10 Things Not To Say To Someone With PTSD

 

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This is a friendly reminder to think before you open your mouth.

 

  1. “What happened wasn’t that bad” – Different things have different impacts on different people. Some people survive assault (just as an example) and have no psychological issues from it whatsoever, others go through a crisis, others develop PTSD. A person might go through several traumas in their lifetime and only develop PTSD as a result of one of those traumas, it might not always be the one that “seems” the worst. Also, if someone tells you about a trauma, there’s a pretty big chance they’re not telling you all the details. Talking about a trauma tends to be traumatic, go figure.

 

2. “Snap out of it”
Go f*ck yourself. You seriously think people re-live the worst moments of their lives because they haven’t bothered NOT to? You can’t snap out of it, no matter how badly you want to. If it was a matter of ‘snapping out of it’, PTSD wouldn’t exist.

 

3. “Have you tried…”
“I’ve had insomnia for 25 years that interacts with my PTSD. I’ve tried everything”
“OMG, have you tried, like, going to bed at the same time every night and having like a routine”
“No, because when I said I’d tried everything I clearly meant that I’ve tried everything except the most basic solution.”
I’ve gotten this from so many people over the years and it’s so goddamn annoying. Another common one is blaming screens. I promise you, I did not have a smartphone or a laptop with me in bed as a kid in the 90’s. I was still an insomniac. When I say that I’ve tried everything, don’t assume I haven’t tried things that would show up on the first page of the search results when you Google.

4. “Drugs can cure PTSD”
There are experimental treatments that involve certain drugs that are classified as narcotics. Those treatments are done under strict supervision in combination with therapy. Getting high does not cure PTSD and I’m certainly not about to risk a criminal conviction for something like this. Self-medication is extremely common among people with PTSD and many people with PTSD end up turning to drugs out of desperation. They do not need you pushing them there. No drug (medical or non-medical) should not be used for PTSD treatment without being used under medical supervision and guidance.

 

5. “Someone I know went through the same thing and they didn’t get PTSD”
Good for them. I’ve fallen off many horses without breaking any bones, that doesn’t mean that Christopher Reeve wasn’t paralysed after falling off a horse.

6. “TRIGGER WARNING”
I am so goddamn sick of ‘trigger warnings’ that I want to vomit. Firstly, if you do want to try to warn someone about specific content, you have to tell them what the warning is about. I don’t know how people think that writing “trigger warning” with no context is meant to help anyone. Secondly, you don’t know someone’s triggers unless you know them really really well. PTSD triggers don’t work the way people think they do. Talking about something related to trauma is not automatically triggering. Triggers can be anything. Thirdly, a trigger does not necessarily trigger a flashback either, it does however tend to cause the condition to flare up. If you’ve survived being shot, you may be perfectly fine talking about guns, but have a flashback when a balloon explodes. You may have nightmares for days after being exposed to a certain scent, but you have no problem watching a movie featuring scene depicting a similar trauma. Life pretty much has a “viewer discretion is advised” stapled on it already, writing “TW” at the end of a Facebook post isn’t helping anyone.

7. “You should exercise/try this natural remedy”
See point 3.  Also, if things like “eat natural foods” would have cured PTSD, no one would have struggled with PTSD after WWI. I used to exercise 8-10 hours a week, it did nothing to relieve my PTSD. Leading a healthy lifestyle can help manage certain symptoms, but it’s far from guaranteed. If my PTSD is flaring up badly and I can barely leave the house, then telling me to ‘exercise’ or ‘just be social’ is like asking me to go to the dark side of the moon, it is simply not possible at that point in time. Unless you are an expert on PTSD and have a license to give medical advice, shut up.

8. “Maybe just lower your ambitions”
There is this stereotype that people with PTSD are doomed to living on welfare and won’t be able to do anything with their lives. This applies to most mental illnesses to be honest. A friend of mine experienced psychosis when they were younger and were told that having a job and an apartment were unrealistic goals. By a doctor. This friend has since been able to obtain both. I have PTSD, I’m not broken or incompetent. I can choose to let this thing run my life, or I can fight for the life I want to have. If you’re happy with having a dead-end job or living on welfare, never leaving your hometown, and never doing anything extraordinary, then good for you. Just don’t expect me to do the same.

