Brain and Behavior

The Perfection in Being

When I was growing up, my parents wanted me to be perfect. They were very clear that I must exceed all standards. They wanted me to have perfect grades, perfect looks, perfect extracurricular activities. They pressured me to be the picture of everything society wanted from a human being.

This expectation created a storm inside me. I was sure I was none of those things. I had been abused long enough to know I had no real worth. I was sure I had nothing to offer the world. I was an imposter. I had no value to add to the human race. I was only here to be victimized.
Continue Reading


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.

Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

Lessons from Urban Living: Circling Helicopters, Trauma and Anxiety

It was about 3:25 a.m. when I awoke to what sounded like a car with no muffler driving by. I live near a busy stretch in Mid-City L.A. so I didn't think anything of it.

I got up to use the bathroom when I heard what I knew was a helicopter. A moment later it made a strange whirring noise and shot by again. I leapt up and ran to the window. Clouds were low in the sky and the helicopter was beneath the cloud cover. It circled above my house again, this time it was closer. The walls vibrated. The chopping echoed off of everything.

My husband woke up and asked if a helicopter was about to land on our house.

Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

9 Tips for Self-Care

Living with depression, anxiety, trauma, and other mental illnesses takes a toll, often in more ways than we realize. Our wounds leave us fragile and sensitive to the suffering of others. It is not uncommon for those with mental illness to find it difficult to read about certain subjects, view movies with disturbing themes, or even to read the news. This is referred to as being triggered, because witnessing or learning about the suffering of others may trigger the reopening of our own wounds.

While mental illness leaves us vulnerable and sensitive to others' suffering, it also has a way of increasing our interest in those stories that feel familiar. We have been through a lot, and we can easily identify with how others feel. We don’t want to shut the world out as a result of our reactivation.

Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

Psychology Around the Net: April 11, 2015

Learn more about changing mental health-related terms, the psychological factors that might lead to overeating, a new Medicaid and mental health law proposed by the Obama Administration, and more in this week's Psychology Around the Net.

Can We Replace Misleading Terms Like 'Mental Illness,' 'Patient,' and 'Schizophrenia': Find out why one Duke University professor feels these and other related terms can both "provide clarity" and "badly mislead."

Continue Reading


5 Practices to Create Purpose From Trauma

If you want to support friends, family, acquaintances and strangers suffering from trauma, Rule #1 -- Skip the "everything has a purpose" line.

Please don't place "purpose" on other people's trauma. Purpose may eventually exist around our devastation, but only because we found it. We worked for it, answered the hard questions, and cried for hours trying to release enough pain to grab hold of it.

Sure, I can see purpose in why God made the sky blue, the grass green, and the sun shine. I can get behind that; but, I don't believe God somehow expects us to find purpose in our trauma. We can choose, however, to find purpose after we first open ourselves to healing the wound itself.
Continue Reading

Best of the Web

Top 10 PTSD Blogs of 2014

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often is linked to military veterans, but it can affect anyone following a traumatic event. There are five subtypes: normal stress response, acute stress disorder, uncomplicated PTSD, comorbid PTSD and complex PTSD. Sleep disturbances and flashbacks, where the sufferer relives the trauma, are hallmarks of the disease.

PTSD has several other symptoms, some of which overlap with other disorders. These include a loss of interest in regular activities, feeling depressed, anxious and difficulty concentrating. A person with PTSD may find it difficult to relate to loved ones. Instead they are emotionally distant and consumed with a sense of dread.

These blogs have been selected because they contain links and strategies specifically for people with PTSD in its various forms.

Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

Psychology Around the Net: January 10, 2015

Happy Saturday, readers!

As cliche as it might sound, we can't help but think of new beginnings when we think of a new year, and what better way to welcome new beginnings than by keeping up with all the new mental health news, research, and even opinions as we launch into 2015?

After all, we want to stay as healthy and informed as possible!

This week's Psychology Around the Net features research related to pets and their owners' personalities, gut bacteria and how it relates to anxiety, how childhood guilt can affect adult mental health issues, and more.

Continue Reading


Learning from Abusive Relationships

Relationships are hard for everyone, but especially for survivors of child abuse. Before I started my recovery work, I spent years in relationships that were obviously abusive and damaging to my emotional wellness, but I was too blinded by my own trauma to see it.

My family had always taught me that survival depended on having a man in my life. In my family, women kept abusive men around because of this belief.

It was critically important for this to be ingrained in each family member as early as possible. There could be no understanding of their individual power. They must believe they could not survive without a partner or the abuse might not be tolerated.

Continue Reading