mental health in america

Some ways to be patriotic today:

- Take a moment to read about the history of Native Americans, their beautiful and varied pre-colonisation societies, and their gradual extermination by white planters, frontiersmen and the US military.

- Consider putting those fireworks away for the evening, as many veterans who have returned home from far-away battlefields with PTSD report Independence Day celebrations can act as a trigger.

- Do something worthwhile to turn America into the place you want it to be: talk to your neighbours about how to solve a problem in your hood, join a workplace union, donate to Planned Parenthood.

9

I just want to know why “shoot to kill” is always the first option when it comes to us??? Pepper spray….tasers…..bean bag bullets…..so many options available to the police, but it is always lethal option as a first choice, especially if you happen to be brown or black. 

The kid who killed nine people in SC was apprehended safely…even took him to Burger King. The bath salt psycho who was caught by police in the middle of EATING SOMEONE’S FACE…he was apprehended safely! Why do we always have to die?

INTERESTING DOCUMENTARIES TO WATCH

JESUS CAMP 

Jesus Camp follows several young children as they prepare to attend a summer camp where the kids will get their daily dose of evangelical Christianity. Are these children being brainwashed?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oy_u4U7-cn8

SECRETS OF A WILD CHILD

This is a documentary about a girl, Genie,  who spent all her life locked in a bedroom - the wild child who grew up in total isolation with almost no human contact.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmdycJQi4QA

THE STORY OF 3 GIRLS, KIDNAPPED AND KEPT CAPTIVE FOR 10 YEARS

Documentary exploring the kidnapping - and recent release - of the three young women who were held captive in a cellar in suburban Cleveland, Ohio, for 11 years.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLObkZTi5TM

CHILDREN OF DARKNESS

Children of Darkness is an Oscar nominated 1983 documentary film. It explored the topic of juvenile psychiatry - an acute lack of mental health care in America for seriously emotionally disturbed youth. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTCSfx47R1w

CHILD OF RAGE 

A chilling documentary featuring an interview between a 6-year-old psychopath and her psychiatrist in which she describes in lurid detail the fantasies of wanting to murder her brother and parents.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2-Re_Fl_L4

JUST MELVIN, JUST EVIL

a 2000 American documentary by James Ronald Whitney about his grandfather, Melvin Just, and the devastating consequences of the sexual abuse Just inflicted on their family. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lY4eHaiVK9s

AOKIGAHARA (SUICIDE FOREST) 

The Aokigahara Forest is the most popular site for suicides in Japan. After the novel Kuroi Jukai was published, in which a young lover commits suicide in the forest, people started taking their own lives there at a rate of 50 to 100 deaths a year. The site holds so many bodies that the Yakuza pays homeless people to sneak into the forest and rob the corpses. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FDSdg09df8

INTERVIEW WITH A CANNIBAL 

On the afternoon of June 13, 1981, a Japanese man named Issei Sagawa walked to the Bois de Boulogne, a park on the outskirts of Paris, carrying two suitcases. The contents of those suitcases, to the lament of a nearby jogger, was the dismembered body of a fellow student – a Dutch woman named Renée Hartevelt, whom Sagawa had shot three days prior and had spent the days since eating various parts of her body. This documentary highlights his life after the incident. 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BosZxa1bYcE

Ever had your water or power shut off? It feels like living in the Stone Age … for a few days. But for some 1.7 million Americans, that’s every day. Not because they don’t pay their bills, but because they somehow still don’t have access to basic utilities like power, running water, or a sewer system.

To the surprise of virtually no one, Native Americans have been handed a sizable slice of this particular humble pie. Thirteen percent of Native Americans don’t have access to running water, compared to just 0.04 percent of everybody else. An estimated 40 percent of the Navajo Nation in New Mexico is without running water, leaving them with no option but to haul water from faraway taps. Fun fact: This costs them 72 times more than your average American pays for his delicious, easily accessible tap water. Those who can’t afford it are stuck with whatever (generally non-potable) water sources they can find. Fortunately, they have help, like DIGDEEP, an L.A. nonprofit specializing in defending citizens’ rights to clean water, and Darlene the Water Lady, a volunteer who drives a monthly water truck round to provide hundreds of Navajo Nation families with clean water.

4 Problems That Should Infuriate Americans

Imagine Chris being your rock.

