight or fight type of stuff with some triggers mixed in.

Let's keep the conversation going here, because it's an important conversation. Especially for people with firearms as a hobby.

Infrared35 posted:

Iíve never been in combat and Iíve never been in a gunfight. But there were a couple close calls where everything slowed down and I could watch my brain predicting my opponentís moves and calculating my responses. That was sort of reassuring.

I have experienced this as well. A close friend got out of an incredibly abusive relationship a while back and her ex was making credible threats(he worked/trained with some pretty legit SOF types, and had some pretty serious kit) against her and her family. He also was making them against me. As Im standing in Taco Bell a couple of days after she told me that he was telling her he was going to come after me too, I see a guy walk in that couldve been his twin.

Everything went into weird slow-motion and I could feel myself clearing my shirt and starting to put my hand on my piece, completely on autopilot.

Then the guy started to talk to the cashier and a completely different voice from the ex.

I went back to my vehicle and had to sit for a good ten minutes until the adrenaline shakes went away.

Now that guy is in prison because he beat the hell out of his next girlfriend with a frozen burrito.

bulletsponge13
Apr 28, 2010


Fearless posted:

There are a range of possible responses that can occur in response to a traumatic event, or pattern of events. We are most familiar with fight or flight, in which we are primed to fight back to ensure survival, or run the hell away from danger for the same purpose. There are also three other responses that can take place when the other two are not possible: freeze, in which the muscles of our body lock in place, but ready to move if the opportunity presents itself; flop or faint, in which we might be so thoroughly and massively overwhelmed that our muscle control and conscious thought processes shut down (either via blacking out or dissociation) as a defensive mechanism and finally fawn or befriend, in which we submit to an aggressor in the hopes of maximizing our chances of survival.

Fight, flight and freeze are commonly seen in response to acutely stressful events like an accident, a criminal act or battle. Flop and fawn can be more often observed in cases of sexual trauma, or complex trauma (in which the symptoms of trauma manifest in response to a prolonged pattern of traumatic events like domestic violence or chronic abuse). That being said, it is important to note that human beings will exhibit a range of highly individual responses based on our life experience, resilience and myriad other factors, and these five are not strictly associated with a particular event or person. All of these are valid, human responses to moments or periods of extreme stress and should be treated as such. Concepts like "cowardice" in response to traumatic events are archaic and tend to promote stigma in survivors and society at large.

All of this.

It's sometimes hard to grasp or process, since we are typically only shown depictions of the Fight, vs any other result.

I'm going to use my favorite example, Saving Private Ryan, the infamous Upham Scene. Everyone feels this guttural reaction to his perceived "cowardice". Dude was a uniformed secretary, put in with combat trained and experienced Rangers. His training wouldn't have had anywhere near what their's would have been. Upham had a natural, human reaction. Take your average officer worker and put them in the same situation. Add in the lack of sleep, fear, exhaustion (physical and mental), and other assorted Grunt Problems, and the fact that Upham had kept up as long as he had.



E-

Gray Stormy posted:

Now that guy is in prison because he beat the hell out of his next girlfriend with a frozen burrito.

I would like to know more.

Fearless
Sep 3, 2003

DRINK MORE MOXIE



bulletsponge13 posted:

All of this.

It's sometimes hard to grasp or process, since we are typically only shown depictions of the Fight, vs any other result.

I'm going to use my favorite example, Saving Private Ryan, the infamous Upham Scene. Everyone feels this guttural reaction to his perceived "cowardice". Dude was a uniformed secretary, put in with combat trained and experienced Rangers. His training wouldn't have had anywhere near what their's would have been. Upham had a natural, human reaction. Take your average officer worker and put them in the same situation. Add in the lack of sleep, fear, exhaustion (physical and mental), and other assorted Grunt Problems, and the fact that Upham had kept up as long as he had.

Upham exhibits another truth: people can experience multiple traumatic responses over the course of an event. In the two most severe events I experienced, I froze for a moment while I tried to figure out what was going on, and then went into a fight response.

This brings us to what happens after a traumatic event, or pattern of them. In cases of complex trauma, I have heard survivors describe feeling like a coiled spring; they might not be in danger anymore, but they still feel as if they are under tremendous tension. Confusion, memory problems, dissociation (most commonly known as blackouts, but other forms exist as well), anxiety, sleep disturbances, changes in appetite and/or libido and the denial or minimizing of the trauma and its effects (e.g. "I'm fine!" or "Nothing bad happened to me, I had a good tour!" or "I have no right to be hurt, others had it so much worse") are all common effects and a person experiencing the symptoms of trauma both needs and deserves help. Recent research has also shown that trauma can also change us at a genetic level and result in greatly increased production of stress hormones like cortisol, and this can be transmitted to yet-to-be born children.* This represents another mechanism by which intergenerational trauma can be transmitted.

