Page 1

B A LL BEARINGS FALL 2017

With life expectancy possibly increasing, even a 100-year-old woman isn’t sure what she would do with another 10 years. page 24

Bigger Bodies page 16

My Schizophrenia page 20

Developing Differently page 32


LaFollette Complex

L. A. Pittenger Student Center Taco Bell® (including breakfast) Starbucks® Salad & fruit bar Specialty lunch entrees Grill & homestyle favorites Soups Freshly made sushi Grab-n-go salads, sandwiches, & wraps Custom snack mix station

Courtside All-you-care-to-eat buffet-style favorites & salad bar Out of Bounds Custom sub sandwiches Pizza by the slice Fresh fruit & veggies Hamburgers Grilled chicken sandwiches Chicken tenders Grill sides Grab-n-go sandwiches Grab-n-go salads Freshly made sushi Milkshakes Grocery area Hubbard & Cravens® coffees

Art & Journalism Building Burritos, quesadillas, nachos, & other Mexican fare Chips & salsa bar Custom-made salads Custom-made deli sandwiches Boar’s Head® meats & cheeses Chick-fil-A® favorites Papa John’s® pizza & wings Freshly made sushi Angus steakburgers Pork tenderloins Grilled salmon Specialty baked potatoes Onion rings Hot breakfast favorites Fresh fruit

Woodworth Complex Brick-oven pizzas Pasta entrees Mongolian grill Tacos & nachos Homestyle & grill favorites Custom-made spinning salads Paninis & wraps Vegan entrees Grab-n-go sandwiches & salads Fresh fruit & whole vegetables Pastries & breakfast items Hubbard & Cravens® cafe Grocery area

Bracken Library (1st floor) Hubbard & Cravens® coffee & tea Espresso & specialty drinks Frozen blended drinks Grab-n-go sandwiches Soups Salads Pastries & cookies Fresh fruit Grab-n-go breakfast items

Kinghorn Hall Custom sandwiches & salads Create-your-own pastas Burgers, pizzas, & nachos Soups Coffee & fountain drinks Grocery & grab-n-go areas

Studebaker West Complex Grab-n-go sandwiches & salads Soups Microwavable entrees Fresh fruit Pastries Hubbard & Cravens® coffees Grocery area

Recreation & Wellness Center Toasted subs & flatbreads Salads, soups, & wraps Fresh fruit Grocery area

Noyer Complex Food Mall/Marketplace Salad bar Grill favorites Homestyle & pasta entrees Noodle, rice, or grain bowls Custom-made pizzas Custom-made deli sandwiches Soups Fresh fruit Freshly made sushi Gourmet desserts Grocery area

Art & Journalism Building Smoothies made w/real fruit Energy-boosting blend-ins Wheat grass shots Teas Freshly squeezed juices Baked goods & flatbreads Hot oatmeal

Southwest of Elliott Hall The Retreat Lunch features a la carte entrées, 16-oz. All-you-care-to-eat salads, soups, & desserts FOUNTAIN DRINK buffet, featuring custom (faculty/staff & their guests 16-oz. stir-fry, homestyle fare, grill, only). Dinner is an all-you-care- with purchase in Woodworth DRINK & salad FOUNTAIN bar to-eat buffet (open to all).

Hungry?

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Find fresh variety in Ball State Dining

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CONTENTS 2

Letter From the Editor

A letter from the editor-in-chief, Miller Kern, discussing the importance of health.

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Trending Topics

While some aspects of health, such as disease, are out of our hands, others like lifestyle choices can sometimes be good for our bodies. And in other cases, the choices can cause great harm.

8

The Divide in Access

Minority groups often face obstacles in health care that majority groups do not.

12

What it Means to Be a Man Men experience how they can be perceived by entering roles that are not always deemed masculine.

36 38 40

Having “The Talk”

The topic of sex remains taboo as people discuss how, when, and if it should even be taught.

16

Bigger Bodies

20

My Schizophrenia

24

The Human Experience

32

Developing Differently

Not Part of the Plan

Even though she did not have the option of aid in dying herself, Carrol Krause didn’t stop fighting to expand death with dignity laws.

Earth to Mankind

Pollution within our air and water may be the cause of health complications.

41

Mirror, Mirror

44

Not What the Doctor Ordered

16-oz.

FEATURES

Media has altered the idea of beauty in many cultures, but trying to fit a standard can create health risks.

Bodybuilders make sacrifices to obtain their perfect bodies, but “perfect” doesn’t necessarily mean healthy.

Mikael Rehman has spent years learning how to reduce stress, deal with his hallucinations, and be happy with his schizophrenia.

With life expectancy possibly increasing, even a 100-year-old woman isn't sure what she would do with another 10 years.

FOUNTAIN DRINK

16-oz.

with purchase in FOUNTAIN Woodworth DRINK Commons or the Student Center Tally in Woodworth with purchase

14

It’s All in the Head

Commons or the Student Though it can be a physical sensation, Center Tally

pain starts as a reaction in the brain.

EXPIRES JULY 10, 2015

EXPIRES JULY 10, 2015

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cover photo: terence k. lightning jr. | illustrations: megan hall @BallStateDining

Some unconventional health methods and products are not proven by experts to work.

Even though as many as 1.7 percent of babies are born intersex, there’s still a general misunderstanding as to what it actually means.


LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

I

am terrible at maintaining my health. I avoid doctors if I can. I haven’t been to the dentist in a year and a half. (My teeth haven’t fallen out yet, so I think I’m okay.) When I got to college I realized that I only went to the doctor because my dad forced me to. Now, in my senior year, he sends me voicemails that he receives from my dentist telling me I’m past due for an appointment. My dentist is an hour and a half away in Fort Wayne. I don’t feel the sense of urgency to schedule an appointment while I’m a comfortable distance away in Muncie. But maybe this trait isn’t completely my fault. My parents also avoid regular check-ups, and stopped taking my brother and me to the doctor once we hit first grade. We don’t have a family doctor. When I was required to get various shots for a trip to Brazil last summer, I put it off and eventually wound up in the Walgreens pharmacy line. But I couldn’t get all of the necessary shots because I needed a doctor recommendation, which I didn’t have. This caused me to walk into RediMed, an urgent care clinic. That turned out to be a whole process in itself. The clinic could not provide me with a recommendation for Walgreens because I wasn’t a patient of theirs. I had to get a basic physical so that I could technically be labeled as treated by the practitioners there. After paying a small fee, I finally left with my note and headed back to Walgreens. A wild goose chase to be someone’s patient all because I had spent years avoiding being one. I haven’t changed much since. My medicine cabinet consists of Ibuprofen and NyQuil, and not much else. I’m a firm believer that a little bit of Ibuprofen can cure almost any ailment I encounter. I consider myself active for walking to and from campus. It’s 20 minutes each way. My weekly exercise comes from the aerobics class I’m required to take in order to graduate. Although, I waited until my senior year to sign up. Basically, if I am not nagged to call the doctor by my parents, or forced to lift a dumbbell per university curriculum, I most likely just won’t do it. As little as I pay attention to my health, it’s still a huge part of my life—it’s how I’m alive. As humans, that’s something we all have in common: We’re alive. We may even be living longer than ever before. Our cover story (“The Human Experience”) explores life expectancy and whether or not there is a limit on the maximum lifespan. Nothing can guarantee a long and healthy life; some people live to be 100, others may face challenges that cut their lives short.

MILLER KERN editor-in-chief mskern@bsu.edu @millerkern

Some people have mental illnesses that interfere with how they want to live their lives, and they have to figure out ways around them (“My Schizophrenia”). Some parts of health are completely out of our control. We can even be born with them (“Developing Differently”). Others may dedicate their lives to working toward an idea of healthy. This includes spending hours in the gym working on their bodies and sticking to a specific diet, all in hopes of achieving their ideal physique (“Bigger Bodies”). We don’t know how long we will live. We don’t know what obstacles we will face along the way, whether they be physical or mental. What affects one, might not affect all. We may have different experiences, but, still, the human experience is universal.


BALL BEARINGS INSTAGRAM: @ballbearingsmag TWITTER: @ballbearings ballbearingsmag.com

EXECUTIVE

Editor-in-Chief Miller Kern Executive Editor Vanessa Ford Managing Editor Samantha Stevenson Art Director Annelise Hanshaw Assistant Art Director Megan Hall

Embrace your inner artist.

EDITORIAL

Senior Editors Taylor Hohn Taylor Meyers Emily Sabens Katie Grieze Staff Writers Kylie Kaiser Samantha Kupiainen Jackie Miller Konnor Miller

PHOTO

Photo Editor Terence K. Lightning Jr. Photographers Michaela Kelley Jordan Manders Branden Dwyer

Design

Designers Makayla Hughes Lydia Olsen Kayla Jackson Hannah Patton Tt Shinkan Alix Peters Sierra Hawthorne

ADVISER

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409 N. Martin Ste. 2 (765) 284-2919

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//news

TRENDING TOPICS

While some aspects of health, such as disease, are out of our hands, others such as lifestyle choices can sometimes be good for our bodies. And in other cases, the choices can cause great harm.

A HIT TO THE HEAD story: mariah bainter

The crowd was cheering, the stadium lights were shining, and the clock was racing. Nick Dowd’s adrenaline was pumping, and he was focused on the game—too focused. He didn’t even notice that he was about to be tackled. This injury wouldn’t be like the others. This was a football game in October 2011 when he was a freshman in high school. He was the quarterback, and he was used to being tackled. But somewhere in between the multiple hits, one caused a concussion. He didn’t notice until the bus ride home, an hour later. The headache set in, and Nick knew something was wrong. In major contact sports, particularly football, head injuries are an issue that have increased among young athletes in the past decade, leaving behind harmful effects. According to the website for Weill Cornell Medicine, a concussion and brain injury

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After a doctor discovered concussions can cause brain damage similar to Alzheimer’s disease, the head injury has become a health concern for athletes.

clinic, long-term effects of concussions can be anything from problems with attention and short-term memory to not being able to perform everyday tasks. According to Donald Kimbler, Marguerite Murphy, and Krishnan Dhandapani, authors of “Concussions and the Adolescent Athlete,” a common problem with concussions in sports is that sometimes the symptoms present themselves as less serious which causes the youth to ignore appropriate medical treatment. Another factor is that some athletes, coaches, and parents are not fully aware of how a concussion manifests. In Nick’s situation, his concussion was handled with caution and plenty of rest, but even then, he still experienced some side effects. Abbie Klingsmith, a former athletic trainer at Ball State University, says there is an entire protocol for returning to a game after suffering a concussion because they are such

serious injuries. After trainers make the call to refer them to a doctor, restrictions are made to decide when it’s safe to resume normal activities. She says some concussion restrictions can last anywhere from seven days to three months, but it’s important to follow them. Educating players, their parents, and coaches on how to handle head injuries is a major factor in lessening the effects that can occur. After suffering from a concussion, Nick had to sit out the final three games of the season. He also had to stay in bed for a week straight to recover, without the energy to do anything but sleep. It took a toll on him as he struggled to get caught up with classes afterward. Because Nick sought medical attention after the game for being knocked out, it was discovered he had a concussion, and proper treatment was administered. But it’s not always so simple in all cases.


photo illustration: michaela kelley

THE HELL OF HEROIN story: samantha nower

In 2009, Savannah Urban came home from middle school to find her usually stoic mother crying. Confused and a little scared, she immediately asked her mom what had happened. “Call your dad. It’s about Jesse,” was all she said. Savannah’s cousin, Jesse, was found in the bathroom of his home, passed out over the toilet. He had no pulse. His friends had thought he was joking, trying to play a prank. He’d been playing basketball with them just moments before. When they realized he wasn’t breathing, they called an ambulance, but it was too late. He’d choked on his own vomit during a heroin overdose—he was dead. Savannah hung up on her dad in shock after hearing the news. She hadn’t even known her cousin had been doing drugs. This wasn’t the Jesse she knew; this wasn’t the same boy from her memories. In the span of one morning, he’d disappeared. As heroin use continues to rise, millions of Americans will experience Savannah’s shock and grief. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported almost 13,000 deaths in 2015 due to a heroin overdose.

As more users abuse opioids, Indiana is left to come up with a solution to this epidemic.

Last year, Delaware County saw 52 deaths related to heroin and other prescription opiates, according to data from the Delaware County Prevention Council. In one weekend alone in February 2017, there were 13 heroin overdose cases resulting in three deaths in Muncie. According to Bruce Rector, president of the Delaware County Prevention Council, one of the reasons heroin is so popular is because it’s cheaper than many prescription opiates. Opiates are among the most popular drugs today, and heroin is in the opiate family, so the transition from one to the other is easy. Rector says that once heroin use starts, the front lobe of the brain that thinks about consequences is turned off, and the only thing motivating the now-addicted person is the fear of withdrawal, which is extremely painful. To make matters worse, the CDC reports that over time, users build a tolerance to opioids, and greater and greater quantities need to be taken in order to feel their effects. This can lead to an overdose. To combat this epidemic, Indiana passed Aaron’s Law in 2015, which allows residents to acquire a prescription for Naloxone, a drug

that reduces the symptoms of an overdose for a short period, giving the affected person enough time to call an ambulance. While Aaron’s Law holds a lot of promise for the future, there is another, possibly more effective, method: prevention. According to Rector, prevention can be stronger than any prescription. Thanks to the Prevention Council, several programs have been put in place focused on educating community members of all ages about addiction. For people like Jesse, heroin wasn’t just something he chose to do. There were many environmental and social factors that influenced him, like the friends he hung around, and his depression that resulted from his parents’ divorce. These programs hope to limit people turning to drugs in bad situations, acknowledging that for prevention to truly be effective, the entire community needs to band together. If there’s one thing to remember, it’s that addicts shouldn’t be given up on, even when they relapse, Rector says. Savannah agrees, and encourages people to see them as who they truly are—people. Just like Jesse, and just like everyone else.