A/N: This piece is going to be more than just about the angst and the fluff, it’s about addressing a serious issue in both my own life and society; an issue that seems to carry a stigma that prevents one from talking about it without shame. Now I started writing because it was the only time where I felt like I had true control over anything, over myself- over life. It’s honestly the reason I’m still alive sometimes. (Super dark, I’m sorry.) I have had an eating disorder for years now, and this is possibly the first time I’m publishing a story where I properly address that because I feel like Tumblr is a safe space and perhaps there is someone reading who will find comfort in my words and seek the help that I, too, am afraid to seek. First of all, you are not alone. Secondly, I know how scary it is. Thirdly, we are beautiful despite how often our reflection tell us we are not. Lastly, you are worthy and you deserve a love like this. Why am I writing this now, while I’m on my holiday having the time of my life? Because mental disorders don’t stop when you’re on holiday, and they don’t stop when you’re working, or studying for a major exam. I just want those who are suffering from this, or depression, or anxiety to know that I am with them always. ❤️

You tapped your pen anxiously against the table as you reread your food diary entry for the day. All the while you could hear the voices in your head telling you that “it’s too much”, that “you failed”, that you needed to “do better” and “be better”, and the harder you tried to ignore said voices, the louder they got. You lowered your pen and closed your notebook, taking slow breaths as your eyelids blackened your vision. You were okay, there was always tomorrow. You could eat less tomorrow; you’d succeed tomorrow; you’d be better and do better tomorrow.

You broke from your concentration when you heard Chris come through the front door, calling out to you. “Babe, I’m home!” Relief escaped your lungs as if he were the only thing capable of saving you from yourself. You returned yourself to your bittersweet reality, stowing your food diary in your top desk drawer where it lived with all your other notebooks; all filled with your thoughts, both blissful and pained.

“Hey you,” Chris smiled at you when you entered the kitchen. You managed one back, despite how tired and heartbroken you were; Chris noticed, but he said nothing knowing it would cause you to break down if he asked. “How was your day?” He asked as you forced your way into his arms, burying your face in his chest.

“Same old,” you mumbled, appreciating how comforting his touch was. He stroked your back gently, peppering soft kisses onto the top of your head. “How was yours?” You quizzed, glancing up at him for a moment before pressing your face back into his chest. God, he smelt so good; he smelt more than just his refreshing cologne, he smelt like warmth and kindness and happiness. He smelt like a dose of everything you needed after the day you had.

“Better now that I’m with my girl,” he smiled, giving you a tight squeeze before he released you. You leaned against the island counter while Chris proceeded to unpack the small bag of groceries he’d brought back with him. “So I’ve been thinking,” he glanced back at you, feeling his heart ache at the sight of your tired eyes. “Why don’t we go away for the weekend? We can rent a cabin, go immerse ourselves in the quiet forest. It’ll be nice, don’t you think?”

You knew Chris only suggested going out to a cabin when he was worried about you. It didn’t start out like that, it started off as a getaway where the two of you could spend some time alone without modern technology and people getting in the way. But over the years, it’d become a retreat where one could rid oneself of all the stress, and the emotional dread, and the weight of the world that was on one’s shoulders; that one being you, and occasionally Chris when he was having a particularly stressful time. It was a nice place to be because you wouldn’t have anything to stress and trigger you; you could just exist, drinking the calm and the quiet that Mother Nature provided. But it was also a horrible place to be because Chris would take that opportunity to talk to you, to worry and fuss about you, to love you with a love that you didn’t feel like you deserve, and unlike the city, you’d have no where, nothing, and no one to hide behind.

“I don’t know,” your fingers played with your right earlobe; a nervous tick Chris had deciphered over the years. “I feel like this isn’t a good time. You’re busy with work and I’m busy with work- I don’t think now’s a good time to have a getaway.”

“I think it’s because we’re so busy that we need a getaway,” he countered. “We can’t keep working ourselves to the bone, Y/N.” Especially not mentally, he thought but he didn’t say out loud. “I’m about to leave for Infinity War, now’s a good a time as any for us to have some alone time.” You let out a quiet sigh, but stopped arguing because you knew from Chris’ firm tone that saying no wasn’t an option. “Pack a bag, okay?” He kissed your cheek and you nodded with a forced smile. “We’ll leave in the morning.”
• • • • • • • •
The car ride out to the cabin wasn’t as bubbly as your usual car rides together; there was a fog of emotions, but happiness wasn’t one of them. You didn’t sing or joke, and you most definitely didn’t eat anything. It broke Chris’ heart to see you like this, and it broke yours to see what you were doing to him. It was actually your biggest fear to hurt him the way you were which was why you rejected him when he asked you out the first few times. He had this light in his eyes that you didn’t want to kill with your dark, you’d done enough of that over the course of your existence.

