When we were little, I spoke on behalf of my brother a lot because he had a speech delay. He would regularly mix up or mispronounce his words, and I would find myself acting as some sort of amateur translator when he spoke to anyone outside our immediate family. My most commonly used phrase was "what he's trying to say is..."
Medical consensus in psychiatry is critical. Many people do have many opinions, of course, but understanding psychiatric medical consensus is what makes all the difference. If you have 1000 psychiatrists in a room, after all, you can be guaranteed someone is going to disagree on any subject, but who do you believe, the 999 or the one? And is a medical consensus in psychiatry worth more than the opinion of psychiatric patients?
Healthy boundaries can be hard to recognize. For example, have you ever had someone set a boundary with you but it didn't feel right? Maybe they stated in such a way that it was hard to know if it was a legitimate boundary or a manipulation. Perhaps you have been manipulative with others but framed it as setting a boundary.
Does the thought of going to the dentist or having dental procedures done cause your anxiety to skyrocket? If so, you're not alone. A whopping 50-80 percent of American adults report having some degree of anxiety about going to the dentist, and a study published in 2017 indicated that 19 percent of people showed moderate to severe dental anxiety.
I’ve talked in previous blogs about empathy, and how it’s essential for anyone with anxiety. Or any other mental illness. Or any other member of the human race.
Just this morning, I opened my email inbox and noticed a subject line which read, "How many steps should you take to lose weight?" As someone who continues to battle thoughts of anorexia on a daily basis, my first reaction to seeing this was to click the email thread, so I could know the answer. I was even tempted to scroll through my mobile fitness tracker to ensure I habitually reach the step count required. But since I am also in committed recovery now, this initial reflex was supplanted by another, more constructive question: "Can fitness trackers worsen eating disorder behaviors?" Could monitoring the number of steps taken, floors climbed, miles run or walked, and calories burned increase the obsessive patterns which eating disorders thrive on? Based on my own experience, I think that answer is, "Yes."   
Learning to embrace change will build stronger self-esteem. Instead of spending energy trying to keep things from changing, I have learned to focus on adapting to change for a healthier self-esteem. To do this, I rely on routines and regular prioritization of my needs.
Picture yourself in the middle of a panic attack. Your heart is racing, your mind is juggling a million thoughts, and no one can calm you down. Then, you reach for something soft, cuddly and receptive to your need for comfort. This is what it feels like to turn to a pet for the anxiety associated with dissociative identity disorder (DID).
Binge eating at night is a problem for just about everyone who has the luxury of steady access to food, whether they are in eating disorder recovery or not. However, for those of us in recovery, these night-time binges can be detrimental to our progress.
Behavioral changes aren't the only changes needed in recovery from mental illness, but they are a key part of feeling better and living the life you want to live. But it is so incredibly hard. I recently had a frustrating, but productive, conversation with my therapist about how I need to start making behavioral changes if I want to keep improving on my mental health, and the reason it was so frustrating is because I have never known how to change my behavior. I'm a thinker, a highly sensitive person with lots of imagination and creativity, and part of me truly believes I can heal from mental illness and trauma just by thinking about it the right way. But my therapist is right. Nothing changes if nothing changes.

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Kathryn Morris
Thank you Traci for writing this. I am dealing with CPTSD and this has made me feel less alone, understood and so much better. Thank you.
Zoe Puebla
hello! I have a question. Over the last year I started feeling very strong symptoms of social anxiety and I'm always trying to educate myself about the topic but I find it hard to found information to rely on. Not because what says in the article does not apply to me, but mostly because I'm constantly doubting myself and all the information around me. I'm just scared I'm self diagnosing myself and that I will look stupid if I go to my parents (I'm a minor) and tell them how I feel when they don't even know what anxiety is. So my question is, what are your thoughts about self diagnosing? how could I know if I have anxiety without a professional now that we are in lockdown?
Have a nice day!!
Natasha Tracy
Hi Suzanne,

I'm so sorry you're in that place right now. It sounds very hard.

I would definitely be concerned about mood instability if you're feeling this distressed about it. Perhaps your psychiatrist doesn't understand how serious this really is. It sounds like you need help immediately.

What I would recommend is being forthright with your team and say something like, "My moods are fluctuating in ways I can't manage. I'm in so much pain I'm suicidal. No matter what you feel my diagnosis is, I need help with these things immediately."

That should spur a conversation about changes that will help. If it doesn't, I recommend getting a referral and seeing someone else as soon as possible as obviously your team is not taking you seriously.

In the meantime, remember, you can always reach out to a helpline. That can really help you get through this time. People there will be able to listen and suggest additional resources for you. Please see our hotlines page here for more:

I hope that helps. Just remember, help is out there but it sometimes takes a lot of access it.

- Natasha Tracy
I think I understand the point you are trying to make, that psychiatrists need a guide of some sort based on a consensus of well educated, experienced professionals in their field of expertise. Somewhat like how info is currently collated into the DSM and revised every couple of years.

I’ve noticed that some psychiatrists specialize/focus a large part of their practice on patients with a particular type of diagnosis (since that’s where their special skill set lies). Their main focus being on maybe a half dozen different diagnosis.

In much the same way a psychologist will often focus their practice on treating individuals with a certain type of issue ie drug & alcohol addiction, depression & anxiety, marriage & family, PTSD & sexual abuse, etc

Having an overall guide is good, but in my humble opinion...

The treatment is only as good as the diagnosis and the diagnosis is only as good as the one making it and the information received from the patients themselves as well as those that know them best.

Unlike days of old, professionals nowadays do not spend nearly enough time getting to know their patients or allow outside input from those that know them best.

In my opinion professionals need to focus a lot more on building a strong healthy empathetic therapeutic relationship with their patients. Empathy and trust goes a long way in getting a patient to open up. I’ve heard of some drs who won’t even tell a patient what their diagnosis is. How can anyone be expected to trust a dr who prescribes meds for an illness that they are not even informed about. A collaborative caring approach is much more important than an authoritative paternal one. Drs need to take the time to listen more and address their patients concerns instead of being dismissive of them or undermining their intelligence. The patient needs to buy into their diagnosis to accept it and take appropriate responsibility in the treatment of it

I recently watched a heartbreaking video by Kay Warren the mother of Matthew Warren who committed suicide. She entrusted her son’s life to the professionals who were unable to help him. Ironically Matthew’s father Rick Warren wrote the popular book “A Purpose Driven Life”. Kay has become a mental health advocate. Here is her speech at a summit on children’s mental health and one in front of a group of psychiatrists

Matthew Warren lived with mental illness and suicidal ideation from a young age. His diagnoses included depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder and near the end of his life, borderline personality disorder. Matthew, took his life on April 5, 2013. The system had failed him. He’d become cynical of professional help, and turned to a blog devoted entirely to people on the verge of suicide. A very tragic ending
Ryan Welborn
Thank you so much for the information on this page. Anxiety has been difficult for me for so many reasons and it is always helpful to read ways in which people are out there supporting others like me. There is a great website called if anyone is looking for other mental health resources and support. Thank you all again for your knowledge and help.