When you are living with a mental illness like posttraumatic stress disorder, setting and working toward specific goals is sometimes challenging. As someone who has posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), I know that there are times when my PTSD symptoms are worse than others and those times are often hard to predict. So when I set goals with PTSD, regarding either my recovery or other aspects of life, I try to keep in mind that I may have more to deal with than others who don’t suffer from a mental illness (How to Build Confidence and Achieve Your Goals).

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My therapist will be taking a leave of absence for most of January due to major surgery. We spent the last session planning what to do since we won’t be meeting for about a month. I have other people on my treatment team I can check in with, but not everyone is so fortunate. This made me realize it might be a good idea to write about how to deal with a therapist’s absence. Keep reading »

Just as anxiety can happen at any time in life, it’s possible to conquer anxiety at any time by using the stages of development. The previous two articles explored the fact that all human beings progress through distinct developmental stages, each with its own tasks and risks of failure and anxiety (Anxiety Can Happen at Any Age: Child and Teen Anxiety; Anxiety in the Adult Years: Anxiety Can Happen at Any Age). By understanding what our main developmental tasks are, we can use those stages of development to conquer anxiety at any time in life. Keep reading »

While it can be challenging there are ways to avoid bipolar mood episodes over the holidays, or minimize them at least (Why Bipolar Mood Instability Happens During the Holidays). These techniques are often the ones we use during the year but we forget about them at the holidays. Learn more about how to avoid bipolar mood episodes over the holidays. Keep reading »

Many people can find enjoying the holidays challenging, but for those with bipolar disorder, the holidays can also cause bipolar mood instability. This is a special challenge over and above what the average person faces. While average people may worry about seeing a brother who hates them or an alcoholic aunt who is a mess, people with bipolar disorder risk a bipolar relapse. Here are some of the reasons why the holidays cause bipolar mood instability for those with bipolar disorder. Keep reading »

Staying sober during the holidays can prove difficult thanks to all the merrymaking aided by large quantities of alcohol. For example, my family drinks like fish, and one year Dad gave my two brothers alcohol for Christmas. But I stayed sober even though I have a substance abuse problem, and I plan on doing it again. Here are some ways to stay sober during the holidays. Keep reading »

The stigma surrounding mental illness can be debilitating; it can even cause you to deny symptoms you need to share with your psychiatrist and treatment team (How to Talk to a Doctor About Your Mental Illness). The fact is, until you can open up to your doctor and others who are there to help you and be honest, it will be very difficult–if not impossible–for you to get the help you need.

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Obsessively healthy eating has a name, it’s orthorexia nervosa. While not clinically recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), orthorexia nervosa–literally fixation on righteous eating–is no less real to those who suffer from it. Recently I interviewed a doctor about this condition and asked her the question many people with it ask–”When did eating right become bad?” The answer–”When it becomes excessive . . . When it interferes with activities of daily living” (Eating Disorder Facts: Who Gets Eating Disorders?). For example, skipping meals because the “right” food isn’t available is not uncommon. Obsessively healthy eating — orthorexia nervosa — can be very unhealthy. Keep reading »

When you’re changing medications, it becomes very clear how much bipolar medication changes suck. Being on the first one(s) sucks and changing to the next one(s) sucks, too. And people not on medication may not get this. They may not get what it’s like to have to take medication for bipolar and they certainly may not get why bipolar medication changes suck. Keep reading »

Those of us with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder may have to decrease our sugar intake because a lot of the medication for schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder makes us crave sugar (Psychiatric Drugs and Weight Gain). To lighten the load, I am cutting out sugared sodas right on the heels of dropping alcoholic beverages. Let me tell you how decreasing sugar intake in my schizoaffective disorder is going. Keep reading »