Brendan Murphy on why atheists handle mental illness better

Brendan Murphy is a growing force in speaking about mental illness.  Here’s his talk from the Secular Student Alliance Annual Conference this summer.

I’ve been 13 months in good shape since my last down period.  In the interest of honoring my promise to write about my own struggles, I will divulge I have not been well the last few days.  This weekend I was very close to self-admitting myself.

I’m slightly better now and taking all the precautionary steps I need.  I may be in and out over the next few weeks though.

MENTAL ILLNESS: Today's session.
MENTAL ILLNESS: BDSM or Neuroscience?
MENTAL ILLNESS: Today's session.
MENTAL ILLNESS: I see affection as a competition.
About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Xero Ankh

    *tight hug*

  • Kaoru Negisa

    *huge hugs*

  • John Eberhard

    Hugs. Don’t hesitate to call.

  • IslandBrewer

    *raises hand*

    What are your precautionary steps? Would it help to write them down, fold them up and put them in your wallet and write on the outside “Open in Case of Depression”?

    Whatever else you need to do for yourself, know that you are important here, now, alive, and you have made big big impacts on many people’s lives.

    Big ones. Great HUUUUGE impacts. Like Chicxulub craters.

    Ok, so be well. *hugs*

  • kaboobie

    Take care of yourself, JT. For purely selfish reasons I hope this doesn’t interfere with your appearance at Dragon*Con, as I look forward to meeting you there, but please do whatever you need to get well.

  • kirikasena

    Take care of yourself, JT! *hugs*

  • Agnes

    It was good to see you yesterday. Take good care of yourself JT.

  • Samantha M

    I surely can empathize with you. This spring/summer has been rough on a lot of us. Hang in there. *HUGS*

    • BCat70

      I can relate- this spring/ summer has certainly been hell on me.

      Sending {hugs} myself (may need to call in a tab later myself). Take care and be well.

  • John Horstman

    In the interest of honoring my promise to write about my own struggles, I will divulge I have not been well the last few days.

    I got that impression. As a fellow sufferer of intermittent depression symptoms (mine’s diagnosed as type-2 Bipolar!), I feel for you. I also know that depression isn’t reasonable and doesn’t necessarily have contextual ’causes’, but can have triggers. You likely know all of this, but I certainly find it helpful to try to identify the triggers and make a list of and possibly take simple, concrete steps to try to mitigate the stress they’re causing (work projects – take a day or half-day to plan out and write down the next few steps to deal with them; school work – make a list of any pending and outstanding assignments, and figure out the priority for completion and one or two pieces or steps I can tackle each day; interpersonal conflict – identify the root of the conflict, and figure out how it might be addressed when NOT in the middle of an argument; etc.).

    I hope this passes for you soon. We (I think I can speak for your regular readers on this point) value you as both a person and an activist, JT; hopefully that knowledge can help you while confronting an unreasonable, unbidden, and insistent negative mood.

    Also, not that you have any reason to do so, as you seem to have an awesome support network and I’m more or less a random stranger, but just in case, feel free to call – you have my contact info on the relevant officer thread on our GW2 site. I have no professional training, and if you’re feeling prone to self-harm, you should definitely contact a professional, but I can offer a sympathetic ear from the perspective of an atheist familiar with depression. Even if you’re unlikely to take me up on it, I know the offer itself might be of some help. :-)

  • PatrickG

    As someone who struggles too, let me add another *hug*. Take care of yourself!

  • Alix

    We’re all here for you, JT. If you need help, don’t be afraid to get it. You have a loving family and fanbase. Keep looking up, buddy, you can make it through, and one day you can look back and really say “I did it. I’m okay.” We’re all going to struggle sometimes but it’s so important to fight – something I know you do daily. Don’t give in, because even if you slip up, you can always pull yourself out. You are fighting a hard battle and you are going to kick it’s fucking ass! Love you much!

    Keep looking forward to the bears I promised you. They’ll be ready by skepticon time. (btw, what are your two favorite colors?)

  • Jamie

    Take care of yourself, JT. You’re too important to all of us.