9. “I totally know what it’s like”
Do you have PTSD? Have you at least experienced a similar trauma? No? Then no, you don’t know what it’s like. Thankfully this is getting less common as I get older, but I heard this nonstop when I was a teenager.

10. “OMG I’m such a mental health ally, activism is so important”
My PTSD isn’t about you. Don’t use my trauma for your political purposes. Don’t use my pain to feel better about yourself. I’m not your ’cause’.

 

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Packaging – Why it matters

 

It’s no secret to anyone who even occasionally reads this blog, I adore the Korean packaging culture. It is innovative, creative, and still doesn’t compromise on the practical issues. So why aren’t Western companies doing the same thing as their Korean counterparts?

I think it’s quite simply a matter of realising that adult consumers like fun. There seems to be this notion that products need to be serious in order to be scientifically valid as well as the notion that you shouldn’t try too hard. Recently there’s also a trend in the west that everything should be ‘natural’, which is a word that means shit all in makeup. No matter how organic or natural something is, every product you put on your face is 100% chemicals. But the organic/natural trend seems to have influenced packaging to be minimalistic, plain, and well, boring.

Makeup is the adult version of face paint and somehow we often fall into the trap of taking it so seriously that we forget the fun. Korean women on average spend more money and time on skincare and makeup than Western women do and I believe this is a key factor in why Korean companies try to make makeup & skincare more fun. If your customer is going to spend a lot of time with your product, you want to make the whole experience positive.

 

My gummy bear hand cremes from SkinFood aren’t less good because they’re in packaging made to resemble massive pieces of candy. The TonyMoly powder compact I keep in my bag isn’t less effective because it has Jigglypuff on it, and my lip balm from It’s Skin isn’t less moisturising because it has the Cookie Monster’s face on it. These products get the job done, but in addition to that, they also make me smile. My day gets a little bit brighter when I get to laugh at the silliness that is “Psyduck Cheese Firming Cream” as I apply it after a shower. My skin gets moisturised and I get amused.

Looking at Sephora Australia’s website, the vast majority of the products I see look almost… clinical. There’s a handful of brands that have some fun with packaging. TheBalm, Kat von D, Benefit, and Too Faced are probably the Western major brands that dare to have fun with their packaging and themes. No one is going to look at the Chocolate Bar palette and assume it’s for kids or that it has to be low quality, and yet this is the assumption I’m often faced with when someone sees my Korean products.

Makeup & skincare are meant to be fun and functional, let’s have the packaging reflect that.

Meet Gerald

wp-1479997673392.jpgThis is Gerald, he lives with me and my flatmate. He’s about two years old or so and belongs to the people who own the place we stay in.

Gerald’s real name isn’t Gerald. According to my flatmate his name is incredibly complicated and sounds like a word that falls somewhere between chardonnay and Scheherazade. She calls him Cat. Being a strong believer in not calling individuals by the name of their species, I’ve convinced her to at least call him Buddy. I call him Gerald. It’s a West Wing reference and I’ll be thrilled if you get it.

Gerald’s favourite activities include getting people to open doors for him, taking his food out of the bowl and putting it on the floor before eating it, and sleeping on your pillow. He hates drinking from a reflective metallic water bowl and has thus been given one of our planetary bowls (the yellow one) for his water needs. Gerald has on occasion picked fights with dogs and cats and he seems to be losing far more often than he wins. On the occasions when Gerald has had his feathers ruffled he has preferred to sleep in my bed, resulting in my mattress having at least one spot of cat blood on it. Whenever Gerald manages to be King of the Hill on my recently cleaned desk, he looks absolutely triumphant.

