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Blog2017-08-30T17:30:57-04:00

I was friends with a sociopath vs. a psychopath

Sociopaths are humans Sociopaths are first and foremost human beings. Antisocial Personality Disorder is listed in the DSM-V as an Axis II diagnosis. That means that it falls under the heading of personality disorders, which are typically treatment resistant. Okay, have I bored you yet? Sorry, I’m a psychology nerd. Anyway, the point is, sociopaths are stereotyped by society as being creepy and potentially dangerous, and some of them certainly can be, but not all of them. First of all, let’s get this straight: it’s not a sociopath’s fault that they suffer from Antisocial Personality Disorder. They developed their disorder as a result of nurture rather than nature, and typically people with sociopathy were neglected as children or suffered severe abuse as a child. A psychopath, on the other hand, is born with their disorder. They don’t have empathy, like a sociopath; however, they’re able to mimic the behaviors of others who do. I get it. I have mental illness too I have a mental illness, and not your garden variety of it. I have four mental illnesses - OCD, ADHD, C-PTSD, and Bipolar Disorder. Through my trials, I’ve learned to own my experiences. I have these conditions, but they [...]

By |October 30th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on I was friends with a sociopath vs. a psychopath

“I set fires to feel joy.” I didn’t know Pyromaniacs were a real thing

  Pitch Perfect - "I set fires to feel joy." In the movie Pitch Perfect, there's a character who barely speaks. She mumbled nonsequiturs, and one of them is "I set fires to feel joy." Upon hearing this, I rolled with laughter. I laughed out loud. It was funny and seemed improbable, but some people set fire to things to feel something. It isn't necessarily joy, but they find a sense of release in the act of making things blow up into flames. I know this isn’t supposed to be humorous, but all I can think about is Beavis & Butthead or the girl and pitch perfect. I did some research into pyromania, and I found out that it is a serious impulse control disorder. In some ways, it’s similar to my issues with OCD. People who set fires have trouble controlling their impulsivity. Until they act as setting things on fire, they feel extremely on edge, anxious or uncomfortable. But, they know that there will be a relief when they set something on fire. Pyromania is dangerous It is a severe condition. A pyromaniac's actions can lead to dangerous consequences. For one thing, the person is engaging in risky behavior. They are [...]

By |October 24th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on “I set fires to feel joy.” I didn’t know Pyromaniacs were a real thing

All My Friends Are Crazy

You're crazy! I'm going to use the word "crazy" 24 times, including once in the title of this post. Some people think that crazy is a bad word. I’ve written about this topic, crazy being derogatory; the word "crazy" doesn’t necessarily have to be hateful. In fact,  it can be uplifting. If you self-identify as "crazy" in a colloquial sense, you’re taking the word back. Calling someone crazy can make them feel like less than. There's a fun kind of crazy, and there is the crazy where you probably need to seek medical attention. I have a list of mental illnesses that I manage each day. There are times when I don't feel like "myself," because one of my illnesses is taking over and being extremely loud. I can point to moments when I certainly feel “crazy." Fortunately, I have a lot of friends who feel similarly. We can relate to one another about coping with the symptoms of mental illness. I have friends who have a multitude of different mental illnesses, from personality disorders to mood disorders. Fun Crazy Crazy can be a fun thing. If you are eccentric, people might refer to you with this word. Maybe you're [...]

By |October 22nd, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on All My Friends Are Crazy

I was a hypervigilant child

From the time I was ten years old, I walked home by myself from school. My apartment was only half a mile from my school, yet the entire way home I was scared that something would happen to me. What if somebody attacked me? I didn’t have an actual reason why I'd be attacked. Yes, I lived in New York City which wasn’t necessarily the safest place in the world in the 1990s, but I had no evidence that something terrible was going to happen to me as a 10-year-old walking home in one of the most normal middle-class neighborhoods. There were streets at my parents wouldn't let me walk down, but the most part, living in New York wasn’t dangerous in my personal experience. But still, I walked with my keys in my fist, so if anybody tried to jump out at me, I would be able to defend myself against them. I know that sounds pretty crazy, but I needed to think of something creative to feel safe. So there I was walking down the street, a 10-year-old child with keys in my hand, it was the only thing that I could do that was in my power. [...]