If we consider mental trauma to be an injury as opposed to a disorder (and it very much is, traumatic events overload our mind's ability to flex and cope with tremendous stress in the same way that a sprain is a result of a joint being wrenched beyond its limits), it therefore follows that the why is of secondary importance to treating the present reality of the injury itself to reduce suffering. Think of it this way: if two people are sitting in an ER with broken legs, one the result of shoving a kid out of the way of an oncoming truck, and the other the result of a backyard wrestling stunt, the injuries are treated according to their severity, not according to value or moral judgements about the cause of the injuries and those that bear them. If you are hurting, you deserve help.

*I say recent, but numerous Indigenous cultures in North America have long spoken of a "blood memory" in which significant negative events can echo across multiple generations of a family.

bulletsponge13
Apr 28, 2010


That is something in coming to grips with. I had a chaotic childhood that completely prepared me for combat, for emergencies, for episodes of chaos. It didn't prepare me for after.

More and more evidence points that complex trauma physically alters the brain. It's part of the reason the VA throws TBI and PTSD together.

The coiled spring (from my research- not an expert) comes from a conditioning of the brain through repeated trauma. It teaches the brain that the amygdala is on deck at all times.

There is evidence that Ketamine treatment can help uncross those wires, but it's not an accepted therapy yet.

Fearless
Sep 3, 2003

DRINK MORE MOXIE



bulletsponge13 posted:

That is something in coming to grips with. I had a chaotic childhood that completely prepared me for combat, for emergencies, for episodes of chaos. It didn't prepare me for after.

More and more evidence points that complex trauma physically alters the brain. It's part of the reason the VA throws TBI and PTSD together.

The coiled spring (from my research- not an expert) comes from a conditioning of the brain through repeated trauma. It teaches the brain that the amygdala is on deck at all times.

There is evidence that Ketamine treatment can help uncross those wires, but it's not an accepted therapy yet.

I think the intersection of trauma with a host of mental illnesses is something that we are only just starting to grapple with... hell, in a lot of cases it can take time before the differences between trauma and another form of anxiety or mental illness can become clear. My feeling is that we ultimately should be looking at trauma not as a series of separate, discrete illnesses, but rather as a spectrum of symptoms stemming from mental injury. Childhood trauma, for instance, can factor heavily in later diagnoses of substance use disorder-- I remember working on client files at the outpatient addictions treatment center where I was doing a field placement, and adverse childhood experiences and/or combat trauma featured very heavily in the lives of quite a few clients.

That experience taught me two very important things: First, it is exceptionally difficult for those who do not live with traumatic symptoms to understand just how pervasively trauma affects a person's life. Second, recovering from this kind of injury is tremendously difficult, particularly if a great deal of time has passed since the onset of symptoms and anyone that walks that path and is willing to put the work in to feel more like themselves is both tremendously courageous and exceptionally strong.

bulletsponge13
Apr 28, 2010


I've been working at my poo poo, but I didn't realize that I was as hosed up as I was until my son said, "I know why you are always grumpy. You are always in pain, and that the war hurt you."

When I had my kid say that, I nearly wept. To him, they weren't the same thing like they are to me. He understood that while linked, they aren't the same, and that put it into perspective.

Fearless
Sep 3, 2003

DRINK MORE MOXIE



bulletsponge13 posted:

I've been working at my poo poo, but I didn't realize that I was as hosed up as I was until my son said, "I know why you are always grumpy. You are always in pain, and that the war hurt you."

When I had my kid say that, I nearly wept. To him, they weren't the same thing like they are to me. He understood that while linked, they aren't the same, and that put it into perspective.

That's pretty profound, but I am not shocked. Kids often view and interact with the world in a far less filtered way and this gives them a clarity of thought that most adults envy. And I can see how that would hit like a truck too, but also perhaps even be validating at the same time.

