As much as we want to believe it’s gone, it isn’t

It’s May, and mental health awareness month has started. Every year I look forward to the social media programming: the people who share stories of recovery, those receiving support for their current struggles, and the community of providers on social media sharing amazing mental health content. I feel so much solidarity with all of these groups because I’ve been one of them at some point in my life.

As a psychotherapist and someone who identifies as a wounded healer, I feel so honored to witness others’ stories, especially on social media. Even just a few years ago, some people wouldn’t…


Different strokes for different folks

Introduction

In the psychiatric community, borderline personality disorder (BPD) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) tend to be spoken in the same breath. Diagnosed with BPD? Then you need to enter DBT treatment. I was one of those individuals for whom DBT was the first-line treatment when I was diagnosed with BPD in 1990, following my second suicide attempt.

According to the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder (NEABPD), “BPD can be defined as a serious mental illness that centers on the inability to manage emotions effectively. …


Finding connection in a lonely world.

Since the beginning, humans have needed others — regardless of gender, ethnicity, or geographic location, we are social creatures. Quality relationships make us happier, healthier, and more productive. Social support buffers stress and fulfills an important psychological need to belong and feel accepted by others.

In an ideal, harmonious world, we would all enjoy plenty of health-protecting relationships, but that is not the reality for many. A startling number of people struggle with loneliness. …


I’m so ashamed in admitting to the world that I can’t financially take care of my own mother during her illness

I thought this would be easier. What began as a positive idea out of pure desperation to help Mom is now creeping into something else. Something darker. Something self-loathing. Get out of your own head, Bee.
Just, work it out…

First thoughts, written May 27 — June 1, 2021:

Tens of thousands of people fill out the necessary forms to start fundraisers on GoFundMe.com every single day. It states just that right on the front page of the GoFundMe website.

Though it’s somewhat comforting to know I’m only one of the millions who need to start a fundraiser, it’s that…


And what to do about it

I once reached a point in my life where I felt hopeless and stuck. Even though I worked full time, I didn’t have enough money to cover my basic expenses. After paying bills, I barely had enough left for food. I was tired of leaning on well-meaning friends for help with groceries.

One day, I waited in a line of cars for some free produce they were handing out. I hoped no one I knew would see me. It was embarrassing, but I wasn’t the only one who had to resort to charity. …


Why you’re better off listening to your body than society

I am not a morning person. There’s just something about it. The sun is always in the sky, so I can’t gaze at the moon and the stars. There are too many people around, I can see too much. This is also the time when work calls. College, internships, grocery store runs. It all happens during daytime.

At night, not everybody is out. Babies are not, so that’s a win. I can’t see everybody’s face, so there’s no awkwardness about eye contact. I can make out constellations and stare at the moon in wonder. …


Debunking the toxic misconceptions about mental health treatment we think we know

As a carer for someone with a mental health illness, I’m constantly debunking the misconceptions surrounding treatment.

Among other things too.

But there is significant misunderstanding surrounding treatment. Those that understand seem to be those dealing with it, or caring for someone else.

The problem is that false information about mental health treatments hurts everyone. Not just those suffering and needing treatment.

For the people seeking help, it can feel disappointing when our expectations don’t meet reality. When the promise of medical intervention doesn’t pan out as we’re led to believe.

For the support systems, it can feel like we’re…


June is PTSD Awareness Month

It’s 3:58 am.

A while ago I removed the clock next to my bed so I would stop obsessing over the exact amount of sleep I was not getting each night. It seems I keep score on my phone now; my only company in the silence of yet another night smashed by insomnia.

I find myself angry at everyone else in the house for sleeping; angry at the way they breathe even and sure, the way their hearts beat blood into their veins while mine pumps shots of adrenaline into mine; still, after all these years, a fully-automatic weapon of survival.

I find…


After a year-long battle, I’ve finally vanquished my nemesis with the help of modern medicine

It’s been a long, agonizing time coming. For the past year and some change, I’ve been suffering from a nightmarish sleep disorder. Back in 2020, I thought I had Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome, a syndrome that’s characterized by not getting tired until the wee hours of the morning.

Over the past year, I slowly began to ask myself if I have apnea, as symptoms worsened. I would wake in the middle of the night for no particular reason. If I did sleep for close to 8 hours, which was rare, I would still feel completely exhausted the next day.

But…


Epilepsy is hard as it is, don’t make it harder by judging people with epilepsy.

The room was dark and was illuminated by the light coming from the television. I had just come home from my last field trip in high school. I rested at the edge of my parents’ bed while my second sister was watching. She saw me scratching my arms — or at least that’s what she thought. Bothered by my rapid scratching, she turned on the light and saw me… I’ve turned pale blue and was having my first seizure attack.

It was then that my life changed forever.

From being the third in the batch, I dropped down to 11th…

Invisible Illness

We don't talk enough about mental health.

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