Disorders Articles

Room for Misery & Room for Joy: My Story

Friday, October 10th, 2014

misery joyMost people who have been sober longer than a year are asked to give a “lead” — to tell their story. Mine was structurally simple, covering what it was like, what happened, and what it’s like now. Having only drank for three years, my addiction story is pretty straightforward: I stopped guzzling down mood-altering beverages.

My depression story, however, is not.

There are too many circles and uneven ends to fit into any neat, compact narrative. It seems as though the longer you dance with the demon of depression, the more embracing you become of different health philosophies and the more tolerant of unanswered questions.

Is it open-mindedness or desperation?

I don’t know.

Reasons for Living: World Mental Health Day

Friday, October 10th, 2014

Reasons for LivingReasons for living never come cheap
Even your best ones can put me to sleep
What I am saying, or trying to say
Is that there must be a better way

~ Duncan Sheik

I have bipolar II disorder, which means the depressive side is far more prominent than the manic one.

Recently, when I mentioned my suicidal ideation to my psychiatrist, he challenged me to come up with five reasons to live, write them down and put them where I could see them.

What It’s Like to Live with Schizophrenia

Friday, October 10th, 2014

cliff-birds, Esme Wang

Thirty-one years ago Elyn R. Saks was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Her prognosis was grave: she wouldn’t be able to live independently, hold a job or find love.

After her hospitalization at 28 years old, a doctor suggested she work as a cashier. If she could do that, they’d reassess her abilities and possibly consider a full-time job.

Today, Saks is the Associate Dean and Orrin B. Evans Professor of Law, Psychology and the Behavioral Sciences at the University of Southern California Gould Law School. She’s a mental health advocate and the author of a powerful memoir, The Center Cannot Hold. And she is happily married to her husband, Will.

Living with Mental Illness: World Mental Health Day 2014

Friday, October 10th, 2014

Living with Mental Illness: World Mental Health Day 2014

Living with any mental illness is never easy. Nowhere is this more true that when a person has to deal with the likes of schizophrenia, depression or bipolar disorder.

Sometimes treatments don’t seem to work as effectively as promised. Other times we run into friends or family members just not really knowing how to act around you. It can be overwhelming, challenging, and frustrating — all in the scope of one day.

Mental Health & Happiness: World Mental Health Day

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Mental Health & Happiness: World Mental Health DayOctober 10 is World Mental Health Day and the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the 2014 focus to be schizophrenia. The people at the William Glasser Institute – US (WGI-US) took to heart Dr. Glasser’s mandate that society treat mental health as a public health issue. When we do that, the focus is on prevention and mental health rather than treatment, psychopharmacology and mental illness.

Most people understand the steps they can implement to improve their physical health. WGI-US is geared toward helping people understand the habits they can develop that will improve their mental health. So on October 10, while other organizations are focusing their efforts on raising awareness for mental illness, WGI-US will be providing 24-hour programming on prevention, mental health, resilience and happiness.

Amanda Bynes: When Celebrity Mental Health Turns Insensitive Gossip

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Amanda BynesThe 28-year-old actress Amanda Bynes recently told In Touch Weekly that there is a microchip in her brain that allows other people to read her thoughts.

“I want a dollar a day from every person who (is) reading my mind,” Bynes said.

Now TMZ reports that she was allegedly “going full Winona Ryder” – shoplifting from Barneys on Madison Avenue.

“She really should wrap her head in a seven-pound ball of aluminum foil,” wrote Tony Hicks of San Jose Mercury News, later adding, “Sounds like someone’s parents need to fly to New York and get her back to the doctor, before none of this is funny anymore.”

I’m guessing the tabloids are just following her around day and night waiting for her to do something kooky. Personally, I don’t find any of it “funny” at all.

Introducing Bipolar Lifehacks

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Introducing Bipolar Lifehacks

All too often, we focus on the negatives of a disorder while not focusing enough on the positives. Nowhere can this be more challenging than with bipolar disorder.

Yet some people seem to be able to live a successful life with bipolar disorder. How do they do it? What coping skills and lifehacks have they employed to cope with the challenges unique to bipolar disorder?

That’s why I’m pleased to introduce Bipolar Lifehacks with Lisa Keith, Psy.D.

Sharing Responsibly: Grief, Loss and Social Media

Saturday, October 4th, 2014

Sharing Responsibly: Grief, Loss and Social MediaA lot of folks these days are talking about unplugging from social media. Maybe not permanently, but for a period of time in order to have face-to-face connections with people again.

But what if not logging onto Facebook meant you wouldn’t know that your friend had died? That’s what happened to me earlier this year.

Psychology Around the Net: October 4, 2014

Saturday, October 4th, 2014

Talk Therapy

This week’s Psychology Around the Net features information about social anxiety treatments, ways to increase productivity, a possible link between depression and terrorism, and more.

Talk Therapy May Trump Medication For Social Anxiety, Study Says: The Lancet Psychiatry has published new research suggesting talk therapy — or cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) — might work better than medication when treating social anxiety.

The Link Between Depression and Terrorism: Could there be ties between depression symptoms and sympathy for violent protests and even terrorism? New research from the United Kingdom suggests so.

What to Do About Seasonal Affective Disorder

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

What to Do About Seasonal Affective DisorderFor me it comes on in the fall. I don’t really know why. I much prefer the cooler, grayer weather to the hard sun of summer. But around September of every year I start to feel the weight of the world.

It’s not so much depression as it just a general feeling of being fed up with everything, of not wanting to deal with the frivolous and not seeing the point in the day-to-day stuff I have to do.

When Your Child Doesn’t Want to Go to Therapy (But Needs To)

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

When Your Child Doesn’t Want to Go to Therapy (But Needs To)Going to therapy is hard enough for adults. Stigma stops many of us from picking up the phone and making an appointment. Plus, therapy is hard work. It often requires revealing our vulnerabilities, delving into difficult challenges, changing unhealthy patterns of behavior and learning new skills.

So it’s not surprising that kids might not want to go either. This resistance only escalates when they misunderstand how therapy works. “Many children are afraid or nervous to go to therapy, especially if they have the belief that they are in trouble or because they are ‘bad,’” said Clair Mellenthin, LCSW, a child and family therapist.

7 Ways to Deal with Family and Friends Who Don’t Get it

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

mentalhealthforparentsIf “I believe you” are the three most powerful words you can say to someone with an invisible illness. Four of the hardest or most painful words to absorb — whether they are said directly or communicated indirectly through insensitive behavior — are “I don’t believe you.” And yet, people who live with depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders hear them over and over and over again from family members and friends.

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