Living With Flat Affect: Like ‘Resting Bitch Face’ but Not Funny

We live in a time when “resting bitch face” is a joke, selfies are constant, and activist art implores us to stop telling women to smile: We’re as aware of our faces as ever. But the conversation still largely excludes people who don’t always have control of theirs: people with a flattened affect.

In psychology, the word “affect” refers to someone’s variability in facial expression, pitch of voice, and the use of hand and body movements, according to a University of Washington Department of Psychiatry glossary. A person’s affect can be “broad” (which is the norm), “restricted” or “blunted” (which both mean pared back in some way) or “flat”: lacking signs of affective expression, or having a monotonous voice and unmoving face.

Think about the time you’ve wasted wondering if you made an awkward face when trying to remember if you knew that person you ran into on the street, or if you scrunched your eyebrows too much in that job interview. For people with flat affect, emotional expression is limited, reduced, or nonexistent. This isn’t an illness or a disorder in its own right but a possible symptom of many brain conditions, such as depression, Parkinson’s disease, autism, traumatic brain injury, and schizophrenia, according to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V).  more

I’m a 6 Ft, Hefty Man, But That Doesn’t Mean I Can’t Be Depressed

Being a third-world country, mental health is not one of our top priority problems, but it is a rising one and a serious one.

I want to share my experience of the journey battling depression and OCD, and shed some light on the problems I faced, which no one else should.

The first time, at the age of 20, when I talked to my parents about my depression and OCD, and about wanting to visit a psychiatrist, their reaction was not at all what I had expected. Belonging to a Jaat family from Rajasthan, I was the first person to raise such an issue in my not-so-open family. Besides they didn’t want anyone to know that their elder son has ‘gone crazy’. After five years of suffering, visits to psychiatrists, and almost a year of medication, I am back to therapy. Now I’m even more scared to tell my parents or friends about it.

That was probably the worst time of my life.

Suffering from depression is difficult. I lost my friends when I confessed to them about my condition. And suddenly, I was socially outcasted. This was the time when I needed emotional support, but all I got was cold looks.

Being over 6 feet tall and having a good physique also proved to be a problem causing peer pressure of presenting myself to the world as a strong and manly, while I was all broken inside. Honestly, being manly was the least of my problems.

Being a social outcast with no one to support you can be a pretty saddening.

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The Negative Voices in Your Teenager’s Head (7 ways to quiet them)

 

This is what a teen might say to you about his or her self-talk:

“I’m mad. I don’t know why. Sometimes I wake up mad; other days it creeps up on me. I don’t like it. It doesn’t feel good. I wish I wasn’t so mad, but I am. I can’t help it.

“Every day is a prison, trapped inside this changing body, repeating the same day over and over. My whole life is made up of things I have to do, not things I want to do. Tests, quizzes, reading assignments, papers, group projects — I spend the entire day with people I am forced to be with: teenagers who feel just as messed up as me.

“Sometimes my feelings get hurt at school — by teachers, deans, counselors, but mostly by other students. I don’t tell you this, because I’m ashamed to feel hurt. I don’t want you to know how hurt I feel all the time.

“My whole life has become ‘I don’t want to…’ I don’t want to wake up. I don’t want to go to bed. I don’t want to go to school. I don’t want to…I don’t want to…I don’t want to.

“I can’t think of a single thing that I want to do — except sleep. It’s the only time I’m not stressing, the only time I’m not worried, the only time I’m not upset.

“Sometimes I hide in my room and binge watch Netflix, YouTube, or mindless videos over and over, because I can’t stand to be with my own thoughts. I’m distracting myself from me. Does that sound crazy?

“And, yes, I know that my room is a mess. I like it that way: It looks how I feel inside. And please don’t ask me what’s wrong, because I don’t know. I don’t know where these feelings came from.  more

15 Signs of an Introvert With High-Functioning Anxiety

It’s called a “secret anxiety” for a reason.

Anxiety is the voice in the back of your head that says, “Something bad is going to happen.” It’s what keeps you awake at 2 a.m. thinking about something embarrassing you did five years ago.

Not all introverts have anxiety, and extroverts and ambiverts can struggle with it, too. To be clear, introversion and anxiety aren’t the same thingIntroversion is a preference for calm, minimally stimulating environments, while anxiety is a general term for disorders that cause excessive fear, worrying, and nervousness. Still, for many introverts, anxiety is a regular part of their lives. And indeed, anxiety is more common among introverts than extroverts, according to Dr. Laurie Helgoe.  more

I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND MY MOTHER’S PSYCHOSIS UNTIL IT WAS TOO LATE. NOW, I FACE MY OWN MENTAL HEALTH STRUGGLES

No one ever explained my mother’s illness to me, and the trauma I experienced had lasting effects. I worry that young people nowadays face the same challenges

When I was 12, my mother cornered me in the bathroom of our suburban Vancouver home. “Your teeth are too yellow,” she said, handing me a can of Comet.