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photo illustration: michaela kelley

//news

POCKET-SIZED FITNESS Apps like Pokémon Go encourage a more active lifestyle. story: holly westerfield

In order to make it easier to wake up for her 8 a.m. classes, Elizabeth Hall, an accounting major at Ball State University, uses the Samsung Health app. It regulates her sleep schedule, tracks her daily steps, and even gives her little badges when she hits a goal, like reaching 60 minutes of physical activity. According to a study by the New York University School of Medicine, more than 50 percent of American smartphone users have downloaded at least one health app on their phone. Christina Jones, an assistant professor of health science at Ball State, says that these apps are a dream come true for doctors. They’ve already started integrating the continuous collection of information from these apps into their process,

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which allows them to make a more accurate diagnosis. But information-collecting apps aren’t the only health-related features on your phone. Elizabeth also plays Pokémon Go, an augmented reality app which allows players to “capture” Pokémon based on their GPS location. Because the app is locationbased, players have to physically travel to find the Pokémon. Before the app came out, Elizabeth rarely left her room, but since December of 2016 she’s been roaming around campus to find the Pokémon, like 25 million other active Pokémon Go users in the United States. According to a study by Stanford University and Microsoft, Pokémon Go has increased its users’ average step count by 26 percent. What

makes Pokémon Go unique from other fitness apps is that it was able to reach a portion of the population who, like Elizabeth, were unlikely to do physical activity without the engagement of the app. In comparison, apps like Fitbit are often used by people who are already physically active, and therefore only serve as a tool instead of as a source of motivation. Nicole Hendricks, a journalism instructor at Ball State, says that part of the reason these health apps have been so successful is because they have been able to connect people as well as compute the data from the user’s day-to-day life. Elizabeth has personally experienced this, saying she feels like she belongs to a community now.


IN MODERATION The lifestyles of college students are often swayed by the allure of a drinking culture.

photo illustration: michaela kelley

story: dara metcalfe

Every morning of her freshman year, Deja Hall, now a senior advertising major at Ball State University, woke up hungover in her dorm room. After partying and drinking with her friends, she felt nauseated, tired, and her head was killing her. She didn’t want to go to class feeling like that, so she didn’t, and skipping class became a pattern. Alcohol had taken over her life, and she didn’t see the consequences until the day after. This eventually led to her failing courses and being put on academic probation—twice. Twenty-five percent of college students between the ages of 18 and 24 receive academic consequences because of their drinking, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). At Ball State, being on academic probation meant that Deja’s GPA dropped below a 2.00. It was a wakeup call. I’m not in college to get drunk every night. My education is supposed to come first. Two out of three college students engage in binge drinking, according

to the NIAAA. Binge drinking is when someone drinks more than four or five drinks within two hours. According to Jun Xu, a sociology professor at Ball State, when you’re at a party, you’re not aware of your drinking because of the social culture. Everyone’s doing it, and you lose track of your actions. But that’s just one of three factors that might contribute to binge drinking, according to Xu. Someone might also use alcohol to ease their troubles, which is psychological. The third is a chemical response, where someone is wired to respond to a substance because it has a lot of sugar. According to a study in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 have died from alcoholrelated incidents. Deja stopped binge drinking for fear of becoming a part of that statistic. Now, at 22 years old, Deja has moderated her drinking. Rather than drinking daily and missing classes, she has a casual drink once in awhile with a few friends. She wakes up in her house, hangover free.

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//q&a

THE DIVIDE

IN ACCESS Minority groups often face obstacles in health care that majority groups do not. story: samantha kupiainen | illustrations: lydia olsen

A

simple cough is usually nothing. Some experience a cough during a seasonal bout of the flu or when they have a minor cold. But sometimes a cough can be a sign of pneumonia, whooping cough, or even cancer, according to the Mayo Clinic. When a patient’s symptoms persist over a long period of time or become severe, they typically seek medical assistance and guidance. For 91.2 percent of Americans, consulting a doctor is no problem because they have health insurance, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. But for the unfortunate 8.8 percent, or 28.1 million Americans, they are hesitant to seek medical help due to lack of coverage. Because of that, the illness or disease can spread and manifest into something bigger. Minorities make up the highest percentage of Americans without health care. Hispanics have the highest rate with 16 percent. Blacks and Asians follow behind with uninsured rates of 10.5 percent and 7.6 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But health insurance isn’t the only barrier many minority groups face in health care. According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, many minority groups, such as the LGBT community, face discriminatory attitudes and treatment, as well as concerns regarding confidentiality and disclosure. Because of that, they are less likely to seek medical assistance or consultation. To better understand some aspects that minority groups have to take into consideration to stay healthy, as compared to majority groups, Ball Bearings interviewed a variety of experts, peers, and educators in the field of public and minority health.

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PAUL HALVERSON Paul Halverson is a professor and the founding dean at the Fairbanks School of Public Health at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis.

Blacks are twice as likely to die of diabetes as compared to whites, and stroke deaths among blacks are 1.4 times higher as compared to whites. Cancer and heart disease deaths among African Americans are 1.2 times higher as compared to white populations. Infant mortality rates for blacks are three times that as compared to white populations. As we think about all of those differences or disparities and inequities and health status, there are a number of reasons for that. We have high smoking rates, and if you look at LGBT communities, they have substantially higher smoking rates than non-LGBT populations. There are a lot of reasons for these things. They are not necessarily purposeful. For example, in terms of death due to cancer and diabetes, one of the reasons the death rate is higher is there is a delay in diagnosis. People are in an advanced stage of the disease before they are initially diagnosed. It’s hard because they lack access to the medical care systems. That's why it’s so important, for example, for everyone to have access. A lot of it also has to do with cultural views on disease and the likelihood of medical intervention. So, there are a lot of things that focus on a broader, more societyrelated perspective. I don’t know that there are higher likelihoods, for example, of certain diseases in certain groups. But I also think in general that we need to look broadly at differences in access to the health care system, preventive services, and so forth. Much of what we know about preventable deaths is that over 50 percent are directly tied to health behaviors, which are influenced by individual circumstances. We have a higher prevalence of stroke among African

Americans, and we know that [they] are more prone to high blood pressure. Everyone can do their part by keeping up with their blood pressure and if they find that [it] is consistently higher than what they would expect or what is normal for their age, then they should get early treatment and seek the help of a physician. The easiest thing is to help people from getting high blood pressure in the first place. But since we know African Americans have a higher sensitivity to high blood pressure, then the best thing to do would be to keep a good eye on it and stay as physically fit as one could, and then monitor their pressure [carefully] and seek help when it gets high. Similarly, as it relates to diabetes, we know there is a high prevalence of diabetes among the black community, and again, that’s where maintaining a healthy weight, physical activity, and periodically checking your blood sugar is an appropriate way to maintain proper metabolic levels—that your blood sugars are in check and you have the appropriate balance of insulin and blood sugar. The reason more African Americans die related to diabetes isn’t because of diseases that aren’t treatable, but because people delay seeking treatment. We see in a lot of circumstances that some patients come to the hospital for an amputation due to diabetes. Again, in this day and age, that is a real tragedy. [Because of this,] they need to understand what the disease is, what the symptoms are, and how to prevent it. So again, knowledge is important, access to the health care system is important, and taking responsibility to conduct a healthy lifestyle with what you can is really important. Now, with that being said, it’s one thing to say it, and it’s another thing to do it. For example, we find sometimes that people [who live in areas where they don’t feel safe] find it very difficult to maintain a physically active lifestyle. Or if you live in a neighborhood that doesn’t have a good supply of fresh fruits and vegetables, it’s hard to eat in a nutritional way because for you, those are not options. The other thing is having a more realistic vision of the disease process. Because of [minority groups’] higher susceptibility to some of these things, they will have a more difficult time reconciling the fact that they actually can do something about it. They don’t seek diagnosis early because they are afraid of the diagnosis.

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//q&a

TYA ARTHUR Tya Arthur is an assistant professor of health science at Ball State University One of the things we do need to keep into consideration when it comes to minority health in general are the social determinants of health. Those are just the conditions in which we live, we grow, we work. Those things can include access to health care, the environment in which we live, our education, and our income. All of these impact our health in some way, and that's the stuff many health disparity researchers and equity researchers are taking [into consideration] now when it comes to trying to reduce some of the disparities that we have within the minority community. In the United States, our health in general has improved. One of the health status markers we have is life expectancy, and infant mortality. That has improved drastically in the past 100, 150 years. But when it comes to minority populations, we haven’t seen as great of an improvement. We still have higher infant mortality rates than white populations here in the United States. We also have a lower life expectancy than white populations here, particularly when it comes to the African American community. The Hispanic community actually has a higher life expectancy than the white population. Those are the major things we need to look at. When we are considering the health of minority populations in the United States, we do need to look at all those social determinants that impact our health. One of the things we have to figure out is how we can help improve minority populations when it comes to getting a better education. [We also need to think about] how we can improve employment status, which will increase the income that we have. Everything is just tied in together. When you think of minority groups that have a lower socioeconomic status, that can impact their ability to get nutritious food and so a lot of minority populations have a higher food insecurity. Because of where they live due to their socioeconomic status, they don’t have access to all of the different grocery stores. So they may go without,

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or they may just go to a local convenience store that may not have all of the fruits and vegetables and all of the things we need to eat properly, be more physically active, and maintain a healthy weight. All of these things have an impact on our health status no matter what our concern is. Also, when you think of social determinants of health, you have to think of discrimination as well. It’s something that has been in the media a lot these days, but you don’t see it on the surface. But individuals who face discrimination on a day-to-day basis, that impacts their health. They have higher stress levels. And when you have higher stress levels throughout your entire life span, that has an impact on your health because it changes your physiology. It can increase your rates of hypertension; it can increase all kinds of different things. They have even linked stress to the higher infant mortality rates among African American mothers. That's something we also need to consider and look at as something that minorities face that sometimes other groups such as white populations do not necessarily face.

BROOKLYN ARIZMENDI Brooklyn Arizmendi is a sophomore at Ball State University and president of Spectrum, the largest LGBT organization on campus that strives to create awareness as well as a safe space for the queer community and allies. [Something minorities have to consider in their health care is a] lack of education from health professionals on identities and health problems in general. [Say] you are a transgender man who went into an appointment and the doctor knew nothing about your identity. [If they] asked a lot of questions that might not necessarily pertain to the meeting, or passed over your identity entirely, referring to you by the wrong pronouns, that would be horrific. You would never want to go back again. Health professionals being educated on the community is extremely important. They are going to need to know a lot about testosterone and estrogen, like what you can and can’t take with that.


I know a lot of queer people who are not fond of health care and do not go [to appointments]. They are uncomfortable. [If they had a bad experience,] some people would just not see that physician again. Sometimes though, if they have had too many bad experiences pile up, which happens a lot, then health care doesn’t feel like an option anymore, at least public health, until they find the right person. But then health care is so expensive. And then, what if your parents kick you out and strip you of your health care? What do you do then? You have nothing. It is just expensive. All of these experiences are different when you are a queer person. A lot of times health insurance won’t pay for the things that make you feel comfortable in your body. Most don’t cover top surgery or bottom surgery, even with proper documentation of gender dysphoria. Or they won’t cover testosterone or estrogen, which a lot of times are required when pursuing those surgeries. [Another obstacle that might be faced is if ] you’re going to see a psychiatrist, and they are treating you very differently because you are coming to see them about gender dysphoria, or they are treating your identity as a whole as a mental illness. Overall, the emphasis is education on the community— making sure medical professionals have that education and respect who you are. Personally, if they couldn’t respect that I was gay, I wouldn’t go see them. We have Safe Zone Training on campus, so having a physician be able to have that certification would be incredibly beneficial.

