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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Family

How Childhood Emotional Neglect Affects Relationships

Childhood emotional neglect (CEN) is a deep, long lasting wound that is not easily detectable in adults or by those in close relationships with them.

When you have exposure over time to an adult with childhood trauma, you will notice that the person has trouble communicating emotions or feelings, constantly withdraws instead of exploring feelings, and uses only functional, simple sentences. At first, you may wonder if you have harmed this person by something you’ve said, but when it becomes a continual pattern, it’s best to understand the underlying elements before thinking it’s something you can fix or change.
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Family

5 Ways to Survive Criticism from Family Members

With the holiday season just completed, many people are coming down off the roller coaster of having spent significant amounts of time with family. For some, these extended periods with family are the highlight of the year. For others, they’re like standing in front of a firing squad.

If you survived an onslaught of family criticism this winter, know that next time you don’t have to face a losing battle. And you don’t need to avoid gatherings altogether to gain some relief from the verbal jabs.
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Antidepressant

This Is Why Taking Antidepressants Makes Me a Better Mother


It wasn't until I had visions of smothering my five-month-old daughter that I knew I needed help.

I've struggled with depression since I was 15 years old, and I've tried to effectively treat that depression for 16 years and counting. I've tried talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and light therapy. I've tried changing my diet, changing my job, sleeping more, and drinking less. I've tried prayer, meditation, yoga and running, and I've tried more medications than you can imagine: Wellbutrin, Zoloft, Paxil and even Depakote. And while some things have worked and others haven't, one thing I'm certain of is that antidepressants make me a better person.

Also: I'm a better mom because of medication.
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Children and Teens

Bedtime Mindfulness: A Gratitude Body Scan for Children

"Mummy, can we do a different mindfulness practice tonight?"

“Sure we can Darling, would you like to?"

“uh-huh."

“OK, close your eyes, and settle down into your bed and take your attention down to your feet.

“Feel from the inside where your feet are in the bed, where they are touching the sheet and silently thank your feet for walking you around all day. They have worked hard for you today to get you where you wanted to...
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Brain and Behavior

Why We Hide

The wise Seth Godin recently posted a blog titled "Hiding." He included these words: "We hide by avoiding things that will change us ... We hide by asking for reassurance. We hide by letting someone else speak up and lead ... We live in fear of feelings."

Shame is the hiding emotion. Here are some of my thoughts on the origin of hiding:

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Caregivers

The Embodiment of Motherhood

As my tired eyes squint from the harshness of a brightly lit grocery store, my gaze follows all different types of mothers: young and old, frazzled and worn, rested and carefully put together. These are your average, run-of-the-mill mothers, standing impatiently at the grocery store with newborns in baby carriers and a toddler navigating an iPad with impish delight.

As my gaze slides to the scuffed tile and lands upon my feet, I have an epiphany. It is a realization that I am not only one of these mothers, I am the embodiment of all these mothers. I never thought I would even partake in motherhood, let alone have it embody my entire life.

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Alcoholism

5 Tips for Building a Healthy Relationship with Your Teenager

As any parent will know -- or at least will have been warned -- a child’s teenage years can be some of the toughest. It can be particularly hard if their parents are divorced or separated.

A whirlwind combination of puberty, hormones, high school years, and the growing need for independence can be a challenge for any parent. In a household with a teenager, every day can seem like a battle -- sometimes over the smallest things. As a parent, you want to be able to love and guide your child like you always have, but you need to understand that just as they’re changing, your relationship with them needs to change as well. These are some of the most formative years of their lives, so it’s good for them to know that their parents are there for them, and are willing to realize that they have a young adult who deserves their respect and guidance.

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Children and Teens

The Fear of Having Children When You Grew Up in an Abusive Home

I’ve often wondered what kind of mother I would be. I thought I’d be a terrible parent, unable to make any decisions on my own. I thought I needed someone watching my every move or I’d screw up royally. Then I’ve swung the other way and thought I’d be the greatest mother in the world. And among all that ambivalence, I wonder if I’ll ever be a mother at all.

I grew up in an abusive home where bad behavior and poor coping skills were modeled daily. I spent much of my adult life trying to unlearn those unhealthy ways of dealing with my emotions and with the world.
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