General

Self-Doubt: How to Place Self Above Doubt

I should have tenure. Maybe even a corner office with a panoramic view of the quad. No question, I have the research background.

I second-guess (or third-guess) my decisions, craving irrefutable evidence that my decision-making is sound. As I analyze and overanalyze, sinking in mental quicksand, life whirs past. Indecision is a decision. And that decision is measured in missed opportunities.

As overthinkers, information is our frenemy. Analytical and creative, we are natural thinkers. Our inquisitive minds crave nourishment. But, in a lot of cases, we overindulge.
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General

Tackling Mental Health One Meal at a Time

There is so much information out there about eating healthy to get in shape. Broader society has a general idea of an ideal shape that is ever-evolving and almost always an airbrushed, unattainable goal. Ideally the information at your fingertips should be about self-improvement through and through, not predominantly outwardly. The reality is that what you are putting into your body may be contributing to issues with depression, and in turn, your self-esteem.

Although popular media may tell you otherwise, working on a happier, healthier self starts from the inside out.

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Antidepressant

A Journey to a Diagnosis

I knew that I had a mental illness. I had for a very long time. Ever since I was 15 and tried to kill myself I knew that I had a mental illness. But I wasn’t very accepting of it. Don’t get me wrong, I tried all of the meds. I always took them. That was, until I got manic and stopped taking them. Nobody knew that I had bipolar disorder. They thought that I had depression or schizoaffective disorder.

In all fairness, I didn’t tell them all of my symptoms, but then, I didn’t know, either. I thought that mania was normal. I thought that that was how normal, happy people were supposed to be. I didn’t think anything else of it.
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Habits

7 Tips to Finally Stop Procrastinating

How many times each day do you try to work yourself up to tackle some undesirable task? If you’re like me -- several times.

For instance, I’ve been refining my Four Tendencies Quiz. Almost 500,000 people have taken the quiz -- which is extraordinary -- and I’ve made adjustments to it, along the way, to make it better.

Analyzing the Quiz results takes a very different kind of brain work from the kind that I usually do -- and it’s not the kind of brain work I like to do. And so I put off that work, and put it off, and put it off. And then when I finally do the work, I get through it quickly and am so relieved to have it done. So why procrastinate?
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Bullying

Recovering from Childhood Abuse: The Past Keeps Getting Clearer

In trauma recovery it is said, “You’ve done the hardest part -- you survived the abuse.”

After a year of accepting that I was sexually abused as a child, I’m finally starting to understand that recovery isn’t the hardest part. The shame is less automatic now, and the past is getting clearer.

As a child suffering abuse we don’t understand exactly what’s happening to us. Sex and sexuality is a mystery, so it’s not easy to recognize sexual abuse. Physical abuse is also confusing. We are tricked into thinking we’ve done something to deserve maltreatment. And in the end, we give in to this naive hope: “Everything is normal. No one would let abuse happen to me. I’m not in an unsafe situation.”
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Bipolar

Being My Own Hero

I spend my time these days volunteering in the mental health field. I do some work for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and in an office of a counseling agency named Integrity that doesn’t bill insurance and only takes a donation of what the payee can afford for services. I love what I do. I am able to write and do my speaking engagements and talk openly about mental illness to almost anyone I am around. I truly consider everyone in my life a blessing.

I run the NAMI support group called NAMI Connections for those with mental illness in my community. In the group we have everyone from people who have just a touch of social anxiety to the extremist form of mental illness. Recently we had a lady who reminded me of the fact that though I help others I have to remember to put myself first.

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General

7 Confidence-Killing Words and Phrases to Ban from Your Vocabulary


If you have great ideas, you need to know how to communicate them. At work as in relationships, it all starts with conveying confidence. But a challenge many high-achieving women run up against are bad speech habits that have been conditioned in us over the years. Without us even knowing it, these verbal crutches can damage our internal and projected confidence levels and can even negatively impact how we’re perceived at work.

Women’s brains are naturally tuned for emotional intelligence and specialized for masterful communication. The female mind is hardwired to pick up nuances in spoken language and
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General

How to Bring More Laughter into Your Life

“Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion, to the futility of thinking and striving anymore. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward -- and since I can start thinking and striving again that much sooner.” - Kurt Vonnegut, Palm Sunday
The next time you have a really stressful day, it’s your job to find one thing about your day and reframe it so you can laugh at it. Can you do that? I couldn’t imagine doing it either. Finding humor in everyday situations takes practice, and when you spend a lot of time dwelling on stress everything seems serious and urgent.
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Brain and Behavior

The Thought Police

Embrace the thoughts.

I have been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Like you, my mind burps out intrusive, unwanted thoughts. They are real, striking at my core. I would banish them immediately. They would return with a sinister vengeance. Languishing in bed, sheets draped over me, I pleaded for divine intervention.

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Personal

8 Warning Signs for Silent Domestic Abuse Victims


Do NOT miss these signals.

As the founder of a nonprofit that serves domestic abuse victims, I get a ton of emails from women who are reaching out for help -- not because they are abused, but because they aren't sure if they are being abused at all.

And as a domestic violence survivor myself who was married to an abuser for eight years, I'm going to let you in on a little secret here: If you're wondering if you're being abused, there's a good chance that you are.

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Anger

Safely Communicating Negative Emotions

I will never forget the last scene of the 1975 movie, “The Stepford Wives.” I was only 14 at the time, but I understood the chilling implication: Meticulously coiffed, serene ladies -- even if they had to be turned into robots -- were more desirable than the messy, emotional women who openly expressed their feelings.

Unfortunately, this exaggerated tale exemplifies a deeply rooted theme in our culture, which is still alive today. That is, women have been taught and are encouraged to keep their negative emotions, such as anger and frustration inside, while maintaining an outward demeanor of calm cheerfulness.

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