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Mental Health

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How to Structure Your Days If You're Depressed. Illustration by Lucy. My daily structure—waking up early, daily showers, attending school—came undone with my mother’s death and my subsequent free-fall into depression. I lived in several apartments, all of which devolved into health hazards at alarming speed. My ex named my toenails “dragon claws,” and my fiancé christened them talons the first time we met. I went for a good seven years without brushing my teeth. (That’s one of the things we don’t speak of.) For most people, a routine comes prepackaged with family, school, and work, living as part of that larger machine that runs them through the day in efficient harmony across time zones and cultures.

Cherish your isolation: It has given you the space to survive. Here’s where you might be right now. Structuring your life is just like exercising a little-used muscle: You can’t expect it to start functioning at full potential from day one. Begin by charting out things that you actually enjoy doing. Break down everything you can. How neuroscience explains the urge to self-harm – Carrie Arnold. Here’s what I remember about the first time I cut myself: I was mad. As a writer, I wish I could come up with something more literary, such as: ‘The cuts provided a route through my skin for the emotions to escape.’ Or maybe: ‘I used it to translate emotional pain into physical pain.’ Or even, perhaps: ‘I engraved my suffering into my skin, turmoil writ large for all the world to see.’ These are, to some extent, true. But that’s not what I was thinking the first time I picked up a pair of scissors and slashed at my thighs.

Mostly, I was pissed off. Popular now Why the hidden internet can’t be a libertarian paradise Is the Many Worlds hypothesis just a fantasy? Is becoming a hermit the ultimate feminist statement? I had argued with my mom over something so banal it has long since disappeared into the dustbin of memory. I quickly patched myself up, rather shamefaced. Over the years, I’ve tried to explain self-injury to my therapists, my parents, my friends and, most recently, my husband.

I Love My Distant Friends But I've Realized The Importance Of Crafting Local, In-Person Female Friendships. In college, I had a pack of women who were enough to make anyone jealous. They’re some of the most kind, thoughtful women I’ve ever known, and they can talk about Beverly Smith and Chandra Mohanty as easily as they can talk about lipstick and handbags. They read the news. They’re all community organizers or activists. They talk a mile-a-minute, and they mainline both coffee and sweet tea. They are, in a phrase, my tribe. But upon graduation, we all moved so far away from each other that to look at it on a map was to look at the set-up to a punchline: not only were we spread across the West Coast, East Coast, Midwest, but we were also spread across four separate continents: the U.S., Australia, Asia, and Africa. And we’ve never come back together or moved any closer; we keep in touch over Skype, phone calls, and completely erratic visits. In the six years I’ve lived in Cincinnati, they’ve been my major support system.

So for years, I was able to limp along. I pined, and I rationalized. School is a prison — and damaging our kids. Parents send their children to school with the best of intentions, believing that’s what they need to become productive and happy adults. Many have qualms about how well schools are performing, but the conventional wisdom is that these issues can be resolved with more money, better teachers, more challenging curricula and/or more rigorous tests. But what if the real problem is school itself? The unfortunate fact is that one of our most cherished institutions is, by its very nature, failing our children and our society. School is a place where children are compelled to be, and where their freedom is greatly restricted — far more restricted than most adults would tolerate in their workplaces.

In recent decades, we have been compelling our children to spend ever more time in this kind of setting, and there is strong evidence (summarized in my recent book) that this is causing serious psychological damage to many of them. As a society, we tend to shrug off such findings. If You’re Busy, You’re Doing Something Wrong: The Surprisingly Relaxed Lives of Elite Achievers. November 11th, 2011 · 275 comments The Berlin Study In the early 1990s, a trio of psychologists descended on the Universität der Künste, a historic arts academy in the heart of West Berlin. They came to study the violinists. As described in their subsequent publication in Psychological Review, the researchers asked the academy’s music professors to help them identify a set of stand out violin players — the students who the professors believed would go onto careers as professional performers.

We’ll call this group the elite players. For a point of comparison, they also selected a group of students from the school’s education department. We’ll call this group the average players. The three researchers subjected their subjects to a series of in-depth interviews. Flush with data, the researchers went to work trying to answer a fundamental question: Why are the elite players better than the average players? The obvious guess is that the elite players are more dedicated to their craft. The Problem With How We Treat Bipolar Disorder. Photo illustration by Daniel Gordon Photograph from Linda Logan The author in 1980, pregnant with her first child. I don’t think there is a particular point at which I can say I became depressed.

My illness was insidious, gradual and inexorable. I had a preview of depression in high school, when I spent a couple of years wearing all black, rimming my eyes in kohl and sliding against the walls in the hallways, hoping that no one would notice me. The hormonal chaos of having three children in five years, the pressure of working on a Ph.D. dissertation and a genetic predisposition for a mood disorder took me to a place of darkness I hadn’t experienced before.

When I told other young mothers about my bone-wearying fatigue, they rolled their eyes knowingly and mumbled, “Right.” Any joy I derived from my children was now conjoined with grief. I lost my sense of competence. My day, once broken by naps, gradually turned into lengthy stretches of sleep, punctuated by moments of wakefulness. If You Must Think About Your Weight, Here Are 10 Things to Think. Mind Games. Ayear ago, at the end of a University of Toronto lecture on mental health promotion, I asked 400 medical students whether they would be content if psychiatrists moved them from being distraught to a state of “normal unhappiness.” My mentor had asked me the same question when I began my training. The concept of normal unhappiness helped me accept that things were not always going to go well, and it also helped me understand my role as a psychiatrist: to intervene when time alone could not heal, and when my patients and their families or their communities could not cope.

