Hello, everyone! It’s time for a new Carnival of Aces! In case you’re new to this, the carnival is a monthly event for collecting blog posts (or vlogs, podcasts, comics, or other mediums if you prefer) on a single topic. At the end of the month, I will post a summary linking to everything submitted.
This month, our topic is Mental Health.
I was surprised that this topic has never been chosen before—it seems that someone had wanted to do it in 2014, but didn’t end up hosting a carnival after all. I think it’s a really important topic, especially since our community struggles with fighting pathologization so much. There is of course already a lot of writing on this topic! But for the most part, not so much a specific, organized push for it.
One of the major reasons I chose this topic—and chose to do it now—is that Resources for Ace Survivors has a project called the Ace-Competent Therapists Project (ACT Project), wherein we plan to create and provide educational resources to mental health providers about asexuality, and create a database of ace-friendly providers and organizations to refer the people who come to us seeking help. We’d like to serve the entire ace community with this project, not just survivors—although an approach that actively supports ace survivors is mandatory. We can use volunteers to help with this project—especially if you are involved with any other organizations that provide similar services which we might be able to affiliate with and learn from, or you are trained in a related field.
So what I’m going to do with this carnival is slightly different, this time. As usual, I will still be collecting blog/vlog/etc. posts created from June 1st through June 30th, and these posts will be part of this carnival. But I will also be linking these at Resources for Ace Survivors, and will continue to collect posts on this topic after the month is over. These will not be part of the carnival itself, but they will be posted at RFAS in an appropriate category so that therapists and researchers can learn from our experiences. You can also (please do!) send in links to posts on this topic that you’ve already written or any kind of educational resources, and I will include them on the site.
Just to make sure it’s clear: only posts from June 2015 (and potentially, late submissions from early July) will be considered part of the Carnival of Aces itself. But please submit things anyway! This will not really end.
The discussions from this carnival will be used to create educational resources. Some time later this year—probably late summer or fall—I’ll be giving local presentations to providers and crisis center workers.
Also, I fully recognize that this is an international issue. As such, I am opening this month’s carnival to posts written in languages other than English! In particular, I will open this blog (Prismatic Entanglements) to guest posts made in French, Japanese, and possibly Spanish. I am reasonably comfortable translating French and Japanese if necessary, although I am a little rusty. I will keep comments open for those two languages, because I should be able to moderate. However, if I post anything in any other language on this blog, I will keep the comments closed. If anyone wants to volunteer to host guest posts in other languages (or to help with translations), please let me know so that I can list your blog and contact information here.
Asexuality and Mental Health
- How has being on the ace spectrum impacted your mental health?
- Have you felt unable to access treatment because of it? Or, was the quality of your treatment reduced? Have you experienced reparative therapy—done with the intent to “cure” or “fix” your asexuality? Even if the treatment you received was not aimed at “fixing” your orientation, was it more difficult because you had to spend too much time educating your provider instead of focusing on things that would help you?
- Are there any other kinds of desired traits in a therapist (for example, understanding of racial issues or religious discrimination) that you’ve felt you had to sacrifice in order to find one who is competent enough at treating asexual people to serve you well? Or, is there another intersectional issue that is more important for you to find a therapist who can deal with that issue competently, that you would prioritize that instead of understanding of asexuality? Have you even decided not to bother coming out to your therapist about being ace?
- Have you had any positive experiences with therapy? If so, can you give specific examples of what your provider did right? What things helped you the most?
- Are there any particular types of therapy that work better or worse for you? Or, are there any alternatives to therapy (like peer support groups) that you’ve used? Are there any other things that act as barriers to treatment for you?
- What advice do you have for aces who are trying to find either a mental health care provider, or some kind of support group/system?
- Are there any topics not necessarily directly related to asexuality, that you find uncomfortable partly because of your asexuality? (For example, having children, or discussions of sexual behavior.) Have these ever been brought up by a mental health care provider? Can you think of any way they might be handled that would make you more comfortable, or would you prefer that people just not bring them up?
- Are there any common assumptions made about a particular mental health issue that do not apply to you because of asexuality? Or have extra complications when you add in asexuality?
- Have you ever felt subjected to gatekeeping in the asexual community because of your mental health? Have you ever felt that you couldn’t “really” be asexual because of a mental health issue? What can we do to combat that sort of feeling in our communities?
- Have you ever found that your ability to participate in any kind of asexual community activity (for example, going to meet-ups, engaging with blogs or ace tumblr, participating in awareness events) is limited by your mental health? What were the barriers you encountered, and can you think of any way to reduce them?
- What are some coping strategies you’ve developed? Whether with or without therapy, with or without being diagnosed with a mental illness, what is it that helps you deal with your struggles?
- Who do you turn to for support? Are there any ways they could more effectively support you? If they’re doing a good job, that’s excellent! What are some specific examples of things they’re doing right?
- Are you a support person for someone else? What have you learned from being in that position? Do you have any advice for others?
- When people tell you something like “you need therapy” or “get help!”—how do you respond? Have you found any particular method that works well for getting people to stop telling you that?
- Have you ever called in to a hotline, warm line, text or chat support network, etc.? What was your experience like? Can you think of any specific ways it could have been better? Would you recommend the service to other aces?
Okay, that’s a lot of prompts! And that’s just what I can think of for now. Feel free to write on anything else you can think of!
How to Submit
- You can leave a comment on this post with a link, or email me at prismatic.entanglements @ gmail.com OR elizabeth @ asexualsurvivors.org.
- If you’d like, you can also submit your post to the Resources for Ace Survivors blog, by emailing submit @ asexualsurvivors.org. We can feature your post as a guest post—but please be aware we have some additional rules, because we must ensure that our space is as safe as possible for all survivors.
- If you would like to submit anonymously, or if you don’t have your own blog, I will host guest posts here—and/or at RFAS, if applicable. Just email me, and we can set that up.
- UPDATE: There is a new blog made to discuss asexuality and eating disorders, body image, body dysmorphia, and food-related issues, with an open call for submissions. If you want to write a post about that, you can submit it there.
- I understand that this is an intensely personal topic. If you’d like to let us know what your experiences with mental health providers have been like, but you don’t want this to be posted publicly, the ACT Project can still use your input. We will let you know how else you can contribute later on.
- I would like to directly link most of the posts submitted for this carnival at RFAS as well, but of course this is voluntary. If you are not comfortable with us linking to your post from there, you can certainly opt out! When you submit, please let me know whether you are okay with that or not. You can always change your mind later.
- Finally, this is a sensitive topic, so please remember to use appropriate trigger warnings for your posts, so that readers can choose whether or when to engage with the topic.
Be well, everyone. I look forward to seeing what you all have to say! :)
UPDATE: You may have noticed that if you paste the URL to your Tumblr submission in the comments here and leave it at that, then WordPress will automatically import the entire post. This is obviously undesirable, so to avoid that, please put your submission’s URL in HTML tags. You can just copy and paste this:
<a href="URL">My submission.</a>
Replace URL with the address of your post, and you’re good to go!