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Acceptance is Vital in Mental Health Recovery

Acceptance is Vital in Mental Health Recovery

The source of much of our discomfort lies in what we find unacceptable. I’m heartbroken because I don’t want to accept that person I loved is gone forever. I’m anxious because I don’t want to accept that I might actually be safe, that no one is trying to purposely hurt me. I’m sad because I have difficulty accepting that there are actually good and lovely things in this world, as well as the bad things. I don’t want to accept that I need to be on this medication now, and maybe for life. All these things, and many more, I find unacceptable.

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The Long-Term Effects of Childhood Bullying

The Long-Term Effects of Childhood Bullying

Six months ago I was in the intensive care unit (ICU) with sepsis. When I came out, my brain was significantly impaired. I couldn’t read, write or speak fluently. I’m in my 40s and suddenly everything I depended on about myself in terms of being able to communicate both personally and professionally had become enormously dysfunctional. I worried I’d never be the same.

When the neurologist and my physician visited my hospital room, I expressed how frightened I was that my brain was going to be changed forever. Immediately, the physician put my fears to rest.

“Don’t worry, you’re going to be fine,” he said. “If you were younger – if you were a child – we’d have more to be concerned about. The brain continues its original development up to the age of twenty-five. If this trauma to your brain had happened during that timeframe we wouldn’t be able to guarantee anything. But you’re old enough so that your neural networks have fully developed. All of your regular neural functions should come back within six months.”

He was right. Slowly, all of my reading, writing and speaking skills have returned. But what happens to people traumatized at a younger age? New research about childhood bullying further proves that the impact of what happens during those crucial years of brain development can last well into adulthood.

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Nightmares Can Bring You Back to Your Self-Harming Past

Nightmares Can Bring You Back to Your Self-Harming Past

I’ve been having the most frightening nightmares recently. These dreams could be due to my recent obsession with the new television show, Salem. However, some of these nightmares have been bringing me back to my years of cutting.

One thing is for sure: nightmares filled with negative flashbacks are not good for the struggling and recovering self-harmer.

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Using Sports to Explain Anxiety

Using Sports to Explain Anxiety

Many people who suffer from anxiety and panic disorder, me included, have trouble explaining to others why we are having anxiety. Folks understand the traditional “butterfly in the stomach” analogy as to what anxiety feels like and can relate to feeling anxious about visiting the dentist.

However, the part the really confuses people is how one can be anxious about something when the “something” doesn’t appear to exist.

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Dealing with Bipolar and Pressure

Dealing with Bipolar and Pressure

Last week I was in Los Angeles accepting a fairly prestigious award called the Beatrice Stern Media award. It’s an Erasing the Stigma Leadership award given out by Didi Hirsch – a large mental health charity in LA. And while I was (and am) extremely honoured to be accepting such an award, I felt serious pressure when it came time for the acceptance speech. I just kept thinking about how if I didn’t do it well, they would think they would have made a mistake in giving it to me in the first place. The organization had done all the work of flying me down there and putting me up at the Beverly Hilton all to be disappointed with the results.

And the pressure is hard on my bipolar and my bipolar tends to make the pressure worse.

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The Three Biggest Lies Addiction Tells

The Three Biggest Lies Addiction Tells

Addiction can be one of the symptoms of borderline personality disorder. In my case, alcoholism both fuels and is fuelled by my psychiatric conditions. As I’ve progressed in therapy, I’ve learned that everything addiction told me is a lie.

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Moving on from Parenting a Child with Mental Illness

Moving on from Parenting a Child with Mental Illness

Hiya readers. Moving can be a challenge. It can stress you out. It is hard to leave something behind and scary to face a different future. At some point, all of us – parents and children – go through this. For kids, it can be moving on from one grade to another, one classroom to another or even from one subject to another. For parents, it can be moving on from one job to another or from being a parent to parenting a child with mental illness. Transitions are hard, but they happen to all of us.

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Know Your Borderline Baseline to Prevent Problems

Know Your Borderline Baseline to Prevent Problems

We all know the joke that “normal” is just a setting on the dryer (it’s also a street name here in Indianapolis), but let’s face it–we have a normal (for us) mode of operation. Mental health professionals call this “baseline.” Some people have high baselines and can pass for someone who does not have a psychiatric diagnosis. Others have a low baseline and wander around in public talking to themselves–I have a few neighbors like that. But we all have a borderline baseline.

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Adult ADHD and Animal Zen

Adult ADHD and Animal Zen

This weekend I had the privilege of co-housesitting with my wife for a lovely couple with an adorable pup named Lola. Lola, being a pup, doesn’t suffer from adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), though she was as excited as I was to run circles around the dining room table with a toy in her mouth. My last final of physical therapy school was Friday, my adult ADHD having been pushed to the limit with five finals during the week, Lola provided some much needed animal Zen.

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You Are Your Own Pill to Stop Self-Harming

You Are Your Own Pill to Stop Self-Harming

I’ve always been cursed with really painful headaches and occasional dizziness. Typically, I try to push through the pain. However, recently I experienced the worst dizzy spell of my life, which sent me to the doctors. My whole body felt disoriented and my eyes were constantly in and out of focus. I felt nauseous and everything around me would not stop spinning, even when I closed my eyes.

This dreadful feeling reminded me of how our minds feel when we are trying to tell ourselves not to self-harm – our thoughts keep on spinning and twisting and all it leads to is pain.

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