Children and Teens

Teen Depression and Suicide: The Tough Lessons I Learned

There are important warning signs -- knowing them could save someone close to you.

It started out like any other Friday Fall morning. The foliage was slowly turning to stunning yellows, reds and oranges. Workers and students alike were heading off to their respective responsibilities, likely looking forward to the weekend.

And then the devastating and shocking news started to circulate amongst our friends, loved ones and community.

A 15-year-old 10th grader had taken her life.

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Storytelling Will Save the World

Captain’s log. Stardate January 2011. Where unfortunately many have gone before. I’m 26 years old and thinking about dying. Actually, I’m not being entirely truthful. I’m dangling halfway out the fourth floor window of my bedroom in New York City.

I don’t really want to die. I just want the emotional pain to stop, and I don’t know how to do that. Both my father and grandfather didn’t know how to make their own terrible personal pain stop, and now both are dead.
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How to Keep Calm and Carry on During the Holidays

The holidays are fast upon us. In the blink of an eye, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Eve will have already come and gone.

Holidays bring much time spent with family from near and far, preparing and making elaborate holiday dinners and attending parties, buying expensive gifts to show loved ones how much we care and decorating our homes in holiday regalia. We may even find ourselves up late into the night baking cookies for our children’s teachers, our neighbors, and our co-workers and supervisors.

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Brain and Behavior

Using Imagery to Find Peace After a Breakup

Letting go of relationships is a process. I recently ended one. I cognitively understood the relationship would not work, but the subsequent feelings of loss and pain were still there. To create a healthy distance from my partner, I utilized imagery. I found it to be a powerful tool to create the healthy lifestyle I wanted to live and be my authentic self.

My partner was frequently away on business and personal trips. It was difficult to keep in touch when he traveled so I became accustomed to lengthy silences. To create even more distance I began to imagine the “tie that binds” as a rope engulfing each of us. Across the miles, we were tethered to each other with this imaginary rope.

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What It Really Means to Practice Radical Acceptance

There are many misconceptions about what radical acceptance -- a skill taught in dialectical behavior therapy -- actually looks like. One of the biggest myths is that radical acceptance means agreeing with what happened. People assume that acceptance is akin to approval.

If I accept what happened, then I approve of it. Then I like it. Then I’m OK with it. Then I excuse the abuse. Then I absolve the person who deeply hurt me of all responsibility. Then I allow the infidelity. Then I can’t do anything about losing my job or losing my home. I can’t change it. Then I resign myself to being miserable. Then I keep wallowing and suffering.

Radical acceptance doesn’t mean any of these things.
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Responding to Humanitarian Crises

According to World Vision, more than 12 million are affected by the crisis in Syria. That is far more than those affected by Hurricane Katrina, the Haiti earthquake, and the Indian Ocean tsunami combined.

Recent events remind us of a dark time in Europe when other refugees were denied haven and abandoned to fate. Once again, large numbers of people are targets of violence and trauma. After years of suffering, they have left their homes and everything they love and care for because life has become intolerable. They have endured a hellish journey to find safety. And then they have been greeted by faces and hearts of stone.

Thankfully, it seems that voices of compassion are prevailing and refugees are being allowed to proceed to refuge, as international law guarantees civilians fleeing war.

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Letting Go This Autumn

The summer air is thick, oozing with secrets. Our emotional baggage clings to our bodies in the humidity, under the blazing sun.

The autumn wind purges our demons, along with the heat. We watch the leaves turn, inching closer and closer to death, to the barrenness of winter.

According to Dream Dictionary, death may symbolize transition. “To dream that you die symbolizes inner changes, transformation, self-discovery and positive development that is happening within you or your life.”

Autumn’s metamorphosis, the in-between, encourages us to start over. To breathe.
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Grief and Loss

How to Find Spiritual Strength During Times of Illness

Some people awaken spiritually without ever coming into contact with any meditation technique or any spiritual teaching. They may awaken simply because they can’t stand the suffering anymore. -- Eckhart Tolle
Sometimes in life, we face pain so great that we must focus on surviving one day at a time, or even by the hour or the minute. During these moments, it feels as if our hearts naturally gravitate toward the spiritual, as there is only so much sadness, fear, bitterness or grief a human heart can hold before it cracks.

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Talking with Children about Infidelity

The recent Ashley Madison hack exposed 32 million users for their involvement with the now-famous adultery-inspired dating site. It seems like a relevant time to discuss an issue that’s frequently shoved under the rug or ignored altogether. That issue involves children and marital infidelity. While spouses are obviously greatly affected by romantic affairs, psychologists argue that children may take the brunt of the blow.

If you’ve had an extramarital affair -- or your spouse has cheated on you -- there are obviously personal issues to sort through. In most cases, though, couples try to keep things under wraps and avoid telling friends and family members. However, what do you do with your own children?
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Children and Teens

How to Send Kids off to College without Getting Upset

Many parents are surprised how heartbreaking it is sending their child off to college for the first time. It's natural that parents feel a sense of loss. It usually takes some time to accept that their child is no longer a permanent member of their household. Many of them don't expect the challenges of the empty nest syndrome. Realizing that letting go is the next stage of parenthood can make it easier.

Here is some advice to help parents deal with the emotions evoked by sending their child off to college.

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The Estimable Neurologist Oliver Sacks

As you've probably heard by now, the eminent neurologist and writer Oliver Sacks has passed away at the age of 82. Cancer, the great equalizer in death, was responsible for his passing. As he recounted to the New York Times in February, a melanoma in his eye had spread to his liver.

British-born, he made his literary splash in the world with his eye-opening book in 1973, Awakenings, which was later turned in an Oscar-nominated film starring the Robert De Niro and the late Robin Williams. Other Sacks' best-selling books include The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales and An Anthropologist On Mars: Seven Paradoxical Tales. These are two books that anyone interested in psychology or mental health should read.

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