When brain fog makes you feel incapable of reading and writing

Image for post
Image for post
David Matos/Unsplash

I have always valued intelligence highly, and pride myself on being articulate. As a result, when depression and the accompanying brain fog descend on me, it takes a toll not just on my ability to think straight but on my self-worth too. In the midst of a depressive episode, I struggle to read a sentence or to extricate meaning from articles; I find it hard to follow film plots and get lost in the middle of conversations; when I try to write articles in a depressive haze, I lose sight of the bigger picture and struggle to build coherent arguments.

I question whether I have understood a quote I want to use and I overanalyse every sentence until it loses its meaning and becomes a jumble of letters. …


The Copper Age Glacial Mummy And An Extremely Cold Case

Image for post
Image for post
Image Credits: Brittanica

In 1991 two German tourists stumbled across a body emerging from glacial ice on the Öztal Alps in Southern Tyrol. The couple initially assumed the body to be relatively new; most likely that of a mountaineer who had slipped or succumbed to the elements. The couple alerted the authorities and it didn’t take long for scientists to realise that they had stumbled upon something truly remarkable. Far from being a modern hiker, the body was dated as over 5000 years old, pre-dating the pyramids.

Ötzi is an archaeological treasure trove, and his tools and clothing- found with or near his remains- have granted us an unprecedented look into life during the Copper age. Among his belongings were a yew bow, a copper axe, a hat made of brown bear pelt, a roe deer hide quiver and a U shaped wooden frame that served as a backpack among other things. Only 2 of his arrows were ready for use among the 14 he carried. Continuing, Ötzi was so well preserved that in 2018 his last meal was determined as Ibex meat and fat, toxic bracken fern (either accidentally ingested or used medicinally to treat his bacterial infection), red deer meat and einkorn wheat. Initially researchers could not locate Ötzi’s stomach as it had moved upwards during the mummification process, though it was later spotted in a CT scan. …


It was the philosophical inspiration for CBT after all

Image for post
Image for post
Armin Lotfi/Unsplash

As an OCD sufferer, I am well aware that many, if not all of us, have intrusive thoughts, but that it is our beliefs about these thoughts that make them so debilitating. In short, the OCD sufferer is taught, quite rightly, that they are not what they think. Recently, however, my OCD has started focusing on feelings of anger and rage. These feelings often lead to intrusive thoughts and come on just as suddenly, but I assign far more weight to feelings of anger than I ever do to thoughts of harm.

Moreover, my harm OCD is often exacerbated by feelings of rage and anger. It makes them far more convincing; if I have an argument and momentarily feel like hurting someone, this is far more distressing than having a mere thought. For those unfamiliar with harm OCD, it is a common subtype of the disorder where sufferers have frequent and disturbing thoughts about harming themselves and others. What’s more, usually, intrusive thoughts about harming others do not exist in isolation; intense feelings of anger give power to the thoughts. As a result, I often find myself feeling guilty about feelings. …


From someone who is still struggling to do it

Image for post
Image for post
Simone Busatto/Unsplash

We decry cruelty, and then indulge in retail therapy on Amazon whose workers endure appalling conditions. We sit in awe at natural wonders on Attenborough’s documentaries, but continue to drive to work and eat meat every day of the week. What causes this hypocrisy?

In short, we forget that our actions have a global reach, and think parochially whilst the consequences extend beyond borders. Many of us are brilliant at forgetting the consequences of our lifestyles and practice a mob wife mentality; living off of injustice and exploitation, so long as we do not witness it. …


The Ultimate Resource For Writers Is Experience

Image for post
Image for post
Alexis Brown/Unsplash

So many young writers want to create a masterpiece before they have lived; they have all the tools to articulate experience, but no experience with which to draw inspiration from, something I realised in myself recently. I was growing deeply frustrated that I was thinking the same thoughts and feeling the same emotions, and yet it should of come as no surprise when I was seeing the same places and doing the same things. I called it writers block, when in reality I simply had nothing with which to draw from as I was writing in an experiential vacuum. …


