Equanimity means looking at things objectively like a scientist should, rather than emotionally. We know that scientists should be objective about their work, because if they are emotional, then they are likely to see things which are not there and miss things that are there. If a scientist badly wants a specific result (to be right; self-fulfilling prophecy), he or she is much more likely to make such mistakes. We do the same thing when we badly want something.

EXAMPLE: A woman who has been in and out of a number of relationships and each one of her partners was supposed to be the answer to her dreams. This woman is addicted to falling in love and imagines she will be truly happy with the next man she meets. She will fall wild in love again. She is so desperate to have her dream fulfilled that she does not really see her partners for what they are, only for the ways in which they meet her dream. She is shocked when she is forced to realize each time that her partners were not what she had thought they were. Eventually, the woman stops to investigate what “the dream”is all about. She wants love, but has not been skilled at recognizing it. Learning equanimity will be a big part of her being able to see potential partners in both their good and bad aspects. She becomes less and less desperate for a relationship; to prove she is ok. She begins to choose her partners with more wisdom.

When we find ourselves feeling angry, or needy, or desperately wanting something, or depressed, or jealous, or whatever, then equanimity is the way to step aside from these emotions.

That is what equanimity does: It looks at the pain without exaggerating its effects and consequences. It takes a balanced view

— chönyi taylor, ENOUGH!

And I quote …

“I can tell you that “Just cheer up” is almost universally looked at as the most unhelpful depression cure ever. It’s pretty much the equivalent of telling someone who just had their legs amputated to “just walk it off.” Some people don’t understand that for a lot of us, mental illness is a severe chemical imbalance rather just having “a case of the Mondays.” Those same well-meaning people will tell me that I’m keeping myself from recovering because I really “just need to cheer up and smile.” That’s when I consider chopping off their arms and then blaming them for not picking up their severed arms so they can take them to the hospital to get reattached.”

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Lawson, Jenny

Being on medication for mental illness

Being on medication for mental illness is not fun, nor is it easy, and no one I’ve ever known does it just for kicks. Kids don’t buy black-market Prozac to take to raves. People don’t use B12 shots as a gateway drug to heroin. The side effects and troubles with taking medication are very real and (if you have a chronic mental illness) are something you have to deal with for the rest of your life. Even if a drug is working for a while, it might stop working and you’ll have to start all over again with something new, which can be incredibly frustrating and disheartening. And then you have to deal with the side effects of the new drug, which can include “feeling excessively stabby” when coupled with some asshole telling you that “your medication not working is just proof that you don’t really need medication at all.” I can’t think of another type of illness where the sufferer is made to feel guilty and question their self-care when their medications need to be changed. When I went on my first antidepressant it had the side effect of making me fixated on suicide (which is sort of the opposite of what you want). It’s a rare side effect so I switched to something else that did work. Lots of concerned friends and family felt that the first medication’s failure was a clear sign that drugs were not the answer; if they were I would have been fixed. Clearly I wasn’t as sick as I said was if the medication didn’t work for me. And that sort of makes sense, because when you have cancer the doctor gives you the best medicine and if it doesn’t shrink the tumor immediately then that’s a pretty clear sign you were just faking it for attention. I mean, cancer is a serious, often fatal disease we’ve spent billions of dollars studying and treating so obviously a patient would never have to try multiple drugs, surgeries, radiation, etc., to find what will work specifically for them. And once the cancer sufferer is in remission they’re set for life because once they’ve learned how to not have cancer they should be good. And if they let themselves get cancer again they can just do whatever they did last time. Once you find the right cancer medication you’re pretty much immune from that disease forever. And if you get it again it’s probably just a reaction to too much gluten or not praying correctly. Right? Well, no. But that same, completely ridiculous reasoning is what people with mental illness often hear … not just from well-meaning friends, or people who were able to fix their own issues without medication, or people who don’t understand that mental illness can be dangerous and even fatal if untreated … but also from someone much closer and more manipulative. We hear it from ourselves. We listen to the small voice in the back of our head that says, “This medication is taking money away from your family. This medication messes with your sex drive or your weight. This medication is for people with real problems. Not just people who feel sad. No one ever died from being sad.” Except that they do.
And when we see celebrities who fall victim to depression’s lies we think to ourselves, “How in the world could they have killed themselves? They had everything.” But they didn’t.
They didn’t have a cure for an illness that convinced them they were better off dead.
Whenever I start to doubt if I’m worth the eternal trouble of medication and therapy, I remember those people who let the fog win. And I push myself to stay healthy. I remind myself that I’m not fighting against me … I’m fighting against a chemical imbalance … a tangible thing. I remind myself of the cunning untrustworthiness of the brain, both in the mentally ill and in the mentally stable. I remind myself that professional mountain climbers are often found naked and frozen to death, with their clothes folded neatly nearby because severe hypothermia can make a person feel confused and hot and convince you to do incredibly irrational things we’d never expect.
Brains are like toddlers. They are wonderful and should be treasured, but that doesn’t mean you should trust them to take care of you in an avalanche or process serotonin effectively.

