Author:Paul Gilmartin

Jackie Kashian Live at Podfest

The writer/comedian/podcaster (Dork Forest) shares about her tumultuous upbringing, and struggles with anger, depression, connecting to people and being perimenopausal.

This episode is sponsored by Audible.  For a free audiobook of your choice and a free 30 day trial go to www.audiblepodcast.com/mental

Follow Jackie on Twitter @JackieKashian

Check out her podcast The Dork Forest

Check out her website www.jackiekashian.com

 

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3 Changes Newly-Diagnosed ADHD Adults Should Make: Guest Blog by Vee Cecil

While adults with ADHD don’t often exhibit the hyperactivity of children with the condition, they do have the inattention and impulsivity associated with the disorder. As Mayo Clinic explains, adult ADHD symptoms include difficulty focusing or concentrating, restlessness, impulsivity, trouble completing tasks, disorganization, frequent mood swings, struggling to cope with stress, and a hot temper. These symptoms often lead to several problems, such as unstable relationships, poor work performance, and low self-esteem.

 

Once they have a diagnosis, adults can make their lives easier by making some changes. Newly-diagnosed ADHD adults often feel a sense of relief for finally understanding why they are the way they are, but that relief may turn to fear or regret. That’s why the first step newly-diagnosed ADHD adults should take is to accept and honor their feelings. Once people come to terms with the diagnosis, they are able to take positive steps toward dealing with it.

 

  1. Determine the Best Treatment. After being diagnosed with adult ADHD, people should work with their doctor to determine the best treatment for their symptoms and situations. As PsychCentral.com explains, current treatments commonly involve medication, psychological counseling, or a combination of the two. The combination of therapy and medication is thought to be the most effective treatment. Of course, your doctor will discuss the benefits and risks of medication, and it may take some time to identify the best treatment. Counseling often includes an educational component, so that newly-diagnosed adults gain a better understanding of the disorder and how to live with it.

 

  1. Proactively Manage Your Impulses. One change ADHD adults can make to better manage their impulsivity is to consider the situations in which they are most likely to be impulsive and make a list of them. Identifying those situations is the first step to better managing them, because ADHD adults will be more aware of the need to think before acting. Another great way to manage impulses is to get plenty of exercise. And as this article notes, going on a walk with a furry friend is an excellent way to work off some of your extra energy, and in turn, clear your mind. It has also been proven to reduce feelings of loneliness and depression.

 

  1. Get Organized with Structure and Neat Habits. The inattentiveness and distractibility associated with adult ADHD often results in difficulty being organized at work and at home. This also tends to make ADHD adults feel overwhelmed. Breaking tasks into smaller chunks and developing a system for getting organized is one of the best changes ADHD adults can make. Developing a structure for organization and adopting neat habits will make a world of difference for ADHD adults.

 

For organizing at home, determine which objects are necessary and which you can store or trash. Though this article addresses the needs of children with ADHD, its advice holds true: organizing work areas, setting up a “staging area” by the door for keys, wallets, etc., and storing items in labeled bins can be a big help in managing your ADHD at home.

 

At work, use lists and make notes for tasks, projects, deadlines, etc., and consider using a to-do list app so you can set reminders for tasks as well. Finally, help yourself by avoiding procrastination. If it is a task that requires a very short amount of time, do it now to alleviate the feeling of being overwhelmed.

 

Certainly, newly-diagnosed ADHD adults have much to consider upon learning they have the disorder. But, there are changes you can make to manage your symptoms and make your life easier.

 

Vee Cecil is a wellness coach, bootcamp instructor, and all-around health enthusiast. When she isn’t training clients or playing outside with her family, she is working on her recently-launched blog where she shares her favorite wellness tips and recipes.

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Dr Jessica Zucker #3

Therapist Dr Zucker shares the harrowing emotional, mental and physical details of her late-term (16th week) miscarriage; how to support a friend or loved one who experiences pregnancy loss, and of course she and Paul talk about his mom.

This episode is sponsored by Howl.FM   For a free one-month trial go to www.howl.fm and use the offer code MENTAL

To learn more about pregnancy loss and reproductive mental health go to Postpartum Support International at www.postpartum.net

To buy Dr. Zucker’s pregnancy loss cards go to www.shop.drjessicazucker.com

 

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OCD and CBT OMG!: A guest blog by Lindsey

This week, and every year during the second full week of October, is International OCD Awareness week. Now, here’s the thing: it’s awareness week for those that do not experience and suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorders. For those that do, it’s nearly impossible to be unaware. Maybe I’m exaggerating, because I’m sure there are those that find some repose from their obsessive thoughts, but for many of us it’s hard to fathom a life free of OCD and the stigma that accompanies it.

