Madsplaining … as it was mansplained to me. On offering advice to people with mental health problems

Amazing post on #madsplaining by fellow blogger sectioneduk, the ignoble art of pissing off people with mental health issues, by offering *advice*, cures, life enhancing routines or telling them to suck it up and grow a pair.
I’ve been #madsplained to, on more occasions than I wish to recall. Sometimes with genuine care and loving intentions…other times, because, you know mentalhealth isn’t sexy, or comfortable to talk about.

Read and laugh/weep.



Madsplaining: Offering unsolicited advice to someone on how they should manage their mental health (especially by peers and mental health professionals)

On twitter (and no doubt on other social media platforms), we mental health folks share a lot of detail about our lives. We talk about our good and bad experiences of mental health treatment, medications, symptoms, cheese sandwiches, our lives in general. Sometimes, when someone’s sharing a problem they’re experiencing with managing their mental health, other tweeps – those with lived experience or mental health professionals (or both) – will chip in with helpful tips.  We can be a sharing, caring bunch.

“Oh, I tried X and it works wonders for me. Why not give it a go?” “I saw a documentary about this new thing the other day that I thought would help you with that thing you mentioned.” Sometimes this moves towards more generic helpful…

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Recipe: Dustbin Bread

Inspired and reminded by I made this thrifty quick bread yesterday.

I used to do a lot of “fancy” cooking, but since being ill, I hated it. It was an absolute grind to churn out never ending meals…but enough moaning.. I’m trying to regain my enthusiasm for cooking real food.

Dustbin bread is a very basic cheese scone-type mix baked in Ioaf tin…or a cake tin…or on a tray, whatevs…
but the name comes from it’s amazing ability to save things from the dustbin.  I hate throwing food away, and rarely do it, unless I really have to.

I tend to make this when I have odds and ends of cheese left over, or if it’s gone a bit hard. You can add hard cheeses, brie-types, mozzarella, blue cheese  parmesan…you choose. Whatever’s hiding in your fridge, behind that pack of yoghurt.

I’ve also chopped up and chucked in the odd slice of ham, chorizo, bacon, salami…a bit of salty cooked meat can give it a real kick.

If you’re feeling so inclined, you can add a couple of slowly sweated onions, mixed into the final dough. Same goes for peppers, garlic, or chilis. If you have a few manky jars of nearly finished chutney, you can swirl that into the final dough too.

So….the basic recipe. It’s a bit basic.

220g Self Raising flour
Pinch of salt
Twist of pepper
Herbs, whatever you fancy
50g cheese minimum but add however much you like…
1 egg
80ml sunflower oil
120ml milk.

Plus whatever odds and sods you like.


Put the flour, salt, pepper, cheese into a bowl. Mix gently.


In a jug, mix the milk, oil and egg.


Stir into the dry mix, until you have a soft dough.
Gently add any Dustbin-escapees…..

Place in a smallish loaf tin, or in a flattish mound in a cake tin.


Bake at 200°C or Gas Mark 5/6 for 30 mins. My oven is a bit crap, so I check it from 20. Sometimes it needs up to 35 mins.
Tastes bloody lovely with veg soup…or on it’s own with apples and walnuts.

They call it “mental illness.”

Beautiful post. Please read it, it really strikes a chord and it powerful. Thank you x


They call it that. Sometimes that’s accurate, but sometimes it’s pathologising difference against a crooked template. It’s expecting a cat to recognise itself in a mirror, despite the fact that cats can’t see as well as us and can’t see well at all within a foot of their own head, and rely on smell, their whiskers and ears to identify who and what things are. Yet we put a cat in front of a mirror, we watch it not react, and we decide it has no sense of self, no personhood. Science.

It’s not that the cat is stupid or deficient in self. It’s that we are unable to have a conversation with difference.

So let’s get this straight from the get-go: call it what you will.

I am alive in strange ways.

I’m an extremely emotional person. A thing you’d brush off as nothing will make me want…

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Cutting my nose off…my face doesn’t mind.

I’m taking a Twitter holiday. Just for a couple of weeks…I’m also having a mass unfollow, for ahem, health reasons….

I got called out today, for using ableist language. It was painful, I admit.. In describing, on Twitter,a film I was watching, I used the phrase “dumb cop” as shorthand for a seemingly thick police officer, who later revealed himself to be not so thick. 7 letters instead of umpteen. Trying to fit into 140 characters.
So, yeah I was called out for using dumb, as it was historically used as a term for mutism- as in deaf and dumb. I tried to explain that I meant no offence. Hell, I teach children who are  Deaf and blind, have taught a girl with selective mutism. I haven’t heard it used in the context for many years. I don’t consider myself ableist. But hey, if someone finds it ableist, I’ll endeavor to police my vocabulary and use a different term. Asshat, perhaps. Fuckwit.

I found it quite upsetting, unusually so, but I’m changing medication, and rediscovered previously flattened emotions. But it led me to consider what I’m doing on Twitter. 
I’ve followed and engaged in various campaigns, retweeted and signed petitions, met some lovely people and had some great insomniac conversations at 5am. I’ve been able to talk to other people with mentalhealth issues, and not feel stigmatized. That has been an absolutely amazing feeling.
Lately, however I’ve become a bit disenchanted. The atmosphere has become aggressive and at times frightening. I’ve never had rape threats, but have had to block several people for aggressive and offensive tweets. “Why are all feminists fucking mental, and blog about it? Why don’t you just shut the fuck up?”
Jeez, when you ask so nicely…

I’m not sure I’m the kind of feminist that is fashionable at the minute. I’m an intersectional feminist, but I don’t see any merit in using it as a tool to race to the bottom.  I’m white, cis, working class, have  mentalhealth diagnoses, hearing impairment, chronic pain and fatigue and I’m low waged. I check my privilege…but don’t like having any aspect of my being used against me, to silence me. I hate the subtweeting. It’s not fucking school and it stresses me out.
So I’m coming off Twitter for a bit. I’m working hard at dealing with my mentalhealth, my Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is utterly exhausting me, and I’m starting a new job. I’m changing medication and I need to focus on what’s important in my tiny world. Selfish perhaps. But if I don’t look after me, no-one else will. I’m tired, so very tired. Just pretending to be normal everyday wears me out.

So I’m having a Twitter holiday.  I’m unfollowing a few people. I’ll post my blogs, but not much else.

I’m going to miss you. X