Personal Articles

Finding a Voice within an Authoritarian Social System

Monday, June 9th, 2014

Finding a Voice within an Authoritarian Social SystemOf all the peculiarities that make me up, I could point to one peculiarity which has had persisting and devastating consequences in my 33 years of living: The inability to voice my feelings during stress.

Meditation on a Friend’s Suicide

Monday, June 9th, 2014

Meditation on a Friend’s SuicideA friend killed herself this weekend.

Stop for just a moment and measure how you feel on reading that. Feel into your shoulders and your chest, your gut. Feel the visceral reaction to the statement of fact that someone loved took her own life. Own it.

It is our inability to physically, let alone emotionally, deal with the choice made, the act, that threatens to keep someone so special from living on in our memories.

The Other Person Behind a Chronic Illness

Saturday, June 7th, 2014

aamft.orgMy husband asked me this morning how I slept.

I wasn’t sure if I should tell him the truth.

Yesterday was a bad day in a string of good days, which feels like a blizzard the first week of April. Aren’t we done with this?

Where Do Bullies Come From?

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

Where Do Bullies Come From?I don’t write about my experiences with bullying very often. Maybe I have internalized society’s beliefs that I should have stood up for myself in middle and high school, especially when my peers were doing the bullying. Maybe the shame is more significant because this time, the abusers were my age.

Maybe the messages about “asking for it” are still driving my interpretation of the situation. Sometimes it is even hard for me to believe that I could be subjected to so much cruelty by so many heartless people. I felt as though I was a magnet for abuse.

The Ultimate Pain: Recovering from Trauma

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

The Ultimate PainRecovery work is painful. It is the hardest thing I have ever done. It is no wonder that I spent two decades avoiding it.

Deep down in my unconscious where the memories were stored, I had determined that the pain of the emotional memories was far worse than spending my life defending against them. And my overactive cortex was happy to oblige.

I could come up with almost anything to justify my feelings or an image that may have flashed in my head. On the bad days, I could keep myself so insanely busy that there was no time to examine anything.

Why Some Delusions Can Be So Persistent

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Why Some Delusions Can Be So Persistent A delusion is defined as a firmly held belief or impression which is contradicted by reality or rational argument.

As a person with schizophrenia, I’m more than familiar with delusional thinking. A major part of my experience living with the illness has taught me to be wary of any thought I have which doesn’t seem entirely real.

Being True to Yourself

Friday, May 16th, 2014

Being True to YourselfI was in a bad place five years ago.

Well, to be perfectly honest I was just in a different place. I thought it was “bad” at the time because I didn’t know that things were also actually great in many ways in my life. The only thing for certain in life is change, so we have only to hope that this change is of the evolutionary variety and not the difficult, stagnant, whiny variety. Alas, in truth, our personal processes are always a little bit of both.

The Power of the Written Word: Healing Through Journal-Writing

Monday, May 12th, 2014

The Power of the Written WordAt the age of 18, I was sexually molested and exploited by my coach’s husband. This was a very traumatic situation in my life, and I was faced with having to deal with the pain even after being taken out of the situation.

Once I came back home to my parents’ house, I felt so much negativity within that I needed an outlet. I became stressed, irritated and impatient with those close to me. I realized that if I continued to use my pain by getting mad and upset with others, I would live my life as a prisoner.

One day, I had had enough and decided to write my emotions and fears in a journal. This was the beginning of a very therapeutic journey of recovery.

Is This Mindfulness Thing Working?

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

Is This Mindfulness Thing Working?I haven’t been mindful at all lately. I chewed up my daughter’s Elmo fork in the garbage disposal. I keep making trips to the basement for things I forgot to get the last time I was down there. I drove off with my lunch bag containing my phone, wallet, and lunch sitting on the roof of the car.

It seems I spend a half hour each day meditating and the rest of the day overlooking things. Meditating is difficult and often boring work. At times it can be very unsettling. So why do I bother?

Water’s Psychological Benefits

Friday, April 18th, 2014

Water's Psychological Benefits“All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea — whether it is to sail or to watch it — we are going back from whence we came.”

- President John F. Kennedy

The ocean shimmered, even at dusk, on that wintry day in Coney Island. It was my first encounter with a beach in several months, and I deeply missed the view.

Non-Judging, Non-Striving and the Pillars of Mindfulness Practice

Saturday, April 12th, 2014

3 Tips for Being Mindful at WorkTwelve of us sit in a circle at the third session of the mindfulness-based stress reduction course (MBSR) offered at the hospital. The program was developed 35 years ago by Jon Kabat-Zinn at his Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. It is meant to help persons with difficult and chronic illnesses better manage their symptoms, work with pain, and find peace of mind in their day.

I am making slow but steady progress on learning how to “dance in the rain,” a concept I explained last week about approaching treatment-resistant depression and chronic pain with a welcoming spirit, instead of a fighting heart.

Paying it Forward

Monday, March 31st, 2014

Paying it ForwardA while back I wrote about a parking ramp attendant who offered me an act of kindness at a time that I really needed one.

Recently, I was the recipient of another one.

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