Hi Seanan, I saw your response on that post about mental health and recovery, and you said you used certain hacks to help you with OCD. I was wondering if it’s ok to ask what some of them are? It’s completely fine if you’d rather not answer, I know that it’s quite a personal thing.


Okay, so I’m going to open this with some pretty major disclaimers.  Specifically:

1. I am not a therapist or a trained mental health professional of any kind.  If I say something and you think “but that would cause me psychological harm if I did it,” please don’t do it.  I am not responsible for your care.

2. Everyone’s OCD is different.  Mine trends more toward the obsessive than the compulsive (I have both, but it’s not 50/50 for me).  I was also childhood onset, which means I literally have no idea who I would be as a person if I didn’t have OCD: I have never been an adult without it.  This means that while I am medicated for depression, I am not medicated for OCD, as taking it away also breaks my executive function.  This is not the case for everyone, and should absolutely not be taken as me saying “OCD is fun and great and no one needs meds, ever.”  OCD is not fun and great, but it’s a core part of who I am, and sadly, that means medication is not on the table for me.

Cool?  Cool.  Let’s go.

For me, OCD is always the monster at the end of the book, and it will eat me alive if I let it.  I am a person who can work all day, from 7am to 7pm, and still have the small voice in my head going “you didn’t do enough, you didn’t do anything, no one loves you, you unproductive bitch.”*  And because the world is happy to present an endless succession of tasks, it’s literally always possible for me to look around and see a dozen things that need to be done, thus proving that the voice is right, I’m a waste of both skin and space, and no one loves me.  It’s doesn’t matter that this isn’t true, my anxiety is loud and inside my head, and it can win.

But!  I keep a physical planner–I use the Franklin-Covey planner system–and make daily checklists, which I then, yes, check off throughout the day.  If I accomplish something that wasn’t on the checklist, I add it after the fact.  And tasks can be as big as “clean laundry room” or as small as “sort ten receipts.”  There’s no requirement, save that a single task should be something that’s difficult to break down into smaller components.  (So “pack” is one task, rather than “pack underwear,” “pack toothbrush,” etc.)  Big tasks that don’t break down may have their own checklists.  This means that when anxiety starts to bite, I can look at my little marching rows of checkmarks and know that it’s lying to me.  Even having to cancel or move a task doesn’t usually set me off, since I don’t do that without very good cause.

If the Franklin-Covey system is too daunting or too much, and you think checklists might help you, take a look at the planners from Evil Supply Co., which are fun and simple and don’t necessarily feel like a classic planner, if classic planners give you more anxiety:


I am picky.  Very, very picky.  I have food texture issues and taste issues and exclusions, and that’s before you get into my actual allergies.  I don’t claim to have allergies that don’t exist, because that’s a great way to make assholes think all allergies are fake, but at the same time, I am literally unable to eat things that include foods that do not register as “food” to me.  This isn’t “that I dislike”–dislike is mild–this is “that will cause me to start dry-heaving at the table, thus upsetting everyone.”  But I can’t ask everyone to eat every single meal at MOD Pizza, no matter how soothing I might find that.  So, with the full understanding and acceptance of my friends, I make lists of the food in an area that I’m willing to eat, and when it comes time to make choices, I’ll present that list, allowing someone else to make the final choice.

Note: I have also had to make my peace with “sometimes your friends are going to go out without you, because you can’t eat Thai food, and they want Thai food, and you don’t get to be upset about that.”  I may go with them and just drink a glass of water, if it’s a group where that isn’t going to ruin someone else’s dinner.  As a rule of thumb, if I’m not eating, my comfort comes after the comfort of the people who are, and I try not to break that rule.

I don’t make firm plans with people who can’t keep firm plans.  I don’t assign watching currently-airing television shows to “watching with” a specific person.  I don’t allow myself to set unobtainable goals.  And I tell people, clearly and openly, that I have OCD; that I don’t get to use it as an excuse for being a jerk, but that it isn’t going away, and sometimes I am going to need to do something a specific way, and I can’t change it.  If they then don’t want to do that thing with me, it’s okay.

It’s okay.

We’re all different; we can do this.

(*No matter how hard I work to remove gendered and ableist slurs from my own vocabulary, the voice of my anxiety continues to use them against me.  Thanks, anxiety.  You’re a pal.)



“Obviously ‘bihet’ offends a lot of bisexuals, so we need to come up with a better term for bisexuals in m/f relationships.”

How about… and hear me out… this may sound crazy…. but you… continue to call us bisexual… because (and I realize this gets confusing for you people so read this next part slowly) it turns out we continue to be bisexual regardless of who we’re dating.

Okay, this shit gets me all heated up. I’m just a cisgay dude up in here, but I have Some Opinions about this nonsense.

Bisexual people in relationships with folks of the other gender are not only themselves still bisexual (I’m really ashamed of a bunch of all that this shit even needs to be said, like c’mon), but their relationships are queer.

Yes, I just said that straight people can be involved in queer relationships without they themselves being queer.

