Welcome to our roundup of the best mental health-related stories you may have missed this week. Pondering a social media break? In love with your Apple Watch or Fitbit? Terrified of eternity? This week’s stories might just interest you.
“The four founders each struggled with discrimination within video games, but rather than abandoning an industry they loved, they decided to create a channel that could provide a safe space to show women they were welcome, while also proving to the industry at-large that women were active participants in it for the long haul.”
VICE interviews the founders of Misscliks, a Twitch channel that strives to take a new, self-regulating approach to online harassment.
“But obviously, FOMO goes both ways. For some people, actively avoiding social media can create a FOMO all its own—for example, worrying that you’ll miss a friend’s big life announcement on Instagram or forget to wish someone a happy birthday because you missed a Facebook reminder.”
If you haven’t ever considered deleting your social media accounts in a fit of frustration, you’re stronger than me. But as this Self article suggests, quitting isn’t the right choice for everyone.
“New research provides insight into a long-observed, but little-understood connection between chronic pain and anxiety and offers a potential target for treatment. The study’s findings, published as an Article in Press in Biological Psychiatry, show that increased expression of PACAP – a peptide neurotransmitter the body releases in response to stress – is also increased in response to neuropathic pain and contributes to these symptoms.”
Neuroscience News shares research that found that blocking a specific stress-related neurotransmitter could reduce both pain hypersensitivity and the accompanying anxiety — potentially huge news for anyone dealing with chronic pain.
“But in analysing these findings, we also started to notice that the relationship is perhaps not as pure and unproblematic as first believed. The idea that technology is both liberating and oppressive, first articulated by philosopher Lewis Mumford (PDF) in the 1930s, started to shine through. When we asked the women how they felt without their Fitbit, many reported feeling “naked” (45%) and that the activities they completed were wasted (43%). Some even felt less motivated to exercise (22%).”
For a lot of people, fitness trackers have the same effect that Pokemon Go did for many of us: they get users to change their routines to healthier ones and often make them happier in the process. But when CNN looked at the potential drawbacks of trackers, it found some concerning correlations.
“I suspect that, in apeirophobia, one comes to the ‘realization’ that after death you will live forever (if you believe this), and in simulating that experience in your mind, one realizes that there is no way to project ahead to ‘forever’—and that experience is, inherently, anxiety-provoking. As such, the anxiety that these folks are feeling may not be much different than the fear of growing up, getting old, or death.”
The Fountain of Youth sounds great to a lot of people — many of us love the idea of achieving eternal life or look for evidence of life after death. But if you’re dealing with apeirophobia, the very idea can be horrifying. The Atlantic has more.
And that’s it for us this week. We’re at PAX West this weekend, so if you’re here too, here’s how to find us. We hope you’ll drop by our booth to say hi, and please visit the AFK Room if you need a breather or if you need assistance from one of our clinician volunteers. That’s why we’re here, after all.
It’s a long weekend, so we’ll be back on Tuesday with more great stories. Until then, take care of yourselves — and each other.