General Articles

Suicide, Grief and the Time Machine

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

Salar de Uyuni by Patrick NouhaillerAt some point someone has been asked that playful question: If you had a time machine and you could go back and change one and only one thing, what would it be?

When suicide has touched your life, there is only one answer to that question. No more thoughtful musings on how you would’ve minored in philosophy or not gone home from space camp early or had the courage to speak to that beautiful woman you saw waiting for the F train.

There’s only one thing you could do. You would go back before the suicide and make sure to tell that person how much you cared about them, what they meant to you.

Addicted to Affluence

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

Shoe shoppingMany people mistake affluence for self-worth. You can buy what you want to buy. Live where you want to live. Own what you want to own. You’ve made it! What a worthy, wonderful person you are!

So how come you’re still feeling that it’s not enough? You bought what you wanted to buy. You feel great. Yet, a day later, rather than feeling pleased, you’re bored.

So, you rack up additional purchases on your favorite digital device. It’s so easy to shop these days. Or, tired of shopping, you plan another trip. You create another social event. And still it satisfies only for the moment.

Leaving a Written Legacy

Saturday, December 13th, 2014

Leaving a Written Legacy There are photos and videos that capture certain moments. Birthdays. Anniversaries. The everyday. There are stories that get retold to every generation. But largely when a family member dies, their stories die with them.

This holiday season a beautiful gift you can give to a loved one is a glimpse into your personal history. Because that history also is a history of them. Because photos rarely capture the thoughts we were thinking, the emotions we were feeling.

Healing My Inner Child

Friday, December 12th, 2014

Healing My Inner ChildDear Inner Child,

You’ve been through so much and I am not sure how you coped. Your strength inspires me with every memory I recover. I know you are the reason we are alive today. And I thank you for all you did to keep going. Sometimes, others ask me how I lived through it and I don’t know the answer.

You carried that burden. And to some extent, you still do.

6 Common Obstacles in Couples Therapy

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

6 Common Obstacles in Couples TherapyCouples therapy can help couples improve their relationship in many ways. For instance, it helps couples resolve conflict, learn how to communicate effectively, better understand each other, enhance their emotional connection and strengthen their bond.

Naturally, couples may face obstacles in therapy that stall their progress. They may have inaccurate assumptions about how therapy works, which can keep them stuck. Or they may delay seeing a therapist in the first place, which only deepens their problems.

We asked two relationship experts to share the most common obstacles along with what couples can do to overcome them.

CIA Torture Report: A Sad Day for Psychologists

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

CIA Torture Report: A Sad Day for PsychologistsThis week marks a low point for U.S. psychologists. Two psychologists were responsible for devising the CIA program that uses “enhanced interrogation techniques” — what the rest of the world calls torture — on certain detainees after 9/11.

It also took the American Psychological Association years to clarify its ethical policies on how psychologists could be involved in the torture of suspects. (In contrast, the American Psychiatric Association — representing U.S. psychiatrists — simply invoked an outright ban for its members from being a part of any torture interrogation.)

One of the two psychologists — who were paid handsomely ($81 million) for their program development — even had the audacity to defend his work to the Associated Press yesterday.

The Surprising Facts about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

The Surprising Facts about Seasonal Affective DisorderA cup of hot chocolate. A funny movie. A snowball fight. These are all things that can cure the winter blues. It’s easy to feel gloomy or un-energetic on dark and windy winter days. But it’s often equally as easy to pick yourself with a little physical exercise or a happy movie.

But what if the things that normally make you feel better don’t help?

If you find yourself feeling unhappy for days at a time or losing interest in the activities you once took pleasure in, you may be one of the millions of Americans who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Some Surprising Observations about How to Fight Clutter

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

cluttered room bigstOne of the things about happiness that continually surprises me is the degree to which, for most people, outer order contributes to inner calm and inner self-command.

In the context of a happy life, a crowded coat closet or an overflowing inbox is trivial, and yet such things weigh us down more than they should.

Give Hope this Holiday: Working to End the Stigma of Depression

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Give Hope this Holiday: Working to End the Stigma of Depression

This is the season of giving. There is no greater charity than I can recommend than the International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression (iFred). They are running an Indiegogo campaign this year that will help fund a handful of great non-profit projects already doing good work.

The iFred campaign asks that you “Help us end the stigma of depression and give hope worldwide.” I couldn’t agree more.

Click to learn more about the campaign and donate something today (even $1 helps!).

Designated Caregiver: Holiday Drinks and Mental Illness

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

holiday stress man bigstAlcohol is a staple at the holiday table despite widespread tales of family dysfunction. The truth is social lubrication makes it a lot easier to deal with some of the more difficult people in our families. But when you add mental illness to the mix, you run bigger risks than a shouting match about politics or someone going home wearing the stuffing.

My older brother Pat was diagnosed with schizophrenia eight years ago this December. Drinking alcohol is not advisable on his medication. It makes him extremely drowsy. A few beers after taking his medication in 2007 and he passed out in the bathroom, slamming into the toilet and sliding it clean off the floor — and he’s not a big guy.

4 Reasons to Forgive but Not Forget

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

4 Reasons to Forgive but not ForgetWe’ve all heard the admonition “you need to forgive and forget.” Many of us heard this as a child from our parents when we had been wronged by a sibling or friend. We were told to turn the other cheek and give our pals another chance.

Some of us learned the idea behind this was the golden rule — do to others what we would have them do to us. As parents can be quick to point out, we’ve certainly been guilty of committing our own transgressions and needing forgiveness.

Do You Connect or Control?

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

Do You Connect or Control? My youngest always fought with me over the littlest of things. Lately I had even resorted to bribing her in return for the peace it brought.

“Put away your plate,” I reminded her after dinner the other night, “otherwise no iPad.”

“I don’t care,” she retorted. “And you can’t stop me.”

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