Bipolar

Podcast: Should Religious Figures Give Advice on Mental Illness?

In this episode of the Psych Central Show, hosts Gabe Howard and Vincent M. Wales welcome Katie Dale, a young woman with bipolar disorder who was convinced by a pastor to discontinue her medication and instead put her faith in God to heal her.

Unsurprisingly, going off her meds plunged Katie into a serious bipolar episode. She resumed her medications and has been living well ever since.

Katie shares with listeners a touching, yet very pointed letter that she wrote to this pastor explaining how she understood his motives. But, she cautions, this doesn’t change the fact that his advice was harmful.
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Children and Teens

The Happiness You Want for Your Child May Not Be Real Happiness

At the slightest hint of unhappiness from a child, parents move to fix it -- it’s a mental act, and it’s natural, human, and typical.

Why would we rather watch our kids suffer when we can put a smile on their faces? Ask most parents what they desire for their children, they will say, “I want my kids to be happy.” While our intention is valid, it sometimes becomes our obsession and influences how we interact with them and every decision we make to see them happy.
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Mindfulness

The Active Practice of Unconditional Love

“Unconditional love really exists in each of us. It is part of our deep inner being. It is not so much an active emotion as a state of being. It's not 'I love you' for this or that reason, not 'I love you if you love me.' It's love for no reason, love without an object.” - Ram Dass
This quote by treasured spiritual teacher Ram Dass (a.k.a. Richard Alpert. Ph.D.), who was a Harvard professor in the 1960’s, echoes with the ideal that people hold when speaking of this concept.

We learn from an early age, that approval and affirmation come with a price tag. We are told to be good, follow the rules, be seen and not heard, do for others, and refrain from selfishness and all will be well in each area of our lives. As we mature, we find that it may not always be so.
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Bipolar

Shopping ‘Therapy’ Only Gets You So Far

For many people, when things get tough and they feel down, if they can afford it, they go shopping. I know I do. And because I have a mood disorder (bipolar illness), I’m especially prone to feeling bad quite often. I don’t spend an exorbitant amount of money at a time. Maybe $30.00 or $40.00. But I do spend. The last time I shopped when I was depressed I bought a nightshirt that said “Don’t Wake Me I’m Dreaming,” a coffee cup that said “Call Your Mother,” some socks and an artificial purple orchid.  All to the tune of about $45.00.  TJ Maxx to the rescue.

But I’m learning that shopping “therapy” only gets you so far.
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ADHD and ADD

How I Healed My Inner Child

Growing older does not mean we’ve actually grown “up.” Aging chronologically and mentally are two very different things, as my young adult life so brilliantly demonstrated.

I was completely out of control: alcohol abuse, depression, and if I didn’t get my way, throwing temper tantrums that would make a three year old blush. Well into my twenties, I had the mentality of a rebellious child.

And while I was well aware that my dysfunctional childhood was at the root of my behavior, I had no idea how to rectify this part of me that had been around for almost as long as I had been.
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Creativity

10 Ways to Get Your Creative Juices Flowing Again

“Creativity is God’s will for us and should be practiced like any other spiritual practice -- one day at a time.” - Julia Cameron
As a child, being creative is a natural part of everyday life. From drawing, finger painting and crafting in kindergarten to playing with toys, dressing up or just letting it all go at recess, our society gives kids full permission to be imaginative and express themselves. In many educational systems, creativity is considered an essential part of healthy childhood development.

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General

Why Radical Decency Is Even More Essential Now

Each day since the new administration entered the White House, questions of personal, cultural, and systemic values have swirled about like so many grains of sand in a tempest. They are unlikely to settle down anytime soon. The winds of change are blowing and it is still unclear where we will land. One thing for certain is that it is a bumpy ride.

On either end of the political spectrum, people have been called to examine where they stand and what they stand up for. Complacency, closed eyes, minds, and hearts are a luxury we no longer have.
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General

Two Essential Factors for Effective Communication

Couples often enter my office complaining about a communication problem. Oftentimes, this is true. But there are two more fundamental issues that are often hidden. When uncovered, it can help move relationships from an impasse to deeper intimacy.

The Mindfulness Factor

We can communicate only to the extent to which we’re aware of what we’re experiencing inside. It takes a hefty dose of mindfulness to notice what we’re actually experiencing.

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