Friends Articles

You Are Not Alone in Your Diagnosis of Mental Illness

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

You Are Not Alone in Your Diagnosis of Mental IllnessIn the eight years I’ve lived with schizophrenia I’ve seen horrible days and I’ve seen days where the sun seemed to shine just right on my face and strike a certain happiness in my soul.

Throughout every day, though, I’ve struggled with my thoughts.

There isn’t a day that goes by where a bit of panic doesn’t creep up into me. In those moments it can feel like the world is against you. It can feel like you are the only person alive who is feeling that certain kind of panic, but I’m here to tell you that you’re not.

How to Help a High-Functioning Alcoholic in Denial

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

How to Help a High-Functioning Alcoholic in DenialHigh-functioning alcoholics might be one of the most dangerous types. They often are in denial about their alcoholism. They don’t realize how hard their drinking is on family members and friends, and since they seem to function normally, they don’t see a problem with it.

High-functioning alcoholics do not fit the “drunk” stereotype. They might reason that because they go to work and school, interact with their family, manage a household, and fulfill their everyday responsibilities, they can’t possibly have an alcohol problem.

Recovering from Codependency

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Recovering from CodependencyTonight in my CoDA meeting we read from Step Ten of Melody Beattie’s book Codependents’ Guide to the Twelve Steps. I highly recommend this book if you are serious about getting your head in the right place. It’s a great place to start.

What struck me this evening was this paragraph:

I kept trying to forgive [addicts] for [their addictions] when I was still allowing myself to be victimized by their [behavior]. I kept substituting forgiveness and denial for acceptance of reality. I had concepts confused.

I Can’t Believe They Did That! Taming Judgmental Tendencies

Monday, June 30th, 2014

I Can’t Believe They Did That! Taming Judgmental TendenciesBeing judgmental can be a good thing. Our judgment is a survival skill, according to psychotherapist Joyce Marter, LCPC. It helps us stay out of danger.

For instance, you use good judgment when you don’t give your phone number to a man who’s “separated” from his “crazy” wife, or invest money in a hot new business started by your nephew who has a gambling problem, she said.

However, when we use judgment beyond its survival value, it can ruin relationships, “because nobody likes to feel they’re being scrutinized by a ‘Judge Judy.’”

Letting Go and Moving On After a Breakup or Divorce

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Letting Go and Moving On after a Breakup or DivorceHeartbreak hurts. Loss is shattering. Put these two together and you’ve got the lovely one-two punch that can come with breakups of short-lived or long-term relationships.

It brings most everyone down. Otherwise emotionally-guarded people crumble into a mess of anger, sadness and confusion. Task-oriented folks lose focus and motivation. Forgiving types start learning how to hold a grudge.

Self-Esteem and Friendship: It’s Time to Start Trusting Your Friends

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

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Friendship is one of life’s best blessings. Otherwise Bruno Mars, Dolly Parton, Lil Wayne and Ringo Starr wouldn’t have all written songs extolling it. But low self-esteem can puncture friendships, just as it punctures other blessings.

Knowing at some level that Mom was right when she said we can’t really like others if we can’t like ourselves, we overcompensate — trying to be the world’s best listeners, laughers and loaners. This turns friendships into perpetual auditions, as we offer our time and attention with the subtext: Judge me, please!

The Importance of a Support Structure After a Mental Illness Diagnosis

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

The Importance of a Support Structure After a Diagnosis of Mental IllnessWhen I was diagnosed with schizophrenia eight years ago it was like walking in a fog. I was lost in my delusions, I was confused about what was happening to me and I was trying to grapple with what exactly reality was.

My family was suffering too.

They had no background with mental illness and no frame of reference about what to expect with it.

I had asked for help a few times but they just thought my skewed thinking was a result of smoking marijuana and that once I stopped everything I would be fine. It didn’t click for them until after my first major episode, when they took me to the hospital and I was finally diagnosed.

4 Ways to Benefit from Envy

Monday, June 16th, 2014

4 Ways to Benefit from EnvyIf I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning. ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Upward comparison is a universal experience. It is one way that we determine where we stand among others. There will always be someone more intelligent, funny, interesting, or accomplished to compare ourselves against. Others appear to have figured it all out when we feel we don’t have a clue.

The effects of these comparisons can hit us hard, influencing our emotions and our self-perception.

Meditation on a Friend’s Suicide

Monday, June 9th, 2014

Meditation on a Friend’s SuicideA friend killed herself this weekend.

Stop for just a moment and measure how you feel on reading that. Feel into your shoulders and your chest, your gut. Feel the visceral reaction to the statement of fact that someone loved took her own life. Own it.

It is our inability to physically, let alone emotionally, deal with the choice made, the act, that threatens to keep someone so special from living on in our memories.

New Beginnings Need a New Attitude

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

New Beginnings Need a New AttitudeNew beginnings often are exciting, yet terrifying — no one knows what the future holds. Unlimited possibilities lie behind the door to your new beginning: successes and failures, ups and downs, and even some smiles and frowns.

The past is sometimes easier to reflect upon because it is finite, it is done and it cannot offer new surprises in your life. The past, in a sense, is easier to control; the present and future seems mystical and uncontrollable.

How to Forgive Those Who Have Wronged You

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

How to Forgive Those Who Have Wronged YouHave you ever felt wronged or abused by someone?

Everyone at some point or another has felt disappointed in and disillusioned by others’ words or actions. We all create images of specific roles we desire certain people to play in our lives. We long for the comfort of family, friends, and colleagues. We look up to teachers and mentors for inspiration.

Hiding Behind Your Phone?

Monday, May 19th, 2014

Hiding Behind Your Phone?As technology advances, certain ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ continue to manifest. Among the pros: We can readily be in touch with friends and family; simple text messages yield instant communication.

Among the cons: Scrolling through the Internet on your smartphone during a party may remove you from the moment.

But what about confrontation? Not necessarily a crucial dialogue with another individual — confrontation with yourself. Do people hide behind their phones to avoid being completely alone? If alone, problems have to be addressed. Fears, vulnerability or emotional pain may surface.

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