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Archives for September, 2011


Have You Trained Your Partner to Act This Way?

In my last post, I wrote about how to handle the feeling that no matter what you do, it's never good enough.

But now I want you to consider whether your reactions to your partner and their illness have shaped their behaviors into something you don't like?

A classic example of this is someone who has borderline personality disorder. Often, as children, people with BPD were not validated when...
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Feeling “Never Good Enough” for Your Partner With Mental Illness

My client sat across from me, her arms crossed tight over her chest, tears spilling over and down her face.

"It doesn't matter what I 's never good enough! I try my best, do what people ask, put my own needs it's never good enough. At work, at home, with my partner, with my I'm tired of never being good enough."

This client was telling the truth about her effort level, and struggling with the...
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What 47 Years of Marriage Can Teach You About Relationships

Today is my parents' 47th anniversary. They say rain on your wedding day is good luck, and, according to my parents, it poured on their special day.

They have been very fortunate to not have to struggle with the challenges of having a partner with a mental illness. Marriage is tough enough without the extra considerations, accommodations, and adaptations one needs to make in order to navigate the choppy waters of an illness.

But I believe--mental...
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What Your Partner With Bipolar Would Like You to Know

Articulating the inner experience of having a mental illness is hard. Like the saying goes, unless you've walked a mile in the other person's shoes, there is no way of really knowing what it is like to have bipolar disorder (or any other illness, physical or mental.)

Previously, I've highlighted the voices of people with depression and adult ADHD. Today, the folks with the bipolar disorders get their...
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I Am Not Sick!: Help for Partners of People with Schizophrenia

Getting a partner who is showing symptoms of schizophrenia to accept help can be difficult, if not impossible. Quite frequently, the person doesn't believe anything is wrong with them, despite plain evidence to the contrary. It can be a frustrating and frightening time for partners and loved ones of the ill person.

Add in the fact that 15-25% of those with schizophrenia ultimately commit suicide, and the stakes to get good treatment now suddenly rise...
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Anxiety and Panic

Stress in America: Advice for Partners

For the past five years, the American Psychological Association (APA) has conducted an annual survey of Americans, called Stress in America. In the survey, they ask what are the leading causes of our stress, how stress affects our lives, and what we do to manage stress.

The highlights of the 2010 survey results will probably not surprise you:

Adults seem to understand the importance of healthy behaviors like managing their stress levels, eating right,...
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What Works When Your Partner Is Ill?

When your partner is not feeling well, it's natural to become reactive, doing whatever it takes to get through the current crisis of the moment, and hoping this is the last time.

Taking a more proactive approach to managing the symptoms of your partner's illness, however, is more effective and empowering, both for you and your partner as individuals, and for your relationship as a whole. Working together to identify a "What Works" list that can...
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Partners In Wellness with Joan Winifred

When Your Partner Has a Negative Treatment Experience

Getting help for a mental illness is hard. I was told in my graduate program that the average number of counseling sessions a client attends is one. It's not necessarily because of the clinician--although that does have an influence--but because sitting across from a stranger, and being expected to reveal the depths of your pain, suffering, and trauma is hard. Really hard. It takes a tremendous amount of courage, and I always make sure I...
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Create a Healing Environment for Partners With Mental Illness

For most people, there's no place like home. Familiar surroundings, your own bed, your own food in the fridge, and maybe pets or other comforting objects all make life run a little smoother.

For people with mental illness, having the optimal environment for healing can make a significant difference in how quickly they recover. If they are living in a stressful environment, it can make getting better a big challenge--not only do they have to deal...
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Your Military Partner and PTSD: Tips From an Expert, Part 2

Today is Part 2 of my interview with Bridget C. Cantrell, PhD, expert on military PTSD and author of several books about military life (read part 1 here). More information about Dr. Cantrell and her work can be found on her website, Hearts Toward Home.

3) Many soldiers who come home from military service are afraid to seek mental health services at their VA, or to get mental health services at all....
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