Burning Out

Burning out is horrid.

Burning out is not wanting to read the comments…or the piece.

It’s sitting in front of your computer for hours, trying to write, and finally concluding that maybe it would be nicer to just put your pajamas back on and sleep.

It’s when taking a walk around the block to clear your mind turns into running every errand you can think of. Having this brilliant idea that gnaws at you….and then sitting at your computer listening to music, because you want nothing less than to cudgel together a coherent post and then watch people react to it.

And burning out is not knowing if it’s the movement or the people or just your own exhausted brain.

This is the part I struggle with most–do I want to step away from the movement because I’ve overworked myself. Or do I need to pick a different cause?

On bad days, it’s the latter.

On the good, I remind myself that I’ve met nearly all my close friends here. That nobody offers me homeopathy in response to illness. That I’ve never been told mental illness just happens for a reason. That the movement means a place to write, speak, think with people I admire, and who challenge me to do it all better. I get to do FtBConscience and talk about mental health. I get to watch people light up while they talk about their passions, and there’s almost nothing better.

So this, you lovely people, is an encouragement to keep doing that. Keep lighting up when you talk about biology and physics and communication and neuroscience and bugs and rocks. Smile when your favorite topic comes up. Write long and impassioned blog posts and give talks and refer us to new books. We’ll have delightfully eclectic reading lists and weird snippets of facts–did you know there are caterpillars that wear old heads as hats?–and I think we’ll all be a little less on the fizzling end of burning out.

Monday Miscellany


Scott, Who By Very Slow Decay

I guess I always pictured dying as – unless you got hit by a truck or something – a bittersweet and strangely beautiful process. You’d grow older and weaker and gradually get some disease and feel your time was upon you. You’d be in a nice big bed at home with all your friends and family gathered around. You’d gradually feel the darkness closing in. You’d tell them all how much you loved them, there would be tears, you would say something witty or pious or defiant, and then you would close your eyes and drift away into a dreamless sleep.

And I think this happens sometimes. For all I know, maybe it happens quite a lot. If it does, I never see these people. They very wisely stay far away from hospitals and the medical system in general. I see the other kind of people.

 Internet, we need to talk about how inappropriate uses of social media for charity.

Apparently this post is going to be heavy on the all-caps warrioring, but GAH LOOK THE NEW COSMOS TRAILER IS OUT. LOOK AT IT.

Why Banning Pro-Ana Is a Bad Idea

As far as I see it, in practical terms it means that information about treatment opportunities (such as participating in a study), awareness campaigns, or information about new health lines or recovery websites, are less likely to reach pro-eating disorder bloggers. This is bad news.

Right now, many individuals who follow my Science of Eating Disorders Tumblr either run blogs that are devoted to thinspiration or are active members of pro-eating disorder communities. Membership in pro-eating disorder communities and pro-recovery or neutral communities is not something that is NOT mutually exclusive–a point that often seems to get missed in discourse on this topic.

If these communities are pushed into the depth of the internet, into isolated and tightly knit communities, off mainstream social media and blogging websites, then reaching those communities will be harder. This isolates these individuals even more AND it isolated (or creates a big gap) between the individuals trying to reach them.

All you ever wanted to know about eye contact.

When the giant shame spiral of suckage eats your momentum in recovery.

Between you and being okay is the giant shitpile of things you didn’t do for so long that all need to be done now. So instead of momentum, healthy new habits, great leaps forward….it’s hunting down old paperwork, cleaning science experiments out of the fridge, calling the student loan people, and 6 month’s worth of unpleasant chores and administrative tasks. It’s all way harder and more fucked up and more expensive than it would have been if you’d just done it when you were supposed to, so even though you are theoretically doing better everything sucks proportionally more.


[#FtBCon] Skepticism & The DSM Notes


DSM-IV and Me: It’s complicated.

Tonight at 6:00pm Central (that is, right now), I’m giving a talk about skepticism and the DSM: the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

This is the link to watch. 

