5 Psychological Secrets of Those Who Have Faced Death

A close-up of an eye

These days actor/comedian/speaker/life coach/talent manager Kate Romero has a full and happy life. It wasn’t always that way.

After a difficult childhood that included surviving many traumas, Romero found herself across the table from another deadbeat boyfriend. With several drinks under his belt, he and Romero headed out to their van and took off into the early morning. It was the beginning of a life-changing event for Romero.

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Why Does Depression Make it Difficult to Function?

A stylish man leans his head against his hand with his eyes closed

Sometimes depression can sneak up on us, seeping into our lives without detection until it hits hard weeks, months, or even years later. Other times it shows up suddenly, like a heavy, wet blanket that has been thrown on top of us.

Either way, one of depression’s hallmark features is our loss of interest in seemingly everything, whether it’s a favorite pastime or the people closest to you — it can make getting out of bed at all nearly impossible. The world, which once seemed round, flattens out. We’re no longer having any fun and sometimes it’s downright hard to function.

The culprit? In the case of clinical depression, usually it’s a symptom referred to as anhedonia.

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Why Successful People Struggle with Mental Illness

actor jim carrey wearing dark glasses

It doesn’t take long to assemble an impressive list of successful people who also struggle with mental illness. Comedian/actor Jim Carrey experienced clinical depression, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling also combatted depression, entrepreneur/business mogul/founder of CNN Ted Turner lives with bipolar disorder, accomplished athlete Herschel Walker revealed he has dissociative identity disorder, and Brian Wilson of Beach Boys fame has been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder.

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Why We Fall for People Who Are Bad for Us (and How to Stop)

A man blowing a cloud of smoke

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been in a relationship with someone who not only wasn’t a good fit, they were downright bad for you. Keep your hand up if you find yourself pursuing this same kind of person over and over again. My hand is still up, is yours?

So often we find ourselves pursuing people who aren’t right for us, continuing a cycle that can sometimes last year or even a lifetime. A new relationship may feel right initially, but that charismatic charmer soon reveals themselves to be yet another emotionally unavailable partner. We don’t even see it coming. Why do we keep going for people who are bad for us?

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How to Stay Balanced During Major Life Changes

A pair of feet balancing books and a strange cocktail

If there’s one thing that’s inevitable in life, it’s change. Sometimes those changes are small, but every once in awhile they’re major — think marriage, divorce, loss of a loved one, a new job, having children, going back to school, or buying a house. These transitions often uproot our world, sometimes in ways we aren’t prepared for or don’t want to deal with.

For all the pain, uncertainty, or joy these major life changes bring into our lives, there’s no doubt they can take a toll on our mental health as we try to navigate our way through uncharted territory.

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PTSD and the Difference Between Big ‘T’ and Little ‘t’ Traumas

Man silhouetted in front of fire

We’ve come a long way in our understanding of post-traumatic stress disorder. From the early designation of “shell shock” for military veterans to transforming the label of “hysteric” to PTSD for survivors of rape, we know that trauma can have lasting physical and emotional effects on those who experience it.

However, often we default to discussing only soldiers and victims of sexual violence when we talk about PTSD. These experiences are certainly among the leading causes of the mental illness, yet they aren’t the only type of trauma that result in PTSD. Let’s expand on how trauma of any kind changes us and how that impacts the way we think about PTSD.

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Does the Internet Make PTSD Worse?

Oh, the internet. Home of cute cat videos, sarcastic memes that make us cackle, social media to engage with anyone anywhere, and lightning-fast news with real-time live video. What could go wrong?

For better or worse, the internet has largely become how we consume and share information and interact with others from every corner of the world. Because of its vast and complex nature, it’s hard to determine just how the internet impacts those who use it on a daily basis. But what about for those of us who live with post-traumatic stress disorder? Does the internet make PTSD worse?

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How to Stop Obsessive Thinking

Woman sitting on bed thinking

It’s a regular Tuesday evening when I realize my Talkspace therapist, who consistently answers twice a day, didn’t respond a second time that night. A fleeting thought darts through my head: “What if she died?” With my life-long history of obsessive-compulsive disorder, I am no stranger to such macabre thoughts, so I dismiss it. It’s just a thought without evidence.

Soon the thought pops back into my mind. I open the Talkspace app on my phone. No message, but it’s probably nothing. I answered her too late in the day, she’s busy, she’s taking a well-deserved night off, her app isn’t working…All reasonable explanations.

Not two seconds later, the thought’s back, and even with all my years of therapy and an arsenal of coping skills for moments just like this, that thought grabs me hook, line, and sinker. I launch into a full-blown panic, which eventually proves to be unfounded when my therapist messages me as usual the next morning.

Does this anecdote sound familiar? It’s just one example of obsessive thinking, and I’m confident we’ve all had a version of this experience at some point. These types of thoughts are unhelpful at best, and debilitating at worst.

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Therapy Helped Me: Forgive My Mom

Talkspace Therapy Helped Me

This post is part of our #TherapyHelpedMe series for Mental Health Awareness Month. Talkspace shares stories of how therapy helps people of all backgrounds work through the daily challenges of modern life.

My therapist sits next to me on the couch, my eyes red rimmed. We’re both staring at the phone face up in my palm, my right index finger hovering over the call button. I’ve already protested about making this phone call, but my therapist insists. I look at her one more time and then hit the call button. My mom’s phone starts ringing.

Fifteen years earlier, this was the scene…

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