General

6 Ways to Stay Busy to Avoid Sadness

"Active natures are rarely melancholy. Activity and sadness are incompatible." – Christian Bovee

Sometimes, you’re just sad. Whether it’s the holiday season, your birthday, anniversary or other special occasion, you can inexplicably feel sadness. It may be that the occasion itself reminds you of loss, especially if the loss was recent, painful or protracted. You might be sad because you know you didn’t behave with the best of intentions. You could also be sad because you did nothing when you knew you should have done something.
Continue Reading

Family

Caring for Trauma Survivors and Caring for Yourself in the Process: Everyday Tips for Non-Professionals

Elise just told me about her past. I knew she had been through a lot, but not all that. She said her mom hit her and left bruises when she was a kid, her neighbor touched her where she didn't want to be touched, and I guess her brother was alcoholic. There was a lot of other stuff, too. It has gotten better in the last couple years so that is good. I have known their whole family for a long time and never knew any of that.

What do I do now? I want to help somehow, but is there anything to do? I don't know if I should tell someone. I feel sad.

We hope abuse and trauma never happen to ourselves or someone we love. When your sister, long-time friend, or neighbor tells you something you never expected, it can be confusing, upsetting, and scary.
Continue Reading

Bipolar

Feeling Sad? Get in Touch with the Holidays

My great grandmother who lived to be 102 said the best medicine for unhappiness was to get busy. When Gram lost her mojo, she’d ironed, washed windows and made beds.

People often get depressed around major holidays. They might miss deceased loved ones. They might long for the fun and excitement of the holidays of their youth. They might be alone. They might be affected by the fall/winter darkness. If you’re struggling with major depression, see a doctor. But if you’re just a little unhappy, I have a fix that might work for you.
Continue Reading

Friends

Losing Friends

We’ve all done it. We’ve all lost a friend or two.

One minute the friend is present, communicative and, well, friendly. The next minute our friend is gone. It doesn’t feel good when it happens. In fact, it can be devastating and downright confusing.

Let’s investigate some of the key reasons people lose friends.
Continue Reading

General

How to Reject Rejection: Ice Cream Not Included

“It’s not you; it's me,” she coos. You grimace, swallowing the bitter words.

From romance to career advancement, rejection is a cold, cruel mistress. It pierces our identity, plunging us into a well of despair. We question our value, lamenting life’s unfairness. Even cruelty. Some people internalize its pain while others lash out on an unsuspecting family member or significant other.

The common denominator: You were wronged. And it hurts.

But instead of sulking or scowling, here are strategies to compartmentalize rejection for what it is: a temporary setback.
Continue Reading

General

Grief & Loss After the Election


After the historic election of 2016, where underdog businessman Donald Trump upset Hillary Clinton for the presidency of the United States, many people are in distress. There have been large anti-Trump protests of thousands of people in major cities across the country chanting, "Not my president."

Large groups of people were grieving yesterday, trying to come to terms with the failure to elect the first woman president. How do you cope with grief and loss after a contentious election like this?

Continue Reading

General

Dealing with the Looming Cloud of the Possibility of Early Death

Five years ago, I had breast cancer. To rid myself of it, I had chemotherapy, radiation and a double mastectomy.

Flash forward five years. One day, I noticed a strange, bright red splotch on my breast, the breast where the cancer had been. The doctor did a biopsy of it, and the results came back malignant. It was an angiosarcoma, and the suspected cause was the radiation treatment I’d had five years before. This was a very rare form of cancer that, again, results sometimes from the radiation itself. That which was meant to heal me, made me ill.
Continue Reading

Grief and Loss

Using Social Media to Deal with Personal Tragedy

From May-September 2016, I battled cancer. The cancer had formed from prior radiation therapy for a previous bout of breast cancer in 2012. The 2016 cancer was called angiosarcoma. Treatment for this angiosarcoma was drastic surgery to cut the cancer out of my right breast. Luckily, I would not need chemo or more radiation.

One of the ways I endured the stress and the strain of the cancer was to use Facebook to communicate my...
Continue Reading

Depression

Beyond Ending the Stigma: Radical Compassion for Suicide Prevention

When my dad ended his life, it felt like I arrived somewhere I had always been headed. I was 13 years old when I first saw the signs. I was 15 when he was hospitalized for his first attempt -- his life thereafter owed to the vulnerable courage he demonstrated by calling 9-1-1 on himself. I was 26 when, after a long recovery, he spiraled downward again. 27 when we intervened and got him to go back to therapy. And then, I was 28 when I stood in front of his house last year -- just before Thanksgiving -- and learned that his life had ended. That our brave fight was over.
Continue Reading

General

7 Tips for Coping with Life After a Hurricane

Life after a hurricane or other natural disaster is rarely easy. Not only do you have to meet your basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter, but such events also take a significant emotional toll. Losing your home or coming back to a home full of water, or that's been significantly damaged, can be devastating.

Six years ago, I wrote some helpful tips on how to cope with a hurricane. I'm updating and expanding upon that list now, as Hurricane Matthew threatens Florida and the entire eastern seaboard of the United States. Here are some helpful ways to cope with life after a hurricane.

Continue Reading