For this week’s Top 10 I’m sharing ten Mental Illnesses (as listed in the DSM-IV) that I think you have not heard of before. Let’s get started!
My best friend and I were in the diner, talking. As usual, it was very late and we were eating French fries with gravy. Like normal girls our age, we spent a lot of time in the diner while in college, and most of the time we spent talking about boys, music or trivial things, that seemed very important at the time. We never got serious about anything in particular and spent most of our time laughing.
As I went to take some of my medicine with a snack as I usually did, she watched me with an awkward kind of stare, instead of continuing the conversation. She then asked me out of the blue what it felt like to have Lupus and be sick. I was shocked not only because she asked the random question, but also because I assumed she knew all there was to know about Lupus. She came to doctors with me, she saw me walk with a cane, and throw up in the bathroom. She had seen me cry in pain, what else was there to know?
I started to ramble on about pills, and aches and pains, but she kept pursuing, and didn’t seem satisfied with my answers. I was a little surprised as being my roommate in college and friend for years; I thought she already knew the medical definition of Lupus. Then she looked at me with a face every sick person knows well, the face of pure curiosity about something no one healthy can truly understand. She asked what it felt like, not physically, but what it felt like to be me, to be sick.
As I tried to gain my composure, I glanced around the table for help or guidance, or at least stall for time to think. I was trying to find the right words. How do I answer a question I never was able to answer for myself? How do I explain every detail of every day being effected, and give the emotions a sick person goes through with clarity. I could have given up, cracked a joke like I usually do, and changed the subject, but I remember thinking if I don’t try to explain this, how could I ever expect her to understand. If I can’t explain this to my best friend, how could I explain my world to anyone else? I had to at least try.
At that moment, the spoon theory was born. I quickly grabbed every spoon on the table; hell I grabbed spoons off of the other tables. I looked at her in the eyes and said “Here you go, you have Lupus”. She looked at me slightly confused, as anyone would when they are being handed a bouquet of spoons. The cold metal spoons clanked in my hands, as I grouped them together and shoved them into her hands.
I explained that the difference in being sick and being healthy is having to make choices or to consciously think about things when the rest of the world doesn’t have to. The healthy have the luxury of a life without choices, a gift most people take for granted.
Most people start the day with unlimited amount of possibilities, and energy to do whatever they desire, especially young people. For the most part, they do not need to worry about the effects of their actions. So for my explanation, I used spoons to convey this point. I wanted something for her to actually hold, for me to then take away, since most people who get sick feel a “loss” of a life they once knew. If I was in control of taking away the spoons, then she would know what it feels like to have someone or something else, in this case Lupus, being in control.
She grabbed the spoons with excitement. She didn’t understand what I was doing, but she is always up for a good time, so I guess she thought I was cracking a joke of some kind like I usually do when talking about touchy topics. Little did she know how serious I would become?
I asked her to count her spoons. She asked why, and I explained that when you are healthy you expect to have a never-ending supply of “spoons”. But when you have to now plan your day, you need to know exactly how many “spoons” you are starting with. It doesn’t guarantee that you might not lose some along the way, but at least it helps to know where you are starting. She counted out 12 spoons. She laughed and said she wanted more. I said no, and I knew right away that this little game would work, when she looked disappointed, and we hadn’t even started yet. I’ve wanted more “spoons” for years and haven’t found a way yet to get more, why should she? I also told her to always be conscious of how many she had, and not to drop them because she can never forget she has Lupus.
I asked her to list off the tasks of her day, including the most simple. As, she rattled off daily chores, or just fun things to do; I explained how each one would cost her a spoon. When she jumped right into getting ready for work as her first task of the morning, I cut her off and took away a spoon. I practically jumped down her throat. I said ” No! You don’t just get up. You have to crack open your eyes, and then realize you are late. You didn’t sleep well the night before. You have to crawl out of bed, and then you have to make your self something to eat before you can do anything else, because if you don’t, you can’t take your medicine, and if you don’t take your medicine you might as well give up all your spoons for today and tomorrow too.” I quickly took away a spoon and she realized she hasn’t even gotten dressed yet. Showering cost her spoon, just for washing her hair and shaving her legs. Reaching high and low that early in the morning could actually cost more than one spoon, but I figured I would give her a break; I didn’t want to scare her right away. Getting dressed was worth another spoon. I stopped her and broke down every task to show her how every little detail needs to be thought about. You cannot simply just throw clothes on when you are sick. I explained that I have to see what clothes I can physically put on, if my hands hurt that day buttons are out of the question. If I have bruises that day, I need to wear long sleeves, and if I have a fever I need a sweater to stay warm and so on. If my hair is falling out I need to spend more time to look presentable, and then you need to factor in another 5 minutes for feeling badly that it took you 2 hours to do all this.