E:

Oh and one other thing: there is evidence of what we would likely describe as PTSD in both soldiers and civilians going back to the ancient Greeks, Romans and Assyrians. This is not a new or modern phenomenon at all-- Xenophon describes a Spartiate displaying symptoms of traumatic experiences in his Anabasis and that was written almost 2400 years ago and there are even more ancient accounts besides. Elephants may also experience something very similar to intergenerational trauma, particularly after the death of a matriarch. The point of me saying this is for the benefit of any lurking readers to help challenge one of the most horrible feelings caused by trauma: that nobody else knows at all what you are experiencing and you're the only person to feel this way. There are, in fact, a shitload of people out there who have also been hurt, and a great many of those have been able to push past those feelings of isolation to start recovering-- and you can too when you are ready. And there are a lot of folks out there to welcome you with open arms when you are.

Fearless fucked around with this message at 22:40 on Feb 9, 2021

Captain Log
Oct 2, 2006

Captain Log posted:

"I AINT DYING! Choo choo motherfucker!"




That is a pretty profound insight from your kid.

(Ugh, keep trying to type stuff out then deleting it. It's funny how the whole "talking about hard stuff = shame" works in the brain.)

bulletsponge13
Apr 28, 2010


I get that. I still have that. It's a hard coping mechanism to fight against, because it makes sense and sound reasonable in your brain.

Both of my kids are better people than I deserve. They both are good, solid kids- smart, witty, and clever. My wife and I joke around that we screwed up because both of our kids like us, and talk to us about their poo poo. Both of them have made some very critical insights into me, and have helped in ways they don't know, even though I tell them.

Captain Log
Oct 2, 2006

Captain Log posted:

"I AINT DYING! Choo choo motherfucker!"




First off, I really appreciate people sharing in the Tactical thread and now here. I'm gleaning useful and meaningful information in every post. I genuinely appreciate everyone sharing.

For me, the motherfucker is hyper vigilance.

Therapists over the years believe my PTSD is rooted in childhood trauma from when I was extremely young. Just typing that sounds immensely...whiny when compared to war wounds. But it is what it is.

When I had that gun pointed at me all those years ago in Nashville, I literally laughed in the rear end in a top hat's face. I thought it was loving absurd, and it showed. I chased them off, because my brain was thinking in crystal clear terms - You are on a cane without a weapon. If they pull the trigger, you are hosed. Call their bluff. It worked. I threw my wallet at them first, but they came at me afterwards. I just leaned towards them and yelled, "Get Out!" Whatever the gently caress that meant.

But what happened after wrecked me. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING became a threat. The person who accosted me knew who I was and had access to a key to my apartment. When I was talking to the police, I couldn't really control the volume of my voice. They kept sternly telling me to calm down and it only pissed me off more. (They thought I was on drugs, it was a night when Nashville was playing in the Stanley Cup. Their response made me go to an ER to get drug tested, which was of course clean.) My actions afterward were severe and I understood that I was acting irrationally. But I wouldn't sleep near a window because I was worried about someone busting through it. I slept in a different hotel every night under a bullshit name. I literally had a loaded shotgun at arm's reach. A car pulling up behind me in traffic would make my heart race. I had to leave a fast food restaurant because people lining up behind me made my adrenaline dump. I was seeing that person with the gun, who had on a loving ski mask, everywhere I looked. I knew they weren't there, but I kept seeing them in crowds. It felt like the adrenaline dump didn't stop for weeks.

It took months and months before it calmed down. The only saving grace was the knowledge that it was in my head. I knew nobody was tracking me down, nobody was kicking down my door, none of that poo poo was real. But it didn't stop my body reacting like a gangster SWAT team was on my doorstep every time I heard a person walk by outside.

For me, time healed. But God drat, it was like my brain froze with the FIGHT knob being pushed 24/7. I would have given anything for that poo poo to stop when it was happening.

I still see that motherfucker in that parking garage every day. I still see the yawning barrel of the Taurus Millennium leveled at me. But it's nothing compared to the aftermath of when it happened.

That was one event. loving one. How can people come back from war and ever sleep again?

bulletsponge13
Apr 28, 2010


I'm going to be harsh here- sorry. This goes for everyone.

Pain is pain. Fear is fear. Trauma is trauma.

Your brain doesn't give a gently caress if it was a freak carnival accident, a sniper's bullet, or a car accident. It is going to treat it all the same, because they all trigger the same responses.


Comparing traumas is a no win sport. Please stop acting as if your feelings are less valid because someone else had a worse day.

Talking about poo poo- just being honest and factual with others and yourself- helps. It takes a little power from the memory.

You also have every reason to be hurt and angry. It's completely justified. There is nothing wrong with that. When it comes up, give it a fair shake. It deserves a few minutes, then you put it away. It's taking little bites of a giant poo poo sandwich, but each time, it gets a little smaller, and that helps.

