From mental health

20 Ways To Get Yourself Out Of That Rut

All of us get “stuck in a rut” at some point. What we do to get out is the important thing. Here are some suggestions.They’re not researched, or written in stone, or anything like that. They’re just guidelines, from me to you. 1. Change the way you normally workout. 2. When you drive home after work or school, try a different way. 3. Clean out your desk drawers, or your glove box in the car. 4. Wash your car yourself instead of taking it to the car wash. 5. Change up your food choices when you go grocery shopping. 6. Make…

Ten Reasons You Should Be Glad You’re Type B — Part II

Type As get all the attention. We love reading about Type A characteristics, we admire Type A people, and we really don’t know a whole lot about Type B people. There is no supreme personality trait. But when it comes to type A and type B, it is simply more acceptable to cop to being an A: a hard-charging go-getter who gets stuff done. The implication being that type Bs lack drive, ambition and ability, which is not the case. The B type personality is laid-back, but it is also patient, creative, collaborative, and even wise. So, without further adieu, here…

How Do You Respond To Stress? Part One

You’ve heard talk of Type A and Type B personalities. The first part of this two-part blog series on stress is about the Type A personality. Here are 25 things you might not know (or might!) about this complicated personality: 1. They don’t procrastinate. They hate the idea of wasting time so they do things the moment they come to mind. Why wait and do it later when you can just do it now? 2. They always have a task list — a never-ending one. If there is another day to be lived, then there is another set of tasks…

Performance Anxiety Redux

All right. This is not an apology, this is an explanation. There’s a reason I have been so flaky lately with my posts . . . well, this whole entire month, specifically. Last year, when I tried to crochet Christmas presents, I didn’t start working until like October or even November, and of course didn’t get finished in time. I have a large family. So this year I began in January. So far I have two granny square blankets crocheted. I just have to put them together. I’m working on my third (pictured above) which looks like snowflakes! I have…

“All The World’s A Stage . . . “

I just had to post this anxiety meme, and like larger than life, because as soon as I saw it I laughed so hard I almost choked on my coffee. It’s so totally true. Every time I’m ever with my therapist and we’re talking about something that makes me anxious, or we try to do something on the fear ladder and I get anxious, she immedately goes for the “Okay. start your breathing. Try to take yourself down to at least a three.” Right. I must’ve been breathing wrong before!  If that worked all the time, psychiatrists would be completely out of business.…

Self-harm

Self-harming, or cutting, serves many purposes. If you talk to eight different cutters, you will most likely get eight different reasons why they cut. It is as much individual as is the individual who engages in the practice. Take me, for example. I used to cut on a regular basis. In fact, I attended the S.A.F.E. Program (Self Abuse Finally Ends) in Chicago several years ago to help me stop. I cut for several reasons. I hated myself, felt numb, invisible, was angry, felt soooo much pain and cutting relieved it, was intensely sad, and intensely anxious. I did not yet know…

The Lake Wobegon Effect

“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?” — which is the immortal question asked by the narcissistic Evil Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Several psychological studies have shown that in real life most people have a touch of the Evil Queen’s vanity. Including a huge range of measures, from good looks and popularity to driving ability and memory capacity, the typical person believes they are superior to most others. Our misplaced confidence is thought to explain a number of common human weaknesses, including what seem to be irrational health behaviors such as…

Follow The Leader

Most of us remember the game “Follow The Leader,” which involves a child being the leader of a line of other children. The children are supposed to copy everything the leader does. Those who fail to do so are out of the line, until one is left standing behind the leader, who then  becomes the new leader. It’s similar to the game Simon Says,  which requires a group of at least three children, preferably more. The leader gives directions to the other participants, trying to catch them out. If they follow the directions starting with “Simon says touch your toes,” for instance, they…

The Bystander Effect

According to Wikipedia, the bystander effect, a.k.a. bystander apathy, “is a social psychological phenomenon that refers to cases in which individuals do not offer any means of help to a victim when other people are present. The probability of help is inversely related to the number of bystanders.” The first case that caused research into this “effect” took place in 1964. At that time, 28-yr-old Kitty Genovese was raped and stabbed to death in front of her apartment. The attack lasted over 30 minutes and was witnessed by several dozen people (at least, it was reported, but later found to be…

Birth Order

Last year, on one of his visits home from San Francisco, my brother Paul brought a t-shirt he’d bought which bore the saying “Mom loves me best.” He wore it to an outdoor picnic at which most of the family was in attendance; it was very funny and caused quite a lot of discussion. Even more funny, he left it with me when he went back! 😛 Paul is the second to youngest of seven siblings. I’m the youngest. My sister Carol is the oldest, then there’s Greg, Steve, Jerry, Jimmy, Paul, and me. My sister said she prayed and…

