An Unashamed Crazy Guinea Pig Lady

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Hello! I’m the human that happens to be attached to these and three other guinea pigs. They run the show, not me.

I’m an official Crazy Person™ by virtue of having lived with major depressive disorder for more than a decade. I’ve had the joy of being shit-kicked a few times over the years by others’ stigmatized beliefs about what a Crazy Person™ is, and long as there is ignorance, I’ll be trying my best to do something about it.

I also happen to be a disabled/retired-ish official Crazy Person™ nurse, having worked in hospital and community mental health settings for 15 years. …

Clearing up some of the myths about self-harm

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Photo by Uriel SC on Unsplash

Nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) is a fancy way of saying self-harm behaviour that differentiates it from suicidality. Cutting and burning are the most common methods, but there are a variety of other methods people use, including scratching, burning, and hitting.

The onset of NSSI on average is between ages 11 and 15, and it tends to be more severe and prolonged if it starts when people are under 12 years old. About 15–20% of adolescents self-injure at some point. It’s difficult to say if this has changed over time because it just hasn’t been studied for all that long, so there isn’t historical data. …

When parents go to court to exert control

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Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Recently, I read a story in the local news that made me angry (not that that’s unusual lately). A mother had gone to court to try to block her 17-year-old from getting a gender-affirming double mastectomy. A BC Supreme Court judge issued an injunction to stop the surgery that was scheduled to happen the next day.

In British Columbia, the Canadian province where I live, there isn’t a set age of consent for medical procedures. The Infants Act covers anyone under the age of 19, and describes mature minor consent, which allows a minor to give consent independent of their parent’s wishes if a health care provider determines they are able to understand the elements of informed consent in the same way a competent adult would. …

The slippery slope of narcissistic personality disorder and mental illness stigma

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Reproduction of Narcissus by Caravaggio — public domain

Mental illness stigma is a very real problem. Those of us living with mental illness usually aren’t thrilled when people casually toss around mental illness diagnoses as adjectives, such as “she’s so bipolar” or “he’s so OCD” or “everyone’s a little ADHD.”

And yet, when it comes to narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), all of a sudden there are boatloads of people all over the internet becoming armchair diagnosticians and talking about “narcissistic abuse.”

Here’s my issue. Emotional/psychological abuse is horrendously damaging, and it’s an issue that doesn’t get anywhere near the attention that it deserves. But when you drag a diagnostic term into it in relation to the abuser, that can cause a number of problems. And if it can be done so zealously with one diagnostic term, who’s to say that the next big pop culture fad isn’t going to be borderline abuse, or bipolar abuse? …

Being effective in challenging mental illness stigma

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Image by MonikaP from Pixabay

Patrick Corrigan has been my research crush for a number of years now. And what is a research crush, you might ask? I like how his mind works. He’s a psychologist and stigma researcher, with lived experience of mental illness to boot. He’s one of the most prolific publishers in academic journals that I’ve ever come across. His perspective on stigma is focused on what actually works, and language policing is one of the topics he’s researched. All of the quotes in this post come from his article that’s referenced below.

Where things get really interesting is that he’s shown that what actually works isn’t necessarily what makes people feel good in their advocacy. This particular article is a commentary rather than a research article, but he’s done the background work. …

A disturbing reality in 2020

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The man in the photo below has a chain around his ankle, and he’s chained to the tree he’s leaning against. That’s his wife, and he has a mental illness. This photo, taken by photographer Robin Hammond, is in Ghana, but this doesn’t just happen there. I’m feeling rather grateful about living in Canada right about now, where I can feel confidant that my illness won’t be managed with chains.

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Photo by Robin Hammond, The Guardian, Feb 3/20 — small, low-resolution version included here as fair use for critical analysis of subject matter of high public significance


A 2020 article in The Guardian includes an interview with a woman in Ghana, who describes how her son became unwell and quite aggressive. Initially, he was able to get some medication, which helped, but then it ran out and it was impossible to get any more. …

Disturbing results from a recent poll

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The Hall of Names at Yad Vashem — David Shankbone / CC BY-SA from Wikimedia Commons

Yesterday, I saw that the Holocaust was trending on Twitter. It turns out that it was because of new survey results. Claims Conference released the results of its U.S. Millennial Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness Survey, which surveyed 18 to 39-year-olds in 50 American states.

Some of the disturbing results from the survey were:

  • 63% (69% in Arkansas) were unaware that 6 million Jews were killed; 36% thought it was 2 million or fewer
  • 48% of respondents couldn’t name a single concentration camp; that figure was 60% in Texas
  • 11% (19% in New York) believed that Jews caused the Holocaust
  • 49% have seen Holocaust denial/distortion posts on social media or elsewhere…

What happened to “thou shalt not kill”?

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Photo by Nina Strehl on Unsplash

Two men get killed. Some members of the Christian right are calling the man who killed them a hero and a patriot sent by God. Something isn’t adding up here.

On August 25, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse grabbed his AR-15 style rifle and left his home in Antioch, IL, to head over to Kenosha, WI. He was responding to a call from a group that had asked the County Sheriff to deputize them to aid in the response to protests. about the police shooting of Jacob Blake. The Sheriff refused to do so. …

“High-functioning” often doesn’t reflect the complicated reality

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This post is based on some of the conversation generated by a recent post, Is It Helpful to Sanitize Mental Illness? Those of us living with mental illness have a whole rainbow worth of experiences, and I wanted to find a way to represent that. Hence, the rainbow model.

Mental illness symptoms

There are no mental illnesses out there that only have one symptom. The symptoms may fall under domains like cognition, emotions, perceptions, and physical effects, depending on the illness and on the symptoms we tend to have as individuals.

Symptoms aren’t necessarily consistent over time. They flare up and they ebb back down again. While some may change in similar ways at the same time, that’s not necessarily the case. Some symptoms may be severe, while others are mild or not present. There might be consistency from one episode/flare to the next, or there might be unexpected curveballs. …

The bright lives of Audrie & Daisy are now both gone

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I heard recently the Daisy Coleman, who was in the 2016 documentary Audrie & Daisy, had died by suicide. I had watched the film on Netflix a couple of years ago, but I thought I’d watch it again and write a post about it in honour of Daisy. Rape culture was a problem then, and it’s a problem now. Change is long overdue.


Audrie & Daisy begins with the story of 15-year-old Audrie Potts. She was sexually assaulted by three boys while drunk and passed out at a party. They had drawn lewd messages on her body with markers. Photos were taken of her during the incident and circulated amongst students at her school in Saratoga, California. …


Ashley L. Peterson

Mental health blogger | MH Nurse | Living with depression | Author of 3 books, latest is Managing the Depression Puzzle |

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