Sexual Assault Survivors, How Are You Practicing Self-Care Right Now?

With so many stories about sexual harassment and assault in the news, looking after your mental health is particularly important.

The hashtag, inspired by a tweet by Alyssa Milano, calls on people to share if they've ever been sexually assaulted or harassed, whether by replying “me too” or sharing their experiences in more detail.

If you’ve been sexually assaulted or harassed, the current news cycle can be really hard on your mental health.

If you've been sexually assaulted or harassed, the current news cycle can be really hard on your mental health.

Having your social media flooded by stories of sexual assault and harassment can be upsetting, or even triggering for those who now have PTSD as a result of their trauma.

Chelsea Marshall / BuzzFeed / Via Facebook: BuzzFeedBooks

So we want to know: If you’ve been sexually assaulted or harassed, how are you taking care of yourself right now?

So we want to know: If you've been sexually assaulted or harassed, how are you taking care of yourself right now?

Loryn Brantz / BuzzFeed

Maybe you’ve been limiting how much time you spend reading news or scrolling through Twitter.

Maybe you've been limiting how much time you spend reading news or scrolling through Twitter.

Citytv / Via iamaserver.tumblr.com

Or maybe you have a favorite extension that filters out potential triggers for you, so the internet feels safer to browse.

Or maybe you have a favorite extension that filters out potential triggers for you, so the internet feels safer to browse.

Like Soothe, a browser extension that looks for customizable triggering content, and blurs it out so you don't have to see it.

getsoothe.ca

Maybe you’ve found solace watching a movie or show where people get revenge on their abusers.

Maybe you've found solace watching a movie or show where people get revenge on their abusers.

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Or maybe you’ve found a way to channel your feelings, like anger, into a physical activity.

Or maybe you've found a way to channel your feelings, like anger, into a physical activity.

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And thanks for sharing — your tip just might help someone else who is going through the same thing you are.

There’s Actually A Reason You Sneeze When You Look At Light

Props to whoever named it ACHOO.

Have you ever tried looking into a light (or the sun) to sneeze?

Have you ever tried looking into a light (or the sun) to sneeze?

Someone might have suggested it to you once after noticing that you were on the verge of sneezing, but couldn't quiiiite get it out. Did it work? Did it make you wonder how on earth looking at light — y'know, with your eyes! — could possibly make you sneeze? If you're like me and you never heard of this before, then chances are you thought this HAD TO BE a myth.

Well guess what y'all, I'm here to tell you now that this is not BS. It's legit. Go ahead, try it out and see if it works for you.

Fox Searchlight Pictures / Via mwomercs.com

If it worked for you, then you might have what’s known as photic sneeze reflex — although I prefer calling it by its other name, ACHOO.

If it worked for you, then you might have what's known as photic sneeze reflex — although I prefer calling it by its other name, ACHOO.

ACHOO actually stands for autosomal dominant compelling helioopthalmic outburst syndrome, and it's surprisingly common throughout the population, occurring in about one out of every four people.

Upon discovering this, I reached out to ear, nose, and throat specialists Dr. Roheen Raithatha, of ENT & Allergy Associates, LLP in New York City, and Dr. Abbas Anwar, of Southern California Head & Neck Medical Group, to learn about this random AF phenomena. Here's what they had to say about it.

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It’s definitely a trait that’s passed down from one of your parents.

It's definitely a trait that's passed down from one of your parents.

ACHOO has been recognized for hundreds of years. In Aristotle's Book of Problems, he suggests that looking at the sun causes the moisture in the nose to evaporate, forcing us to sneeze.

It was a good guess, but since then, scientists have discovered that there's a genetic basis for the reflex. In most body cells, there are 23 pairs of chromosomes (you inherit one set from each parent). Only one of these pairs are the sex chromosomes, and the other 22 are what are known as autosomes. So the “autosomal dominant” in ACHOO means that it's a non-sex-linked dominant trait. “If one parent has it, there's a 50/50 chance that their children will have it,” Raithatha tells BuzzFeed Health.

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And while nobody knows exactly how it happens, there are a couple of theories. One of them is that it’s caused by a glitch in one of the head’s main nerves.

And while nobody knows exactly how it happens, there are a couple of theories. One of them is that it's caused by a glitch in one of the head's main nerves.