Furthermore, Gerald thinks that birds are a great mystery. The fact that he’s meant to be a stealth predator continues to elude him. So he just screams at them whenever he sees them. If he does bring things home, it is either road kill or rats that were killed by poison. To Gerald’s great annoyance, we don’t let him eat poisoned rodents. Gerald sometimes forgets that if he climbs from our deck to the balcony that belongs to the people who live above us, he’s too much of a coward to climb down. His solution to this situation is to simply sit and wait until someone opens the door for him so that he can get down the stairs instead. It is Gerald’s firm belief that laptops and laps are there for him to massage with his paws endlessly, this has caused “me” to like a fair few Facebook statuses I had no intention of liking. Thanks, Gerald. Gerald tends to forget that he’s a massive cat and insist on crawling out through the smallest window he can find, even if he has to bring his hips through sideways.

There are a few things Gerald hates. The time when he got his temperature taken was probably one of the worst days of Gerald’s life. He also hates it when someone has the nerve to go to the bathroom without inviting him. Flea powder is most likely a human conspiracy to kill all the fun in the world if you ask Gerald.

In regards to Gerald’s future plans, he intends to teach the neighbour’s kids to socialise without reaching for his tail. He also seems to intend to psychologically manipulate us into only buying him wet food and once went on a four day hunger strike hoping we’d give in. He calmly plots the assassination of The Fluffy Cat who lives in the area, tries to steal Gerald’s turf, and has the gall to sound exactly like Gerald when he meows.

So yeah, this is Gerald and I absolutely adore him.

Elements of Good Days

wp-1467097542726.jpgThere is no such thing as a perfect day, but there sure are things that make days better. This post is merely mentioning some of them.

Good breakfast is a great way to ensure a good start to the day. Personally, I can’t eat just after I wake up and thus my breakfasts are typically more like brunches. The photo here shows one of my favourite breakfasts, the smashed avo from the PonyCat. It’s a big breakfast, but most of the ingredients are healthy and it’s a perfect treat if you suspect you’ll need a mood booster.

Work might not be a common thing to put on here, but if I can get some work done during breakfast, I know I’m at least off to a good start. This is usually when I blog, prep cases for debates, work on bureaucracy related stuff, or get some studying done. Work makes you feel productive and if you can feel productive before midday even on a day off, you’ve instantly made that day better.

Animals. I could just have left it there, but seriously, being around animals is one of the best things you can do to boost your mood. No matter if it’s our cat trying to sleep on my neck or laptop, or if it’s spending time in the stable… Being around animals simply makes me happy. My quality of life increased substantially when I moved to a house that came with a cat.

Exercise is another one of those things that can turn a day from average to good. The key to making exercise enjoyable is simple – do something you enjoy. For me, it’s either swimming or horseback riding. Both of those sports make for great exercise, swimming is a full body workout and horseback riding is leg day intensified. When it’s hot outside, going to the pool hardly feels like a chore and you can find me there almost every day. Now that it’s colder, I’ve started to return to my roots as an equestrian.

Social time is a bit hit or miss for me. Some days I enjoy a break from people and on other days I enjoy being around people. If I feel like being social, I typically have lunch with someone, chill with my housemate, or find a bunch of friends to play Cards Against Humanity with. Even just going to the movies together is a great way to enjoy someone’s company even if you don’t have the energy to do something more active together.

Luxurious showers are the poor man’s baths. Or at least my version of them. I’d love to have a bathtub, but in the meantime I’ll settle for a shower with a body scrub and some nice bath products. If you’re suffering from stiff muscles, showers are a great way to relax and loosen up a bit. In winter, one of the best things to do is simply to have a heater on in your room so that you don’t have to walk into a wall of cold after your shower.

Caffeine is my true love. My one addiction. When you’re having a bad day, have some coffee. Don’t spoil it by adding sugar, drink it black or with milk if you’re using instant coffee. If you’re going out for it, keep it to one that is coffee and milk. That’s the best way to actually feel the flavour. If you have to add 6 sugars, stop drinking coffee and just grab a soda instead. Yes, I have surprisingly strong opinions on coffee.

Spare time? Playing some games is a perfect way for me to unwind. It’s also a good way to keep your mind active. If I’m having a day where I need to distract myself from life, I play video games. Strategy games are a way to keep busy and get some intellectual stimulation. RPGs are great for when you need to get involved in a story and get some emotional rewards.

