Psychology

Not All Screams Are Heard

“Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.”
~ Sigmund Freud
Concerning pain, there are two ways in which human beings are biologically programmed: To demonstrate our own, and to respond to that of others.
Continue Reading

General

Choice, Indecision, and Guilt

Any time we make a choice, we choose one thing and not another. One path is taken; another is abandoned. One choice lives, another dies. Why do I say dies? The Latin root of “decide” is “de-cidere.” The meaning of “cidere” is “to kill,” as in homicide and suicide. Every choice is a murder. To avoid this murder, we may keep ourselves stuck in indecision. Thus, to avoid indecision, we must bear the guilt of killing a choice.
Continue Reading

Family

Surviving Infidelity Requires the Partner Who Strayed to Feel Genuine Remorse

There are many practical reasons why men and women who have an affair outside of their committed relationships might wish to reverse course, reconcile, and move forward with their legitimate partner.

Affairs frequently turn messy and almost always leave emotional destruction in their wake, especially if children are caught in the middle. Children too, have many issues when their family is afflicted with infidelity.
Continue Reading

Borderline Personality

Experience the Freedom of Living in the Present: DBT Skills Anyone Can Use

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a highly effective evidence-based treatment that was originally developed by Marsha Linehan in the late 1980s for the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder (Linehan, 1993). Today, it is used for the treatment of a variety of mental health issues such as depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, substance dependence, and eating disorders.
Continue Reading

Anger

Borderline To-Do List

To my psychiatrist…who questioned my motives…and was right.

I have had so many psychiatric hospitalizations. So. Many. It’s a hazard of being Borderline, and we both know it. What we DON’T know…is how to make it stop.

Several weeks ago, you and I had a talk about how I act in the hospital. We talked about the behaviors that I consistently display on the unit, and why oh WHY it is that I keep doing these “crazy” things.
Continue Reading

Brain and Behavior

Suddenly, VC Guy Notices Mental Health Care

The quality and resources available to mental health care and treatment in the United States has been on the downswing since the 1980s. It started with the closing of government-run state psychiatric hospitals (putting our most at-need patients at risk, and often, on the streets), without the government offering a comprehensive network of community-based care to take their place.

Then managed care -- companies driven by profit and greed -- came along and mid-level managers with no mental health background started dictating exactly what kind of mental health treatment was appropriate to which patients.

Now we live in a time where venture capital (VC) firms believe that technology can magically solve many of the ills connected with receiving high-quality, timely mental health care. But of course, like the managed care companies that came before them, many too are simply driven by potential profits and their return on investment, all the while offering the "solution" of lower-quality, shoddier care.

Continue Reading

General

On the Destructive Belief That No One Can Make Us Feel Anything

When I studied psychology back in the day, Fritz Perls was very popular. I felt a new sense of empowerment reading his compelling writing about “owning” the self and developing radical self-reliance -- moving from environment support to self-support.

Perls’ views may have been what the doctor ordered when social values encouraged being agreeable and placating others rather than honoring our experience (our feelings and wants) and staying connected to ourselves. Perls cajoled, jolted, and perhaps even shamed people into becoming self-reliant and self-sufficient. One popular view was “No one has or ever will make you feel anything.”

Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

Am I Normal or Nuts?

Oh, it’s so easy for people to attach pejorative labels onto individual quirks. So, if you’ve been wondering (or been told), you’re nuts, weird or wacko, listen up! None of us is as “normal” as we seem. We all have mannerisms that are a bit quirky; traits that are a bit peculiar; idiosyncrasies that make us -- us. So, are you normal or nuts?

Oh wait a minute, I’ve goofed; “nuts” is not politically correct! Forgive me! Before I get a slew of hate e-mails, I’ll correct myself. Are you normal? Or, do you “suffer” from a “disorder” for which you need treatment, often with prescribed drugs?
Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

When Worrying Takes Over

There are many worriers out there: The man who constantly worries about whether he has or will get cancer or another terrible disease. The woman who lies awake at night, fearing that she will never meet the right one. The grandmother who can’t let go of the idea that the plane with her grandchildren on board might crash. The employee who can’t concentrate because he fears he may have made a mistake that will cost him his job.

They are all different, but worriers also have a lot in common: Unconsciously, they see worrying as a useful strategy to get prepared and gain control.
Continue Reading