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I've read a lot of thoughtful, knowledgeable, compassionate stuff about depression and suicide in the past week. These are two of the best public pieces of writing I've seen about it.

It's about time some folks began to question the pressure-cooker metaphor of emotion management. Absolutely, stress can cause illness, but expressing your anger doesn't necessarily relieve that stress. The article eventually gets around to pointing this out, but first it gets all tangled up in claiming that expressing anger constructively or "clearly and firmly" helps your health and in suggesting that you might want to avoid getting angry more than occasionally. Most people I know don't have a lot of control over how much they get angry, although they have some control over how they express it.

A woman spends a weekend being a "slouch-and-spreader" on public transit. I have uncomfortable reactions to the tumblrs about men who do this (e.g. http://savingroomforcats.tumblr.com/). On the one hand I think they're funny, and men do sometimes seem to aggressively take up space in public. On the other hand, I don't like it when people are judgemental about how much space others are taking, as if all humans are supposed to fit inside the same sorts of boxes you have to prove your airplane carry-on baggage fits into.

A doctor writes about becoming a patient after sustaining an injury. Part 1 of 4.
"It is not clear to me whether it is a side effect of having gone to medical school or an inborn personality trait, but I have always had a rather distant relationship with my body. This, I believe, is not completely uncommon. David Sedaris, in an essay called “A Shiner Like A Diamond” (in Me Talk Pretty One Day) says that he and his brother thought of their bodies as “mere vehicles . . . machines designed to transport our thoughts from one place to another.” (p. 133)"

"In Praise of Idleness" by Bertrand Russell (1932): I tried really hard to find some choice quotes for this essay but everything was irretrievably attached to everything else (which is the way really good essays work).

This entry was originally posted at http://firecat.dreamwidth.org/850112.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments. I prefer that you comment on Dreamwidth, but it's also OK to comment here.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 18th, 2014 12:33 pm (UTC)
The BBC piece on expressing anger did support my guess about the details of what they said: it's productive mainly if you do so in ways that reduce anger-generating events in the future. This also goes along with the finding that people who got angry more rarely had other good ways of coping with situations.

One way in which I think almost everyone can reduce anger--feelings, not just expression--is to try to negotiate with others about the kind of things that make you angry, instead of getting angry inside but not showing it--repeated over time--and then blowing up. Learning to speak up can be very difficult & I think it's one thing talking therapy can be good for.

I think it's also quite possible to control one's own feelings of anger in other ways, including self-talk and emotionally letting go of the past. And I actually do have quite a bit of control over my anger this way. But I think that's much, much harder than speaking up & takes years of practice.

Edited at 2014-08-18 12:35 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 19th, 2014 11:38 pm (UTC)
Yep, some people are aggressive about laying claim to as much space as possible.

As for flying, I lay the blame firmly on the airlines, which keep making the seats narrower and closer together, and then encourage passengers to blame other passengers, especially larger passengers.
Aug. 19th, 2014 11:38 pm (UTC)
Share away, the more the merrier!
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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