Inspiration & Hope

You Have Permission to Cut Off Your Abuser

I know that other abuse survivors go searching for confirmation that it’s righteous and acceptable to cut their abuser out of their life forever. But when you’ve been abused by your parent, sibling, or other family members, it’s rare that anyone will tell you, "It’s unresolvable" or "Walk away from the relationship completely."

Recovery from child abuse was always bringing up conflicting attitudes for me. 
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How Internet Addiction Almost Ruined My Life

Is my life that attached to the Internet, or was I using it as an escape from life altogether?

It was nearly a decade ago that I transitioned into a career that involved working almost entirely in the digital space, and social media began to take over my life.

Since basically forever, the online world always held a certain siren's call. ICQ and LiveJournal, IRC and Friendster. I illustrated my mood via cryptic AIM status messages, and exhibited deep feelings of hurt when I'd put someone important to me in my MySpace Top 8 and they didn't do the same for me.
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Memory and Perception

Tell Your Therapist About the Abuse

“Unresolved emotional pain is the great contagion of our time -- of all time.” ~ Marc Ian Barasch
Imagine you are seeing a therapist and have an abuse history. It's safe to assume that you've already talked to the therapist about the abuse. Right? It would make sense, and yet, again and again I hear other abuse survivors say they've postponed talking to their therapist about the abuse.

The phrase “child abuse” becomes easily stuck in a victim’s throat. The abuser may distort the events that occurred so we aren’t sure of what happened. Sometimes, we’re so young when the abuse occurred we barely understand what was going on. Memory also plays tricks. In an attempt to insulate us from terrifying experiences, memory can become a block of Swiss cheese with holes in it everywhere.
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Brain and Behavior

Silence is Golden

The old song by Simon and Garfunkel was so right: silence really is golden, but maybe in more ways than we realize. In our urban, busy world we don’t get enough outer silence. There’s always the sound of traffic, TVs, other people in their apartments and the general buzz of the city as we go about our daily business. These days we have to hunt out the quiet spaces, but they are there as I discovered just the other day.

I’m selling my apartment, so we have the bi-weekly ritual of having to go out with the dog for 45 minutes during house viewing and find somewhere to be. As my dog is a bit old and grumpy (he’s 85 in human years), we try to seek out places that avoid other dogs and small children, which is hard in a café-obsessed beachside suburb of Sydney. As we took a walk up the road we discovered a small nature reserve that had been recently restored. Pristine bush tucked away in the city, green, tranquil and no sound, that’s bliss.

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Trauma Survivors Aren’t Disgusting

Something I hear all too often from other abuse survivors is that they feel disgusting. Having been sexually abused makes us feel repulsive. People of all ages from every stage of healing have encountered this feeling at some point, and it may very well come up again and again.

My disgust kept me from uttering the truth for most of my life. I couldn’t accept the fact that I was sexually abused. It seemed like if I told the truth the people around me would cease to love me. They would think I was contaminated with something dark and corrupt. It would spread to their families and then they’d also have no hope for a normal, healthy life. I wondered, “Who would want to know someone with such a disgusting secret?”
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Mental Health in America: A Shakespearean Tragedy

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 16 million adults in the United States experienced at least one major depressive episode in 2012. Major Depressive Disorder is defined as “Depressed mood and/or loss of interest or pleasure in life activities for at least two weeks and symptoms that cause clinically significant impairment in social, work, or other important areas of functioning almost every day.”

Along with diagnostic criteria for depression, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-V is also notorious for a whole doctrine of pathologies under which the field of psychiatry preaches its creed; a grim gospel for any ardent disciple to follow. Social factors, environmental triggers, and increased stress in modern life all influence mental health, including the onset of depression. With healthcare expenditures approaching $3 trillion, our disorders and diseases are helping to keep the U.S. economy rolling.

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Anxiety and Panic

Memory Isn’t Important to Recover from Trauma

Memory comprises all the ins and outs of our lives. We go looking into it for everything from survival to simply making a joke. We use memory every day and sometimes it’s hard to separate the things we’ve done or experienced from our very identity.

For us who survived child abuse, memory isn’t our best friend. Memories may be intrusive. We might flashback suddenly and relive the trauma all over again. We can be well on the road to recovery, and these images and all the feelings they evoke may return.
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Brain and Behavior

Embracing Your Inner Self

Embrace and make peace with life because in this very moment you are right where you were meant to be. We have the opportunity to grow and learn from the past and create an amazing future.

Growing up, I never felt good enough. Not only was this my internal dialogue but it was reiterated by my father. So for years I had to learn how to embrace positive cognitions and self-talk. It hasn’t come naturally to me, but with time and coaching I learned how to embrace myself and take control of my life.

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Children and Teens

What I Learned from Slowing Down

On a daily basis, there are tragic events happening all across the world. We read it in the newspaper, see it on television, hear it on the radio, and even see it on our Twitter feeds. These tragic events, even from just reading about them, can make us feel sad, depressed and even helpless.

Reading about all of the atrocities in the world makes me want to give as many kids water, education, electricity and Internet access as possible. Yet I also feel trapped in my own world. I am frozen in ice about how to act. I want to help, but it really is not time for me to do so.

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What I Want You to Know about Mental Illness

Even on my worst days, I feel extremely lucky to have my job. It grants me the opportunity to hear stories and engage with people in the most raw, vulnerable way possible.

I have the privilege of studying, knowing, and working intimately with mental health issues; placing me on the front lines of this issue.

But it is easy to forget that an all-too-real stigma exists within the four walls of a therapy room.
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Mental Health Hygiene Habits

Parents, teachers, and doctors regularly encourage young people to establish good physical hygiene habits. Here are just a few: Bathe daily. Eat healthy meals. Brush your teeth at least once a day. Wash your hands after you use the bathroom. Clip your toenails before they get too long. These habits become routine after a while.

Most of us probably were not intentionally taught good mental health hygiene habits. These habits also bring consistency to our lives, promote wellness and resilience, and protect us from becoming overwhelmed by mental illness.

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