You’d lost friends, and boyfriends, and even some members of your family- you didn’t want to invest in another person only to lose them too. But Chris was persistent. He respected your decision to not be with him romantically, but remained in your life as a friend. A very good friend- a best friend that you couldn’t help but fall in-love with. He was the perfect man, he cared for you and loved you unconditionally. Even after finding out about what you suffered from, he didn’t go anywhere. He was one of the few who promised you a lifetime and actually proved he’d keep his promise, and so you let your walls down and allowed him into your life as your romantic partner.

Two and a half years later, after dozens of panic attacks and days where you’d avoid food altogether, you were still with him and he was as in-love with you as the first time he saw you. Till this day you didn’t understand why, because to you, you were unlovable. But that wasn’t how Chris saw you, he knew you weren’t your disorders; you were intelligent, and talented, and strong, and beautiful, and resilient. He loved you because of all that, but most of all, he loved you because you remained kind despite the constant hell you were dragged through. You may not have seen what he saw, but you were every bit the girl you aspired to be, and until you saw yourself in that same light- he wasn’t going to stop working you towards that.

“Hey.” You turned away from the window when Chris reached for your hand and pulled it onto his lap as he gave it a light squeeze. “What are you thinking about?” He asked then lifted your hand to his lips, kissing your knuckles. You felt your lips quirk into a smile; that was an act of affection you’d never get tired of.

“Nothing,” you shook your head.

“Do you want to know what I’m thinking about?” He quizzed and you nodded. “How much I love you.” He threw a grin your way and you managed a laugh; he smiled because that was what he loved to hear. “You make me feel like I’m the luckiest man on the planet everyday, Y/N.” He forced himself not to well up when he saw you did. “Everyday,” he repeated in a firmer tone.

“I feel the same way about you, Chris,” you squeezed his hand and smiled. “I love you to a point where you could easily ruin me,” you admitted under your breath as you pulled your hand from his. You didn’t mean for Chris to hear it, but he did and he understood it. It was the same for him; you were going to be someone he’d never get over if he was ever unlucky enough to lose you.

“I’m never going anywhere,” he glanced at you as you closed your eyes, pretending to drift off. “You know that, right?” He waited for an answer, but he didn’t get one. “I’m planning to spend the rest of my life with you, sweetheart.” He said as he came to a stop at a red light. He leaned over the gearbox and kissed the side of your head gently, whispering as he pulled away, “don’t you worry.”
• • • • • • • •
Chris watched you over the table as you unconsciously stared at your food. You were so used to contemplating the pros and cons of consuming anything that you didn’t even realize you were doing it until you called yourself out. It was incredibly heartbreaking for Chris to see that you couldn’t even do what humans were meant to do in order to survive without first spending hours fighting yourself on it. The motto you lived by: eating is a choice, not a necessity.

You had good days where you could eat and not feel like your entire world was falling apart, then you had bad days where you couldn’t even eat a salad without feeling like you needed to throw it back up. It was so fickle that you didn’t know if you were actually suffering from an eating disorder, or if you were just a health nut who wanted to look good. But no health nut would do what you constantly did to yourself, there was something definitely wrong with you.

Chris could still remember when he first confronted you about it, it was probably one of the hardest things he’d ever had to do. You weren’t dating when he found out about your eating disorder, but he was already in-love with you so it didn’t stop his heart from shattering at the sounds of your cries. It didn’t seem like normal crying to him, it was as though he could hear your soul break. The pain you were in was immense but mental, and nothing he did could’ve taken it away. In that moment, seeing the love of his life bawl her eyes out, he thought he’d died and gone to hell.

“Are you going to eat that?” Chris asked gently.

“Um…” You looked up at him, your eyes glistened. “Yeah,” you forced a smile, “I am.” You picked up your knife and fork and poked at the roasted chicken breast on your plate before cutting a small piece and putting in into your mouth. “It’s good,” you mumbled after swallowing.

Now he didn’t want to push you, but his worry had reached the edge of the cliff. You needed to eat something and you needed to eat it now because he didn’t want you to get lightheaded or suffer from gastric pains again. “Y/N,” he began with a sigh.

“What?” You were frustrated with yourself and on the verge of crying. “I’m eating, aren’t I?”

“You have to try harder than that,” he told you. Both of you could both hear how worried he was for your physical and mental health, and that he was on the verge of crying too. “I know how difficult this-” he began but was cut off.

“I love you, Chris, but you don’t.” You shook your head as you rose to your feet, weeping as you did. “And I really don’t want to do this with you right now. Excuse me,” you walked out of the dining room and headed straight for the backdoor so you could take a walk and calm down.

