Family Articles

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.

What I Wish You Understood About My Depression

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

What I Wish You Understood About My DepressionThere are many persistent misconceptions about depression. For instance, people assume depression is synonymous with sadness. (It’s not.)

They also assume that individuals with depression can simply snap out of it. (They can’t. Mild depression may abate with exercise, meditation and other self-help strategies. But most people’s clinical depression usually requires treatment.)

Such misconceptions can lead us to misinterpret what people need. It can lead us to make insensitive comments — “are you sure you want to get better?” — and to be dismissive of a disease that is actually devastating and really hard.

We asked people who have or had depression to share what they wish others knew and understood about the illness.

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.

Til Death Do Us Part: Coping with Commitment after Death

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Marriage May Lower Risk of Heart Attack SS

Are we still married after the death of one partner? “Til death do us part” is a part of all traditional marriage ceremonies, but I can’t help but wonder if it is really true. Do our vows — and our relationships — really end at death? Do we really “part” from those we love the most?

I can understand that our faithful, monogamous obligation may come to a completion at death, but I am not so sure much else comes to a sudden halt.

Honor Veterans by Acquiring Support Skills

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

Honor Veterans by Acquiring Support SkillsIs there a military veteran in your life living with an untreated mental health condition? Are you uncertain whether your support is actually hurting more than helping? If so, you are not alone.

Most of us are not inherently equipped with the skills to understand what our loved ones experienced while serving their country through military service. Yet, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, nearly 30 percent (PDF) of veterans serving in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11 that have been treated at V.A. hospitals and clinics have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

During the month of November, Care for Your Mind (CFYM) is showcasing an innovative program that coaches loved ones in how to provide healthy support for the veteran in their life.

How to Support & Help Someone with Depression

Friday, November 14th, 2014

How to Support & Help Someone with Depression  Someone you know is struggling with depression. You want to help but you’re not sure how. You worry about saying the wrong thing, or doing the wrong thing. Or maybe you’ve already done or said the wrong thing.

There may be many reasons you’re having a hard time helping your loved one. But there also are many ways you can help.

Offer “love and kindness, first and foremost,” said writer Alexa Winchell. “Be kind to those of us suffering just as you would care for someone with the flu,” said Lisa Keith, PsyD, an assistant professor of special education at Fresno Pacific University.

What does this look like?

Below, you’ll find specific insights into the helpful — and unhelpful — ways you can be supportive from people who had or have depression.

10 Questions to Avoid Passive-Aggressive Co-Parenting

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

Teenage girl in trouble with parents

Your child is hears (and feels) all of those subtle pot-shots you take at your ex.

Everyone knows the basics of co-parenting: stay kid-focused, don’t use your kids as messengers, never use your kids as scapegoats, show up on time, and don’t talk negatively about your ex in front of your kids. It all seems pretty straight-forward and doable — at least it does on the surface.

But real-life isn’t lived on the surface and sometimes, in all of that “trying” to be nice, you’re actually just being passive-aggressive and probably doing more harm than good. Most of the time it’s pretty obvious whether or not you’re taking care of the basics. You know if you’re staying kid-focused, or using your kids as messengers or scapegoats, or showing up on time, but what might not be as obvious is whether you’re putting out more toxic energy and negativity about your ex in front of your children than you realize.

10 Ways Families Can Cultivate Their Connection

Monday, November 10th, 2014

10 Ways Families Can Cultivate their ConnectionPsychotherapist Jenifer Hope, LCPC, has worked with many families whose biggest concern is detachment. They feel as though they’re forgetting who their loved ones really are. They don’t have time to get to know their children. “They feel isolated within their own family because everyone is so busy, that there is no actual family time,” she said.

Jennifer Kogan, LICSW, a psychotherapist in Washington, D.C., also sees a shortage of time as the biggest obstacle for families in connecting.

How to Respect Other People’s Boundaries

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

The KissThere are many articles on how to create and maintain personal boundaries. But there isn’t as much guidance on how we can respect other people’s limits, because this, too, can be as difficult as setting our own.

Boundary violations typically fall into three categories, according to Chester McNaughton, a registered professional counselor who specializes in boundaries, anger management and dysfunctional relationships in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada: aggressive, passive-aggressive or accidental.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness 2014 Conference

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

program-coverThe 2014 National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Convention in Washington, D.C. in September was, by any measure, a huge success. Mingling with consumers, family members, mental health advocates, and a wide range of mental health providers, I couldn’t help but be swept up in the atmosphere of expectation that often permeates these annual gatherings.

A stellar lineup of guest speakers spoke passionately about their particular battles with mental illness. Both a female celebrity and a former U.S. Congressman from a famous American family shared their struggles with bipolar disorder.

A Virginia state senator told of his beloved son’s final, desperate act — the heartbreaking result of a failed delivery system that denied his son an inpatient bed in a time of obvious need.

Early Signs of Love Addiction

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

Early Signs of Love AddictionAs I strengthen my relationship with my wounded child, I realize that my childhood showed signs of a developing love addiction. There were aspects of my home life that primed me for neediness and a tendency to define my value in the eyes of others. Deprivation played a key role. Here are some of the things I recall:

My mother was a perfectionist. She was ruthless in her oversight of our household chores. I remember one event from when I was a young adult. My mother had made a big issue about no one helping her. So I stepped in to help.

Can a Better Romantic Relationship Lead to Better Parenting?

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Happy Family

Do you believe your partner should come before your kids?

I read this quote recently:

“The best thing a society can do for itself is to promote and support healthy couples, and the best thing partners can do for themselves, for their children, and for society is to have a healthy relationship.”

- Harville Hendrix, author of Getting the Love You Want

Seriously? The “best” thing we can do for our kids is to have a good relationship with our partners? That’s fine in theory, but what if our relationship is just okay, or good sometimes with long periods of mediocrity, or mostly bad with occasional moments of happiness? What then?

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