When the neurologist told my husband that she was diagnosing him with ALS—a terminal, incurable disease that leads to paralysis of all the voluntary muscles, including the diaphragm—I was wearing our four-month-old son in a carrier on my chest. We were devastated but not surprised; Googling his symptoms of muscle loss and hyperreflexia in the days leading upfr to the appointment had returned this result again and again. I hugged the baby closer to me and cried as I cradled his head.
When I write about having lesbian parents who were also trying to reign in mental illness, I am often gently reminded that it is imperative that I make sure people know that most lesbian families are great, happy, sparkly, well-adjusted. I needed to qualify that my experience isn’t how it is for all lesbian families. If gayness was my ethnicity, they might tell me that I needed to be a credit to my race.
Lara Lillibridge argues for broader representation of LGBTQ folks in Ms. Magazine, and discusses how an effort to overcome bias can lead to one-dimensional portrayal and an erasure of experience.
Families of people with dementia will often take away the car keys to keep their family member safe. They might remove knobs from stove burners or lock up medicine.
But what’s less talked about is the risk of guns in the home for those with dementia.
For NPR, Melissa Block discusses what many families are increasingly having to deal with: determining when and how to convince their loved ones suffering from dementia to give up their guns.
It’s estimated that roughly 1 in every 2,000 babies in the US are born with genetic, chemical, or anatomical features that fall somewhere between what’s typically identified as male or female. Beginning in the 1950s, most surgeons began “correcting” these perceived abnormalities so that babies would appear more male or more female.
More recently, the intersex community and groups like the UN have decried this practice as a human rights violation that occurs without the informed consent of young patients.
In August of 2018, the state of California passed a resolution “denouncing” the practice of corrective surgeries on intersex babies and Azeen Ghorayshi wrote about it for Buzzfeed. California is the first state to pass such a resolution, but hopefully other states follow suit
We are some of the subjects of the recent Netflix docuseries, Afflicted.
We were all told that we would be participating in a project that would show our lives and our struggles with illness through a “compassionate lens.”
…We never fathomed that we were participating in a project that would instead expose us and our communities to further ridicule and disbelief.
I considered watching Afflicted, a series on Netflix that followed people with various chronic illnesses. I’m glad I didn’t. This Medium post by people featured on the show gives the impression it was exploitative.
Finally, a resource guide has been published that focuses specifically on how to deal with psychiatric disabilities in the academic workplace. The free guide — Promoting Supportive Academic Environments for Faculty With Mental Illnesses — is the culmination of many years of research.
In this Chronicle of Higher Education article, Katie Rose Guest Pryal interviews Margaret Price, a professor at Ohio State University, about the free guide she created about supporting faculty with mental illness. It “focuses on ways to make college and university campuses more accessible for faculty with mental disabilities.” Very cool.
That means the mental health burden for African Americans caused by police killings of unarmed Black victims is nearly as great as the mental health burden associated with diabetes.
Most of the time, living with bipolar disorder is uneventful. As long as I take my medications and check in with my therapist regularly, I’m able to keep my symptoms under control and avoid potential flare-ups of depression and extreme mood swings. Managing my mental health is usually more of a routine than an ongoing crisis, but I still have bad days, bad weeks, and even the occasional bad month where I don’t feel like I can be around people and want to disappear completely, or feel like I can’t stop moving and refuse to go to sleep. When that happens, it can interfere with my work life, friendships and—as you can imagine—completely sabotage my dating life.
Jay Vera Summer is the Editor in Chief of Chronically Lit.