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

Photo by Francisco Gonzalez on Unsplash

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

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

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.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

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. …


Hiding in the digital world is not how you love yourself

Photo by SHVETS production from Pexels

“Free speech is one of the most important things to me, but I think it gets confusing when it comes to offense. Because for one, just because you have the right to say anything, it doesn’t mean you have to.”

— Comedian Ricky Gervais —

Why Are We So Angry?

Viewing my social media these days is a lot like annual Black Friday shopping in America. There are so many good options to look at, but being there is an absolute clusterfuck.

With much of the world in a state of self-isolation, so too is our social lives. To deal with the current events of…


Have you ever wondered about your pet’s mental state?

Think about your interactions with pets or animals — how interacting with them made you feel more content.

Animals improve human mental health, and there’s no doubt about it.

Humans with animals have reduced blood pressure, decrease health risk, more resilience and motivation, and improved quality of life. The impact of animals on mental health goes on and on.

Despite how much pets help us, we may not quite reciprocate.

After all, some stressors are unavoidable — and the years 2020 and 2021 are no exception.

Alongside us, our pets have survived a global pandemic and record levels of stress…


The art of apologizing is key to establishing a healthy relationship

Photo by Frank McKenna on Unsplash

As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist for 20 years and 3 times married, I’d like to share my observations of successful and healthy relationships. By the way, I count my last marriage as a great one. I lost my husband six years ago to a stroke. My first two marriages were marriages in which both of us were immature. Both times, I was a slow learner with myself.

The key to a successful relationship is empathy for your partner and yourself. Can we set aside our own reactions and see them from our partner’s view, even if we do…


Life isn’t just happening to you, but you’re shaping it.

Photo by Luis Galvez on Unsplash

Contrary to belief, emotional intelligence lies in cognition — our thoughts, not emotions. After all, researchers believe that constructive thinking is the key to emotional intelligence.

From the moment you wake up, thoughts flood your brain. It happens automatically, underneath our awareness.

For any of us, it’s almost impossible to have any absolute control over what we think. Thoughts are spontaneous, yet they have a pattern. Thoughts are intangible but have such a huge impact.

“I think, therefore I am” — René Descartes

In Principles of Philosophy (1644), Descartes wrote that if he thinks and he exists, logically, whatever he…


When familial roles and boundaries are distorted

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

The bond between a child and a parent is specifically designed to cater to the comprehensive developmental needs of one’s offspring. In accordance with nature’s plan, the child’s successful attainment of developmental milestones such as the cultivation of trust, autonomy, initiative, industry, identity and intimacy (Eric Erikson) is predicated on receiving competent and loving parenting. This means that from infancy to late adolescence, the unconditionally dependent child will rely on their trusted caretakers for their survival and their growth.

However, children who are parentified (Boszormenyi-Nagy & Spark, 1973) have thrust upon them responsibilities and roles typically reserved for adults. These…


For people who love people with depression

Photo by Dmitry Schemelev on Unsplash

I hear it all the time: “It’s so hard to describe depression to someone who has not experienced it.” When somebody you love is going through depression, it is hard for you too, maybe even harder than it is for them. It can make you feel like you’re crazy when you so clearly see the beauty in another person that they have lost the ability to see within themselves. Or maybe you are looking at life with hope and excitement, and all they can see is failure and despair.

Anybody who has supported a loved one with depression has butted…


What I hope my kids learn from Simone Biles

Photo from pxfuel

Simone Biles has been so good, so dominant, for so long, that I can forgive people for thinking she’s invincible and a lock to win any competition that she’s in.

However, the events of the past few days have shown that even the seemingly super human, the GOATs, are human.

I won’t pretend to be an expert in gymnastics. Like most Americans, I watch the Olympics every four years, enjoy watching the gymnastics during that period, and then don’t pay much attention until the next Olympics. To say I was shocked when I saw that Simone Biles withdrew from the…

Invisible Illness

We don't talk enough about mental health.

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