I think she was starting to understand when she theoretically didn’t even get to work, and she was left with 6 spoons. I then explained to her that she needed to choose the rest of her day wisely, since when your “spoons” are gone, they are gone. Sometimes you can borrow against tomorrow’s “spoons”, but just think how hard tomorrow will be with less “spoons”. I also needed to explain that a person who is sick always lives with the looming thought that tomorrow may be the day that a cold comes, or an infection, or any number of things that could be very dangerous. So you do not want to run low on “spoons”, because you never know when you truly will need them. I didn’t want to depress her, but I needed to be realistic, and unfortunately being prepared for the worst is part of a real day for me.
We went through the rest of the day, and she slowly learned that skipping lunch would cost her a spoon, as well as standing on a train, or even typing at her computer too long. She was forced to make choices and think about things differently. Hypothetically, she had to choose not to run errands, so that she could eat dinner that night.
When we got to the end of her pretend day, she said she was hungry. I summarized that she had to eat dinner but she only had one spoon left. If she cooked, she wouldn’t have enough energy to clean the pots. If she went out for dinner, she might be too tired to drive home safely. Then I also explained, that I didn’t even bother to add into this game, that she was so nauseous, that cooking was probably out of the question anyway. So she decided to make soup, it was easy. I then said it is only 7pm, you have the rest of the night but maybe end up with one spoon, so you can do something fun, or clean your apartment, or do chores, but you can’t do it all.
I rarely see her emotional, so when I saw her upset I knew maybe I was getting through to her. I didn’t want my friend to be upset, but at the same time I was happy to think finally maybe someone understood me a little bit. She had tears in her eyes and asked quietly “Christine, How do you do it? Do you really do this everyday?” I explained that some days were worse then others; some days I have more spoons then most. But I can never make it go away and I can’t forget about it, I always have to think about it. I handed her a spoon I had been holding in reserve. I said simply, “I have learned to live life with an extra spoon in my pocket, in reserve. You need to always be prepared.”
Its hard, the hardest thing I ever had to learn is to slow down, and not do everything. I fight this to this day. I hate feeling left out, having to choose to stay home, or to not get things done that I want to. I wanted her to feel that frustration. I wanted her to understand, that everything everyone else does comes so easy, but for me it is one hundred little jobs in one. I need to think about the weather, my temperature that day, and the whole day’s plans before I can attack any one given thing. When other people can simply do things, I have to attack it and make a plan like I am strategizing a war. It is in that lifestyle, the difference between being sick and healthy. It is the beautiful ability to not think and just do. I miss that freedom. I miss never having to count “spoons”.
After we were emotional and talked about this for a little while longer, I sensed she was sad. Maybe she finally understood. Maybe she realized that she never could truly and honestly say she understands. But at least now she might not complain so much when I can’t go out for dinner some nights, or when I never seem to make it to her house and she always has to drive to mine. I gave her a hug when we walked out of the diner. I had the one spoon in my hand and I said “Don’t worry. I see this as a blessing. I have been forced to think about everything I do. Do you know how many spoons people waste everyday? I don’t have room for wasted time, or wasted “spoons” and I chose to spend this time with you.”
Ever since this night, I have used the spoon theory to explain my life to many people. In fact, my family and friends refer to spoons all the time. It has been a code word for what I can and cannot do. Once people understand the spoon theory they seem to understand me better, but I also think they live their life a little differently too. I think it isn’t just good for understanding Lupus, but anyone dealing with any disability or illness. Hopefully, they don’t take so much for granted or their life in general. I give a piece of myself, in every sense of the word when I do anything. It has become an inside joke. I have become famous for saying to people jokingly that they should feel special when I spend time with them, because they have one of my “spoons”.
by Christine Miserandino www.butyoudontlooksick.com
Have you ever wondered if your mind is normal (i.e. average) or somehow different? Here are 3 lateral thinking tests. The answers are published below, but do not go immediately to read them! Think up your own answers first.
Here is the story of a young girl. At her mother’s funeral, she saw an unknown young man. He was charming, really the man of her dreams. She madly fell in love with him. After a couple of days the young girl killed her own sister… Question: What motive did she have to do it?
