How to Have an Awesome Existential Crisis

Man sitting in heart room

I recently turned forty, and as soon as I blew out the candles, I waited for “the thing” to happen. You know what I’m talking about, right? The infamous “midlife crisis.” The mother of all existential crises. A force to be reckoned with.

Knock on wood — I seem to have gotten only a mild version of a midlife existential crisis. Well, at least so far. I do find myself asking all kinds of questions I never asked before, like “Is my life now the best it’s ever going to get?” and “What if I die never accomplishing anything better than this?” Continue reading How to Have an Awesome Existential Crisis

Should You Schedule Your Anxiety?

I am a worrier. I fret over little things, like my never-ending to-do list, and over big things, like whether global warming will render the earth uninhabitable for my grandchildren.

I worry at night before bed. I worry while washing the breakfast dishes. I worry when things in my life are stressful — and when they aren’t stressful, I brace myself, expecting the worst to transpire at any minute.

I’ve always been this way, and I’ve grown to accept that this is just who I am, for better or worse. But that doesn’t mean that it’s easy being someone who worries like this.

Too much anxiety is not healthy for anyone, especially when it takes over your life, or makes you unable to function. Anxiety can also take a huge toll on your physical health, resulting in symptoms such as gastrointestinal issues, respiratory disorders, and even heart disease.

Continue reading Should You Schedule Your Anxiety?

Is it Okay to Hold Grudges?

Angry parakeet

When someone has wronged you in some way, anger is a natural reaction. If what happened is especially painful — or if the person who hurt you is unwilling to take responsibility — you may start to form a grudge against that person.

Many of us hold grudges for a limited time, and are able to let them go after some healthy processing. Others hold onto them for years, and may even have grudges stemming from their childhood. Most of us will only hold grudges against a few select people; others seem to collect grudges readily and with vigor. Continue reading Is it Okay to Hold Grudges?

How Do I Find a Therapist Near Me?

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If you have taken the time to search for “therapist near me” — as many of us mental health warriors have at one time or another — you deserve a high five. Deciding to seek therapy can be scary and stressful at first, so taking that first step is commendable. Go, you!

However, after you’ve plugged the search term into your browser and received your “therapist near me” results, you are likely to be inundated with an overwhelming amount of data and therapist choices. You might be asking yourself which results are useful and which are not. How can you find the perfect therapist if you don’t quite know what you’re looking at?

Seeking therapy should be as stress-free as possible . We’ll point you in the right direction, and you’ll find a great therapist. Most importantly, you’ll have a clearer path forward toward wellness.

Continue reading How Do I Find a Therapist Near Me?

How Dangerous is Denial?

A woman shrouded in darkness with her eyes in the light

Almost all of us have had experiences so uncomfortable or traumatizing that we do everything in our power to push the memories or feelings aside. Or maybe there is an everyday reality we live with that feels too impossible to cope with, so we pretend it doesn’t exist, and that dealing with it is not our responsibility. That is denial.

The state of denial usually feels much more comfortable than confronting difficult feelings or circumstances. But anyone in the mental health field will tell you that living in denial for too long will only backfire. Denial may feel easier, but it actually only intensifies whatever challenging feelings you are dealing with, making them more difficult to move on from.

Continue reading How Dangerous is Denial?

Vote Like Your Mental Health Depends on it

A sticker on a hand that says "I Voted"

If these past few years of political turmoil and divisiveness in America have significantly increased your stress levels, you are far from alone. Whatever your political beliefs, the current political climate in America is so divided — and downright terrifying at times — it is completely understandable to have strong feelings about it.

Add in the effects of a 24-hour news cycle, and the never-ending onslaught of social media, and you have a recipe for increased mental health risk.

Continue reading Vote Like Your Mental Health Depends on it

The Challenges of Growing Up with a Parent Who Has a Mental Illness

A ripped teddy bear on the ground

One in five adults live with mental illness, so it stands to reason that there are many children out there who are raised by parents who battle mental illness. Mental illness encompasses many disorders — from bipolar disorder to depression — and range in severity from mild to severe.

It should be mentioned that there are many brave, strong parents who are in treatment for their mental illness and can parent their children with stability and love. But this is not always the case. Children who are raised by parents with untreated or severe mental illness are going to feel the effects, whether they are aware of what’s happening at the time or not.

Continue reading The Challenges of Growing Up with a Parent Who Has a Mental Illness

Secrets for Keeping Childhood Issues from Wrecking the Present

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Like many young adults, I remember feeling convinced that once I grew up, became independent, and created a home of my own, I would be able to break free from some of the less than desirable aspects of my childhood. The problem was, it wasn’t as easy as I expected. The patterns and dynamics of my upbringing seemed to follow me wherever I went. They were a part of me.

I found that whenever I spent time with my family of origin, we quickly fell back into difficult patterns, no matter what I did to personally resist this behavior. And because some of my family dynamics included abandonment and abuse, these meetings could sometimes be very triggering, making me feel out of sorts (or worse) for days or weeks after.

It turns out I’m far from alone with this problem.

Continue reading Secrets for Keeping Childhood Issues from Wrecking the Present

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.

Continue reading Will You Pass Your Mental Illness Onto Your Kids?