Anxiety and Panic

Why It’s Important to Be Positive About Mental Illness

I love hope-filled stories of recovery from mental illness. Living with bipolar disorder has led to many instances of triumph over my circumstances and I often write about them. As anyone who lives with or knows someone with mental illness is aware, it’s a horrible disease.

Do Positive Experiences Glorify Mental Illness?


As a writer and speaker about my experience with bipolar and
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Creativity

How to Let Joy Have a Little More Control Over Your Life

I was recently playing a game with my husband. We’d just watched the animated film “Inside Out” and we were casting the voice actors for our own emotions: Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Anger, and Anxiety. We both agreed that Robin Williams would make an amazing voice for Joy.

Then I started to wonder about that control panel in the movie. It was filled with buttons and switches that our emotions press and turn. Then we react accordingly. As we get older, and hopefully wiser, the panel gets more sophisticated. But what’s on that control panel? What’s anger make you do? What about sadness? Is there a button that makes you curl up under the covers and cry?
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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

10 Ways to Cultivate Good Gut Bacteria and Reduce Depression

We are all born with genes that predispose us to all kinds of things -- in my case, most of the psychiatric illnesses listed in the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

While we have some control over the way our genes express themselves or “turn on” -- a new science called epigenetics -- we are more or less stuck with our human genome. But we are by no means permanently attached to a diagnosis of Major Depression Disorder (if that is what Mom and Dad kindly handed down).

Each of us also has a complex collection of bacteria living in our guts -- our distinct microbiome -- that also has genes. And THOSE genes we can maneuver in any way we want.
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Caregivers

Good Qualities of Adult Children of Mentally Ill Mothers

There isn’t really a huge trumpet blowing for the qualities that blossom in the children of mentally ill mothers. Not even much of a toot. But there’s a whole orchestra booming about the downsides: the lack of self-esteem, difficulty forming relationships, trusting people, or most uplifting of all: the inevitability of developing your very own mental illness.

Just for once, let’s not go to that particular concert. Because maybe, if you’re the child of a mentally ill mother, you also have the capacity for things like this:

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Habits

5 Tips to Deal with Insomnia

If you want to change a habit -- any habit -- getting enough sleep is a key first step

Recently, I had a bad night of tossing and turning. I was up for a few hours, then overslept the next morning.

While I was lying there, unable to sleep, I knew I was violating some of the beat-the-insomnia advice that experts give. Though, to give myself credit, I was following some advice.

These tips were on my mind, because I’d just read Andrea Petersen’s Wall Street Journal article, “Middle-of-the-Night Insomnia Blues.”

I violated one of the most basic back-to-sleep tips -- the tip to get up, rather than toss and turn.
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Children and Teens

Crippled by Self-Doubt? Your Impostor Syndrome Could Have Roots in Childhood

Do you ever feel like you somehow got away with landing your job without truly deserving it? Do you feel super uncomfortable when your boss praises your work, because you’re sure you haven’t earned it? Do you have a fear of being “found out,” exposed for not being experienced, talented, successful, or knowledgeable enough for your job?

You might be experiencing something called Impostor Syndrome. And you wouldn’t be alone: more than 70% of people report experiencing Impostor Syndrome at some point in their career.
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Bullying

Family Matters: Self-Preservation Tips

“Maybe when he is older, he will understand mental health’s impact. He will have a girlfriend and, one day, he will get it,” my late mother whispers to me.

I nod, more to appease my weary mother. Her eyes glow when discussing her three sons. With an infectious cackle and mischievous smile, she would tease me about my eccentricities. When I absentmindedly misplaced that night’s homework assignment, she would endearingly refer to me as “Barnacle Breath.”

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Brain and Behavior

Life with Borderline Personality Disorder

Do you know what borderline personality disorder (BPD) is? Many people have never heard of it, despite the fact that more than three million people are diagnosed with it each year in the United States alone. Symptoms include but are not limited to: depression and anxiety; an extreme fear of abandonment; black and white thinking; reckless, impulsive behavior; uncontrollable rage at situations that do not call for it;; and suicidal ideation. This condition is usually (but not always) the result of abuse.

There are a number of reasons you may not have heard of BPD. It often is seen as a “fake” disorder, made up by those seeking attention. This is ironic, because needing attention is a symptom of BPD. However, studies such as this one have shown that BPD is a real disorder, and affects those who have it just as much as any other disorder.

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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

Employment as an Antidepressant

The ads pushing pills are everywhere. It's difficult to avoid images of what we're supposed to believe happiness looks like. A pill a day keeps depression away.

I wish it were so simple.

For many of us, a pill a day keeps other things away. Enjoyable things, necessary things, even normal body processes. For some of us, the side effects from these pills are too much to handle, their ill effects negating any good the pills may do.

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College

Higher Education: Mental Health as Elective

We all know him. He breezed to highest honors in computer science. For fun, he devoured English classics and starred in extracurricular activities.

Teachers fawned over him; the hometown newspaper lauded his academic triumphs. You admired and envied him.

He was destined to change the world. Now, sadly, he is changing your tires at a local car maintenance shop.
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