This concept of normal unhappiness has long been the standard in therapy courses, and I have raised it with my own students on and off for the past twenty-five years. That day, though, it was on my mind for other reasons. This month marks the publication of the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the bible psychiatrists use to diagnose mental illness. The second issue is context. I Did These Exercises When I Was Stoned And Depressed So You Can Do Them If You’re Tired or Lazy or Whatever. There was this time in my life -– that started when I was 14 and ended approximately a year ago –- when I smoked pot a few times a day. My boyfriends always sold weed (I’m inclined to say this was coincidental, but in hindsight, I’m not sure that it was), and I ditched a lot of class. I NEVER touched a Bob Marley shirt, though, and, sadly, I never figured out how to roll a joint.

(I also can’t snap -- not that that’s relevant.) Last February, I had intentions to stop smoking pot. I even wrote an article about it. But I didn’t. I just began acting like a total stoner. My hair got ratty and knotted (luckily that was the look in my ‘hood). What a life, I KNOW. After nearly 10 years of being as stoned as that cartoon rabbit from that spooky D.A.R.E. video (anyone remember that?

And instead of talking through it, I got blazed. Check with your doctor before you start a new exercise routine and please don’t fall off a roll-y chair and crack your head, k thnx… Don’t feel your abs burning? How to Be the ‘Right’ Kind of Crazy » Ashley Miller. Mini-meltdown. So this evening was interesting. I’ve had a really lovely day – a nice relaxing time with hubby and the kids this morning splashing about in the local park, then an afternoon with a good friend wandering around a beautiful garden.

Form has been good. But, following the smallest, most innocuous little incident this evening, I found myself in freefall. I think my biggest source of anxiety at the moment is going back to work, although I’ve been reasonably successfully managing not to think about it. Thankfully, before I had the chance to act on any of these decisions, Hubby spotted the signs, gave me a hug and the floodgates opened. I’m trying to take some positives from this evening’s mini-meltdown. How to Overcome the Anxiety That's Keeping You From Achieving Your Goals. I had severe anxiety and depression for about six years.

None of the medication I took helped at all and in fact it exacerbated the problems I already had. Your better off without the pills believe it or not. I just recently got off them, after five years, and feel so much more clear headed and empowered. Oh, and the withdrawal from the medicine(anti-depressants, mood stabilizers, anti-anxiety), which some people liken to withdrawing from opiates, was far worse than anything originally felt. I did DBT which gave my insight into all the distortions, mind reading, and negative thinking in general that I had. Good Luck I'm not sure of the reason you can't take pills. For you I agree with bonboon, moderate exercise or playing a sport does help. A while back I did biofeedback which is a lot like meditation.

I also suffer from anxiety. Another good one is exercise - even just a nice walk is a good start. Also, realise that no one is going to do this stuff for you. Oh yeah... Disabled Philosophers « We exist. The Perils of Perfectionism. Image by flickr user simplyla/ Creative Commons licensed This is a GradHacker post by Julie Platt, PhD candidate in Writing and Rhetoric at Michigan State University, @aristotlejulep Let’s face it -- a lot of us in graduate school are perfectionists. I could go a step farther and argue a lot of us made it into graduate school in part because of our perfectionism.

Graduate school is exactly the kind of environment where perfectionism thrives. There’s a constant striving to tackle our significant workloads without error and folly. There's the pressure to publish well and often. There's the pressure to do something that's never been done before. For some, perfectionism is motivation, speeding them onward through their tasks. In a way, I could point to my background in creative writing for my perfectionism and all the poor work habits that have come with it. I carried this perfectionism--disguised as writer's block--with me to my doctoral program. Was it worth it? Academia and Mental Illness: A Preliminary List of Resources.

This week I received an email from a reader who had recently been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. She was asking for resources I might know of to help her navigate her Ph.D. program in light of her mental illness. I didn’t know of any, so I put out a request on Facebook and Twitter. The response was instantaneous and big. I compiled all the recommendations into the following list. As you can see I just cut and pasted directly from the comments on Twitter and Facebook, without elaboration. They are in no particular order, and I have not yet read most of these and can’t vouch for them. (I don’t know why some of the links ended up not live, but if you cut and paste them as a new url they do work).

I would like to solicit guest posts on the general theme of mental illness in the academy, and ways that people have coped with it, and challenges that they have encountered. Academia and Mental Illness Resources Elyn R. John W. Lisa T. 20 Uses for Self-Compassion. Compassion by Adriel Socrates. Fellow PT blogger, Dr Kelly McGonigal, has an excellent phrase "Self-compassion beats self-criticism any day, and in every way. " In my therapy practice, clients often express that they want to try out self-compassion, but then strike a problem. When they're having "a moment of suffering," the self-compassion model doesn't get activated - they don't think at the time "Oh, this is a time I could use self compassion.

" To help you get started learning when to use self-compassion instead of self-criticism, here are 20 examples. Here Are 20 Examples of When to Use Self-Compassion 1. When you're trying hard but what you're producing isn't as good as you'd like it to be. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. How to Be Self-Compassionate Try a three minute writing exercise . 1. 2. 3. This 3 pronged model of self-compassion is from Dr Kristin Neff.

Learning to be self-compassionate is a skill. If you liked this article. When Your Brain's Wrong.