The world has come a fair ways in trying to quash the stigma of mental health issues, but we still have a long ways to go. There are too many people like me who take years to seek treatment because of stigma. I didn’t even know trichotillomania had a name until a decade after it had started affecting my life. I was the butt of many jokes in high school due to my obsessive use of purell, and yet many of these same people poking fun at my OCD asked me on multiple occasions to use some because they knew I was likely to have a bottle in my bag. I’m learning how to laugh about it now, but it’s taken me a long time to get here.

Obsessive thoughts are a part of being human; it is physically impossible to control our thoughts. What we CAN control is our behaviour, and our actions. (It is when our obsessions and subsequent compulsive actions threaten our daily life and routine that we must take initiative and seek help.)

Keeping everything neat and tidy doesn’t make you OCD, just as being sad doesn’t mean you’re depressed and being nervous for an interview or exam doesn’t mean you suffer from anxiety. Language is important!

If you have people in your life living with OCD, the best thing you can do is be kind. Be patient. Try to understand without judgement. Talk about it. OCD ≠ quirky, if the thought of changing the way you do something, not repeating something, etc. makes your brain scream, reach out to someone.

My god, if you’ve made it this far, you are a brave, brave man. I posted that into the facebook void a few hours ago, immediately wanted to take it back, but didn’t. I’m thinking of it as an exposure therapy exercise in and of itself.

In summation: OCD sucks, and the exposure therapy I’ve been doing in CBT sucks worse because it’s scary as fuck, but it works.

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Danny Hatch

The 23 year-old Oklahoman shares about his depression, cutting, feelings of inadequacy, his parent’s divorce, finding a voice and identify through comedy (Keith & The Girl podcast), feeling some shame for wanting to be famous and the slow process of accepting his bisexuality especially coming from a devoutly Catholic family.

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I Have Been Diagnosed as a Sociopath: A guest blog by “Damon”

I have been suffering from depression since I was 16 years old. It has been on and off since then and when I felt I was spiraling downward, I always felt there was something more to it. As of November of 2014, my therapist, who I had been seeing for about 4 months, told me who I really am. I was diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder among other personality disorders. In layman’s terms, I am a complex sociopath.

I didn’t know how to react to this information when it was given to me. Sociopaths are people you hear about on the local news or America’s most wanted. But I never felt that it was something that could be described about me. Immediately, I felt like I was a pariah, an outcast, someone to be avoided. I suddenly felt as if I understood what it was like to be hiding something about myself that defines me. Similar to someone who has not come out of the closet yet.

Looking back, I can see that I had many of the traits that would be characteristic of someone with this diagnosis. I shoplifted as a teenager and convinced all of my friends to join me as well. I didn’t treat my pets in the best ways. I used to trespass on private property including breaking and entering. I hated authority and often disregarded rules. It was difficult for me to hold employment (and sometimes still is) because I genuinely did not care.

Here’s what being a sociopath means to me today:

I feel no shame, guilt, or empathy toward others. I realized that the only moments I felt sorry was not for what I’d done, but rather I was sorry I got caught doing. During a group therapy meeting, I was told by a member that her son’s wife had had a miscarriage. Everyone in the room was crying or aghast but me. I couldn’t relate or care.

I feel nothing. I often feel nothing. Most of my emotions are a ruse, a lie to seem like a generally happy friendly person. The few feelings I do feel frequently are rage when something does not go my way and joy in the form of laughter at a good joke.

I am exceptionally intelligent in ways that often astonish my friends and family. All of my immediate family and friends have advanced degrees whereas I do not but I can often best them in games of trivia. My father will often ask me about songs and events that happened before I was born when he wants to learn about them.

I can be charming and interesting at any point in time that I choose. It is easy for me to start up a conversation with anyone at anytime, but again this is hollow. This process of putting on a face is something I can only do for so long. I feel like I am out of breath after a while. Women often tell me that I’m sweet or a great guy, but what I’m showing them is a mirage. In fact, I am the exact kind of person their friends and family would like to avoid.

I don’t feel love where others would say I should. I see my parents more as landlords than I do as a loving support system. My brothers would say we have grown close over the years, though I feel no such connection. I don’t know if I can love a person fully and I hide who I really am from potential mates. I can cut ties with any person in my life at any time I choose.

