As a society, we’re finally starting to become more conscious of the toxic behavior known as gaslighting—partially because of all the high-profile cases of it we’ve seen recently across every sector of life from Bachelor in Paradise to Washington pulpits. Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse, a series of manipulative behaviors with the goal of getting control over you and isolating you from your friends and family. A gaslighter makes you question your version of reality—making you vulnerable to more abuse.
To a total outsider, it can often be difficult to understand why a person would remain in a relationship with someone who gaslights them. But when you look closely at the specific behaviors of gaslighters, it’s easy to see why extricating oneself from this type of controlling, head-spinning relationship is so difficult. Sometimes, it can even seem impossible. more
Is it hard to maintain a relationship?
If borderline personality disorder (BPD) were a relationship status, it would be “it’s complicated.”
Despite being in the spotlight lately via TV shows like The CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriendand celebrities like SNL’s Pete Davidson, there’s still a lot of unknowns about the mental health condition
That’s in part because BPD is characterized through different personality-based trends and patterns, which are very hard to nail down, says Kevin Gilliland, Psy.D., executive director of Innovation 360, an out-patient clinic in Dallas, Texas. And those patterns can show up in almost every aspect of a person’s life, from how they act in relationships, to how they handle work situations, to even how they handle their own inner thoughts. more
The death of a spouse can understandably bring sleepless nights. Now, research suggests those sleep troubles raise the odds of immune system dysfunction — which in turn can trigger chronic inflammation.
For the surviving spouse, that could mean an increased risk for heart disease and cancer, though the study did not prove a cause-and-effect link.
“We think these individuals are more vulnerable to the negative effects of poor sleep,” said corresponding author Diana Chirinos. She’s a research assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
The study included 101 people, average age 67. Half had recently lost a spouse, while the other half were married or single.
Researchers found that the association between sleep disturbances and inflammation was two to three times higher in the grieving spouses, according to the study published recently in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine. more
Every year, 16,000 children leave school because of bullying. Hannah Letters was one of them. She talks about how she got back on track
The bullying started when Hannah Letters was 11. “I struggled with the transition to secondary school and found it hard to make friends.” Her classmates made snide comments about her appearance. When her mother was diagnosed with cancer, the comments got worse. She was sent messages on social media, telling her that no one liked her. “One of the girls turned and said to me, ‘If you had looked after your mother better, she wouldn’t have got cancer.’ I had such low self-esteem by then, anything she said I believed. I started to blame myself.”
By the time she was 13, Letters was self-harming. The bullies were constantly on her mind and she would wake up screaming from nightmares. She wasn’t happy with the response she got from her school, and “each time my mother or I complained, the bullying got worse”. When the bullies physically attacked her, it was the last straw for Letters’ mother. She took her off the school roll. That meant her school was absolved of its legal responsibility to provide her with an education. She became yet another statistic: one of the 16,000 children aged 11 to 15 who, each year, “self-exclude” from school due to bullying.
By then, Letters was a wreck and could not contemplate starting a new school. “I felt worthless, stupid, ugly and fat – I didn’t see the point in being alive. I had no motivation to learn.” more
In the fourth grade, I had my first panic attack—at least, the first one I remember. It happened at a softball game. I worked myself up to the verge of tears because of some irrational fear of becoming sick. I had no reason to be so distressed, but I was. Since then, I’ve experienced panic attacks and anxiety triggered by almost anything, even something as illogical as potentially falling ill in the future.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately one in five adults in the U.S. suffer from a mental illness. My mental illness never impacted me on an interpersonal level until I started dating my high school boyfriend, Brian.
However, I have
never dated a person with a mental illness like mine.
I didn’t receive an official diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder or take prescribed medication until age 18. more
When children are small, their faces light up at the sight of mom and dad. But fast forward a few years, and the same parents eventually get eye-rolls.
Adolescence is a time to navigate self-identity and peer pressure from every angle, but what causes some teens to thrive while others struggle with anxiety and depression?
While previous reports have credited environmental risk factors, such as poverty and racism, for anxiety and depression in teens, a new study adds another one: a fracture in the parent-child bond. more
You know that anxious knot you get in your stomach when you’ve sent a text and are worried about a reply? Or that itchy feeling you get when your phone is dead and you know you’re supposed to be getting an update? As many of us know, texting anxiety is no joke. But what you may not realize is that it’s not just about looking at your phone too frequently—for some, the anxiety associated with texting culture is turning into a serious mental health issue.
If you’re someone who struggles with anxiety already, it’s easy to see why texting would exacerbate that. Although texting has been around for almost 25 years, it’s only since Blackberrys and other smartphones burst onto the stage that texting really took over. Suddenly, it wasn’t the occasional, painstakingly written message popping up on your Nokia, it was being constantly accessible to everyone you know—friends, partners, even your colleagues and bosses. We’re expected to answer quickly, even engage in full conversations via text, wherever we are. And, with many of us having group texts with our friends, it’s easy to get major FOMO—and keep checking your phone, just in case.
If this sounds like you, here’s what you know about texting anxiety and how to combat it—because it’s a serious issue that’s definitely on the rise. more
When you’ve been burned in the past.
Nothing kills new relationships more quickly than relationship anxiety and obsessively wondering, “Does he like me?”
Let’s say you’ve started dating someone, and you like them a lot. After a few great dates, they said they’d call you on Saturday … but they haven’t yet. At first, you didn’t mind. But, then, it starts to preoccupy your mind and you start feeling anxious and wonder if he still likes you.
Does this sound familiar? One minute, you’re a 30-year-old in the bar with your friends and the next, you’re reacting like you’re a 3-year-old.
Your anxiety worsens and you start getting paranoid. Ultimately, you end up driving your new man away and you’re left alone … again. It becomes a becomes a self-fulfilling, self-sabotaging prophecy.
However, the real problem might not be your new partner. It might be your emotional baggage from past traumas that’s holding you back from falling in love, and it’s time for you to clean it up. more
A new podcast called The Great God of Depression tells the story of a famous author, his eccentric neurologist, and the links between creativity and mental illness.
Karen Brown is a longtime reporter for New England Public Radio who covers health and mental health. She teamed up with Pagan Kennedy, book author and writer for The New York Times on the five-episode series, released by PRX’s Radiotopia on its Showcase series.
William Styron was the celebrated 20th-century author who wrote “Sophie’s Choice.” He also wrote a memoir, “Darkness Visible,” that revolutionized the conversation around depression. The other character is his brilliant doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital, Alice Flaherty. more