Personal Articles

Why Real Love Is Hard Work

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

rainbow loomA month into our relationship, my now-husband asked me, “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

I didn’t hesitate.

“As a nun in a third-world country doing missionary work,” I said.

“Interesting.”

Somewhere around that time I also told him it would be five years before I slept with him. It was the quickest five years of my life.

Blue Collar Roots vs. White Collar Reality

Saturday, October 18th, 2014

Blue Collar Roots vs. White Collar RealityMy father was a machinist and my mother a nurse. I still recall the smell of the machine shop on my father’s clothing when he came home from work, the name “Gary” embroidered on his blue shirt. When I was a child, my father chopped wood and sold it by the side of the road to help make ends meet for his family of 5.

Due to my education I am considered “white collar” but still have “blue collar” values. I identify and belong to both groups.

Personal Experiences of Depression

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Personal Experiences of DepressionSome of the biggest myths about depression are that it’s a character flaw, a sign of weakness, a lack of trying, a lack of will, a choice.

You just need to think differently. Remember, happiness is a choice. You just need to suck it up. Be strong! Why aren’t you trying harder? You don’t even have anything to be depressed about!

The Solitude Dilemma

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

The Solitude DilemmaThis week The Atlantic shared a video in its Editor’s Picks series called ‘The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain.’ It followed a young man named Leif Haugen, a Forest Service firefighter in Montana. For three months out of the year, Leif lives alone at the lookout on top of a mountain.

Watching the video, I couldn’t help but feel a rather fervent mix of desire and fear.

Living in solitude like that, with no one to talk to and nothing to distract you but books and chores seems like a dream to me. At the same time, though, it made me wonder if, were I to live like that, I would get lonely.

You Can’t Force Things

Monday, October 13th, 2014

You Can't Force ThingsIt’s been tough getting to sleep the last few nights.

I’ll go to bed and turn off the light and then the thoughts start pouring in. I’ll worry that I didn’t do the right thing in any number of situations during the day. I’ll worry about the work I have to do the next day. I’ll worry that no matter what I do, I’ll never be closer to my dream of buying a house in the mountains.

It occurred to me last night while I was lying there, though, that you can’t force sleep. If you try to fall asleep and see that you’re not, that’s just one more thing to worry about. The sleep will come; it always does. There’s no point in trying to force it to happen.

Learning to Let Go and Trust the Flow of Life — Even if It’s Destructive

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

Going With the Flow

It had been a long, hot day and I was ready for the heat to subside. Now, the sun was setting behind a stretch of jungle palm, ohia and mango trees, and as the ambrosial hour set in, darkness allowed for greater visibility of an unusual light off in the distant northern sky. This light — glowing red and brown and golden — gives the impression of a city that is burning. It is light reflected from a brush fire caused by a river of lava flowing down our mountain.

My current home is the Big Island of Hawaii, and like many other volcanoes right now on planet Earth, our Kilauea volcano is active and causing a bit of a stir. Unlike flows for the past couple of decades, where we have been able to walk out to the rivers of lava in the middle of nowhere and appreciate the grace, beauty and power of a new earth being born, this flow is heading straight for our small, humble town of Pahoa, an old western-style town of wooden, slanted boardwalks and a smattering of restaurants and shops.

Room for Misery & Room for Joy: My Story

Friday, October 10th, 2014

misery joyMost people who have been sober longer than a year are asked to give a “lead” — to tell their story. Mine was structurally simple, covering what it was like, what happened, and what it’s like now. Having only drank for three years, my addiction story is pretty straightforward: I stopped guzzling down mood-altering beverages.

My depression story, however, is not.

There are too many circles and uneven ends to fit into any neat, compact narrative. It seems as though the longer you dance with the demon of depression, the more embracing you become of different health philosophies and the more tolerant of unanswered questions.

Is it open-mindedness or desperation?

I don’t know.

Reasons for Living: World Mental Health Day

Friday, October 10th, 2014

Reasons for LivingReasons for living never come cheap
Even your best ones can put me to sleep
What I am saying, or trying to say
Is that there must be a better way

~ Duncan Sheik

I have bipolar II disorder, which means the depressive side is far more prominent than the manic one.

Recently, when I mentioned my suicidal ideation to my psychiatrist, he challenged me to come up with five reasons to live, write them down and put them where I could see them.

Amanda Bynes: When Celebrity Mental Health Turns Insensitive Gossip

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Amanda BynesThe 28-year-old actress Amanda Bynes recently told In Touch Weekly that there is a microchip in her brain that allows other people to read her thoughts.

“I want a dollar a day from every person who (is) reading my mind,” Bynes said.

Now TMZ reports that she was allegedly “going full Winona Ryder” – shoplifting from Barneys on Madison Avenue.

“She really should wrap her head in a seven-pound ball of aluminum foil,” wrote Tony Hicks of San Jose Mercury News, later adding, “Sounds like someone’s parents need to fly to New York and get her back to the doctor, before none of this is funny anymore.”

I’m guessing the tabloids are just following her around day and night waiting for her to do something kooky. Personally, I don’t find any of it “funny” at all.

Compare and Despair: On Losing Jealousy

Monday, October 6th, 2014

PointeShoesWhen I was 11, I auditioned for a ballet school. Miss Jo, the founder of the program, and of The Dayton Ballet Company, came to the auditions and sat next to my mom.

“Your daughter has beautifully arched feet,” she told my mom. “Although we wish all dancers had high arches, it will make it more difficult for her to learn pointe. Keep her out of the advanced classes so that she doesn’t become discouraged.”

Sharing Responsibly: Grief, Loss and Social Media

Saturday, October 4th, 2014

Sharing Responsibly: Grief, Loss and Social MediaA lot of folks these days are talking about unplugging from social media. Maybe not permanently, but for a period of time in order to have face-to-face connections with people again.

But what if not logging onto Facebook meant you wouldn’t know that your friend had died? That’s what happened to me earlier this year.

What to Do About Seasonal Affective Disorder

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

What to Do About Seasonal Affective DisorderFor me it comes on in the fall. I don’t really know why. I much prefer the cooler, grayer weather to the hard sun of summer. But around September of every year I start to feel the weight of the world.

It’s not so much depression as it just a general feeling of being fed up with everything, of not wanting to deal with the frivolous and not seeing the point in the day-to-day stuff I have to do.

Recent Comments
  • oldblackdog: Nice summary – and simple. Simple is definitely good in trying to add a new habit It started me...
  • JoshyJ: I’ve read the article and read all of your comments. I want to thank everyone for sharing so fearlessly...
  • Darlene Lancer, LMFT: It definitely takes time to know someone in order to love them. But even then, sometimes people...
  • Nora: These things really seem to help. I have been trying a few because my anxiety levels are high. I appriciate...
  • Megalodon: Excellent article. I know those symptoms all too well. What has been interesting is that primary doctors...
Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter


Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code



Users Online: 6227
Join Us Now!