Though disappointed that little about me ever pleased my parent, I understood from past experience how to get through the current predicament. I sprinkled green powder on my toothbrush and did my best to not let any of it go down my throat while I scrubbed.

The things I didn’t do: report her to authorities; confide in a reliable adult; tell my school friends; cry. Perhaps my mother was right and my teeth were ugly. Or perhaps the shame I felt overshadowed the grievous nature of her request.

As my sole guardian, my mother was the most important person in my life. And under her roof, I played by her rules, no matter how bizarre, because losing her was unthinkable. I didn’t know she suffered from psychosis. I only knew that when she stared at me, her brown eyes near black and glittering with relentless intensity, what she saw didn’t meet her approval.

“an invasive apprehension moved into my nervous system. Just the tap of her heels on the kitchen linoleum sent my heart rate into rapid ascent”  more

How teen’s soap business helps him thrive with Asperger’s

DETROIT – For Spencer Kelly, being an entrepreneur isn’t just a calling, it’s part of the elixir that changed his life.

In just two years, Kelly, 17, has gone from starting Expedition Soap Co. in his parents’ home to selling almost $100,000 worth of product.

It started as a way to pay back his dad for a replacement bicycle after his was stolen in June 2016. Kelly left it outside a restaurant “for just a moment” when he dashed inside, only to come out and find it gone. His dad bought him a new bike with the understanding Kelly would repay him $300.

“I was thinking about a business that I could start to make the money to repay my dad, and it dawned on me: Soap! I use soap, you use soap, the guy down the street uses soap, even the president uses soap. Who doesn’t use soap?” he said.  more

Building Strength And Resilience After A Sexual Assault: What Works

Emily R. Dworkin, a senior fellow at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, studies how the social interactions of trauma survivors can affect their recovery. She was also the lead author of a paper published in the journal Clinical Psychology Review in 2017 that looked through more than 100,000 studies conducted in the last 50 years and found nearly 200 relevant ones on the relationship between sexual assault and mental health to analyze.

What she found, Dworkin says, is strong evidence that sexual assault is associated with an increased risk for multiple forms of psychological harm “across most populations, assault types and methodological differences in studies.” Too many survivors still face stigma and internalize that blame, and that can make it harder to seek help. And while some types of therapy have been shown to be helpful, she says, more information on evidence-based treatments for survivors “is critically needed.”

Sexual assault [any type of sexual activity or contact that happens without the consent of both people] began getting research attention in the ’70s as society as a whole was going through a feminist awakening, and it kind of developed at the same time as PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder], which was then known as “combat trauma.” Many things can lead to depression or anxiety. People with PTSD relive the trauma in the form of intrusive memories, nightmares, or even flashbacks. They avoid things that remind them of the trauma.  more

I’m a Veteran With PTSD. The Medication I Take Makes Dating Difficult.

She was a cat lover with cotton-candy-colored hair and obnoxious tastes in music but similar politics to mine. While texting on Tinder, she suggested I might get to play with her kitty. We agreed that we would take her cat out to the park some time but that we would start with dinner and a drink. There were no other hints to me that anything thrilling might happen beyond my riding my motorcycle from Denver to Boulder for the meeting.

Sitting together at an Italian restaurant, we got past the cat conversation and progressed to politics and music, jokes and laughter. We were communicating freely and enjoying each other’s company — pretty much everything I wanted out of a first date.

As the waitress picked up the check, my date invited me back to her place. I went. I still didn’t think anything was going to happen until we were going to settle in to watch a movie and she changed her clothes right in front of me.

She asked to see my tattoos — I’ve got a lot of ink, even for a Marine — so that happened too. But not everything happened, and probably not as much as she expected. I explained about the injuries, the PTSD, the medication. She was nice about it. We eagerly agreed on a second date. “We should do this again, and finish what we started,” she said. “If we don’t, it’ll bug me. Like I’m not hot enough for you, or something.” I told her she was gorgeous and that next time would be better.  more

South Africa Health Minister reportedly bans doggy style during sex, says it causes teenage pregnancies and back pain for adults

While this is a little off topic for this blog, I just felt it was so absurd (and insane) that I had to share:

South Africa Health Minister, Aaron Motsoaledi has cautioned South African men to desist from the “doggy style” saying this lovemaking style is leading cause of teenage pregnancies, cancer, stroke and back pains for adults.

According to Aaron Motsoaledi, after six years of arduous research, he found out that one gets overworked during sex when one is standing or kneeling and overloads the veins in the legs which ultimately causes back pains and a stroke.  more