10 Jun 2010

kaigou: pino does not approve of where the script is going. (2 pino does not approve)
I read articles like this and I find it baffling that anyone could ask me why I'd ever want to write something with an LBGT action-hero main character who does not die at the end. Maybe because someone has to, considering the crap that's out there. And I'm not saying I should be the only one, nor that I'd be an expert or write the best one ever, only that I don't want the people who are writing (something other than dead gay celibate characters) to be alone in the wilderness. Because articles like that one really piss me the hell off.
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (2 what I do)
I should've said this before: this is LONG, and when I say something is LONG, you can expect it to be about six times as long as the longest long you've seen. I know I go on, but the length here is in direct proportion to the height of my temper. Just so you're warned.

RE: This Is Your Brain On Drugs . . .

NOTE: consider the above link as having a trigger-warning if you have a disability, know someone who does, or are sensitive to sudden spikes in blood pressure when in the vicinity of someone with a big megaphone busy talking out of her ass.

Ms. Lindholm's blog topic on May 20th of this year puts her in the Tom Cruise Denouncing Postpartum Depression category: someone rattling on quite definitively with little to no comprehension of the facts, in a way that essentially amounts to what you are experiencing is not only all in your head, it's a personal problem and shame on you for thinking you should, or even deserve, to seek a resolution.

First, to make this perfectly clear, the issue at hand is ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and its counterpart, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). The two are cousin-conditions that we could generally define as "a state of excessive mental activity, sometimes accompanied by excessive physical activity (the hyperactivity element)".

ADD and ADHD are not mental "illnesses". ADD and ADHD are disabilities.

More precisely, they are cognitive disabilities, along with other cognitive disabilities such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, and dyspraxia. ADD/ADHD shade into the class of physical -- because 'chemical' in the brain is still, fundamentally, a physical attribute -- disabilities, while the cognitive side is what impairs or affects thought processes like learning new skills, accessing short-term memory or transferring new information into long-term memory, capturing and comprehending incoming information, and so on.

So, to repeat: ADD/ADHD is not an 'illness'[1]. It is not something that you catch; it is not something you can cure. It is, like so many other disabilities (including learning disabilities), something you live with. You find a way to get through, and if you're really lucky, you find things that will help you deal with the disability, and the stress it causes in your life each time you ask someone around you to put up with, help cope with, or even just feel compassion for, the result of having that disability.

But because this is an alien concept for you, Ms Lindholm, let me make it perfectly clear for you, as well as any readers following along at home. )

[ continued in part 2 ... yeah, had to break it in two. sorry. ]

To clarify a few things that might've gotten buried:

[1] Many mental illnesses are also disabilities. I'm only focused on ADD/ADHD here, but a lot of what I say here could be extended easily to autism, bipolar, OCD, and others. What I dislike is the hidden connotations in that term: mental = "all in your head" and illness = "something curable". As though it's acceptable to dismiss the illness and/or expect one to get better! The truth is that any long-term condition, even those manageable with various tools/treatments, are (to me) not 'mental illnesses' but '[mental] disabilities'; they infringe on our ability to live as full a life as we'd have without them, and thus on a practical level are all disabilities to some degree.

[2] I am not saying that diabetes/heart-disease/ADD is a simplistic direct correlation, that because diabetes has clear-cut medication requirements, so does ADD/ADHD. Technically, the analogy fails already at 'heart disease', since that disease's medications are a cocktail to be carefully navigated to fit the particular patient, just like any medications for ADD/ADHD. But in terms of those who carry social prejudice against medication for mental/cognitive disabilities, the diabetes/heart-disease analogy does work, or I wouldn't freaking use it. Like all analogies, it breaks down when you go too deep, but for my purposes it holds up: medication is a valid tool.

As someone who, ironically, has responded to very few medications for ADD/ADHD, I will never tell you that my life is intact due to medication. In fact, I'm still here in spite of modern psychiatry, yet I continue to believe medication is a valid and crucial corner of the triangle of treatment. It may not work for every disease and every person, but it should not be discounted as an option, out-of-hand, either. The patient-and-doctor in question, ultimately, should make the decision -- not social prejudices about the mentally ill.

[3] If you are, or know, or think you may know, someone with ADD/ADHD, the best book I've found for concrete behavioral coping mechanisms -- with info for supportive family/friends, too -- is ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life by Judith Kolberg and Kathleen Nadeau. Just FYI, if you wanted more concrete info on how to help yourself, or a friend or family member.

[4] A much-shorter follow-up on what's going on in the brain (roughly, very unscientifically) when it comes to ADD/ADHD medication, cobbled out of the explanations of a whole lotta doctors & neurologists.
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (4 no sacrifice)
[continued from part 1]

Ms Lindholm, you wrote: "The only person in my extended family who ever took drugs for his condition long term did not achieve any success until he weaned himself off them. Is that unique? If your brain is wired a certain way, is it truly an illness? Or is it ‘artistic temperment’ [sic]?"

Continued from the original post, now broken in two. )