Take at most 10 seconds to do this test, otherwise it will not work. Find how many ‘f’s there are in the following text:
FINISHED FILES ARE THE RESULT OF YEARS OF SCIENTIFIC STUDY COMBINED WITH THE EXPERIENCE OF YEARS
Do the following reasoning exercise, answering the questions one by one, without going to the next question if you have not answered the previous yet. It is not necessary to write your answers. How much is:
15 + 6 =
3 + 56 =
89 + 2 =
12 + 53 =
75 + 26 =
25 + 52 =
63 + 32 =
Yes, these are a bit more difficult but the exercise is really worth doing, so be patient:
123 + 5 =
Now think of a tool and a color!
She hoped that the young man would appear again at the funeral.
Explanation: If you gave the correct answer, you probably think like a psychopath.
The test was developed and used by a famous American psychologist to determine whether a person has murderous mentality. Several criminals who did the test correctly answered the question. If you did not give the correct answer, it is good for you! If someone of your friends found it, keep away from him!
How many ‘f’s did you find? Three? It is wrong, there are six!
If you don’t believe, go above and count them again! Explanation: The mind cannot process the ‘OFs’. Awesome huh? Anyone who manages to find six ‘f’s is a genius, those who find four or five are really rare, three – are normal… Less than three – change your glasses!
Did you think of a “red hammer”?
It is the answer given by 98% of people who did this exercise. If you thought of something else, then you probably are one of the 2% of the people whose mind and thinking are quite different.
In my “Groupie” Rubenesque series of romance novels, my heroine Andy Foster is a size 16. She catches the eye of a rocker on the rise who finds himself insatiable for her fuller, more luscious curves. The books come with hot, sexy scenes and I never apologize for Andy’s size because she doesn’t feel the need to. She is comfortable in who she is, and it’s that self-confidence – along with her hourglass figure – that keeps Giovanni Carnevale coming back for more. If you have a hard time believing that a size 16 girl could have that kind of effect on a hot bad boy rocker,
I present model Kaela Humphries.
Guess which songwriter gets cited most in legal briefs?
I mean, in a way, who did you expect, Lindsey Buckingham? Of course judges quote Bob Dylan more than any other songwriter when passing down their opinions. (Other contenders: Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, R.E.M.) But according to this interesting LA Times piece, the degree to which judges identify Dylan with the principles that sent them into careers in jurisprudence remains strong, despite how the years may have changed the reality of those principles—or the ideological/political affiliation of the judges themselves.
Props to percy thrillington
This piece was presented as Kurt Vonnegut’s commencement address at MIT in 1997. It’s great stuff and a beautiful piece…
Ladies and gentlemen of the class of ’97:
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.
Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.
Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blind side you at 4 pm on some idle Tuesday.
Do one thing every day that scares you.
Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.
Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself.
Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.
Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.
Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.
Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.
Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else’s.
Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.
Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.
Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.
Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.
Get to know your parents. You never know when they’ll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They’re your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.
Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.
Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.
Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders.
Respect your elders.
Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.
Don’t mess too much with your hair or by the time you’re 40 it will look 85.
Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.
But trust me on the sunscreen.
New series like The Leftovers and Salem take their place among old favorites like Orange is the New Black and Mad Men
It’s going to be tough to top the staggering array of high-quality TV shows that aired in 2013, which included Netflix’s aggressive forays into original programming, top-tier dramas from England, and the triumphant end of AMC’s Breaking Bad. It’s been said time and time again, but it bears repeating: We’re in the midst of a golden age of television — and fortunately, 2014’s lineup is just as promising.
With so many new and returning TV shows hitting the air, which ones are your best bets? A guide:
Game of Thrones (HBO, April 6)
Game of Thrones fans have spent the past nine months poring over every minor update from the set of the fantasy drama. To be fair, there’s plenty to obsess over; after a third season that included several of the series’ most memorable moments — including the long-anticipated Red Wedding — Game of Thrones has set the bar very high. Fortunately, George R.R. Martin’s source material lives up to the task; with major storylines ahead for characters like Tyrion, Jon Snow, and Daenerys, fans have more reason to be excited than ever.
Fargo (FX, April 15)
FX’s adaptation of the Coen brothers’ Oscar-winning 1996 noir Fargo inspired a fair amount of skepticism. But in the months since the project was announced, there have been more than a few heartening signs that the network could actually pull this off. First, the Coen brothers themselves signed on as executive producers. Next, Fargo assembled a top-tier cast: Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman, Bob Odenkirk, Kate Walsh, and Colin Hanks. Finally, FX revealed that Fargo would be a 10-part limited series — which, like the network’s American Horror Story, will allow for a story with a definitive beginning, middle, and end.
