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Free Live Webinar: Healing from an Unloving Mother

As central as the mother-child relationship is to psychological health, that of the mother and her daughter has its own specificity. Daughters whose emotional needs weren’t met in childhood or who were actively disparaged, ignored, controlled, or scapegoated emerge into adulthood with specific deficits. They may not even know the degree to which they’ve been wounded by their mothers’ treatment until they begin to flounder in life, embark on a series of failed relationships, find it hard to stay balanced and focused, or engage in self-destructive behaviors.
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OCD and Computational Psychiatry

There is a relatively new field of research known as computational psychiatry, which focuses on the development of mathematical models to better understand defects in the brain -- defects that lead to adverse behaviors.

A new study published in the journal Neuron discusses findings from this type of research into the fundamental processes of OCD. Senior author Benedetto De Martino says:
"Medicine today is very much about decoding the mechanisms in the body. When we are talking about something like a heart valve, that's a mechanical part that can be clearly understood. But the brain is a computational device that has no mechanical parts, so we need to develop mathematical tools to understand what happens when something goes wrong with a brain computation and generates a disease. This study shows that the actions of people with OCD often don’t take into account what they’ve already learned.”
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Anxiety and Panic

Screening Your Sanity

“Do you not give a damn about your father?” my Dad growled into the phone.

The truth is I cared -- probably too much. And for my own health and well-being, I had to step back from my Dad’s snark-filled comments and Mt. Vesuvius rage.

Family -- or at least the idealized notion of family -- is sacrosanct to me. I cherish my relationships with my beloved aunties and uncles. When they aren’t teasing me for the latest Mattism (losing my keys, wallet, or mind), they are prodding me about my latest love interest or travel escapade. And as for my late mother, she was equal parts mentor and matriarch. From joyfully recalling the day’s events to lunching with her and her tennis girlfriends to Thanksgiving bowl-a-thons, I smile -- ruefully -- at the fond memories. There is a tinge of sadness too as I recall our family’s joyfulness.
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Anxiety and Panic

Why We All Have Clutter and How to Get Rid of It

I feel like a massive hypocrite writing this piece, because substantial messes are found in virtually every square foot of my home.

In fact, the last time I broached the topic of clutter in a blog, I posted a photo of my book piles and nut collection and was immediately contacted by a hoarding show to be "fixed" by an expert.

Even though I fail miserably at decluttering my home, I do know it’s an important piece of
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Want to Die? Call 911 & Hold a Closed Multi-Purpose Tool

You would think that university police would have such great mental health training -- given that they are dealing with a population of young adults exploring limits, learning about themselves, and one of the groups at the greatest risk for a first-episode incident of mental illness.

Apparently not at Georgia Tech. This is a school where I would never send my child, given the most recent incident of a person with mental illness being killed -- rather than being counseled -- in mid-September. One second of poor judgment on an officer's part, and suddenly an entire life is snuffed out. Not because a criminal was threatening anyone (other than himself) with harm. But simply because the man -- Scout Schultz -- had a mental illness.

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Children and Teens

Everything I Was Too Afraid to Be: On Fatherhood and Mental Health

Recently, I had the good fortune to meet a fellow mental health advocate in person. Gabriel Nathan (Gabe – just like me) is the Editor-in-Chief of OC87 Recovery Diaries and a man who lives with depression, anxiety, and obsessive thoughts. We talked about a great many things, but the topic that fascinated me the most is that he is the father of twins.

“How on earth can you manage mental illness AND a child -- let alone two?” was my first thought.

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Anxiety and Panic

The Smallest Talk

“Oh, the weather today was beautiful. Do want to talk about the meaning of life?” I ask.

While I facetiously save meaning of life questions for the second date (first date conversations generally revolve around morality tropes and ethical dilemmas -- I kid), I abhor small talk. Small talk is the conversational equivalent of a McDonald's Happy Meal: plastic and headache-inducing.

While I can smile along at small talk, my mind is jumping to more far-concerns concerns, "Why are we talking about Beyonce’s latest outfit when the refugee crisis is blotting Europe or the Republican health care plan threatens the Affordable Care Act? Or my mental health issues are strangle-holding me into submission?"
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Just Right: OCD and Kids

Landon was a bright intelligent child. He had excelled academically and also enjoyed sports. However, OCD appeared to be getting in the way of his life. There were times when he could not get out of bed because the thought of having to get dressed overwhelmed him. His socks needed to feel just right as well as his shirt and pants. He would repeat the behaviors until he felt just right about it. He seemed to be late to school every day.

Things in his room had to be just so. He would be angry and become aggressive when he noticed someone had been in his room. New belongings were challenging as well. When his parents bought him new items such as a backpack, shoes, or clothes, he refused to use or wear them. He quit violin lessons because playing the wrong notes distressed him. His parents felt helpless and lost.
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OCD Awareness Week 2017

The 9th-annual OCD Awareness Week begins today.

It always takes place during the second week in October with the purpose of raising awareness and understanding of OCD and related disorders, as well as the appropriate treatment. Many people with obsessive-compulsive disorder know that finding the right help is often one of the toughest battles in the fight against OCD.

Some estimates say it can take as long as 14-17 years from the onset of symptoms to get a correct diagnosis and treatment. Though my family didn't realize it at the time, my son was one of the lucky ones -- it took about two years after his diagnosis to get him the right help.

While that's "not bad" in terms of OCD treatment, it is still much too long. It should have taken days, maybe weeks, but certainly not two years.
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Anxiety and Panic

25 Quotes that Will Help You Face Your Fears

We often poke fun at our fears, but for many people, fear gets in the way of well-being and compromises quality of life.

An estimated 8.7 percent of Americans, or 19.2 million people, suffer from a specific phobia like glossophobia (fear of public speaking) or necrophobia (fear of death). Even if you don’t have a specific phobia, you can probably appreciate that feeling of fear that blows in like a severe storm, interrupting your daily responsibilities and robbing you of your enthusiasm for life.
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