Aging

The Luggage Set

I needed luggage. Specifically, I needed matching luggage. At 53, I’d never owned a complete set of coordinated baggage. I figured it was time.

I was at the local thrift store one day, and I saw a beautiful, brand new, four-piece luggage set. The color of the suitcases was black and beige; I would later learn that the pattern was called “English Garden.” The manufacturer was American Tourister. “You can’t go wrong with that,” I thought. And to top it off, it was priced to sell -- $100.00 for the whole set.

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Addiction

The Physical and Emotional Parallels of Hoarding

In the newly-released indie film "Hello, My Name Is Doris," sweet and eccentric Doris (played by Sally Field) is an older woman who lives in her deceased mother’s immensely cluttered house. Needless to say, Doris grapples with hoarding issues, tightly clinging to all kinds of items from her past. Her home’s disarray is a barrier of sorts, physically creating entrapment to what was - and not what could be.

Doris blossoms through a new relationship with a younger man (played by Max Greenfield). Though the outcome of their relationship may not be the one she unequivocally pines for, their time together symbolizes hope for what is very well possible in her next life chapter. She’s merely grateful for the friendship they share -- for its impact.

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Bipolar

Genes and Mental Illness: Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

During my long and narrow-eyed search to find information online regarding having a schizophrenic mother, I have often been faced with information which is a complete and utter downer. Something like this:

Hey, you know how your mother is schizophrenic? Well, guess what? That means you have more chance than other people of being schizophrenic yourself! You also have more of a chance of being depressed! And of living in poverty!

I’ve read statistics about how likely the child of a schizophrenic is to develop the same illness. It’s like Death knocking at your door.
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General

10 Lessons Failure Teaches

No one likes to fail. In fact, most people would do almost anything to avoid failure. They consider the lengths they have to resort to a fair price to pay -- just so they don’t have to go through the experience of failing. But they’re missing something incredibly valuable: They’re losing out on the lessons failure teaches.

You don’t always have to be right.
It may come as a bit of a shock to realize that you don’t always have to be right. In fact, if you think you always have to be right, you’re likely going to experience more than a few disappointments. The beauty of having failed is that it takes away some of the pressure of having to be right. You can forgive yourself for the failure and move on.

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Depression

3 Myths about Postpartum Depression that Too Many People Believe

There are many myths about postpartum depression -- everything from it’s not real to it’ll go away on its own to it affects only certain women. The reality is that postpartum depression is a serious illness that does not discriminate, said Elizabeth Gillette, LCSW, a therapist specializing in preventing and treating perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, and supporting couples in their relationship as their family grows.

The reality is that you can experience PPD after a traumatic or an ideal birth experience. The reality is that having PPD doesn’t mean you don’t love your baby or aren’t grateful to give birth to a healthy child, Gillette said. “It means that right now [you are] challenged by a serious illness that requires treatment.”
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Bipolar

With Depression, Nothing Is Permanent

Robert J. Wicks, psychologist and bestselling author of Riding the Dragon, recently told me a story about impermanence.
A psychiatrist (Epstein) went to Thailand with some colleagues to meet a well-known Buddhist sage. As they were about to leave they asked if he had a final message for them.

He was drinking a glass of water at the time so he held it up and said, "You see this glass. I love this glass. It holds water so I can drink from it."

He then held it up to the light and said, "When the sun shines through it you can see colors."

"It also plays music." He set it down and pinged it with his finger to make a noise.

"Then when I set it down, the wind blows through the window, knocks it over, and breaks it," he said. "And because I know this possibility to be true, I love this glass even more."
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Anger

4 Steps to Surviving Infidelity

Of all the things someone can do to ruin a relationship, cheating is usually considered to be the most unforgivable. But if statistics are true, then nearly half of us will encounter infidelity at some point in our lives -- either our partner’s or our own.

Reactions to infidelity depend on many factors. Evidence suggests that, in the context of heterosexual relationships, men find it more difficult to forgive a sexual affair while women take emotional infidelity much harder. It is also much easier to move beyond an affair that’s voluntarily disclosed by the cheating partner than one that’s unexpectedly discovered.

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Anger

How to Handle Rejection Gracefully

I've been there. I’ve asked girls out on dates and they said no. I've asked for raises or applied for new jobs and have been shut down.

In each instance it’s important to remember to be graceful about how you handle the situation.

I realize it can be extremely hard to hear that something you had hoped for is not going to happen. But how you conduct yourself when you're faced with an ending that didn't go as you'd hoped shows what kind of character you have. Your behavior can set the stage for future encounters with employers or love interests.
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Anxiety and Panic

A Sense of Loss: When My Therapist of 10 Years Retired

When I found out that my psychologist of ten years was going to retire, I was a little panicked. What would I do without her? She’d literally helped me raise my only child. She’d been there when I was up from a manic high and down when I was low from a depressive drop. She listened to my paranoid fears and my optimistic prayers.

But we had never touched each other. Not even a handshake. I had refrained from bodily contact with her on purpose. I hadn’t wanted to make her uncomfortable. Didn’t want to threaten her.
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Addiction

4 Disorders that May Thrive on Loneliness

Identifying and diagnosing a mental health issue is never an easy process. Most mental health struggles do not take place in isolation, and many of us have negative thought or mood tendencies that, while challenging, do not qualify as a disorder.

As a relationship coach, I’ve found that loneliness is one of the tendencies that often come along with a diagnosed mental health disorder. While correlation is not causation, it seems that loneliness could be more of a cause than a symptom in some of our commonly recognized mental health issues.

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General

Uncomfortable with Feeling Sadness? These Tips Might Help

When we’re upset, many of us do everything but cope with our sadness. We work. We shop. We eat. We drink. We clean. We run errands. We organize. We simply don’t stop moving. And we convince ourselves that we’re too busy to feel sad.

We just can’t pause when there are piles (and piles) of things to do. We try to avoid sadness at all costs. Maybe we’ve learned to see sadness as an emotion we definitely don't want to feel.
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