By |October 19th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on I was a hypervigilant child

When Things Weren’t Real

When Things Weren’t Real When I was in my senior year of NYU I took 22 credits. I almost had a nervous break down. I was under so much stress I could not think straight. I remember that it’s being up until 3 AM finishing papers, and my stomach was hurting me. I remember running to the bathroom, anc barely making it. Racing thoughts  kept me up at night. I was terrified of failing.  I was under a lot of stress, and it kept getting worse. I could barely eat and I dreaded every moment of the day. Eating was just the beginning. I started having all kinds of physical symptoms. It was difficult to stay present in my body. Panic stationed itself in my chest. I was incredibly anxious all the time.  I felt myself floating above my body looking at myself walking down the New York street. It was a creepy feeling, and I called my psychiatrist at the time. I told him that I felt like I was “hovering above my body.” He must’ve misunderstood what I was saying, because he prescribed me an anti-psychotic. What I needed was something for my anxiety, and all the antipsychotic did was [...]

By |October 19th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on When Things Weren’t Real

My Therapist Seemed Like A Friend

I once had a therapist who I related to as if I'd known her for a long time. It wasn't an ideal situation because I started to treat her like a friend. I couldn't figure out why I thought of her in a friendly way. Then I realized what was happening here. I was experiencing issues of transference. She reminded me of one of my close friends. She seemed like somebody that I went to college with, and also like a childhood friend, which one might think was a good thing. Was it me? I thought, maybe I was responsible for this friendly dynamic. There was no way to know for sure. Transference means a client projects how they feel about someone else in their life onto their therapist. Was my therapist feeling the same way? In addition to transference, there’s also the phenomenon of countertransference. That phenomenon happens when the clinician starts viewing their client as someone they've known in their life. I thought it's possible my therapist saw me as someone she might have been friends with too. Perhaps that's why our relationship morphed into a friendship type of situation rather than a therapist and client. I’ve had [...]

By |October 17th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on My Therapist Seemed Like A Friend

Tell Me A Lie

You can't handle the truth! People say they want to hear the truth. Then, there's that line that Jack Nicholson yells from A Few Good Men "You can't handle the truth!" And it's true; sometimes the truth hurts. Nobody likes it when people lie to them or do they? I would say the majority of the time the answer is yes; if someone directly asks you a question, be honest. However, there are times when people don't need to know every single detail about your life. Does that mean you need to lie? No, but you don't have an obligation to disclose everything about yourself. Some information is private, and it's okay to keep those facts to yourself. Lie to me There's an episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer where Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy) tells David Boreanaz (Angel) to lie to her. She knows that the truth will be painful and she doesn't feel she can handle it. Let's go back to the Jack Nicholson example. She can't handle the truth. Is it healthy for her to ask Angel to lie? Probably not, however, if she can't deal with what he has to say, maybe it's not the right time [...]

By |October 16th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Tell Me A Lie

I Work on Relationship Goals in Individual Therapy

I'm talking about myself  When you go to therapy, usually you talk about yourself. You're more likely to work on your personal goals in individual therapy rather than problems with your partner. I've been thinking about whether or not you can improve your relationship by talking about it with your therapist. I talk about a variety of issues in therapy; some have to do with me alone, while the others are about the people in my life. I've been to couple's counseling before, but in individual therapy, issues have come up with my partner. When I discuss my relationship challenges with my therapist, I set goals for myself as to what I want to happen in the long term. Asking my therapist for feedback Before I talk to my partner about a problem I'm having, I sometimes discuss my feelings with my therapist so that I understand the issue better. When I talk to him, I want to be prepared to articulate my feelings in a truthful way that he can understand. My goal is validation, and I want him to listen to my concerns. By doing the preliminary work in individual therapy, I gain emotional insight into how I feel, and [...]

By |October 15th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on I Work on Relationship Goals in Individual Therapy

I’m a Neurotic Jew

I am a Jewish woman and I am neurotic. I was raised in New York City, which makes me even more neurotic. I’m a worrier. I’m always concerned about what could happen and I frequently engage and catastrophizing. I worry so much that I could get a medal. My anxiety is next level.  There are stereotypes about Jewish mother is being neurotic. And I fit every single one. I love my kids and I worry about them. A Jewish mother's "hobby" is to worry. If you can call it a hobby, I guess. It’s not that I like to worry. It’s that I can’t help myself. Obsessing about things is so natural to me that once I start, I can’t stop. It isn’t necessarily fun, but I’m used to it by now because I’ve been this way for my entire life. Even as a child, I was a worrier. I didn’t know what neurotic meant, but I heard my parents use the word all the time. I came to think of the term "neurotic" as an eccentricity. I am quirky and part of my idiosyncrasies are that I have anxiety. Anxiety isn’t fun, but it is a part of what I [...]