The air was crisp outside. Actually, it was a lot colder than your unprotected body could endure. You wrapped your arms around yourself, rubbing warmth through your thin sweater. You heard the door open then heavy footsteps crunching towards you, you closed your eyes and fought the urge to cry as Chris draped your coat over your shoulders.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered, rubbing your arms. “You’re right, I don’t get it. If you’re not ready, then- you’re not ready.” Your shoulder shook gently as you cried as quietly as you could. “I can’t force recovery on you, I can just be here for you as you recover. I’m sorry, Y/N,” he repeated as he gently turned you around. “I’m really sorry, sweetheart.” He cupped your face in his hands and brushed away your tears, starting to cry himself. “I’m sorry you’re going through all this, I’m sorry you think you’re not beautiful because you are.”

“I’m broken, aren’t I?”

“No,” he shook his head then pulled you into his arms, holding you tightly against him. “You’re not broken, you’re just lost right now. But we’re going to get you out of this, okay?” He rubbed your back soothingly as you cried into his shoulder. “I promise you, this pain isn’t going to be forever.” He pulled back to take your face in his hands again, “and I always keep my promises, don’t I?” You nodded, sobbing. “So believe me, you’re going to be okay.”

“I love you,” you choked out as he pulled you back in for another hug.

“I love you too,” he whispered, clutching onto you as tightly as he could.

Tags: @chrisevans-imagines @widowsfics @m-a-t-91 @xoxomioxoxo @imaginesofdreams @ateliefloresdaprimavera @katiew1973 @winter-tospring @shamvictoria11 @caitsymichelle13 @michellekeehlmello @letterstomyself21 @soymikael @faye22 @always-an-evans-addict @sammyrenae68 @brobrobreja @elizabeth-matsuoka @thegirlwiththeimpala @camerica96 @all-of-the-above11 @captainamerica-ce @whenyourealizethisisntagoodname @yourtropegirl @smoothdogsgirl @createdbytinyaddiction @siofrataylor @dreamingintheimpalawithdean @imaginary-world-of-mine @wanderingkat77 @grantward3 @rileyloves5 @chrsmom302 @buckys-shield @mylittlefandomfanfictions @breezykpop @catch-me-im-a-falling-star @tabi-toast @ssweet-empowerment @hayleesteashoppe @chrixa @feelmyroarrrr @akidura79 @louisespecter @castellandiangelo @ccrossfire @assxmblesstuff @edward-lover18 @princessesnaddy @1d-niallerbieberforever @dxbrevgrey @bellastellaluna @christopher-or-steven (I am so sorry for this angsty piece, I just needed to get some stuff out. I’ll get back to the fluff after this, I promise. Don’t quit me ❤️)

“WHEN THE SHADOW IS IN FRONT OF YOU, ALL YOU SEE IS DARKNESS AND YOU FORGET THE SUN IS AT YOUR BACK.” 

BUT THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE. #NeverGiveUp

If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, don’t be afraid or ashamed to seek help. It is a move of strength to reach out. 

SUICIDE PREVENTION HOTLINE: 1-800-273-8255

Shoutout to every American who doesn’t like fireworks and therefore doesn’t heavily celebrate Fourth of July!
Whether it’s from PTSD, hearing issues, or anything else, I’m with you! I’ll be inside away from the loud noises that hurt my ears and give me panic attacks. You can still love America and be patriotic without doing fireworks- no matter what my mom says.

Hi Tumblr! Have a question for Patrick and Amy Kennedy? 

Patrick and Amy Kennedy have dedicated their lives to improving those of people around the world who are experiencing mental illness, addiction, and other brain diseases. 

Patrick Kennedy is a former Congressman and founder of The Kennedy Forum. The Kennedy Forum seeks to provide leadership toward a common vision: improving the lives of individuals living with mental illness and addiction, and promoting behavioral health for all. Amy Kennedy currently serves on the board of Mental Health America, which is focused on giving a voice to all people with mental health conditions and addictions. She is also the education director for The Kennedy Forum. 

