Anxiety and Panic

Can Music Offer Hope In Coping with Depression? It Depends

Music can change the world because it can change people. - Bono

New research shows that people with depression use music in different ways depending on their styles of coping. Music has long been known as a source of comfort, bonding, and mood enhancement. It can strengthen social bonds by encouraging expression and can be an important vehicle strengthening social relationships throughout our lives. But it may also keep listeners ruminating when they are depressed.
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Disorders

My Life with Trichotillomania (Hair Pulling)

“Truth is I cut my hair for freedom, not for beauty.”  ~Chrisette Michele

When I was about 13 years old -- 27 or so years ago -- I decided to grow a ponytail.

Before that, my parents chose my hair style and kept it short. At the time, I just wanted to look like my 80s hair band heroes. I didn’t expect the decision to grow my hair out would expose the very first noticeable symptom of mental illness.
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Happiness

The Joys of Changing Your Perspective

When we talk about skills for taking care of our mental health, we often talk about things like practicing self-care, eliminating stress from our lives, and being able to seek support from others.

There’s another powerful skill, though, that has more to do with what you think than what you do: changing your perspective.
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Aging

Video: Medical Conditions That Can Cause Psychiatric Symptoms

It seems like common sense that psychological problems require psychological solutions. If anxiety is interfering in your life, then surely the appropriate treatment is psychotherapy or anxiety medication, right?

In reality, though, other medical conditions can sometimes masquerade as psychiatric conditions. Hyperthyroidism can cause anxiety, and vitamin B-12 deficiency can cause paranoia, to give only two examples.
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Depression

Inertia and Self-Care

You’re feeling down. Your energy is lagging. Going out and engaging with the world seems like so much work. Here are some ways you might think about addressing this state of affairs:

Eating an entire carton of ice cream
Going on a Netflix binge
Just going back to sleep

You’ve got to take care of yourself, right? Surely one of these things will revitalize you.
Ha, only kidding! If you’re anything like...
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Bipolar

You’re Depressed, But Are You Depressed Depressed?

Depression is a slippery word. Like many mental health terms, the way people use it in everyday speech doesn’t always line up with the clinical meaning of the word.

We might say: "This year’s presidential election is depressing." It’s understood, of course, that we aren’t literally claiming the electoral process has triggered a serious mood disorder that’s interfering with our day-to-day functioning.

In other cases, the line between colloquial "depression" and clinical depression gets a little more subtle. What’s the difference between being depressed and having a really bad day -- or a really bad month for that matter?
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Self-Help

Video: Constructive and Destructive Perfectionism

When does perfectionism go from being a good thing to a bad thing? I'm not sure there's a perfect answer to this question -- but I'm going to keep looking for one.

As a writer, one way I think about perfectionism in the context of creating something new.

Sometimes when I'm writing I'll rework a sentence several times before I feel like I've found the words that express what I'm trying to say. This tinkering with words can become a little perfectionistic, but not necessarily in a bad way. If I just wrote down every sentence that popped into my head without a second thought, reading these blog posts would be a very different experience.
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