Is It Normal to Still Love Your Ex?

sitting woman with heart tattoo on arm

Love’s favorite thing to do is to stick around when it isn’t convenient. Perhaps the worst thing about a breakup is that the feelings don’t walk out of your life as easily as your ex did. Instead, they linger. Unsolicited late night “I still love you” text messages ensue. And if you’re anything like me, you think about your exes often, you still write in your journal about them, and, most importantly, you struggle to resist the strong urge to stalk them on social media.

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A Guide to Not Being Miserable During the Winter Months

sad penguin alone looking down at feet

Even if you don’t have seasonal affective disorder or another kind of depression, it’s absolutely possible for you to feel the winter blues. Unless you’re one of those people who enjoys the cold and shorter days, you may have to take some precautions to make sure you don’t slip into a dark place…and I’m not just talking about the lack of daylight hours!

As the winter barrels ahead, use it as an opportunity to really get in tune with your feelings. Take note of your emotions and evaluate if the holiday season and the colder weather have been affecting you negatively. If they have been impacting you, don’t worry. There’s a bunch of things you can do to cheer up, even just a bit.

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Why Weight Loss Resolutions Are Dangerous to Mental Health

white scale in bathroom with sad face emoji on digital display

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when they’re trying to get in shape is setting a specific goal of losing a certain number of pounds. The New Year is here (2018, yikes!), and people just love to set New Year’s resolutions involving weight loss. Oftentimes, the focus is primarily on a specific number of pounds to lose — or size to fit into — rather than a more holistic goal of increasing physical activity and fitness, which is more beneficial to overall health.

Around the start of the New Year, weight loss and fitness goals are in full force. Everyone seems to be in the “New year, new me!” mindset, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Gym membership sign ups are at their highest during the first quarter of the year. January accounts for about 12% of yearly sign ups, opposed to the average of 8% in other months. Continue reading Why Weight Loss Resolutions Are Dangerous to Mental Health

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

Is Talking About Your Mental Health Trendy?

selina gomez american music awards abc photo

How did talking about mental health go from being incredibly taboo to being — dare I say — trendy? It seems like everyday, another celebrity is coming forward about his or her struggle with mental illness. While the phenomenon of celebrities struggling with their mental health is really nothing new (remember Britney Spears’ 2007 breakdown?) the candidness with which they speak about it and the praise they receive for doing so today is almost revolutionary. If Spears’ breakdown happened this year, a whole decade later, I believe the whole scenario would be handled way differently. Maybe, instead of being mocked, she would have been met with compassion and understanding.

In this past year alone, there’s been a noticeable increase in mental health mentions in pop culture. For example, 13 Reasons Why, a show in which the main character dies by suicide, became one of the most streamed Netflix original series in March and actually broke a record for “being tweeted about more than any other Netflix show in its first week of streaming.” Despite all the controversy surrounding the show, there’s no denying that the series opened up an important dialogue about depression and suicide. Continue reading Is Talking About Your Mental Health Trendy?

Can A Relationship Make You Mentally Ill?

angry couple arguing on couch

Point blank — relationships are complicated. When they go south, they can sometimes be a blame game, and it’s all too easy point fingers at our partner when you-know-what hits the fan. But can we blame mental illness on our partner? While relationships can be amazing, enriching experiences, they do have the potential to be unhealthy and harmful to your mental health, and therefore, your overall well being.

Mental illnesses are very complex, often with multiple causes, which can be biological, genetic, or environmental. For example, while you might not have been born displaying the characteristics of a certain mental illness, you can be born with a predisposition to it, and it may be lying dormant until it’s triggered by a major life event or trauma. So, how do relationships come into play and factor into mental illness? Can love be so intense that a relationship makes you mentally ill? Continue reading Can A Relationship Make You Mentally Ill?

How To Cure an Emotional Hangover

woman with headache on couch

We all know (and hate) hangovers. A crazy night out drinking too much alcohol can lead to a slew of unpleasant symptoms the next morning. But did you know there’s another type of hangover that has absolutely nothing to do with drinking? You might wake up feeling drained, exhausted, moody, or a bit off…except, the night before wasn’t fun at all. In fact, it was quite the opposite! Welcome to the emotional hangover.

The idea is that the effects of an emotional event can linger for a while after the event actually happens — the same way nausea lingers long after you’ve consumed one too many tequila shots (whoops). This event can be anything from an argument with your best friend to a break up with your partner. While the event is over, your head is still reeling and messing with your current emotions. Continue reading How To Cure an Emotional Hangover

Sexual Harassment Is About Mental Health, Not Only the Workplace

sexual harassment illustration man touching woman shoulder

I remember being in a meeting at a company I used to work for where people were making jokes about a presentation on sexual harassment. None of it made sense to me, and I certainly wasn’t laughing. Why were they were joking about something so serious, chuckling about it, and doing so in front of their boss? Well, actually, he was cracking jokes too.

In what world is it appropriate to make light of harassment? I wondered what would happen if I was harassed while at the company. Would I be taken seriously if I decided to report it? Would they make jokes about me behind my back? Would I get fired? Luckily, I wasn’t sexually harassed on the job — but not everyone is so lucky. Continue reading Sexual Harassment Is About Mental Health, Not Only the Workplace

Mental Health in Bed: Sex and Depression

man woman in bed depressed

To make life with depression even more depressing, the mental illness can seriously mess with your sex life. Unfortunately, depression can go hand in hand with sexual dysfunction, which can affect everything from your libido to your ability to orgasm. This can be rough on not only the person suffering, but also on the person’s partner, and can put a strain on relationships.

Just as not everyone feels comfortable opening up about their mental illness, not everyone feels comfortable opening up about their sex life. And they’re even less likely to open up about it if they have a problem and feel like they’re broken or not “normal.” Can you blame anyone for not divulging when the word “dysfunction” has such a negative denotation? Sadly, it’s pretty common for people with depression to have their sex life interrupted in one way or another. Continue reading Mental Health in Bed: Sex and Depression

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?