ASHLEY CACERES Ashley Caceres is a senior at Ball State University and president of the Latinx Student Union (LSU). LSU is a student organization that promotes cultural diversity among the Latinx and Ball State communities through educational, cultural, and social events. The main one I think of, just from my experience, is that the undocumented community has a very hard time. Obviously because they can’t get insurance, they can’t get any form of welfare or things like that, or any form of

medical help and so I think it is very difficult. For me, growing up I could have legally gotten different forms of health care, like Medicaid. My mom said we could have applied for that because me and my brothers were all born here. But she couldn’t legally get any form of medical help, so it was hard, because then we grew up not knowing what going to the doctor looked like. My mom was like, “Well I can’t do it, so my kids, unless they are in grave danger, I’m not going to take them to the hospital either.” So, there is just that barrier for a lot of people where they just legally can’t because they don’t have the social security number. I guess in the Latinx community, a majority do fall in a lower socioeconomic status, and so I think that obviously that heavily influences people's ability to go and get medical help. In Latin America when it comes to going to the doctor, specifically with mental illness, there is a stigma of, “Oh, you’re fine. I have this home remedy that has been passed down from generation to generation. You’re fine.” And I think oftentimes that’s not always the solution for things. In regard to mental illness, there is always a stigma with going to go get help. It’s just like, “Oh, you’re fine. There is nothing wrong with you, you’re just crazy.” With undocumented communities, there is obviously the not being able to because they don’t have the status, but also the language. Growing up, I was the translator for my mom all the time. I think of a family where the kids can’t be the translators, [and I wonder] how people go to the doctor when they can’t explain it. Maybe they know basic/general English, but they don’t know what the medical terms are. I think that also creates a barrier and people get misdiagnosed or [don’t] understand what’s wrong with them. Sometimes I just wrap my head around the home remedies thing because it’s so interesting. Silly ones are like vapor rub—any Latinx can tell you that when you have a cold and there is anything involving congestion, [use vapor rub and] you’ll be fine. But in actuality you’re not fine. Anything that has to do with indigenous roots in Latin America, people’s ancestors, that’s how they treated things and I think people still try to hold on to that. But that doesn’t always work. Ball Bearings has edited statements for clarity.

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WHAT IT MEANS

TO BE A MAN

“Being a male in the art field is a really complicated position. In the sense of any field, you have this position of being a historically-oppressive force that set a lot of standards in the context of how your field has been governed and constructed. I try to go about my practice being aware of that history. When I say certain things, it has a different context from if a woman or a non-binary person were to say something.� -Alex Mikev, junior photography and intermedia major


photo essay// Men experience how they can be perceived by entering roles that are not always deemed masculine. story: taylor hohn | photos: miller kern and terence k. lightning jr.

T

oxic masculinity describes when a person opts to participate in masculine behaviors to a point that might be unhealthy for them or those around them, according to Katie Lawson, an assistant professor in psychological science at Ball State University. These behaviors include, but are not limited to: violence, taking risks, holding in emotions, and socially monitoring others. Stereotypically “masculine” behaviors are based on gender roles. According to Lawson, there are many possible sources as to where current gender roles stem from. It could be that tougher men

were considered superior, due to a “survival of the fittest” mindset in earlier times. That could explain why men who come across as aggressive or emotionless are still considered “best” in our society. But gender roles are flexible, Lawson says. Although they are often viewed as societal laws on how boys and girls should act, they change a lot over time.

“The best times I’ve had in my life, so far, have been through color guard. It makes me feel better knowing that I’m confident enough to do what I do and that I enjoy it. Back in my hometown when people saw me doing color guard, it wasn’t all too friendly. But here, I feel like I can be me, truly me.” -Zachary Schneider, sophomore zoology major

“In the fashion industry, men do really well. But socially speaking, the way people interact with us is a little different. I feel like people consider me masculine. So, a lot of people take me seriously. I’m pretty sure if I were more feminine or more flamboyant, they would kind of see [my career path] make more sense.” -Levi Portillo, junior apparel design and fashion merchandising major

-An excerpt from “Shattering the Stereotype.” To read the full story, visit ballbearingsmag.com.

“A lot of people think that [theatre] is a feminine industry, but it actually is the same as every other industry. It’s male-dominated. So, I hope that as a man who is part of a minority group, I can help bring light to other minority issues. Whether that be for people of color, or for sexual orientations, or gender, anything like that. Those stories are really important to tell.” -Jacob Lang, senior theatre production major with a concentration in directing

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photo illustration: terence k. lightning jr.

IT’S ALL

IN THE HEAD

Though it can be a physical sensation, pain starts as a reaction in the brain. story: jackie miller

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column//

S

avanna Blevins walked into the Angels & Demons Tattoo shop with her father. She’d spent months picking out a tattoo that they could get together, and finally settled on the father-daughter Celtic knot. But when they entered the lobby, Savanna’s heart started to race. “Are you nervous?” her dad asked. “Yeah,” she replied, starting to realize what she was about to do. The buzzing of the needles coming from other rooms made her worry more. Rick, the owner of Angels & Demons, came into the lobby and brought Savanna and her dad into the room. Savanna sat sideways in a black

could be wrong. All pain is regulated by the brain, whether it’s a paper cut or an old wound that is still hurting, according to an article on Psychology Today written by Mel Pohl, a medical director at the Las Vegas Recovery Center. Pain is determined in the center of the brain, according to John Hopkins Medicine. Though physical and emotional pain are sensed in the same section of the brain, that doesn’t mean they are the same thing. Emotional pain is psychological. In Pohl’s article, he says that emotional pain is determined by the brain because neurotransmitters send information to

IF ANYONE WANTS TO CHANGE THEIR RESPONSES TO PAIN, THEY FIRST HAVE TO CHANGE HOW THEY FEEL. leather chair with her right arm pressed into the back, leaving her left shoulder, where she wanted the tattoo, relaxed. Rick shaved her shoulder and sterilized it with a cleansing wipe. He placed the stencil on her shoulder, then pulled it away, letting her confirm that the design was what she wanted. “Can I just keep coming in and having you put the stencil on?” she asked him. He laughed, and she did, too. But there was a little bit of truth to her joke. She sat back in the chair. Rick turned the machine on, reassuring her that this was just the noise the tool made. The buzz in her ear made her heart race and palms sweat. She clenched her teeth as he touched the needle to her skin.

THE DIFFERENCE The International Association for the Study of Pain defines pain as an “unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage.” Basically, pain is a warning that’s sent from the nerves to the brain saying that something

the brain about the emotion being sensed. Whether it’s physical or emotional, pain is a message. Nerves send a signal to the brain when something isn’t right, and it’s different for everyone.

PAIN TOLERANCE Savanna’s tolerance for pain has been low for as long as she can remember. She can’t stand paper cuts, she’ll do what she can to avoid vaccinations, and she can’t wear heels for more than an hour before her feet blister and she has to take them off. Savanna has never talked to a doctor about why she has a lower tolerance for pain than some of her friends or family, but Pohl says that someone’s pain tolerance is partially determined by how that person mentally and emotionally feels about pain. A 2003 study conducted by Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center suggested that people who experience a higher level of pain had an increase in brain activity. The study, which tested 17 people by placing a heat simulator on their legs and heating it

to 120 degrees, found that differences in individual sensitivity to pain is partly due to cognitive factors. How the 120 degrees felt to someone somewhat depended on their emotional state at the time, past painful experiences, and expectations about pain. Emotions playing into pain are why everything feels different for different people. Savanna, who is bothered by the thought of needles going into her skin, was nervous about getting a tattoo and likely felt that pain differently than someone who isn’t bothered by needles at all.

MENTAL IN PHYSICAL As Savanna drove home from the tattoo shop with her dad in the passenger seat, she kept one hand on the steering wheel. She was careful not to stretch the skin on her left shoulder to avoid the pain, and she tried not to think about the pinching of the needle that she was so worried about before. The next day her shoulder was sore. She was always conscious of it. The pricking sensation dulled, but it took roughly six months for Savanna to feel like getting another tattoo was an option. In Pohl’s article, he says that when he asks his patients about their pain, most of the responses are based on how the pain made them feel emotionally. If a person’s reaction to pain is an emotional one, then their response to a painful sensation would change as their feelings about it change. Now, Savanna wants another tattoo. Because it’s something she’s done before and she’s more prepared for the experience, she isn’t as bothered by the pain. She’s forgotten the sensation that she said felt like irritating bee stings. The feeling of getting a tattoo is something that Savanna hasn’t experienced in almost a year. If someone wants to change their responses to pain, they first have to change how they feel.

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BIGGER

BODIES

Bodybuilders make sacrifices to obtain their perfect bodies, but “perfect” does not necessarily mean healthy.

story: emily sabens | photos: terence k. lightning jr.

“C

ome on man, one more!” Josh Kuechler grunts as his friend shouts words of encouragement. A booming rock song blasts through his black earbuds as he finds the strength to push the two dumbbells he holds, which together equal 200 pounds, into the air. His red hair, which peaks out from underneath a baseball cap adorned with the American flag, drips with sweat. As he raises the heavy weights upward, his large arms, dotted with freckles as well as two tattoos, flex, revealing extreme muscle definition and popping veins. After completing his last repetition, he drops the weights, and they land on the ground with a loud thud. Josh rises from the bench and walks toward the long mirror that lines the front wall of the weight room. He bends his knees and twists his hips, then flexes his biceps in an upward motion. Josh, a senior exercise science major at Ball State University, devotes almost 10 hours each week to bodybuilding. He was first introduced to the sport while in high school. Josh was heavily involved in football and wrestling, and he had never really thought about pursuing bodybuilding. However, he began to have problems with depression and anxiety. Some of his friends had been bodybuilding and really enjoyed it. Josh started doing research and learned that weight training had been proven to release more “feel-good” endorphins in the body. This, along with the motivation to get in better shape, helped Josh make his decision to become a bodybuilder. He competed for the first time earlier this year in the Mr. Ball State bodybuilding competition, where he placed as the second runner-up. He will be returning to the competition next April as well as competing

in a competition called the Midwest Midwest Battle of Champions. Competitive bodybuilding can be traced back to the late 19th century. German jock Eugen Sandow became the “father of modern bodybuilding” by traveling all over to display his buff body and perform various feats of strength. He created many revolutionary training processes that athletes still use today. During this time, bodybuilders began to emerge. They focused on lifting weights for entertainment purposes and to impress others rather than only wanting to improve their physical physique. In the mid 1900s, bodybuilding entered its golden age. Strength and gymnastics champions emerged, protein and nutritional supplements became more readily available, and fitness magazines exploded in popularity. Bodybuilders flocked to Muscle Beach in Santa Monica, California, where bodybuilding celebrities such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Joe Gold got their start. More became interested in the sport, and bodybuilding competitions and organizations grew rapidly. Today, bodybuilders such as Josh still focus on creating picture-perfect bodies through various strategies. Athletes preparing for bodybuilding competitions must drastically reduce body fat while maintaining muscle mass. Most achieve this by decreasing their caloric intake, completing intense strength training, and increasing cardiovascular exercise, according to an article published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Although Josh will not be competing until next spring, he still follows a strict exercise and diet regimen. He meets with his personal trainer to get his workout routine

for each week. Then, he spends more than an hour each evening in the weight room in Ball State’s recreation center, completing a series of exercises that push his muscles to the limit. But, as Josh explains, a bodybuilder’s eating habits take an even bigger time commitment. Each Sunday, he spends around four to five hours preparing his food for the coming week. Josh eats eight meals a day, which he spaces out between every two to three hours. His diet mainly Barbells, includes protein- dumbbells, packed foods, such as kettlebells, weight chicken, fish, eggs, and plates. Bodybuilders nutritional shakes. He lift a lot, but how cannot miss a meal, much can they lift no matter what. On a on average? particularly busy day, BEGINNER Josh only had time to 230 SQUAT eat six meals before 175 BENCH PRESS his evening class that lasts three hours. 290 DEADLIFT He decided to bring Tupperware containers INTERMEDIATE full of chicken breast, 285 SQUAT tilapia, and brown 215 BENCH PRESS rice to his class, along 335 DEADLIFT with a giant container of hot sauce in order EXPERT to give his food more 390 SQUAT flavor. 290 BENCH PRESS This is normal for 460 DEADLIFT Josh, though. He says that at the beginning of the semester, when he brings his large cooler full of food to his classes, he does get odd looks from his peers. But they normally

BY THE NUMBERS

17


grow accustomed to his unusually large meals. Once the day of competition arrives, the hard work is finally put to the test. David Pearson, an associate professor of exercise science at Ball State, has coordinated the Mr. and Mrs. Ball State bodybuilding competitions for more than 30 years. He says that Ball State’s competition is structured in the same way as any other bodybuilding competition would be. In the men’s division, there are two different classes: medium, for those who are 5 feet 9 inches and under, and tall, which includes men who are taller than 5 feet 10 inches. Josh, standing at 6 feet 4 inches, competed in the tall division this past year. Because the female division is so small, there is only one class. However, at larger competitions, women are also placed in similar categories. A typical competition contains two rounds, explains Pearson. During the first, each class of competitors file out on the stage. The judges call out a pose to the bodybuilders. Then, each competitor twists his or her body into the same stance. This way, the judges can easily begin to compare the athletes' arms, backs, and legs to one another. Once the judges are satisfied, the next round begins. In the second portion of the contest, each is given a solo, 60-second timeframe. This, as Pearson explains, is the contestant’s “time to shine.” Some choose to do classic bodybuilding poses. Many contestants choose to incorporate costumes. And, especially for the female competitors, some even decide to do a routine that could be similar to what would be seen at a

