Tag Archives: Depression

Anarchy & Alcohol

 

“It’s no exaggeration, then, to say that alcohol has played a key role in the epidemic of fascism, racism, statism, imperialism, colonialism, sexism and patriarchy, class oppression, ungoverned technological development, religious superstition, and other bad stuff that has swept the earth over the past few millennia. It continues to play that role today, as the peoples of the whole world, finally universally domesticated and enslaved by global capitalism, are kept pacified and helpless by a steady supply of spirits. These evil spirits squander the time, money, health, focus, creativity, awareness, and fellowship of all who inhabit this universally occupied territory – “work is the curse of the drinking classes,” as Oscar Wilde said. It’s not surprising, for example, that the primary targets of advertising for malt liquor (a toxic by-product of the brewing process) are the inhabitants of ghettos in the United States: people who constitute a class that, if not tranquillized by addiction and incapacitated by self-destruction, would be on the front lines of the war to destroy capitalism.”

>> ANARCHY & ALCOHOL (CrimethInc.)

Depression in gifted individuals

This article explores depression in gifted individuals and offers suggestions on how to help, notably through touch, a powerful sensory response to emotional difficulties, and bibliotherapy, where reading about history and others people’s great struggles and achievements can bring support.

>> Existential Depression in Gifted Individuals, James T. Webb

“A particular way of breaking through the sense of isolation is through touch. In the same way that infants need to be held and touched, so do persons who are experiencing existential aloneness. Touch seems to be a fundamental and instinctual aspect of existence, as evidenced by mother-infant bonding or “failure to thrive” syndrome. Often, I have “prescribed” daily hugs for a youngster suffering existential depression and have advised parents of reluctant teenagers to say, “I know that you may not want a hug, but I need a hug.” A hug, a touch on the arm, playful jostling, or even a “high five” can be very important to such a youngster, because it establishes at least some physical connection.” 

Suicide as Escape from Self (Baumeister, 1990)

Suicide as Escape from Self, is a theory developed by psychologist R. Baumeister, exposed in the 90’s journal article accessible here.

Article abstract :

“Suicide is analyzed in terms of motivations to escape from aversive self-awareness. The causal chain begins with events that fall severely short of standards and expectations. These failures are attributed internally, which makes self-awareness painful. Awareness of the self’s inadequacies generates negative affect, and the individual therefore desires to escape from self-awareness and the associated affect. The person tries to achieve a state of cognitive deconstruction (constricted temporal focus, concrete thinking, immediate or proximal goals, cognitive rigidity, and rejection of meaning), which helps prevent meaningful self-awareness and emotion. The deconstructed state brings irrationality and disinhibition, making drastic measures seem acceptable. Suicide can be seen as an ultimate step in the effort to escape from self and world”

 

Jesse Bering in Scientific American, sums up and comments on Baumeister’s theory: “According to Baumeister, there are six primary steps in the escape theory, culminating in a probable suicide when all criteria are met.”

They are :

1. Falling short of standards

2. Attributions to Self

3. High Self-awareness

4. Negative affect

5. Cognitive deconstruction

6. Desinhibition

 

Live and help live

Thoughts on suicide and the importance of taking care of each other, here in REMEMBERING AARON BY TAKING CARE OF EACH OTHER, by Clay Shirky –

Extract:

“The warning signs are well known. Persistent withdrawal. Mood swings. Previous attempts or family history. Talking about it. Self-erasure. The American Association of Suicidology has a good overview. There’s no perfect checklist, but we are better at knowing the signs in general than we are at acting on them in specific cases. Ask yourself “Whose suicide would sadden but not surprise me?”

The useful responses are well-known too. Reach out. Ask. Listen. Take casual mentions of suicide seriously. Be persistent about checking on someone. Don’t try to cure or fix anyone; that’s out of your league. Just tell them you care, and point them to professional resources. Wikipedia has a list of English-language suicide prevention hotlines. Help Guide has a good overview of what we know about prevention generally, and how to help the potentially suicidal.

