Bipolar

Ode to the Duke

I saw my shrink today. I call him “The Duke.”

We had a perfectly fine half-hour meeting. He wrote me some scripts and listened to my current take on my life. Mainly, we talked about my son Tommy’s fear of entering sixth grade. The Duke warned me that the junior high years are awful and to brace myself. The Duke is a straight shooter. At the end of the appointment, I asked him how he thought I was doing.

Continue Reading

Disorders

Poison Pills? When Meds Strike Back

This narrative details my personal experience with medications. Medications impact each person differently; please consult with your psychiatrist if side effects persist.
The medication bottle gravely intones, “May cause drowsiness, use care operating a vehicle, vessel, or dangerous machinery.” If only.

Over 15 years ago, a well-meaning nurse at UNC-Chapel Hill prescribed an antidepressant. “It will make you feel better,” she soothed. Capitulating to her, I begrudgingly placed the tiny capsule under my tongue.

Continue Reading

General

Trump: Enemy of Those With Mental Illness?

As the United States enters its election season full-swing, it's time to look at the candidates' positions on mental healthcare in America. First up is Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president. Throughout the campaign, Trump has said very little about mental illness and what he would do to help change the conversation of mental health in America.

But what he has said speaks volumes.

Continue Reading

Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

Employment as an Antidepressant

The ads pushing pills are everywhere. It's difficult to avoid images of what we're supposed to believe happiness looks like. A pill a day keeps depression away.

I wish it were so simple.

For many of us, a pill a day keeps other things away. Enjoyable things, necessary things, even normal body processes. For some of us, the side effects from these pills are too much to handle, their ill effects negating any good the pills may do.

Continue Reading

Brain and Behavior

How to Use Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Once we understood the brain as a fixed, static entity. Now we see it as a changeable, growing organ. This should give much encouragement to those who feel limited by their beliefs that they are somehow stuck in habitual patterns of thinking, since the brain itself can be rewired because of its neuroplasticity.

Before brain imaging was possible, many psychotherapists were already using cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to help people reframe their experiences and learn to modulate emotions and thoughts to rewire their brain into healthier patterns. The idea behind the method is that “you become what you practice.”
Continue Reading

Addiction

6 Reasons Why I Hate My Therapist

Editor's Note: This is intended to be a humorous piece.
So just when you are getting sick and tired of all those people giving you heartache for no apparent reason at all, you decide to shoot yourself in the head and find yourself a therapist so that he can give you more heartache than all the people put together.

But there is one big difference between now and then: Earlier you were getting your heartache for free. This time you are paying for it.
Continue Reading

Disorders

OCD’s Little Secret

This is our little secret: I robbed a bank.

At least that’s what my mind spits out. And according to my mind, I am likely to rob again and again.

When I walk into a bank to deposit a check, my heartbeat skips. Sweat trickles down my forehead. A boulder forms in my throat.

Why? Not because of my dwindling bank account or the imperious teller. My sneering mind is ready to pounce. An obsessive-compulsive disorder advocate and consumer, our vivid imagination has a darker side. We have committed unspeakable atrocities according to our deceitful thoughts.
Continue Reading

ADHD and ADD

Psychology Around the Net: July 23, 2016


AAAAAACHOOOOOO!

That's me, readers, sneezing my brains out as I type this. You might remember I mentioned being sick last week? Well, this week, allergies decided to fill the void my common cold left behind.

It's been a rough couple of weeks for me and, as a matter of fact, I'm going to stop here and leave you to peruse this week's latest news about psychiatry and eugenics, using mindfulness to launch your career, some interesting results related to the self-esteem of women around the world, and more, because I'm headed to my pharmacist.

(They're used to people looking like something the cat dragged in, right? RIGHT?!)

Continue Reading

Disorders

Are You Seeing a Good Therapist? 5 More Tell-Tale Signs

If you aren’t in the psychology field, it’s hard to know what you should expect from a therapist. After all, choosing a therapist is different from looking for a surgeon or chiropractor or dermatologist. Therapy is a unique process; one that requires you to be vulnerable. In fact, you might share things with your therapist that you’ve never shared with anyone.

So how do you know if the therapist you have or one who you’re considering is actually a good clinician?
Continue Reading