Positive Psychology

To prepare for this blog post, I read Martin Seligman’s Authentic Happiness in two days. It was a pretty major feat for me, since I’m usually a slow reader, especially when it comes to nonfiction material. This book, minus the index pages, notes, and acknowledgements, came to 260 pp. But I was excited about it, especially since my sister had recently begun therapy again with someone who used only positive psychology techniques. She had recommended this book to Carol, and when I tried to get two copies at B&N, they only had one, so I read it as fast as I…

The Crack Heard Around The World

“There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.” ― Jim Morrison Maybe it began while you were sleeping, in those pre-dawn REM hours. You thought you heard a noise, sat up for a second, but there wasn’t another sound right afterwards, so you turned over and went back to sleep. Before you knew it you were in an earthquake. The books were falling off the shelves, the bed was clattering off the floor, and you were holding on for dear life. First it wasn’t there, and then…

A-Z Blog Challenge Reflections

In retrospect, this month-long challenge was good for me. I can still say that, even after the whining, complaining, staying up at night thinking about topics, taking forever to write, obsessing, worrying, and stressing so much that I made myself ill. I loved every haphazard minute of it. You bet I did. But it all starts out the same way. It’s like “Oh, a challenge! Shiny, Shiny!” And then after a few days it dawns on me that this is a daily ritual and I made a commitment and all those other big scary words most adults should never have to hear in their lifetimes. See, I’m not…

Welcome and Psychoanalysis

Welcome to Mental Health Awareness Month 2015! I have o lot planned for this month, and the focus is, if you haven’t already figured it out, on mental health, not mental illness. Here’s how the month will look, from blog post to blog post: Welcome and Pschoanalysis The Cognitive Shift Positive Psychology Birth Order Neuroplasticity The Bystander Effect Follow The Leader The Lake Wobegon Effect Ericsson’s 10,000-Hour Rule Consciousness Rosenhan’s Insane Places The Principles Of Cognitive Therapy One & Two Three & Four Five & Six Seven & Eight Nine & Ten This should prove to be a very interesting and entertaining…

Zany

I don’t like the word zany as it applies to mentally ill or anxious people. It’s the same as saying “crazy,” and it’s placing a stigma on a population that has enough to deal with on a day-to-day basis. I’m not even sure I like “mentally ill.” Sure, I have three separate anxiety problems, and bipolar disorder, but does that make me mentally ill? Does someone with diabetes say that she is physically ill? Of course not. She has a problem with her sugar, and she’s hopefully taking care of it. We all of us exhibit crazy behaviors now and then. None…

Yesterday

Although we’ve talked a lot about living in the present moment, the fact is most people with anxiety either live in the future or, more likely, in the past. The future living sounds more like a lot of “What-ifs,” and can get very scary very quickly. Living in yesterday sounds like this: I know I hurt my friend’s feelings when I said that that particular way. She seemed funny after that. It couldn’t have been just because she was dealing with her own issues. I know it was my fault. Or: I looked so stupid buying groceries yesterday. I’m sure everyone could…

Xanthophobia

Today is brought to you by the letter “X.” Your first instinct, when you hear about today’s subject matter, might be to laugh, but I urge you not to. It’s a very serious matter, and I think, if we suffered with it, we would not be laughing, not one bit. Xanthophobia is an intense, irrational fear of the color yellow. It is very real to the person or persons impacted by this phobia. Taken to its extreme, the xanthophobic person may even feel an overwhelming fear of the very word yellow. Xanthophobia comes from the Greek word “Xanthous”, meaning yellow…

Worrying

“Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It is already tomorrow in Australia.” –Charles Schulz Charles Schulz is great. My dad was a cop, and he had a cop friend who was friend who was friends with Schulz, so for Halloween, instead of passing out candy, my older brother and I would pass out old comic books with the covers torn off. Of course, we always sat around and read them first. It was a sheer blast. I related to both Charlie Brown (with all his worrying) and Linus (with his security blanket–I had one until I…

Venting

When I saw my therapist Wednesday he gave me a homework assignment. He even wrote it down, because otherwise, it would have gone right out of my head. “Challenge absolute thoughts (All or Nothing thinking). Find 15 cliches that relate to adapting to uncomfortable situations. Practice squared breathing exercise three times per week.” I’m not saying the assignment is stupid. It’s very worthwhile, actually. It’s just that I have so  much going on right now. Does he not realize that? The A-Z challenge goes until next Thursday (I think), I’m crocheting one very large granny square per day for a blanket I’m…

Understanding

Dear Loved One, It’s me, your (wife, daughter, sister, friend, girlfriend). I know it’s been really hard lately, watching my meltdowns. I don’t think I could be in your position, witnessing panic attack after panic attack, and an overall highly anxious state. It must be utter hell. Now imagine what it’s like to live through it. It’s worse than hell. It’s like being promised heaven, having it dangled in front of you like a carrot, and then snatched away at the last minute. You know how when your foot falls asleep and it feels like pins and needles when it…