~ Jenny Lawson, Furiously Happy: A funny book about horrible things


Let me explain: 50 Shades of Grey and BDSM

There is a whole lot of hooplah all over the interwebs and airwaves about 50 Shades of Grey right now. It’s theatrical release coinciding with Valentine’s Day should only further the chatter and curiousity to the author and production company’s delight.

I read the books. I will say that they are not very well written. No disrespect, but it is everything a romance novel is meant to be and not be. It’s an easy read that has a lot of sex in it, however, the euphamisms used to further describe a quite undescriable experience wore my last nerve. The storyline kept me mentally checked in.

It seems many people are not happy with the book due to it’s perceived “intimate partner violence” (IPV). There’s even a hashtage (#50dollarsnot50shades) which is growing in popularity asking people to donate the $50 they might spend on the movie and concessions to a local women’s shelter. I just finished reading an article by a progressive Christian, Mark Sandin, who I respect very much, in which he claimed this was his own problem with the novels and why he would not be supporting the movie.

Here’s the thing:
Yes, 50 Shades of Grey revolves around two people participating in a BDSM relationship, however, BDSM is not about violence. The roles of BDSM partners are, in and of themselves, while unequal, complementary to one another. The idea of informed consent of both partners becomes essential. It is less about control and isolation and pain than most people believe.

Practicing BDSM involoves such high amounts of trust and vulnerability. So much so that it almost becomes, dare I say … spiritual. What is spirituality without trust and vulnerability? Can you be spiritual without daring greatly to bare the most intimate knowledge of yourself? Having a spiritual connection at that level to something outside of ourselves is at the heart our desire. Desire, not lust.

While leaving yourself exposed opens you up to greatest pains you’ve ever known, it also allows you experience things at a whole new level. Love. Sex. If you’re going to keep pieces of it unavailable, you’re never going to know the heights you can reach. That’s the real idea behind BDSM. At least for those I know personally who practice. As with anything, people get involved for the wrong reasons. Just like marriage and even religion, when you add the wrong person and abuse of power, especially where vulnerabilities are concerned, the potential for things to go wrong or become abusive is high.

That’s always going to be the problem with vulnerability.

SPOLIER  ALERT: In the storyline beyond the BDSM in 50 Shades of Grey you find that Christian Grey (man, that’s a loaded name) was an abused child. The only way he was able to become successful was to lose his inhibitions through a BDSM arrangement. 50 Shades of Grey is actually a reference to the many levels of not black and white that make up Mr. Grey, not bruising as many people insist. It is also through this arrangement that he is finally able to fall in love because it allows him to become vulnerable.

So, you see there is actually a lot more to the story than meets the eye. If you look for it, you’ll find a really deep lesson in vulnerability. And who doesn’t need more vulnerability in their life?

Just imagine, fantasize if you dare, the possibilties.


And I quote …

“We either own our stories (even the messy ones), or we stand outside of them— denying our vulnerabilities and imperfections, orphaning the parts of us that don’t fit in with who/what we think we’re supposed to be, and hustling for other people’s approval of our worthiness. ”

Brene Brown, Daring Greatly