Why Parenting is the Biggest Challenge to Maintaining My Mental Health

Little girl playing video games

This morning, I was woken up at 5:13 am by my six-year-old, who desperately needed a drink of water — and who apparently needed to whine at the top of his lungs to tell me so. This would not have been such a big deal had I not been up half the night with a bad head cold…the same cold my son had kept me up all night with two days prior.

Needless to say, I spent the morning with a pounding headache, a full day’s work ahead of me that I couldn’t put off, and a good deal of resentment.

This small snapshot of my life is not unusual. As a working mother of two, there is always a lot on my plate. It seems as though someone is always sick, in need of food or drink, or emotional support. And because they are my children and I love them to the moon and back, I find myself putting my children’s needs about ten miles ahead of my own. Continue reading Why Parenting is the Biggest Challenge to Maintaining My Mental Health

Why Family-Time Brings Out Your Demons, According to a Therapist

Spooky mask coming out of trees

Ah, family time. On TV, it seems like getting together with your family is nothing but fun, inside jokes, and loving glances from the people who know you best.

In reality, though, family time can look very different. Spending time with the people you grew up with often makes people feel angry, sad, inadequate, bored, and of course, guilty for those very feelings.

So, why does family time always seem to bring out your worst self? Continue reading Why Family-Time Brings Out Your Demons, According to a Therapist

A Guide to Teenage Mental Health

Woman laying on a table

Being a teenager’s rough. You’ve gotta juggle homework, extracurricular activities, friends, dating…and not to mention, you’re probably pretty busy maintaining your image on Instagram. It’s totally normal to feel stressed out, angsty, or sad sometimes. But it’s important to be able to check in and ask yourself — is this run of the mill teenage stress, or is it something else? Continue reading A Guide to Teenage Mental Health

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

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

What Is Reparenting and Why You Should Consider It

A little girl attempts to put on high heels

When you think of therapy, a stereotypical scenario comes to mind: A person lying on a dusty leather couch while some guy with a small notepad sits somewhere by their head, or perhaps across from them, jotting down insights as they speak, probably about their twisted relationship with their parents.

There’s some truth to this scenario (the couch does always seem to be leather, no?), and while talking about your childhood it isn’t the case for all therapy interactions, it is for reparenting.
Continue reading What Is Reparenting and Why You Should Consider It

What To Do When You Hate Your Partner’s Parents

A woman sets a large table alone

There comes a moment in many serious relationships when it is time to meet your partner’s parents. In a perfect world, you will instantly connect with these individuals who raised, supported and love your partner — after all, those very family members will likely become a major part of your life if this is a relationship for the long haul.

But that isn’t always the case, and you may find yourself completely disliking your loved one’s parents.

Continue reading What To Do When You Hate Your Partner’s Parents

4 Vital Tips for Parenting With Depression

A mother holds her baby in a low lit room

If you have children, you know raising kids presents challenges on your best days. Parents with mental illness, however, have it even harder.

In particular, parental depression can wreak havoc on a child’s psyche. What’s worse, when children develop problems related to parental depression, the added stress can make that parent’s depression worse. Thus, parental depression can turn into a long-lasting cycle of negative outcomes for the entire family.

Continue reading 4 Vital Tips for Parenting With Depression

Secrets for Keeping Childhood Issues from Wrecking the Present

A girl covers her eyes in front of a black background

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