We need to remember Aaron by supporting free culture, and by limiting prosecutorial abuse. But we also need to remember Aaron by taking care of each other. Our community is unusually welcoming of people disproportionately at risk, but we are also unusually capable of working together without always building close social ties. Github is great for distributing participation, but it is lousy for seeing how everyone is doing.

We need to remember Aaron by thinking of those among us at risk of dying as he did. Most of them won’t be martyrs — most of them will be people like Ilya and Will — but their deaths will be just as awful. And, as with every cause Aaron stood for, we know how to take on this problem. What we need is the will to act.”

Navigating Crisis Handout

Here is Navigating Crisis, another sensible handout from the Icarus Project, a community dedicated to helping each other and oneself “navigate the space between brilliance and madness”

Useful facts about psychological crash, crisis response suggestions, how to write down advance directives for friends / carers ..

” When you or someone close to you goes into crisis, it can be the scariest thing to ever happen. You don’t know what to do, but it seems like someone’s life might be at stake or they might get locked up, and everyone around is getting stressed and panicked. Most people have either been there themselves or know a friend who has been there. Someone’s personality starts to make strange changes, they’re not sleeping or sleeping all day, they lose touch with the people around them, they disappear into their room for days, they have wild energy and outlandish plans, they start to dwell on suicide and hopelessness, they stop eating or taking care of themselves, or they start taking risks and being reckless. They become a different person. They’re in crisis.

The word “crisis” comes from a root meaning “judgment.” A crisis is a moment of great tension and meeting the unknown. It’s a turning point when things can’t go on the way they have, and the situation isn’t going to hold. Could crisis be an opportunity for breakthrough, not just breakdown? Can we learn about each other and ourselves as a community through crisis? Can we see crisis as an opportunity to judge a situation and ourselves carefully, not just react with panic and confusion or turn things over to the authorities? ”

DARPA psychotherapy (or MDMA?)

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If mindfulness training fails at reducing anxiety, depression, and treating PTSD amongst the Marines, they will still have the possibility to consult with Ellie, “an avatar, a virtual therapist developed at USC with funding from DARPA, the Defense Department’s advanced research center.” Loopy.

Read: Would You Want Therapy From a Computerized Psychologist ? by Megan Garber in The Atlantic.

Alternative:

MDMA ? Not only PTSD might pass in just a few assisted sessions, but who knows, the whole idea of going to war or exerting violence against other life forms could very well pass FOREVER. More about PTSD & MDMA assisted psychotherapy research conducted by MAPShere.

Self-care in times of psychological distress

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Some states of psychological distress can be more severe than others. Some might not require that you seek assistance from friends and/or health-care professionals, some can wait a little before you do, others are emergencies. Some might require medication, even hospitalization, others not necessarily or better not.

When / if your physical and mental integrity are critically at stake, you should seek competent assistance immediately (If you are a friend of such person, stay with them always and seek assistance ASAP)For example, you have been experiencing symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, depersonalization (feeling of being unreal), you have attempted suicide, are thinking about it, or have engaged in other self harming/ dangerous behaviors. A variety of symptoms can come with psychological distress, affecting your overall state, from insomnia to lack of appetite, to apathy, agression, lack of enthousiasm, increased vulnerability to infections, memory loss and other forms of cognitive impairement, and more… Your need for outside help will of course depend on the intensity and chronicity of these manifestations (or the absence of thereof, for that matter). In any case, you should maybe start taking (extra) care of yourself.

Following are some advices for self-care (still valid even if someone else is also taking care of you) to go through such times, based upon my knowledge and experience with myself and others. Please bear in mind that I am NOT a doctor nor a psychology clinician. Like I said, if your symptoms are very intense and/or long going and your mental and physical integrity are at stake, you should seek competent assistance immediately.

For more informations about mental health and what to do in specific situations, you can also look for mental health care “educational” handouts that I have posted from specialized organizations (it can be a good idea to distribute them in your community).

