Dreams

Brain and Mental Health Benefits of Dreaming


I’ve always been fascinated by dreaming and the science of dreams. My dreams are so vivid and realistic it really feels like I enter another world when I sleep. The other night I had a dream that I was sitting on a boat in the middle of a lake, watching the sunrise. In that moment, I felt calm, relaxed and completely at peace. Such a therapeutic and healing experience, I woke up happy, and I took that feeling with me the rest of the day.

Continue Reading

Bipolar

No Matter Your Age, Never Say Goodbye to Play

In recent months, physical, playful activity has been the only way out of painful rumination for me, providing a temporary respite from debilitating depression. Its transformative power is surprising to me for its ability to help me manage my emotions.

Evolutionary biologist and animal behavioral specialist Marc Bekoff, PhD, once said that “play is training for the unexpected.”

And psychiatrist and play expert Stuart Brown, MD, said, “Those who play rarely become brittle in the face of stress or lose the healing capacity for humor.”
Continue Reading

Addiction

When Internet Shopping Is an Impulse Control Disorder

For me, the danger zone is online book sellers. There have been evenings when I’ve gone looking for a particular book. With one click, it’s on its way to me. Fine. But then there are always pictures of book jackets strung across the bottom of the page: “People who bought this book also bought. . .”

“Oh”, think I. “That one looks interesting.” Click. “Oh, that one looks like it would be very helpful.” Click. “Hmm. I wonder how that writer approached the subject.” Click.  “Ah. This one is used but in “like new” condition for half price. That’s a great deal!” Click.
Continue Reading

ADHD and ADD

Special Needs Parents: Taking It Day by Day

Most parents of special needs children are concerned about their kids’ distant future. What about college? Will they be employable? What will they do for the long haul? Will they find someone to love? Will they have a family? Who will take care of them when I’m gone?  

I, on the other hand, live day to day. I don’t worry about ten, twenty or thirty years from now. I’m so engrossed in the moment -- basic survival -- that I don’t project our lives into the future.

There are a few reasons for this.
Continue Reading

Bipolar

How to Make a Decision When You’re Depressed

Paper or plastic?

For here or to go?

Cash or credit?

These are simple questions that most people don’t think twice about. But to a person in the midst of a depressive episode, answering any one of these queries can be utter torture. I've sat there looking at a grocery cashier like a deer in the headlights, tormented by the choice between a paper bag and a plastic bag -- as though the rest of my life depended on the decision between which kind of material would transport my eggs and granola to my car.

The inability to make a decision is one of the most infuriating symptoms of depression.
Continue Reading

Family

The Art of Talking

I met my husband, Steve, in 1994.

We went out to dinner on a blind date. Strangely enough, I had the feeling when I met him that I was going to marry him. We wed three years later. This year we’re celebrating our 20-year wedding anniversary.

Back in 2003, when we were trying to adopt a baby, a social worker told us that we needed to learn how to communicate better with each other. My husband was quiet by nature, and I didn’t want to make him talk if he didn’t want to speak; consequently, a lot went unsaid.
Continue Reading

Money and Financial

The Not So Scientific Method

Law degree at 28; blossoming legal career at 35; smiling family at 40.

Or so I thought. Somehow my tickin’ clock overlooked the Great Recession, mind-numbing legal positions, and familial strife.

Entering law school in 2004 (with a forceful push from an overbearing father), I scuffled my way to the bloated middle of the class. While I enjoyed law school’s intellectual challenge, the coursework was drier than your average late-night comedian. And while I formed genuine relationships with law school classmates, our conversations centered on esoteric legal principles and condescending law school professors.
Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

Cinematherapy: The Healing Power of Movies and TV

A picture may very well be worth a thousand words. A motion picture? Maybe even more than that.

In a March 2016 article for Counseling Today, Bronwyn Robertson, a counselor and member of the American Counseling Association, writes: 1
Barely able to breathe, a young man battling a panic attack hesitantly enters the group room and makes his way to an empty chair. He and a dozen others “check in” and are then guided through a simple, calming breathing exercise. The lights are...
Continue Reading

Addiction

Could Low Progesterone Contribute to Addiction?


When I had six years sober, my husband and I decided to get pregnant. I quit the birth control pill and entered the darkest depression of my life.

I wasn’t surprised when the test results came back. After three chemical pregnancies and one miscarriage, it was clear that I was having trouble getting pregnant. But what I didn’t expect was that my fertility troubles might be related to my past struggles with addiction. And what was that common ground? A lack of progesterone.

Continue Reading

General

How to Nourish Your Soul

For me writing is nourishment. Writing an article. Writing in my notebook. Writing down a poignant quote.

Reading a stunning, sincere sentence is also nourishment. So is having a heart-to-heart with my husband. So is stopping and staring at the sky, trying to grasp and appreciate the mystery and beauty of the stars. So is singing to my daughter. So is solitude and a haunting melody. So is sketching, however clumsy and amateurish it might look.

All these things reach something deep within me. All these things nourish my soul.
Continue Reading

Best of Our Blogs

How to Stop Taking Yourself So Seriously

“The one serious conviction that a man should have is that nothing is to be taken too seriously.” – Samuel Butler
Do you think of yourself as a serious person? Do you find little to laugh about or is it difficult to let yourself go and enjoy what you’re doing, who you’re with, what you must look forward to tomorrow? There’s a difference between being thoughtful and earnest and being serious. I like to think that seriousness must involve an important situation or problem, not a demeanor I want to portray on an everyday basis. Some might say that I’m too easygoing, but that’s not it, either. I simply want to take life as it comes, do the best I can, and be hopeful and positive in the process.
Continue Reading

Marriage and Divorce

A Successful Relationship Requires Complete Authenticity


It's time to get real.

Recently I was at Sex Geek Conservatory with Reid Mihalko of ReidAboutSex and Cathy Vartuli of The Intimacy Dojo. They had us do an exercise in which we took two minutes each to teach one simple concept.

As I thought about the concept I would teach, I realized that the most important piece of relationship advice I could give to someone who wants to be happy would be the advice to always be yourself and to always be authentic in all aspects of your life, and especially in your romantic relationships.
Continue Reading