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gymnastics competition. He says the second round of the contest is more about showing off to the audience and having fun. In high school, Josh competed in varsity sports in front of huge crowds. He was used to the feeling of performing in front of huge crowds. But, for him, nothing compares to the feeling of being on stage at a bodybuilding competition. When he is the center of the audience’s attention at a show, he feels a huge rush of adrenaline as the crowd cheers and claps, admiring the body he has worked so hard for. During bodybuilding competitions, judges are very specific on what they search for. Nate Brown, an instructor of exercise science at Ball State, will be a judge at the 2018 Mr. and Mrs. Ball State bodybuilding competition. As an avid athlete and bodybuilder himself, he says that judges typically look for three key points. The first is muscularity, meaning a competitor's muscles are clearly visible and defined. The second is conditioning, which means the bodybuilder is physically fit and has endurance. The last, and possibly the most important point, is balance. Many times, an audience will go crazy at a bodybuilding competition if an athlete walks on stage with giant biceps. However, as Pearson explains, if that individual does not have

equally large thighs and calves, then he or she will get docked points. The best bodybuilders show equilibrium, meaning they spend just as much time strengthening their arms as they do on other parts of their body, such as their back and legs. Preparing for these competitions takes work, time, and money—which, if taken too far, can be detrimental. In the weeks before a competition, bodybuilders have to significantly cut back on the amount of food they eat. Many cut back on calories and choose to not eat any carbohydrates in order to be as lean as possible on the day of the show. Most also opt to not drink much water, so that their muscles are as clearly defined as possible without fear of being hidden behind “water weight.” The extremely strict diet can make bodybuilders especially “hangry,” says Brown. The small amount of food they allow themselves, combined with especially tough workouts and the stress of everyday life, creates a feeling of anxiety and uneasiness in many. According to the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation, muscle dysmorphia is essentially the opposite of anorexia: Rather than being concerned with being too big, those with the disorder are always worried they are not big and muscular enough. The sport of bodybuilding largely focuses on self-image; therefore, those who bodybuild are especially susceptible to muscle dysmorphia. These factors can negatively affect bodybuilders. However, anabolic


steroids can be even more detrimental. Anabolic steroids, as explained by Encyclopedia Britannica, are drugs that mimic testosterone, the male sex hormone. When used, these steroids increase the growth of muscle tissue. They are often prescribed by doctors to treat various conditions, including anemia, breast cancer, osteoporosis, and HIV. These steroids are commonly abused by athletes who want to increase their muscle mass. The use of anabolic steroids by bodybuilders began to multiply in the late 1980s. Suddenly, competitors grew to be impossibly huge. They gained weight rapidly while showing no visible fat on their extremely-sculpted bodies. Although illegal in the United States, the use of these drugs is still very prevalent in bodybuilding today, explains Brown. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, anabolic steroids can create a wide range of side effects, including acne, infertility, male-pattern baldness, rage and aggression, and even cancer and heart attacks. Bodybuilders also spend large amounts of money on their sport. They must consider the costs of personal coaches, contest entry fees, gym membership costs, grocery bills, and spray tans needed before competitions. Josh says these costs can add up quickly. Bodybuilding is an energy and money commitment for Josh. And, as a full-time student, a member of a fraternity, and a part-time employee at T.I.S. Bookstore, bodybuilding takes up a big portion of Josh’s free time. For him, though, the sport is not so much about competing against others. Rather, it’s becoming a better version of himself. The competitive aspect of bodybuilding is not important to most, explains Pearson. For many of the athletes he works with, it is about being physically and mentally healthy while also growing a community with others. Josh has formed many close friends through his involvement with bodybuilding. After graduation, Josh is not sure if he will continue the sport. However, the exercise science major does have an ultimate goal of opening his own gym where he can help others become the best versions of themselves through bodybuilding.

GIRL POWER When Megan Brineman’s grandma told her she should get involved with bodybuilding, Megan thought she was kidding. In 2016, Megan attended the Mr. and Mrs. Ball State competition in order to get extra credit for a class. She called her grandma after the show concluded, explaining how fascinating the competitors were. Her grandma asked: Why couldn’t you do that? Megan, an exercise science major, already loved fitness. She was involved with volleyball, basketball, and track in high school and was looking for a way to continue working out. A spark had been ignited. The following year, Megan was one of the seven female competitors on stage at the 2017 Mrs. Ball State bodybuilding competition and placed second. Although bodybuilding is still a maledominated sport, more women, like Megan, have taken to the stage in recent years. During competitions, judges primarily look for muscle mass in men; however, as Brown explains, the largest factor judges look for in women is usually definition—meaning that their muscles

do not need to be as large, but they should be clearly defined. And judges do look for balance. The best female bodybuilders do not just focus on one aspect of their body, but rather aim to have equally strong arms, legs, and backs. When Megan first told her friends she was going to begin bodybuilding, they thought she was joking. And when she told her father, he was initially against the idea, saying he did not want his daughter strutting on stage “half-naked.” The lack of female representation in bodybuilding is a result of the sport being traditionally dominated by men. Megan thinks that girls are often scared that bodybuilding will make them look too “manly” if their muscles grow to be too large. In general, girls are also usually more self-conscious about their bodies. As Megan says, it can be extremely intimidating posing in front of a large crowd in a skimpy bikini. But Megan has found that it actually boosts her self-confidence and gives her a motive to work out and eat healthy. She has also gained many close-knit friends through her involvement with the sport at Ball State.

19


MY

Schizophrenia

Mikael Rehman has spent years learning how to reduce stress, deal with his hallucinations, and be happy with his schizophrenia. story: taylor hohn | illustration: tt shinkan

Taking a walk has always been a soothing activity for Mikael Rehman. It’s something he often turns to if he needs to clear his head. He had a lot of migraines during his sophomore year of high school, and one night, he went on a walk while waiting for his migraine medication to take effect. It was already dark outside when he headed out with his sister and their dog. There were no clouds obscuring the moon, but as they walked, Mikael felt like it was starting to get darker. What’s going on? Mikael thought to himself, his heart starting to beat faster. He kept walking, but soon, glowing red eyes on shaded figures started gathering around them. Kill or be killed, the figures whispered to him. Kill or be killed. Kill or be killed. He was afraid that he was either going to die or do something that he’d regret. He tried to calm down, and told himself that soon he’d be safe back at home. Mikael, his sister, and his dog walked past a yard with a statue of a religious figure. He looked over at the statue and saw that it was crying streams of blood. Kill or be killed. The whispers turned into yells. KILL OR BE KILLED. KILL OR BE KILLED. The statue turned to look at Mikael, and that’s when everything went black.

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Mikael was only 15 years old when he experienced his first hallucination from schizophrenia. Now, at 21, he looks back on that night as the worst moment of his life. Mikael is one of approximately 3.5 million Americans living with schizophrenia. According to the Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America, schizophrenia is one of the leading causes of disability in the United States. Mikael, though, doesn’t let his schizophrenia stop him from working, having relationships, being active, or spreading awareness. It took a while for Mikael to get an appointment to see a psychiatrist, but at 17, his doctor diagnosed him with paranoid schizophrenia. Mikael had complications and allergic reactions, and because his doctor was afraid to prescribe him with anything else, she released him as a patient. For a while, Mikael was unmedicated and untreated. This was the year before he started college, and he was in bad shape. He remembers having many vivid nightmares. They always start out the same. He’s standing in the middle of a coliseum in the dark, with only tiny spots of light shining in. He starts sneaking around and comes across a group of creatures gathered around for a sacrifice. Mikael never can tell what they’re sacrificing because the creatures all turn to

him and chase him down. According to a study by Patricia Carrington, a psychologist, the dreams of people with schizophrenia are more likely to feel dangerous or stressful, compared to people without mental illnesses. Mikael was also unmedicated when he started harming himself. Sometimes he would hallucinate that he had been bitten or scratched by something. When he looked at the marks on his body later, he realized he did it to himself. He remembers that one time he blacked out in the shower and woke up to see that he had carved words into his chest and arms. He remembers feeling shocked by how it felt and how it looked. Mikael tries to remember the shock and terror of that moment to prevent from turning to self-harm when his hallucinations are overwhelming. He got insurance through Kaiser Permanente about one year later and started seeing new psychiatrists. Two doctors later, Mikael finally found the right medication. Today he takes Seroquel, an antipsychotic medicine. Like with most cases of schizophrenia, Mikael’s symptoms become worse with stress. Since the time he was diagnosed at 17, he’s learned to eliminate as many stressors as he can from his life. Finding and keeping a job used to be very stressful


photo illustration: branden dwyer


photo provided: mikael rehman Mikael uses humor as a way to live stress-free in order to combat his hallucinations.

for him because he would often have hallucinations and panic attacks while at work. Issues arose when Mikael would feel like he needed a break to go for a walk, but most jobs only allowed a certain amount of free time during shifts. Productivity is the most important thing to an employer, but for Mikael, that often had to come second to his mental health. Mikael isn’t unique when it comes to his difficulty with employment. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, about 80 percent of 7.1 million Americans receiving public mental health services are unemployed. Of that group, 60 percent wish they could work. David Perkins, a Ball State University professor in psychological science, specializes in severe mental illnesses, such

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as schizophrenia. He says it can be a lot more difficult for society to give people living with schizophrenia what they need because it’s a hard illness to understand. Mikael got lucky and has found the perfect job for his schizophrenia through companies like Uber and Lyft. These jobs have allowed him to make good money while being in charge of his own schedule. He’s able to take a day off if hallucinations are bad or if he has a migraine, and that’s invaluable to him. Mikael also works as a graphic designer. He says it’s often difficult to get contracts due to his schizophrenia. He often feels like clients expect him to work at an unreasonable pace. He has had two different clients who looked into him and found out he has schizophrenia, and they decided to

find different designers. That doesn’t bother Mikael, though. If his clients don’t think he can give them what they need, he wants them to go to someone else. That means less stress for him, and a better chance of the client being satisfied. Because Mikael is able to work so often through his other jobs, he doesn’t have to rely on graphic design gigs. He still turns to walks as a way to clear his mind and de-stress. He often feels scatterbrained, but he doesn’t necessarily blame his schizophrenia or his medication; he thinks that’s just how he is. Mikael thinks it’s important to exercise and eat well. When his body is in good shape, it helps his mind deal with stress or his symptoms. Living a healthy lifestyle helps Mikael handle his schizophrenia, but he also has some triggers. Before his diagnosis, Mikael loved the color red, but now it sometimes reminds him of the eyes that watched him during his first hallucination. Occasionally, seeing the color reminds him of the fear he had and evokes new hallucinations. Another common trigger for Mikael are horror movies. Before he started experiencing hallucinations, he and his friends enjoyed watching horror movies. The adrenaline was exciting, until the creatures in the movies started following him home at night. Mikael initially swore off scary movies, controlled by his fear. After a while, Mikael got sick of not being able to hang out with his friends. He hated worrying about what might cause him to hallucinate. He wanted to be in control. So he started trying to desensitize himself to the things that cause hallucinations. Mikael began by reading fictional scary


stories on the internet. That’s not true, he would tell himself after reading a story that made him feel fearful. That’s just as exaggerated as the hallucinations I deal with. Soon, he found he was able to dismiss some of his hallucinations as fake, just like what he would read in the stories. It didn’t matter what the hallucination said or did. Once he was able to determine what was real and what wasn’t, he could ignore them. He may not have been able to control whether or not they showed up, but he had power in how he reacted to them. His hallucinations fought back, though. They started coming more frequently, as if to get back at Mikael for trying to push them away. He decided to start watching movies with his friends again. He learned from the mistakes of the characters in the movies. The hallucinations kept pestering him, but he got better at dealing with them. Mikael enjoyed feeling like he was in control, and he wanted to interact with the creatures from the movies or his hallucinations. So he started playing horror video games. The more Mikael voluntarily confronted the things that scared him, the easier it became. With video games, he can pause and walk away whenever he wants. He took a year off between high school and college, but he ultimately decided to continue his education to get a degree in graphic design. Nobody pressured him to go to college, but Mikael wants to do it partly just to prove that he can. Despite everything he’s been through, he’s excited to show that he can graduate college, too. These days, Mikael only has hallucinations about once or twice a week. When he does get them, he’s often able to “shoo” them

away. Out of all the progress he has made, he is most proud of his ability to move on when his hallucinations pop up. Every once in awhile, one will come up that really scares him. It takes him a little more time to move past these, but he has quite a few coping mechanisms in his back pocket. Sometimes he goes for a walk, or he’ll talk to his girlfriend about what he sees. Talking about it helps him feel better. In December 2015, he posted a video to his YouTube channel about his schizophrenia and how he deals with it. Ever since then, he’s been posting video updates about his personal experiences with his illness. Collectively, Mikael’s videos have more than 21,000 views. Today, Mikael is 21 years old. He’s still making his way through his degree and is moving to Virginia from California to continue his studies in graphic design at Northern Virginia College. He wears a bracelet every day that says “loved” on the outside and “forever” on the inside. He got it when he was in the hospital for reactions to his medications. He wears it every day to remind himself that things will always get better. As part of the ultimate test for learning how to control his hallucinations, Mikael decided to return to the spot where he experienced the first one. Right up the street and one intersection over from his house. Every time he’d have to drive past it to leave the neighborhood, he would be scared. Some days, if his hallucinations had already made him feel so bad, driving past wasn’t worth going out. He revisited the statue on a sunny day. He stared deep into its eyes and felt nothing. He wasn’t afraid. The statue couldn’t scare him anymore.

