Archives for General
Do you know someone with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)? Are you diagnosed with it yourself? How did the person (or you) accept or deal with the diagnosis? As a therapist who has worked with both adults and adolescents with borderline traits, I have seen my fair share of denial, resentment, and even outright rage expressed in sessions when the word BPD comes up. I had a previous adolescent client ask me to stop using the term BPD while discussing her challenges because "I don't believe I have that. If I don't believe I have that, then neither should you." Stunned by this attempt at controlling a professional, I offered to emphasize only the symptoms and leave the label behind, at least during the hour of psychotherapy. This article will explore some of the fears that clients may have about being labeled with BPD.
What do you know about trauma? How would you define it if you had to? The best way to describe trauma is not so much by discussing the actual event that created the trauma, but by explaining that trauma is anything that overwhelms your ability to cope. In other words, you do not have the skills or abilities (at the time) to cope appropriately with the aftereffects of the trauma. This is why it is extremely important that families (friends, coworkers, and caregivers) have a keen eye on victims of trauma who may not have the appropriate coping skills to cope. When coping skills are lacking, including a clear understanding of why the trauma occurred, suicidal thoughts, homicidal thoughts, self-injurious behaviors, depression, anxiety, and sometimes even psychotic symptoms (delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized/confused thought patterns) occur. This article will discuss some of the facts we should all know and keep in mind about trauma.
Do you know someone who is struggling with intense emotions, rage or anger, emotional lability, interpersonal conflict, unstable social or family relationships, and poor self-image? If so, perhaps you are dealing with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). BPD is a mental health condition that affects all facets of a sufferer's life. Sadly, although BPD has become less stigmatized over time (especially with Dr. Marsha Linehan and many other experts educating society, families, caregivers, and sufferers to what BPD actually is), it is still hard for people to accept. But as a mental health therapist I have evaluated, talked to, and counseled adolescent girls who stayed in multiple abusive and emotionally unstable relationships for the simple fact that "I cannot live without him. I will die." These intense emotions led to a cascade of other behaviors that were disturbing such as stalking, obsession, begging, and even sexual immorality. The intensity of the emotions of someone suffering from BPD may be disproportionate to the actual situation. My experience with clients has been that a diagnosis of BPD is like a death sentence due to stigma. This article will explain what a diagnosis of BPD can lead to and how to view the diagnosis in a healthier way.
Do you or someone you know exhibit the following characteristics: frequent self-injurious behaviors (SIB), suicidal ideations or suicide attempts, frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment, unstable and intense interpersonal relationships that include alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation, identity disturbance, impulsivity (acting before thinking), chronic feelings of emptiness, and inappropriate and intense emotions that are sometimes disproportional to the trigger? Many of these characteristics make up the term Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). BPD tends to be a frequent diagnosis for females, primarily those females who have many of the above symptoms including frequent SIB and suicidal thoughts. Sadly, many males (adolescents and adults) also exhibit symptoms of BPD but are often misdiagnosed as Attention Deficit Disorder or oppositional defiant disorder. The key to identifying BPD in males is to look at the constellation of symptoms and the intensity of the emotions of the individual. This article will focus on highlighting male BPD symptoms and some of the red flags to look out for.
What has been your experience with suffering, pain, and sorrow? Did you sink under its pressure or become angry and fought back? Perhaps you did not come to the conclusion that you must fight back because the depression and the sorrow sucks every ounce of "fight back" you may have had. Believe it or not, if you feel this way that is because so many millions of other people feel the same. Sadly, we live in a society "controlled" by perceptions that are inaccurate. The perception that life is ALL about being happy and trying to achieve the "highest" level of happiness is one of the biggest and most negative misconceptions we have to deal with. This article will explore how negative emotions (i.e., pain, sorrow, rejection, resentment, depression, compassion fatigue, etc.) can affect us and teach us a lot about ourselves and the life we live.
