Is Being Pessimistic Always a Bad Thing?

upset cat frowning

What does it mean to be pessimistic? Well, I come from a long line of pessimists and can tell you. Being pessimistic means that you tend to see the worst parts of things or think the worst will happen. A pessimistic person is one who is often seen as lacking hope and joy and is marked by disbelief or distrust. Basically, to be pessimistic means expecting the worst in all situations. Continue reading Is Being Pessimistic Always a Bad Thing?

What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)?

brain

Experiencing sadness and grief is a normal part of the human experience. While many of us have those feelings on occasion, major depression is something far more significant. It is a condition that 16.2 million adults in the U.S. experience in a given year, and it can have long-lasting symptoms such as overwhelming sadness, low energy, loss of appetite, and a lack of interest in things that once brought joy. Over time, depression can lead to serious health conditions, so finding a treatment that works is essential for long-term mental health.

One such treatment is transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS. It is a non-invasive procedure that uses repetitive magnetic pulses to stimulate nerve cells in the brain, helping to improve the symptoms of depression. This form of treatment is best considered when other treatment options for depression — like medication and therapy — are not proven effective. There are also some key considerations to keep in mind before exploring the option. Continue reading What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)?

What is EMDR Therapy?

light on eye

If you’re struggling with trauma, you might consider checking out EMDR therapy. This unique therapy helps you process traumatic memories.

EMDR — or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing — was originally developed for patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Often, people with these experiences have triggers that can cause them to relive their most frightening moments. For example, a war veteran may struggle with fireworks on the Fourth of July, with each blast making them feel like they’ve returned to combat.

With EMDR, patients can halt that trigger-reaction to stressful past events. With a therapist’s guidance — unfortunately, this isn’t something you can DIY — you can re-process that stressful past experience, eventually bypassing the anxiety and fear associated with that memory. Essentially, just like with physical wounds, you’re building a protective barrier over emotional pain. Continue reading What is EMDR Therapy?

Understanding Survivor’s Guilt

9/11 Memorial

Where were you on 9/11?

We all have our own story. Maybe you watched the news unfold on TV in your college dorm room, shaking and sobbing. Maybe you heard the news spread through the halls of your elementary school, feeling confused and scared, longing to go home. Or maybe you listened to the car radio while driving to work, feeling numb from the shock.

Perhaps you were in one of the locations that was attacked and you remember every sight, every smell, every detail of that horrific day. Continue reading Understanding Survivor’s Guilt

Is There a ‘Right Way’ to Talk About Suicide?

community vigil

Content Warning: This article discusses suicide and contains examples of hurtful or outdated language sometimes used when discussing suicide. While this content might be triggering for those directly impacted by suicide, we believe difficult conversations around how best to discuss mental health in respectful and non-stigmatizing ways is imperative. If you are in a life threatening situation, please call +1 (800) 273-8255 or use these resources to get immediate help.

During my senior year of high school, a student two years younger than me died by suicide. The school was stricken with grief and wanted to do everything in their power to help the community overcome this loss. School was cancelled the following day, the guidance department opened their doors to anyone who wanted to talk, and a mass was held in his remembrance. It was the only thing that anyone seemed to talk about. Yet, just three weeks later, another student followed in his footsteps.

The school realized that they were not equipped to handle the situation and called in help from a few outside psychologists, who instructed them to not glorify the victim. They were told that talking about suicide in the wrong manner may only exacerbate the situation, a phenomenon known as the “Werther” effect. As a result, the school decided to be more tight lipped about the deaths.

While I am glad that there was no third victim, I still feel that the community could have benefitted from more closure. I want to explore how we as individuals could reframe the way we speak about mental health, and suicide in particular. Continue reading Is There a ‘Right Way’ to Talk About Suicide?

Is “Climate Despair” Making People Depressed?

polar bear

Over time it has become increasingly clear that climate change is taking a toll on our planet — but what about our mental health? To start, more people than ever believe that climate change is an issue to be concerned about. According to a 2018 survey administered by Yale, about six in ten Americans (62%) say they are at least “somewhat worried” about global warming and about one in five (21%) are “very worried” about it, nearly double the number who were “very worried” in a similar study conducted in 2015. Today’s generation is experiencing more mental health issues than ever – some of it is attributed to uncertainty about the future of the earth. Continue reading Is “Climate Despair” Making People Depressed?

What is a Platonic Relationship?

playful man and woman

When we think about meaningful relationships, the thought generally focuses on something romantic. But there are actually many different types of relationships that are just as important, such as the love and consideration for one’s parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, children, and grandchildren, as well as the connection between two friends. These platonic relationships provide valuable emotional bonds between two people that are rooted in shared interests, beliefs, and world-views. Although there is no romantic or sexual element to the relationships, the impact can be just as meaningful and beneficial for your health. Continue reading What is a Platonic Relationship?

When Do Fun Distractions Become Unhealthy?

TV remote

In need of a little me-time? Zoning out feels like low-stakes self-care. So does popping open an extra bag of Pirate’s Booty — at least you’re not chugging vodka, right? Scrolling through Instagram for three hours takes your mind off a bad work day. Scandal is best binge-watched, and dedicating an entire day (or two, or three) to The Sims is the only way to win the Legacy Challenge.

There’s no harm in distracting yourself occasionally. Holing up for one weekend to ram through Red Dead Redemption 2 won’t cause too many negative implications — but if you’re wasting every weekend and every evening on distractions, you might find yourself floundering physically, emotionally and socially. Distractions can be damaging, whether it’s scrolling, emotional eating, Netflix-ing until dawn, or playing too-many video games. Continue reading When Do Fun Distractions Become Unhealthy?

What You Need to Know About Substance Abuse in the LGBTQ Community

person dressed in pride colors drinking

Drug abuse, especially opioids, is a culture-wide problem. It is estimated that about 130 people die daily in the US due to opioid overdose. While this statistic alone doesn’t capture the totality of of all substances use, it demonstrates the depths of the substance abuse crisis around the country. Sexual minorities, such as LGBTQ people, are often at higher risk for substance abuse issues, making these groups particularly vulnerable. Continue reading What You Need to Know About Substance Abuse in the LGBTQ Community

Is There A Link Between Trauma and Addiction?

woman holding a drink

Addiction is a complex process with numerous variables at play, but trauma may be one of the most important of those variables. By understanding the connection between trauma and addiction, problems can be better treated.

Unfortunately, the mental health field didn’t adequately recognize trauma’s impact on mental health until the last century. The problem drew more attention once mental health professionals saw more and more “shell shocked” soldiers after World Wars I and II.

Since then, we’ve come to understand that trauma isn’t limited to soldiers. Particularly in the last 30 years, we’ve learned that children of abuse or neglect, those who experience domestic violence, rape, and even random events such as car accidents can spark a similar patterns of mental health symptoms in people of all ages and backgrounds. Continue reading Is There A Link Between Trauma and Addiction?