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Our Mental Health Blogs

Resolve to Meet Your Own Needs in 2017, Bipolar Moms

Resolve to Meet Your Own Needs in 2017, Bipolar Moms

This year, I invite bipolar moms to join me in resolving to meet our own needs in 2017. Instead of focusing on our faults this January, we can instead look past those faults to see the needs they represent. And instead of berating ourselves over that need, discrepancy, or flaw, I want to make 2017 the year we find a way to meet our needs and live healthier lives (Taking Care of Myself is the Best Way to Care for My Family).

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What Every Mom Needs to Hear Before the New Year

What Every Mom Needs to Hear Before the New Year

Before the new year begins, every mom needs to hear these simple words to preserve her sanity: good job. “Good job” may seem simple and a bit trite, but Christmas has a way of leaving mentally ill mamas strung out, exhausted, and defeated (Stressed Out! Stress, Mental Health, and Our Sense of Control). After all of the efforts spent making Christmas magical for everyone else, the house is a big old mess, the kids are exhausted, and daddy’s gone back to work. Mama’s left, again, to put it all back together, take down the decorations, and get the family ready for a brand spankin’ new year. It all seems a bit impossible. So Mama, before you start undecorating, washing dishes, and folding another load of Christmas pajamas, hear me out. Let’s talk about what every mom, mentally ill or not, needs to hear before the new year begins.

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Taking Care of Mentally Ill Mom During Back-to-School

Taking Care of Mentally Ill Mom During Back-to-School

Getting the kids back to school can be exciting, but it is important to take care of a mentally ill mom during the back-to-school transition. Moms with mental illness, especially, need take care of themselves in the midst of this huge back-to-school family transition.

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Summer Transitions for Parents With Mental Illness

Summer Transitions for Parents With Mental Illness

Parents with mental illness, expect summer transition behaviors from your children. We often underestimate what a huge transition our children experience as they finish up the school year (Help Your Child Feel Confident at the End of the School Year). Their routines change dramatically, as do ours. It is normal for kids to be grumpy, overly tired, and even combative as they work through major transitions in their lives. Parents with mental illness expecting these transitions into summer may have an easier time working with their kids and avoid mental health triggers. 

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Codependency in Families with Mental Illness and Addiction

Codependency in Families with Mental Illness and Addiction

Codependency in families with mental illness and addiction is normal, but not a healthy normal. You can heal codependency, if you see it. Start here. Read this.

Mental illness and addiction runs through my family alongside codependency. Mental illness is hereditary, flowing through families, from parent to child, from uncle to nephew. Where there is mental illness in a family there is a heightened instance of addiction (Substance Abuse and Mental Illness). But we don’t acknowledge enough that where there is mental illness and addiction in families, codependency is often passed down as well.

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Learning to Let Things Go When Parenting Mentally Ill Kids

Learning to Let Things Go When Parenting Mentally Ill Kids

The Easter weekend before Tim turned three, he got sick and we spent some quality time in an emergency room. My parents were visiting and while I was gone, my father, the neat freak, got restless and decided to vacuum my family room.  He moved a chair – the kind with the skirt around the bottom – and found almost every toy that Tim owned beneath it. He frowned and, according to my mother, uttered something judgmental, while collecting the toys and putting them away properly in the toy box in Tim’s room (Surviving Mental Illness in a Judgmental World).

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Sandy Hook Plus One Year: Any Mental Health Lessons?

Sandy Hook Plus One Year: Any Mental Health Lessons?

In our neighboring Newtown, Connecticut, too many families are steeling themselves for the anniversary of an unspeakable tragedy: the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.

I’ve recently been interviewed for an article (coming out soon) about whether I think the Mental Health system in Connecticut has changed in the year since the incident. My answer? Not yet, not that I can see. If anything, we’re in danger of sweeping the issues under the rug once again.

But the questions remain: Could it have been prevented? Should someone have seen the “signs”? And – more usefully, perhaps – what can be done to help stop future tragedy?

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Diagnosis: Mental Illness. The Moment of Truth

Diagnosis: Mental Illness. The Moment of Truth

Getting a diagnosis of schizophrenia, or any mental illness, after years of confusion, judgment and blame is both devastating – and a relief.

For Mental Health Awareness Day, here’s how it felt for our family. Watch.

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Stories of Mental Illness: Why Tell Them?

Stories of Mental Illness: Why Tell Them?

I just returned from a trip to Phoenix, Arizona, where for three days I’ve been on a whirlwind tour of interviews, meetings, and one community lecture, courtesy of Arizona Foundation for Behavioral Health (AFBH) and ASU’s Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy – all to tell our family story to those who will, we hope, be affected by it in some way.

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Family as Caregivers: Responsibility, Rewards, Needs

Family as Caregivers: Responsibility, Rewards, Needs

November was National Family Caregivers Month. An estimated 65 million Americans care for a family member. Of course, that is not just for families dealing with mental illness; that statistic accounts for those caring for loved ones with other physical and mental conditions, but also does not account for the number of families who are dealing emotionally with mental illness in a member even if direct care-giving is not a part of the picture right now.

I had the honor of being interviewed on several media outlets last week, and National Family Caregivers month drew to a close. The “month” may be over, but the job goes on. Here is one interview here, from “Reality Check” on Daytime TriCities.

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