ADHD and ADD

Confidence-Building and the Special Olympics

Tommy was terrified to travel to Columbus. He was scheduled to compete in the Special Olympics that weekend. Tommy has anxiety disorder, ADHD and autism, and anything out of the ordinary such as a road trip to a place he’d never been before threw him way off. “Talk to Daddy,” he kept telling me. “I don’t want to go. Can you tell him I don’t want to go?”

Steve was not surprised at Tommy’s resistance to going to a new place and doing a new activity. It was the story of our lives.

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Borderline Personality

Strikeout

“Who is going to step up?”

How many of us recall this trite saying from our gruff high school coach? We winced every time he muttered these well-worn proverbs. But the Ol’ Ball Coach was right -- just in a different context.

As diehard fans, our attention is misplaced. We can dissect a player’s batting average against left-handed relievers during Tuesday day games. We can analyze a shooting guard’s player efficiency rating against the woebegone Sacramento Kings. We can recite the contractual language for a third-string quarterback. But if we deign to discuss sports and mental health, screamin’ Stan from the South Bronx swallows his microphone.
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Children and Teens

Running in Place: Improving Public Education

Reading, writing, and 'rithmetic. In popular culture, we have a cheerful image of little Jim and Jane skipping to their suburban elementary school. Cute? Yes. Accurate? Only if Jim and Jane hail from upper-class backgrounds.

Compare Jim and Jane, two adorable first-graders from Coldwater Canyon, to Marcus and Mariel, two adorable first-graders from Los Angeles. For Marcus and Mariel, domestic violence, physical violence, and food insecurity pervade their daily lives. On Mariel’s walk to her gang-infested school, she dodges used needles and condoms. In their bleak environment, elementary school represents a critical, stabilizing influence.

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Children and Teens

Mindfulness Explained through Baseball

In my writings and videos I often write and speak about mindfulness. In talking about mindfulness I emphasize the present moment, yet I am aware of how our past and our future work together. The definition of mindfulness instructs us to live in the present moment, nonjudgmentally.

"Nonjudgmentally" means we need not put a value judgment on the present moment. We are simply to experience the moment. The minute that we think this is a good moment or a bad moment, we have judged the moment.

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Bipolar

New Zealanders’ Improving Perception of Mental Illness

I am a 63-year-old New Zealander. I’m happily married with two adult sons and two grandsons and work from home in the suburbs of Auckland as a freelance writer. I also suffer from bipolar disorder, which I believe I manage very well. Over the years since I first became ill as a teenager, I have seen huge improvements in the public perception of mental illness, but believe we still have a way to go.

I was about 10 or 11 years old when my father first was admitted to a psychiatric hospital for treatment. I can remember being very confused and asking my teacher if my dad had gone mad. This was back in the '60s when no one really discussed mental illness. If it was talked about, it was in hushed tones. Sufferers were described as being “nervy” or having “bad nerves.”

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Habits

Swimming Lessons

I have always loved water. The sound of it -- from the lapping of waves at the beach, to the pitter-patter of rain making different noises landing on different surfaces. Staying at my grandparents' rustic house when I was little, I could spend hours lying in bed just listening to the tinkling chime of raindrops against the tin rooftop.

Until recently, I made a habit of swimming regularly. I had forgotten how much I particularly love to be in water.

Some people get to think out the thoughts they have been meaning to sort out while on land. Some problems get solved under the water.

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Brain and Behavior

3 Strategies to Reframe Your Thinking on Exercise

Even though most of us put happiness near the top of our want lists, many of us are secretly convinced that it will always be just out of reach. But the truth is that happiness is already available to us. All we have to do is start moving.

Scientific evidence is mounting that moving our bodies changes our brains in ways that can lead to happiness. In fact, it turns out that moving our bodies is one of the best ways to foster a chemical reaction that leads to happiness. Even small amounts of movement -- as little as one minute – boost energy and mood. Research also shows that we are much more likely to stick with exercise that we choose autonomously, enjoy doing, and makes us feel great right now.

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Brain and Behavior

Why People with Depression Should Exercise More

Me in the morning: flat, lethargic and grumpy. Overly sensitive, reacting with shouting or tears to the slightest trigger. An overwhelming sense of apathy, interspersed with moments of rage or deep sadness. Things are hard.

Me in the afternoon: energized, motivated and productive. Calm and peaceful in my own mind, focusing on what needs to get done (work). Still pretty sensitive, but with enough presence not to yell at my loved ones.

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Anger

Getting Past Those Awkward Moments — in Baseball and in Marriage

You might not expect to pick up marriage tips from a baseball team. Yet as my home team, the San Francisco Giants, moved toward the World Championship, I was struck by how they showed similar character traits to those I encourage in my couples therapy clients.

Some spouses I work with have explosive personalities. They become verbally abusive when their partner doesn’t do what they want. Such impulsive reactions harm their marital relationship. In sports and other competitive games, we call someone who acts this way a “poor sport.”

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Celebrities

The San Francisco Giants Model Winning Relationships

Why would a marriage maven be writing about a baseball team? Living near San Francisco, how could I not get caught up in the hoopla? The Giants beat the odds again on October 29th, claiming their third World Series title in five years.

“How do they do it?” the pundits ask about this so-called team of misfits. And what does it have to do with marriage?

Actually, just about everything.

The Giants’ post-game interviews are enlightening.

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Love Crimes: When the Abused Believe It’s for Their Own Good

One of the most nurturing, compassionate women I know is also an abused wife who once shared her biggest regret. Did she regret staying with her abusive husband? No. The most regretful day of her life was when she phoned the police after he physically assaulted her yet again.

“I ruined his life,” she said. “It’s the biggest mistake I ever made.” Immune to any reason, she pressed on, blaming herself for the “humiliation he had to endure” at anger management classes, the draining of her family’s resources on lawyer fees and the indelible black mark “she caused” on his otherwise spotless veneer.

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