Category Archives: Psychology

Boundaries and me

At 5:30 this evening I was sitting up in bed, trying to achieve exit velocity from Netflix so I could go stare at the kitchen shelves before making dinner, when my mom walked into my  bedroom.

This was no casual drop-in.  She lives a third of the continent away from me–fifteen hours by car, although her flight was substantially shorter.  I’d opened up to her this week about my current major depressive episode, and this weekend as soon as she was free from prior obligations, she flew out to see me.  We went to dinner, and then she bought me groceries.

Well, first we hugged.  And after we hugged, I went to grab my purse and shut my computer, which involved signing out of instant messenger.  My mom just showed up bbl.

Then I paused, considered that sentence, and added a little 🙂 before actually signing out.  Because with my friends, you can’t take that kind of appearance for granted as a cause for relief and joy.

The people I run with are really big about boundaries.  My friends often fall into a series of overlapping groups that talk about boundaries a lot:  feminists, mental health advocates, sexual assault survivors, survivors of childhood abuse, and people with disabilities, to name a few.  A lot of them are deeply concerned with fighting the social pressures that take away their independence, autonomy, and agency; they want the right to make their own decisions about what they do, where they go, and who they do it with.  I think it’s a good fight and I support it.  But at the same time, I back off from rhetoric about boundaries being the ultimate social good, about how a stated boundary should be inviolably respected; the issue is more complex for me. Continue reading Boundaries and me

Guest post: The woman who heard God

And I’m back to the blog after another hiatus. Real life can stop sucking at any time now. Back, with the second guest post from med school! This is the story I asked ladystardust19 if I could repost in the first place, because I think it’s a beautiful example of cultural competency in mental health practice.

A lot of people assume these days that if they hear someone is “Christian”, they know what that entails. That they have a reasonable idea of what practices the religion involves. However, Christianity is not a single monolithic religion—I know I’m blaspheming against ecumenism here, but I’m not sure if I’d call it a single religion at all anymore, so much as a spectrum of many religions with a shared set of core texts, from a practical standpoint if not a theological one.  Christianity is so diverse these days that two Christians who have both been immersed in their faith for decades can meet and scarcely recognize each other’s lived experiences. If you want to be culturally competent where religion comes, you cannot assume that “Christian” is the free square on your bingo card. You have to your research.

There’s a lot more I could say about why it’s important for us to be culturally competent around Christianity—whether about the domination of social services in many areas by Christian groups, Christian thought’s effects on psychological theories and practices, or Christianity’s messy struggle to combine religion and childrearing, and its aftermath. At some point, I probably will. But today, let’s go on to the story. Continue reading Guest post: The woman who heard God

Guest post: Killing Stalin

Since my last post, I have been absolutely snowed under with work; last week, I pulled double the number of usual full-time shifts at my job. My free time has largely been devoted to cuddling the crap out of the new cat I adopted from a shelter in July, and neglecting this blog. Good for me! Bad for you!

In light of this, I’ve solicited some guest content from a friend of mine. If you’ve been reading the comments, you may have seen ladystardust19 chime in with tales from her own work. She and I met in the nerdy teenage girl regions of the internet lo these many years ago; now she attends medical school in the US with an eye to rural general practice when she graduates. This is the first of two guest posts she’s written for the Book of Jubilation. Continue reading Guest post: Killing Stalin

Anatomy of a Scar

So a while back I mentioned offhand that, due to my occasional tendency to blurt things out thoughtlessly, I self-sequester from Nice Guys™.  (If you’re like, “Why does this chick hate decent men?” go read that link.  I don’t.  I’m referring to a specific social phenomenon.)  This is not because I dislike and despise Nice Guys™.  It’s actually based out of empathy and compassion because I don’t know how to keep from hurting them right now.  I see a guy self-loathingly talk about how girls never choose him even after all he does for them, and I’m like, “Me = Bull.  You = China shop.  Me = LEAVING before I break you.”

It’s because I used to be one.  (As a girl.  A Nice Girl™.  Gender socialization makes Nice Guydom different than Nice Girldom in many ways, but they both share a common emotional core.  For the purposes of this post I’m reviving the archaic custom of having the masculine pronoun encompass both male and female perspectives of Niceness, unless a specific example is female.) As a Nice Girl, I trailed in the wake of the people I liked.  I gave gifts, attention, and energy, desperately hoping they would love me back.  I never said a word until far too late.  And then when I was turned down, I was devastated.

I used to be one, but then I dedicated myself to years of beating back the darkness in my soul.  Over the course of this quest I have learned secrets of Nice Guyism that no Nice Guy can hear without pain  They are a very potent medicine; they can cure, but it is not a kind cure or an easy one.  They stripped me down to my very darkest place and left me there for a long time.

Continue reading Anatomy of a Scar