Mental health first aid guidelines, by MHFA Australia

Mental health care handouts, from Icarus project.

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SO, WHAT CAN YOU DO NOW TO HELP and CARE FOR YOURSELF IN TIMES OF PSYCHOLOGICAL DISTRESS ?

* NURTURE YOUR BODY, don’t let it down or put extra stress on it by neglecting your “vitals”. Make sure you get what you need in water, nutrients, sleep, rest / activity. Don’t tire your system more with junk food, excitants, alcohol. Re-install regular cycles for eating, sleeping… Wash. Change clothes. Get some fresh air and light. Get a massage. Use your senses, smell good smells, listen to good sounds. Get moving if you’ve only been resting, get some rest if you’ve only been running. If possible, don’t drop out of your favorite sport or hobby; that is of course, assuming you are eating, drinking water, sleeping, and that you have no injuries or disease (otherwise, physical activities might actually be harmful). In any case, don’t overdo it, your body is probably weaker. Also, in times of adversity, certain holistic disciplines (like yoga or others), practiced safely and softly, can reveal their core-lessons: your learn that you can carry yourself through life. If it has become impossible to look after yourself, consider moving in with someone nice whom you can be inspired by, and or having good people over (for example for meals), until you are able to take good care of yourself and/or taken care of by a professional.

* BE WISE ABOUT (FURTHER) ALTERING YOUR STATE OF CONSCIOUSNESS  Consider strong psychological distress as an already altered state of consciousness, a painful one, with its own special chemistry. Maybe it is wiser not to fiddle with it more, at least without competent supervision. Avoid self-medication. Beware of alcohol. Remember what Bob Marley said ? Alcohol just gets you drunk man. Be wise with psychedelics: If you are unexperienced and/or without the supervision of someone who is (preferably not just in the recreative department), then you should maybe avoid them altogether (you can also look for psychoactives / psychedelik knowledge and wisdom through MAPS and/or Erowid resources). If you’re already with a habit of say, smoking pot or drinking, try not to do more, and beware of taking on a new habit you didn’t have before. Also, know that lack of sleep can play serious tricks on your mind too. Careful with sur-stimualtion of your intellect and senses. Get a rest once in a while from your computer (or other sources of mental input) and all it is feeding your burned-out-intellect with.

* IDENTIFY AND STOP SELF HARMYou are aching. You are vulnerable. With vicious logic, you might engage in behaviors that will, more or less directly and quickly, lead to more harm to yourself. Like what ? Like intoxicating yourself, not eating, over-eating, over spending, betting, taking stupid risks, cutting yourself, punching doors, being aggressive towards strangers, driving fast, not wearing a helmet, trusting the wrong persons, disclosing information, lying about your health, sabotaging or destroying your work etc. These behaviors will only make things worse. All aches will ache more eventually. You may be depressed, but if you don’t limit self-harm, then one morning you wake up and you still have a depression + liver damage + weight loss + infection + injuries + brand new addiction + no friends + your work has disappeared + god knows what. Disengage from this process.

* COME OUT about your psychological distress. Say how you are feeling, what your are going through, to your family and/or friends and/or co-workers, without ambiguity, in your own simple words, without minimizing nor exaggerating. You need not go into details, certainly not with everyone. What you want is to make sure that the persons around you and/or whom you trust, become aware that your condition is serious and that you are engaging in a process of taking extra care of yourself. If they are smart and they care about you, from then on they will not take you on crazy binge-drinking sessions on saturday nights, or drop pills down your throat screaming “you gonna be oookaay “. They will not say “I hear you”, then hand you a ten tons file to work on over the weekend. If they still do that after you’ve told them how you are, they might be ignorant/stupid and/or toxic to you, at least for now (see below): Make yourself clear once more and/or maybe avoid them…

* CAREFUL WITH THAT EXTRA LOAD OF WORK / DECLINE MORE RESPONSABILITIES ? Note -and make others note- that if you are not well, it could be irresponsible on your part to accept more responsabilities, especially when OTHER people depend on your good shape for their health and safety. Desist. Don’t raise the probability of “human-error” being made, it’s bad enough as an expression.

