Brain and Behavior Articles

Your Inner Voice: Friend or Foe?

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

Your Inner Voice: Friend or Foe?Who is the person you speak to most frequently?

Why, it’s yourself, of course.

And what is the nature of those conversations? Do you tend to be harsh, nasty and punitive about who you are and what you’ve done (or haven’t done?) Do you frequently expect too much of yourself? Are you your own worst enemy? Does your self-judgment pierce your heart, deflate your energy?

If so, it’s time to take two paths to change your inner voice from foe to friend.

What it Means to be Vulnerable

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

Flickr photo by gato-gato-gatoIt’s a fact of life that you can’t truly form a relationship with at least some degree of vulnerability. You have to open up at some point or another. This has been one of those particular problems for me and as I get older I’m slowly learning how to let people in.

The truth of it is that I tend to keep people at arm’s length. I tend to maintain a distance even between my closest friends and that may be to my detriment. Jumping in wholly and completely just isn’t something that’s easy for me to do. Whether it’s a result of being hurt in the past or a result of the paranoia I feel every day as someone living with schizophrenia I’m not sure.

How to Build a New Habit — And Make it Stick

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

How to Build a New Habit and Make it StickAre you a master of a skill?

Perhaps you’re fluent in a language. A world-class pianist. A master craftsman in carpentry.

If you are, it’s not necessarily a result of your income, personal circumstances, upbringing, or any other variable. It’s a result of something a lot more powerful, something you have complete control over. It’s a result of habit.

5 Sneaky Signs of Depression You May Be Overlooking

Monday, November 24th, 2014

depression symptoms

Things have changed a lot in the past 30 years when it comes to our ideas about depression. In the 1980s and even the 1990s, people often still saw it as a moral weakness, a sign of being “crazy,” or as something to be dismissed completely.

Today most people not only know someone who has struggled openly with depression, but they can probably also rattle off a handful of symptoms just from watching the many depression medication television commercials that dominate the airwaves. The voiceover asks “Are you always sad and tearful? Have you lost interest in things you used to enjoy? If so, ask your doctor about this medication.”

How to Deal with Invasive Thoughts

Monday, November 24th, 2014

inside_mind_schizophreniaI’m no stranger to nasty thoughts. I recognize when they’re present so innately that it’s safe to say it almost hurts. In my almost nine years of living with schizophrenia I’ve had to battle my fair share of these thoughts and I’ve gotten so good at it that I can almost see them coming from a mile away.

If it wasn’t the notion that people were making fun of me it was the idea that I’m more important than anyone else, i.e. grandiosity.

I’ve been subject to many nights where I just stared at the ceiling in the dark letting these little monsters run and play their tricks through all corners of my mind.

Take Advantage of the Good Days

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

How Gratitude and Kindness Go Together for Brain-Changing HappinessWith the rollercoaster that is life with schizophrenia, you come to know not only the bad, tough periods where your symptoms are on fire but also the days where things are calm and you can sit still and listen to the breeze through the trees.

The bad days are hell and you feel it innately but when the good days roll around it’s incredibly easy to take them for granted. If nothing’s bothering you and your worries have dissipated it’s hard to find a reason to overthink.

I’m more than familiar with what it’s like to be so oppressed by paranoia and delusions that it’s hard to even think about leaving your bed.

How to Degrade a Human Being at JRC

Friday, November 21st, 2014

How to Degrade a Human Being at JRC: Part 1In Massachusetts — supposedly one of the most enlightened and liberal states you can live in in our fine United States — a facility is engaged in a horrifying business. Some have even call it state-sanctioned torture on American soil.

They degrade human beings daily, calling it a form of “treatment.”

They do this regardless of the lack of scientific evidence on the treatment (outside a few flimsy studies published by the facility’s former disgraced director, Matthew Israel). They do it even when important safeguards were lacking for years.

Yes, I’m talking about the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center (JRC) in Canton, Massachusetts. And yet another survivor from that institute is speaking out.

Confessions of a Stage-Four People-Pleaser

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

zen cat anyaMy junior year of college, I bought a used computer for $100. It was cheap because the thing was as huge as it was heavy. The challenge was to walk with this cumbersome piece of technology across campus to my dorm. I was finally to the steps of Holy Cross Hall when I tripped and fell flat on my face.

Did I issue a four-letter word?

Of course not.

I apologized.

To the student who was on the stairs staring at me.

Raised to Be a Pleaser

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

Raised to be a PleaserDo you have a strong need for approval from others? Do you have difficulty saying no, yet often feel resentful about what you agreed to do? Do you get overly involved with people’s problems, postponing attention to your own?

Try to please everyone and it’s likely you’re operating on overload.

Riding Out the Blips

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

Riding Out the BlipsLiving with schizophrenia is like driving across the country. There are meandering fields and prairies of months when you’re well that almost make you forget you have an illness. Then you come into the mountains and the roads get curvy and steep and the weather gets unpredictable. One minute you could be fine, then the next it’s snowing and you can’t see 10 feet in front of you.

I’ve coined a term for driving through the mountains of mental illness. I call these periods “blips.” It’s important to be able to recognize these blips before you find yourself in the hospital again.

Mood Mastery

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

Mood MasteryYour mood is a mental state that magnetizes feelings to it. When in a bad mood, you will look for someone or something to blame, because misery does love company. Although your mood is an independent mental event, you can influence your mood. You can even change it by taking small, steady steps of mood awareness and acceptability.

What mood are you in today? Are you a slave to your or another’s mood? Empathizers and Instigators alike are moody. You could say mood is the minefield we all must walk through alone.

Battle of the Brain: We Want To Feel Safe, But the News Is Full of Panic

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

Battle of the BrainFear is in the air once again: An Ebola epidemic. ISIS atrocities. Another senseless school shooting. What’s going on here?

We want to feel safe. We want our families to be safe. Yet, every time we turn on the news (in all the many forms we receive it today), panic-inducing stories bombard our brains. We feel fear, even when authorities work hard to quell our fears.

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