That nerve is the trigeminal nerve, and it has three main branches, each of which extends to the upper, middle, or lower part of the head. With ACHOO, it's the top two branches — the ophthalmic and maxillary branches — that get crosswired, Anwar tells BuzzFeed Health. So even though it should only be the ophthalmic branch that reacts to bright light (which can be considered an irritant), the maxillary branch gets caught up in this reaction, too. It thinks there's an irritant in the nose, and triggers a sneeze.

Apparently, this sort of cross-wiring is common throughout the head, Anwar says. “Some people have sore throats and feel it in their ears…there’s so much cross-wiring going on with these nerves, and it’s such a tiny area.”

Mayo Clinic / Via mayoclinic.org

The other theory is that it’s caused by a quirk in your body’s involuntary nervous system.

The other theory is that it's caused by a quirk in your body's involuntary nervous system.

Also known as the autonomic nervous system (ANS), this system is responsible for bodily functions that we cannot consciously influence. Within the ANS is the parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS), which might be where your ACHOO comes from. “Another theory is called parasympathetic generalization,” Raithatha says. “That's when one portion of the PSNS gets activated, other parts of the same system can also be activated. So when a bright light causes a pupil of the eye to constrict, which is part of the PSNS, it may indirectly cause another portion of the PSNS to respond, which can cause secretions and congestion in the nasal mucous membranes, and can sometimes lead to a sneeze as well.”

And yes, this can happen pretty quickly, he says. “It's why when people eat spicy foods, they can immediately get a runny nose.”

Universal Pictures / Via huffingtonpost.com

The reflex is most often triggered by sudden exposure to bright light — like when coming out of a tunnel and seeing the sun — but really, it could probably be any light.

The reflex is most often triggered by sudden exposure to bright light — like when coming out of a tunnel and seeing the sun — but really, it could probably be any light.

“Historically, we talk about it being sunlight but in theory it can be any bright light,” Raithatha says. “Scientists have actually elicited a response from people by shining a bright flashlight into the eyes of patients. Camera flashes can be a trigger as well, and that’s been shown.”

People might also have variations of the response, he says. So while some people might only feel an itchiness in their nose after seeing a bright light, others might sneeze once, while others will have a full-on sneezing fit.

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After you sneeze, there will usually be a period of time where looking at light will have little to no effect.

After you sneeze, there will usually be a period of time where looking at light will have little to no effect.

It's called a refractory period, and it's a certain amount of time — anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, depending on the person — where looking at light won't really trigger the reflex. “It kind of fatigues itself for a while,” Anwar says.

New Line Cinema / Via tenor.com

There’s not much you can do to stop the reflex from happening, but being aware of it can help to reduce the effects it has.

There's not much you can do to stop the reflex from happening, but being aware of it can help to reduce the effects it has.

We don't hear about ACHOO too much because it's not really something that severely affects people's quality of life. “I’ve actually never seen a patient coming in specifically for that,” says Anwar. But ACHOO can present certain dangers to people who are operating heavy machinery, like driving a car or piloting an aircraft, if it happens at an inopportune time, he says. “It can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle,” he says, noting that people can try to lessen the effect of the light by wearing sunglasses or hats.

If you have the reflex, then it might also be good to notify your doctor or dentist about it if you're getting any kind of procedure done around the eyes or mouth, especially if sharp instruments are involved, Raithatha says. “If someone knows they have a condition like this, where they’re triggered by bright light, they should certainly let their doctor know so that they can let their sneezing pass before the doctor proceeds with the procedure itself,” he says.

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Whoa, This Fussy Baby Hack Is Legit Mesmerizing

This is pretty genius.

It’s a look that every parent knows all too well: the dreaded ~Baby Cryface~.

It's a look that every parent knows all too well: the dreaded ~Baby Cryface~.

It's inevitable. And loud!

BBC

But Dr. Robert Hamilton, a California pediatrician for almost 30 years, has a quick trick to stop these mini meltdowns. He calls it “The Hold.”

But Dr. Robert Hamilton, a California pediatrician for almost 30 years, has a quick trick to stop these mini meltdowns. He calls it "The Hold."

He first posted a YouTube tutorial on the technique a few years back — and he told BuzzFeed that it continues be super popular and relevant among new parents.

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First, approach the crying baby. 😭

First, approach the crying baby. 😭

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Pick them up — and fold their right arm over their chest…

Pick them up — and fold their right arm over their chest...

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Then fold their left arm over their right one.

Then fold their left arm over their right one.