* ACCEPT GENUINE HELP from others, whether your know them well or not, when it comes your way. It can be that someone you didn’t think cared about you proposes to drive you somewhere you need to go. It can be a smile or a conversation with a stranger. Something warm, simple, gently destined to you. How do you know if a helping gesture is genuine and good for you ? You feel it, mostly. Of course it has a certain consistency with observable facts. As for feeling, you should feel more free, a little more alive, when you accept/receive the gesture coming from that person, not the contrary. You can know when a hand is lifting you up, or pushing you down. Trust your instinct. That said, beware of full-on saviors invading your life/privacy, especially if their personal life is a total mess !

* ACCEPT THAT HELP MIGHT NOT COME FROM WHERE YOU THOUGHT IT WOULD. We are all different, and all striving at times not to lose it. Your intense state of distress might be to hard to deal with for some, who will tend to protect themselves from it. And maybe they should, so respect that. Let them be, let go of any resentment or disappointment. Who knows, they might start providing help at other stages of the sometime long process of psychological recovery, they might help in ways you don’t recognize yet, they might not help at all. You’ll see if you can catch up with them later. DO KICK them out of your life, though, very far, if they start attacking you, being nasty or clearly disrespectful to you (see below “avoid toxic people”).

Know that when you start REDEFINING yourself, for example through therapy or even self-care, it is not unusual that your relationships, the world around you, start redefining themselves too. It can be an interesting, healthy, and pacific process, with familiar faces moving a bit afar and new faces entering your life. It is OK, it is often for the better, and it doesn’t mean the end of old good things/partnerships. Everyone gets an opportunity to change/update when you do (that they will or will not take, it’s not your call).

* SEEK GOOD COMPANY especially if being alone makes you more at risk of neglecting/hurting yourself. Ask if you can stay with someone close and/or have someone stay over and/or come for meals with you (that will make it easier to actually think about eating). Surround yourself with good harmonious lovely loving beings, inspiring, talented, and caring. Yes, some persons have all qualities and some of them are even your friends. Rub your face in these friendships. Tell them you love them.

* AVOID TOXIC PEOPLE.
I have already mentionned above the full-on savior-invader with fucked-up personal life, well, that’s one type of toxic people. There are plenty. They feed on you, they parasite or pollute you, they irritate, manipulate, exhaust or confuse you, or they make you feel like shit when you’re trying to feel better. Generally, you recognize that someone is kind of toxic to you when you feel somehow worse after they’ve “helped” you or after you’ve been with them than before. And maybe they, on the contrary, strangely look all pumped up, kind of invigorated, by your torments…

* IMPROVE / CARE FOR YOUR IMMEDIATE SURROUNDINGS/ HOME: Keep or make a clean, tidy home. Take the trash out. Open the windows once in a while, let light and air in. Have distinct spaces for distinct activities, if possible (if not possible, you can invent some sort of code/ritual to transition between space/activities). Remember what grandma said: You make the bed you wake up in. You don’t need to master Feng-shui or even “believe” in it to understand that a certain state of things in the house creates a certain flow, a certain circulation, a certain vibe, around the house, around you, that will both reflect and affect you, that will “attract” certain situations, thoughts, feelings, more than others. Well, you know what to do. Help yourself, materialize well.

* PROJECT YOURSELF,  VALUE LIFE. You like what you do ? If you don’t like what you’re doing with your life well then, no wonder you are distressed… Maybe it should be the first thing you consider changing ?! But let’s assume you really like what you do, and maybe that you are even very good at it, and maybe that you know it is very important for others – You want to be able to keep doing it, right ? As best as possible ? Is that very clear to you ? I repeat, is that very clear to you ?

