Anxiety and Panic

Spirituality vs. Mental Disorders: God Doesn’t Hate Medication

I grew up in a family that had high expectations of me, and I have personally struggled with anxiety. For several years, I thought that my anxiety was a normal part of life. I didn’t realize that I should not have been having full-blown anxiety at the age of nine, but I was.

My family didn’t believe in mental illnesses, besides those that were obvious to the untrained eye. We did, however, attend a church regularly. I was highly interested in Christianity and studied it on my own. I was able to combat the unnatural anxiety through my relationship with God, and was able to overcome the anxiety throughout middle and high school. College, however, was different.
Continue Reading

Depression

Maternal Mental Health Screening: What I Wished I’d Had

When I was pregnant back in 1997, I wish my doctor had told me I might be at risk for postpartum depression. Her words wouldn’t have alarmed me. They would have prompted me to get treatment when the darkness did indeed hit.

During my six-week postpartum checkup when I was at my worst, I wish my OB/GYN had handed me a mental health screening and explained the difference between the “blues” and depression.

Continue Reading

Depression

Suicidal? 10 Tips for Keeping Yourself Alive

I remember having my first suicidal thought at the age of 13. At that time, I had discovered that my brother was gay and my sister and father completely abandoned him because of it. I had been molested by a female when I was young, and this revelation about my brother made me wonder if I was going to be gay, too. At the time, I had no clue how a person became gay.

I went on to have tragedy after tragedy arise in my life. To name just a few, I have lost two children and both of my parents; breast cancer at the age of 40, double mastectomy, chemo, two reconstruction surgeries, discovering at the end of my treatment that my husband had been living a double life for many, many years which led to my divorce, and an almost-successful suicide attempt.

Continue Reading

General

Self-Mutilation Helped Me Cope with Depression — Briefly

I had always believed that injuring oneself is ridiculous. What could one possibly get from cutting assorted body parts? Who wants scores of ugly scars and scabs all over their body? How can people indulge in and actually enjoy it? How can it be a means to cope with depression?

Suffering from emotional trauma is one thing; add to that the physical pain of self-injury, and what is the result? Nothing fruitful comes out of it, or so I believed until I tried this seemingly overrated practice myself.
Continue Reading

Personal

7 Tips to Raise Your Self-Esteem and Keep It There

"Everything that happens to you is a reflection of what you believe about yourself. We cannot outperform our level of self-esteem. We cannot draw to ourselves more than we think we are worth." -- Iyanla Vanzant
Aren’t you tired of it?

You know, that sneaking suspicion that you aren’t enough.

That inner commentary about where you fall short all the time. The mean internal remarks about your ability to handle life and how you just don’t measure up.

Continue Reading

Habits

Don’t Put Off Goofing Off

One of the advantages of being a writer is that I have a lot of control over my time. However, I often don’t take advantage of that. I feel uncomfortable if I’m not being “productive” when I feel like I should be working -- and most of the time, I feel like I should be working.

But the other morning, I made a good happiness choice. I was going to the Panoply studio in Brooklyn to record an episode of my podcast,
Continue Reading

Brain and Behavior

Mom Knows Best: Overcoming Life’s Hardships

Life bruises. For others, it cripples. And, for a select few, it empowers.

As we marvel at others’ resilience during uncommon adversity, what lessons are applicable to our lives?

On a gloomy October day, the doctor’s diagnosis numbed us. “Pancreatic cancer,” he spat out. My aunt and I recoiled. The word -- cancer -- buzzed in our ears. Shoulders slumping, our mist-filled eyes met. We were dazed; cancer happens to others. Not our familial matriarch.
Continue Reading

Addiction

Instant Gratification: When Right Now Means 5 Minutes

“If you act right now -- right this very instant, you can own this shimmering, heart-shaped pendant for the budget-busting price of $250. But you have to act this very moment,” a caffeinated TV blowhard shrieks into your television screen.

You cackle, questioning the (in)sanity of anyone spending $250 on a cheesy pendant. As the cackle disappears, you lean back and contemplate your own spending habits. You, self-described Mr. Thrift, just dropped $250 on a pair of must-have sneakers. The problem: Your exercise regimen consists of walking past the gym.

Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

Change Can Throw You Off

A lot of things have been happening in my life recently. I just got a big job that I’m very nervous about, it’s something that hard to do but I’m also looking for a challenge. On top of that I’m moving to a new place at the end of the month.

Suffice it to say that I’ve been a bit overwhelmed with a lot of the stuff.

Anybody would have a hard time with two huge things on the horizon, but as I live with schizophrenia I have to be extra conscious of the compounding stressors that I’m putting on myself.
Continue Reading

Caregivers

Overcoming Adoption Fear and Doubt

The main reasons for adoption are pretty clear to me now that we’ve adopted a baby. A man and a woman get to be parents. A child without parents receives parents. The birth mother knows that her child will be well cared for. To me, it’s clearly a win/win/win situation.

But some people just plain don’t want to adopt. These are some of the issues people voice:

Continue Reading

Bipolar

Kindred Spirits

As a mentally ill person, I try to surround myself with others who have mental illness, particularly bipolar disorder. Since I am always talking, I find that I am normally asking “do you do this too?” questions. Recently my “do you do this too” question was “I hate to shower. Do you hate them as badly as I do?” The answer I got was a very certain “yes.”

Then I felt better that I can’t stand to shower. I do it because it would be wrong not to. However, it takes a lot out of me to do so. I truly get in the shower and cringe. It makes me uncomfortable and I try to talk myself through them.

Continue Reading