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Valentines Day Bollox: ain’t love grand

In Rome, from February 13 to 15, people celebrated the feast of Lupercalia: men sacrificed a goat and a dog, whipped women with the hides of animals and women lined up to be whipped as they believed it increased their fertility.  It all got a bit muddled when Emperor Claudius II executed two Christians both named Valentine on February 14 over two separate years in the third century: their martyrdom was celebrated by the church.  Keeping up so far? Pope Gelasius I gets busy in the fifth century combining St Valentine’s day with the feast of Lupercalia, “It was a little more of a drunken revel, but the Christians put clothes back on it.  That didn’t stop it from being a day of fertility and love.”  Then the Normans throw an oar in the mix with Galatin’s Day: Galatin meaning “lover of women”.  This is all before Chaucer and Shakespeare…

Brian McKenna on Employment Questions: “So, what do you do now?”

I’ve answered this one a thousand ways. It is by far, my most hated question to answer in the world of mental health. It’s also one of the clearest ways to see that the stigma of mental health issues is still alive and well. After all, you’re not reeeeeeally injured per se, right? I mean you are, sure, but not like those guys missing limbs? Kate’s comment: Brian visibly freezes when asked this question, his shoulders hunch and he stares at his feet.  The first time I saw his reaction from across the room but hadn’t heard the question; I tend to watch his body language without even realizing it.  Don’t underestimate the impact this topic has on your man’s psyche and his view of himself. I learned when I was first using my PTSD service dog, that you need some answers in a can. You need 5 or 6…

Depression and How to Survive it

January is here. My last year has been, in hindsight, one of the most stressful of my existence which is saying something.  A lot of it brought up buried memories of awful domestic warfare, a mother who psychologically crippled her son (my brother), abused me and the whole awful dysfunction of a family that had lived through, fought in, somewhat survived an African civil war only to arrive in Ireland without any psychological help or intervention: the living in a toxic atmosphere I swore I’d never experience again even at arm’s length.  One of the reasons I walk away from people is to protect myself from seeing this sort of behaviour: not supportive of me, but necessary for my MH.  I am explaining this to you because you need to know that I have  lived with depression, suicide and all that fun stuff from a tiny child.  It is this…

Thinking about suicide is not what kills us

Drive faster. If that semi swerved. If I wait for that train. Over and over again our brains give us “outs”.  Stand too close the edge, who would know if I meant to or if it was an accident?  How old do the girls need to be before they don’t need me anymore? The truth that nobody, and I mean nobody, will tell you is that we all have suicide thoughts.  Yup.  Every single sentient human that has suffered or been exposed to real trauma.  Why?  Because we have had to face death: in ourselves or in others, up close and personal.  It changes us.  Ignoring this fact and pretending like it is in someway “shocking” is asinine BS.  Death no longer holds a mystique or fear for us, we have seen it and we have watched it.  We survived it.  Yet it holds us. My young cousin died…