* BE COURAGEOUS ! Yesit takes a load of courage, patience and dedication to get oneself through a crisis, and grow from it. And your own demons and weaknesses can be real hard to face. But guess what, once you start doing that, caring for yourself, you will have plenty more energy free to fight other fights. You will become able to help others better, and maybe in more ways, both simple and sophisticated ways. Remember : COURAGE IS CONTAGIOUS. Help yourself, help others.

Michelle Blade today

(This article was reviewed 06/05 by a friend qualified psychotherapist – It was not changed after except the section avoid toxic people was just shortened a bit not to inspire too much “paranoid” feelings – THANK YOU/HER

Art ©Michelle Blade – gathering into being

MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID: Free guidelines to download from MHFA Australia

Mental health first aid has been defined as the help provided to a person developing a mental health problem or in a mental health crisis. The first aid is given until appropriate professional treatment is received or until the crisis resolves. Training courses started to be developed in Australia by Betty Kitchener, and Anthony Jorm in 2001, then spread to other countries (…)”. It aims apparently to “increase mental health literacy, expand knowledge on how to help someone in a psychological crisis, connect individuals with professionals, and reduce stigma”.

But then MHFA stems from a medical model which can have its limits. It has been argued that it could in fact result in more stigma, if not more alienation, through the use of clinical labels, prompt resort to medical authorities / psychiatric services, and medication. These points are addressed in Three reviews of mental health first aid on the Mad In America website:

Edward Duff: Mental Health First Aid is pretty good if you ignore the labeling system and just pay attention to the very gentle form of peer support, harm-reduction, and listening they advocate. This is a big IF since the main response of the program is to lead people into psychiatric services. It’s also a form of response short of an emergency hospitalization/capture scenario. This can be a very good thing to avoid, for sure.”  

With this in mind, you can explore MHFA Australia material on how to pick up signals, how to approach and help someone with depression, psychosis, suicidal thoughts and behaviors, panic attacks, drug or alcohol use problems… or help returning to work after depression. Also, it has guidelines adapted to different cultures.

* MHFA Australia free GUIDELINES * 

“In order to improve the quality of the mental health first aid techniques being taught to the public, MHFA Australia and researchers in the Mental Health Literacy Research Team lead by Professor Tony Jorm (now the Population Mental Health Group at the University of Melbourne) have developed guidelines on what constitutes best practice first aid, as informed by expert consensus (i.e., consensus-based guidelines). (…) Guidelines in the following areas have been developed, and are available for free download below.

How to use these guidelines 

These guidelines are a general set of recommendations about how you can help someone who may be experiencing ———. Each individual is unique and it is important to tailor your support to that person’s needs. These recommendations therefore will not be appropriate for every person who may have ———-.

Also, the guidelines are designed to be suitable for providing first aid in developed English-speaking countries. They may not be suitable for other cultural groups or for countries with different health systems.

Although these guidelines are copyright, they can be freely reproduced for non-profit purposes provided the source is acknowledged.

Please cite these guidelines as follows:
Mental Health First Aid Australia. Psychosis: first aid guidelines. Melbourne: Mental Health First Aid Australia; 2008. Enquiries should be sent to: 

Mental Health First Aid Australia email: mhfa@mhfa.com.au 

GO TO the DOWNLOAD PAGE 

sources: wikipedia, mhfa.com.aukeccs.org, mad in america.

“Navigating the space between brilliance and madness” : The Icarus Project

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The Icarus Project is a “radical mental health support network, online community, and alternative media project by and for people struggling with extreme emotional distress that often gets labeled as mental illness.” You can read their mission statement, here. Principles like access, transparency, looking beyond the medical, self and/or alternative education, all guide a relaxed yet resolute, diffracting yet convergent, initiative for the well-being of extra-ordinary people. Browsing through their pages you’ll find they provide a lot of resources (articles, forums, etc.) to help one “navigate the space between brilliance and madness”. It will speak to whoever is confronted to “madness” at some point in their life, one way or another, in a world that is constantly LOSING IT in many aspects.

