Being Adopted Adds An Extra Layer To My Anxiety

Four years ago, I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. Following a long, harrowing job search after losing an even more soul-crushing job, I had finally landed my dream position. Yet, any time I saw co-workers having a conversation I wasn’t involved in, I was convinced it was about how they didn’t like my work, and I would lose my job again. I knew it was time to head back to therapy to address these irrational thoughts before they got out of hand, and I scored off the charts for GAD.

Like many others who receive unexpected mental health diagnoses, I wondered: am I “weak” — though, as I’ve learned, there’s nothing “weak” about needing support for mental illness — or is it just my genetic lottery? But as someone who’s adopted, I didn’t know “where” my mental health condition came from — or what may surface later in life.  more

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Can You Boost Your Mental Health by Keeping a Journal?

Consistently and freely writing can help you offload stress and give your brain time to heal

MOST OF US CAN LIST THE lifestyle choices that help maintain and improve mental health. Regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, getting adequate sleep and staying socially active are all proven and well-known strategies. But another less-known yet equally simple act also has solid research to support its efficacy: writing.

Keeping a journal is a powerful mental health tool. At the American Psychiatric Association says: “Journaling can provide general wellness and self-improvement benefits, such as making you more self-aware, boosting creativity and helping you build better habits. Journaling can help you better understand your feelings and emotions and help you manage stress. Writing about things that have frustrated or upset you can help you to let go of some of the stress and gain perspective.”  more

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How to Know If Your Bad Mood Is Actually Depression

Four women share their depression journeys, including the specific symptoms that let them know they were dealing with a mental illness, not a rotten day.

You might know Ashley Wagner for her steely resolve on ice. The three-time U.S. national champion broke American figure skaters’ decade-long medal drought by taking silver at the 2016 world competition. But after failing to make the 2018 Olympic team, a “very severe depression” left her barely able to function day to day.

“At first I was just really disappointed in myself for letting one event in my life derail everything that I thought I knew was true about myself and how I saw my place in the world and how I felt about my own sense of worth and value,” the skater recalled in a recent Instagram video.  more

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11 Ways to Cope with Anxiety When You’re Busy

It is as much a matter of perspective as strategy.

Finding ways to cope with anxietyis as much a matter of perspective as strategy. Anxiety in and of itself doesn’t have to be a bad thing, and in fact can be a help, especially when we are busy. A powerful source of information and energy, anxiety can walk a fine line between motivating and overwhelming depending on how we choose to view it.

For those who live with anxiety on a more-than-occasional basis, choices tend to vacillate between giving into it or learning to live with it. “Perspective” can seem like a leisure activity in our fast-paced, information-packed world, rather than a line-item on a competent person’s calendar.  more

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Is Electroconvulsive Therapy a Miracle Cure for Depression?

The controversial treatment is often considered a last resort when antidepressants fail.

In 1990, life was good for Carol Kivler. At age 40, she was happily teaching business skills at a college near her home in Lawrence, New Jersey, raising three healthy tweens, and married to a loving husband. “I had a beautiful home and money in the bank,” she says.

And then, without warning or explanation, “depression brought me to my knees.”

Kivler couldn’t concentrate. She couldn’t sleep. She lost her appetite. “What do I have to be depressed about?” she kept asking herself.

Her doctor explained that a chemical imbalance in Kivler’s brain could be to blame and started her on antidepressants, cautioning that they could take up to six weeks to kick in. Kivler had only been on the medication a month before she started having psychotic symptoms.  more

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BS Podcast: Do People With Mental Illness Suffer from Trauma?

Many people don’t understand how mental illness, in and of itself, can be traumatic. Everything from the emotions, physical sensations, and even treatment – locked in a ward or a hospital, often against our will – is a recipe for trauma. While every person with mental illness is different, most people with serious and persistent mental illness describe being traumatized in addition to the impact of the illness itself.

In this episode of Bipolar, a Schizophrenic, and a Podcast, our hosts discuss their own traumas as they relate to living with – and getting help for – mental illness. They both recall their time receiving treatment in the psychiatric hospital and Michelle tells the story of her encounter with a police officer that ended less than ideally.  more

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Powerful essay about by being in the psych ward at age 14

Over at YR (formerly Youth Radio), Desmond Meagley wrote and illustrated a moving, sad, and ultimately hopeful personal story about being committed to the psych ward at age 14. From “5150’d: My Journey Through a Psych Ward“:

After I had a meltdown in the middle of my sixth grade class, my school gave my family an ultimatum: if I was going to be enrolled there, I also had to be in therapy. Just like that, my struggle to be heard was confined to dimly lit sessions with the school counselor and an outside therapist. I tried to be honest with them, but I was a little too young to grasp what was at the root of my mental health issues. I was also scared of what might happen if I was *too* honest.  more

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