Recently I was talking to a volunteer from a domestic violence shelter and I asked if calls had increased since the Ray Rice video was made public. The answer was yes, because awareness was being raised. According to HealthyPlace, women with mental illness are at a greater risk of being abused. So I decided to write about signs of an abusive relationship, how domestic abuse can affect a person with borderline personality disorder (BPD), and the warning signs of an abusive relationship via the Domestic Violence Screening Test. Keep reading »

Many times throughout the course of my eating disorder, I found myself listening to music that encouraged my disordered behaviors and thoughts. These songs are still indelibly marked in my brain and I can sing every word of them when they turn up on my iPod. The problem with this is that singing them only serves to cement the messages in my head. So when I started down the road to eating disorder recovery, I needed a new set of songs to sing along to.

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Everyone has a birthday. However, not everyone makes it to his or her second or 14th or 35th birthday. Since life is filled with unexplainable demons, some people are not always promised another birthday. Loved ones are diagnosed with cancer all too often and innocent people are murdered every day.

Life throws challenges at us every single day. Sometimes, we have the ability to decide which path to choose and, as we know, some of us don’t always make the safest decision. Other people aren’t able to always make those choices when hit with life-threatening circumstances. Keep reading »

We tend to speak of the cycle of violence and abuse as if it were a constantly turbulent system, but we rarely discuss the routine that soothes the volatile system into manageability. The wheel of violence and abuse shows the cycle concisely, but perhaps too narrowly. The wheel shows the cycle as a rolling circle of abuse, honeymoon, tension-building, abuse, honeymoon, tension-building, abuse — visually repeated infinite times with arrows circling around the wheel until we say to ourselves, “I get it! It’s so simple.” Then we feel shocked that victims of abuse exist because the wheel makes the process of abuse so transparent. Despite its powerful (and necessary) message, the wheel simply cannot tell the whole story. Keep reading »

An old saying, often dubiously attributed to Martin Luther, warns: “Who loves not wine, women and song/remains a fool his whole life long.” The phrase has hedonistic implications (which is why I find the Luther attribution puzzling) and its modern equivalent is “sex, drugs and rock-and-roll.” Whether it really was Luther who said it, or whether it was Johann Heinrich Voss, as Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations has it, the hendiatris is an old one.

Even if Bartlett made it up himself, it would still date to at least 1855.  That means that for a long, long time, people have lumped substances, sex and music into the same category of mood-altering temptations. Reflecting on this fact made me wonder, is there a difference between addiction to mind-altering substances and mind-altering behaviors or experiences? Keep reading »

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 »