SCHIZOPHRENIA IN THE WORLD 1.1%

of the world’s population have schizophrenia, regardless of race, ethnicity, or social class

3.5

million Americans have schizophrenia

16-25 6

is the age range in which 3/4 of people with schizophrenia start developing symptoms

months is how long someone must be experiencing symptoms in order to be diagnosed with schizophrenia

$32.5 - $65 billion is the estimated annual cost of treatment for people with schizophrenia

1/3

of homeless Americans have schizophrenia

with schizophrenia 50% ofhavepeople not received treatment

for Americans receiving 80% rate public mental health services

is the national unemployment

source: sardaa.org

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THE

HUMAN

EXPERIENCE With life expectancy possibly increasing, even a 100-year-old woman isn't sure what she would do with another 10 years. story: samantha stevenson

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aly ky ste d: per

ide s prov photo

A

t 100 years old, there are only three things that Perky Stealy can’t do: change the lightbulbs in her home, cook like she used to, and plant flowers in her yard. But she never had a green thumb anyway, she says. She lives alone off a quaint road next to her alma mater, Ball State

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University. On Mondays, she plays Bridge at 11 a.m. with the same group she has played with for years. Wednesday is a meeting with her women’s club that she has been a member of since 2003. And Thursday, well, she just might skip Wheel of Fortune to meet up with a friend. Other days, she might drive her 2002 Regal up to the grocery store, or the library for more books.

Her years on Earth are a blessing, Perky says, and one she thinks is a mixture of God, a good attitude, and the series of small exercises she does every morning: leg lifts and knee raises before she even leaves bed. And after the exercises, she calls her daughter in Pensacola, Florida, to tell her the same thing she does every morning—she's made it through another night.


According to a United Nations report, there are now more than 900 million people in the world over the age of 60. The current oldest human alive is Violet Mosses Browne, at age 117. The oldest person to ever live in history (on record using a Western calendar’s measurement of time) was Jeanne Louise Calment, who lived to be 122 years old. That’s 22 whole years on Perky, and a whole lifetime on me. While that’s impressive, the real marvel is that humans are living to be

older than originally thought possible—a trend some doctors believe will continue. Today, Perky being 100 is not necessarily normal. But it’s also not that shocking. According to an article by the Industrial Psychiatry Journal, being healthy in old age can’t be defined as someone not having a disease because the likelihood of having a diagnosable disease in old age is so high. Rather, health should be examined by how uncomfortable their conditions are, so

photo: samantha stevenson

Perky Stealy attended Ball State University in 1937 and still lives down the street from the campus.

basically the quality of living with conditions that are inevitable with getting older. For example, Perky may not be considered healthy because she had cataracts two years ago. Her vision became blurry as the lens in her eyes clouded. She eventually had to get surgery to remove them. Now, she takes vitamins in order to help with her eyesight. A small tablet for eyesight is just one of many she takes every morning. Others include a multivitamin, one for

27


improving memory, and Biotin for her bones, hair, and skin. Not all are doctor recommended, she says. In fact, after getting blood work done, she decided to start taking many of them and has done so for years. Not necessarily what the doctor ordered, but Perky says she ran it by him. This active choice in almost owning the responsibility of her health has for sure given Perky some extra years. No one factor guarantees someone will live long. But Adrienne Newman, a Ball State social work instructor, has found a few common qualities among the elderly. It starts with good genes, she says. So basically, Perky got it from her parents. They lived to be in their 80s, but, still, they couldn’t have foreseen this fate for her. “I just know they’re up there in heaven saying, ‘Perky’s time is up.’ I just know they’re saying, ‘Where the heck is she?’” It really is odd, she says, that she’s been able to live as long as she has. She hasn’t done anything special. Perky functions well enough to live alone at 100. But not without her Life Alert button strung along a golden necklace, tucked under her neckline, just in case— something her grandson insisted on, but Perky says she wouldn’t have sought out herself. "You know that ‘doing it for yourself ’ women's poster? I am just doing it for myself." Her ranch house looks mostly how it did when her husband, Dick, lived there with her. He died in 2004. Photos of the couple line a large wall in the living room. One sits between two matching blue chairs.

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The two met in 1937 when dates were a walk down the street because everyone was broke during The Great Depression. They formed a relationship through friends during their time at Ball State and specifically the student hangout, the TalleyHo. Running her hand across his handwriting in her college yearbook, she reads, “I’ll be missing you Sunday mornings at 10:30.” Church was another date in a financially hard time. He was always so funny, she says. When Perky talks about Dick, you can see happiness rather than sorrow. The way someone handles

But Perky is no stranger to the risks of jobs that do demand physical labor. Her son broke his back on a construction site. He died earlier this year after a heart attack. Newman says that kind of unexpected loss can also hurt someone’s chances of living long, depending on how they handle it. But Perky didn’t let his death consume her. Perky and her son’s son have had each other to lean on. He stops by often, tweaking things around her house in any way to make her life a bit easier, including taping a paper with written station numbers over her home radio’s faded

AS OF NOW, WE DON’T KNOW IF THERE’S A CAP ON HOW LONG HUMANS CAN LIVE. BUT IT SEEMS REASONABLE THAT HUMAN LIFE EXPECTANCY WILL EVENTUALLY REACH A LIMIT, SIEGFRIED HEKIMI BELIEVES. tragedies can also affect longevity, Newman says. If the person stays positive, that happy attitude can help them live longer. That’s the only secret Perky will let slip. Being positive is everything to her. Through everything, even her husband’s death, she continues on. Newman says the type of job someone has matters, too. What a person does on a daily basis can influence physical health. For example, performing jobs like construction work that involve daily physical labor will take a different kind of toll on the body than, say, being an elementary and special education teacher like Perky.

markings. Like a true woman of the past, she prefers to listen to the soft lull of a radio rather than her television as she crochets in a living room chair. Her home is an average suburban house, but its open layout makes it feel large. Almost too large for a 5-foot2-inch woman like Perky. “You know I used to be 5-foot-6,” she says with a smile. She must have shrunk, she figures. Now she stands just a bit hunched over, her spine seeming to have bent with gravity. Her bones have definitely changed over time, especially in her hands. Creating extravagant meals from the recipes in her cookbooks is a thing of the past for Perky. That’s why

her daughter has Schwan's frozen dinners delivered to the house. The pot pie is delicious, so Perky doesn’t mind. She also used to be a skilled pianist. Her brother had a lovely voice, and while she did not, she did know how to carry a tune on the piano. That was before her bones changed, she says. She can’t lift her arms quite like she used to because of issues with her rotator cuff. That problem hasn’t just stopped her piano playing. In order to brush her hair, Perky must use her left hand to hold up her right arm, which holds the brush. Using two arms, she is able to style her hair each morning. Not being able to do the things you used to can be a harsh reality to aging. And while her lifestyle may have halted some changes, others are inevitable. The piano still sits against a wall of her living room. Some of the pictures sitting on its wood lid are of her and Dick. Others are of various grandchildren, some of which attended her 100th birthday party in early September. The oldest person in attendance was of course Perky, and the youngest was her 3-yearold great-granddaughter, Charlotte. Family, it seems, remains the main joy in Perky’s life. Her family doesn’t live in Muncie, but her grandson, who travels between Indiana and surrounding states, often stops in. And any of her family members are welcome. That’s what the guest bedroom is for. This social life might very well be another longevity trick Perky has up her sleeve. S. Homes Hogue, a professor of anthropology


at Ball State, noted that humans are wired to be social. It is a trait we gained in evolution. Loneliness is one of the leading factors in death of geriatric patients. Hogue says she can see where no social life could lead to perhaps depression, loss of appetite, and maybe make one more susceptible to diseases. Humans naturally want to feel needed and like they are a part of something. Newman sees this in the groups she cares for. If someone had a friend in the group, they rarely missed a session, thinking, “Well, I need to go because so-and-so needs me there to play cards.” Perky is definitely needed. She belongs to many communities, including an older-aged group in her church. They call themselves ALOE— “A Lot Of Experience"—with Perky having the most experience. While being social does prevent feeling isolated, it also can bring the threat for diseases. Caity LeonardsonPlacek, an assistant professor of anthropology at Ball State, says that being exposed to a lot of other humans also increases our chances of becoming sick. Perky has been fortunate to not run into terminal diseases in her life. But that is more a stroke of good luck than her own doing. Humans are in constant competition with parasites and infectious diseases, Leonardson-Placek says. Whether or not one contracts a disease like the Zika virus is not a lifestyle choice such as choosing to smoke or maintaining good nutrition. Americans tend to live with this idea that we are immune to diseases like these because we are a more developed country than others, LeonardsonPlacek says. But in reality, we are living longer in countries like America because we have eradicated most infectious diseases within our environment. Maintaining a livable environment is not exclusive to humans. Siegfried Hekimi, a professor at McGill University and researcher of the biology of aging, says life expectancy differences can be compared to certain

insects. Termites, for instance, will create an environment for their queen to live in. The queen might live for decades, while the workers live just months or weeks. The entire colony tends to and helps create a livable environment for the queen, allowing her to live longer. There will not be an infectious bacteria on her skin, as the workers have cleaned it away. While many Americans do face diseases, the main factors that play a role in our lifespans are within our control, such as Perky preventing herself from becoming isolated. Psychological and social factors can influence how well someone ages. These factors can include religious beliefs, relationships, perceived health, socioeconomic status, and coping skills, according to the Industrial Psychiatry Journal. Hogue studies skeletal biology that ranges from as old as 1,000 years ago, to 600,000 years ago. In these bones, she sees a lot of osteoporosis, which can be linked to not getting a good diet. Osteoporosis is still a problem today. But with modern medicine we seem to have a better grasp on its prevention. Humans have also learned to control their environments. While not everyone can have a colony of devoted workers to help us live on, innovations like air conditioning definitely help prevent things like overheating. This fits within a factor we can control: our lifestyles. We can choose if we get up each morning to take a walk, and we can control whether or not we eat vegetables. People are living longer because we are aware of our health and taking control of the factors that can limit our years. We are conscious of it. As Perky is. Her father instilled good habits in her, she says. A family

ided: perky

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photo: samantha stevenson Perky celebrated her 100th birthday earlier this year with her family coming in from states as far away as California.

doctor, Perky’s father taught her about health from a young age. As a little girl she dreamed of becoming a nurse and working alongside him, and she worked in a health office in college. His medicine cabinet sits in a corner of her living room. The more than 100-year-old cabinet used to be filled with vials and remedies that were once the best in medicine. Now, glass dishes her mother used and family heirlooms line its shelves. Perky reckons that her family can sell everything in her home when she’s “through with them.” Each corner of the living room reflects a different part of the last 100 years. Atop her father’s cabinet sit Japanese dolls from a church mission trip back in 1983. Small vases from a Japanese glass shop adorn a shelf following the stairs to the basement. She likes to show off her collection. But when they get to the staircase, most people tense up, afraid to let Perky tackle what could be a looming death trap. But it’s all silly. She knows to hold the banister. The desire to challenge herself is

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another key to Perky’s years. Those higher in age shouldn’t limit themselves, Newman says. These challenges can be physical or mental, such as finishing the crossword in the morning paper to keep her brain on its toes. Perky definitely doesn’t limit herself, except for with a few things, like cleaning her house. She has someone come clean once a month. But she will always do her own laundry, and she does her best to keep things tidy in case she has guests. In the past, those guests were fellow church members attending her signature Christmas parties. These days, her house guests are her neighbors, one of which she considers her best friend. These friendships are necessary for Perky in her old age. A recent power outage wiped out their whole block, and it wasn’t too long before neighbors came to check on her. When she leaves to visit her daughter in Florida, her neighbors keep an eye on her house. She isn’t as busy as she used to be, but Perky isn’t lonely, and she looks forward to her mornings playing cards with

friends. But everywhere she goes, she feels like she’s from a different time than most people she sees now. That’s the weird thing for Perky: She’s almost always the last alive. She’s the last of her siblings, the last of her friends from college, and the last of her marriage. The youngest of six, Perky says it’s strange to be the last one around. Her childhood was different than those of her great-grandchildren. She still can’t believe one of them has a room in their house dedicated only to toys. Her childhood was happy, with five older siblings and a modest upbringing. In 1917, when Perky was born, we didn’t have half of the life-improving technology we do now. Not all the advancements during Perky’s life have been related to health—using the phone without having to ask for an operator is nice, she says, but most likely hasn’t given her any extra years. But things like vaccinations and indoor plumbing, both developments from the past 100 years, might have done the trick. If humans can control the environment


