10 Ways Children of Mentally Ill Parents Can Break The Cycle

mom holding child smiling

Many of us grew up with parents who battled mental illness, whether we realized it during childhood or not. Anxiety and depression are common mental illnesses our parents may have struggled with, which are often passed from one generation to the next. Your parent may also have dealt with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or addiction — all of which have a strong genetic link.

Maybe your parent or parents treated their mental illness and were able to live a healthy life while modeling healthy coping skills. Still, simply being exposed to mental illness is a risk factor for developing a mental illness of your own. If your parents did not treat their mental illness, you may have been exposed to abuse, trauma, or worse.

If you grew up with mentally ill parents, it may seem that pain, suffering, or developing a mental illness of your own is your destiny, and there is no clear path for breaking the cycle — but that just isn’t true. Recovering from a difficult childhood is possible and there are many steps you can take to live a vibrant, healthy, happy life, despite being raised by mentally ill parents. Continue reading 10 Ways Children of Mentally Ill Parents Can Break The Cycle

Mental Health Safety Tips for Your College Teen

mother kissing daughter's face

Transitioning to college can be one of the most emotionally jarring, vulnerable moments in a young person’s life.

They are suddenly away from all they have ever known or are familiar with, and must navigate this new landscape virtually on their own. Seemingly overnight, college students become responsible for everything from waking themselves up for class, to managing their money, to dealing with sometimes dicey social situations. Continue reading Mental Health Safety Tips for Your College Teen

How to Master Back to School Season With Your College Student

dorm room bunkbeds

Back to school can be a stressful time for anyone, but when you’re sending your child off to college — especially if this is your first time — you are likely feeling many mixed emotions, from fear to sadness to amazement. After all, this is your baby, and you are sending them off into the world without you. It may feel like there is so much at stake, and even though you have been preparing for this moment since your child was born, it can feel like a gut-punch when it actually happens. Continue reading How to Master Back to School Season With Your College Student

How Fertility Issues Impact Mental Health

couple standing front to back loosely holding hands

I will never forget the fertility struggles my husband and I faced as we attempted to conceive our first child. We were both young and healthy. I had regular menstrual cycles, no reproductive issues (that I knew about), and always assumed that getting pregnant would happen instantly. Each month we tried to get pregnant, I was shocked that the little plus sign on the pregnancy test never appeared – not even once.

But my shock turned to despair when – after 18 months of trying and a million, sometimes very invasive fertility tests – we were told that my husband had a low sperm count. The first doctor we saw told us that his count was so low that our only hope of conceiving would be to use IVF, which we could not afford. I remember lying in bed, looking at the ceiling, feeling a level of hopelessness in my bones that I had never experienced before. Continue reading How Fertility Issues Impact Mental Health

What I Wish My Father Had Told Me (About Mental Health)

father hiking with son pointing upwards

Fathers are one of the biggest influences in our lives. Whether you are close to your father or have a distant (or non-existent) relationship with him, the role of a father in one’s life is hard to capture succinctly. As we approach Father’s Day, here are some ideas that I wish my father had told me about men and mental health. Continue reading What I Wish My Father Had Told Me (About Mental Health)

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

Asking “Are You Having Kids?” Can Damage a Person’s Mental Health, Here’s Why…

Woman holding man's arm in the forest

Ever been on the receiving end of the following conversations?

It’s Mother’s Day brunch, Thanksgiving, or the Fourth of July picnic, and a well-meaning person sidles up to ask, “When are you having kids?”

Or worse yet, you’re at a networking event and an acquaintance asks the same. As if inquiring about personal reproductive issues is appropriate small talk, let alone in a professional environment where choices about children are complicated (for women especially).

Discussion about having children is a charged issue that has no place in unsolicited conversation. Not only that, whether they’re child-free by choice, haven’t made up their mind yet, or have experienced heartbreaking issues while trying to have children, asking a person or couple if they’re having kids can be damaging to their mental health.

Continue reading Asking “Are You Having Kids?” Can Damage a Person’s Mental Health, Here’s Why…

The Mental Health Costs of Infertility

Empty baby crib in soft light

“I’m sorry to say that your test results were negative.”

Moments before the answer, I knew the nurse was about to deliver another bout of crushing news. The tone in her voice and subtle hesitation quietly revealed that despite our best efforts with a superovulation cycle, I was still not pregnant.

After the call, I brushed a stray tear aside and went back to my desk to finish the work day, only to release buckets of emotion the moment I slid into the driver’s seat of my SUV to head home.

Continue reading The Mental Health Costs of Infertility