You might get happiness free

Image for post
Image for post
Javier Allegue Barros/Unsplash

Whilst intimately linked, there are important differences between happiness and meaning, and with myriad books selling the path to happiness, I think it’s about time someone spoke up for meaning also. Naturally, achieving the Socratic Golden Mean is ideal, and it is in this spirit of balance that I have penned this piece. I have no intention of demonising happiness, but it should never be trumpeted at the expense of meaning which has many strengths as a source of wellbeing. Too often books are written and speeches given which fetishise happiness, but without meaning, I submit that happiness is hollow. …


My disorder is not a quirky personality trait

Image for post
Image for post
Jeff Sheldon/Unsplash

What sort of quality of life do you imagine is possible when your fight or flight response is triggered by children and men? When your own family brings on incestuous thoughts that will make you hate yourself? When proximity to a knife makes you quiver with fear and anxiety that you might plunge it into someone, and when sexual encounters are defined by sudden taboo images taking you out of the moment and into your head? Picture a life where a good day is simply to keep functioning, and where a bad one is complete paralysis and self-loathing. …


Stuck on a problem? Leave it.

Image for post
Image for post
Robina Weermeijer/Unsplash

For centuries creatives have noted how their Eureka moment’s occur not in deep contemplative thought, but at unexpected moments after a period of mental rest; in the shower for instance, whilst dreaming, or whilst going about the daily errands.

To reference just a few examples: Paul McCartney credits the melody of Imagine to a dream, Mathematician Poincaré famously noted that the solution to a mathematical problem came to him whilst daydreaming on an omnibus, and Nobel Prize winner Otto Loewi, who discovered the role of acetylcholine as an endogenous neurotransmitter, came up with the experiment to prove this after waking up at 3am, twice, with the idea ready made for him so to speak. …


Bookshelves Can Fuel Prejudice. They Can Also Cure It.

Image for post
Image for post
Aneta Pawlik/Unsplash

I just finished reading Virginia Woolf’s A Room Of One’s Own; an essay which incisively shows that women’s silence in fiction was down to their social marginalisation; they weren’t allowed the time, resources or the space with which to create masterpieces, and then were judged as creatively inferior on this absence. Upon finishing it, I had a sudden realisation: I noticed that I only had one female author on my bookshelf.

How had I been blind to such a glaring absence for so long? It shocked me, deeply, to realise that I had ignored half the human race’s output for twenty years. One can only imagine how creatively and experientially impoverished I am as a result. Moreover, the realisation sparked a memory: In my first year at University I clearly recall myself being caustic about a female lecturer’s attempt to rebalance the gender representation on the course syllabus. She showed us the exclusively male reading list and had interposed female authors to redress this, including Woolf. Woolf’s words, fresh in my mind, perfectly articulated why I was so hostile to the lecturers actions: “When one is challenged… one retaliates, if one has never been challenged before, rather excessively.” My privilege had been challenged and I floundered helplessly. …


But it can go terribly wrong

Image for post
Image for post
Toa Heftiba/Unsplash

Good adverts dialogue with culture and are aware that they don’t exist in a vacuum. As a result, socially responsive adverts often generate interest.

What is a socially responsive advert? In short, those that tap into cultural veins and capture the zeitgeist. Nonetheless, the stakes are high when product advertising pushes a message alongside it’s product.

Done right, an advert informed by culture will galvanise people to pay attention and ideally buy the product. Done wrong, it can alienate buyers and actually lead them to boycott the product.

Adverts for charities and message-based organisations have it the easiset because they don’t have to package a product alongside a message which can be seen as insincere or didactic; the message is the product. Whilst charities, non-profits and multinationals can use advertising to push an important message without any backlash (domestic violence, male suicide and systemic racism for example), product based adverts run the risk of suffering criticism for engaging cultural issues, and a heavy message is vulnerable when a product is hiding behind it. …

About

Ross Carver-Carter

I am a 23 year old Politics Graduate who is passionate about promoting mental health literacy.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store