Will You Pass Your Mental Illness Onto Your Kids?

A child looks forlorn with a sunset in the background

As someone who has battled an anxiety and panic disorder since childhood, one of my top concerns when I started having children was if I would pass on my disorder to my kids. I wouldn’t wish chronic panic and anxiety on anyone, and the idea that my kids might have a propensity toward it…well, it made my already anxious self that much more terrified.

Over a decade into this parenting thing, I will say that, for the most part, my fears were for naught. My children do share some of my tendencies toward anxiety, but it turns out that your offspring truly are their own people. And while genetics and learned behavior play a part in how they turn out, it’s not everything.

Most importantly, just being aware of your own mental health struggles allows you to be proactive about recognizing and seeking treatment for any issues that might arise in your children.

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What to Say to Someone When They’re Inconsolable

Silhouette of a man comforting a woman at sunset

We have all faced moments in our lives where we felt completely inconsolable. Maybe it was after a loss like the death of a loved one — or perhaps after a devastating breakup, job loss, or any other life-change that seemed out of our control and that we grieved deeply.

At times, though, there is no discernible cause: those of us who suffer from depression or anxiety know that sometimes our feelings overwhelm us so intensely that they become hard to shake — and it feels like nothing can console us in those moments.

But what if you are on the other end of such an experience, not suffering from these feelings yourself, but witnessing an inconsolable loved one?

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What to Do if You ‘Lose It’ at Work

man in business suit crying

It’s no wonder that work stresses so many of us out. Americans work longer hours with less vacation time than anyone in the developed world. This can make it difficult to balance work life with family life, friendships, and your own emotional and physical self-care.

For some of us, this stress can take a real toll on our performance at work, and when stress reaches a breaking point, some of us are apt to “lose it” — perhaps lashing out at colleagues, acting unreasonably, or losing our tempers.

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4 Ways to Support Your Mental Health While Unemployed

A mug that says "Go Get 'Em" next to a plant and notebook

Losing a job — or even leaving one voluntarily — can take a huge toll on your mental health. First and foremost is the stress and worry about how you will stay afloat financially. Your daily routine also gets thrown off, and your self-esteem and identity might take a hit as well. And if you have family or a spouse to support, it can be easy to fall into the trap of guilt and shame over the inability to provide income in the short-term.

Unemployment means living with an uncertain future, and this alone can trigger depression and anxiety in many of us. But you should know that almost all of us have been there at one time or another, and you are not alone. Most importantly, there are actionable things you can do to protect your mental health.

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5 Mental Health Lessons I Learned From My Mother

Mother and daughter walk on a path at dusk

I was raised by a strong, imperfect, funny, loving, idiosyncratic, amazing single mom. I don’t think I realized how incredible she was until I became a mother myself and experienced first-hand just how intense and challenging it is to raise children — and I was doing it with a highly involved partner. I have no idea how my mother did it alone.

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6 Things To Do When Your Partner Is Stressed

Couple holding hands on the street

Life is stressful. Work can be demanding, family life can be taxing, and so can our relationships, finances, and health-related struggles. Just turn on the news or open social media and your blood pressure is apt to rise. Really, there are so many things that can be triggers for stress, and we all experience our fair share of them on a daily basis.

Equally stressful is when we watch our partners suffer from heightened periods of stress. It can be upsetting to witness and can even create tension within our relationships. Perhaps the most difficult part is that we desperately want to help, but often feel bewildered about what the best approach might be.

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4 Daily Rituals Proven to Relieve Insomnia

Calming bottle of aromatherapy

Almost all of us have times that we have trouble falling asleep, or staying asleep. Others may experience restless, choppy, wakeful sleep cycles. Many of us probably tell ourselves — and others — that we have “insomnia.”

But according to clinicians, for insomnia to be considered a chronic problem, it must significantly impact our lives, and it must be present at least 3 days a week for 3 months. In fact — and unfortunately — many of us actually fit this criteria, with as much as 30% of adults experiencing intermittent insomnia, and 10% experiencing it chronically.

Many insomnia sufferers don’t seek treatment, and others find the commonly doled out treatment ideas to be unsuccessful. But sleep-deprivation is something that can impact our lives in significant ways, exacerbating our physical and mental health, as well as our ability to perform basic tasks safely and efficiently.

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What Is “Quiet” Borderline Personality Disorder?

Blurry red umbrella behind rainy window

Katie Reed, a blogger and mom of four from Salt Lake City, spent many years living with “quiet” borderline personality disorder before getting a proper diagnosis. Before that, she was misdiagnosed repeatedly — with bipolar disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, and anxiety disorder — none of which ever felt “right.”

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4 Daily Rituals to Relieve Insomnia

Calming bottle of aromatherapy

Many insomnia sufferers don’t seek treatment, and others find the commonly doled out treatment ideas to be unsuccessful. Anyone who has experienced insomnia knows that most “sleep advice” doesn’t really do much good when you are lying in bed desperately tossing and turning. But that may be because the cure to insomnia should involve a more holistic, preventative approach.

Here are some behavioral shifts proven to help you keep stress at bay and reduce the odds of suffering from insomnia — before bedtime even begins.

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I Took Care of People My Entire Life and Then I Broke

stressed out mom illustration

Ever since I was a little girl, I have been a caretaker. When I was five and our father left our family, I became my pregnant mother’s little helper, rubbing her feet and bringing her snacks and tea. I took care of my sister when my mother was busy working or tending house. And when my sister couldn’t sleep during those nights we’d stay at our dad’s house, I’d lie with her until she drifted off. Somehow, I was the one in our family that everyone relied upon — the responsible, wise, compassionate one.

I see now that this wasn’t the most appropriate role for me to take, since I was only a child, but it’s the role I seemed to naturally gravitate toward. And it’s a role I have found myself in throughout my adult life as well. I find myself drawn to needful people, and to professions that require care and compassion. I have always worked in caretaker industries: my jobs have included babysitter, preschool teacher, college instructor, soup kitchen volunteer, nursing home assistant, postpartum doula, breastfeeding counselor — and of course, mother to my two sons. Continue reading I Took Care of People My Entire Life and Then I Broke

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