I must confess; I’m a bully. But not to others. I tend to bully myself relentlessly, criticizing what I do and don’t do, say and don’t say. It’s a nearly endless stream of self-denigration that runs always in the background, often in the foreground, of my thoughts. This harsh self-criticism is entangled with all types of anxiety. Keep reading »

The symptoms of combat posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) fall into four categories:

  1. Re-experiencing
  2. Avoidance
  3. Negative changes in beliefs and feelings
  4. Hyperarousal (feeling “keyed up”)

Today I want to talk about the first one: re-experiencing. Keep reading »

Actor and comedian Robin McLaurin Williams died by apparent suicide in his California home on August 11, 2014. His death has shocked and saddened millions all over the world. I’m personally stunned. I grew up with his performances, starting with Mork & Mindy on television when I was a kid. It’s a tragic, tragic loss. We took a hard punch on this one, and we’ll be feeling it for quite some time.

When a high profile person takes their own life, it triggers the debate about suicide itself. Is suicide selfish? Is it cowardly? How can anyone do that, anyway? And, most importantly, why didn’t they ask for mental health help? How come they didn’t make a different choice? Keep reading »

A common misconception is that apart from medication, there is little someone diagnosed with adult attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can do to maintain what passes as order in their life. While it certainly feels like that from time to time, it is simply not the case. There are some things an adult with ADHD can do to stack the odds in his or her favor.

Keep reading »

The passing of Robin Williams has been a difficult death for many to grasp. People are still catching their breaths from when they heard that one of the world’s most talented actors took his own life. Not only did he star in one of my favorite films of all time, Dead Poet’s Society, but he always came across as a happy, confident individual.

As an actor, you are able to turn yourself into any character you want and get away with it, even if you are acting out a character in the real world. People admire actors and judge them due to the stories and the talent revolving around them, but sometimes, we forget to think about the baggage they carry – even if it isn’t obvious. Even though Robin Williams struggled with addiction and severe depression, it was hard for the world to see him as anyone other than a funny, happy man.

Obviously, that wasn’t always so. Keep reading »

By now, everyone has heard that beloved actor and comedian Robin Williams has died, probably by suicide. His death, like all deaths, is a tragedy. The fact this was a suicide adds an extra wrinkle to this story. To most, it makes the event sadder or incomprehensible. For people who also suffer from depression or any other mental illness, it makes it more personal.

When a famous, wealthy, and generally well-liked person succumbs to their illness, it’s natural to wonder how we can survive our own illness when someone with all that going for them could not. Nothing creates more anxiety than wondering whether or not we can beat our illness. Keep reading »

It’s news that leaves you morose–Robin Williams, the comedian and actor who brought us Mrs. Doubtfire and Patch Adams, is dead from an apparent suicide. The news made me reflect on my battle with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and my own thoughts of suicide. There are three lessons to learn – know when to ask for help, keep on seeking help, and always remember that suicide is often a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Keep reading »

Jess Hudgens, my co-author on Surviving ED, wrote a powerful post last week where she compares, among other things, how feelings are similar to waves in that they won’t last forever. In discussing urges and coping skills experienced in eating disorder recovery, Jess highlights that feelings are what lies beneath urges when they surface.

Jess’s post immediately brought memories of a therapy session I once had, where I explored a “reframing” exercise for the first time. It was that instance where my therapist helped me reframe the beliefs I held about self-esteem and body image. Up until that point, the best way I could describe my state of mind was that I felt numb. On any given day, I couldn’t quite figure out how I felt. When I tried to articulate a so-called “feeling,” I usually ended up with words like light, fat, heavy, small or little. Over time, my therapist helped me chip away at these words to uncover the actual meaning of them in relation to the eating disorder I was suffering from: bulimia. Keep reading »

If you haven’t heard the tragic news, I’m very sorry to tell you that Robin Williams died by apparent suicide, Monday, August 11, 2014. He was 63 years old. Williams suffered from substance abuse issues and likely bipolar disorder (his depression was confirmed recently by his publicist, bipolar not as much).

In other words, we lost one of us. We lost one of the bipolar/depression community at large. And the stark reality of losing a person with a mental illness who is so incredibly brilliant, talented and outwardly happy can easily bring about feelings of depression, anxiety and even our own thoughts of suicide. All of us, myself included, need to react to this tragically genuinely, but without allowing it to make our own mental health or depression worse. Keep reading »

I took my last drink of alcohol (hopefully for good) on February 19, 2007. I smoked my last cigarette (also hopefully for good) on December 31, 2010. In contrast, my friend quit street drugs and alcohol years ago, but she doesn’t know the exact dates.

12-step programs emphasize dates. Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and Overeaters Anonymous all celebrate sobriety dates, clean dates and abstinence dates, respectively. For me, my sobriety date is extremely important. It commemorates a miraculous day when I was given another chance to live. The day I quit smoking is important to me too, but I might not remember it if it didn’t coincide with New Year’s. Perhaps I care more about my sobriety date because my struggle with alcohol was much harder. Even so, for the clean and sober folks I know who do not commemorate a specific clean date, (mind you, this is the minority of clean and sober folks I know) it is not because their sobriety isn’t important to them. Keep reading »