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 »
I’m not an addict, and I’m not an alcoholic. But as offensive as this may sound, I sometimes I wish I were, if only so I could have a language and a community to help me deal with what often seem like out of control urges—a structure surrounding me to help me cope with, well, life. But there are no 12-step meetings for people who simply have trouble getting up every day, who feel hollow and weak and unworthy, but who don’t gloss over those feelings with a single, predictable vice. Over the course of my life, I’ve certainly used alcohol, sex, shopping and food to help quell those feelings, and they’ve each worked, in limited doses, but eventually their effects wore off.
The thing is, though, my rock bottom moments don’t revolve around alcohol, though I’ve consumed my share, or drugs (I’ve attempted to smoke pot twice, and basically failed each time); sometimes it’s food, sometimes it’s sex, sometimes it’s shopping, but I fundamentally believe that the core part of me that hates myself in those moments when I’m eating an entire box of cereal, screwing someone I’m not that into, or buying a pair of shoes I don’t need and can’t afford, is the same impulse that drove, say, my father or grandfather to drink (both are recovering alcoholics). Keep reading »
My senior year of college, I fell head over heels in love (or so I thought) for the first time. Aaron* and I had an on-and-off friends with benefits type situation that I kept hoping would evolve into more. It didn’t and I probably should have stopped hooking up with him because it really wasn’t benefitting me mentally. But I just couldn’t. Not being with him literally made me sick. I thought about him almost constantly, completely involuntarily. The obsessive thoughts continued even after I graduated and moved to New York, when having a FWB relationship wasn’t even possible. I would think about him while I was at work, while I was on the subway, before I went to bed at night, all the time. In total, my mind and heart’s obsession with him lasted for three goddamn years. Sounds kind of crazy, right?
Turns out, my crush may have actually been a sign of a rare psychological disorder called “limerence,” in which someone “is in a constant state of compulsory longing for another person.” Keep reading »
“Teen Mom” was always real … but it just got real. Emergency personnel responded to Amber Portwood‘s house in Anderson, Indiana, on Tuesday morning after a call from Gary Shirley’s mother claimed the 21-year-old mother was depressed and threatening to kill herself. According to Star magazine, police arrived to find Portwood lying face-up on a couch with a rope “loosely knotted around her neck.” She was apparently fading in and out of consciousness and needed an oxygen mask to help stabilize her before she was taken to a local hospital. Amber Portwood’s life, as chronicled on MTV and in the tabs, has always been a hot mess — from her boy drama to her arrest for assaulting Gary Shirley, the father of her kid — and I’m sorry to see how it’s affecting her. Mental illness is not something that can be ignored in hopes that it just goes away. I hope Amber Portwood and MTV take this suicide attempt seriously and get her the help she needs.
[Us Weekly] Keep reading »
Last Thursday, I prepared myself for what I thought would be a big milestone in my relationship with The Young One. His older sister—who serves double duty as his best friend—was visiting and I was going to meet her for the first time over dinner. That morning, I rummaged through my closet, trying to find the perfect ensemble to project a cool-yet-wholesome image. Over lunch, I brainstormed restaurants with my co-workers, hoping to find a place that felt special and laid-back at the same time—a true reflection of me. All afternoon I felt on a high that I was about to meet my first member of The Young One’s family—the one he was closest to, no less. Visions of his sister and I becoming besties danced in my head.
But as late afternoon rolled around, I hadn’t heard from The Young One. He remembers dinner tonight, right? I thought before spiraling into another thought. What if he’s changed his mind about introducing me to his sister? Keep reading »
This is how I used to start my day: I’d meditate for five minutes, read the daily passage in The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie, and do the daily reading and writing exercises from my Buddhism book. Then I’d log onto my computer and type my gratitude list of 30-50 items I was grateful for, followed by the 3-5 affirmations I was currently working with, written 1-10 times each. I’d email this to the approximately 40 women I exchanged gratitude lists with, and then read their lists in my inbox. Before turning off my computer, I’d scan Twitter for inspirational quotes to retweet.
On the subway to work, I’d listen to an uplifting playlist on my iPod, and/or recite affirmations in my mind. Keep reading »