I'm all kinds of hosed up from my childhood, so I can relate some. Your response was in line with natural ones- I remember giggling like a kindergartener on ecstasy once. It falls in line with the Fight Flight Posture Submit (Fearless described it better, but I don't recall the terms). What you are experiencing is a normal response to an abnormal situation. You can't apply retrospective reason to an irrational moment.

You've ID'd the problem, which is a huge step. Just talking with strangers on the internet will help a good bit, but seeing someone professional will help. For the recent trauma, CBT (not cock and ball torture) can help a ton. For the older stuff, I've found traditional therapy a big help.

Captain Log
Oct 2, 2006

Captain Log posted:

"I AINT DYING! Choo choo motherfucker!"




Youíre dead on, thanks for calling that out.

I never, ever, ever consider what Iíve gone through an equal experience to others. Itís just a weird reflex from having friends and family that have minimized my experiences throughout life.

The biggest motherfucker, through everything, has been how people in my personal life react to bad poo poo. Thanks to some clarity received from friends through the forums, Iíve realized those folks arenít worth keeping around. But that isnít a problem exclusive to my relationships - thatís a countrywide issue.

E4C85D38
Feb 7, 2010

Doesn't that thing only
hold six rounds...?


Captain Log posted:

First off, I really appreciate people sharing in the Tactical thread and now here. I'm gleaning useful and meaningful information in every post. I genuinely appreciate everyone sharing.

For me, the motherfucker is hyper vigilance.

My experience with hypervigilance is very similar. Wandering through a casino floor among patrons, I was suddenly aware that anyone could have a knife, could use it, and that all blades are lethal. I would have been a lot worse off if I didn't have coworkers that grew up in rougher parts of Baltimore teaching me how to bounce back ó how to stand, how to hold yourself, where to look, what to look for. Occasionally I still can't pull my eyes away from someone's hands, and when it gets noticed, it's easy to see the two categories of people: those that ask what I'm looking at, and those that just nod and get it.

The two things I think that have helped me the most with hypervigilance is therapy, especially with certain EMDR techniques, and cannabis. Vaporizing the latter was enough of an 'off' switch on it that I could focus on learning to exist as a 'person' again out in the world instead of being an agoraphobic shut-in. (If we ever manage to leave pandemic world, I'll have to relearn that last one all over again, 'cause I'm pretty sure I've regressed a bit but haven't noticed because I'm allowed by circumstance to stay in all the time.

e:

quote:

Itís just a weird reflex from having friends and family that have minimized my experiences throughout life.

This is a huge point. When the only people that talk about the topic are those that haven't experienced it and don't understand it, people end up just floating through life thinking they're irreparably broken instead of suffering from something that can be alleviated.

E4C85D38 fucked around with this message at 02:52 on Feb 10, 2021

Fearless
Sep 3, 2003

DRINK MORE MOXIE



Dialectic Behaviour Therapy can be another excellent way of treating trauma, particularly more entrenched, historically rooted behaviours. It's an outgrowth of CBT and was originally designed to treat Borderline Personality Disorder (which itself might have connections to childhood trauma) and I have used both in my practice.

Captain Log posted:

Youíre dead on, thanks for calling that out.

I never, ever, ever consider what Iíve gone through an equal experience to others. Itís just a weird reflex from having friends and family that have minimized my experiences throughout life.

The biggest motherfucker, through everything, has been how people in my personal life react to bad poo poo. Thanks to some clarity received from friends through the forums, Iíve realized those folks arenít worth keeping around. But that isnít a problem exclusive to my relationships - thatís a countrywide issue.

Emphasis mine. If you experienced emotional abuse growing up (and lots of people do; it is deceptively common), abusive parents or family members very often minimize the harm they have caused in ways that cause the people they have abused to internalize the hurt, or minimize what they themselves are experiencing. Doing otherwise is unsafe, and potentially invites more abuse so the only "safe" place for all that pain and hurt and blame to go is inside.

Fearless fucked around with this message at 03:54 on Feb 10, 2021

bulletsponge13
Apr 28, 2010


I will 2d cannabis. I say it quiets the noise, but it's really that it pushes down 'The Engine'. In John Steakley's 'Armor', one of the characters describes his disassociation as 'The Engine'. It's a good description. My brain runs it in 1st gear, foot on the brake at all times. Cannabis makes idle.

I blame the war, but it was there before. The Army just refined it.

