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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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Agitation

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

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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Caregivers

OCD & Exhaustion

When my son Dan’s obsessive-compulsive disorder was severe, he was always exhausted. At first, I attributed his lack of energy to the fact that he rarely slept well. But it soon became obvious, even when sleeping was not an issue, that he always felt tired.

Why?

I think there are many reasons why those with obsessive-compulsive disorder are often exhausted. Living with nonstop anxiety can be draining. Many people with OCD are also depressed, and depression and lack of energy often go hand in hand. Additionally, some medications used to treat OCD are known to cause fatigue.
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Bipolar

A Chemical Hiccup: Medicated Oblivion and Art

“I want to hold you in a warm Atlantic,
A sea of my own making, a meringue of lapis wine.”
It is bedtime, and I have swallowed my evening cocktail of bipolar drugs: 300 mg of Seroquel, the Lamictal, and, of course, the Clonazepam. The Seroquel silence is seeping in. I have about 20 minutes on this dead-end road. Soon, I will fall asleep, content and comfortable, a pleasant and sleeping “high-functioning bipolar,” but I will not get to think about what happens to that person in the warm waves of the Atlantic or find the rhythm that goes with my lapis wine.

Instead, I will forget about the beginnings of my poem in my own happy oblivion, and tomorrow I will pay the bills, maybe watch my favorite show on Netflix, and I will stop trying to knit these words together.
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Anxiety and Panic

The Long Journey Home

Nearly three months ago, I found myself quietly celebrating an anniversary that very few people knew about. I really didn’t want to give it too much attention to be honest. I wanted to avoid triggering thoughts that would take me back to those moments when life wasn’t so great. However, as I sat with my computer I began to remember and I actually smiled.

Prior to 2016, I had lived with family members for over 7 years. After being hospitalized for my mental health condition, I was unable to maintain consistent employment, provide for my daughter, or live alone. It was challenging to find the right combination of medication, self-care techniques, social supports, faith guidance, and therapeutic connections that would allow me to regain my self-sufficiency. In addition, I lived in constant fear of failing.
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Caregivers

OCD and Shopping Anxiety

By the time my son Dan entered a residential treatment center for OCD, he was barely functioning. Using exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy he tackled his hierarchy (a list of anxiety-provoking situations created by the person with OCD), and slowly but surely regained his life.

During his stay, one of his exposures was to go on shopping trips and make purchases. All types of shopping proved difficult for him -- buying groceries and necessities, clothing, etc. But the more expensive purchases, particularly if they were for himself, seemed to be the most stressful.

But he did it. And he felt the overwhelming anxiety. And he refrained from doing compulsions. Over and over again until shopping was no longer an issue for him.
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Anorexia

Gender Differences: Some Thoughts on Female Embodiment and Disordered Eating


In September 2016, Psychology Today ran a cover story about narcissism. The accompanying visual was of a young, white, conventionally attractive woman preening into her cellphone. She was wearing a tight little mini skirt and had the body of a fashion model. Leaving aside the tedious misogyny of this image -- with some difficulty, but that’s not what this article is about -- I do want to say something about the host of assumptions about women and their bodies encoded in this image.

What are those assumptions? That stereotypically attractive women (that is, women who are white, young, small, and in clothing that reveals their bodies) are vain and narcissistic; and that such women gleefully use their physicality as a commodity to promote themselves. The image both uses and enforces the idea that female-bodied beauty takes a specific form. It also both uses and enforces the connection between women and their bodies as social capital, and moreover as social capital that women themselves delight in and profit from. The realities of rape culture, of the ways women are objectified and commodified and tacitly understood to be cultural property, and the toll this takes on the personhood of so many women, these realities are actively denied by this image.
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Antidepressant

Can Anxiety and Panic Disorder Cause Depression if Left Untreated?

Mental health problems are infamously complicated. Although psychologists have a successful guidebook to identify and diagnose mental illness, those manuals are merely suggestions for treatment -- and can't predict exactly how you experience your psychological and emotional well-being. With that in mind, some people experience multiple forms of mental health disorders, often in various degrees. If somebody has several mental health conditions, it's known as "comorbidity," and anxiety and depression are the two most related diagnoses.

What Is Anxiety?
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Books

Psychology Around the Net: September 30, 2017


Ah, the leaves are changing and the air's getting crisper...goodbye September! I can't say I'll miss you (you kind of whizzed right on by?!) and October is my favorite month anyway!

This week's Psychology Around the Net covers the real psychology behind taking a knee, what really creates the "grit" personality trait, why some people don't need to hear "I love you" in relationships, and more.

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