Taking care of oneself or helping someone in a psychological crisis can be tricky. Not everybody is experienced or comfortable in dealing with different, awkward, or extreme states of consciousness. As a matter of fact, many people it seems become clueless when confronted to psychological distress, even their own… Some psychological states are indeed impressive, and some can actually threaten a person’s mental and physical integrity. But with appropriate reactions (often rather simple ones, like keeping the voice down or introducing oneself), informed attention, kindness and clear intentions, a little help can go a long way in supporting recovery or preventing harm. Even better is the care we can provide as a group, attentive, resilient, aware and creative, because it will be more sustainable, and so the recovery or at least the safety of the person will stand more chances too in the long term.

So how to take care of oneself when the mind is troubled ? How to take care of friends, of strangers, of friends who suddenly become strangers ? Breaking the taboo around “madness” in one’s community can be a good start, making a safe space, becoming a bit more literate in psychology / caregiving, aware and confident… By not being afraid to do good ?

Following is a small selection of handouts, information sheets, guides and zines I found on Icarus website relative to psychological care. They are all interesting to read, print, post, share. They can give you insight and clues and confidence. All Icarus Project material is licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC-ND.

NAVIGATING CRISIS handout

“Someone’s personality starts to make strange changes, they’re not sleeping or sleeping all day, they lose touch with the people around them, they disappear into their room for days, they have wild energy and outlandish plans, they start to dwell on suicide and hopelessness, they stop eating or taking care of themselves, or they start taking risks and being reckless. They become a different person. They’re in crisis. The word “crisis” comes from a root meaning “judgment.” A crisis is a moment of great tension and meeting the unknown. It’s a turning point when things can’t go on the way they have, and the situation isn’t going to hold. Could crisis be an opportunity for breakthrough, not just breakdown? Can we learn about each other and ourselves as a community through crisis? Can we see crisis as an opportunity to judge a situation and ourselves carefully, not just react with panic and confusion or turn things over to the authorities? “

CRISIS PLANNER pdf

“Noticing and responding to symptoms early reduces the chances that you will find yourself in crisis. But it is important to confront the possibility of a crisis because in spite of your best planning and assertive action in your own behalf, you could find yourself in a situation where others will need to take over responsibility for your care. (…) Writing a clear crisis plan when you are well, to instruct others about how to care for you when you are not well keeps you taking responsibility for your own care.”

HELP GETTING TO SLEEP information sheet

“Not sleeping for long periods of time is extremely dangerous for physical and emotional 

FIRST AID FOR EMOTIONAL TRAUMA information sheet 

“Trauma (or post-traumatic stress disorder) is the emotional “shock” after a life-threatening, violent event. Anything that makes our body panic and go into a fight/flight/freeze response can leave us traumatized. The effects may be immediate or take time to surface, and can be felt for the rest of our lives. “

HURTING YOURSELF zine

“how to take care of yourself when you feel the urge to hurt yourself ”

* HARM REDUCTION GUIDE TO COMING OFF PSYCHIATRIC DRUGS 

Excerpt : “Applying harm reduction philosophy to mental health is a new but growing approach. It means not always trying to eliminate “symptoms” or discontinue all medications. It recognizes that people are already taking psychiatric drugs, already trying to come off them, and already living with symptoms — and that in this complicated reality people need true help, not judgment. It encourages balancing the different risks involved: the harm from extreme states, as well as the harm from treatments such as adverse drug effects, disempowering labels, and traumatic hospitalization.

Making harm reduction decisions means looking honestly at all sides of the equation: how drugs might help a life that feels out of control, how risky those same drugs might be, and the role of options and alternatives. Any decisions become a process of experimentation and learning, including learning from your own mistakes and changing your goals along the way. Harm reduction accepts all this, believing that the essence of any healthy life is the capacity to be empowered.”

