Bullying

Recovering from Childhood Abuse: The Past Keeps Getting Clearer

In trauma recovery it is said, “You’ve done the hardest part -- you survived the abuse.”

After a year of accepting that I was sexually abused as a child, I’m finally starting to understand that recovery isn’t the hardest part. The shame is less automatic now, and the past is getting clearer.

As a child suffering abuse we don’t understand exactly what’s happening to us. Sex and sexuality is a mystery, so it’s not easy to recognize sexual abuse. Physical abuse is also confusing. We are tricked into thinking we’ve done something to deserve maltreatment. And in the end, we give in to this naive hope: “Everything is normal. No one would let abuse happen to me. I’m not in an unsafe situation.”
Continue Reading

Depression

Project Semicolon: For Lives that Could Have Ended But Didn’t

There was a girl in front of me in yoga class yesterday with a long piece of text written on her side. I was squinting to see what it said. I almost pulled out my readers, but then I realized we had mirrors in front of us so she could see me struggling to try to read her skin. I thought I’d better return to tree pose.

I find all tattoos intriguing. Even the tacky ones that cover an entire body. They always tell a story that I want to hear.

I am especially intrigued when I see a semicolon, because I know, without having to utter a word to the person who has that specific kind of tattoo, that he or she is a kindred spirit.
Continue Reading

Bipolar

Rating Mental Health Apps: Does Self-Monitoring Even Help?

With more than 165,000 health apps available -- most of them monitoring stuff related to your health in some manner -- you might assume there's a ton of research demonstrating the effectiveness of such self-monitoring. But you'd be wrong.

In the world of mental health apps, there's virtually no research demonstrating that monitoring your moods will benefit your treatment outcomes.

So why do so many companies and developers offer apps that simply spit back the data you put into them? Is there a rating organization that can help you make sense of all the mental health apps available?

Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

A Bigger Deal than the Freshman 15

I was (Carolina) blue. Unlike my beloved Tar Heel hoops squad, my unstoppable opponent was bludgeoning me into submission. Obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, and anxiety nearly toppled me during my college years. The issue is bigger than my beloved alma mater: On university campuses, mental health issues affect 25 percent of the student body.

I bleed Tar Heel blue. I founded a student organization on campus, graduated with a shiny GPA, and studied abroad in Australia. I rejoiced on Franklin Street when the Heels upended Duke. From riveting seminars to proud traditions, Chapel Hill provided the quintessential university experience.

Continue Reading

Bipolar

Bipolar: My Life on the North and South Poles

I was born in 1969, the flower power days.

School for me was difficult because I had dyslexia, and back then the word "dyslexia" wasn’t in the dictionary. Instead they said I was lazy and not working hard enough.

After school, I started a jewelry apprenticeship -- you don’t need to read much when you are a jeweler, you see. I decided to work as a contractor. I realized it’s easy for your boss to kick you in the bum, but it’s hard to do it yourself.

I knew I needed a change, so I went to work at a lighting company where I met Roseanne. I had a seven-year relationship with Roseanne, but when we broke up the depression set in.
Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

Psychology Around the Net: June 25, 2016


Happy Saturday, Psych Central readers!

Whew, I've had a stressful week. I've been juggling everything from major work deadlines to doctor appointments to preparing our guestroom for entertaining company all weekend, and honestly, the only thing that's helped keep me focused is my to-do list.

That's right. I am a huge advocate of to-do lists. I know some people avoid them, but, not I. I can't even explain the sheer elation I feel each time I mark off a...
Continue Reading

Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

The Surprising Role of Nutrition in Mental Health

If you’ve been reading my blog for a month or more, you know that I have found nutrition to be a powerful force in my recovery from depression. Since 2008, I haven’t responded to medications or have had only a minimal, partial response, so I have been on a mission -- for myself and for the millions of other people with treatment-resistant depression -- to find other, drug-free ways to lift debilitating depression.

Recently I have been following the research of
Continue Reading

Bullying

The Hidden Face of Mental Illness

It breaks my heart every time I see it. A morning scroll through my newsfeed only to find a GoFundMe posting for funeral services of someone I knew in high school. Sometimes it's drugs, other times, suicide. Tragedies that could’ve been avoidable. People taken too young, too fast, too soon.

Every time I see their faces, I think back to what I may have thought of them in high school. Was I mean? Did I make fun of them behind their back? Did I avoid them? Was I nice? After all these years, I can’t really remember. Though I know I did my best to treat people with kindness and respect, it’s possible I joined in on the judgments or comments others around me made.

Continue Reading

ADHD and ADD

How to Stop Stressing about Work & Finally Fall Asleep

If you’re like most people, you’ve been affected by stress-related sleep problems at some point, lying awake at night filled with anxiety about your career and the future.

Often everyday worries about impending deadlines and your to-do list give way to bigger, more stressful questioning, “Is this job really what I want to be doing with my life? What if I quit? Will I ever discover
Continue Reading

Brain and Behavior

8 Ways Highly-Sensitive People Can Survive Vacation

We are trained from the time we emerge from our mothers' wombs to look forward to vacations as a chance to relax, have fun, and escape from the rigors of life. But for a small percentage of us, vacation is harder than work -- it requires far more stamina than sitting in an office chair for eight hours a day.

I compare the human body to a tower of 54 wooden blocks in the game Jenga. To set the game up, you stack the initial tower with three blocks placed adjacent to each other along their long sides, and perpendicular to the previous level, up to 18 levels. The object of the game is to keep eliminating blocks from the existing structure while placing new blocks on top. Eventually, the tower tumbles.

The normal person starts vacation week with three wooden blocks across each level, so a few unhealthy meals or some sleepless nights aren’t going to make the tower budge.
Continue Reading

Antidepressant

6 Ways to Achieve Genuine Happiness During Depression


Every time I watch television, I see commercials for anti-depressants and I’m taken back to a time in my life when I was severely depressed and ON similar medications.

I was so depressed that I was hospitalized for three weeks. The overwhelming feelings of fear, sadness, and anxiety were paralyzing.

Today I hear that depression is a "disease" -- that it's a result of a chemical imbalance in the brain that causes it. It's estimated that
Continue Reading

Depression

Don’t Be Afraid to Be a Difficult Patient

One of my favorite Seinfeld episodes is the one where Elaine snoops inside her medical chart and reads “patient is difficult.”

The doctor takes a look at her rash and says, “Well, this doesn’t look serious,” and writes something in the chart.

“What are you writing?” she asks.

He sneers and walks out the door.

Wanting a fresh start, she goes to see another doctor, and realizes her chart follows her there. The new doctor greets her warmly until he reads the comments.

He glances at her arm and says impatiently, “This doesn’t look serious.”

“But it really itches,” she complains.
Continue Reading