Patrick and Amy Kennedy will be answering questions in an Answer Time right here on @postitforward on Friday, 5/26 at 1pm ET / 10am PT

Submit your questions now to our Ask Box

Highschool. Oh highschool. I place that used to be for education and friendship has turned into a place of obedience and bullies. Test scores and graduation rates are more important than mental health. They do not teach you the slaughter of Native Americans, or the struggle of modern day racism, or the fight for gay rights. They do not teach you about sexual violence, oppression, and abuse. They never teach you about the real world. But they will make sure you know that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell, how to find the slope of a line, and all the fancy facts about the presidents of America. They sugar coat everything, never show the raw truth. Teachers ignore children in need, children being bullied, children who are contemplating suicide. Maybe if we taught more about mental health and did not make it such a stigma we would increase the amount of children who come forward for help. Highschool is not about education and truth, it is all about trying to make every child’s mind work the same way. No room for creativity, imagination, growth, or health. Just make sure those test scores are high.
Please Don't Do It || Steve Rogers

Summary: It was the end, you couldn’t take it anymore, you decided to end your life. Until a certain handsome 97 year old finds you and tries to change your mind…

TRIGGER WARNINGS: Suicide, Depression, Near-Death experience 
If you’re depressed or suicidal then, please please please ask for help. Ending your life is not worth it. You can talk to me ANYTIME, I don’t bite.

*Requests are open*

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Originally posted by thatplaidnerd

Originally posted by master-of-duct-tape

You were alone in your bedroom, laying on the bed as tears were rolling down your cheeks. You’ve been holding it in all day. Seeing all those people smiling an happily living made you want to die. You felt like you were drowning, expect you could see everyone else around you breathe. That’s what depression felt like.

That was it for you. No one understood your pain. No one wants to help. No one.

You made your way to the bathroom, making sure to stop by the mirror, wanting to take one last look at yourself. You hated what you became, you used to be such a happy person, but now it was too late. That joy and desire to live you used to carry has been robbed from you. But then Steve came, and for a while, everything seemed to be better… but it didn’t last, unfortunatly. Not wanting him to abandon you, you never told your lover about your depression. You felt like you were a burden to him, and expressing to him how you felt would just add more weight on his shoulder. You didn’t feel like you mattered.

But what you didn’t know, is none of that was true, you did matter. You did have people who cared about you, you just needed to be brave enough to ask for help, because you deserved someone to be there for you, and help you get through those difficulties. But it didn’t really matter anymore now, did it?

Sighing for what would maybe be the last time, you opened the cap of the bottle, pourring a part of its content in your hand.

Ready to swallow the pills, you shakingly brought the pills close to your mouth when you heard a familiar voice shout.

“Don’t do it, please don’t do it (Y/N) .” No, you told yourself, what is he doing doing here?

“Baby, please don’t do it. I can’t lose you too. Please just put those pills down, love.” He gently whispered.

“You don’t get it Steve, you just don’t. I can’t do this anymore. I can’t keep putting a fake smile on my face and pretend I’m okay when I’m not. I can’t live with those people who pretend to be my friends while they actually hate me. This world is cruel and I can’t live in it anymore. You can’t understand my pain, no one can Steven. You’re better off without me, you’ll find someone better, there’s so many pretty girls out there who would kill to be with you. Please just let me die Steve.

You whispered the last sentence, not finding enough strengh to use your voice. Steve was fighting back his own tears, blaming himself for not noticing sooner, all the signs were there, if only he just paid more attention to you.

“(Y/N) Look at me.” At first you ignored him, feeling too ashamed to face him. “Baby, hey, look at me. You don’t have to pretend anymore, okay? From now on, I want you to be honest with me. I want to help you fight this, I want to help you. Do you know why? Because I love you, because you’re the only one I want, those other girls mean nothing to me. (Y/N) please, just let me spend the rest of my life showing you how important you are to me.”

As he went on with his speech, he slowly took the pills from your hands, and hid them in his pockets, you didn’t take any actions to try to stop him. You were just exhausted, all you wanted was someone to hold you and tell you everything would be okay.

Steve wrapped his arms around your fragile body. He then tightened his grip around you, never wanting to witness an event like this ever again.

Please don’t let me go…” You desperately asked as you wrapped your arms around his neck, starting to sob once again.

Originally posted by xmind-fuckedx

He kissed your hair and your forehead multiple times as you both sat down on the floor.

“I’m not letting you go anywhere, baby. Everything will be okay.  We’ll get through this together love, we’ll get trough this together.”

You weren’t alone anymore, everything was finally going to get better.

Parents and their kids privacy

Ok, I know a lot of my followers won’t care but I need to speak about this.
Tonight my sister broke my trust and told my parents about a private spam account I use to joke around with my friends and speak about personal things I don’t want my family to know, I allowed her to follow it a few months ago due to her saying she’ll tell my parents I have it. Why do my parents not know about said spam account? Well 1. My mum is very controlling when it comes to what I, a teenage girl, can say and do on social media and 2. Because it’s private for jokes between my friends and for me to be able to say what I want.

If my parents, specifically my mum, were to find this I would be in a lot of trouble purely because I swear on it.
I was very good at keeping this account on the down low considering it’s been a secret since November last year, but now that’s unfortunately has come crashing down thanks to the fact my sister thought she was being funny by telling my parents about this account.