Do you have personal experience with depression? What about suicide? Do you (or someone you know) ever struggle with feeling overwhelmed by life's torrents and waves? Do you (or someone you know) struggle with feelings of guilt, lack of motivation, anhedonia (i.e., not enjoying things once enjoyed), insomnia, poor eating habits, and rumination (i.e., thinking of things repeatedly in a fashion that works against you and not for you)? If so, this article is for you. This article will discuss depression and suicidal thoughts and how these two things often occur simultaneously. This article will then explore 6 things, as a therapist and friend that I have come to recognize, that seems to occur in individuals who are struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts.
Do you know someone who seems to self medicate with alcohol to cope with life, symptoms of a mental health diagnosis, or simply to de-stress? It is a known fact that alcohol is often the "drug" of use for individuals suffering from a mental health condition. Alcohol is a substance that either works as a medication for symptoms that are becoming out of control or a way to increase the properties of a psychotropic drug. Either way, alcohol can be a dangerous substance if used unwisely and to self-medicate. As you know, alcohol is such a socially acceptable substance that many people won't suspect anything is wrong with someone who frequently drinks alcohol. Why would there be? Alcohol is found almost everywhere and almost in every restaurant across the nation. It isn't being sold in a variety of flavors at a restaurant, it can be found in a variety of foods. Alcohol is also culturally acceptable as many kids from higher socio-economic statuses tend to drink wine with dinner at various ages. It's no wonder so many people use and become addicted to alcohol. Unfortunately, out of control alcohol use can lead to a variety of challenges including increased depression. This article will highlight some of the ways that alcohol negatively affects those with mental health challenges.
Abuse is a very difficult topic to discuss with my clients. It is even more difficult to accept when it you are the target of the abuser. Abuse can come in many forms, even sneaky forms, and it takes not only experience with people and relationships but also appropriate boundaries to cope. Abuse can be described as any act that creates some form of suffering for the target of the abuse. The targeted person can suffer multiple emotional and psychological wounds, even if the abuse is physical. The psychological and emotional wounds can lead to decreased self-esteem, fear, uncertainty, lack of motivation, anhedonia (lack of pleasure in things once desired or enjoyed), and mental health symptoms. Considering all of this, can you imagine how vulnerable a person can be living with and trying to cope with someone who has an untreated or severe mental illness but also engages in abusing others? This article will briefly discuss the "victims" of the abuser who also struggles with mental health challenges. This article is meant to highlight the emotional toll abuse takes on an individual and possible considerations for the victim.
Do you have a therapist? What about a psychiatrist to prescribe medication? How do you feel about them? Mental health care has become a controversial field for many reasons but most clients and families are fearful of being mistreated, misdiagnosed, used, misunderstood, controlled, and mistreated. It is a sad reality that fearful and uncertain clients drop out of therapy completely. Others may self-medicate or speak to and learn from family and friends who can offer suggestions or "therapy" for free. In my sessions with clients, I often remind parents and families that they have, what we can conceptualize as, 50% control over their treatment. For example, clients can decide who to see for therapy or medication management, refuse to pay for services that they are not satisfied by, file a grievance if they are not satisfied with their service, among many other things. This article will review and discuss some of the things that you should keep in mind while seeking mental health care for yourself or someone you love.
Do you know an emotionally avoidant and detached parent/guardian? If so, what makes that person so emotionally unavailable? Is it a mental illness, personality disorder, or something else such as a job, career goal, or educational endeavor? Whatever it is, having an emotionally unavailable parent or guardian can lead to a lifelong journey of unstable or failed relationships, emotional neediness, empty voids, identity confusion, poor attachment to others, low self-esteem and self-efficacy (the feeling of mastery), etc. Research has identified the importance of all infants and developing children having an appropriate, warm, and loving attachment to a mother figure during the developmental years. Without an appropriate, warm, and loving parental figure, children are likely to develop multiple personality, emotional, and psychological difficulties. For many of my clients, the absence of a loving parental figure has resulted in an increase in psychiatric symptoms, school and academic difficulties, fear of abandonment, and many other challenges. This article will discuss the aftereffects or consequences of growing up without an emotionally available parent.