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I know I've said things to my daughter about her anxiety that were immensely unhelpful.

And though I've apologized, I cringe thinking about how many more times she's going to have to hear unintentionally hurtful things about her mental health struggles.

Those of us who don't deal with mental health issues can sometimes stick our collective foot in our mouth. Big time.


It's only through years of talking about my daughter's experiences and observing it firsthand that I've learned how little I understood about mental illness. I've seen how well-meaning comments can totally miss the mark and how alienating such comments can be for those on the receiving end.

Lifestyle reporter Hattie Gladwell created a hashtag — #ThingsPeopleHaveSaidAboutMyMentalIllness — to highlight some of the ridiculous things people say to those struggling with mental health issues.

Gladwell posted a tweet asking people to share the most unhelpful or insensitive thing people have said about their mental illness, starting with her own example:

1. "One person told me I didn't need medication, I just needed to be more motivated."

The responses are incredibly telling of just how many misconceptions there are about mental illness.

2. "You don't look like you're mentally ill."

[rebelmouse-image 19532950 dam="1" original_size="602x219" caption="Image via That Girl With BPD/Twitter." expand=1]Image via That Girl With BPD/Twitter.

Because you can see inside someone's mind with your eyeballs? What?

3. "When you have a job and a family, all these thoughts will disappear."

[rebelmouse-image 19532951 dam="1" original_size="575x240" caption="Image via Elle/Twitter." expand=1]Image via Elle/Twitter.

I am 100% certain that adding a job and a family on top of mental health issues is not a cure. For real.

4. "You have too much money to have anything wrong with you."

[rebelmouse-image 19532952 dam="1" original_size="599x189" caption="Image via Alice/Twitter." expand=1]Image via Alice/Twitter.

Mental illness crosses all economic lines. You can't necessarily buy your way out of it.

5. "There is nothing wrong with you."

[rebelmouse-image 19532953 dam="1" original_size="597x214" caption="Image via Chazie/Twitter." expand=1]Image via Chazie/Twitter.

First, do you tell people with a missing limb that they're faking it and trying to get attention?

And second, depression isn't a contagious disease. For the love of...

6. "Weren't you taking meds?"

[rebelmouse-image 19532954 dam="1" original_size="601x332" caption="Image via Anne Greif/Twitter." expand=1]Image via Anne Greif/Twitter.

When it comes to medication and mental illness, you can't win for losing. People will tell you that you don't need meds. Then they'll tell you that you do need them. Then they'll question why you haven't miraculously been cured by them already.

People need to understand that medication is a management tool, not a cure-all, and that finding the right medication is like solving a complex puzzle with lots of moving parts. (Not to mention the struggle of finding the right therapist.)

7. "Have you tried praying away your depression?"

Image via Alisa/Twitter​.

We don't tell people to pray away diabetes or heart disease or a broken bone. It makes just as little sense to tell someone to pray away their mental illness.

8. "So you're just superstitious?"

Image via Lydia/Twitter​​.

It's natural for people to try to relate with things they can understand, but making reaches such as these is just silly.

All of us have felt nervous, but that doesn't mean we truly understand clinical anxiety. All of us have felt down, but that doesn't mean we understand clinical depression.

9. "Have you ever thought about how there are people who have it much worse than you do?"

Image via Mika/Twitter​.

Mental illness is not a product of selfishness. We can acknowledge and empathize with others while also going through our own stuff at the same time.

10. "It's attention seeking."

Image via Juliette Burton/Twitter​.

A cornucopia of insensitivity!

But seriously, "I wish I was anorexic"? No, you really, really, really don't.

11. "Positive thinking is the key to battling depression."

(sigh) ... Sometimes truly all you can do is respond with sarcasm: #LiterallyNeverOccurredToMe.

The responses to this hashtag hold an important message: We all need to better our understanding of what people with mental health issues have to deal with all the time.

I'm not an innocent party here. I know I've said things that were unhelpful, and though it was always from a place of caring and concern, that intent didn't trump the impact of my words.

It's hard to understand something you've never experienced. And we need to acknowledge the fact that people with mental illnesses are experiencing something those of us without mental illnesses can't completely relate to.

But that doesn't mean we can't do our best to find out what actually is helpful to say.

Often times, a simple, empathetic, "I'm sorry you're going through this" or "Is there anything I can do to help?" — or simply listening without saying anything — is the best thing we can do.

Stigma hurts.

But if we all take time to learn about mental illnesses we don't understand and strive to help those who are struggling to feel supported and loved without judgment or shame, the world will be a kinder place.

Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

The mesmerizing lost art of darning knit fabric.

For most of human history, people had to make their own clothing by hand, and sewing skills were subsequently passed down from generation to generation. Because clothing was so time-consuming and labor-intensive to make, people also had to know how to repair clothing items that got torn or damaged in some way.

The invention of sewing and knitting machines changed the way we acquire clothing, and the skills people used to possess have largely gone by the wayside. If we get a hole in a sock nowadays, we toss it and replace it. Most of us have no idea how to darn a sock or fix a hole in any knit fabric. It's far easier for us to replace than to repair.

But there are still some among us who do have the skills to repair clothing in a way that makes it look like the rip, tear or hole never happened, and to watch them do it is mesmerizing.

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Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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