Caregivers

How to Promote Your Child’s Good Mental Health

Everyone knows the importance of good mental health, but how do you help your children achieve it? Here are some points to consider.

1. Give your child unconditional love.

Every child deserves and needs unconditional love from his or her parents and other family members. Love, security and acceptance form the bedrock for a child’s good mental health. Make sure your child knows that your love doesn’t depend on them getting good grades...
Continue Reading

Disorders

Are You Seeing a Good Therapist? 5 More Tell-Tale Signs

If you aren’t in the psychology field, it’s hard to know what you should expect from a therapist. After all, choosing a therapist is different from looking for a surgeon or chiropractor or dermatologist. Therapy is a unique process; one that requires you to be vulnerable. In fact, you might share things with your therapist that you’ve never shared with anyone.

So how do you know if the therapist you have or one who you’re considering is actually a good clinician?
Continue Reading

Brain and Behavior

Teenagers Can Benefit from Meditation

Teens are under more pressure today than in previous generations. This massive increase in stress and anxiety is believed to have caused an increase in teenage attention disorders. Often they believe they're doing things wrong. That makes it difficult to focus on the present.

Meditation can help. Most teens find it difficult to sit, breathe, and focus on the present. Their world runs at a mile a minute, and they need to keep up. This, more than anything, is why they should give meditation a try.

Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

Spirituality vs. Mental Disorders: God Doesn’t Hate Medication

I grew up in a family that had high expectations of me, and I have personally struggled with anxiety. For several years, I thought that my anxiety was a normal part of life. I didn’t realize that I should not have been having full-blown anxiety at the age of nine, but I was.

My family didn’t believe in mental illnesses, besides those that were obvious to the untrained eye. We did, however, attend a church regularly. I was highly interested in Christianity and studied it on my own. I was able to combat the unnatural anxiety through my relationship with God, and was able to overcome the anxiety throughout middle and high school. College, however, was different.
Continue Reading

Depression

Maternal Mental Health Screening: What I Wished I’d Had

When I was pregnant back in 1997, I wish my doctor had told me I might be at risk for postpartum depression. Her words wouldn’t have alarmed me. They would have prompted me to get treatment when the darkness did indeed hit.

During my six-week postpartum checkup when I was at my worst, I wish my OB/GYN had handed me a mental health screening and explained the difference between the “blues” and depression.

Continue Reading

Depression

Suicidal? 10 Tips for Keeping Yourself Alive

I remember having my first suicidal thought at the age of 13. At that time, I had discovered that my brother was gay and my sister and father completely abandoned him because of it. I had been molested by a female when I was young, and this revelation about my brother made me wonder if I was going to be gay, too. At the time, I had no clue how a person became gay.

I went on to have tragedy after tragedy arise in my life. To name just a few, I have lost two children and both of my parents; breast cancer at the age of 40, double mastectomy, chemo, two reconstruction surgeries, discovering at the end of my treatment that my husband had been living a double life for many, many years which led to my divorce, and an almost-successful suicide attempt.

Continue Reading

General

Self-Mutilation Helped Me Cope with Depression — Briefly

I had always believed that injuring oneself is ridiculous. What could one possibly get from cutting assorted body parts? Who wants scores of ugly scars and scabs all over their body? How can people indulge in and actually enjoy it? How can it be a means to cope with depression?

Suffering from emotional trauma is one thing; add to that the physical pain of self-injury, and what is the result? Nothing fruitful comes out of it, or so I believed until I tried this seemingly overrated practice myself.
Continue Reading

Children and Teens

5 Tips for Reducing Ever-Growing Mom Guilt

Moms tend to feel guilty for all sorts of things. They feel guilty for working full-time or part-time. They feel guilty for not breastfeeding or for stopping too soon. They feel guilty for not being able to join their child’s field trip. Again. They feel guilty for taking time for themselves. For not cooking from scratch. For the dirty clothes in the corner and the dirty dishes in the sink. For not making enough money. For making mistakes. For being too tired. For anything.

As psychotherapist Krysta Dancy, MA MFT, said, guilt “begins in pregnancy and childbirth -- all the different ways to give birth -- flows through infancy -- feeding choices, sleeping philosophies -- and never lets up.”
Continue Reading

Brain and Behavior

Mom Knows Best: Overcoming Life’s Hardships

Life bruises. For others, it cripples. And, for a select few, it empowers.

As we marvel at others’ resilience during uncommon adversity, what lessons are applicable to our lives?

On a gloomy October day, the doctor’s diagnosis numbed us. “Pancreatic cancer,” he spat out. My aunt and I recoiled. The word -- cancer -- buzzed in our ears. Shoulders slumping, our mist-filled eyes met. We were dazed; cancer happens to others. Not our familial matriarch.
Continue Reading

Depression

When Symptoms of Depression Strike in the Summer

Most of us are familiar with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). During the short, cold, dark days of winter, 4 to 6 percent of people feel depressed, lethargic, pessimistic, and even hopeless. They may eat more and sleep too much.

But you might be less familiar with another type of seasonal affective disorder: depression that sparks in the summer, which about 10 percent of people with SAD experience.

Summertime depression is essentially the opposite of wintertime depression. “People tend to lose weight and feel more agitated and irritable, more likely to be suffering from a ‘
Continue Reading

General

Navigating the Tricky and Often Triggering World of Social Media as a Mom

For many moms, social media can be a triggering space. It can be a breeding ground for comparison, which so many moms are already prone to in their offline lives. Comparison only creates more and more doubt about everything from your parenting choices to how you are as a person.

Maybe you compare yourself to the mom on social media who makes creative meals, has a spotless home and entertains her kids with fun activities and adventures. Maybe you compare yourself to the mom who gushes about every part of parenting, while you’re crying and covered in throw-up. Maybe you compare yourself to the mom who’s back to her normal routine only days after giving birth, while you’re lying in bed in excruciating pain from your C-section.
Continue Reading

Addiction

Instant Gratification: When Right Now Means 5 Minutes

“If you act right now -- right this very instant, you can own this shimmering, heart-shaped pendant for the budget-busting price of $250. But you have to act this very moment,” a caffeinated TV blowhard shrieks into your television screen.

You cackle, questioning the (in)sanity of anyone spending $250 on a cheesy pendant. As the cackle disappears, you lean back and contemplate your own spending habits. You, self-described Mr. Thrift, just dropped $250 on a pair of must-have sneakers. The problem: Your exercise regimen consists of walking past the gym.

Continue Reading