Counselling - General
Shane Trudell

The art of arguing, part I: what are the common misconceptions or negative perceptions surrounding arguments and conflict?

Conflicts are make or break moments a lot of the time (but not all the time!). In these essential frictions we have the opportunity to either leave them stagnating into perpetuity, polluting the relationship in all kinds of ways, or we can use the galvanizing effect of being irritated and frustrated and hurt to actually construct with each other new ways of being together, new ways of relating.

Counselling - General
Shane Trudell

Imposter syndrome

Imposter syndrome will plague most of us at some point in our lives or another. It often accompanies change, when we’ve moved up in the world in some fashion and start to feel a looming, background sense of anxiety or worry that we don’t belong. Let’s explore what imposter syndrome is and how we can deal with it in counselling therapy or on your own.

Meme of the week
hart caplan

Meme of the week: the carnival

The mood of the carnival is ominous. Clients tell me, as the tweet above speaks to, that the content of their thoughts and the emotional tenor of the carnival is existentially heavy.

Meme of the week: “you meddling kids!”

Unmasking adhd

This is one of my all time favourites. For those of you who don’t recognize the original image, it is from a very dumb kids’ show called Scooby Doo, which started its original run in 1969 (and was a favourite of mine as a kid who grew up in the 70s).

The premise of the show was airtight brilliance: 4 teenagers and a sentient dog drove around in a psychedelically painted panel van—complete with flower power decals—to solve mysteries. The clever name of that van? The Mystery Machine. Each week the team that called itself Mystery Inc. was presented with a case that on its face appeared to be supernatural. They regularly were up against vampires and Frankensteins and, as in the image above, ghosts.

Each week, the crew is presented with a paranormal case to solve, and each week the paranormal phenomenon is revealed to be some person with an incentive to scare people away with the pretence of the supernatural. Famously, upon being unmasked, the typically middle-aged man unmasked exclaims, “And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids!” On the fansite, Scoobypedia, some fan with what can only be described as more time than anyone should spend on such things, catalogued all the instances of the “meddling kids” theme over the many iterations of the show over the years. I stopped counting at 100. To all the aspiring screen writer out there, I suppose the takeaway here is… if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?

Though the whole context of this is the silliness of a kids’ show from the 70s, the point made in it is profound. The number of clients that have come into my office with long standing difficulties that they and their families and their health professionals call depression and anxiety and dysthymia and mood disorders and a variety of other mental illnesses but turn out to flow from a lifetime of dealing with undiagnosed adhd is jaw dropping. It is, in my estimation, a great failing of our health systems. And it is further important to note that it is much more often the case that women are the ones who suffer under these improperly made diagnoses… as is the tradition in the history of the health sciences.

Why is this the case? That is a story that doesn’t fit into a short blog post. But let me give a short answer here: it’s simple bias and prejudice. Health professionals—and in particular mental health professionals… I’m looking at you psychiatry—do not take adhd seriously, because they do not understand it properly, because it is mislabelled as a behavioural disorder, because behaviours are observable, and because science can only count things that are observable, and under those premises adhd appears to simply be a phenomenon characterised by having a tough time staying in your seat and regularly losing your keys. If adhd is this simple behavioural disorder, then… it’s no big deal. Behavioural disorders can be treated with simple behavioural fixes. For many health and mental health professionals, the conclusion is “not much to see here.”

Of course, those of us who have the condition that is traditionally called ADHD but which I call adhd know that the condition is an extremely complex combination of physical, cognitive, and emotional phenomena that ultimately produce those observable behaviours but are so much more than the things that science can count. It is the enormous amount of energy expended on a moment-by-moment basis to find ways of fitting into the world of neurotypicality that produce the mood disorders we call depression and anxiety. And in my personal and professional experience, once adhd is named and understood by clients and properly treated on a case by case basis, the ghostly spectre of depression and anxiety lessen dramatically and, in many cases, resolve entirely.