On a tangent- Armor is a great book. It works better if you treat it as part of a trilogy.
Starship Troopers by Heinlein is the 'Strategic' view of the war, and gives you a sanitized version, an officer's view.
Armor by Steakley is the grunt's view. The individual lost in the system, just trying to get by and survive.
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman is what comes after, and the cost, particularly using time dilation as a metaphor for alienation.

All three were great books, and all three have given me insights on trauma (as a general thing, not just war related) using literature.

E- Another thing that helped me immensely was rescuing some animals. My one dog has doggie PTSD, and we've healed together. As I've worked at me, she has worked at her. I know it's my brain making links that aren't really there, but I love her immensely, and seeing where she was to where she is has helped me even if she doesn't know. She was our first rescue, and won't be our last, but having animals has helped me a lot. If you are able to, get a furry friend.

bulletsponge13 fucked around with this message at 05:10 on Feb 10, 2021

Fearless
Sep 3, 2003

DRINK MORE MOXIE



I've heard a good few people share that cannabis helps (and I am very glad it does), but in my case it made the lingering anxiety a lot harder to manage when I have used it. I've done far better with DBT and subsequently CBT and a few different activities I use for getting my thoughts into order or processing difficult feelings. There is great value in dragging thoughts and feelings out into the open; our imaginations are far more vivid and frankly terrifying places than the real world, and I've found that anything that can help me remain anchored in the real world as opposed to the inside of my own head is of tremendous value. There are a lot of different paths to healing, after all.

Captain Log
Oct 2, 2006

Captain Log posted:

"I AINT DYING! Choo choo motherfucker!"




I'm about to go to bed, so I'm going to respond a little piecemeal to what's been said. But I'm getting a lot from what has been posted.

That stuff about emotional abuse if loving on point. My British side of the family is very, well, British. Keep your emotions inside under lock and key, if something isn't right you drat well better have an explanation. A- on a report card? You better have an answer.

But that wasn't the abuse. That was on my mother's side, primarily from her. She was an evangelical Pentecostal non-denominational mother from Carrie on steroids. I was taught demons were real and could attack at any moment. Thinking a sin was a sin. Hell was literally always around the corner, with a gaping fang lined maw waiting to snap you up. It's a hell of a thing to be a little kid scared to look out a window or sit in a room alone, because you are being told literal monstrous demons could be lurking around. Also, you thought about sex? MAJOR SIN!!! Thinking about fornication is the same as doing it!!!

I obviously outgrew that idiocy, but the conditioning of always being afraid shaped a large part of my brain. I outgrew the fear, but the anxiety stayed. (Hello, OCD/PTSD)

Fearless posted:

I've heard a good few people share that cannabis helps (and I am very glad it does), but in my case it made the lingering anxiety a lot harder to manage when I have used it.

This ends up being the same for me. I've always thought anything even vaguely hallucinogenic sorta stirs up whatever is below the surface of the pond. I don't deal with depression anymore, because my life now (even with a terminal illness and lockdowns) is way better than it has been in a decade. But being a guy with an anxiety disorder like OCD, there is stuff lurking below the surface I don't like to poke with a stick.

But, I'm as pro-cannabis as a person can be. gently caress, part of moving to Portland was so my Pops (who has Major Depressive Disorder) could use it legally.


E4C85D38 posted:

...I could focus on learning to exist as a 'person' again out in the world instead of being an agoraphobic shut-in. (If we ever manage to leave pandemic world, I'll have to relearn that last one all over again, 'cause I'm pretty sure I've regressed a bit but haven't noticed because I'm allowed by circumstance to stay in all the time.suffering from something that can be alleviated.

God, I hear you there. When I was deepest in the bottle, I was a blacked out windows agoraphobe. I dealt with it, but being stuck in all the time makes me worry it could come back. But I don't get a racing heart when I have to go out or dread the UPS man, so I think I'm good.

bulletsponge13 posted:

E- Another thing that helped me immensely was rescuing some animals. My one dog has doggie PTSD, and we've healed together. As I've worked at me, she has worked at her. I know it's my brain making links that aren't really there, but I love her immensely, and seeing where she was to where she is has helped me even if she doesn't know. She was our first rescue, and won't be our last, but having animals has helped me a lot. If you are able to, get a furry friend.

