CN: depression, cancer

A long time ago, maybe a couple years at this point, I stumbled on a post about a photographer who took pictures of his wife throughout her struggle with breast cancer. I’m honestly surprised that I didn’t write about it at the time, since it affected me strongly, but a search through my old posts tells me I never did.


This story popped up on my radar at about the same time I was really into comparing mental illnesses to physical illnesses to get people to understand how similar they are. I probably referred to cancer more than any other illness because of its emotional weight.

I don’t know that I’ve ever been the same after seeing that series of photos. Continue reading “Cancer”

On Being Suicidal and an Atheist

Content note: depression, suicide, self-harm

A note to my friends and family: 
Before I even begin, let me just put it out there that I have been borderline suicidal in the recent past. However, there is a wooorld of difference between having suicidal thoughts and attempting suicide, or even executing some form of self-harm. I have come close, but not actually hurt myself since six years ago. As such, I ask that you not overreact to the content of this post and contact me frantically about how concerned you are. I also respectfully command that you not contact doctors or police or my husband to have me watched or controlled from those behaviours. I am fine. And anyway, if I genuinely want to die, that’s my business and my right. I understand the troubling nature of this writing, but please remain calm.

Having depression is a bitch. It’s a difficult illness to cope with, it’s difficult to live with, it plagues most of your thoughts and decisions if you aren’t careful. It’s only been fairly recently that I’ve been able to look at my depression with a skeptical eye, thanks to the writings of Miri Mogilevsky and Greta Christina. Greta especially is excellent at viewing her depressive thoughts skeptically and being able to override her emotions with logic. I aspire to be that good at depression-defeat.

With depression, there’s always a chance of feeling tendencies toward self-harm or suicide. This is true of a lot of mental illnesses. There are a lot of differing reasons one would have a propensity for self-harm; for me it’s sometimes about hurting as much outside as I do inside, or using the endorphins as a pain killer (here I mean ‘pain’ in both the physical and emotional sense), or taking control, or punishing myself. It takes different forms. Continue reading “On Being Suicidal and an Atheist”

Religion and Family

My grandmother is in town from out-of-state. She believes in a god, intelligent design, souls, and reincarnation. I visited with her and my aunt earlier this week. My aunt considers herself a non-denominational Christian.

I posted on Facebook on Wednesday (the beginning of Lent) about how I thought Lent was silly. I posed a question asking why people choose to give something up, and asking if anyone had learned anything by this in the past. The post sparked an interesting conversation, in which my aunt and another family member posted their pro-lent ‘whys’ and a couple of my friends posted some lengthy (more atheist) responses. Apparently my family members considered a lot of what my friends said unnecessarily aggressive.

At lunch with my aunt and grandmother, this post was brought up in conversation. I listened and responded quite calmly, and defended my friends’ comments. I agree with my friend in almost all he said, possibly not his approach, but certainly his intent. My aunt repeated her meaning to me, saying that Lent is a chance to give back to your Creator, who sacrificed his life for you. Continue reading “Religion and Family”