Study: Stress of Poverty Lowers I.Q.

Poverty consumes mental resources, making people worse at everything.

“Put another way, the condition of poverty imposed a mental burden akin to losing 13 IQ points, or comparable to the cognitive difference that’s been observed between chronic alcoholics and normal adults.”

 Puppies 18
Corgi Puppies! by Naamah Darling on Flickr.
Seriously, the implications of this are upsetting enough to me that I need corgi puppies.
One of these puppies is now a good friend of mine.

This combines into a Voltron-like monstrosity when you factor in the cognitive problems inflicted by chronic pain or debilitating mental illness or any other form of unremitting stress, which are conditions often associated with poverty.

And yet the entire system that is supposed to help people in that situation is set up like one of those Blockhead puzzle games where the pieces do not fit together in any logical way, and we are still supposed to make something normal and perfect out of it.

The Power of Human Connection

I ran into a bipolar friend as I went to fill my new prescriptions on the day I was diagnosed. “How are you?” he said.

I laughed at the synchronicity of it. “I’m bipolar!”

Cue the secret handshake and unwilling admission into the hellfire club of mental illness.

We talked for a couple of minutes. After expressing worry about the drugs I was going to have to take, he said “The worst thing for me is this persistent tremor in my dominant hand. I don’t know if it’s the bipolar or the lithium.”

As if on cue, a teenage boy in a neon green shirt ducked out of a grocery aisle, held out a slightly unsteady hand, and said “It’s the lithium.”

It was the best possible welcome into a world I never wanted to be part of. A world that contained friends and strangers and now myself. It was the first inkling that I wasn’t as alone as I felt.

Polar Ice detail by Naamah Darling on Flickr, shinies available at Morningstar Hall.

The diagnosis, after a year or two of steadily declining stability, hit me strangely.

The doctor’s agreement was only confirmation of what I’d already figured out for myself. I did feel disoriented, a bit numb, but there was no surprise there, no moment of horrified shock.

The hard part came a few weeks later when the visceral understanding that it was never, ever going away finally settled in.

Continue reading

The True Story

I created this blog for two reasons:

1) I want to help mentally ill or otherwise disabled people who are struggling to find their voices. I want to help them be strong. If all I get out of this trip to the opposite of Disneyland is a shirt that says “I helped people fight monsters”, well, that’s a worthy thing. I can’t undo what has been done. I can try to make it easier for the next person.

2) I want to show people what living with my mental illness is like. Visibility is a major factor in reducing the stigma that surrounds mental illness. For many people, though, it’s risky talking about these things, for having “crazy” be the first thing people know about you. People have to keep themselves safe, and many cannot speak out. I respect that absolutely. I have nothing to lose by raising my voice, so I have resolved to be vocal. I feel it is my duty, and I take it about as seriously as I take anything.

Three pendants on a wolf skin. Cut out words on the pendants read:
The True Story Here by Naamah Darling on Flickr.

Who am I? If you don’t know me from Livejournal already, by way of introduction. . . .

Hi, I’m Naamah. In no particular order: white, fat, born female female-leaning genderfluid, ambisexual, atheist, dominant and kinky, childfree, married, intersectional feminist, pro-choice, bipolar II with anxiety, recovering from an eating disorder, writer, artist, tabletop gamer, very much a cat person.

I use lycanthropy as my central metaphor for my particular mental illness. It fits, I ran with it, it helps.

I’m a pornographer. Along with my husband Sargon, we post adult adventure serials at This is where we get most of our money. You should go check it out. If you’re, like, into that sort of thing. If not, that’s cool too.

I can be found elsewhere on the web. My Livejournal is Shadow Muse. I have a Tumblr. I have a neglected Deviantart account. I have an Etsy shop – Morningstar Hall – where you can buy the weird shit I make. I also have a Flickr account where you can find pictures of my cats, my art, and my custom ponies. Mistress Swallowtail, the BDSM-themed My Little Pony, is here. Inamorata Shandy’s genuine fake fairy is here, if ponies are too cute for your liking. That pretty much represents the gamut of what I’m capable of doing. I do not take commissions.

I hope to post at least twice weekly. I look forward to it.