Chris T. (actual person, name has been changed) has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. One of the ways his bipolar manifests is hypersexuality. This symptom drives Chris to act out sexually. He’s a married man and over the years has had two extramarital relationships. He has come perilously close on more than one occasion to losing his entire family.

“The question of balancing the illness with accountability is not just an abstract question to me,” says Chris’s wife, Millie.

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On 9/11 I was living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I was already deep into years of my posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) struggle. At the time of the attacks I was “sleeping late” due to my all-night insomnia. What woke me that morning was the enormous number of sirens careening down Broadway just outside my window. I lived one block from a firehouse and the amount of activity from their garage and on the street was deafening.

I sprang out of bed with my heart pounding. I’d been sensitizing my amygdala for years, so it took very little for me to have an exaggerated startle response and a quick emotional reaction when things out of the ordinary occurred. I turned on the radio and then the TV and watched as the drama unfolded.

New York is a tough city, but that day, a new type of survivorship had just begun. Keep reading »

One day, an older gentleman in his mid-60s walked up to me and asked me about the shirt I was wearing, which featured a bipolar emoticon. It is the same shirt I wore in my first HealthyPlace video blog.

In this audio blog, I share a conversation I had with a Vietnam veteran about his sister and how he felt about her anxiety, panic disorder, and agoraphobia. His feelings were surprising as well as inspiring.

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Three times a week, I go to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings and say “My name is Becky, and I’m an alcoholic.” I’ve been doing this for a little more than a year now, and the further along I get in sobriety, the more I learn. There are many myths about alcoholism, some of which I’m still learning to accept as myths. But recognizing these myths as such is crucial to recovery from addiction. Keep reading »

Today is the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings and there are many stories going around right now about the resilience and the success of the people who had to survive that experience. And that’s great. Spreading a positive mental health message through the media is something that I welcome considering it’s so often the negative that gets promoted.

But a reader of mine emailed me today and asked, “Aren’t there any people who aren’t doing well?”

I want to reassure this reader that absolutely, there are people hurting today – anniversaries can be very hard for people and some people are suffering today because of the tragic events of the Boston Marathon bombings. Keep reading »

Stress is common for any parent, especially when parenting a child with mental illness. But did you know that stress affects kids, too? According to BrownieLocks.com, April 16th is National Stress Awareness Day. The Center for Disease Control states that “stress is a condition that is often characterized by symptoms of physical or emotional tension. It is a reaction to a situation where a person feels threatened or anxious. Stress can be positive (e.g., preparing for a wedding) or negative (e.g., dealing with a natural disaster).”

Kids experience stress due to school, home and other on-going events. But, in my work I have found that kids with mental illness are very sensitive to stress. Even the positive stress that most kids deal with at home or in school. Here are some tips to help you to parent a child with a mental illness dealing with stress. Keep reading »

Having a loved one enter a rehab program for their drug or alcohol addiction can be a difficult time for everyone involved. As a family member, you are likely facing a number of different emotions and may be struggling with some concerns about how effective the addiction treatment program is going to be for your loved one. Additionally, some rehab programs will not allow your loved one to have contact with the outside world during the initial stages of the program. This can be especially hard for family members, however it is essential to helping your loved one or family member concentrate all of his or her energy on getting sober with as few distractions as possible. Keep reading »

Adult attention-deficity/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can make boring tasks seem extra boring. We’re all adults here (unless you’re a kiddo – in that case, you can have boring, adult tasks to look forward to) and we all have chores that we typically do not receive any allowance money for. I never got an allowance when I was a kid and it seemed so unfair when my friends got a few dollars every week for just being their parents’ kid. As adults, what do we get for completing boring, required, necessary, horrible, daily tasks? How about a gold medal?! Keep reading »

Sometimes the signs we find that tell us to stop self-harming are tragic. Many people see the death of a loved one or a disease stricken friend as a symbol to move forward and away from your own demons. I am at fault because the death of my brother was what made me stop my self-injurious behaviors.

His struggle was what made me realize that my cutting was not worth the physical pain he had been tortured with. He had been one of the few people I had discussed my self-harm with and knowing he had been through so much pain, not caused by himself, made me almost feel selfish.

Yes, my brother’s death was the tragic sign I needed to stop cutting. But now, looking around, I see so many other symbols that could have helped me stop. Keep reading »

My depression symptoms are a big part of me and I hate them. Ergo, I hate a big part of me. Wait! That can’t be right, can it?

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