Talkspace 2017 Mental Health Year in Review

women march 2017 signs crowd

2017 was a big year — in politics, pop culture, and yes, in mental health. It was the inaugural year of Donald Trump’s presidency, which turned the political landscape of the United States upside down, and caused a wave of anxiety to ripple through the nation.

On the brighter side, 2017 has been a year of raising awareness — especially related to sexual harassment, gun violence, and the language we use to talk about mental illness.

In pop culture, we tragically lost mental health warrior Chester Bennington, but also watched as a new guard of celebrity spokespeople began to speak up about their mental health journeys. A tide may be turning.

Natural disasters like Hurricanes like Harvey, Maria, and Irma, and the fires in Southern California, were all national tragedies that, for many, became urgent fights for survival. These events were environmental crises, and forced us to examine how we respond to and treat trauma as a culture.

After sifting through the happenings of 2017, we present you with the Talkspace 2017 Mental Health Year in Review — spanning the good, the bad, and the ugly. Continue reading Talkspace 2017 Mental Health Year in Review

9 Tips for Managing Gaps in Your Resume Due to Mental Illness

resume pen glasses on table

If you live with mental illness, there may be gaps in your resume where you had to take time off work. Sometimes those gaps can be months or even years long. Now you’re on the mend, and you’re looking to re-enter the job market. You’re worried though that those gaps will count against you.

Fortunately you can write a resume or cover letter that is honest about your gaps but still presents you in a positive light. Here’s how:

1. See The Gaps As A Good Thing

Don’t be so down on yourself about the gaps in your resume. When you took time off work to tackle your mental health, that showed that you were taking responsibility for your own well being. After all, you can’t be an effective employee if you’re coming in to work ill. Those gaps demonstrate you’re willing to overcome adversity and take personal responsibility. You can play these traits up in your resume to illustrate what a valuable employee you could be. Continue reading 9 Tips for Managing Gaps in Your Resume Due to Mental Illness

What Ethical Non-Monogamy Can Teach Us About Healthy Relationships

polyamory love triangle illustration

I’m not so hot on monogamy. It’s always been strange to me that society decides one way of doing romantic relationships: boy meets girl; boy and girl date; boy and girl marry; boy and girl never date or sleep with anyone else ever again. If we’re all unique, why should we accept a one-size-fits-all rule of monogamy?

I’m not the only one skeptical: Increasingly, many people are embracing ethical non-monogamy. In this model of relationship health, having a happy and loving relationship doesn’t depend upon romantic and sexually exclusivity. Rather, ethical non-monogamy emphasizes communication and consent.

Many psychologists argue that the skills people in ethically non-monogamous relationships develop to stay happy and healthy are important lessons for everyone. Here’s how to know if ethical non-monogamy is right for you — and what it can teach us all about mental health in relationships, however we choose to love. Continue reading What Ethical Non-Monogamy Can Teach Us About Healthy Relationships

Mental Health Warriors: An Interview with Jamie Tworkowski

Jaimie Tworkowski TWLOHA Talkspace headshot quote

Jamie Tworkowski is the founder of To Write Love on Her Arms, a non-profit dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide.

“The stigma begins to go away when we talk about it,” Jamie Tworkowski told me when we met in New York City. And so, we talked about it—“it” being mental illness.

Tworkowski didn’t necessarily mean to start a charity. Back in 2006, he was only looking to share the story of his friend Renee who suffered from mental illness and addiction, and to sell tee shirts to help pay for her treatment. However, when he posted the story titled “To Write Love on Her Arms” on MySpace, he received a flood of messages from people who were also struggling with their mental health. The response was impossible to ignore, and it was clear that he was onto something. There were so many people out there struggling, seeking hope, looking for someone who understood—and they found it. Continue reading Mental Health Warriors: An Interview with Jamie Tworkowski

The Mental Health Benefits of the Holidays

woman with christmas socks and mug relaxing by fireplace

Often when we talk about the holidays, we tend to focus on the stressors and challenges of this time of year. Nonetheless, the holiday season isn’t all bad, and there are certainly some powerful positive benefits for our mental health this time of year.