In the past I have had a lot of trouble speaking to my mum (my dad is a lot better with this so from here on he will not be included) about personal things purely because she has constantly invaded my privacy by sneaking on my phone and looking at my private messages whilst I was asleep. So her not knowing about This account has been a life saver; luckily for me she doesn’t know how to use tumblr so now this is my only safe place. I can now no longer talk about my sexuality and my mental illnesses on my PRIVATE Instagram account thanks to my sister. My mum will most likely stalk everything on this account because she is now forcing me to accept her on it or she’ll take my phone.

This isn’t even the whole story, what I’ve said here is the simple version of it all. I’m putting this on tumblr because I can’t put it on my spam for my friends to way in on; so I’m asking you guys to share this and give me your opinions on the matter of whether a child/teenager should have the respect and privacy they deserve from their parents when it comes to social media

Tell me if you think parents should not have the entitlement to invade their kids privacy and if you think what my mum is doing to me is or isn’t ok, please send me @harrypetty messages on the subject so I can take it to my mum and show her I deserve privacy


I’m going to tag the following so this can get noticed by more people (let me know if u want ur tag removed)
@laurenorder @actual–living–trash @smaug-the-wizard @possesstiel

Sensory Deprivation

There’s a lot of confusion in the press, fiction and occasionally research about sensory deprivation. So as with solitary confinement I’ll start off with some definitions.

Sensory deprivation set ups reduce or mask at least the following senses: sight, hearing, smell and touch.

Additionally some equipment reduces the sensation of gravity.

I try to avoid describing tortures as ‘extreme’. I feel this can imply that some tortures are ‘less damaging’ or ‘safer’ and this is not true.

However the way that sensory deprivation damages human beings demands the term.

This is extreme.

It is almost uniquely damaging and the speed and extent of the damage inflicted is frankly terrifying.

Thankfully sensory deprivation has never ‘caught on’ as a torture.

I accept that as writers we often depict things that aren’t true to life. My advice regarding sensory deprivation is usually to avoid it. It has only been used to torture in isolated cases (a small number of mental health facilities in America) and the damage to characters is so severe that functioning in a basic way is unlikely.

I’m going to cover methods of sensory deprivation and then go on to the effects seen in volunteers and victims. So if you do decide to use it in your story you can do it as accurately as possible.

Baldwin’s Box

Confusingly not developed by Baldwin (it was developed by Donald Hebb who used it in ethical experiments), ‘Baldwin’s box’ is actually a small room. It’s padded and equipped with a ventilation system that masks smells from outside.

It is sometimes soundproof and sometimes the occupants wear ear muffs to mask sounds. It can be dark or under a constant, low lighting level. The interior is uniform and undecorated.

Occupants occasionally wear oven gloves, dark glasses or padded clothing to further mask their senses.

Baldwin’s box has been used in ethical and consensual experiments but it has also been used on unconsenting mental health patients and members of the American armed forces.

This is a structure that has to be specially built and quite sizeable. That means it both costs money and is relatively easy to detect. This is something that you’d need planning permission for.

So if you decide to use Baldwin’s Box sensory deprivation in your story consider how the structure was built or adjusted and how it might be disguised. Does your villain have the resources to build it from scratch? Do they have the space for this kind of structure? If they build it themselves where do they get the materials and are the materials flimsy enough that the occupant could break out (something that happened in at least one real life case).

Lilly’s Tank

Lilly’s tank is a sealed structure that’s significantly smaller than Baldwin’s box but significantly larger than a coffin. They might be around the size of a double bed (although Lilly’s original was significantly larger).

The tanks either has an air regulation system that masks smells from outside or a breathing mask that goes over the occupant’s head. It’s sound proof and it closes over the occupant cutting out light sources. Then tank is filled with a saline solution, kept at body temperature. This masks the sense of touch generally and also reduces the ability to feel temperature and creates a feeling of weightlessness.

Lilly’s tank affects more senses than Baldwin’s box. It’s significantly more complicated to make but smaller and commercially available. They’re currently used in some spas as a relaxation treatment, usually for an hour at a time.

Lilly, to his very great credit, halted his research and left his institution shortly after receiving questions on the use of his tank against ‘involuntary subjects’. His tank was never used on anyone unwilling and the vast majority of his research was done by experimenting on himself.

They’re expensive, the spa varieties are somewhere between $3,500-6,500 (via Rejali). They’re also cumbersome, difficult to maintain and full of water. This means that an unconsenting occupant would have ample opportunity to drown themselves, making their use as a torture device extremely unlikely.