It is difficult for me to understand other people. I am often irreverent toward attitudes and traditions that others hold near and dear. I don’t understand the point of funerals, weddings, and most family events.

I am a fan of Boston area sports teams as well as LeBron James because many dislike them although I don’t know why, and I can relate to that.

I never could find the root cause of why I am what I am. Maybe because my brother molested me in front of my parents, who did nothing. Maybe because of a major concussion I’ve experienced. Maybe because of a horrific traffic accident I’ve experienced. My therapist says family history of diabetes is often found. Perhaps that is it, I don’t know. But what I do know is that for the rest of my life, I’m going to be fundamentally different than other people in this way. I am in the process using the positive aspects of this diagnosis to my advantage. For example, I don’t have fear taking risks. I can approach any woman I want to be around. My ambition is one that can hardly be matched.

All in all, it has been confusing to try to live with this part of myself. Though I have told my immediate family and some friends, we have not talked about it. I have felt like the black sheep of the family and will continue to feel that way. But as I have already received help when I felt I was in my darkest hour, I feel I can continue on knowing the roots of my sporadic melancholy.

 

“Damon”

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Importance of Considering Emotional Factors in Psychiatric Diagnoses: Guest Blog by Dr. Terry Lynch

 

Psychiatric diagnoses are generally seen as primarily biological problems requiring primarily biological solutions. Not much attention is generally placed on the emotional or psychological aspects of psychiatric diagnoses.

This approach is misguided. Of course there are physical aspects to depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, OCD, eating disorders etc. There are physical aspects to all human experiences, but a wealth of helpful information emerges when the emotional and psychological aspects of psychiatric diagnoses are fully taken into account.

There are major gaps in knowledge and understanding within each of the various psychiatric diagnoses. Incorporating the emotional and psychological aspects of psychiatric diagnoses –to a far greater extent than currently happens – can greatly help join the dots and make sense of the various psychiatric diagnoses.

Here is just one example.

The usual explanation for paranoia is that it is a feature of mental illnesses such as schizophrenia. This explanation provides no real understanding of paranoia or why it occurs. A more complete understanding of paranoia emerges when we factor in some important emotional and psychological aspects.

Projection is a well recognised concept in psychology. To “project” means to “throw”. When we watch a movie on the cinema screen, we know that the images appear on the screen because they are projected – “thrown” – from the projector at the opposite end of the cinema.

Paranoia can be understood as the projection of the inner world of the individual onto the screen of life. A common error made in such circumstances is to evaluate people’s experiences and behaviours from the benchmark of what is broadly considered “normal”. Rather, they should be evaluated from the perspective of the individual’s inner world, taking the context fully into account.

If doctors cannot identify a factual external basis for the person’s fear, it is quickly concluded that there is no basis for the person’s fear other than biological, as evidence of mental illness. But if we tune in to the person’s inner world, we find that the person generally feels terrified, desperately unsafe. In 15 years working fulltime in mental health, I have met well over a hundred people whose experiences could be described as paranoia. In every case, the inner experience was one of terror, feeling completely unsafe, unprotected, and totally unable to protect themselves.

Understanding projection helps us understand paranoia. To a person who feels completely unsafe and totally unable to protect themselves, threats may appear to come from all directions. It is a case of experiencing the world not as it is but as we are.

This information presents possibilities. Perhaps helping people in this situation to feel safer can help people experiencing paranoia? This is what I have repeatedly found. Paranoia is the product of feeling very unsafe. Feeling unsafe is a regular characteristic of people diagnosed with schizophrenia.

It is high time that important emotional and psychological aspects of psychiatric diagnoses – such as feeling profoundly unsafe and the projections that result from this – were given the importance their presence merits.

Why are these and other important emotional and psychological aspects regularly missed by mental health doctors? Two reasons: (1) The training of psychiatrists and GPs does not sufficiently prioritise such emotional and psychological aspects; (2) Giving such aspects of psychiatric diagnoses the importance they merit risks raising serious questions of the medical model that currently dominates global mental health care.

 

 Dr. Terry Lynch, mental health activist, author. physician, psychotherapist. www.doctorterrylynch.com

 

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Kate Spencer

The writer/performer/wife/mother shares about her OCD, anxiety, panic attacks, intrusive thoughts and insomnia.  She also talks about the surprising gifts that came from the painful loss of her mother and how she is using basketball to embrace her body and let out aggression.

Follow Kate on Twitter @KateSpencer

This episode is sponsored by SquareSpace.   To get 10% go to www.squarespace.com and use offer code MENTAL

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