It Gives Us Some Much Needed Downtime

For most of us, the holiday season is a period of high stress and represents a strong departure from our regular routines. This disruption can be challenging to manage. On the other hand, it is also a period in which we experience a much-needed escape from our regular obligations and responsibilities. Continue reading The Mental Health Benefits of the Holidays

Getting the Most Out of 2018: SMART Goals and Mental Health Resolutions

2018 goals notebook coffee house plant

The end of the year is here, and for most of us this is a time when we start thinking about how things can change in the new year. Many of us set up resolutions in the new year to be better, look better and act better.

Culturally, goals for the new year often focus on changing our physical selves. But what if we devoted some tried and true goal setting approaches to changing our emotional and psychological selves too?

As we prepare for the new year give some thought to how you’d like for your emotional life to be better in 2018. Would you like to practice better self-care? How about ending some old relationship patterns rooted in past hurt? Continue reading Getting the Most Out of 2018: SMART Goals and Mental Health Resolutions

Why the Holidays Are Difficult for People With Addictions

christmas dinner beer wine glasses cheers

The holidays can herald challenges for everyone: awkward family issues, travel stress, gift expenses, religious conflicts. Those with mental illnesses might encounter triggers for various symptoms and issues. Addiction is no exception and can be especially burdensome.

During a time of excess and indulgence, it takes even more self-control for people in recovery to abstain from substances. Friends and family members might offer them a drink or invite them to smoke. There is a higher frequency of ads for alcohol. It seems the entire world is consuming without a care, yet those in recovery need to be more cautious than at any other time of year. Continue reading Why the Holidays Are Difficult for People With Addictions

Birth Trauma — Perinatal PTSD — Isn’t Unusual, and You’re Not Alone

woman giving birth doctor and nurse treating her

Giving birth can be one of the biggest events in a person’s life, and it’s a loaded experience. Everyone has expectations about what a “good birth” looks like, but birth doesn’t always go as planned. For some parents feelings of disappointment, fear, or stress about the events surrounding the birth of a beloved child can transition into something more serious: birth trauma, also known as perinatal PTSD. This condition is a lot more common than you might think.

Our expanding understanding of psychological trauma has highlighted the fact that PTSD is an issue much broader than the emotional aftermath of experiencing combat. Any intense traumatic experience can have psychological ramifications, whether someone has a history of mental health conditions or not, and no matter how well-prepared someone might be. Birth, accompanied with intense physical and emotional experiences, is no exception. But the myths surrounding pregnancy and childbirth can make people uncomfortable when it comes to speaking out, or uncertain about whether what they’re experiencing is normal. Continue reading Birth Trauma — Perinatal PTSD — Isn’t Unusual, and You’re Not Alone

9 Ways To Manage Social Anxiety During The Holidays

woman outside in coat holiday shopping

I approach the holidays with a sense of trepidation every year. I get to our large annual family Christmas gathering and struggle with the small talk and the added attention in brings. How is the job going? What have you been doing the last year? How do you like the city? What have you been writing? Are you dating anyone? Oh no. The way I stutter and stammer and try to hide in a corner with just the baked goods for company, I may as well be the grinch.

While I love the festive spirit, getting to see family and friends who live far away, and picking out gifts for everyone I love, there’s no denying my anxiety can outshine all the holiday cheer. Enter the difficult combination of social anxiety and the holidays. Continue reading 9 Ways To Manage Social Anxiety During The Holidays

12 Things I Wish I Could Have Said to My Fiancé When I Was Crushed by Anxiety

anxious man with head in hands

This piece was first published on The Good Men Project, a publication that offers enlightened masculinity and stories from men.

1. I want to be strong, but I can’t.

On the days when I was really struggling, I simply could not muster up the strength to even get out of bed. I would for fear that you would resent me. I wanted so badly to be the man you needed, but I was broken and I had no clue how to fix myself.

2. When you cry, it destroys me.

On the days when you could no longer handle the person I had become and broke down, my heart broke into a thousand different pieces. I wanted to cry but I couldn’t. I was empty inside. Continue reading 12 Things I Wish I Could Have Said to My Fiancé When I Was Crushed by Anxiety