Personal Articles

Suffer from Funphobia? Maybe You Need a Little Luxury Therapy

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

island bigst

On the cruise ship, formal afternoon tea finds me gazing back and forth between jewel-pretty pastries and — past massive yachts sporting helicopter pads — ­­­­Monaco, alight with countless actual emeralds and sapphires worn and sold along its terraced streets.

Astounding. But why do I find it so hard to stay present, in the moment, loving this?

Because I’m suffering from luxury anxiety.

I need luxury therapy.

Seriously.

Once an Addict, Always an Addict?

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

Once an Addict, Always an Addict? This is a saying I’ve always grappled with. One part of me is against any type of labeling, let alone a heavy label to be carried for the rest of your life. We are all so interchangeably dynamic, that to categorize someone into a box forever doesn’t sit well. 

Another part of me completely agrees with this statement and perceives it to be utterly valid. Instead of denying who you are, true acceptance perhaps is the only way to not only recover, but to continue to maintain your recovery. However much I am against “branding” someone for life, it is human nature to create categorizes in order to piece things together and make sense of circumstances.

A Reflection on Robin Williams’ Death

Friday, August 29th, 2014

robin-williams-40I spoke with a friend several days after the shocking news that Robin Williams had committed suicide. How could this beloved actor and storied comedian, my friend wondered, not understand or care that fans around the world adored him? And why, he further inquired, wasn’t that alone reason enough to live?

Nonetheless, this person, barely able to contain his sorrow, said he thought Mr. Williams “incredibly courageous” to have carried out such a deed.

Pausing to reflect and carefully measure my words as to not offend, I told him I vehemently disagreed with his statement: Suicide was not an act of courage, I said, but rather an act of consummate desperation. 

How a Little Space and Time Can Help Heal a Relationship Crisis

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Portrait of unhappy young couple in bedroom

“Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to go forward.” – C.S. Lewis

When you’re in the middle of any sort of relationship crisis, the very last thing you want to do is let go. Conflict with someone you love often makes you want to do the very opposite, especially when the other person is already doubting the future of the relationship.

When we’re feeling threatened by the loss of someone we love, we act from a place of fear. Our stress hormones skyrocket as we react with our fight or flight instinct. Suddenly we hold tighter, talk more, do more, and think of nothing else.

3 Ways to Cultivate Hope

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

P2200022I’m not a mental health professional. I’m a hope builder. I feel like that, more than anything else I do on this earth, is my purpose. Because hope, when you really think about it, is the only thing you need to get better (besides lots of drugs, exercise, fish oil, probiotics, friends, self-help books, doctors, sleep, therapists, nutritionists, support groups, meditation, yoga, divine intervention, etc.). Once you stop believing in a better tomorrow, you’re in trouble.

It Must Be My Fault

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

unhappy boy in yardWhen I was a child, I was told that everything was my fault. Eventually, I believed it.

In reality, none of it was my fault. As an adult in recovery, I intellectually understand that now. But my unconscious parts are still working that out. My unconscious parts are still trying to make sense of the illogical.

I have struggled with self-worth my entire life. While I don’t see myself as capable of doing good things, I do see myself as powerful at manifesting the bad. More than likely, this comes from my understanding of the abusive adults in my childhood. I felt the same way about them. And I internalized that.

Grieving the Loss of Time

Monday, August 25th, 2014

Grieving TimeSometimes starting a new life can bring up grief and regret for the old life. While I am happy to have new experiences without the pain and anxiety of the past, it makes me wish there had been more of it.

Time is such a tricky aspect of the human experience. We can’t control it. We can’t make more of it. We can’t get back what we think we have wasted. As the song says, it is like an hourglass glued to the table.

And while we can figure out how to control so many aspects of our lives (which is not always a good thing), we can’t control time. It will keep on going, with or without us.

How to Be Diligent in Your Recovery

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

3 Ways to Develop A Spiritual PracticeRecovery is a long process. It takes time and it takes patience to achieve a relative balance and to find a measure of health after you’ve been diagnosed with a mental illness.

When I was diagnosed eight years ago with schizophrenia I was so riddled by delusions and paranoia that I could hardly step foot outside. I was constantly worried that people were thinking things about me, talking behind my back and conspiring against me. In the thick of it, it was me against this horrible evil world, and to say it broke me would be an understatement.

8 Steps to Like Yourself (More)

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

87a01aa040aa5b1967988e93a55a8c9cNotice the word “like.” I’m not going to be so bold as to introduce eight steps that will have you love yourself. Baby steps, right?

For some, self-love is a no-brainer. They grew up in homes where LOVE was the predominant four-letter word. Some possess too much, and like Vanity Smurf, are most comfortable with a mirror in hand. These are the loud talkers, who think that everyone 20 feet behind and ahead of them should hear what’s on their mind.

I have been working toward self-like for 25 years now and think I have about 25 more to go before I’m truly comfortable in my own skin.

Letting Go of Imagined Symbolism in Psychosis

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Letting Go of Imagined Symbolism in PsychosisIn the midst of a psychotic episode, whether the result of bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, one of the main motivating factors in our jilted decisions is the imagined symbolism in meaningless circumstances or objects.

I can remember when I was out on the streets of New York and Boston, deep in the midst of a major psychotic episode. I was convinced I had a mission to bring peace to the world, and though I was destitute, I wandered around following signs and colors and motions of passersby convinced there was some deeper symbolism or meaning in these insignificant things.

Therapists Get Anxious, Too

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Therapists Get Anxious, TooMy heart was pounding, my breathing restricted, my hands sweaty.

My instinct screamed at me, “You’re too young to die. Turn back now.”

My rational brain said, “That’s just your anxiety talking. You’re only going up the stairs of a lighthouse.”

My rational brain also said, “Lean forward as you climb the stairs, because if your panic makes you pass out, you don’t want to fall backward into the spiral of doom.”

Is Counseling or Self-Help the Route for You?

Monday, August 18th, 2014

Is Counseling or Self-Help the Route for You?Both counseling and self-help tools can be invaluable in living with mental illness. They can contribute to your recovery.

Over 15 years of illness, I have experienced both. Counseling has been demanding yet deeply rewarding. Self-help has taught me to be loving toward myself and my family.

But how do you know which will work best for you? Are years of trial and error inevitable?

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