Are there really toxic people? graphic of a toxic waste barrel
Mental Health

The “Toxic Person” Label and Mental Illness

The internet is full of talk about toxic people. Searching for "toxic person" yields 295 million hits on Google. That's a whole lotta toxicity. If someone is abusive, you deserve to a) be free from them, and b) call them toxic or whatever else you might choose. But those 295 million online hits aren't all… Continue reading The “Toxic Person” Label and Mental Illness

Good vibes only written in watercolours, with images of crying faces
Mental Health

“Should” You Avoid Negative People?

Along the lines of "choose happiness," you may have seen the message "good vibes only," or something along the lines of getting rid of negative people from your life. But where do people who aren't well fit into this? To be clear, I'm not talking about people who are negative about you.  If someone is… Continue reading “Should” You Avoid Negative People?

Happiness is a choice? Have you heard of mental illness?
Mental Health

Happiness Is a Choice, My Ass

"Happiness is a choice."  It's a message that you probably come across fairly often.  While it's probably meant to be motivational and positive most of the time, I think it's an idea that, if you start to poke at it a bit, has some fundamental flaws. The fallacy of happiness as a choice There's a… Continue reading Happiness Is a Choice, My Ass

You don't need to be positive - there's room for other emotions too
Mental Health

You Don’t Need to Be Positive

Toxic positivity is essentially the idea that happy and positive is the only right way to be, and therefore, people need to cheer up, look on the bright side, think positive, choose happiness, allow good vibes only, etc., etc. It also shows up in the "it could be worse" guilt trip mentality.  You're not in… Continue reading You Don’t Need to Be Positive

Book cover: Bright-sided by Barbara Ehrenreich
Book Reviews

Book Review: Bright-Sided

Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking is Undermining America by Barbara Ehrenreich was recommended by a fellow writer on who, like me, has chronic treatment-resistant depression. The book looks at how expectations of positive thinking, with no room for anything else, are actually harming our society.  The author doesn't use the term toxic positivity, but she's talking about the… Continue reading Book Review: Bright-Sided

two smiling stuffed toys- one says happy, the other says keep on smiling
Mental Health

How Well Does Positive Psychology Apply to Mental Illness?

The basic idea of positive psychology is a good one.  Who doesn't want to feel happier and the other positive emotions that go along with that? The essentials of positive psychology According to, positive psychology focuses on the positive aspects of life, including: "Positive experiences (like happiness, joy, inspiration, and love)" "Positive states and traits… Continue reading How Well Does Positive Psychology Apply to Mental Illness?

thought rays streaming out from brain
Science Corner

Do Thoughts Vibrate as the Law of Attraction Claims?

I regularly read or hear someone talking about vibrational frequencies and how thoughts vibrate and all that jazz.  This is often in relation to the so-called law of attraction.  This concept doesn't stay in the metaphorical realm; instead, it's not uncommon to see quantum physics being used to justify these kinds of ideas.  It annoys… Continue reading Do Thoughts Vibrate as the Law of Attraction Claims?

feeling names wheel
Mental Health

Identifying Emotions

Wikipedia What exactly are emotions?  Well, there's no easy answer to that; it depends on who you ask and what their theoretical perspective is (you can read more in What Is… an Emotion).   But regardless of how we define them, how do we describe them?  That can be easier said than done.  There's even… Continue reading Identifying Emotions

Is the law of attraction real? - graphics of magnets and the logo of The Secret
Science Corner

Is the Law of Attraction Real?

At one point I had come home from an extended stay in hospital, and because ECT had wiped out a chunk of memory, I discovered things in my house that I had no idea how they had gotten there.  One of those things I found was a book on the law of attraction. At first… Continue reading Is the Law of Attraction Real?

book cover: The subtle art of not giving a f*ck by Mark Manson
Book Reviews

Book Review: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson claims to provide "a counterintuitive approach to living a good life."  He wrote this book in reaction to the problems he saw in the self-help industry. His own background is as a blogger; there's no indication that he has a background in psychology or… Continue reading Book Review: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck