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

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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

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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.

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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. …


4 unique qualities of those who’ve suffered poor mental health.

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An acquaintance once complained loudly to me at a party that her friend was struggling.

“She’s feeling insecure and having panic attacks and depression all the time,” she said, “and while I feel sorry for her, I’m also just a bit fed up with it; I mean, I have a hard life too and I’m not falling apart!”

This interaction bothered me, but it took a while to work out why. Then I realised: this isn’t one-off insensitivity, it’s often the way people who haven’t suffered poor mental health perceive those of us who have.

They think they empathise but…


The painfully difficult struggle of hustling in silence

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This pandemic has exasperated this sense of loneliness in a new way. For myself, I’m a government worker. Due to the pandemic, I worked fewer hours, but my salary pay provided me with a consistent paycheck with great benefits shielding me from financial hazards.

This allowed me to deep-dive into my pursuits of passions and various side hustles that I normally wouldn’t be able to. Generally, I specialize in online writing and blogging, but the new free time has allowed me to venture into other projects such as YouTube video editing and editing for other writers.

It’s also brutally lonely.


Learning to override an excessive fixation on details will help you get things done.

Hand sewn Quilt Photo by JSKruse

Hard work, a critical assessment of your own efforts, concern about how others might view the results of your labor, and attention to detail will often lead to excellence in performance or productivity. But when taken too far, all of these aspects of perfectionism can derail your efforts and leave you mired in obsessing over trivia. Perfection involves straining compulsively for unattainable flawlessness. Even if you have an innate propensity towards perfectionism, or have practiced perfectionistic tendencies for years, you can still unlearn some of this mindset, and start to channel your energies in more productive directions.

Perfectionists tend to…


Weighing the similarities and key differences between the two

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“After a traumatic experience, the human system of self-preservation seems to go onto permanent alert, as if the danger might return at any moment.” — Dr. Judith Lewis Herman

If you, or anyone you know has struggled with mental health issues, then you know the challenges with finding the right diagnosis. Psychologists and psychiatrists are often at the mercy of looking at the DSM-V (2013) for diagnostic criteria which may or may not be helpful. Traditionally, most models have placed diagnoses into categories — where a person either fits neatly into the checked boxes for a diagnosis, or they don’t.


This life is as misunderstood as the people we help

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As I’ve shared more about my life as a mental health carer, people want to know what my life is really like.

Sometimes, I wish they didn’t ask me. The moments can be so dark and soul-crushing that I, like the person I care for, don’t want to get out of bed. I wouldn’t ask anyone to swap with me or have someone else take the pressure for a day. It wouldn’t be fair on that person.

Yet, there are other days when life goes on as it does for everyone else. I walk down the street, do the shopping…


Our oversimplified narrative completely misses the real problem

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Addiction is a scary, debilitating thing. Its all-consuming vice grip can hollow out even the most resilient of loved ones, leaving them no more than a shell of their prior selves. It consistently defies logic, stubbornly resists unwelcomed help and will stop at nothing to prolong its existence.

Close personal relationships. A stable career. A loving family. Economic stability. Personal health. Vibrant social networks. All of it can be left wreckage of addiction. No sacrifice is too great.

I know the pain and suffering well. Addiction claimed two of my friends during the pandemic, and I spent several years walking…


Riding the waves of trauma

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A few weeks ago, I wrote about my ectopic pregnancies and the surgeries that came with them. There was a reason I chose to write about them when I did. It has been nearly 3 years since the first one happened, but I chose to write about them now for two reasons.

I have gone through an incredible amount of emotional healing in the past year, and I was about to have another surgery. Surgeries, in general, are scary, but this one was only happening because I had to have surgeries for my ectopic pregnancies.

After my second ectopic pregnancy…

Invisible Illness

We don't talk enough about mental health.

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