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I've loved sharing my life, stories, and insights with HealthyPlace, but my time here is now coming to an end. Although moving on in any aspect of life is difficult, I've found the hardest part of moving on is making the decision to let go, especially if you enjoy what you're doing.
As we celebrate Independence Day, I find myself reflecting on the concept of freedom, particularly the freedom to cultivate self-esteem. Self-esteem, a crucial aspect of our mental wellbeing, is often overlooked, especially by those of us who have lived experience with mental health issues. Yet, Independence Day serves as a powerful reminder that we have the freedom to make choices that can positively impact our self-esteem and our overall mental health.
Being vulnerable does not come naturally to me (in fact, it downright scares me), but I am learning to confront this fear and explore the art of vulnerability in eating disorder recovery. As I grow in self-awareness, I have realized that I know how to be authentic, courageous, honest, and outspoken—but my most tender, vulnerable parts remain securely under wraps. There is an art to vulnerability.
There is an intersection between men's mental health and addiction. June is Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month. Having walked the tough road of gambling addiction recovery, I feel it would be a great injustice not to address one of the most pressing issues—gambling addiction and its profound impact on men's mental health.
I recently started thinking about anxiety and laughter at bedtime with my kids. "I love when you laugh." It was a simple statement by my oldest daughter as we giggled while I cuddled her before bed. It hit me to the core. I hadn't laughed with her like that in a long time -- especially not at bedtime, the most stressful time of the day. At that moment, I realized just how much my chronic anxiety had been impacting my sweet girl.
It's 2024, yet the very idea that it is good for men to talk about their feelings is frowned upon. Traditional notions of masculinity discourage emotional expression, with anger being the only "acceptable" emotion for men to express. As a daughter, partner, and friend, I have seen how these toxic social expectations cause men to struggle in silence. As a mental health advocate, I believe that changing this narrative is crucial for supporting men's mental health. Men need to talk about their feelings.
Have you considered there are benefits to anxiety? Anxiety plays a huge role in my life. My anxiety often surfaces as chronic stress and concerns about my professional life and career. While it has held me back in many instances, I can appreciate some of the ways in which anxiety benefits me.
Something I struggle with in my close relationships is splitting in borderline personality disorder (BPD). The closer I get to someone, the harder it hits when I feel disappointed or slighted by them. Whether this slight is real or imagined, I can't seem to keep my passive-aggressive thoughts and comments to myself. The borderline splitting episode takes over, and suddenly, everything is black or white, with no shades of gray in sight.
Binge eating became a coping mechanism during my breakup. Recognizing this destructive pattern and taking steps to manage it was crucial for my wellbeing. Here's how I managed my binge eating during my breakup.
Back in college, I believed that finding my purpose in life would bring me mental peace. After graduating as an information technology engineer, I took some time to figure out that my first love, writing, was my purpose. I thought that I had finally figured out my pathway to peace. Little did I know how wrong I was. Here's what I wish I knew about purpose and peace in my 20s.

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Comments

Sean Gunderson
Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed this article
Vincent Gray
I experienced something very similar. I started daydreaming at eleven and continued until I turned 18. It stopped or went away by itself during my national military service. Now and then I have attempted to daydream - but is not as easy as before. I used to daydream for up to four or more hours every day for years. It had a negative affect on my schoolwork and life.
Natasha Tracy
Hi Z,

I'm the Blog Manager here, and I want to address your comment.

First, I'm so sorry you're feeling such distress right now. I want you to know that no matter what mistakes you make, you do not deserve to be physically harmed because of them. It's great that you want to be a good person, but everyone slips. None of us are perfect, and we all deserve patience when that happens. You also deserve love no matter what mistakes you make.

It's normal for your emotions to get the best of you sometimes. It happens to teens a lot because they're growing, changing, and maturing, but it happens to adults too! Please know that a huge amount of guilt probably hurts more than it helps.

It sounds to me like you have some pretty tough things to work through. You should talk to an adult that you trust about what's happening. That might be a parent, or it might be another adult in your life who is supportive and nonjudgmental.

You could also reach out to a professional for help. You could talk to a school counselor, for example. They may be able to help you deal with the emotions you're having more effectively.

You may also want to connect with this resource:

SAFE (Self-Abuse Finally Ends) Alternative
Information Line
800-DONT-CUT (366-8288)
https://selfinjury.com/

Also, remember, you can call 9-8-8 any time to talk to someone. You don't have to be suicidal to call. They may point you toward additional resources.

You're dealing with some difficult emotions right now, but you don't have to do it alone. I've been where you are, and I promise that reaching out in one or more of the above ways can help.

-- Natasha Tracy
Natasha Tracy
Hi Gregory,

Thanks for your input. I'm the Blog Manager here at HealthyPlace, and I want to address your comment.

I can understand why a person may think that video game addiction doesn't exist, but there is evidence to the contrary. In one meta-analysis, it was found that 5% of gamers have an addiction. In that analysis, they mention that two hours of gaming a day is considered more normal, but five hours or more may indicate the presence of addiction.

They found that engaging in an addictive gaming behavior led to effects such as lower academic scores, depression, anxiety, and a decrease in self-esteem, life satisfaction, and social support.

You can see more here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0001691823002238?via%3Dihub

Internet gaming disorder was even included in the latest "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" ("DSM-5-TR"). More information about it, including diagnostic criteria, can be found here: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/internet-gaming

It's worth noting that while professionals can, of course, help with any addiction, there are steps anyone can take to help with gaming addiction that don't cost anything. https://www.healthyplace.com/addictions/gaming-disorder/addicted-to-video-games-and-online-gaming-what-now

Most gamers are not addicted, but it is absolutely true that some are.

There is quackery out there, but this is not evidence of it.

-- Natasha Tracy