Anxiety and Panic

Should You Have Kids If You’re Depressed?

“Were you frightened to have children with your history of suicidal depression?” a young woman asked me the other day. “Did you have to stop medication while you were pregnant?”

In the last 10 years writing about mental health issues, these two questions keep surfacing, especially among young women who dream of pushing a baby stroller to the park and disciplining a toddler and yet are daunted by a history of serious depression. Every time I answer them, I do so with a different perspective and new research.

Yes, I was terrified to have children.
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ADHD and ADD

Maintaining a Household When Both Partners Have ADHD

Maintaining a household is hard enough. But when both partners have ADHD, there are extra challenges. These kinds of responsibilities require planning and prioritizing and performing and completing often boring tasks -- all of which is difficult for adults with ADHD. (Because people with ADHD have impairments in executive functioning.)

“It’s very unlikely that both partners have the same kind of ADHD. What usually happens is that one of them takes the place of the non-ADHD partner,” said
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Bullying

Why the Selfish People in Your Life Aren’t Going Away

"Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live." -- Oscar Wilde
Selfish people consume the time and energy of others and, despite what you tell yourself, there’s no end in sight to their narcissism.
“I’ll just do this last thing for her and then I’ll get back to my own affairs.”
“Maybe if I’m passive aggressive, he’ll take the hint that I have my own things to worry about.”
“She appreciates me in her own way…”
You can’t wait around for the day selfish people finally appreciate your time and show respect for your needs. It’s time to stop being manipulated and start focusing on yourself.
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Family

When a Loved One Asks You for Relationship Advice

Why do you think he said that? What do you think her behavior meant? What do you think I should do?

So many of us turn to our loved ones and friends for relationship advice. And they come to us. They want to rehash and make sense of what happened and figure out how to proceed.

But it’s important to be careful about the counsel we provide. Because our advice -- though meant to be helpful -- might be anything but.

For one, it’s very likely that we’re biased and share advice from our own relationships, experiences and perspective.
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Disorders

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy: A Misunderstood But Effective & Powerful Treatment

Today, psychodynamic psychotherapy tends to get dismissed or outright rejected. It’s seen as ineffective, unscientific and archaic. It’s associated with Freud and some of his “outlandish” theories -- many of which have become caricatures. If you’ve ever learned about psychoanalysis or psychodynamic psychotherapy in college or even grad school, it’s likely your professors got it wrong.

Psychodynamic psychotherapy arose out of psychoanalysis, but it’s since evolved. A lot. As psychologist Jonathan Shedler, Ph.D, writes in this fantastic, myth-busting piece: “The development of psychoanalytic thought did not end with Freud any more than the development of physics ended with Newton, or the development of the behavioral tradition in psychology ended with Watson.”

Psychodynamic psychotherapy is depicted as inferior to other interventions, namely cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
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Bipolar

What Bipolar Depression Looks Like — And What Can Help

Sadness. Hopelessness. Loss of interest. Loss of energy. Difficulty sleeping. Difficulty concentrating. Low self-esteem. Weight gain. Weight loss. Suicidal thoughts.

These are some of the symptoms listed for a depressive episode (also called bipolar depression) in bipolar disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. But these clear-cut signs don’t exactly capture the complicated course of bipolar disorder or the palpable anguish that people with bipolar depression really feel. They don’t capture the angst or fear or confusion.
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Bipolar

Dealing with the Pressure to Succeed When You Have a Mental Illness

I don’t know if this is true for everyone, but I feel a constant need to succeed, and there are definite moments when I feel desperately overwhelmed with the amount of pressure I’ve put on myself.

For years I’ve had the goal of living in a mountain house surrounded by a large grove of trees. I’ve worked hard to try to get to that point, but here I am, still on Section 8, still receiving money from the government for my disability.

I’m frustrated and, at times, angry with myself for not being able to mentally do what I have to do to get to the point where I’m satisfied.
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Anxiety and Panic

What You Really Lose When You Lose Perspective

“What can you do with a person who says that he is absolutely uncertain about everything, and that he is absolutely certain about that?” -- Idries Shah

Our perspective is how we perceive people, situations, ideas, etc. It’s informed by our personal experience, which makes it as unique as anything could be. Perspective shapes our life by affecting our choices. But the minute our minds become steeped in worry, perspective goes out of the window. We forget about our triumphs. We stop being optimistic as fear takes the wheel.

Fear gives rise to negative feelings: insecure, critical, defensive, abandoned, desperate, lonely, resentful, overwhelmed, aggressive, and so on. These cloud our minds and consume our thoughts.
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Books

7 Creative Shortcuts and Solutions to Simplify Life with Young Kids

Life with kids can feel anything but simple. Things rarely go as planned. You’re exhausted and could sleep for days. You feel like a mess surrounded by a whole lot of mess. Expert advice only makes you feel less-than and like you’re doing everything wrong. Which, naturally, only makes you feel more overwhelmed.

That’s what happened to author Asha Dornfest. Dornfest felt like she was drowning. For help she consulted parenting and productivity books and sampled time management systems, among other things. She assumed that other “more qualified people” would have the answers she needed.

“But expert advice didn’t fix my new life,” she writes in her book
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Anxiety and Panic

Three Tips to Muscle Through Social Anxiety

Something strange happens when I have to talk to a new person or someone I don’t feel comfortable with. My heart rate increases, my hands shake a little and I can feel a tightening in my chest.

It happens to everyone to some extent when they socialize, especially in instances where you're taking a risk (, asking for a raise, asking someone for a date). But for me the anxiety happens every time, from...
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General

Reconnecting to Yourself Every Day

We can get disconnected from ourselves regularly. Even on a daily basis. This can happen because we’re fully focused on checking off tasks from our to-do lists. Or because we’re fully focused on taking care of everyone else.

It can happen because we’re stuck in our heads -- “leaning too far into the future or obsessing about things that didn't go well for us in the past,” said Kelly Rose, LMFT, a psychotherapist who helps people reconnect to their authentic selves in Wayzata, Minn. Because when we’re disconnected from the present moment, we’re really disconnected from ourselves, she said.

Rose shared this quote from Eckhart Tolle: “Most humans are never fully present in the now, because unconsciously they believe that the next moment must be more important than this one. But then you miss your whole life, which is never not now."

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