Hi, my name is Mary Hofert. I was born and raised in a Chicago suburb and moved to Hawaii six years ago where I am currently studying law. Prior to Hawaii, I lived in a conservative area of Michigan where I started college at 18. It was there, during my first year, that I became severely depressed and sought professional, psychiatric help. Unfortunately, it took eight years of regular therapy and psychiatric care from an assortment of professionals in three states—including an inpatient admission following a suicide attempt—to find the correct diagnosis of borderline personality disorder. Keep reading »

More times than not, those who self-harm have incredibly low self-esteem and self-confidence and have an “everyone hates me” mindset. This can often route from struggles with depression and anxiety, which is common in the self-harm realm. At times, those who feel this way may stretch what they see to be the truth – meaning that while they see everyone as hating them, those around them really don’t feel that way. Since this is common amongst those who self-harm and battle mental health demons, it also means it could take many years before they begin to gain some sort of positive self-concept. Keep reading »

We all struggle with feeling confident in particular situations. Everyone has anxiety about something. For some, it can feel perfectly comfortable to talk in front of your family but speaking to the clerk at the store can be downright frightening. Whether you have to speak up, preform under pressure, or leave your house and go into the unpredictable world, the suggestions in this video will help you feel more confident in situations that make you anxious. Keep reading »

Recently TheAtlantic.com published an article titled, Should the US Bring Back Psychiatric Asylums? The article talks about the cynicism surrounding long-term psychiatric facilities, the consequences of de-institutionalization (homelessness and incarceration), as well as the need for such psychiatric facilities. So the question is, should we open more long-term psychiatric facilities? Keep reading »

If you’ve considered going to a drug or alcohol recovery meeting as a newcomer and changed your mind because you’re afraid of who might be there, you’re not alone. I’m often asked, “What kind of people come to recovery meetings? Do you feel safe there?” and so on. Mainly these questions are posed to me by people who have never seen skid-row — let alone mixed in with the “wrong crowd” or got caught up in a bar fight. Because of the stigma associated with addicts, I understand why outsiders may assume that everyone in recovery meetings are seedy, untrustworthy, and dangerous people, but most people are not like that. These personal safety tips for newcomers to recovery meetings may make you feel more safe.

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In 2012, my weight was out of control, my eating was out of control, and I had failed every diet that I had been on in the last 20 years, including a starvation diet. I was lost as to what to do next. But I went to an informational session for bariatric surgery, and let’s just say, it changed my life. Keep reading »

One of the most common symptoms of depression is a change in appetite. People who have depression either lose their appetite and eat less than they did before, or else their appetite increases and they eat more than they did before their depression started. For me, my appetite has lessened but it’s affected me a lot more than a simple reduction of hunger pangs. Depression and lack of hunger can be distressing. Keep reading »

Living with generalized anxiety disorder or social anxiety disorder can be frustrating. (And isn’t that the understatement of the century?)  We work hard to rid ourselves of anxiety, reading articles and books, participating in conversations, learning techniques to fill our anxiety toolboxes, seeing therapists, and more. Take heart: these things work and anxiety can disappear. It’s a process, though, and not a quick one. What can we do to get by while we are working on diminishing our anxiety?  Keep reading »

There is a prevalent, and false, assumption that all veterans have posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or, perhaps, all veterans who have experienced combat suffer from combat PTSD. This, though, is not the case. A recent study of United States veterans now shows quite clearly that while the rate of PTSD in veterans is high, the PTSD rate in veterans is not nearly as high in all populations. Keep reading »

Feeling misunderstood is one of the most difficult and painful things for people with mental illness. It’s difficult for most everyone, but sometimes our mental illness can make the misunderstanding even more complicated and can even contribute to mental health stigma. Has it ever happened to you? Some event transpires and you are clearly misunderstood by another person, or a group of people? Have you experienced a misunderstanding that has contributed to mental health stigma? Keep reading »