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Hold those arms in, then move your other hand to their lil’ baby butt…

Hold those arms in, then move your other hand to their lil' baby butt...

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And give it a booty shake! 🍑

And give it a booty shake! 🍑

Then gently bounce the baby around a bit, at a 45 degree angle.

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And boom — problem solved! No more tears.

And boom — problem solved! No more tears.

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But WHY does it work? 🤔

But WHY does it work? 🤔

Converse

According to Dr. Hamilton, it’s because of the quick POV change. “This isn’t a position that babies commonly find themselves in,” he told BuzzFeed.

According to Dr. Hamilton, it's because of the quick POV change. "This isn't a position that babies commonly find themselves in," he told BuzzFeed.

“By putting them in a new or novel position, you're changing their focus and almost overwhelming them,” he explained.

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“It’s causing them to reflect and think, ‘huh, this is different!’,” he said. “And that’s usually enough to stop the crying.”

"It's causing them to reflect and think, 'huh, this is different!'," he said. "And that's usually enough to stop the crying."

Dr. Hamilton also says the position itself is important — because babies have a natural reflex to want to flail their arms out. So holding their arms in is the first step to curbing that reflex, and comforting them.

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One thing to note, though? All babies are different, so this trick won’t on work on everyone. (It also won’t work, he says, if the fussiness is caused by a more concrete issue — like if your baby is hungry or not feeling well.)

One thing to note, though? All babies are different, so this trick won't on work on everyone. (It also won't work, he says, if the fussiness is caused by a more concrete issue — like if your baby is hungry or not feeling well.)

Dr. Hamilton also says that the technique works best for babies under three months. After that, they either get too heavy, or the novelty wears off.

But he estimates that his success rate with babies in his office is “around 90%” — and a quick scan through the comments on the video shows lots of parents vouching for this trick working on their babies. (Psst… it worked for mine, too!)

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Watch the full video here:

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Here Are Some Mental Health Reminders You Might Need Right Now

You’re not a bad person for needing to turn off the news.

To help you process in the wake of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, BuzzFeed Health talked to Dr. Shairi Turner, chief medical officer of Crisis Text Line, a free, 24/7 support line for those in crisis. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Brute Reason

There’s no “wrong” way to feel, and you shouldn’t feel guilty for having an emotional reaction, even if you weren’t directly affected.

There’s no “wrong” way to feel, and you shouldn’t feel guilty for having an emotional reaction, even if you weren’t directly affected.

You’ve probably heard, “Your emotions are valid,” before, and it’s true. When something like this happens, people's reactions fall anywhere on a large spectrum of feelings, and none of them are the “right” one. You might feel anxiety, sadness, panic, or anger, or you might shut down emotionally. The key thing to remember is that you should not discount whatever it is you're feeling, and you definitely shouldn't feel guilty for it.

“You have every right to feel frightened,” says Turner. “You have every right to feel sad. You have every right to feel anxious. All of those emotions can come flooding in when they see something like this.”

Brute Reason / Via the-orbit.net

Feeling numb or even desensitized doesn’t mean you’re broken or callous.

Feeling numb or even desensitized doesn’t mean you’re broken or callous.

You may feel like it isn't normal to feel nothing in the wake of a tragedy, but actually, that could be your body going into protection mode. “For some people, becoming numb is the mind's way of preventing overload,” says Turner. “Shutting down prevents being triggered by past experiences, having an anxiety attack, or becoming hyper-vigilant.”

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For people who have experienced a crisis, tragedy, or a trauma, events like this can be very triggering.

For people who have experienced a crisis, tragedy, or a trauma, events like this can be very triggering.

It's important to keep in mind that certain people, like those with post-traumatic stress disorder, have more than an emotional reaction to events like this — a reminder of their trauma (aka, a trigger) can cause a symptomatic response, like a flashback or a panic attack, or a rush of emotions that sets them back in their mental wellbeing.

If this applies to you, be kind and patient with yourself. If it doesn't, keep it in mind and be aware that there are other people who might not be able to engage in conversations about a tragedy or need to take a big step back.

Justine Zwiebel / BuzzFeed


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17 Comics You’ll Only Understand If You’ve Gotten A Period

“Wait but did I take out my tampon this morning or… ?”

