How to Address Family Secrets Without Causing a Rift

Shadow of Family Projected onto a Wall

Do you keep secrets from your family?

If you’re mentally rifling through all the skeletons in your family closet, you’re definitely not alone. Even those who pride themselves on openness probably have a secret or two that they’re not willing to share — even with the people they hold most dear. From issues as traumatic as sexual violence, to those as relatively mild (but still potentially contentious) as who we vote for, most of us have secrets we’d rather not share with our families. Continue reading How to Address Family Secrets Without Causing a Rift

Why is it so Hard to Compromise

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You probably think you’re a team player. At least, you’ve white-lied that you are in job interviews. But even the most community-minded of us dig our heels in once in a while (because we’re right, darn it!). From our intimate relationships to our political process, why is it so hard to compromise?

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Dealing With Complicated Feelings Around Abusers

A man and a woman are silhouetted in front of a sunset

Recently, a man I know was outed as a serial sexual harasser. I say “know” in a rather unfortunate sense: I’d been approached online by, went on a date with, and even kissed the guy a couple years ago. His too-forward sexual advances had always left a bad taste in my mouth.

When the revelations went live, with dozens of women telling stories of his disrespectful and aggressive behavior, I felt happy he was exposed, yet ashamed I hadn’t listened to my gut instincts. I blamed myself for overlooking his boorish behavior and letting my hope that he could end up being a decent guy take precedence over the warning bells clanging in my head.

Giving that man the benefit of the doubt was not my fault. And if you’ve stayed with an abusive partner, or even given a guy a second chance after he harassed you, it’s not your fault, either. The pressure to be kind, generous, and forgiving — especially as women — is drummed into our heads from birth.

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One Year After #MeToo

A torn red piece of paper exposes the words "#MeToo"

The day after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified before congress about her experience of sexual violence in relation to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) received the highest number of calls in its 24-year history. More than 3,000 people connected with the network on September 28, part of a record-breaking increase in the number of survivors of sexual violence requesting services since the #MeToo movement began last year.

The outpouring of truth and support has been unprecedented. As countless survivors finally see their experiences reflected in the national conversation, we feel a moment of hope for renewed connection and healing. But this hope is accompanied by pain, as many survivors who do come forward experience backlash. Additionally, survivors have been increasingly exposed to potentially triggering, and seemingly inescapable news around recent, high-profile incidents sexual violence.

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How a Breast Cancer Diagnosis Affects Your Mental Health

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Everyone affected by breast cancer knows the physical hardship it can bring. What’s less commonly talked about, but also important, is how breast cancer affects patients’ and survivors’ mental health.

A history of mental illness can be exacerbated by a breast cancer diagnosis, and the rigors of treatment — while life-saving — are difficult, leaving many women depressed, anxious, or feeling alone.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time to recognize women affected by breast cancer and raise awareness about breast cancer prevention. Many breast cancer survivors have spoken up about their struggles with mental illness. To honor their voices, here’s what you need to know about breast cancer and mental health.

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Why is Talking About Looks Damaging to Mental Health?

A woman holds her hand in front of her face

I’m a pretty confident gal. Actually, that’s an understatement. I am a seriously confident woman. I think I’m gorgeous, exceptionally talented, super interesting, and not least of all, very humble.

I’m lucky to have a fantastic mom, who always modelled body confidence, never talked about weight, and told me I was the most beautiful woman in the world (well, except for my equally beautiful sisters). My partners have never made me feel bad about my body. I go for a “queer, curvier Sophia Loren in 1964” vibe, and I’m pretty pleased with the results.

And yet…

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I’m Worried About My Friend’s Suicide Risk. How Can I Help?

A man sits by a mountainous beach

I don’t know who she was.

It was the early 2000s, the height of the AIM craze, when middle schoolers rushed home at the end of the day to log on and start chatting. These were the early days, where we could hardly distinguish an LOL from a G2G and emojis had yet to replace emoticons (I know, (☉_☉)!).

One day, I was chatting with my friend when I started panicking: She had seen an apparent suicide note on someone else’s AIM profile, and didn’t know what to do. All of 13 years old, we called our respective parents to help save the day. Our parents called the police. But this was the early days of social media, when it was next to impossible to figure out where someone was or how to reach out to them.

To this day, I still wonder if that person is alright.

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Why It’s Healthy To Lower Your High Expectations in College

A woman stands over a balcony with a graduation cap and gown on

A group of us were getting together for the first time since graduation, reminiscing about our earlier selves.

“We were all horrible in college,” my friend said recently over drinks. “We were so status-obsessed and trying to keep up with everyone else who was status-obsessed.”

Another friend, sipping his beer, put it more succinctly: “We were all so depressed in college.”

He meant this literally.

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How to Emotionally Prepare Yourself for Your Next Relationship

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I’ll admit it: when my Talkspace editors suggested that I write about how to overcome harmful relationship patterns, my first thought was “Hey man, I wish I knew.”

I, like most of us, have had my fair share of bad relationships, from “it’s complicated,” to “it’s really complicated,” to abuse (and there’s no Facebook status for that). I, like most of us, have gone into each new relationship hoping it will be different this time, but worrying that old patterns will come back to bite me in the derrière. And I, like many women and queer people, have swiped through a dating wasteland of those too eager to show me their genitals, wondering why it has to be so difficult to find someone who will treat me with respect. And of course, I’ve had my fair share of wonderful moments, sweet partners, and fulfilling relationships, too.

But in a world where many of our experiences of intimacy are marked by trauma or negative patterns of behavior, how can we work through the bad stuff to find enduring, healthy love?

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