One of the most difficult parts about struggling with mental illness is that unlike many physical disorders, there are often no outwardly visible signs. To the outside world, a person in the throes of depression may appear completely normal — “high functioning” — when in reality they’re wrestling with deep inner turmoil. Dysthymia, also know as high-functioning depression, allows someone in anguish to hide in plain site.
I know from experience. When I was first officially diagnosed with depression and generalized anxiety disorder in my early twenties, I had spent a very long time doing everything I possibly could to seem fine. For years beginning in adolescence, I strived to suppress and conceal anxious and depressive feelings to create a facade of normalcy. “Fake it till you make it,” I told myself. Continue reading What is Dysthymia?
When things go wrong, it’s easy to feel like the odds are stacked against you. Suddenly, it’s you against the world, and you’re on a never-ending losing streak.
I’ve certainly had my fair share of moments like this, where I couldn’t help but wonder why me? What did I do to deserve this? It felt like everything and everyone was out to get me, and it was easier to place the blame for my unfortunate circumstances on others, rather than own up to my own faults. Continue reading How to Escape a “Victim Mentality”
Confidence is key to any strong relationship, but there’s a significant difference between your partner posting the occasional selfie with the caption #FeelingMyself and dating a full-blown narcissist.
According to Dr. Craig Malkin, a clinical psychologist and Harvard Medical School professor, narcissism is a personality trait found in all humans to some extent and is derived from “the drive to feel special, exceptional or unique.” However, narcissism exists on a spectrum, Malkin said, and individuals with severe cases that compromise interpersonal relationships likely have narcissistic personality disorder. Continue reading 8 Signs You’re Dating a Narcissist
Nothing beats the “can’t eat, can’t sleep, reach for the stars” feeling of new love.
We all know how it goes. Suddenly you’re so smitten, there’s no one else you’d rather spend time with than your new beau. Hanging out one night a week quickly turns into seven, and next thing you know you’re leaving a toothbrush at their apartment and wearing each other’s clothes.
Despite the sheer bliss of the start of a new relationship, navigating the early stages of love can be immensely overwhelming and all-consuming. They say love is like a drug, and it turns out there’s a chemical reason for that: It causes the brain to release a flood of dopamine, creating a sense of euphoria. It feels good, and you can’t get enough. Continue reading 8 Ways to Maintain Friendships When in a Relationship
When you’re depressed, everything — from the most basic activity like getting out of bed to more arduous tasks like paying bills on time — can feel impossibly challenging. Add sudden unemployment, recently graduating from college, or undergoing a major career transition to the mix, and every day can feel like summiting Mount Everest.
As someone with anxiety and depression who has personally experienced various career changes, I understand firsthand how demoralizing the job hunt can be when you’re struggling with your mental health. It’s difficult to put your best foot forward when you’re not feeling like your best self. When you’re feeling down in the dumps, going through the motions of scouring job posts, writing cover letters, and preparing for interviews can be extremely draining. Continue reading 6 Tips for Applying for Jobs When You’re Depressed
In middle school, one of my best friends stopped eating. Though she was a notoriously picky eater, suddenly her penchant for munching on trail mix for every meal became less quirky and more concerning as the ziplock baggies of nuts grew smaller and smaller.
Exacerbating the issue, she competed in an image-based performance sport, in which size and appearance were paramount. One day, we were sitting in my living watching the movie Center Stage for the millionth time, when we reached a scene in which an aspiring ballerina battling bulimia throws up a meal in a bathroom stall. I tensed up, wanting to pause the movie and say something, anything, but I didn’t know how. Continue reading How Therapy Helps With Eating Disorders
I recently had a discussion with a friend considering therapy for the first time. Though she had been ruminating on it for a few months, she remained hesitant.
“I just feel like there’s nothing really that wrong with me, you know? All things considered, I’m doing alright. I should just deal with it,” she told me.
I did know. Just a few years ago, I was in the same boat. Despite lifelong anxiety and years of depressive episodes, I was convinced I didn’t need therapy. The ups and downs were normal, just a part of life. I managed to tell myself that my particularly bad stretches were merely situational: a response to the challenges of graduating college and navigating the real world, of tackling work stressors, and dealing with failed romantic endeavors.
This worked for awhile. Until it didn’t. Continue reading Why Therapy Isn’t Just for “People with Problems”