Unlike my future captor Tom Cruise, I’m a big fan of psychiatry. Why? Well, it’s given me opportunities I never could have experienced without medical intervention for depression, agoraphobia and panic attacks. To put it more simply: Psychiatry has saved my life. But thanks to a couple of friendly letters from health insurance companies, I’ve recently learned I don’t deserve to go to the doctor.
And here I thought I was doing well. Keep reading »
Every reality show competition has its oddball and Victoria on “America’s Next Top Model” fits it to a ‘T.’ She was homeschooled, attends online schooling at uber-religious Liberty University, and when she “gets in character” she over-acts during all her photoshoots … like in the most recent episode when she spat at the photographer. Victoria also just so happens to be the girl I want to win; she takes some of the best pictures, and easily has the best work ethic (which is half the battle).
Over the past several episodes of “ANTM,” the other girls have been closing in on Victoria. It started with snotty comments about Victoria being weird — which, sure, she is. Then it exacerbated in the episode before last when, at judging, the girls told Tyra Banks that they think Victoria isn’t eating enough — which, if we can go off the way producers have edited the show, is probably also true. Victoria defended herself and said she doesn’t have an eating disorder, she’s just extremely anxious about the competition and being away from her mom for the first time — which, again, is probably true. Tyra then pronounced she deeply cares about the health and well-being of the girls on her show, threatened that if Victoria restricts her eating she’s out of the competition, and vowed to keep an eye on her.
Then, on Friday night’s episode, all of this hoopla went even further: the remaining girls in the house confronted Victoria, telling her they don’t think she’s stable enough to continue with the competition. Keep reading »
I’ve been seeing my therapist, Jennifer*, for years. I love her. She’s helped me through a lot of hard times and she’s one of the first people I want to talk to when something big happens in my life.
However, there was one time she crossed the line between analyzing and annoying: the time she convinced me I had Asperger’s, a form of autism. Keep reading »
I used to be the sort of person who was always looking for the next big thing. In high school, I wanted to be in college. In college, I wanted to have a job. Every job I had, I wanted to be more successful.
I didn’t learn about stillness, about just being, until I had to. And I don’t think it’s coincidental that the more I just be and the more gratitude I have for my life, the happier I am.
My bouts of depression have always had a chicken-and-the-egg quality to them. Was I on a downward spiral of depression throughout my mid-20s? Or was it from my stressful and demanding job and how hard I was on myself about not being the most amazing person ever? Did I feel depressed because I studied abroad in Eastern Europe away from my family and my friends? Or was I depressed already and that trip just exacerbated it?
I don’t think there are necessarily answers other than “both.” Just the way my mom is inclined to bruise easily if she knocks her leg on a coffee table, I’m inclined to get depressed easily. I wouldn’t have chosen to be this way if I had the choice. But since this is what the lottery stuck me with, I’ve learned how to cope with it. Keep reading »
You may remember Jani Schofield from a particularly haunting episode of “Oprah” a few years ago. Jani’s parents noticed that something wasn’t right with their daughter fairly early on, but couldn’t have imagined that their she was schizophrenic. One of the youngest cases of schizophrenia ever recorded, Jani sees imaginary animals and people in vivid detail. She also has what’s known as tactile hallucinations, wherein she feels things happening to her. Dr. Phil had her family on to discuss not only Jani’s volatile behavior, but the impact it has on the Schofields’ relationship, and their fear that their young son Bodi is also schizophrenic.
There is no way to discuss this in a manner that’s particularly comfortable or even couth, so I’ll start with the facts: Martha Corey-Ochoa, an 18-year-old Columbia University incoming freshman, was found dead on Monday at around 11 p.m. following a fall from her 14th-floor dormitory on Manhattan’s West 114th Street, where her parents had dropped her off and helped her move in earlier in the day. Valedictorian of her graduating class at Dobbs Ferry High School in New York, the violinist and writer had planned to double major in English and mathematics. Her death was pronounced a suicide. Keep reading »
Let’s talk about anxiety dreams, shall we? They suck. But we all have them, no matter how much we have our act together in real life. Anxiety dreams happen when the stress, fear and worries of daily life infiltrate our unconscious mind. Or conversely, when there’s some crap we’re not ready to deal with, the anxiety will express itself through dream imagery. After an anxiety dream, we often wake up in the morning, or drenched in sweat in the middle of the night, with heart-pounding fear, feeling exhausted, like we didn’t sleep at all. Keep reading »
I don’t obsessively wash my hands; in fact, I spend most of my time barefoot, germs faze me that little. I don’t feel an inexplicable need to count things. I don’t have any good luck charms, either physical (objects) or mental (numbers, letters, etc.). But I do have moderate OCD that has, over the course of my life, manifested itself in various ways at varying degrees of intensity.
OCD runs in my family; both my late grandmother and my uncle were/are incredibly repetitive people. My mom also has certain OCD behaviors; leaving her neat and orderly nest to go to college caused my OCD to emerge so I could instill a sense of order that I needed to feel safe. Looking back, my most extreme periods of obsessive compulsive behavior coincided with times when I was most unhappy, stressed, or conflicted about something. Attending to my various OCD needs gave me a place to focus all my anxiety and helped calm my mind. For a few years, I cleaned my apartment constantly, mopping the kitchen floor three times a day and fretting over whether my bedspread was laid perfectly symmetrical across my bed. I could spot a dust bunny from 30 feet away. It was maddening, but you could eat breakfast off my bathroom floor.
Nowadays, for a variety of reasons — medication that manages my associated issues with anxiety and ADD, general satisfaction with my life, ongoing therapy, a housekeeper who comes once a month, and new learned coping mechanisms — my OCD is much better. Sometimes I let dishes sit in the sink overnight. My remote control does not have to sit perfectly straight on my coffee table. I would vacuum less if Lucca didn’t shed so much. But my OCD does come out in some kind of random, less obvious ways. Here are some of them… Keep reading »