Hi, I am Vanessa Celis and I consider myself a loving and compassionate person. You can usually find me reading or writing prose and poetry. I identify as pansexual and support the lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) community one hundred percent. I’m Hispanic, vegan, a feminist, and a lover of animals.

I also suffer from depression and anxiety, but I am trying my best to not let it define me. Keep reading »

Greetings! My name is Charity Barrett and I am eager to start posting in the Work and Depression or Bipolar blog. I am passionate about participating in things involving the mental health community because it is too often overlooked, underestimated and misunderstood and I struggle with depression myself. Keep reading »

This week my life closely resembles one of those old country western songs. You know the ones. Basically everything that could go wrong has, and even the dog doesn’t want to get close to me.

I’m sitting alone in my four bedroom home, contemplating the condition of my life and wondering just where this is taking me.

I’m very fortunate that I have people in my life, specifically my wife and kids, who truly love me. They love me enough to tell me I need help and they want me to get it. Until I do, they’ve decided that for their own well being, they think living apart from me is the best thing for them right now.

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As of this writing, I live with my wife. But before I lived with her, I had a variety living situations, including living alone and with a roommate. Anxiety and panic attacks occurring at home are fairly common for many of us with anxiety disorders and disorders don’t much care what your personal living situation is.

Panic and anxiety attacks in public present a special kind of frustration because, in addition to the attack, we have to deal with the embarrassment of being sick in public. Even during my worst panic attack in a public forum, I was still concerned with what others thought of me and whether or not they were judging me.

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I became suicidal while on active duty in the Army. What happened next was a classic example of how not to help a suicidal person. Keep reading »

I spent nine months on the borderline personality disorder (BPD) unit at Larue Carter Memorial Hospital in Indianapolis. At the time, it was the only inpatient unit specializing in schema therapy for BPD in the country. Recently I learned that this unit, which changed and probably saved my life, is now closed. It made me think about what happens to patients when psychiatric hospitals close–it rarely ends well. Keep reading »

When it comes to my recovery from anorexia, like in a lot of areas of my life, I strive to be fiercely independent. Imagine a petulant toddler yelling, “I do it self!” at the top of her lungs and pushing people away while simultaneously crying because she can’t actually “do it self.” Excellent. You have just drawn yourself a picture of my first three years of recovery failures.

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Have you read the story of Bluebeard? In short, Bluebeard marries a naïve girl and gives her all the keys to his castle, but tells her to never use the tiny key with the beautiful scroll top. So, of course, the girl seeks the door the key will open. She unlocks the door and sees the dead bodies of Bluebeard’s former wives. In some versions, the girl escapes Bluebeard’s wrath and in others she dies.

Initially, I equated the story of Bluebeard’s wife with myself as a formerly abused woman. After reading Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D., I agree with the author that Bluebeard is the voice in our heads that traps us in abusive relationships (and many other foul situations). Keep reading »

Early in recovery, a young woman who had gotten sober several years before me gave me some good advice. She said that when I felt like drinking, I should make a list of possible actions I could pursue and rank them in order from least destructive to most destructive. Actions such as praying or taking a bath would probably rank high on the list, while drinking and suicide would come in last. In the middle, I might list such things as shirking responsibilities to watch TV all day or going on a reasonable shopping spree. (I should mention, I have not struggled with shopping addiction.) When I felt the urge to drink or use, I was to start at the top of the list and work my way down.
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As parents of children with mental illness, we witness extremely bad behavior. We know it is not okay to be disrespectful or put holes in walls. Yet, traditional discipline methods don’t work. We become desperate for effective parenting tools for our kids.

The key is to understand what is driving the bad behavior. Is it the kid or the mental illness? Keep reading »