I have been in treatment for bipolar disorder for about 16 years. And during all that time I have tried every medication known to man, vitamins, herbs, chakra-cleaning (really), tinctures and various types of therapy.

And no matter what treatment I’ve been on, two things have been true:

  • People will insist on judging me for it.
  • Some people will disagree with it.

So to all the people out there who are not my doctor I ask: Why should I have to justify my mental illness treatment to you? Keep reading »

I’m taking an online course in Kabbalah, which is a form of Jewish mysticism. Last night I learned something that was a Copernican shift in my worldview–God wants us to be happy. God wants to give us endless fulfillment. Then the professor said that we were asking ourselves, “What went wrong?” God wants us to be happy–so why aren’t we? Keep reading »

Though I am very public about my past experiences with an eating disorder and my recovery maintenance, it still doesn’t mean everyone I interact with knows every aspect of my past. So, sometimes, when I’m out eating with a group of people, someone will start to mention about a diet or some form of dietary restriction (e.g. vegetarian, paleo, etc.) they follow.

Usually when that happens, I’ll listen with empathy if it is needed, but I will rarely engage with my own thoughts on diets and weight loss. Part of the reason for this, is that it is a different dynamic when you are in a group, rather than one-on-one, but also part of my recovery is not always making every social interaction about my food, diet, and body image. Keep reading »

If our story of schizophrenia hitting a family were made into a movie, here is where it might end: on the hopeful note of some dreams having come true, after challenges and crises too numerous to count. My adult son, Ben, is stable, taking his medication, able to participate in family functions, and actually working part-time as – of all things – a server in a restaurant where customers come in and ask to be seated in his section. Keep reading »

Having schizophrenia means that I am a bit more paranoid than your average person. The antipsychotics I take may have helped quell most of my symptoms, but they have not eliminated them. I am not “cured” of my schizophrenia, despite what some people believe. The paranoia that stems from my illness is still strongly ingrained within my subconscious mind. It is just better controlled.

I do not hear voices, believe that I am Jesus or that cockroaches are underneath my skin. I do not wander the streets thinking that I have special powers, like talking to animals or telepathy. I do not suffer as greatly as I once did, but that does not mean that I am cured. I am a “functional” schizophrenic as I am able to work, have relationships and take care of myself with some difficulty, but that does not mean that I do not have issues. Keep reading »

Sometimes I stop to think what my life would be like without the diagnosis of adult attention-deficity/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Identities evolve throughout our lives based on experiences and who we innately are. What if who we are by birth turns out to not be true? What if we don’t have adult ADHD? What if we’re just slightly more impulsive than “typical” adults, or what if our “hyperactivity” is actually mania? Keep reading »

When you are struggling with a mental health disorder or substance abuse problem deciding to seek inpatient treatment can be one of the best, but also scariest decisions of your life. This decision can be even more difficult if you have no idea what to expect when you arrive at a mental health or addiction treatment center. Keep reading »

Nothing is permanently perfect. But there are perfect moments and the will to choose what will bring about more perfect moments.~Mary Balogh

Bliss Only Takes a Moment

Have you ever stopped to think what you can possibly accomplish in a split moment? Have you ever looked back at a moment and thought, “Geez I was feeling really happy in that moment”?

It only takes a moment to create a profound, persistent satisfaction and a sense of well-being. It only takes a moment to create a positive feeling of immense fulfillment and joy that springs from within and without. While it is not something you can just pick up at the local Walmart or order online, you can choose in a split moment to create bliss. Keep reading »

No matter how old you are or what your occupation is you may be struck with some summertime sadness. It isn’t just a popular Lana DelvRay song, but the reality of emotions that can surge in the summer months and set your self-esteem into a tailspin. Whether you’re a college student who’s back home for the summer sitting in your childhood bedroom contemplating what the heck you’re doing with your life, or an adult who may be longing for the days when they were able to actually spend summertime on vacation, let’s face it: summer isn’t as fun as it used to be.

Keep reading »

All too often we’re told (or we tell ourselves) the wrong things in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) recovery. For example, a woman recently wrote to me:

How do you maintain acceptance of PTSD and its symptoms while pursuing healing?

My answer: You don’t have to.

And then a man I met at a survivor event last week asked me:

If you’re constantly pursuing healing aren’t you in a different state of mind than acceptance?

My answer: Yes, and no. Both these questions depend on how you define “acceptance.”

Keep reading »