Time frames for sensory deprivation experiments

As with solitary confinement the amount of time a volunteer will stay in one of these devices is a really important measurement.

During Hebb’s work using ‘Baldwin’s Box’ half of his volunteers left at around 24 hours. The extreme outlier in the group stayed in the ‘box’ for six days. Most of the others had left after two days.

In contrast the longest a volunteer has stayed in Lilly’s tank is 10 hours with the average duration a little under 4 hours.

Effects of Sensory Deprivation

Sensory deprivation produces extreme disorientation, insomnia, confusion, loss of ‘disciplinary control over the thinking process’ and hallucinations in willing volunteers.

Let me give you an example of what that means.

Hebb’s volunteers were so disorientated that they sometimes got lost inside the bathroom they went to for breaks and couldn’t leave it without assistance. One of them started hallucinating after 20 minutes. Hallucinations in Lilly’s tank occur in under three hours.

So far as I can tell willing volunteers who were confined for short periods (24 hours or less) didn’t suffer any lasting effects.

Beyond that the situation begins to get somewhat murky due to unclear records and poor research practices.

Baldwin, after whom the box is named, locked a US Army ‘volunteer’ in a sensory deprivation chamber for 40 hours during which Baldwin’s notes describe the man breaking down, crying and begging to be released. The ordeal ended when the man kicked his way out of the box.

Ewen Cameron subjected around 100 patients to sensory deprivation along with forced ECT keeping one woman ‘Mary C’ confined for 35 days.

A follow up study of 79 of Cameron’s patients ten years later noted unspecified ‘physical complications’ in 23% of the group. 85% were either hospitalised or ‘maintain psychiatric contact’.

60% had lost large chunks of their memory surrounding their time as a research subject, lost memories ranged from six months to ten years. 75% were judged as ‘unsatisfactory or impoverished’ when it came to interacting with other people and forming social bonds. Of the patients who had been working before they went into Cameron’s hospital around half could no longer work full time.

All of these people had received treatment in the intervening time.

In 1980, around thirty years after the experiments, a group of Cameron’s former subjects sued the CIA and Canadian government. Two of these people were unable, thirty years later, to recognise faces or everyday objects.

Some of the sources I’ve read recently that followed up Cameron’s patients suggest that a small number of them were able to leave hospital, find employment and live a relatively normal life. Which goes against my previous statements that all of them were permanently hospitalised or otherwise in care.

It’s not clear whether these victims were subjected to shorter periods of sensory deprivation.

Further factors to keep in mind

Sensory deprivation is, by definition, also solitary confinement. So victims subjected to sensory deprivation will also be suffering from the negative effects of solitary confinement and the effects of solitary confinement are likely to be exacerbated by the effects of sensory deprivation.

A lot of the asks I’ve had referring to sensory deprivation seem particularly interested in the effect this would have on children. Thankfully no one has ever done that experiment. My best guess is that the effects would be much much worse and would affect the child’s development and ability to interact with others profoundly.

The confusion and disorientation caused by sensory deprivation is also extreme enough that a character confined in this way might not be able to reliably eat, drink or take medication they’re provided with. Remember the long term is one day.

This is not as detailed as I’d like it to be; I’m struggling to find better sources. Hopefully this helps put sensory deprivation in perspective and clears up some of the questions people have had.

Sources

For clarity I’m breaking these into the ones I’ve actually read in full (which come first) and the original source or research material with some further reading.

Torture and Democracy by D Rejali, Princeton University Press, 2007

Cruel Britannia: A Secret History of Torture by I Cobain, Portobelo 2012

Effects of Decreased Variation in the Sensory Environment’ by W H Bexton, W Heron, T H Scott, Canadian Journal of Psychology 1954, 70-76

Production of Differential Amnesia as a Factor in the Treatment of Schizophrenia’ by D E Cameron, Comprehensive Psychiatry 1960

Intensive Electroconvulsive Therapy: A follow-up study by A E Schwartzman, P E Termansen, Canadian Psychiatric Association Journal 1967

 

The Search for the Manchurian Candidate, by J Marks, Norton Co 1991

The Mind Manipulators, by A Scheflin E Opton, 1978

A Textbook of Psychology, by D Hebb 1966, 2nd ed

‘Effects of Repetition of Verbal Signals upon the Behaviour of Chronic Psychoneurotic Patients’ by D E Cameron, L Levy, L Rubenstein, Journal of Mental Science 1960

Edit: Spending a short amount of time in one of Lilly’s tanks on a consensual basis does not make you better able to describe the hallucinations, terror and psychotic breaks they can cause when someone is locked in one for a prolonged period (over an hour) against their will. 