Orphan Black (BBC America, April 19)
There were plenty of snubs at the Emmys last year, but none stung more than the omission of Orphan Black star Tatiana Maslany, who played seven different characters over the course of the sci-fi drama’s serpentine first season. Fortunately, Orphan Black’s second season, which promises to double down on the first season’s brainy thrills, will give everyone who missed Maslany’s remarkable performance another chance to see her range.
Salem (WGN America, April 20)
WGN America is aiming high with Salem, its first original scripted series and a surprisingly graphic supernatural drama set during the witch trials that earned Salem its infamy. Salem is shot on an impressive recreation of 17th century Salem in Louisiana, and populated with a cast that includes Shane West as a roguish war veteran and Janet Montgomery as an icy villager with a seriously freaky secret.
Penny Dreadful (Showtime, May 11)
Showtime’s upcoming horror series — which combines the origin stories of horror icons like Dracula, Dr. Frankenstein, and Dorian Gray into a single narrative — is still largely shrouded in mystery. But between The Walking Dead and American Horror Story, the genre is having a bit of a renaissance on television, and it’s long past time for Showtime to get some skin in the game. Also intriguing: Penny Dreadful’s eclectic cast, which includes Josh Hartnett, Eva Green, and Timothy Dalton.
Halt and Catch Fire, (AMC, June 1)
AMC’s enigmatic new drama aims to do for the 1980s what Mad Men has done for the 1960s. Pushing Daisies’ Lee Pace stars as Joe MacMillan, an early innovator in the burgeoning personal computer market whose success threatens the stability of giants like IBM.
Orange is the New Black (Netflix, June 6)
House of Cards got all the early buzz, but Netflix’s sharpest and most groundbreaking original series turned out to be last summer’s Orange is the New Black, which uses its women’s prison setting to tell a story that’s far more diverse than you’d normally see on television. Anticipation is at a fever pitch for the next batch of OITNB episodes, which pick up after the eventful finale of the first season. If you haven’t yet succumbed to the show’s charms, it’s not too late to start binge-watching season one — what are you waiting for?
The Leftovers (HBO, June 15)
HBO’s newest original drama, which is based on Tom Perrotta’s novel of the same name, chronicles the fallout of a “Rapture-like event” in which two percent of the Earth’s population suddenly disappears. The Leftovers follows the people who didn’t disappear as they attempt to figure out what the inexplicable event means for their own lives. It’s a rich, intriguing concept, and showrunner Damon Lindelof — who co-created Lost — is no stranger to crafting a sprawling TV mystery.
Rectify (SundanceTV, June 19)
After a brief and highly acclaimed six-episode run last year, SundanceTV’s first original series — which tells the story of a Georgia man who was exonerated in the rape and murder of his ex-girlfriend after spending 19 years on death row — returns in June. Despite its CSI-worthy premise, Rectify isn’t just another police drama; it’s a quiet, thoughtful exploration of the unexpected and far-reaching consequences that one terrible crime can have for an entire community.
The Strain (FX, July)
FX’s other big project comes with a similarly impressive pedigree. The Strain is based on Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s co-written vampire novel of the same name, but the project actually began life as a TV proposal. The story, which follows a group of humans attempting to combat a vampiric epidemic, will be carried over to the small screen by creator del Toro and a host of veteran TV actors that include House of Cards’ Corey Stoll, Game of Thrones’ David Bradley, Alias’ Mia Maestro, and Veronica Mars’ Francis Capra.
In ancient Greece (469 – 399 BC), Socrates was widely lauded for his wisdom.
One day the great philosopher came upon an acquaintance, who ran up to him excitedly and said,
“Socrates, do you know what I just heard about one of your students?”
“Wait a moment,” Socrates replied. “Before you tell me,
I’d like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Test of Three.”
“Test of Three?”
“That’s correct,” Socrates continued. “Before you talk to me about my student let’s take a moment to test what you’re going to say. The first test is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?”
“No,” the man replied, “actually I just heard about it.”
“All right,” said Socrates. “So you don’t really know if it’s true or not. Now let’s try the second test, the test of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my student something good?”
“No, on the contrary…”
“So,” Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about him even though you’re not certain it’s true?”
The man shrugged, a little embarrassed.
Socrates continued, “You may still pass though because there is a third test – the filter of Usefulness.
Is what you want to tell me about my student going to be useful to me?”
“No, not really…”
“Well,” concluded Socrates, “if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?”
The man was defeated and ashamed and said no more.
This is the reason Socrates was a great philosopher and held in such high esteem.