The reason for this is simple: folks who are in relationships with queer people will always have to deal with their partner’s marginalization impacting their relationship. Always. Even if their bisexual partner chooses to be entirely stealth about their queerness (and that’s their right, by gods, fight me about it), their relationship is still impacted by that very choice existing. It’s a facet heterosexual relationships never have to negotiate.

Frankly, bisexual folks have to deal with active marginalization from multiple angles: heterocentrist and homocentrist. And in case I actually have to say this aloud? We should not be fucking marginalizing our own, y’all. That makes you a bad person, and you should feel bad.

To sum up: Bisexual folks are queer as hell. Straight folks can be in queer relationships without themselves ever being queer. And FFS please stop harassing bi- and pan-folks already, man. It’s 2018. Find hobbies that are not shitty.




Trump is an abusive landlord who wants to be paid off, or he’ll kick you out or stiff you.

Trump is incapable of mutual benefit or mutual respect. It’s all zero sum. There has to be a winner, and there has to be a loser.

This is such a good thread, I’ve never thought about it this way before.

“I’m going to get a little wonky and write about Donald Trump and negotiations. For those who don’t know, I’m an adjunct professor at Indiana University – Robert H. McKinney School of Law and I teach negotiations. Okay, here goes.

Trump, as most of us know, is the credited author of “The Art of the Deal,” a book that was actually ghost written by a man named Tony Schwartz, who was given access to Trump and wrote based upon his observations. If you’ve read The Art of the Deal, or if you’ve followed Trump lately, you’ll know, even if you didn’t know the label, that he sees all dealmaking as what we call “distributive bargaining.”

Distributive bargaining always has a winner and a loser. It happens when there is a fixed quantity of something and two sides are fighting over how it gets distributed. Think of it as a pie and you’re fighting over who gets how many pieces. In Trump’s world, the bargaining was for a building, or for construction work, or subcontractors. He perceives a successful bargain as one in which there is a winner and a loser, so if he pays less than the seller wants, he wins. The more he saves the more he wins.

The other type of bargaining is called integrative bargaining. In integrative bargaining the two sides don’t have a complete conflict of interest, and it is possible to reach mutually beneficial agreements. Think of it, not a single pie to be divided by two hungry people, but as a baker and a caterer negotiating over how many pies will be baked at what prices, and the nature of their ongoing relationship after this one gig is over.

The problem with Trump is that he sees only distributive bargaining in an international world that requires integrative bargaining. He can raise tariffs, but so can other countries. He can’t demand they not respond. There is no defined end to the negotiation and there is no simple winner and loser. There are always more pies to be baked. Further, negotiations aren’t binary. China’s choices aren’t (a) buy soybeans from US farmers, or (b) don’t buy soybeans. They can also © buy soybeans from Russia, or Argentina, or Brazil, or Canada, etc. That completely strips the distributive bargainer of his power to win or lose, to control the negotiation.

One of the risks of distributive bargaining is bad will. In a one-time distributive bargain, e.g. negotiating with the cabinet maker in your casino about whether you’re going to pay his whole bill or demand a discount, you don’t have to worry about your ongoing credibility or the next deal. If you do that to the cabinet maker, you can bet he won’t agree to do the cabinets in your next casino, and you’re going to have to find another cabinet maker.

There isn’t another Canada.

So when you approach international negotiation, in a world as complex as ours, with integrated economies and multiple buyers and sellers, you simply must approach them through integrative bargaining. If you attempt distributive bargaining, success is impossible. And we see that already.

Trump has raised tariffs on China. China responded, in addition to raising tariffs on US goods, by dropping all its soybean orders from the US and buying them from Russia. The effect is not only to cause tremendous harm to US farmers, but also to increase Russian revenue, making Russia less susceptible to sanctions and boycotts, increasing its economic and political power in the world, and reducing ours. Trump saw steel and aluminum and thought it would be an easy win, BECAUSE HE SAW ONLY STEEL AND ALUMINUM – HE SEES EVERY NEGOTIATION AS DISTRIBUTIVE. China saw it as integrative, and integrated Russia and its soybean purchase orders into a far more complex negotiation ecosystem.

Trump has the same weakness politically. For every winner there must be a loser. And that’s just not how politics works, not over the long run.

For people who study negotiations, this is incredibly basic stuff, negotiations 101, definitions you learn before you even start talking about styles and tactics. And here’s another huge problem for us.

Trump is utterly convinced that his experience in a closely held real estate company has prepared him to run a nation, and therefore he rejects the advice of people who spent entire careers studying the nuances of international negotiations and diplomacy. But the leaders on the other side of the table have not eschewed expertise, they have embraced it. And that means they look at Trump and, given his very limited tool chest and his blindly distributive understanding of negotiation, they know exactly what he is going to do and exactly how to respond to it.

From a professional negotiation point of view, Trump isn’t even bringing checkers to a chess match. He’s bringing a quarter that he insists of flipping for heads or tails, while everybody else is studying the chess board to decide whether its better to open with Najdorf or Grünfeld.”

Prof. David Honing of Indiana University.


 Smaller than standard horses, miniature horses

make excellent hiking companions. They can carry up to 20% of their body weight (miniature horses typically weigh 150-350 lbs).