On Understanding Combat PTSD I focus on the issues surrounding combat posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), often from a medical perspective. However, there are many people that have views on combat PTSD outside of doctors. Of course, veterans are one of these groups and some veterans (and others) might argue that PTSD is not, in fact, a disorder. Why would people think that? Keep reading »

Navy veteran Scott Panetti was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1978 and hospitalized 14 times for the disorder. In 1992, he suffered a psychotic break and killed his wife’s parents, telling the police that “Sarge” did it and demons were laughing at him. Amazingly, he was allowed to represent himself, and passed up a plea deal that would have saved his life. At his trial, he wore a cowboy suit, subpoenaed Jesus Christ, the Pope and President Kennedy, and argued that only an insane person could prove the insanity defense. He was sentenced to death. Keep reading »

The holiday season of 2013 was the worst of my life. I was grieving the end of a relationship. I was mourning my independence because I had to move back in with my parents. I was suicidal. I was broke. All in all, I felt like a disaster. But I got through it. I wasn’t sure I was going to, but I did. It was, however, one of the loneliest times of my life. Keep reading »

Mentally ill people don’t have a pass on life’s crises. Wouldn’t it be great if The Universe said, “You are one who suffers daily. To make it fair, I hereby declare mentally ill people should be spared from life’s hardships?”

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You change after trauma, but everyone else expects you to remain the same. Up until the day of your trauma (whether that was birth or any time afterward) the people around you have expectations for who you are, how you should behave, what you will and won’t do and that you will make choices in alignment with their agenda. The stress and pressure of these expectations can become enormously overwhelming – especially over the holidays. Keep reading »

Many people who self-harm use it as a way to distract themselves from the stressors surrounding them. By focusing on the physical harm they are doing to their body, they do not focus on what was emotionally or mentally draining them. However, self-harm is not the kind of distraction people should use when trying to redirect their negative thoughts. Keep reading »

There are a lot of catch-22s when it comes to managing anxiety. For example, many people with anxiety would feel a lot better if they could avoid anxiety triggers altogether. It is simple to say, but harder to do. Avoiding anxiety triggers isn’t always possible. Another common suggestion is to join a support group. But what if a person has too much anxiety to join a support group?

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Recently, someone visited my website asking the question, “What do I talk about in bipolar therapy?” I suspect this person hadn’t started therapy yet and was trying to psyche himself/herself up to do so by gathering background information. I understand this. It’s something I might do myself. But it is a good question, what are you supposed to talk about in front of a degree-laden stranger? This question actually comes down to two answers and it depends on what type of bipolar therapy you’re getting as to what you’re likely to talk about during a therapy appointment. Keep reading »

While not one of the nine criteria for a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder (BPD), selfishness can be a symptom of the disease. Selfishness interferes with healthy relationships, worsens risky behavior and worsens addiction–all symptoms of BPD. How do we know when we’re being selfish? There are three questions to ask. Keep reading »

In the throes of a mental illness episode, especially psychosis, the theme of God seems to appear and reoccur amongst many people, often leaving us wondering, why is that? This also causes a lot of people to sneer and stigmatize the spiritual experience of someone who has a mental illness. Is there a logical explanation why people have such life changing spiritual experiences during this time? Many people are funny about religion/spirituality and are very often put off by people that become intensely committed to God, but I often contemplate the meaning and significance behind these experiences.

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