 

 

About hackers and depression

Some material related to hackers’ psychological well being/health in the article CRACKING SUICIDE: HACKERS TRY TO ENGINEER A CURE FOR DEPRESSION, By Adrianne Jeffries. Full text here.

EXTRACTS :

WHAT’S IN A HACKER ?

(…)Bernadette Schell, vice-provost at Laurentian University, studied hackers for more than a decade. (…) She wanted to know whether hackers matched their portrayal in the media, which at the time considered them maladjusted cyber-psychopaths. ”I kept looking for everything that would support these myths,” she said. 

“What I found was that the hacker community was a very well-adjusted group of individuals.“ At the time, the perception was that hackers were computer addicted, high-strung type A personalities. But the hackers in Schell’s study turned out to be emotionally balanced, “self-healing” type B personalities. They were a bit more introverted than the average population, but still socially connected. Most were employed and made more than the median income level. Incidence of depression was not higher than in the general population. (In fact, some studies have shown that engineers, a group that has a lot of overlap with hackers, have one of the lowest depression rates compared to other occupations.) The hackers were so resilient that even being sent to jail or charged for hacking crimes did not affect their reported stress levels long term.

JUST FIX IT 

(…)The roboticist, hacker, and Discovery Channel personality Zoz, also known as Andrew Brooks, served as a student mentor while getting his PhD in electrical engineering and computer science at MIT. He ended up counseling a lot of depressed undergrads who tried to reverse-engineer a solution rather than seek help. Many hackers even refer to their strategies for dealing with depression as “hacks.” 

(…)Of course, depression can be difficult to synthesize into a math problem. The cause is usually a combination of cascading factors that are often difficult to trace. The solution can be even harder to pin down.

“It can be incredibly frustrating to be sitting there, looking at your own brain, and going, ‘right, I entirely understand that something is not quite right with the way that my neurotransmitters are communicating with the receptors in my brain,’” Patterson said. “‘I recognize that I can tinker with this balance and otherwise engage in manipulations of my own mental state to try to resolve this situation. I understand all of this, and why is it not working?’”

HACKING TOWARDS SOLUTIONS 

(…)The popular impression that hackers have a high suicide rate could be because many of the hackers who killed themselves were at the top of their fields, and the highly gifted are statistically more likely to suffer from depression. The community’s facility for dissecting, analyzing, and communicating on the internet — a medium that naturally amplifies its message — has also contributed to the perception that there is a hacker suicide crisis.

In reality, the situation is getting better. While there are still some negative associations with mental health issues among hackers, that’s true of most cultures. Like the broader public, awareness of mental health issues is growing, and resources like BlueHackers.org, which has information about depression geared to hackers, and IMAlive, an instant message version of a suicide hotline, have helped countless hackers through their issues. Hackers are also eager to help each other; the line for Baldet’s talk started forming 20 minutes before it was set to start, and she was mobbed by questioners afterward.

Six months after Sassaman died, Patterson appeared on a panel called “Geeks and Depression” at the 2011 Chaos Communication Congress (CCC), an international hacker conference.

 

(this article was first published 28th August 2013 by Le massage en images)

HACKING WITH CARE : Attention, bien-être et politique de l’ordinaire dans le milieu hacktiviste

There are numerous reasons to draw parallels between the hacktivist movement and a vision of the future that is politicized, self-governing, and libertarian. As shown in the documentary We Are Legion, hacktivism has evolved into a tool for politicization and transnational solidarity. Hackers value and encourage an empowering, transparent, and freeing relationship with tools, technology, and knowledge. They are often viewed through the lens of their ethics, values, and social engagements – but how does this translate for them on a daily basis? How do hackers invest in relationships that reflect their political discourse? What are the links between hacktivism, care, and the politicization of everyday life? How do hacktivists practice self-care and handle exclusion problems within their community?

Hacking with Care : Attention, bien-être et politique de l’ordinaire dans le milieu hacktiviste

– Anne Goldenberg, DPI 27, Hacktivism, April 24, 2013