Need treatment? Find help or get online counseling right now!

Anxiety and Panic

The New Normal

“On a scale of 1-10, how do you feel?”

It’s a question that most psychiatrists ask when assessing mood and medication maintenance. The scale is used to monitor feelings of anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. A patient’s response is the main test used for treatment.

But if 1 means that a person feels ecstatic, and 10 means they are suicidal, what is a 6 or a 3? What happens if a patient feels like something is wrong, but nothing has happened? Or if they can’t stop crying since their dog died last week? How much of an impact do average issues have? Are they really feeling an 8 or is the magnitude of sorrow dependent on the specific moment they are experiencing at the time? The scale has problems of its own.
Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

Requiem for a Nightmare


I am a recovering praise fiend.  

As a little boy, I would sprint home and unload my day’s events to my nonplussed mother.

“Hi, Mom, I earned an A on my English paper,” I would gush. And then my tone would drop an octave, “But I earned a B on that math quiz.” Dropping my head, I would then sulk to the kitchen table. That B would invoke a night of heavy soul-searching and, at times, self-flagellation (“What happened? How could I get a B on that math quiz?”). While amusing now -- in an awkward, semi-embarrassed way, my self-reporting entailed more than a daily academic update. It represented my unquenchable thirst for praise.
Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

Sharing Knowledge of Your Mental Health Issues

We were on Route 9 in between Kremmling and Silverthorne, Colorado. Our ultimate destination was Colorado Springs. To say that we were out in the boonies was an understatement. Mountains rose up to the right and left of us. I was enjoying the solitude when suddenly my cell phone rang.

Who could be calling me?

It was a New York City area code and a phone number that I didn’t immediately recognize. I was surprised I could even get cell phone service at this altitude.
Continue Reading

Alzheimer

Psychology Around the Net: August 26, 2017


Happy Saturday, sweet readers!

Can you believe it's the last weekend of August? I know summer doesn't technically end as soon as August is over, but...where did the summer go?!

Well, before you head out to enjoy the weekend, take some time to catch up on the science of spirituality, why having a best friend as a teenager helps develop a sense of self later in life, how winning the lottery will contribute little to your level of happiness, and more.

Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

Experiencing Goodwill


As someone who shamelessly scours Goodwill for second-hand finds, this confession is particularly painful: New is better.

New experiences -- that is. I will forever cherish my vintage t-shirts and maps.

Over the past year, I have put those vintage maps to use, traveling to five countries.

While traveling can tire (that said, I have a sneaking suspicion that you are not shedding any tears for me), fresh experiences rejuvenate -- at least anecdotally. Even when they seemingly sap every reservoir of energy and patience.
Continue Reading

Anger

Bloody Brothers: The Fraying of Sibling Relationships

Blood is thicker than water?

Well, what if the blood contains petty feuds, simmering resentments, and the occasional volcanic eruption?

Welcome to the fraught world of sibling relationships.

Spending our childhood terrorizing our Des Moines neighborhood, my brothers and I were thicker than thieves. In the family scrapbook, there are endearingly awkward photos of my brothers and me mugging with oversized tennis trophies. Or vacationing in Colorado. Or celebrating the latest family milestone. With our toothy grins, the pictures radiate a boundless joy.
Continue Reading

Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

How to Chase Away Your Summertime Blues

Does your stomach turn when the thought of summer begins? Do you feel lonely, sad, or depressed in the summer months? Is it hard for you to plan a vacation, or get some good shut eye? If so, don’t feel bad, because you are not alone. In fact, reverse SAD occurs in about less than 10% of the population during the summer months.

Most people experience Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD when winter rolls around, the more common form of SAD. But summertime reverse SAD, while temporary, and short lived, can still be very emotionally taxing for the summer months that are endured.
Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

Internet Therapy for Children with OCD

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is condition that affects about 2.2 million Americans and 750,000 people in the UK. It has two key features: thoughts that repeat themselves over and over again (called obsessive thoughts) and feeling that the person must do certain actions repeatedly (compulsions). The person thinks the thoughts are silly, but they cannot stop them. Sometimes only carrying out the actions stops the thoughts for a while. The typical example is thinking that your hands are dirty, even though you know they are not, and having to wash them repeatedly. The person can spend a huge chunk of the day carrying out these compulsions. This often makes it very difficult to function at all. This can be even more tragic when it affects a child.
Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

Speak the Evil

See no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil.

And in case you were wondering, the proverbial “evil” would be my dormant mental health issues.  

Growing up in an upper-class family in Des Moines, Iowa, mental health was an afterthought -- sandwiched in between tennis matches, gawky Homecoming dance photos, and college football Saturdays. While I struggled with perfectionism (presaging a later struggle with OCD), my mother glossed over my mental rigidity.  

“You just have high standards, Matthew,” she soothingly reassured to me and -- perhaps -- herself.
Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

Personal Foul

College football: bucolic settings, pulsating stadiums, swooning cheerleaders. And, yes, hyperventilating coaches. From an enraged Woody Hayes to a shrieking Jim Harbaugh, apoplectic coaches are more common than Natural Light on university campuses. And, at times, even more biting.

As I Netflixed my way through a Saturday night, I stumbled onto the latest “Last Chance U” documentary. “Last Chance U” takes us into the college football netherworld, specifically Scooba, Mississippi. Here we are introduced to the inimitable Buddy Stephens, the red-faced East Mississippi Community College head-coach/full-time tyrant.
Continue Reading