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in which we age—using technology to make our lives better, much like worker termites do for their queen— the question arises of how long we can actually live. As of now, we don’t know if there’s a cap on that. But it seems reasonable that human life expectancy will eventually reach a limit, Hekimi believes. Some other experts don’t agree. Dr. Aubrey de Grey, a biomedical gerontologist, announced in a TED Talk that someone living today could very well live to be 1,000 years old. He believes aging is a “disease” that can someday be “cured.” Hekimi says that sounds nice, but he doesn’t think it’s possible. Just because the statistics don’t show a limit right now doesn’t mean there isn’t one. In Hekimi’s opinion, it’s just not likely that the maximum lifespan could increase from what it is now to 1,000 years. But he’s still open to new ideas and research— when it comes, that is. Some doctors think we’ve already reached our limit. Jan Vijg, a professor of genetics at Albert Einstein College of

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Medicine, published an article in 2015 that said human bodies could not live past 115. Hekimi disagrees that the cap is for sure 115 years old. But things do deteriorate, says Hogue. When studying the skeletal system it is clear to see that over time it grows and then it degenerates. This is true of all organs, she says. For example, we have degenerative heart failure because the heart just wears out. It’s a part of aging, unfortunately, which Hekimi points out as a negative thing. But most people don’t complain about living longer, Hekimi says. Current humans have a lifespan three times what they used to. We are old at 60, but the majority of 60 year olds are able to do a lot of the things they always have been. With nothing showing a current limit on how long humans can live, only time can tell. Which makes someone like me, 21 years old, wonder how long I could live. With some factors being my own luck and genetics, and others being my lack of self-control around chocolate pastry

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items, it is up in the air. I have to wonder if I did live past 115, what my quality of life might look like. For the woman who was 122 years old, Hogue makes a good point: Was Jeanne Louise Calment’s life worth living, or was every day a struggle? There comes a question of which is the exception and which is the rule. How many years we get is not necessarily in our control, and neither is the quality of those years. Then there’s Perky. She is an anomaly of sorts, and the last of a generation. She spends her days tending to the tasks she keeps track of on the paper calendar next to her landline phone. If someone calls, it’s usually her grandson telling her he’s on his way to visit. Sometimes it’s an old friend calling up to take her out to lunch. She is happy, not lonely, and just thankful for every morning she gets up. Does she want another 100 years? No. Another 20? Five will be just fine, she says. Or just enough to see her youngest great-grand children become teenagers. But even that might be too long, she says. She’s ready to see her husband again.

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story: vanessa ford

indy Stone was tired of hearing about mammograms, Pap smears, and other “required” yearly doctor checkups. At 35 years old, the Indiana University professor didn’t think she had much to worry about. Her body felt fine and she was infertile, anyways, so gynecologist visits seemed silly to her. And when she was 17, right before heading to IU for college, she was told by her doctor that she had no need for other doctors or checkups. In fact, they insisted she not see another doctor after they told her about her infertility. She had gone to that gynecologist because, although she was 17, years past the typical starting point for menstruation, Cindy had not yet had a period. Back when she was 13, the doctors had given her “vitamins” meant to jumpstart her cycle—a monthly supply of different colored pills, 21 of one color and seven of another—but it had yet to appear. After exploratory surgery and several tests, Cindy and her mother returned to the office for the results. Cindy was called in first, and the male doctor told her one thing: You’re infertile. You’re a normal girl in every way, but your ovaries just don’t work, so that’s why you haven’t had a period. And you never will. Cindy was shocked, but it seemed to make sense to her. She didn’t think anything of it when the doctor told her to never see another doctor about the issue. She was infertile, and that was that. He even told her that, because of her diagnosis, she could go ahead and have sex with any boy she wanted, risk-free. She was going to college, after all, and it was the ‘70s. But Cindy thought about that doctor’s “advice” for years. Why shouldn’t she get a second opinion? Why would he tell her to not see anyone else? She had more questions than answers, and so at the age of 35, she decided to see a new gynecologist. The recent death of her father made her want to pay closer attention to her own health. She wanted answers. After the initial tests, Cindy heard back from her doctor; he had reserved two hours for her to come and talk about the results. Two hours. During that time, he explained the real reason Cindy never had a period. Yes, she was infertile. But it wasn’t because her ovaries didn’t work. It was because she didn’t have any to begin with. Her chromosomes weren’t XX, like a typical female. They were XY.

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photo provided: cindy stone Cindy Stone found out she was intersex at 35 after being lied to by her doctors.

And the most shocking: She had undescended testicles in her abdomen. She was genetically male, but somewhere along the way in her fetal development, something changed. Her body couldn’t react to the male hormones, leaving her to finish developing as female. You have complete androgen insensitivity syndrome.You’re intersex. Out of every child born, it’s estimated that 1.7 percent of them are born intersex, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. By some estimates, that’s about one in every 2,000 babies. This means that the individual’s sex characteristics are atypical in some way compared to the sex they’re “supposed” to be. Intersex conditions can range from being born with a combination of both male- and female-typical sex characteristics to something less obvious, like being genetically male, but physically female, like Cindy. For that reason, some medical professionals prefer to call them disorders of sexual development in an attempt be more general and inclusive. For those who are intersex, sex and gender aren’t just a question of one or the other—it’s a little more complicated than that. Though the existence of intersex people proves that someone’s biological sex can fall somewhere in between male and female, human brains work in a way that can make this hard to accept. Kerri Pickel, who studies cognition as a professor of psychological science at Ball State University, says that we naturally put things into categories—it’s just how the brain works. When a person doesn’t seem to fit into one category or the other, we might feel confused or uncomfortable. One of the first and most prominent categories we place someone in upon first meeting them is based on sex or gender—two features most people don’t differentiate between. If someone seems ambiguous, our brains don’t know what to do with them, creating what Pickel calls an “unclear case.” This cognitive distress causes discomfort because it messes with the

brain’s organized way of understanding the world. That’s just one reason some people are so against accepting things like the existence of intersex individuals, Pickel says. We need to put everyone into a box, but sometimes they just don’t fit. According to the American Psychological Association Task Force on Gender Identity, Gender Variance, and Intersex Conditions, children born with ambiguous genitals usually go through a number of tests before receiving sex assignments. These tests are meant to determine which particular intersex condition a child has. This often helps in assigning a sex and in deciding whether surgery is medically necessary. But even if surgery isn’t needed, it’s sometimes done at the request of the parents or suggestion of the doctor out of a desire to “normalize” the genitals toward one of the binary sexes. Intersex support and advocacy groups often fight against these kinds of cosmetic surgeries unless it’s medically necessary. If a baby can’t pee, then something needs to be done. But Jeanne Nollman, former president of the AIS-DSD Support Group and an active intersex advocate and educator, says in most cases, when surgery isn’t necessary, it should not be done until individuals can decide for themselves. And Cindy agrees. These surgeries can cause irreparable damage, like a decreased sexual sensitivity, that can affect them for the rest of their lives—one of the main reasons Cindy fights against them. Doctors shouldn’t be able to make decisions for their patients, which is something Cindy has dealt with all of her life. After Cindy found out she was intersex, she felt betrayed by the doctor she’d seen at 17. She couldn’t believe something that serious had been hidden from her. She wasn’t just upset—she was pissed. She also wasn’t sure who she was anymore. She identified as a lesbian, but did that category really fit if she was genetically supposed to be a man? She didn’t feel like a man, and she definitely didn’t want to be one. So she was confused by all of this.

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photo illustration: branden dwyer

Cindy’s therapist helped her come to terms with all of this. She began seeing one a few years prior to her diagnosis to help her deal with what was happening in her life. Her partner of 20 years, Donna, had terminal cancer, and several other relatives, including her father, had recently died as well, so she was dealing with a lot. On top of all of that, she needed to talk to someone about who she was and what she should do, which wasn’t something her medical doctors could help her with. The therapist helped Cindy begin to work through these things, but it wasn’t until she discovered support groups that she truly felt less alone. As the internet grew in popularity during the early 2000s, Cindy found people like her through online searches. She’d been told her condition was rare and that she might never meet other people with disorders of sexual development. But now she knew they were out there. Joining a support group can be lifechanging and empowering for intersex individuals, Nollman says. Without knowing how many people are like them, it can be hard for intersex people to really understand and accept who they are—especially when doctors tell them they’re “rare.”

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Cindy became active in the intersex community in the years following her diagnosis. Like Nollman, she wants people to just have a better understanding of what it means to be intersex, as well as to stop infant and child cosmetic surgery. She says her generation really tried to pave the way for the ones to come by spreading awareness and increasing the resources available to intersex individuals. Unlike the newer generations, she and others her age didn’t really have anything to help them out. Now there’s at least Google, which has helped a lot. Georgia Andrews, a 24-year-old intersex woman living in New Zealand, found the internet to be particularly helpful in her journey to accepting who she was. Though she didn’t use it to diagnose herself, she did try to find more information about Swyer Syndrome, her intersex condition, as well as to connect with other intersex individuals. She found a topic forum where others had posted about being intersex, and joined the discussion. That forum was soon moved to a group on Facebook, where she became even closer to some of the members, eventually meeting them at the annual AIS conferences. Georgia has heard the stories of people from a variety of locations and age groups,

and in many ways, she says they’re all the same: Until finding support groups, everyone had felt isolated and lied to. The only difference she’s seen between generations is the ability people now have to find their own answers and connect with others. But regarding how the medical system treats intersex people, she doesn’t think much has changed. And according to recent reports, she’s not wrong. The Human Rights Watch, in partnership with the intersex advocacy group InterACT, detailed several of the issues intersex individuals have faced in the medical system, both now and in the past, in their recent report. Through the personal testimonies collected, researchers found that most intersex people usually avoid going to doctors’ offices or getting checkups because, in the past, they’d been lied to and had decisions made for them. That loss of agency traumatized them to the point of avoiding the medical care they might need later in life. This is why Nollman believes it’s important for doctors to realize the lasting impact their care and decisions can have on intersex people. When Cindy was 40, a few years after finding out the truth, she contacted the doctor’s office where she’d been lied to and told she was just infertile. Like many others searching for the


CINDY REMEMBERS READING:

MUST NOT TELL PATIENT SHE HAS XY CHROMOSOMES. MUST NOT TELL HER SHE HAS UNDESCENDED TESTICLES IN HER BODY. MUST NOT TELL HER PARENTS EITHER.

truth, she was told her records had been “burned in a fire” and were gone. But she kept digging. About four or five months later, after a lot of persistence and pushing those offices, Cindy received her medical records. They had been archived and sent to another doctor after hers had retired—not burned. And the words she read in the records only made things worse. Right there, on the papers that supposedly didn’t exist anymore, she remembers reading: Must not tell patient she has XY chromosomes. Must not tell her she has undescended testicles in her body. Must not tell her parents either. Some things have changed since Cindy was 17. Most of the time now, parents are at least told about the intersex conditions. But doctors usually still urge them to not tell the child. Nollman says it’s not always on purpose, or malicious—medical professionals just might not understand the implications of their actions. This is one of the main reasons she tries to educate as many people as possible— doctors, lawyers, therapists, and more—so there’s less confusion about what’s actually happening in terms of intersex conditions. Both doctors and parents should know and

understand how certain surgeries might affect children, Nollman says. Even if a surgery isn’t necessarily cosmetic, like when undescended testes are removed in a gonadectomy, it can still have lasting effects on a person’s body. In a person with AIS, like Cindy, removing the testes before puberty could lead to decreased bone density and halt normal development. Though Cindy didn’t have a gonadectomy until after her testes had laid all of that groundwork in her body, she still regrets the decision. She was sent to several specialists after learning she was intersex, who all told her the same thing: She needed a surgery to remove her testes, or she might get cancer. Because they were inside her, she was told there wouldn’t be an easy way to monitor changes. And if they became cancerous, those cells could easily spread to other parts of the body before being noticed. It would be safer to remove them, they told her. But without testes, her body would no longer produce any sex hormones. She’d need to take them artificially, with hormone replacement therapy. Cindy gets hers through an estrogen patch, which she will continue using the rest of her life. But these can have side effects. She ended up losing

a lot of her “get-up-and-go,” her sex drive decreased, and she developed a little bit of arthritis in her hands, possibly because the artificial hormones weren’t doing as well for her body as the ones produced by her testes. Even as an adult who made her own decision with the surgery, she still has those regrets. Cindy wishes she would have known about her condition sooner. But even with all of the lies and how much she went through in the process of discovering the truth, she doesn’t think she’s “special” or that she’s had it worse than other people. As she puts it, “everyone is going through something.” And at 61 years old, Cindy doesn’t think much about being intersex anymore. Occasionally she’ll talk to parents of young intersex individuals, helping them understand more about it, but it doesn’t affect her much beyond that. She took an early retirement from her teaching position at IU, and she doesn’t travel as much as she used to for conferences or anything else. She says she’s leaving it up to the younger generation to continue what she and the others started. While they’re continuing the fight, she can relax with her iPad in her Bloomington home and spend time with her wife.

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HAVING

“THE TALK” The topic of sex remains taboo as people discuss how, when, and if it should even be taught.