When you can’t tell if your next period will be easy and breezy or if it’ll hit you like a truck:

When you can't tell if your next period will be easy and breezy or if it'll hit you like a truck:

Maritsa Patrinos / Via buzzfeed.com

Or if it’ll come without any warning:

Or if it'll come without any warning:

Loryn Brantz / Via buzzfeed.com

When all of those “random” mood swings you were having the past few days suddenly make sense:

When all of those "random" mood swings you were having the past few days suddenly make sense:

Maritsa Patrinos / Via buzzfeed.com

When you ruin that new pair of underwear and end up watching DIY blood stain removal videos for an hour:

When you ruin that new pair of underwear and end up watching DIY blood stain removal videos for an hour:

Crystal Ro / Via buzzfeed.com


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18 Times The Internet Roasted The Shit Out Of Dudes Who Didn’t Understand Periods

“This is why education is important.”

When this dude thought their erection struggles were comparable.

When this dude thought their erection struggles were comparable.

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When this person got a bad education.

When this person got a bad education.

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When this guy was blind-sided by the wrath of the period sneeze…

When this guy was blind-sided by the wrath of the period sneeze...

Twitter: @jackhoward

…and poo.

...and poo.

Twitter: @findingella


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Lady Gaga Has Postponed Her Tour Due To Ongoing Health Problems

“I have to be with my doctors right now so I can be strong and perform for you all for the next 60 years or more.”

Lady Gaga has postponed her tour due to ongoing health issues, after revealing she suffers from chronic pain earlier this month.

The European leg of her tour was due to kick off later this week in Barcelona, Spain.

@ladygaga / Instagram / Via Instagram: @ladygaga

I have always been honest about my physical and mental health struggles. Searching for years to get to the bottom of them. It is complicated and difficult to explain, and we are trying to figure it out. As I get stronger and when I feel ready, I will tell my story in more depth, and plan to take this on strongly so I can not only raise awareness, but expand research for others who suffer as I do, so I can help make a difference. I use the word “suffer” not for pity, or attention, and have been disappointed to see people online suggest that I'm being dramatic, making this up, or playing the victim to get out of touring. If you knew me, you would know this couldn't be further from the truth. I'm a fighter. I use the word suffer not only because trauma and chronic pain have changed my life, but because they are keeping me from living a normal life. They are also keeping me from what I love the most in the world: performing for my fans. I am looking forward to touring again soon, but I have to be with my doctors right now so I can be strong and perform for you all for the next 60 years or more. I love you so much.

The singer also shared an official statement from Live Nation, revealing she will be taking the rest of the year off and won’t be picking up her tour again until early 2018.

The singer also shared an official statement from Live Nation, revealing she will be taking the rest of the year off and won't be picking up her tour again until early 2018.

@ladygaga / Instagram / Via instagram.com

The announcement comes a few days after she pulled out of a concert in Rio.

The announcement comes a few days after she pulled out of a concert in Rio.

Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images


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Half Of The Women With Mesh Implant Complications Lose Their Partners, A Senate Inquiry Hears

Half of the women who experienced adverse physical and psychological side effects after receiving a vaginal mesh implant have also suffered from a relationship breakdown after the procedure, a Senate inquiry into transvaginal meshes has heard.

Urogynaecological meshes, sometimes known as transvaginal meshes, are inserted into women as a treatment option for pelvic organ prolapse (when the connective tissue securing the vagina and uterus to the pelvis gives way after childbirth), or urinary incontinence.

Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

The inquiry, which reports in November, was set up to find out exactly how many women have had transvaginal mesh implants and, of those, how many experienced adverse side effects.

Victorian senator Derryn Hinch, who spearheaded the inquiry, said the evidence he had heard suggested that “30% of partnerships break up because of [complications after a mesh implant is inserted].”

“Is that right?” Hinch asked doctors testifying at the inquiry's third public hearing in Sydney on Monday.

“I'd say 50%,” professor Thierry Vancaillie, who runs the Women's Health and Research Institute of Australia (WHRIA) in Sydney, told the hearing.

Vancaillie, who is also a gynaecology professor at the University of NSW, said so far this year he had seen 54 new patients with nerve pain after mesh surgery.

Since mid-August, he has seen six new patients with these issues every week.

“Nerve pain is horrible,” he told the hearing. “It burns, it stings, it feels like a ball stuck in the rectum.

“Since 2007 we have been seeing patients suffering chronic pain after mesh surgery with increasing frequency.”

Vancaillie called on manufacturers to “voluntarily withdraw some of their products” and urged Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration to adopt an ongoing surveillance system to monitor complications after transvaginal mesh surgery.