Amen to that. There is actually a project being run with using parrots to help vets through PTSD. This sounds bizarre, but they just seem to get it. I'll leave it at that until I dig up the article.

pantslesswithwolves
Oct 27, 2008

Ba-dam ba-DUMMMMMM


Captain Log posted:

This ends up being the same for me. I've always thought anything even vaguely hallucinogenic sorta stirs up whatever is below the surface of the pond. I don't deal with depression anymore, because my life now (even with a terminal illness and lockdowns) is way better than it has been in a decade. But being a guy with an anxiety disorder like OCD, there is stuff lurking below the surface I don't like to poke with a stick.

But, I'm as pro-cannabis as a person can be. gently caress, part of moving to Portland was so my Pops (who has Major Depressive Disorder) could use it legally.


You might be aware of this, but psilocybin mushrooms have started to get renewed traction among elements of the psychology community as a therapeutic way to navigate depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. Michael Pollanís latest book ďHow to Change Your MindĒ is all about this, and doesnít treat the subject lightly at all. Iím not saying that you or your dad should go buy a bag of shrooms and have an experience with a guy who graduated from the Francis P. QAnon School for Redpilled Shamans, but perhaps someday the substance will be destigmatized enough to be a more accepted treatment under the guidance of a qualified psychologist.

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



pantslesswithwolves posted:

You might be aware of this, but psilocybin mushrooms have started to get renewed traction among elements of the psychology community as a therapeutic way to navigate depression, anxiety and other mental health issues.

I donít have much in the way of anything really concrete to say about this but I will say that, purely anecdotally, I credit shrooms with helping get me out of a bad depressive bout that lasted from late in undergrad through the year after. Close to 20 years ago now. I only did them a handful of times but once in particular led to what I can only say as something snapping back into place inside my head. I spent a night lying on a hill, looking at the stars and listening to the forest, tripping balls and just thinking and somehow gained a lot of insight and perspective into my own bullshit. It helped me see through some of my own excuses and bad patterns, and also helped me let go of some baggage.

Shortly after I made some pretty significant changes in my life, culminating in applying to grad school. I was really badly adrift and right about then is when I finally struck out in the direction Iíve take. It hasnít been perfect, but it also hasnít been bad and god knows that continuing to couch surf post college while smoking pot 24/7 and playing world of Warcraft wasnít going to land me anywhere.

Sample size of one, Iím not a doctor or a scientist, etc. Iím not telling anyone to go try it. But I was in a pretty dark place for a while and that night was a big part of what I think helped get me out of it. Or maybe itís all just coincidence and I made the change myself and that was just a weird night on a hill.

Still, when I read about possible therapeutic effects, I think itís something worth having serious researchers explore in a systematic way.

Captain Log
Oct 2, 2006

Captain Log posted:

"I AINT DYING! Choo choo motherfucker!"




pantslesswithwolves posted:

You might be aware of this, but psilocybin mushrooms have started to get renewed traction among elements of the psychology community as a therapeutic way to navigate depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. Michael Pollanís latest book ďHow to Change Your MindĒ is all about this, and doesnít treat the subject lightly at all. Iím not saying that you or your dad should go buy a bag of shrooms and have an experience with a guy who graduated from the Francis P. QAnon School for Redpilled Shamans, but perhaps someday the substance will be destigmatized enough to be a more accepted treatment under the guidance of a qualified psychologist.

Under the actual supervision of a doctor, I'd sign up for that treatment. But I'd sooner tap dance than just take some and hope for the best.

Captain Log
Oct 2, 2006

Captain Log posted:

"I AINT DYING! Choo choo motherfucker!"




This is something that I think might be a valuable topic -

What are the healthy coping mechanisms that personally help folks on a daily or weekly basis? I know we already discussed cannabis, but I think there is more to unpack on the subject.

bulletsponge13
Apr 28, 2010


Breathing exercises. Combat or box breathing- in for 4; hold 4; out for 6; 6 times. The exact times are not important, but the cycle. It forces the brain to drop from a parasympathetic state.

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Fearless
Sep 3, 2003

DRINK MORE MOXIE



bulletsponge13 posted:

Breathing exercises. Combat or box breathing- in for 4; hold 4; out for 6; 6 times. The exact times are not important, but the cycle. It forces the brain to drop from a parasympathetic state.

These are also helpful for shutting down and getting to sleep at night too.

Body scans can also be used to map out where stress collects in your muscles-- activating those muscles and then slowly relaxing helps release that stress and relax, but the act of mapping can help you better monitor your mental state too because you'll know that when you are walking around with fists/shoulders/teeth clenched, or if your back is in knots that these are signs of mounting anxiety.

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