7 Self-Care Tips for Sexual Assault Survivors

woman holding #METOO sign

In the two weeks since news broke about allegations against media mogul Harvey Weinstein, more than 40 women have come forward to accuse him of sexual assault. Like any time a high-profile sexual violence case comes to light — Bill Cosby, Brock Turner, R. Kelly — the conversation about sexual assault lasts for weeks, many times with survivors bearing the burden of the discussion.

So is the case with the viral #MeToo hashtag — based on a grassroots campaign started by activist Tarana Burke. It went viral after actress Alyssa Milano tweeted that people who had been abused or assaulted should post “Me too” in their status. The campaign caught like wildfire, with CNN reporting that Twitter has seen more than 1 million uses of the hashtag and many more on Facebook, creating an outpouring of assault stories for public consumption. Continue reading 7 Self-Care Tips for Sexual Assault Survivors

I’m A Worrier, But Maybe That’s Not Such A Bad Thing

worried red headed woman with hand on chin

I worry. A lot. About the little things, like whether my kids are coming down with pneumonia, or if we have enough milk left for breakfast tomorrow morning. And about the big things, like whether I will lose any of my freelance work, or whether our house will flood during the next hurricane.

I spend nights up worrying about the even bigger things too. I wonder if one day my kids will live in a world without hate, and I worry that our planet is going to go kaput sooner rather than later as a result of climate change.

Usually, I think of my worrying as one of my worst traits (yes, I worry about my worry, too), and something that I should probably work on eliminating from my life. But recent research points to the idea that maybe being a bit of a worrier can actually be a good thing. Continue reading I’m A Worrier, But Maybe That’s Not Such A Bad Thing

Am I Going to Be on Meds Forever?

pills on counter

After being medicated for 12 years, it feels like my pill bottles have become an extension of my own body. Pill popping has turned into an art that comes as naturally as breathing. At this point in my life, coming off of my meds isn’t something I can see happening anytime soon, or anytime at all, for that matter. As my 24th birthday rolled around, and I realized I’d been medicated for exactly half of my life so far, I couldn’t help but wonder — am I going to be on meds forever?

In middle school, I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and started seeing a psychiatrist who prescribed me an SSRI to take daily and a benzodiazepine to take as needed — which ended up being almost daily. The doctor didn’t tell me how long I’d be taking these prescriptions, but I also never asked because it wasn’t something that crossed my little mind. All I wanted was to stop feeling so horrible. Not to mention, growing up and becoming an adult was unfathomable to me. With anxiety and impending doom clouding my mind, I could barely picture getting through the day in front of me. Continue reading Am I Going to Be on Meds Forever?

How I Overcame Loneliness

man alone in bed dark room blinds shut

One of the darker times in my life came after the mass shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub. It was the end of Albuquerque’s Pride weekend, a celebration of togetherness and community, but I quickly found myself feeling more isolated than ever. In times of tragedy, healthy people lean on others for support. I didn’t do that.

After a year of shutting out everybody who tried to care about me, I had nobody left to talk to. My best friend was in another city and my parents were in another state. All my friends were seeking solace with their families, their close friends, and their lovers, while I was attempting to drown out the collective sobs of my LGBTQ brothers and sisters with my one true love — work.

But misery doesn’t just love company, it needs it to heal. After a couple days of denial, I fell apart. All I wanted was a hug. I chose to seek comfort in people I thought were sure to know exactly how I felt: other gay men. Not quite finished with my poor life choices, I chose to connect with them on Grindr. I can say with great confidence that one-night flings with strangers will do nothing to fix loneliness. Continue reading How I Overcame Loneliness

How Perfectionism Hurts Your Relationships

mom on phone and computer with baby

Often, people think of perfectionism as positive. After all, who doesn’t want to be perfect? Perfection isn’t attainable, though. The search for it can ruin relationships and contribute to extreme levels of anxiety and rigidity. Let’s examine an example of how perfectionism can sabotage an intimate relationship for a mother of two.

