Personal Stories Library


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Book Review: Man’s Search for Meaning

January 29th, 2015
In a 1991 survey for the Library of Congress, readers were asked to name a book that made a difference in their lives. Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning was among the top ten. It is a daunting task to review such a book. It goes without saying that Frankl’s seminal text is well worth reading ...

Denying Relationship Problems: How to Fix it

couple upset woman man 7I recently had to let go of someone who had brought my life great meaning and joy. Issues arose in which my only choices beyond self-deception were to spiral down a rabbit hole of dysfunction, or to seek help to unravel and ...

Nerdy, Shy & Socially Inappropriate: A User Guide to an Asperger Life

BOOK REVIEW.
After reading Cynthia Kim’s account of growing up on the autism spectrum without knowing it, I would add “painfully honest” to the subtitle of her book. Which, I might further add, makes her story even better. As a child Kim knew she was different from other kids. She waited to grow out of the shyness and awkwardness, but those traits never dissipated. What ...

Writing for Health

Writing for HealthI hate to admit it but it’s true: I’m terrible at keeping a journal. I probably have half a dozen notebooks lying around, each one with no more than 20 entries before I got caught up in other things, made excuses, didn’t have the ...

How I Conquered Binge Eating Disorder

How I Conquered Binge Eating DisorderI developed binge eating disorder when I was 26 years old, after spending countless hours and mental energy on dieting, eating perfectly, and obsessing about my body and weight. Of course, I didn’t actually realize I had BED right away. Instead, ...

4 Psychological Tactics for Overcoming Social Anxiety

4 Psychological Tactics for Overcoming Social AnxietyFor over a decade, social anxiety put my life on hold. My inability to relax around people and feel free to live in the moment was holding back my relationships, my job prospects and my enjoyment of life. The beta ...

No Longer Suffering in Silence

Defusing ShameMy name is Chiquitta. I was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. My parents came from Guyana, South America to Canada for a better life; acid attacks were occurring in their homeland. My father is 13 years older than my mother. My mother was a housewife and ...

How to Be Alone

BOOK REVIEW.
I often spend at least twelve hours a day being very much in the presence of others. Caring for patients, discussing cases with attending doctors, interacting with nurses and social workers, and then going back to talk with patients again, my day is spent in a series of often intense human interactions. Add to the human ...

Anger and Anorexia

Anger and AnorexiaIt took an eating disorder to finally teach me how to get angry. Many people with eating disorders are like me in that they feel reluctant -- even downright refuse -- to express anger. This is by and large a learned behavior. I grew up in a ...

The Compass of Now

BOOK REVIEW.
Many books on the healing power of meditation belabor the importance of breathing and focused practice. In her new book, DDnard — the popular name of a spiritual guru in Thailand — concentrates instead on Buddhist parables. As DDnard explains in The Compass of Now: How One Woman Became Financially Free, Healed Wounds, and Inspired Millions of ...

Children’s Dreams: Understanding the Most Memorable Dreams & Nightmares of Childhood

BOOK REVIEW.
My younger brother and I are in the back seat of our family’s van, parked on a steep hill. At the base of the hill is a lake or some other body of water. The ocean? My mother has stepped out of the car and she is at the top of the hill. She is ...

Rescuing Julia Twice: A Mother’s Tale of Russian Adoption & Overcoming Reactive Attachment Disorder

BOOK REVIEW.
We make a lot of fuss over book covers, don’t we. Whether they look cheesy or slick. Whether the publisher is trying to get us to purchase something old repackaged as something new. And, of course, whether we should judge by them or not. About titles, though, there’s less discussion. Which is why I was surprised that ...

Each Day I Like It Better: Autism, ECT & the Treatment of Our Most Impaired Children

BOOK REVIEW.
Say "shock therapy" to most people and what comes to mind? For many, it is some version of Jack Nicholson’s experience in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: a patient writhing on the table as a crazed doctor sends waves of electricity through his brain, all with disastrous consequences. Even during my psychiatry clerkship as a ...

When You Don’t Like Your Teen’s Friends

When You Don't Like Your Teen's FriendsWhen I was in high school, I found a friend my parents couldn’t stand. Shy, introverted, studious, and fashion-impaired, I found someone as opposite to myself as my folks could imagine. My new best friend knew the fashion trends, wore her sweaters ...

Helping Women Cope with Infertility

Helping Women Cope with InfertilityI use various techniques when counseling women and couples during infertility. I begin by gathering information about the history and current status of infertility and treatment. I also gather personal and family history, and talk about the marriage and sex life of the ...

Depression Kills

Depressed manLast month, I was sitting on my sofa with my laptop when I saw the headline “Robin Williams Found Dead.” I was shocked and deeply saddened by the news and the loss. It seemed like such a conundrum as to why someone with his persona ...

Two For: Memories of a Manic Father

Flickr Creative Commons / francois karmA shopping spree. Retail therapy. The high of a manic episode. Call it what you will, an out-of-control buying binge, especially one with a credit card in hand, is a very dangerous thing. My father was what we then called "manic-depressive.’" ...

How to Spot Manipulation

How to Spot ManipulationWe all want to get our needs met, but manipulators use underhanded methods. Manipulation is a way to covertly influence someone with indirect, deceptive, or abusive tactics. Manipulation may seem benign or even friendly or flattering, as if the person has your highest concern ...

The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life

BOOK REVIEW.
Surrendering to a simpler life can be frightening or stressful — even inconceivable.  Consider an average day. Multitasking and over-performing are more a requisite than an ideal, as is maintaining competitive advantages just so you can pay your rent. Competition is everywhere we look, in fact, making it seem almost reckless, at least counter-intuitive, to stop ...

Book Review: Living Independently on the Autism Spectrum

BOOK REVIEW.
Lynne Soraya grew up in a world that did not always make sense. She did learn to make her way through, but it was difficult. As an adult, she was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome — then life began to make much more sense. Soraya’s book, Living Independently on the Autism Spectrum: What You Need to Know to ...

Healing from Neglect: When Those We Love Don’t Love Us

BOOK REVIEW.
It is an emotion that has inspired the rise and fall of empires and that influences the very foundation of our development. But how you approach love is dependent on your past and present associations with it. The belief that love is a many-splendored thing falls away when we step back and evaluated the collateral ...

Lessons from my Depression

Lessons from my DepressionI was in a hopeless, dark place about seven years ago. I was living in a single room on the thirteenth floor of a building. One day it felt like it made more sense to jump from the window than to find the ...

The Fog of Paranoia: A Sister’s Journey through Her Brother’s Schizophrenia

BOOK REVIEW.
When a loved one develops a mental illness, we sift through the sands of memory looking for clues. Running our hand through the fine grains, we examine past events, vague memories, comments made in passing. As we home in on a recollection, we ask ourselves: Was this the moment we knew something was wrong? Or ...