Habits

Watching TV with Your Sweetheart May Boost Your Happiness

I’m very interested in the role of TV-watching in our happiness. After all,  after sleeping and work, it’s the biggest consumer of the world’s time.

So I was interested to see that new research suggests that for couples who don’t have lots of mutual friends, watching the same TV show (or reading the same book or going to the same movie) can help both people feel that they inhabit in the same social world.

It turns out that couples who have lots of mutual friends tend to have the strongest bonds, and for those who don’t have a lot of mutual friends, having “shared media experiences” helps them to feel connected.
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Brain and Behavior

Challenging Self-Doubts

Talented and thoughtful, she was a successful non-profit executive. She was well-known throughout the region for her philanthropic endeavors. She had founded three businesses in separate niche industries.

To the outsider, my client was a skilled entrepreneur, a connector between the business and arts communities. She was a self-made woman. When she spoke, others listened -- and followed.

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Bullying

Child Sexual Abuse: Don’t Hide Your Head in the Sand

Right as the Summer Olympic Games started in Rio, the IndyStar reported that USA Gymnastics, the national governing body for gymnastics, ignored sexual abuse allegations filed against coaches. Complaints were reportedly filed against more than 50 gymnastics coaches, but authorities were not contacted about the complaints if they did not come directly from a victim or her parents. Three of those coaches have since been convicted, while a fourth killed himself in jail.

Before I mention any details, I have to give a trigger warning to trauma survivors. This news brought up a lot of poignant, ugly feelings for me.
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Bullying

It Isn’t Our Fault: Being in Love with a Narcissist

Note: Although I share thoughts from personal experience and refer to the narcissist as male, narcissism is not discriminatory.

Maybe you are feeling a desperate need to try and salvage a relationship you intuitively know is unhealthy and imbalanced; or maybe you are wondering why you can’t “let go” and “move on” from the loss of your relationship. It’s possible that you are in love with a narcissist, and now owning the blame for all the sudden problems or downfall. A narcissist is someone who will enter our life and consume our entire existence all for selfish benefit. Understanding the whirlwind and accepting the finality of a relationship with a narcissist will show that we possess tremendous value.

We are smart and confident, so why did we allow ourselves to fall for the narcissist?
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Brain and Behavior

The Denial of Trauma

“I don’t have trauma.”

“What happened to me isn’t trauma.”

“Trauma is something horrific.”

“I should have been able to cope with it.”

“It’s not sad.”

“I’m not upset.”

Accepting you are suffering from trauma is by far one of the most difficult aspects of recovery. I thought that admitting I was suffering from trauma suggested I couldn’t cope with the events in my life or I didn’t have the strength to deal with and process those events.
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Anxiety and Panic

My Life with Anxiety

Since I was younger, I knew that I thought in a different way than most children. As I grew older, I became consumed with death and its aftermath. I couldn’t understand why my biggest worry wasn’t which dress I would wear to prom. I felt like a fish out of water, and no one would understand.

After seeking help, I grew to realize that living with anxiety is not so abnormal. Some people have low cholesterol, some are allergic to peanuts, and some, like me, have an anxious mind. Honestly, I would pick anxiety over a peanut allergy any day.

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Anxiety and Panic

Surprise Diagnoses

When I was diagnosed with PTSD at the beginning of the year, it came as a surprise to me. I’d gone to this psychologist for a potential BPD diagnosis. I walked out with not only that, but four years' worth of PTSD as well.

It was surprising because in these four years I’d not once thought about this disorder; it never even occurred to me. But as I thought about it, letting it sink in, things started making sense. And since the diagnosis, I’ve had to think about what happened. Because I really didn’t deal with it; I'm still having trouble figuring out where to go from here.
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Addiction

How Sex Addiction Can Change Mental Illness

I was married to a sex addict narcissist for close to 20 years. My father was a sex addict. I was a stripper many years ago and worked for many years around sex addicts. It started when I visited my father’s house on his weekend to have me after my parents' divorce. He was at work and I was a nosy child. I found a Playboy magazine. I remember it well. Suzanne Somers was on the cover. I slowly turned each page, looking at and soaking in the beauty and perfection of these women.

My immediate thought was that these women looked nothing like my mom. They were doing things my mom would never have done. I think I was only 8 or 9 years old. In that moment, I knew in my mind, like it was complete truth, that if I grew up and became a woman like that, I would be able to keep a man.

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