It took four hours to admit my 15 year old son Bob into the psychiatric hospital for suicidal ideation. It had been a long stressful day since Bob told his therapist he almost killed himself the night before. She made Bob sign a safety contract then released him to me. I tried to keep him busy and distracted, but by late afternoon he could fight no more. Bob asked me to take him to the hospital. Keep reading »

We all struggle with insecurities and maintaining confidence. Even the most confident individual feels flawed and anxious from time to time. It’s difficult to constantly look in the mirror and tell yourself how beautiful you are without finding something to bring you down. For those who have scars marking their skin, it can be more than difficult to accept the person you are and to see the strengths you hold. Keep reading »

When my brother was little, he went to school one day, climbed on top of his desk, and screamed. He didn’t say anything. He just screamed. Nobody asked him why. When he ran away from home a few years later, the pastor of our church came over, witnessed my father’s performance as a remorseful parent, and didn’t concern himself with what exactly my father had to feel so regretful about. When I was six, my mother took me to a doctor – one of my father’s colleagues – who asked her what had happened to make me bleed. I don’t remember what she told him. All I know is that it wasn’t the truth. She didn’t know the truth. Only I and my father did. And no one asked me. Of course, by then I already had dissociative identity disorder (DID). Who knows what I would’ve said if they’d asked. Keep reading »

Addiction triggers are people, places, or events that remind us of a reason we often used to drink or use drugs. Whether it’s booze on New Years, a cigarette to relieve stress when stuck in traffic, or compulsive eating at a party to soothe social anxiety, all addicts have triggers. These memories don’t necessarily cause us to drink or use, but they remind us of the elation or release we previously felt when drinking or using. This simple two-step process for identifying and reacting to addiction triggers was very helpful to me in early sobriety. (If it doesn’t resonate with you, check out our other post on 5 Ways to Approach Triggering Emotions.) Keep reading »

A few years ago I attended an information session on depression and heard one of the greatest pieces of advice about depression treatment I’ve ever heard. The therapist said, “No single person or treatment is going to help you get better. It takes a variety of treatments to get you better.”
Keep reading »

“My anxiety is spiraling out of control. I’m supposed to go to a family get-together this weekend, and I’ve had panic attacks just thinking about it. I don’t do well at these family things. I don’t think I can do it.” If this lament sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Over the years, I’ve heard this sentiment expressed more times than I can count. There are reasons that family time can exacerbate anxiety. There are also things that can be done to minimize anxiety during these times. Keep reading »

When seasons change, so do our bodies. Our bodies become shocked when temperatures go from sunny and warm to windy and cool and it often takes a toll on our physical and mental wellbeing. Sometimes allergies tend to act up and skin goes from being soft and tan to blotchy and dry. Especially during the transition from fall to winter, the flu begins to make more appearances and sinus infections become frequent. Along with physical health issues, our mental health takes a toll as well when seasons change. Keep reading »

Do you ever have days when you swear people are acting hostile, rude, or just downright weird? I’m a cashier at a grocery store, so I see all kinds of social behavior “in the wild,” so to speak. And yes, I’m aware that my anxiety can warp my perception of other people, but that can’t completely explain how some people act on occasion. Keep reading »

Have you ever heard someone say: “It doesn’t matter what your sexuality or gender is! Why label yourself?” Didn’t it feel uncomfortable and kind of, well, wrong? While I do see the implied positivity in those words, I can’t help but frown at the mere mention of them. As someone who identifies as pansexual, I find it offensive. Usually, people who are not lesbian, gay, bisexual, or questioning (LGBTQ) would say something like this. Most often, they are people who are straight or cisgender (someone whose sex matches their gender). Personally, I believe that identifying as LGBTQ is extremely important because it makes us visible rather than invisible. When we decide to come out of the shadows and embrace our true identity, it often has a positive, rewarding effect on our mental health.

Keep reading »