Multiple personalities? Personality disorders? The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) contains a list of all recognized mental illnesses. How valid is it? Kate will look at the best and worst mental health diagnoses and talk about what makes for useful skepticism when it comes to mental health.

My goals:

-How the DSM gets the diagnoses

-Should we throw it out?

-What diagnoses are particularly good? Which ones are particularly bad? Why?

Overdiagnoses. Let’s talk about it. 

-What does the future of diagnosing mental illness look like? (In which Kate makes wild speculation and expects to be wrong.)

-Taking lots of questions. 

—- A Long List of Resources and Elaboration on Things I Mention —-

Reliabilty vs. Validity. I touched on the difference, but there’s also different kinds of each! Learn more here.

Changes to the DSM? Take a look at the whole list via the DSM5 website.

I talked about the 1973 change that removed homosexuality from its classification as a mental disorder. For more information here’s a transcript of an interview with some of the psychiatrists in the American Psychiatric Association (APA) who made it happen. Includes Nixon masks and a secret group called the GayPA.
Part 1
Part 2

Schizophrenia: more info on symptoms and causes here.

Eating disorders–a comprehensive collection of research.
DSM5 updates [pdf]

Biomarkers research

Personality disorders: the DSM5 alternate hybrid model [pdf]
Obligatory Marsha Linehan fangirling

[Will update with more post-talk!] 

IMPORTANT: I won’t be able to check comments here! Ask your questions in the chatroom, etc.



#FtBCon: I’m Doing Things!


I’m going to be speaking in this weekend at FtBCon. Since I’m mainly prepping for my panel and talk, I’ll leave the summaries here. Video will be livestreaming on YouTube and available immediately after.

Panel: Supporting Freethinkers With Mental Illness
11 pm Central Time on Friday (tonight)

“Have you tried yoga?” “You just need to pray harder.” “You should try this herbal supplement.” People with mental illnesses get advice like this all the time. Although it’s not particularly helpful to anyone, with skeptics and atheists it’s especially misguided. What should we say to freethinkers dealing with mental illness? How do we support them in an evidence-based way? How can we use skepticism and critical thinking to reduce the stigma of mental illness? How can we improve access to treatment that actually works?

Other Panelists: Olivia James, Brendan Murphy, Miri Mogilevsky,

TalkSkepticism and the DSM
6-7pm Central Time on Saturday

Multiple personalities? Personality disorders? The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) contains a list of all recognized mental illnesses. How valid is it? Kate will look at the best and worst mental health diagnoses and talk about what makes for useful skepticism when it comes to mental health.

This will be a one-hour talk–though I’ll absolutely set time aside for questions. It’s a topic I’m very excited about–if you have aspects you want to hear about, by all means, leave them in the comments.

In Which Our Narrator Strikes Out On Her Own

Hello, bright and beautiful world.

It’s me, Kate.

And this is Gruntled & Hinged, my Second-Ever Real Actual Blog Home. It’s been more than a year since I blogged by myself, and wow, is this weird.

The lovely FtBorg has kindly given me my own place to write, and so here I am. Many of you, I think, will have stopped by from Ashley Miller’s, where I used to write–and a place I’ve dearly enjoyed. For those new arrivals, this blog will contain multitudes…but most of them will be about psychology and mental health. The title comes from a back-and-forth I had with a friend at Skepticon about prefixes. At the time, I promised him that if I ever had my own blog it would be Gruntled & Hinged. More recently, I’ve been introduced to the relevant Tripod song:

I’m not transferring archives from any previous blog, so you’ll have to give me a few days to settle in. There will be a comment policy, a list of mental health resources, new posts, and a blogroll. Until then, hello! Hi!

Some of my old work from around the internet:
Your ED Friend: Six Years Later
The Friend Manual I
For Best Results, Trust God and Use Large Sample Sizes
How Not to Be A Jerk to the Future of Your Movement
Eating Disorders: The Stories We Tell
How to Be The Right Kind of Crazy

All credit for the G&H banner goes to William Brinkman, who writes at the Bolingbrook Babbler. Really, I wouldn’t have had any sort of header without him.