Dr Liz Howard of the WHRIA said 72% of patients in the institute's pelvic pain impact questionnaire said the pain had impacted the level of intimacy or sexual relations.

Hinch told the hearing that one patient had approached him with a handful of steel wool and said: “This is what my husband feels every time we try to have sex”.

Many of the women testifying on Monday could not sit still for more than 15 minutes at a time, so leaned against the walls or paced along the back of the room in New South Wales parliament.

Senator Derryn Hinch.

Scott Barbour / Getty Images

Queensland associate professor of urogynaecology Christopher Maher has estimated more than 200,000 mesh implant surgeries have been performed in Australia to date.

More than 100 women have written to the inquiry.

Patients who suffered ongoing complications after their surgery, including relationship breakdowns, testified at Monday's hearing.

One woman, identified only as Madeleine, testified via phone at the hearing about how her “vagina felt like it was full of barbed wire and shards of glass” after her implant was inserted.

“It left me with the inability to share intercourse,” Madeleine, who had three operations to remove the mesh, told the hearing.

Another woman flew from regional New South Wales to describe how a “piece of plastic” had ruined her emotional and sexual life, changing her from a “passionate primary school teacher” into a “victim”.

“I've had frequent catheters, groin pain, frequent [urinary tract infections], pain during sex with the inability to orgasm, problems with urethra and bladder function, I can no longer run or cycle,” she said.

“I feel sexually inadequate and have pushed away friends due to my lack of self-worth.”

Gai Thompson received a mesh implant nine years ago and told the hearing she was “never warned about how catastrophic the complications would be”.

“I wasn’t warned of the shame, isolation, mental anguish and financial burden this surgery would cause, and that it would consume every aspect of my life,” Thompson said.

She said when she complained to her doctor about her inability to have sex with her husband because of the pain, he said: “There are many ways to skin a cat”.

This echoed previous testimonies from women who couldn't have vaginal sex due to ongoing sexual dysfunction from urogynaecological mesh, who told the hearing their GPs' advice was to have anal sex instead.

Thompson is one of more than 700 Australian women currently in court fighting Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, in a class action brought by Shine Lawyers which claims vaginal medical devices left women “suffering painful and life-altering complications”.

An estimated 100,000 Australian women have been implanted with Johnson & Johnson mesh devices since 2000.

The lawyers representing the women have said there could be upwards of 8,000 Australians who have been implanted with one of the nine devices.

Johnson & Johnson said the company's pelvic mesh products had been developed in “close consultation with specialist surgeons” and were “backed by years of clinical research”.

In its submission to the Senate inquiry, the company said the use of implantable mesh was supported by clinical research and was often the preferred option to treat pelvic conditions, including incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.

The final public hearing for the inquiry is in Canberra on Tuesday.

If you need to talk to someone, you can call Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue Australia on 1300 22 4636; Anxiety UK on 08444 775 774; or Hopeline America on 1-800-784-2433.

Here’s A Post For Anyone Who Wishes They Could Say “Goodbye” To Their Period

Clenching my vagina just thinking about it.

Dear period, why do you have to give me cramps that make me feel like I am dying?

Dear period, why do you have to give me cramps that make me feel like I am dying?

Twitter: @INDIEWASHERE

Seriously, you’re absolutely RUTHLESS.

Seriously, you're absolutely RUTHLESS.

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And can you just like, chill, when I sneeze?

And can you just like, chill, when I sneeze?

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You can’t even leave my skin alone, can you?

You can't even leave my skin alone, can you?

Twitter: @quenblackwell


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25 Things You Did If You Grew Up Playing Netball On A Saturday

Please don’t make me play wing defence.

Snoozing your alarm multiple times, because getting up early on a Saturday was always a struggle.

Snoozing your alarm multiple times, because getting up early on a Saturday was always a struggle.

DIsney

Complaining that it was way too cold outside to be wearing a bodysuit.

Complaining that it was way too cold outside to be wearing a bodysuit.

Tell me again why Netball is a winter sport?

Nickeloden

Layering your clothes over your bodysuit to make sure you stayed warm.

Layering your clothes over your bodysuit to make sure you stayed warm.

MGM

Forgetting to cut your nails, and then having to bend your fingers back to try and trick the umpire into thinking they were short.

Forgetting to cut your nails, and then having to bend your fingers back to try and trick the umpire into thinking they were short.

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