Disclaimer

Things NOT to Say to Someone With PTSD/C-PTSD

***TW: Some graphic questions near the end of this post which are specific to CSA survivors are mentioned, please read with caution***

It can only get better from here. Working with someone who has this disorder can take years to even begin the recovery process. As much as it may come from a good place, it is very dismissive to say, especially when someone has opened up to you. 

Isn’t there someone you can see about this? Although this is true, not everyone has access to mental health services. Very few places, even in North America, have free mental health/crisis services that are available to the general public. 

You’ll only re-hash it if you keep talking about it. As much as someone who doesn’t have this disorder may perceive it that way, part of the healing process for both PTSD and C-PTSD is to talk about it. A lot of the times what will happen is, parts of your memory will come back that weren’t there post-trauma and you will want to tell someone you trust (if you’re ready to). That being said, not everyone who has either of these disorders will want to talk about it more than once (or ever).

If you keep getting night terrors/anger outbursts/emotional control issues/etc. you’re letting the perpetrator win!! This one is troubling because that in itself is victim blaming. What you’re saying is, “You’re not allowed to feel this way or have a bad day because of what someone else did.”

That happened so long ago, why does it even matter? Once again, this is a very dismissive thing to say. A lot of things, traumatic or not, happened a long time ago but still feel like they happened yesterday; this goes for just about everyone that I know. Reminiscing about a time when you were at your first school dance? Perhaps it was a fond memory that meant a lot to you. “Well why does it matter?” - Now you may be able to get the gist of why it’s insulting. 

Everyone has a story. Everyone has their own stuff going on. Okay. Yes, that is true. Every single human being on this planet has at some point been hurt, has their on b.s. or drama occurring. That’s not the point though. As much as I sound like a broken record, this.is.dismissive. Furthermore it erases the fact that the sufferer has been through something and chose to tell you in confidence. 

Your sickness doesn’t define you. Of course this is yet another thing that a lot of people will say when they don’t know what else to say. Let’s be real; we know that PTSD/C-PTSD doesn’t define the person with it, however, they do have to live and cope with it to the best of their abilities. No one will be functioning at 100% when they have to deal with that.

It could have been worse/there are those way worse off than you. I beg your pardon? A veteran’s trauma versus a natural disaster trauma should not be counted in oppression points. Fact of the matter is, the individual has PTSD/C-PTSD. It isn’t anybody’s business how you ended up with the disorder, let alone who has it worse

You need to forgive and forget the person/incident/event. It is not up to anyone but the person with the disorder to decide if they forgive the person that hurt them. Let alone forget them. 

You’re not pure/you’re damaged goods/you’re tainted because of what happened. If this is the case, perhaps you should re-evaluate your values as a person if you’re throwing someone under the bus for living through something traumatic. Also, I can’t even fathom what a lack of humanity one would have to say that to someone, especially a CSA survivor. Would you tell a soldier he/she/they were bad or dirty for being in combat? Would you tell a little girl under 12 years old that she’s “asking for it”? Didn’t think so. 

I mean…didn’t you enjoy it in some sort of way? That’s just our biology right? No. It was traumatic. Just because you somehow got along with the person who was the perpetrator does not mean that it is the victim/survivor’s fault. Chances are, if it was a traumatic event (especially when it’s a recurring thing) then it was not enjoyable. Not even a little bit.

Try to forget about it/Let go of it, it doesn’t exist anymore. It’s as if a lot of these well-meaning individuals seem to forget that PTSD/C-PTSD sufferers actually have awareness. Please note that some individuals are still living with the people or things that have caused this trauma. It’s one thing to know it doesn’t exist anymore, but it’s another when someone else is saying it to you as if you aren’t capable of thinking that thought already.

Why didn’t you talk about it when it happened? OR the alternative - Why has it taken you so long to talk about it? Very similar to victim-blaming; the questions have not-so-hidden implications that you’re lying about it. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that it’s not exactly social conversation to have - would you ring up your friends and talk about something traumatic that would make everyone uncomfortable? 

My friend went through something like that. They turned out fine, you will too!! That’s great and all, however, each trauma is different. It’s great to bounce back from PTSD/C-PTSD (or ANY mental health issue for that matter), but how does one know that their friend isn’t over it? A lot of people still suffer with any range of mental illness that appear to be “over it”.

Quit using PTSD/C-PTSD as an excuse. I think it’s safe to say that we’re at a point in time where a large majority of us acknowledge that there is being a not-so-pleasant individual, and then there’s having a mental illness. These are not mutually exclusive.