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story: kylie kaiser | illustration: annelise hanshaw

uring his first year at Ball State University, Daniel Todd joined Spectrum, an LGBT student organization designed to educate members on lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender issues, cultures, and history. In high school, Daniel didn’t learn much about what that meant in terms of sex—he received an abstinence-only sex education. Through Spectrum, Daniel has learned more about himself in terms of sex, sexuality, and gender, and he was able to come out as transgender. Daniel believes it would have been beneficial to himself and others who identify on the LGBT spectrum to have a more inclusive sexual

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education. According to a 2013 survey by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), only 5 percent of LGBT individuals say their health classes included positive representation of LGBT-related topics. And only 12 percent of all millennials in 2015 reported their sex education classes covering same-sex relationships at all, according to the Public Religion Research Institute. But even if these classes do cover LGBT topics, they still might not be doing their job. As of March 2016, only 24 states require public schools to teach sex ed. Twenty states require that, if provided, sex education must be medically, factually, or technically accurate. But

definitions of “medical accuracy” vary from state to state. Rachel Kraus, a sociology professor at Ball State, says a proper sexual education should be medically accurate based on data, biology, genetics, human interaction, and overall factual research. The education needs to be comprehensive, Kraus says. Leaving out any information about sexuality and reproduction is counterproductive, she says. It leaves people at a disadvantage. In trying to prevent abortions through teaching abstinence, she says, institutions are doing the opposite. Withholding the information necessary for safe sex can not only increase rates of pregnancy, but also increase risk for disease and dropout rates.

Scott Distler, the lead pastor of E-Free Church in Gaylord, Michigan, thinks otherwise. Distler values abstinence-only programs because he believes it’s the only morally correct way for schools to teach sex ed. Distler says he founds this opinion on Bible teachings. According to scriptures, he says, God created sexual intimacy to be used in a marriage between one man and one woman. He says that if God, who is all-wise, is the one who created sexual intimacy, it stands to reason that he is the one who knows the healthiest and most fulfilling way for it to be used. Aside from the biblical reasons, he sees several societal reasons for abstinence teachings,


including minimizing the rate of unwanted pregnancies and STDs. Distler believes abstinence is the only method of sexual education that works for this, saying that no other form of birth control is guaranteed to be effective. He says providing more information in sex ed would promote teenage sexual activity. By telling students how to engage in safe sex, Distler believes the rate of teenage sexual activity is guaranteed to increase. But according to Advocates for Youth, abstinence teaching provides no information about contraceptive options and discusses condoms only in the context of exaggerated failure rates. And people who were taught in abstinence-only programs tend to find “loopholes” in their virginity pledges, Kraus says. They might engage in oral or anal sex to keep their virginity “intact.” Because the individuals lack knowledge on safe sexual conduct, these activities are often dangerous. She says young people clearly experience sexual urges, and to deny them the knowledge and tools necessary to engage in safe sex is just counterproductive. Studies support Kraus’ concerns. According to a study from the Journal of Adolescent Health, those who pledge to virginity often still initiate sexual contact. And once these young people broke their pledge, they

had sex with more partners in a shorter period of time and were less likely to use protection than their non-pledging counterparts. Only 11 states have evaluated the impact of their abstinenceonly programs, according to Advocates for Youth.Those states found that their abstinence-only programs have not delayed or reduced sexual activity among teenagers. Young people who learned abstinence were no more likely to abstain from sex, and reported initiating sexual activity at the same age as those who received a comprehensive education. Distler, himself, abstained from sexual activity until marriage, like 5 percent of the population. But he says he’s learned that all he can do as a pastor is teach the biblical truths God has given us. At the end of the day, he says, each person must make his or her own decision as to whether they will follow God’s plan. He also believes that if safe sex must be taught, it should be at the discretion of parents. But parents sometimes won’t say much on the topic, either. Daniel says he didn’t get much sexual guidance or instruction from his parents. Even if he had, he doesn’t know if it would have been helpful. Most teenagers agree that the “birds and bees” talk is usually pretty awkward. But according to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 87 percent of teenagers say it would be much

easier for them to delay sexual activity or avoid unwanted pregnancy if they were able to have a more open and honest conversation with their parents about topics related to sex. That’s one reason Kraus believes we need to become more comfortable with sex, sexual experiences, and the conversations surrounding each. The more we talk about it, the more normalized it will be within our culture and in the impressionable minds of the younger generations. It’s relatively simple and quite common for young people to learn about sex on the internet or from peers, much like Daniel did. But he would have liked to learn more about LGBT sex, also. Nine states now require sexual education to be LGBTinclusive, and 18 states require that it include information about contraception, while four states mandate negative messages about LGBT identities, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Eight states explicitly prohibit LGBT content in sexual education programs, according to GLSEN. Kraus says it’s unhealthy to exclude information or endorse negative views about gender and sexuality differences. It leads to feelings of self-blame and selfhatred, which can turn into selfharm. Kraus says it can also open the door for an increased risk of STDs, as young people lack

education on how to engage in safe sex. Neglecting to supply this information can also have longterm effects on kids outside of the LGBT community, though, says Ellen Kahn, a director at the Human Rights Campaign, in an article for The Atlantic. Cisgender, heterosexual students who don’t learn about their LGBT peers, or learn about them through negative perspectives, receive the message that there is something wrong with those individuals, which increases bullying. Comprehensive sex ed provides students the opportunity to explore and define their own individual values, as well as the values of their families and surrounding forces. An abstinence-only approach teaches that there is only one set of sexual values that is correct for everyone—something that is increasingly false. In a time when differences in gender and sexuality are becoming more frequent, this message can cause confusion and damaging effects that educators over the years might have not considered. One of the reasons Daniel studies psychology, along with women and gender studies, is because he wants to be able to help improve sexual education. Even though he didn’t have access to that information growing up, he doesn’t want others to go through the same situation.

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photo provided: miles reiter

NOT PART OF

THE PLAN

Even though she did not have the option of aid in dying herself, Carrol Krause didn’t stop fighting to expand death with dignity laws. story: katie grieze

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“An assisted death with dignity would spare me horrible suffering and would prevent my family and friends from seeing me waste away to a skeletal form with a hugely distended belly. Why do lawmakers feel so certain that dying people should have to endure their full quota of pain? I seek only peace, and a quick end to my suffering. And this is exactly what’s being denied me.” Death with dignity, also known as assisted death or medical aid in dying, is designed for people with illnesses that will probably kill them within six months. It allows patients to request a medication they can take to die peacefully, whenever and wherever they choose. But in the United States, only five states and Washington, D.C. have legalized this option. Patients must meet strict requirements for eligibility,

which include being a permanent resident of one of those states. Carrol Krause was not. Carrol, whose blog excerpt appears above, died from complications of ovarian cancer on January 29, 2016, at the age of 57. She lived in Bloomington, Indiana. Carrol had been diagnosed with a carcinosarcoma, or malignant mixed Müllerian tumor. “Neither of those names inspires a feeling of confidence,” she wrote on her blog. “It’s commonly referred to on the online cancer forums as ‘a beast’ and ‘a monster.’ It grows rapidly and there is no cure.” When her cancer returned in March 2015, Carrol didn’t try more chemo. It probably wouldn’t work, she wrote, and it would only make her final days more miserable. But unlike most people she’d met who had terminal illnesses, Carrol didn’t feel scared or depressed. She just

accepted her fate and made the most of the life that remained. “If the cancer progresses with the same speed it did last year, I reckon I have four to ten weeks left,” she wrote on March 24, 2015. “And I’m good with that.” The following month, she even invited friends from her youth to a party called “Carrol’s Last Chance To Dance,” where she recreated the experience of being young and healthy. Illness is never part of somebody’s plan, Carrol’s son, Miles Reiter, says. Despite Carrol’s contagious positivity, lacking access to aid in dying meant she and her family still feared an unknown future of how she would die. According to the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, family members of those who request aid in dying are more likely to feel prepared for and accepting of the person’s death, and they tend to have fewer regrets afterward. The study also found family members


feature// of those who request aid in dying usually support the choice, and they often support legalization of physician-assisted death. Aid in dying lets family members be more involved in the dying process, says William Simmons, a California attorney who created the end-of-life-planning organization called Final Exodus. Controlling the day and time of a death lets families find more closure, knowing it’s time to say I love you, I forgive you, and goodbye. For Miles, death itself isn’t the painful part. It’s the process that hurts. Carrol thought living meant more than being alive. She found life in reading, writing, and having rich conversations or experiences.

plan to die. They know they won’t have to suffer much longer. And that’s what Carrol wanted but couldn’t have. She wasn’t scared of death, but she feared the losses that might come before. Her body would stop functioning correctly, and she’d have to turn to drugs to relieve the pain. That stream of medicine would sometimes steal the mental alertness she valued so much. Just having the option to choose aid in dying is encouraging for some families, even if they end up not using it. According to Death With Dignity, an organization in Oregon that promotes nationwide legalization of aid in dying, roughly one in

A CANCER DIAGNOSIS MAKES YOU REASSESS THE IMPORTANT THINGS IN LIFE. IT GIVES YOU PERMISSION TO STEP OUT OF THE RAT RACE AND REDIRECT YOUR ENERGY. IT SHOWS YOU THE LOVE THAT EXISTS ON ALL SIDES. IT LETS YOU REVEL IN THE LOVELINESS OF SUNBEAMS, OR NEWLY-FALLEN SNOW, LIKE A HIPPIE BLISSING ON LSD… LIFE IS GOOD, LIFE IS SWEET; AND ALL THE MORE SO AFTER YOU REALIZE THAT IT IS FINITE.

CARROL KRAUSE The drugs used to treat her symptoms numbed those moments, replacing physical pain with the psychological ache of losing life’s vibrance. Kim Wiebe, a Canadian physician, leads a team in Manitoba that develops the province’s policies for medical aid in dying. She and her team recently began following up with family members of those who chose assisted death. They’ve talked to about 23 families so far, roughly a third of those in the province who’ve had an experience with aid in dying. Most said it was a positive experience, and they found comfort in the control this option allows. But it’s surreal, they said. The same certainty that provides comfort can also feel awkward. We aren’t used to having so much control over death, and families often wonder how they’re supposed to spend the final hours they have together. Wiebe warns families that it might be a weird couple of days. Everyone spends the time differently. Some people have a hard time with it, but others enjoy and cherish it. While family members have mixed emotions, Wiebe says patients often get the best sleep of their lives the night before they

three people who receive the assisted-death medication never take it. If Carrol had the medication, Miles believes she would have taken it in October of 2015, when she chose to stop eating because her digestive process had become too painful. And Miles agrees that just having the choice would have provided some relief. Bev Hmurovic, president of the Indiana chapter of Compassion & Choices, says aid in dying is just one option. Hospice works for many, along with things like palliative sedation, which aims to control symptoms and relieve pain with sedative drugs. Some people choose to stop eating and drinking, and others just stop whatever treatment keeps them alive. These options all focus on maintaining comfort and quality of life in a patient’s final days—not on curing illnesses. As a lawyer, Simmons stresses the importance of planning ahead and knowing the options. By the time someone has children, Simmons says, they should have created an advanced directive. This document, also called a living will, lets individuals control what happens even when they can’t speak for themselves. People can also grant authority for certain loved ones to

speak for them. That’s why it’s so important to talk about your desires, Simmons says. Doctors don’t always have time to dig out advanced directive documents, so they might just ask family members what to do. Carrol openly discussed end-of-life options with her family. She wanted to make choices they’d be okay with, and they wanted to make sure she did what was best for her. If she could have, Carrol would have picked death with dignity “in a heartbeat.” Instead, she had to pair not eating with the best option available, which was to register a Do Not Resuscitate order. But she never stopped fighting for more end-of-life options in Indiana. She fought through writing, Miles says: blog posts, newspaper editorials, and letters to state representatives. She encouraged others to do the same. Miles says his mom set the bar high in the way she faced dying. She accepted her cancer from the very beginning, refusing to consider it a battle to win or lose. It was just a life to live. According to an article in the journal Palliative Medicine, death often feels more dignified if the person is ready to die. Physicians who clearly explain the options also ease any confusion and frustration that might surround dying. That communication between physicians and families is especially important. It helps facilitate understanding and provides greater feelings of control. Miles experienced this with his mom’s hospice nurses, who he says showed honesty and kindness. A death is also more likely to seem dignified if the person is at home and aware of their surroundings, Hmurovic says. If they can’t talk, maybe they can at least know you’re there holding their hand. After some points of frustration with drug side effects, Miles says, Carrol’s last couple weeks were “astoundingly normal.” She continued writing and even started eating again, until her health descended rapidly during the last two days of her life. She died at the Hospice House in Bloomington, Indiana. Frank and Miles were both there. But before seeing her die, they’d watched Carrol lead them by example, her attitude rubbing off on Miles to help him stay strong. Carrol’s life reminds him to slow down, cherish each day, and enjoy each moment.

