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Children and Teens

Helping Adult Children of Mentally Ill Mothers

I’m not a psychotherapist. But I’ve sat in front of one. It took me decades to find the chair in front of the psychotherapist and maybe that’s got something to do with me being the adult child of a schizophrenic mother.

I think it took me a long time to sit facing a psychotherapist because adult children of seriously mentally ill mothers are trained since they were young to believe three things:

Chaos and crises are normal.
The focus is not on me. The focus of care is on my mother.
Don’t speak too much about what goes on at home -- people don’t like it, it’s too much for them.

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General

Five Tips to Overcome Impostor Syndrome

If you're an introvert like me, who sees any "confidence boosting'" tip online as the tastiest link bait in the online ocean, you'll have read this common piece of advice: "Fake it 'til you make it." Right? Of course! That's what we have to do to appear more confident: just fake it.

Like anything in life we struggle with, "faking" our skill level gets us to where we want to be -- right? Not for me.

One of the reasons I lack confidence in many situations is that I feel like an imposter. Like I'm a total fake, just waiting to be found out.
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Best of Our Blogs

Best of Our Blogs: May 31, 2016

Why do we keep doing it?

If you've ever pushed yourself beyond your limit, you've asked this question before. If you've seen a loved one struggle with an unhealthy relationship or a toxic situation, you've asked it multiple times.

Why do we mold, fit and force ourselves past our capabilities? Why is that we have to hit rock bottom before we stop?

And why is that when we finally make a decision that would not only benefit ourselves, but everyone around us, we feel defeated, ashamed and full of guilt?

I don't think we're meant to do it all on our own. There is power in asking for help.

Maybe the reason why you never learned how to get your needs met was that you were raised by a narcissist. Maybe you remain in that dysfunctional relationship because you're tied together in trauma bond or you haven't yet address your core feelings. If so, keep reading. You may rediscover yourself and the courage you need to heal in this week's top post.
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Depression

5 Ways to Grow Together When Depression Enters a Relationship


No one teaches us how to navigate a relationship when mental illness enters the equation.

I recently read a Washington Post article by a woman whose relationship was torn apart while she and her partner tried to deal with his depression.

My personal take is that the author simply wasn't equipped to deal with a partner coping with depression. Most of us aren’t.

Last year when I plunged into a depressive episode, my partner was at a loss. He had never dealt with this and wanted so badly to help, but had no idea what to do.
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Addiction

Are You Sabotaging Your Brain?

It does not take much to rob your brain of its essential vitality. Dr. Daniel Amen, a renowned psychiatrist, has spent his entire career trying to understand the ways we can preserve or sabotage our brain health.

In his book, Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, Dr. Amen explores the root of these essential brain robbers. The good news is that because the brain is highly plastic, any good habit that forms over time can replace short-term damage.

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Brain and Behavior

A Painful Appreciation

Give thanks for the soul-crushing anxiety. Say amen when the sinking depression floors you. Raise your glass for repetitive negative thoughts.

“What?” you screech. “My mind teases me, toying with my emotions for sheer pleasure. And you -- you of all people -- are saluting my mental brain tricks. Are you happy when my mind twists me into a human pretzel?”

Hardly. I do not take perverse pleasure in another person’s suffering. But as your taunting mind ridicules you, let’s express gratitude. Before spewing invective in a berating email, hear me out.
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Aging

All the Single Ladies — What’s Going On?

“So what’s the secret for getting a good marriage? asked my friend Ellen.

“Choose wisely and learn what it takes to stay happily married,” I blurted out. Yet many of us first need to believe that we can succeed in marriage.

It’s strange, when you think about it, how little planning is typically undertaken when it comes to decisions about marriage. Do romance and planning sound like concepts that don’t belong in the same sentence? In fact, both are needed for a good marriage.

Why shouldn’t planning happen?
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Bipolar

Bipolar Disorder: A Patient’s Definition

When I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2003, I knew exactly one thing about it: Kurt Cobain, the lead singer of Nirvana, had it. And he died by suicide in 1994. As a Nirvana fan, I paid attention to the news about his life -- and death -- but, with the exception of repeating the diagnosis over and over again, little information about bipolar disorder itself was reported.

Essentially, I knew that a famous millionaire couldn’t beat it. I also knew it was a mental illness, which meant I was broken -- so broken that I could no longer participate in society. Some of my earliest thoughts immediately after being diagnosed revolved around selling my house, quitting my job, and moving into a group home -- things I never needed to do, but simply assumed I would have to.
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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

A Recipe for Recovery: Ingredients for Good Mental Health


I believe mental health self-care starts with the right medication. The right medications are crucial for recovery. Personally, I have realized finding the right combination of drugs really makes the difference between being well or unwell.

Medications, while imperfect, are the leading treatment for mental illness and could make the difference between being high-functioning or going through a lot of pain. There are a few principles that help when choosing to take medication. Do not go off prescribed medication without consulting your doctor. Psychotropic medications are powerful, with serious side effects. Withdrawal can cause, at the very least, a flare in mental health symptoms.

Secondly, when making medication changes, work with a doctor, do it slowly and pay attention to the warning signs of relapse. Third of all, do research on medications. Know the side effects, in particular how to detect them and how to reduce them. 
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Happiness

3 Tips to Worry Less

I worry to some extent, of course, but I don’t think I worry as much as a lot of people. Many people worry about how much they worry!

The New York Times recently had an interesting article by Roni Caryn Rabin titled “Worried? You’re Not Alone.” In it, Rabin points out several intriguing findings in a Liberty Mutual Insurance research paper, the “Worry Less Report.” Apparently Millennials worry about money. Single people worry about housing (and money). People worry less as they grow older.

Some people -- for instance, like my sister Elizabeth -- feel that if they do worry about something, they’ll somehow prevent a bad thing from happening. Rabin points out, very sensibly, “Researchers say this notion is reinforced by the fact that we tend to worry about rare event, like plane crashes, and are reassured when they don’t happen, but we worry less about common events, like car accidents.”
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