Asylum Was Once a Place of Safe Haven, Part 2

This is part 2 of the series "Asylum Was Once a Place of Safe Haven." Don't miss Part 1.

Hear the Rattle and Click as the Door Slams Home. Welcome to Prison.

Without true understanding of how many people were touched by mental illness and what actions needed to be taken to help care for their personal welfare upon release from healthcare facilities, a concurrent rise in homelessness and surge of patients into correctional facilities began to unfold. (11) In a 2013 report to Congress...
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A Box Full of Darkness: Growing Up in the Shadow of BPD

Someone I loved once gave me
A box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand
That this, too, was a gift.
-Mary Oliver

I can’t remember now how I ran across this poem by Mary Oliver. I saved it, because the box-full-of-darkness metaphor seemed genius. As time went by, its relevance to my experience became clearer. The poem eventually served as an epigraph for my book Missing: Coming to Terms with a Borderline Mother.

First, here’s what I won’t be saying about these lines. I won’t say that all dark boxes become gifts. The loss of a child or debilitating pain or one’s own mental illness? Starvation? Violence? Are these gifts, or can they become gifts? It feels presumptuous to say so. I can speak only to my own experience, and a largely blessed and lucky experience it has been.
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7 Ways to Face the Horrors of the World with Hope and Realism

In life I strive to be an optimistic person, although, I think I end up somewhere in the middle between being an optimist and a pessimist. This middle area I like to refer to as "being a realist."

Overall, I'm basically fine with being a realist because it keeps me grounded. The problem, though, with being a realist is that there is little room left if I want to make a change to the events in the world.

Optimists see potential to change things for the better, while the realist simply sees what is.
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Psychological First Aid for Mental Health: World Mental Health Day

When we think of first aid, we typically think of the kind of aid administered to someone when they've experienced a scrape or bruise, requiring use of a bandage or some other aid to help the wound begin to heal.

But what do people think of when they hear the term, "psychological first aid"? I imagine it's a foreign concept for most people -- that we could provide some sort of psychological help to someone in need. Today, on World Mental Health Day, it's important to better understand this concept as it catches on with people around the world.

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Join Us for World Mental Health Day on October 10 #WMHD

Next week on October 10th, we’re celebrating World Mental Health Day. If you're a blogger, we'd like you to join us for our 6th annual blog party.

World Mental Health Day is promoted by the World Health Organization to help raise awareness about mental health issues. The day promotes open discussion of mental disorders, and what the world’s governments and health organizations are doing in prevention, promotion and treatment services. This year's theme is psychological first-aid, but you're welcomed to blog on any topic in mental health you'd like.

This year, we’re inviting you to join us for the 6th annual blog party on Monday, October 10. Mental health is important to all of us, and we need your help to spread that message! So how do you join in on the party?

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What Tig Notaro’s New Show Gets Right about Child Sexual Abuse

In the new Amazon series One Mississippi, loosely based on the life of comedian Tig Notaro, she finds herself living back home in Mississippi following the sudden death of her mother. Staying in her childhood home with her stepfather, Bill, and her adult brother, Remy, Tig isn’t just facing the grief of losing her mother, she’s recovering from breast cancer, which resulted in a double mastectomy, and suffering from a C. diff infection. She’s also dealing with the ghosts of her past. Tig -- as she's also called on the show -- was molested by her grandfather throughout her childhood.

Although it's estimated that
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Getting to Know Your 3 Brains Part 5: The Challenges to Becoming Aware

Read more about getting to know your three brains: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

For most of us, at least initially, there exists an uphill battle to pay attention to our three brains -- even though it is ultimately very good for us. Since the foremost goal of humans (from an evolutionary standpoint) is to survive external danger, we are biased to attend to the external world. Looking inside takes willfulness.

Yet, we know that when our Self is aware of our three brains and “talks” to them, all of us think, feel and function better. Why then, do so many people continue to suffer when working with the three brains could help? Many good reasons!
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Anxiety and Panic

Breaking Up with My PTSD: The Reality of Recovering from Haunting Trauma

My almost life-long companion and I are actually breaking up. I should be more specific. What I’m breaking up with is more exactly known as C-PTSD, a form of PTSD. I think we’re in the final stages of our separation. It’s been a long and drawn-out breakup because that’s how it goes with C-PTSD. Once you get to know it well, you practice breaking up with it every day. Some days require more sorting out and negotiation than others.

It’s been around a long time for me. My children have all become very familiar with it even though they didn’t know what they’re really seeing. Most people outside of our home never even knew it was around.
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How to Stop Hurting When You Have a Narcissistic Parent

“If I accept that I can never have a real relationship with my father, it feels like I don’t have a father. If I accept that, am I still a son?”

Jack’s Story:

Jack is a 45-year-old architect, recently married for the first time. He came to therapy to deal with long-standing feelings of depression. His wife, ten years younger than Jack, wanted to start a family. Jack had spent years keeping a cool and cordial distance from his critical father. Now, as his wife pressed him to become a father himself, he felt flooded by sadness and insecurity. Could he be a good father? What if he messed it up?
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Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Coping with Trauma

The original 2015 Netflix series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, starring Ellie Kemper, is pure comedy at its finest as quirky -- and certainly bubbly -- 29 year-old Kimmy Schmidt moves from Indiana to New York City for a fresh start. She finds a home with Titus, the dramatic and eccentric roommate looking for stardom (played by Tituss Burgess), has adventures with Lillian, the tough-as-nails and offbeat landlord (played by Carol Kane), and begins to work as a nanny for Jacqueline, a snobby but lovable socialite (played by Jane Krakowski).

But underneath the literally laugh out loud dialogue and hilarity is a serious -- and comparatively unique -- storyline. In episode one, we learn that Kimmy was kidnapped along with three other young women by a reverend who told them the world was ending; she spent fifteen years of her life immersed in an apocalypse cult, living in an underground bunker until they were finally freed.
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Inspiration & Hope

Childhood Trauma: Focus on Validating Feelings

When you’re a child and you suffer abuse, whether it’s physical, sexual, or emotional, you make it your mission to find out if this is normal. You wonder if other kids experienced the same things.

It’s easier to doubt your perception than it is to accept the fact that you are living in a dangerous situation. If you knew that to be true, you’d have to do something about it. You’d have to talk to a teacher, a school counselor, or a police officer. You’d have to expose something that brings you great shame and pain. You’d have to face your abuser. Even though you’re only a child.
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Psychology Around the Net: September 10, 2016

On September 11, 2001, four airplanes were hijacked by al-Qaeda and flown into both World Trade Center towers in New York City and the Pentagon just outside of Washington, D.C., killing more than 3,000 people, including police officers and firefighters.

Tomorrow is the 15th anniversary of what we now refer to as 9/11, and people will pause and reflect and grieve just as they have for the past decade and a half.

They will take a moment or two or more to remember those who were senselessly killed during these attacks -- as well as their family members and other loved ones.

I know I, for one, will, too.

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