I worry my son will end up in jail. This is ironic because my son is a rigid rule follower. He attends a small college prep high school and plays basketball. He’s a good kid. But, he’s a good kid with a serious mental illness. Keep reading »

I never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude. ~ Henry David Thoreau

A Positive Spin on Solitude

Do you savor your solitude? Can you recall the last time you intentionally sought out an opportunity to be alone? What does solitude mean to you?

Solitude simply means seclusion, quiet, and privacy. Some find solitude undesirable and even depressing. Others view it as an opportunity to reflect and discover spiritual enlightenment. Putting a positive spin on solitude creates an invitation for us to withdraw from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. Solitude is a call to action to simply spend quiet time away from the commotion of places and people abuzz. It is an opportunity for deep reflection about your self, happiness, purpose and contribution in this world. Keep reading »

This week was filled with many memories and thoughts – some negative and some positive. Being that World Suicide Prevention Day was September 10th and the week in its entirety is National Suicide Prevention Week, many people were probably grieving lost ones and thinking about those who had been suicidal in the past. Many also grieved over lost loved ones who passed on September 11th when the towers fell.

This week has been a reminder that spreading awareness about beliefs close to your heart is important and necessary. It’s necessary because by speaking your thoughts, other people who agree with those thoughts will become supportive and jump on the train. Suicide is something that not only those who self-harm may struggle with, but something that many people with mental illness too struggle with. Keep reading »

The four categories of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms are re-experiencing, avoidance, negative changes in thoughts and beliefs and hyperarousal (feeling keyed up). I’ve talked about the first two categories already and, so, today I want to discuss the changes in thoughts and beliefs associated with combat PTSD. Keep reading »

Fear of public speaking is ranked higher than death in many surveys. For many people, just thinking about speaking in front of a group causes them to break out in a sweat, feel symptoms of an anxiety attack coming on or appear like they have seen a ghost; they become paralyzed by fear. Don’t be afraid of public speaking, even if you haven’t had the best experiences in the past. It takes some practice and a change in thinking patterns to really feel confident and comfortable speaking in public. Keep reading »

National Suicide Prevention Week stirs up a lot of emotion in me. I rarely involve myself in suicide awareness activities, most of which occur annually this week in early September. Depression is something I am eager to talk about with anyone but I’m not ready to share my suicide stories or hear others’ suicide stories in a public venue yet. Keep reading »

Psychologist Helen Block Lewis said, “Guilt is about doing. Shame is about being.” In fact, shame is an emotion that is tied not to a specific behavior but instead to whom you feel you are deep inside. Most often it comes from an imagined defect in who you are. That’s right, imagined. Trauma creates so many lies, myths and distortions it’s easy to lose sight of fact and reality. That’s when shame can really sink its teeth and start shaking you around. Keep reading »

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty . . . whoa, did you see that squirrel run across that wall, well, I guess it’s a fence, chasing . . . eggs . . . I need to go to the grocery store because we have no food because I keep forgetting to go and I’m tired of fast food . . . that squirrel was fast and he’s gone . . . I love fall . . . I keep forgetting to schedule my daughter’s senior pictures.

Wait. What was I doing? Oh yeah, reading this nursery rhyme.

Ugh! How am I going to be able to hold down a job if I can’t even read a stupid nursery rhyme? I guess I wouldn’t have to remember going to the store then because I wouldn’t have any money. I’m so useless. How am I supposed to concentrate when there’s so much pressure in my head? Make it stop! What is wrong with me? Keep reading »

On World Suicide Prevention Day, let me start with the good news: suicide is preventable.

That exact thought, however, haunts a family that has lost a loved one to suicide. The regrets are undeniable. There is a plethora of what-ifs and should-haves that nag at you from within; the guilt is unbearable. Looking back, we see so much that could’ve been done. In hindsight, you might even be able to pick the exact day, the exact hour, the minute, the second, where if you had looked a little harder, spoken a different word, been a different person, well, you just might have changed it all. Looking back, the signs are so obvious, but in reality, the answers are never that clear. Families, living their ordinary lives, doing their ordinary things are not at all equipped to deal with the extraordinary task of saving a loved one from suicide. Most of the times, they aren’t even aware.

I wasn’t aware. Keep reading »

When struggling with a mental health or substance abuse disorder, there are a variety of treatment methods available. One of the most commonly known methods that is used at many different locations and in all levels of treatment is group therapy. Group therapy is a form of psychosocial treatment in which a small group of patients meet regularly with a therapist to talk, interact, and discuss current problems with one another. Keep reading »