The female body has long been misunderstood. Women are often misdiagnosed by doctors, either due to the belief that they are over-dramatizing symptoms or because of a lack of adequate research on illnesses predominantly faced by women. As frustrating as this is, it’s no new phenomenon.
Dating back to 1900 BC Egypt, an ancient medical document known as the Eber Papyrus contained references to hysterical disorders thought to be caused by abnormal movements of the uterus. In the 5th Century BC, Hippocrates was the first to coin the term “hysteria” and agreed with his predecessors that this so-called condition — attributable only to women — was due to a “wandering womb,” believed to be caused by sexual inactivity. Recommended cures were, naturally, that women should increase sexual activity within the bounds of marriage. This diagnosis was not founded in science or medical research (though that may seem obvious now), but in gender bias against women and their experience of emotions and the perceived lack of sexual interest.
As currently defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary, hysteria is, “behavior exhibiting overwhelming or unmanageable fear or emotional excess.” An alternate, psychiatric definition is, “a psychoneurosis marked by emotional excitability and disturbances of the psychogenic, sensory, vasomotor, and visceral functions.” While the definition of hysteria might seem broad, it has also altered over time. While medicine and mental health have changed a great deal over the centuries, hysteria is a historically gendered diagnosis that often served as a catch-all when doctors couldn’t identify another illness. It was extremely common to find women labelled as “hysterical” defined more by their stature as women than by their symptoms. Continue reading The History of Hysteria: Sexism in Diagnosis
In 1965, TIME magazine published an article titled “Homosexuals Can Be Cured.” The article focused on the “triumphant” results of group therapy work led by psychiatrist Samuel Hadden, who was also a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School at the time. Hadden had been leading long-term (four to eight year) therapy sessions for men who identified as homosexual in the hopes of “curing” them of their sexual “perversions.”
TIME’s article celebrated Hadden’s ability to help men work through their “symptoms” of “illness”—whether that was wearing inappropriately feminine clothing or being sexually interested in men instead of women. Hadden was only one of many esteemed psychiatrists and psychologists to consider — and treat — homosexuality as a sickness during the 1960s. In fact, homosexuality was not removed from the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” [DSM] until 1973.
The pathologizing of homosexuality was not, however, contextually specific to 20th century America. Many of the earliest writings condemning homosexual acts as “unnatural” caught on in 12th century Europe, when religious leaders like Saint Thomas Aquinas denounced homosexuality as a sin in their early writings. Popular disdain against homosexuality, began in the realm of religion, but it quickly moved into the legal arena in centuries to come. Continue reading The History of LGBTQ Conversion Therapy
In an ideal world, taking a mental health day would be simple. Imagine this: You could have 10 per year and use them at your discretion. Or maybe you work at a small company that doesn’t have a formal system for taking time off. In that case it should be as straightforward as talking to your supervisor about why you need one.
You tell your supervisor your depression is acting up. Perhaps your anxiety disorder has been eating you alive lately. Your strained mental health is affecting your productivity, so you need a day off to tend to it, to heal and return with renewed vigor.
She says, “Sure.” There are no questions or judgments, and she is comfortable with you being open about your mental health. She understands the importance of caring for your mental wellness and trusts you are not taking advantage of the policy. Continue reading The Stigma of Asking for a Mental Health Day
Since the end of the 2016 election and the beginning of Trump’s presidency, there is one insult that has become increasingly frequent: “snowflake,” a slang term for an overly sensitive, politically correct, stereotypically liberal person (more often millennials than people of all ages). These days there are many conservative Internet-goers and Trump supporters who use it to put down or provoke anyone they disagree with.
We’re not involved in politics, yet people often throw this word our way. If you’re familiar with Talkspace, it might be because you saw one of our ads on Facebook. These ads are great for reminding people they have the opportunity to work with a therapist in a way that might be more affordable and convenient for them.
The only problem with the ads is they reach some mean-spirited people across the Internet. Some of these people leave rude comments. They insult those who are considering trying Talkspace. We frequently see the declaration that anyone who uses Talkspace or goes to therapy is a snowflake. Continue reading ‘Snowflake’ – A New Insult for People Who Go to Therapy
Therapy with a licensed professional is becoming more mainstream. Thanks to online therapy, millions more people are trying therapy for the first time.
There are, however, still some popular myths that often prevent people from going to therapy. As a licensed therapist who has helped clients move past these myths, I wanted to take some time to point them out and debunk them. Continue reading This Therapist Debunks 4 Popular Myths About Going to Therapy
For Mental Health Awareness Month, we asked some of our favorite bloggers to share their personal mental health stories to help #StopStigma. The more people speaking out about mental illness, the more people will know they aren’t alone in their struggles. Our aim is to encourage our Talkspace community and the broader mental health community to share their stories in a snowball effect, blasting stigma and breaking the silence.
This Is How I Struggle, By Kelly Bishop
You feel like you’re standing in your own way. So many things in your life should make you happy, yet you struggle to feel those elated emotions. It makes you hate yourself because you can’t let what is in front of you bring happiness. It’s not like you’re taking anything for granted, but it feels like you are, only because you’re as sad as ever when you shouldn’t be. Continue reading #StopStigma: A Blogger Opens Up About Her Depression
The following is an edited transcript of Roni’s speech from our clinical conference, The Future of Therapy:
I’d like to thank everyone for joining us at the first Talkspace clinical conference. This is an exciting moment for us, as we’ve gathered industry leaders to discuss the impact of technology on our mental health and the changing landscape of health care. Continue reading Roni Frank Talks Disrupting Stigma and the #FutureofTherapy
Because we’re all about discussing mental health and fighting the stigma of mental illness, we at Talkspace decided to celebrate women who are changing the conversation on mental health and illness for the better.
Some use their star power to challenge stigma and inspire others to open up about mental illness. Others innovated in fields relevant to mental health. Past or present, they are part of the reason our society is moving toward breaking the stigma of mental illness and valuing mental health. Continue reading These Famous Women Are Fighting the Stigma of Mental Illness
The words “judge” and “judgment” have negative connotations and tend to place people in a no-win situation. You don’t want to be judged, yet you want to be able to tell if someone is judging you. Even when we know discovering the truth might hurt, curiosity wins.
Judgment, however, is not necessarily something to worry about. There are positive, neutral and negative forms of it. Whether it’s therapy or an actual courtroom, the key is understanding which one you are dealing with and learning how to respond. Continue reading How to Tell if Someone is Judging You: Defining Judgment
When a beloved actor dies, we mourn ten times more because it feels like their characters have died with them. It feels like Voldemort killed Snape again, doesn’t it?
But here’s the silver lining: Alan Rickman’s passing inspires us to learn more about him as we honor his memory. Keep reading to learn something you most likely didn’t know about the beloved British actor. Continue reading Something You Didn’t Know About Alan Rickman