When I first started taking Adderall, it wasn’t prescribed to me — it was my boyfriend’s. It was 2006, and I had a fun but creatively unfulfilling job at a men’s magazine. On the weekends, I was determined to grow a freelance career that, god willing, would allow me to quit. Freelance writing, especially when you’re starting out, involves a lot of pitching, in particular pitching editors who don’t know you. It’s a lot of coming up with ideas, proposing those ideas, and waiting, hoping and praying, that someone, anyone bites and is willing to pay you a decent sum to write it. To be a successful freelancer writer, you have to be extremely motivated and focused.
I had the motivation. But focus was out of my grasp. I felt stuck literally and mentally. And being stuck make me anxious. Keep reading »
What do you do when one of the things you used to like about yourself the most, looking back, becomes one of the things that you like about yourself the least?
From as young as I can remember, a rocket ship of ambition propelled me forward in all that I did. I didn’t — and still don’t — have a wide variety of interests, because writing was where I excelled. I threw everything into it. My parents, of course, fanned the flames of this. They loved having a daughter who made them proud.
And I loved getting some attention. My older brother Eliot*, his bipolar disorder and his drug and alcohol addictions, consumed most of my parents’ energy and nearly all of their attention. I wrote a poem when I was 13 or 14 that I can remember to this day because it still applies to my life sometimes. It was called “Measuring Cups” and it was about parents struggling to measure out love and attention equally amongst their children, but failing. When I was that young, the best way I could find attention, short of developing a heroin addiction myself, was to impress my parents with awards and articles and prizes and accolades. There was no confusion about this lifestyle, no hard choices to make. All I had to do was whatever made me look the best. Keep reading »
There’s nothing quite like spilling all your secrets to a complete stranger. It can be liberating … or it can be terrifying. Plus, going through your HMO’s provider book isn’t going to tell you what you want to know about the therapist you’ll be working with. I’ve been seeing therapists on-and-off for a decade and a half now, and I’ve learned a bit about shopping for a new one on the way. Here’s how it goes… Keep reading »
The first psychiatrist (“shrink”) I ever saw helped me through a rough time by prescribing me an anti-depressant. I figured I’d be on it short term until I was in a better place. That shrink took my health insurance. I didn’t realize how lucky I was.
Little did I know that once I relocated and needed to find a new doctor, I’d have a better chance of finding a unicorn with a prescription pad than a decent shrink who’d accept my insurance. Keep reading »
Here at The Frisky’s offices, one of the most hotly anticipated books of 2011 is Agorafabulous!: Dispatches From My Bedroom, by the comedienne and all-around-awesome-lady Sara Benincasa. I love this girl for her balls-out honesty regarding her mental health struggles with agoraphobia and anxiety. Agorafabulous! is based on Sara’s one-woman show of the same name, which recounts how vicious panic attacks created a fear of the outside world, to the point where she refused to leave her college dorm room. In this cartoon, Sara explains all about anxiety attacks, the “flight or fight” response, and why you shouldn’t shop at Whole Foods. As someone who has suffered from panic attacks from age 15 onwards, I could have used an explanation like this back when I was hyperventilating and didn’t know what the eff was going on!
Having an abortion does not increase a woman’s chance of developing mental health problems, a British health agency has found. The U.K.’s National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health compared a number of studies conducted worldwide in the past 20 years and found that in cases of unwanted pregnancy, women who chose abortion were no more likely to develop disorders like depression and anxiety than those who gave birth. Research does point to an increase in mental disorders in women with unwanted pregnancies in general, with approximately one in three women with unwanted pregnancies diagnosed with such disorders. These statistics did not rise, however, in the cases in which women underwent abortion. Keep reading »