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//column

EARTH TO MANKIND Pollution within our air and water may be the cause of health complications. story: konnor miller

E

very day, Sandy Langdon breathed the same air and drank the same water in her hometown of Hartford City, Indiana. Sandy, who had lived on farms in Blackford County all her life, never thought anything of it until 2009. That was when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Cancer wasn’t uncommon in her family, but it also wasn’t uncommon in the community. Sandy knew nearly two dozen neighbors in a two-mile radius who were battling or had battled some sort of cancer in the last 15 years. She wasn’t convinced this was coincidental. There were 495 incidents of cancer in Blackford County between 2004 and 2008, according to the 2012 Indiana Cancer Facts and Figures report. The report found elevated rates of bladder, lung, colon, and thyroid cancers. Although nothing has ever been proven, Sandy wonders if the higher cancer rates may be related to the several window glass factories that once populated the area, as they used arsenic, lead, and other chemicals in their production processes, which could have contaminated nearby soil and water sources. Today, Blackford County ranks the 72nd healthiest county in the state out of 92 counties, according to County Health Rankings and Roadmaps. But just three years ago in 2014, it was the 90th healthiest county. Many environmentalists say there are two major environmental factors in determining a location’s health: air and water pollution. World Health Organization says 92 percent of the world’s population is breathing polluted air. Joshua Gruver, an associate professor of natural resources and environmental management at Ball State University, says

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smog, or fog combined with smoke and other atmospheric pollutants, isn’t necessarily something you can see to stop. He says that it can have an impact on us without there being a visual presence—a silent killer. Although the U.S. government has set policies for air pollution, such as the Clean Air Act, which sets limits on factory emissions and fuel standards for aircrafts and automobiles, Gruver says that these policies monitor, rather than prevent, the problem. This pollution from the air can also

more. And although lead pipes were banned by Congress for their links to health defects more than 30 years ago, approximately 6.5 million still remain in use, according to American Water Works Association. Jagdish Khubchandani, an associate professor of community health at Ball State, says he believes the government should create policies that help people make ecofriendly changes. He believes that federal and state governments should offer tax credits for driving a Prius, or create price

ALTHOUGH LEAD PIPES WERE BANNED BY CONGRESS FOR THEIR LINKS TO HEALTH DEFECTS MORE THAN 30 YEARS AGO, APPROXIMATELY 6.5 MILLION STILL REMAIN IN USE.

contaminate water sources—including drinking wells, lakes, and streams—in the form of acid rain, or rainfall that has been made acidic due to atmospheric pollution. Fossil fuels from smokestacks and car exhausts often contain greenhouse gases, which can combine with the water in clouds and cause harm to the areas that receive the precipitation, such as forests and lakes. Runoff water can also carry harmful pollutants, like pesticides and fertilizers, and deposit them into drinking water sources, such as streams and wells. These have been linked to hormonal irregularities, cancer, and birth defects. Infrastructure can also cause water pollution. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that there are more than 240,000 water main breaks each year, as many pipes have been used for 50 to 100 years or

photo illustration: branden

ceilings so that hybrid and electric cars are more affordable. He also believes that there should be policies charging more for those who create more waste. It’s a government issue, not a citizen one, in his opinion. Khubchandani believes that part of the reason for the lack of funding from the government is because of the balancing act between environmental regulations and the economy. Because of this, prevention efforts are often underfunded, and he says the government is “more willing to treat than prevent” in many cases, such as with infrastructure and manufacturing pollution. Today, Sandy still lives in Hartford City and is a breast cancer survivor. Although most of her daily routine is the same, she has started using filters on her faucets for drinking water—just in case.


MIRROR MIRROR

photos: jordan manders

Media has altered the idea of beauty in many cultures, but trying to fit a standard can create health risks. story: taylor meyers | illustrations: lydia olsen

A

utumn Trice wore a black turtleneck to school one day. Her dark, chocolate-colored skin peeked out of the sleeves and her black ponytail was hanging high at the back of her head. She was feeling as confident as a middle school student could be. Oh my God, you’re the same color as your shirt, one guy said. Her confidence faded. Autumn didn’t know how to respond. Am I the same color as my shirt? She asked all of her friends throughout the day. She didn’t see it. Sure, her skin was darker than the fair-toned girls around her, but she didn’t think it was as black as the turtleneck. It didn’t matter what she thought, though. The idea had rooted itself in her head that because she was darker than her peers, she wasn’t beautiful. In the 19th century, women were considered beautiful if they had the body to carry a child—ample hips and large breasts. Portraits of the most beautiful women in the 19th century represent the

35%

of American adults have used a tanning bed in their lifetime

well-known eurocentric look of pale, fair-complexioned European women. Being beautiful in the 19th century for women also meant binding their waists tight and pushing their breasts up to appear larger than they were. Corsets were the trend—if a woman wasn’t wearing one, then she wasn’t beautiful or classy. However, research shows that the binding of a corset caused breathing and digestive issues for the women who wore them. Being “beautiful” tore up their insides. With the help of media outlets, the 21st century brought on a different realm of beauty. Media plays a large role in the common person's perception of beauty. TV, billboards, and magazines illustrate “beautiful people” on every advertisement, poster, and page, making exceptionally good looks seem real, normal, and attainable. Today, women exaggerate their bodies and risk their health to relate to what the standard of beauty is. Achieving this standard, though, means different extremes to different cultures.

10%

of college women suffer from a clinical, or nearly clinical, eating disorder

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//reported “LIGHTER IS PRETTIER” To teenage Autumn, light skin was beautiful. A mixed race female with a fair, lighter complexion than a female of full African descent meant beauty. Or at least that’s what Autumn was made to believe. There was a realm of invisibility with having dark skin that Autumn hid in for most of her teenage years. Lighter is prettier. Lighter is prettier. Lighter is prettier. Diana Saiki, a fashion merchandising professor at Ball State University who concentrates on the fashion industry and the history of fashion, says the media plays a large role in the way young women portray themselves. She says the media glorifies models and makes young women think: “I should look like that, but I don’t.” The New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development studied the objectification theory. It’s a thought that both women and girls internalize a third-person view of their bodies. It states that this is the way most girls think about their looks: What will that person or that person think of me? Autumn didn’t look like the other girls around her or the women in magazines. When she moved on to high school, she started looking into bleaching her skin. She researched it. She looked at how much it would cost and how the process would work. She wanted her skin to be lighter. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, skinlightening cosmetics can play a large role in skin atrophy, stretch marks, or delayed healing of wounds. They can also promote or reactivate skin infections and have been majorly linked to being a

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cause of skin cancer. Autumn didn’t go through with the extreme act of skin bleaching. But the words of her peers took a toll on her mental health and how she viewed herself in a mirror until she left her hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana, for college.

“I JUST WANTED TO BE TAN” Olivia DeSalvo thought it was a pimple at first. I have this bump on my nose, she told her mom. Oh, it’s probably just a pimple. It’ll go away in a few days. But Olivia wasn’t so sure. She picked and prodded at the bump forming on the left side of her nose. She tried popping it. If it was a pimple, it should have popped, healed, and gone away in a few days like her mom said. Instead, it formed a small wound that wouldn’t heal, and every time it was touched it would bleed. Something’s not right. What if it’s cancer? What if it’s because of the tanning? The American Academy of Dermatology reports that 35 percent of American adults have used a tanning bed in their lifetime. More than half of indoor-tanners begin before they are 21. Young, white women make up 70 percent of tanning salon patrons. A trip to the dermatologist this past fall break diagnosed her to have Basal Cell Carcinoma, a form of skin cancer that, if not treated, can become disfiguring, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Olivia is just one of the four million cases diagnosed yearly in the U.S. with the most frequently occurring skin cancer. Her doctors told her that it was more than likely hereditary, but the obsessive tanning she was doing wasn’t helping. What Olivia heard was: This is because of the tanning. About a year ago, when Olivia was 19, she started working parttime at a tanning salon. Tanning was free, so it was easily accessible to her. She quickly got in the habit of tanning almost every day. It became a treat or reward for her. If she went three days without tanning, she mentally and physically felt gross. She constantly wanted to be tanner.


The first time she went tanning was in high school before spring break. She was going to Florida with a few friends and didn’t want to stand out on the beach without having a tan or glow to her skin. However, this belief that without tanning one would stand out, wasn’t thought of until the 20th century. Some blame this thought on Coco Chanel, who said: “The 1929 girl must be tanned.” Saiki blames these thoughts on the media. She says the images placed in young women’s minds of tanned, skinny models is a trick. A bar is set for what the norm is, and everyone follows suit in fitting into that version of normality when in actuality, women are Photoshopped and airbrushed in the media. This one skin cancer scare was enough for Olivia to give up tanning. She says there is still a part of her that wants to tan, that wants to feel the warm UV lights around her slowly add a glow to her skin. But she doesn’t want to take the risk of another skin cancer scare that could threaten her life.

“IT’S DEGRADING” Behind the stage of a beauty pageant is hectic. The women can have anywhere between as long as 30 minutes to as short as two minutes to get ready for the next round. This can cause them to be a tad bit skittish. That is definitely not enough time to get ready for cameras, but Sam Robbins rushes to get her gown on. Sometimes she has help from the other women competing, and sometimes she has to get ready all on her own. Focus. Don’t be distracted. When she walks on the stage to perform or answer questions or to present herself to a row of judges, the initial nerves are present, but the main thought in her mind is to stay focused. She straightens herself, smiles, and walks out. She’s poised and ready. This is the side of pageantry Sam loves. But she doesn’t love the backlash that pageants receive from the media. The Miss America Beauty Pageant Organization, which Sam has participated in since she was 12 years old, has been around since 1921 and

typically has more than 20 million viewers around the U.S. It’s practically a staple in society to look out for who is going to be the next Miss America. With this exposure comes a tidal wave of backlash from the media. Rather than focusing on the fact that the women are intelligent or have goals of their own, the media sets their focus on the best and worst dressed or the worst bikini bodies rated. This can take a toll on the mental and physical health of the contestants in pageants and cause them to take extreme measures to reach the level of beauty the media sets. While Sam has never fallen into the realm of pageant women going to extremes to win, she has witnessed several contestants who have. She recalls a fellow contestant from a few years ago who began to not eat. After losing a pageant, the woman was stressed and pressured because she thought she wasn’t good enough. The other contestants wondered what was wrong with her—her performance was lacking because she wasn’t eating. Sam didn’t know the signs of someone who was suffering through an eating disorder before this, but she did know that she couldn’t see herself do the same thing. Sara Collas, a Ball State instructor of sociology, says some of the media is pushing the idea that beauty is without imperfections or flaws. She says that as a society we understand that images can be manipulated by light, makeup, and Photoshop. The issue is that some take these images for reality when it is actually fake. But natural beauty will never be a fad, she says. Hair. Makeup. Spray tan. Nails. Sam says these aspects aren’t even a large portion of the scoring for a pageant, yet somehow the media plays on these aspects the most. She wishes they would rather look at the women’s community service and academics, and maybe the pressure would be relieved on some of the women competing.

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//reported

NOT WHAT THE

DOCTOR ORDERED Some unconventional health methods and products are not proven by experts to work.

story: miller kern | illustrations: annelise hanshaw

Home remedies have been around for centuries. With time, experimental cures and health products have become more outlandish. Most lack support and scientific evidence to back up their healing claims. In fact, experts strongly advise against adopting some of these practices. Jade eggs Bar of soap for leg cramps A bar of soap between the sheets may be able to alleviate leg cramps and restless leg syndrome. Soaps typically give off magnesium, which is believed to relieve cramps. Bonus points if the soap is lavender-scented because the aroma is calming. source: medicaldaily.com

Weight loss sunglasses Japanese inventors created sunglasses intended to help people lose weight. The secret trick is that the glasses have blue lenses. Color theorists suggest that blue is an unappetizing color. So apparently food that is tinted blue is less appealing, resulting in people eating less of it. source: businessinsider.com

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Jade eggs are thought to provide spiritual and sexual energy when placed inside a vagina. They are designed to act as a Kegel practice as well. However, keeping one of these eggs inside the vagina can irritate the lining, kill off helpful bacteria, and cause toxic shock syndrome. Gynecologists strongly recommend not shoving items up your lady bits. source: goop.com

Smart stickers Smart stickers are supposedly programmed with bio-frequencies designed to target specific ailments. They are created from mylar embedded with carbon alloy fragments and crystalline structures. If worn for the recommended 72 hours, the stickers are meant to create a corrective, balancing energy in the body. However, the company that creates them has a disclaimer that the product cannot be proven to work. source: shopbodyvibes.com

Raw milk Raw milk, or “real milk,” is unpasteurized and thought to have better immuneboosting properties. However, without pasteurization, milk could contain harmful pathogens. You can only legally purchase raw milk in 30 states. source: oprah.com

Earwax candles Earwax candles are hollow fabric cones coated in wax or paraffin. One end is stuck in the ear canal while the other end is ignited. As the candle burns, it creates a low-pressure suction that pulls out wax and debris from the ear. source: webmd.com

Tapeworm/Roundworm weight loss Some people ingest tapeworms and roundworms so that the parasites eat away stomach fat. It’s a way of “dieting” without actively doing anything. The worms aren’t actually eating fat; they’re stealing nutrients from the digestive system and breaking down the intestinal wall. But obtaining one of these worms might be difficult because they are illegal in the United States. source: besthealthmag.ca


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Ball Bearings magazine Volume 9 | Issue 1  

In this issue, Ball Bearings explores health and some of the different factors that influence it, whether they be physical, mental, or other...

Ball Bearings magazine Volume 9 | Issue 1  

In this issue, Ball Bearings explores health and some of the different factors that influence it, whether they be physical, mental, or other...

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