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This is pretty personal for me and I’m a little nervous to post it, but making it was therapeutic.  

I was diagnosed with clinical depression when I was young (it runs in my family) and throughout my life I have encountered a lot of misinformation about it.  There is definitely a stigma against mental illnesses because they are invisible.  People tell you you should just try harder and think positively and get over it, but depression is a disorder that just doesn’t work that way.  

I hope that any of you out there suffering from it, or anxiety, or anything else like that gets the help you need.  Talk to someone if you can, make a doctor’s appointment, research your options.  The first step is the hardest, but it’s the most important one.

there are so many people who are depressed, the fact it’s still stigmatized confuses the hell out of me.  i’ve had depression several times in my life, diagnosed as situational as opposed to clinical, but the effects were still very real.  once i was on medication, i’d feel nothing as opposed to the despair, sadness, anxiety, loneliness and worthlessness, which was better… for a little while.  but once the situation changed, i would not need the medication.  there was nothing worse to me than being human and feeling nothing.  it was as close to a robot as i ever felt.  it was not a good thing.

we should not feel embarrassed or ashamed of talking about our experiences; the idea i might (or you might) inadvertently help someone feel confident in taking their first step to getting better outweighs the embarrassment.  i mean hell, what’s the statistic, 14-19 million americans have depression?  and those are the ones who admit it and have perhaps gotten help.  i’d say the number who stay under the covers would be 5-10 times that.  we’re not alone.  we should never feel alone. but that’s the insidiousness of depression.  life is too short to be depressed.  it makes life feel much longer than it actually is and you won’t know the difference until it’s too late.

Since the 1980s, the main driver of Finnish education policy has been the idea that every child should have exactly the same opportunity to learn, regardless of family background, income, or geographic location. Education has been seen first and foremost not as a way to produce star performers, but as an instrument to even out social inequality.

In the Finnish view, as Sahlberg describes it, this means that schools should be healthy, safe environments for children. This starts with the basics. Finland offers all pupils free school meals, easy access to health care, psychological counseling, and individualized student guidance.

In fact, since academic excellence wasn’t a particular priority on the Finnish to-do list, when Finland’s students scored so high on the first PISA survey in 2001, many Finns thought the results must be a mistake. But subsequent PISA tests confirmed that Finland — unlike, say, very similar countries such as Norway — was producing academic excellence through its particular policy focus on equity.

That this point is almost always ignored or brushed aside in the U.S. seems especially poignant at the moment, after the financial crisis and Occupy Wall Street movement have brought the problems of inequality in America into such sharp focus. The chasm between those who can afford $35,000 in tuition per child per year — or even just the price of a house in a good public school district — and the other “99 percent” is painfully plain to see.

What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland’s School Success - Anu Partanen - The Atlantic (via markcoatney)
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