Addiction

Carrie Fisher, Bipolar Disorder, Addiction & The People She Inspired

When Carrie Fisher passed away on Tuesday morning at age 60, she left behind a legacy of being one of the first and most vocal Hollywood celebrities and actors to speak openly about mental illness. Specifically, Fisher battled bipolar disorder and addiction throughout most of her life, but never was shy speaking about these demons, all the while never letting herself be solely defined by them.

So while most of the world will remember her as Princess Leia -- the fierce, independent heroine in the original Star Wars movies -- many people will remember her for her ability to give dignity to those living with the most debilitating silent disease -- mental illness. As a champion for people with bipolar disorder and addiction, we remember her today along with millions of others.

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General

On the Destructive Belief That No One Can Make Us Feel Anything

When I studied psychology back in the day, Fritz Perls was very popular. I felt a new sense of empowerment reading his compelling writing about “owning” the self and developing radical self-reliance -- moving from environment support to self-support.

Perls’ views may have been what the doctor ordered when social values encouraged being agreeable and placating others rather than honoring our experience (our feelings and wants) and staying connected to ourselves. Perls cajoled, jolted, and perhaps even shamed people into becoming self-reliant and self-sufficient. One popular view was “No one has or ever will make you feel anything.”

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Bullying

Workplace Bullying: A Bonanza for Lawyers But Employees Bear the Brunt

Incidents of workplace bullying have risen significantly since 2014 and with compensation payouts at an all-time high, lawyers are reaping a bonanza but employees bear the brunt, with affected individuals left isolated and underserviced.  

Workplace bullying isolates and traumatises the very best employees (usually women) and even the largest settlements aren’t enough to cover the losses incurred by those affected.  
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Addiction

7 Ways to Deal With Difficult People

Difficult people are like the termites of the human spirit. They can be eating away at the tender parts of you for months on end before you notice, and then, suddenly, at a work meeting or a family dinner, you lose it. You might scream something unkind or have a temper tantrum much like the two-year-old on "Nanny 911", or even do something drastic like start binge drinking again after a few years of sobriety. Unfortunately, living on earth as a homo sapien requires dealing with other homo sapiens -- unless you want to isolate yourself and watch Dr. Phil all day long. So having some techniques in mind, especially during the holidays and other times of vulnerability, can help you arrest their damage before your structure crumbles.
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General

21st Century Cures Act Becomes Law, Improves U.S. National Mental Health Efforts

When President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act on December 13th, he signed into law one of the most sweeping efforts to provide additional programs and funding for health conditions and innovation in America, including cancer, Alzheimer's disease, opioid addiction, medical devices, access to new drugs, and mental health. The Cures Act includes the major provisions of the Senate mental health compromise bill, Mental Health Reform Act of 2016, as well as a few additional provisions from the House's over-reaching Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2016 bill.

While the bill goes a long way in helping fix certain components of mental health care in the nation, it does little for the vast majority of people who suffer from mental health concerns and receive outpatient treatment. Here are the highlights of what just became law.

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Anxiety and Panic

4 Ways to Face Your Fears and Overcome Phobias

We all have them -- fears, phobias, anxieties that shorten our breath, quicken our heartbeats, and sometimes can outright disable us. Some of us shut our eyes and hold our breath as we ride the elevator to the tenth floor of an office building, while others pray the Rosary inside that coffin-like enclosure when getting an MRI.

I am afraid of heights -- in particularly driving over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
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Brain and Behavior

Psychology Around the Net: December 10, 2016


My neck of the woods had its first snow yesterday! It wasn't anything major -- just some steady flurries, really -- but it lasted several hours and made me happy. I love the first snow of the season; it's just...magical to me. It always puts me in a good mood.

According to the forecast, it won't snow any this weekend, but at least I got to enjoy it yesterday.

Anyway, off to this week's mental health news! Get ready for how the 21st Century Cures Act will affect mental health care, a list of essential habits to help boost your everyday life, how training teachers in mental health could help students, and more.

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Caregivers

How to Stop Apologizing for Everything You Do

Do either of these situations sound familiar?

You start an email to your boss with, “I’m sorry to bother you, but…”


A colleague plops his papers down on the conference table, knocking your coffee over. “Sorry! Let me get this stuff out of your way,” you say as you begin cleaning up.

Maybe you’ve fallen into this over-apologizing trap or have found yourself saying “I’m sorry” for things that don’t merit an apology in the first place.
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Addiction

How to Be True to Yourself

Every once in a while I pull out my one-year sobriety chip, which reads on the front, “To Thine Own Self Be True.” I've been sober for more than 26 years now, but it was my one-year chip that meant the most to me, because it was during that first year that I realized how difficult it is to be true to yourself.

Everyone thought I was crazy for calling myself an “alcoholic” and going to 12-step support meetings. I mean, at 18 years old, I wasn’t even of a legal age to drink.
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