I spent some time at a psychiatric hospital that used off-duty but uniformed Marion County Sheriff’s Deputies as security. I thought this was a bad idea because many mental health consumers have had bad experiences with the police–even though I have no criminal record I have a mild fear of police officers, especially when in crisis, because I’ve seen confrontations end badly. One night, a patient refused to go to his room, and security was summoned. One deputy pulled out his can of pepper spray and yelled “You want some of this?” That’s why calling the police should be a last resort for mental health consumers in crisis, especially in hospitals. Keep reading »

If ruminating on memories of mental health stigma and discrimination haunt you, there are ways for you to stop ruminating. Taking back control when you remember events where you were stigmatized can be as simple as taking a breath. Here are some techniques to help you stop ruminating on memories of when you were ill.  Keep reading »

Writing about posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been a wonderful experience for me, but the time has come for me to say goodbye to Trauma! A PTSD Blog. I believe that people, things, and opportunities come into our lives for a reason and that sometimes, once we have learned what we need to from them, it is time to move on. This blog has done that for me, and I hope that along the way I have helped others who suffer from PTSD.

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Emotional manipulation in a friendship is toxic to your self-esteem and confidence. The worst part is that the victims are generally people who are already struggling with loving themselves or co-dependency and who often lack self-confidence. This makes it hard to recover and to protect yourself from the effects of emotional abuse. The more you know about emotional manipulation, the easier it will be to protect yourself from emotional manipulation in your friendships. Keep reading »

*** Warning: this post contains frank discussions of suicide and suicidality. ***

Feeling suicidal when you live with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder is common, and I’m no exception (Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, Suicidal Ideation). I’ve been feeling suicidal with schizoaffective disorder for over a decade—even when things are going well, the possibility of suicide has lurked in the back of my mind like a sleeping monster. And right now, not only do I have schizophrenic and schizoaffective symptoms to worry about, but the world seems to be falling apart around me. Keep reading »

Anxiety has a way of ruining relationships, making us feel unlucky in love. As anyone who has ever had a relationship involving two people and an annoying third wheel—anxiety—knows, love can be hard to feel and enjoy when anxiety gets in the way. Take heart: there are things you can do to keep anxiety from ruining your relationship. Keep reading »

Managing medical issues with dissociative disorders can include reducing stress at a doctor’s office. Doctors and hospitals can be stressful and anxiety-provoking, which can increase dissociation. For some, medical issues can even be a trigger of past trauma. So what can you do to stay healthy, manage medical issues and reduce stress at a doctor’s office with a dissociative disorder? Keep reading »

Depression requires routine to successfully cope with the illness. Because depression is not routine, it is important and beneficial to establish patterns that structure the way you live in order to combat the surprises that depression can often throw your way. I’m finding that my depression affects me more the less I follow a routine. I am less capable of bouncing back from a bad brain day; I have less control over my rapidly shifting moods; I dismiss my basic needs (Depression Does Not Eliminate Your Basic Needs). I’ve learned the hard way that living well with depression requires routine. Keep reading »

You may be able to manage self-harm urges with the Calm Harm application, or app. Recently, a counselor shared this app with me. Calm Harm, a British app, is designed to help people of all ages deal with self-harm urges. It mainly does this by inviting the user to “ride the wave”–self-harm, the app says, is like a wave–strongest when you want to do it, and then weaker with time. The app then provides suggestions, a timer, and feedback on how you handle self-injury. It’s an interesting app for anyone, but I cannot recommend it strongly enough for someone who struggles with self-injury. Here is how you can manage self-harm urges using the app. Keep reading »

Keeping a marriage together while you balance life transitions with mental illness can feel impossible. It’s taken my husband and me almost 16 years to anticipate and manage transitions in life. After many missteps, we have learned a few techniques that help our marriage with mental illness survive life’s transitions (Why Is Even Good Change Sometimes So Hard?).  Keep reading »