Rebuttal: The Weirdest Argument Against Trans Characters

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This is a debate that pops up every now and then, especially when a game with a trans character has recently been launched. I don’t have enough space to cover the entire debate in one post, so instead I wish to focus on the single most peculiar argument used against games that contain trans characters.

“There’s no reason for them to be trans”
Effectively this means that the character could just have been a “real” woman instead of a trans woman. Typically this argument comes out when a trans character’s main story line (if they even have one) does not concern their gender identity.
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Why I Play Political Video Games

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I grew up in one of the least exciting places on this planet. Do you like faded trees and muddy fields all covered in a sheet of air that is impossibly grey? A significant lack of other human beings? Zero possibilities to pursue hobbies that required other people or transportation? All wrapped in a damp cold that seeps into your lungs and bones and never ever leaves? In that case I can point you in the right direction…

In order to get some variation and excitement, I turned to fiction in all its forms. I read like a girl possessed for a while but my favourite means of escapism has always been video games. See, books allow for your own imagination to fill in the blanks. Video games bring you a whole world created by someone else and you can modify it if you want to, but it remains entirely independent from you.

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Stress Management

You may have noticed that this blog has been a bit more quiet than usual lately, the reason why is very simple. I’ve been busy as hell.

I’m finally down to the point where I average three jobs per week (I technically have five, but one has just gone into dormancy and another is just one night every now and then). In addition to that, I still study full time and have that little debating thing going on too. Stress has become a way of life for me and most of the time, it works really well. After next week, I should be back to a regular schedule without too much craziness going on. It’s going to be great.

Stress is something I know a lot of my readers struggle with for various reasons. It seems like it’s almost a part of being human these days. Naturally, this means that it’s worth having a discussion about how to manage it.

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New to Makeup: Vintage vs Pinup

I love both vintage and pinup styles, they’re some of the coolest styles out there. Personally, I’m more inspired by vintage than pinup but enjoy dabbling with both. This post is not meant to trash any of the styles, merely to outline the differences between them to clarify what the different styles mean.

Vintage style makeup aims to capture the essence of specific time periods and often seeks to replicate classic looks without changing them. Pinup is a more modern take on classical styles, often more dramatic than vintage. Personally, I think of vintage makeup as day makeup and save full pinup makeup for special events.

Which is easier for beginners?
Probably vintage, for one reason: Winged eyeliner. Winged eyeliner is a staple of pinup makeup and although pinup looks can be created without winged liner, it’s considered one of the main components of pinup style makeup. Genuine 1930’s and 1940’s looks seldom included a lot of eyeliner but focused on mascara instead.

What are the differences?
In general, pinup makeup is a bit edgier than vintage. The colours are often designed to pop and stand out a bit more than in vintage makeup. Eyeshadow is more commonly used in pinup makeup than vintage makeup and it’s often applied using more modern techniques. The winged liner is the greatest difference, it only saw limited use in vintage times but is embraced by the pinup community. Pinup makeup takes greater liberties with colour in general and isn’t afraid to try new combinations and textures. They’re quite similar when it comes to foundation, but the pinup style seems to favour full coverage matte foundation while the vintage style often features lighter coverage and a powdered finish.

Do I have to pick one or the other?

Of course not, a lot of people’s makeup looks fall on a spectrum. Like I said in the introduction, I often save pinup makeup for special occasions or events. In general, I’d say pinup makeup offers more options while vintage makeup is a bit more ‘strict’. That being said, no one is going to crucify you if you use a lipstick with a texture that didn’t exist in the 1940’s. There are always “puritans” who have the opinion that their way of doing a certain style of makeup is the only way that style of makeup should be done. I typically ignore these people. Makeup is meant to be fun and shouldn’t feel like a burden or be so difficult to navigate that you wish you had a rule book.

Alternatives to Winged Liquid Eyeliner

Winged liquid eyeliner is as essential to a lot of people as foundation or a chapstick. It’s also hellishly difficult to get right. So in the interest of being beginner friendly in this series, I thought could discuss some alternatives to winged liquid eyeliner.

Here are four alternative looks that are similar to the liquid eyeliner look but that don’t actually include liquid eyeliner. Keep in mind that I have hooded eyes and that these looks have been adapted to work with that kind of eye.

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