Anna (not her real name, a composite based off of several clients I have had in my practice) is a 35-year-old mom of two kids, ages three and five. She has always been a high achiever and currently is a high-performing real estate agent as well as a wife, mother, sister, daughter, homeowner, and pet owner. Anna has prided herself on her appearance, and she likes to keep her house tidy and neat. She also wants to be perceived as thin and fit, which she insists helps her make sales on the job. Continue reading How Perfectionism Hurts Your Relationships

Women Share Slut Shaming Stories — and Admit Why They Do it Themselves

still not asking for it poster woman at rally

In an era when it seems we’re celebrating feminism more than ever, and sharing stories in solidarity of abuse and assault, why are people still tearing women down over their sexuality? Both in person and online, slut shaming is way too common an occurrence — and oftentimes, the perpetrator is a fellow female! It’s so common that the term is in the Oxford Dictionaries, defined as: “The action or fact of stigmatizing a woman for engaging in behaviour judged to be promiscuous or sexually provocative.”

I took to a secret women-only Facebook group to get some input. Only minutes after asking “Does anyone want to share stories about being slut shamed?” responses were pouring in. Even in just this 200 person group, it seemed a majority had stories to share, ranging from accounts happening only days before to experiences going back years. Continue reading Women Share Slut Shaming Stories — and Admit Why They Do it Themselves

The Emotional Impact Of Frequent Moves During Childhood

unhappy girl arms folded moving with parents

By the time I was 12 years old, I had moved 10 times — more if you count the separate moves my parents made after they split up. My parents were hippies (or beatniks, if you ask my mother), always up for an adventure, and always hoping that a change of place would fix their problems and make them happy.

In certain ways, I see the moves we made when I was a kid as part of a wild, interesting, beautiful ride. But mostly, I hated moving, and I think of the moves my family made as symptomatic of their impulsive, unstable behavior — and at least one of the triggers of my lifelong anxiety and panic disorder.

Melissa Moreno, LCSW-R, a Talkspace therapist, agrees that frequent childhood moves can contribute to anxiety for some children. “Frequent moves can bring up some uncomfortable feelings such as anxiety and impact one’s ability and desire to build and maintain relationships,” she told me. “Some individuals link frequent moves to lower life satisfaction and poorer psychological well-being.” Continue reading The Emotional Impact Of Frequent Moves During Childhood

Meet Our Therapists: Alyssa Lentz

Alyssa Lentz Talkspace therapist illustrated head shot quote

Therapists are as unique as the clients who seek their help. Talkspace’s “Meet Our Therapists” series offers intimate access to the mental health professionals who provide care. It’s a view of their passion for making therapy more accessible. Check out our latest interview below!

Name: Alyssa Lentz

Licensing Info: Licensed Professional Counselor [LPC] in Wisconsin (6329-125) and Texas (77669)

Time Working With Talkspace: 6 months

Time Working as a Therapist: 3 years

Why are you working in therapy/mental health?

I started working in the mental health field because, as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to help people. It’s not fun to battle mental health alone. I have struggled with anxiety and know how difficult it can be. I wanted to provide a nonjudgmental, safe place where people can open up and stop hiding. Continue reading Meet Our Therapists: Alyssa Lentz

Why We Don’t Talk About Miscarriage

teddy bear in empty child room

Miscarriage and stillbirth are emotionally intense and very unique forms of grief and trauma, ones that often occur in privacy and silence. For parents eagerly anticipating the arrival of a new family member, fetal death — whether it occurs early or late in pregnancy — can be devastating. The shroud of secrecy that hangs over these topics may make it challenging to talk about, but it’s critical to bring these conversations into the light.

I talked with two experts, Boston-based psychologist Aline Zoldbrod and Doctor Elizabeth Fitelson of Columbia University’s Department of Psychiatry, about the emotional and cultural issues surrounding miscarriage and stillbirth — and how to approach this very distinctive life experience. Continue reading Why We Don’t Talk About Miscarriage

The Psychology Behind Success and Failure

light bulb broken lit on table

Need a little inspiration? Inc has a nice list of quotes to inspire success. I’ll just share with you the top three:

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” — Winston S. Churchill

“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.” — Herman Melville

“The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same.” — Colin R. Davis

Notice anything these have in common?

All three involve success and failure. There’s a reason for this, and it’s the key behind the psychology of success and failure. Continue reading The Psychology Behind Success and Failure