My Mental Health Journey in Surviving Cancer

I live with bipolar disorder, OCD, and migraines, and have recovered from complex PTSD, an eating disorder, and other difficult illnesses. I've survived homelessness, domestic violence, and other traumas. Still, when my doctor gave me a cancer diagnosis last winter, it was the hardest shock yet.

First I had to wait a few weeks to see my oncologists and get a treatment plan: six weeks of radiation and chemotherapy. The wait was gloomy, filled with dread and fear. I told only close family, not wanting to spread bad news.
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Brain and Behavior

One Way to Lose Weight: The Do More Good Principle

One of the interesting things about losing a lot of weight is that everyone wants to know your secret. It is as if there were some magic potion that only a select few know about.

When I was 275 pounds, I used to scour the web and magazines for secrets to losing weight; I was a little obsessed. I came into contact with people who were successful with weight loss and would probe them for their secret. They usually said “diet and exercise.” That is definitely not what I wanted to hear. I would try one television “secret” after another, all of them promising swift and long-term weight loss. I became so desperate to lose weight that I was throwing my money (that’s all they are after) at these advertisements.

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Understanding Orthorexia

"Ah, I can't do lunch, but would you want to grab coffee later on?" This is something I would say often to my friends. My circle was growing smaller. I rarely saw friends or even family. My apartment was my temple. The holder of all things healthy.

I prepared all of my meals after returning from my trip to Whole Foods. It was Sunday, my meal prep day, where I would hover over a stove baking bland free-range chicken, grass-fed steaks, organic broccoli and sweet potatoes.
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How Connection Saves Us from Addiction

Humans suffer most when we lack connection. Take, for example, Tom Hanks with his volleyball, Wilson, in the movie "Cast Away." I was distraught when he lost Wilson and cried as though my personal friend had drowned at sea.

We will force connection with inanimate objects, if we must, because we’re hardwired to crave it, to need it.

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Is My Massage Therapist Judging My Body?

In the dim room I’m told to undress to my comfort level. When the therapist gets to my legs I blurt out, “Sorry they’re not shaved. I have a waxing appointment tomorrow.” She runs her forearm up the back of my thigh and I imagine my pockets of cellulite coagulating.

I imagine she’s observing my fat and judging me.

For anyone who’s ever struggled with body image, those words burn with an astute reflection. There were years when I constantly thought that people were observing my body and judging me.
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Psychology Around the Net: June 13, 2015

Learn about the summer version of seasonal affective disorder, how creative people might carry genes for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, the importance of proper nutrition regarding mental health, and more in this week's Psychology Around the Net.

Does Summer Make You Depressed? Although we often associate seasonal affective disorder (SAD) with the winter months, it actually affects some people during the summer months, with symptoms such as decreased appetites and insomnia.

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Eating Disorder Recovery: What an Imperfect Health Care System Taught Me

Eight years in I knew I needed help for my eating disorder, but I was still trying to convince myself I’d get better on my own. I’d like to say I chose to go to the hospital because I had faith in recovery and made a healthy choice. But the truth is often different from surface appearance.

After coming home in constant fear that he’d find me dead, my husband finally told me if I didn’t get help he couldn’t be married to me anymore. A part of me had been watching.
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Top 10 Eating Disorder Blogs of 2015

Eating disorders remain one of the most misunderstood, stigmatized and discriminated against mental disorders. People with depression seem to willingly share their struggles, while eating disorders seem to remain stubbornly in the dark shadows. The simplistic, false beliefs that a person should just "not eat as much" or "eat more" (depending upon the specific disorder) continue to be repeated relentlessly -- sometimes by even well-meaning people.

The online eating disorder landscape is complex and diverse, filled with voices of all genders, ages and cultural backgrounds. This compilation of the best eating disorder blogs for 2015 reflects the great diversity among eating disorder bloggers. Below is a series of real-life accounts, practical advice and sound wisdom.

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Anxiety and Panic

Introducing 4 Great New Blogs

We've had the opportunity to launch a number of new blogs this month, which I'm excited to share with you today. These new blogs join an existing group of fantastic bloggers -- the best group of bloggers on any site! If you want fresh, real perspectives of mental illness, psychology and mental health issues, Psych Central remains a one of the shining outposts in the online wilderness.

I'm honored to welcome three great new bloggers to our blog network: Brian Cuban, Gabe Howard, and Amanda Knapp. Margarita Tartakovsky has also begun a new blog on creativity with us. We hope you check out the blogs below and welcome the new bloggers to Psych Central!

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4 Books You Should Read This Springtime

Spring is finally here and we have a great set of book recommendations for you this year, many from authors and regular contributors to Psych Central. While we regularly review hundreds of new titles every year, we believe that some deserve special attention.

Books should remain an important component of your reading routine. While I understand the expectation that we can get all the knowledge we need by simply Googling it, most of what's online doesn't get into any given subject very deeply. And when you do come across the rare topic online that is in-depth, it is rarely well-edited (and often, well-written) enough to make consumption of the material as enjoyable as it is from a book. While I've switched how I read books in recent years (now mostly enjoying them on my Kindle), reading books remains something I set aside time to do nearly every day. You should too.

The books below cover a variety of self-help and self-improvement topics. So without further ado and for your consideration, here are some springtime reading recommendations that I hope you'll consider.

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Why It Took Me So Long to Recover from My Eating Disorder

I remember sitting on the black leather couch in my therapist’s office, longing to be free from my eating disorder, when she said something to the tune of "there is no recovered. You get there and then you keep going."

I didn’t like that statement. I so desperately wanted to believe there was a finish line. If I went all the way I’d cross it, and the tape would rip and I could throw my arms up in victory and I’d be done.

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