Grief and Loss Articles

Do Comfort and Adventure Have to Be Mutually Exclusive?

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

Woman Outdoors Looking Away

“Which do you prefer, adventure or comfort?” I was asked recently, matter-of-factly, as if the two were mutually separate entities, and I, given the option to choose only one.

I closed my eyes and I wondered. Now, at the age of 53, I see clearly that my answer is remarkably different than the answer I would have certainly given in my 20s.

“I am seeking comfort,” I shot out too quickly, “…and adventure,” I added, clearly coming across as someone who has trouble making decisions.

When Someone You Love Kills Themselves

Monday, January 19th, 2015

When Someone You Love Kills Themselves

I’m sorry. I know these words will be of empty comfort to you as you look for answers to a loved one’s suicide. But nonetheless, these words are all that I have.

I’ve trod a mile in the shoes you’re wearing. My childhood best took his own life when he was only 21. I spent many months with my grief, and still carry a small part of it around to this very day. Grief never forgets… it only mellows with time.

And I know you’ve come here to read this seeking answers. I’ll try, but I’m not sure the answers I’ll provide will be the same as the ones you want to hear.

What Suicidal Depression Feels Like

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

How Does Low Self-Esteem Negatively Affect Us?I don’t know if you have noticed, but ever since Robin Williams died, I have removed the filter from my writing that keeps me safe of jaw dropping, disappointing head gestures, and all kinds of judgments that authentic writing invites. I just really don’t care anymore what people think because lives are at stake.

If this brutal beast of an illness is strong enough to kill someone with the passion, determination, and genius of Robin Williams, than we must do everything we can to protect those who are more fragile. That means being brave and writing as honestly as I can, on a taboo subject so few people understand, even if it means getting disapproving stares from other parents at my kids’ school.

Learning from Abusive Relationships

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

When Depression Becomes DepressingRelationships are hard for everyone, but especially for survivors of child abuse. Before I started my recovery work, I spent years in relationships that were obviously abusive and damaging to my emotional wellness, but I was too blinded by my own trauma to see it.

My family had always taught me that survival depended on having a man in my life. In my family, women kept abusive men around because of this belief.

It was critically important for this to be ingrained in each family member as early as possible. There could be no understanding of their individual power. They must believe they could not survive without a partner or the abuse might not be tolerated.

My Passionate Plea at the United Nations to End Stigma through Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals

Friday, December 26th, 2014

Kathryn Goetzke at the United Nations

I was fortunate enough to be invited to speak on a panel at the United Nations on behalf of myself, my organization iFred, and a group I am working with called FundaMentalSDG. I’d recently been working with Lisa Nichols and Sandra Yancey on speaking my truth, and decided it was time to tell my story. My whole story.

It is my hope that in doing so, people are inspired to get treatment for their own mental health issues so they can go on to lead productive and fulfilling lives, and also that companies start funding programs so that more have access to treatment.

Psychology Around the Net: December 20, 2014

Saturday, December 20th, 2014

woman armfull books bigst

From holiday gift ideas to dealing with our bosses’ bad moods, today’s Psychology Around the Net is sure to keep you on the edge of your seats!

The Best Psychology Books of 2014: The Guardian writer Lisa Appignanesi provides a list of six of the best psychology books over the past year. (HINT: You might even get one or two holiday gift ideas from this one!)

The Best Christmas Gift Ever: Finding Blessings in Challenges: Speaking of holiday gifts, oftentimes some of our greatest blessings come from our greatest challenges. When have you faced a challenge that turned around and offered you a gift?

How to Approach the Holidays When You’re Depressed

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

How to Approach the Holidays When You're DepressedIt’s a myth that suicide rates skyrocket between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The truth is that the month of December has the fewest number of suicides than any other time of year (Karr, 2012). What is interesting to note, however, is that there is a significant increase of suicides right after Christmas — a 40 percent increase.

From the studies that have been done on depression, suicide, and the holidays, it seems that the winter holidays insulate many from suicide, but there is a sort of rebound effect that occurs once the holidays have passed (Karr, 2012).

Gone but not Gone: Robin Williams’s Legacy of Love, Not Sadness

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

robin-williamsRobin Williams died long before the winter chill settled in, but there is a new movie coming out this Christmas that will feature him once again.

When I saw the trailer for “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb” with Robin Williams playing Theodore Roosevelt and being his usual funny, exuberant self, I had to wonder how many wonderful, new moments we had left with him on film before he was gone forever. Someday explaining to my kids who Williams is will require me dragging out a bunch of movies they’ve never heard of.

7 Ways to Manage Mixed Emotions During the Holidays

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

simplifying-holidays-shrinking-stress

As the holiday season is now in full swing, I can’t help but observe the swing of emotions — mine and that of those all around me.

On one hand, there is the child-like delight of magical holiday lights and decorations. Regardless of a “bah hum bug” mindset, it is hard to deny the spectacular beauty of homes and businesses bedecked with twinkling lights.

If you have little ones and family in your life, there is the excitement, enthusiasm and anticipation of the magical appearance of gifts and delectable feasts.

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.

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.

Letting Go: External Changes

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Letting Go: External Changes“When some girls go through a breakup, they’re inspired to cut or dye their hair,” my professor said in a lecture for his “Psychology of Personality” course.

When experiencing any significant change, whether it’s a breakup or embarking on a new life chapter, we may crave external transformation. It will not resolve the issues at hand; however, it can reflect inner growth and progress. There’s a certain catharsis to physical alterations.

Recent Comments
  • Chet Bush: Thank you Professor Betsy Hoza for your ‘much needed Study on the ‘impotence of...
  • Lucy: Hi Shawna – you really need to get away from your father. You also need to realise that nothing he says...
  • kazchaz: This is helpful, very much so and it would be great to hear from you again, with updates on your progress,...
  • sambo: I really need some help im so depressed and anxious I cant work or leave the house im on antidepressants and...
  • Concerned: My father was a narcissist. He basically ruined my mother’s life and she ended up dying young of...
Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter


Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code



Users Online: 11881
Join Us Now!