By |October 12th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on I’m a Neurotic Jew

Compulsions Can Be Dangerous

Compulsive behavior is disruptive but there's more... Compulsions are not as benign as you might think, or as I thought. I live with OCD which means that I have ruminating thoughts. I struggle with checking to see if my keys and my wallet in my bag over and over again. It takes a toll on my brain and my body. I find myself physically and emotionally exhausted. I want to crawl into an OCD hole and cry sometimes. But I have to keep moving with my day. What helps? Mindfulness, breathing, telling myself something I learned from the book "Brain Lock," which is to identify that my symptoms or discomfort are a result of OCD. It's not my fault, I have a brain that repeats, like a skipping CD or record (oh yeah I brought it back there). Rituals and OCD My OCD is strange because I also have ADHD so my rituals get interrupted because I’m distracted. I’m trying to find my keys for 45 minutes and then once I get them in  then I spend another 20 minutes making sure they’re still in there. This ritual is annoying but it’s benign. I'm not going to hurt anyone by [...]

By |October 9th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Compulsions Can Be Dangerous

Listen to me, and I’ll listen to you

Listen to Me When I'm feeling emotional, all I want is for people to listen to me. It's upsetting when  I express my feelings, and the person on the other end doesn't respond; it hurts. The more I feel they're ignoring me, the louder I get. I feel like I’m screaming my emotions, not literally but passionately expressing myself and the individual isn't hearing me. Silence is deadly  I know that I talk a lot. Sometimes listening to myself exhausts me. I can't decode through each one of my racing thoughts, but I'm getting somewhere, I swear. When I’m expressing myself passionately, I want the other person to echo what I’m saying. I need them to give me feedback so that I know that they’re listening. I don’t like to talk to myself;  I feel like I’m on stage reciting a monologue. It feels like the silence on the other end of the conversation is stonewalling. I'm fearful at the moment because there have been times in my life when I've been stonewalled. People have denied what I was feeling. I felt alone, and yet I was with another person in the same room. I never want to feel that [...]

By |October 6th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Listen to me, and I’ll listen to you

Being Brave and Facing Medication That’s Not Working

I can't count how many medications I've tried Since I was 18, I've been on a plethora of medications, psychiatric medicines, and the list is incredibly long. When I saw my first psychiatrist, I started on Prozac, which is a standard choice for someone who has anxiety and depression. It worked for a while and then stopped working. I've been on a variety of different medications since that time, and unfortunately, since they're still perfecting the art of psychiatric medicine, they've been tweaked over the years. Even talking about being on all these different medicines makes me feel anxious. What if something is wrong with me because I'm relying on psych meds? I know this is my anxiety brain talking, but it still scares me. All medications are monitored If I were taking any medication other than psych meds, it would be monitored, such as insulin or blood pressure medicine. Psych meds are the same, they need to be managed by a professional, and there's nothing wrong with that. But, the stigma of taking something that makes me less "crazy" hurts me and makes me feel shame. Why can't I manage my symptoms "on my own?" Maybe I'm defective, and [...]

By |October 4th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Being Brave and Facing Medication That’s Not Working

Loving Yourself Myself Isn’t Easy

I annoy myself It might sound weird, but sometimes I annoy myself. I know I'm engaging in a behavior that is irritating, and yet I keep doing it. My OCD makes me repeat myself often, and it annoys my friends and family. I don't want to keep saying the same thing over and over, but there's a reason for it. I feel like the person isn't hearing me. And it's not like saying it 300 times is going to make them listen to me any better but it somehow seems like it will. Part of my fear is that my feelings aren't valid. I know this isn't rational, but I still feel this way. It's frustrating that my brain is eating itself and trying to make me believe that I don't matter, which leads me to my next question, do I love myself? Do I love me? That's a good question. I suppose it depends on the day. Today, I'm frustrated with myself. Tomorrow, maybe I'll see things differently. There are days when I can see my value; I notice what my good qualities are and what I add to the world. Then there are other days when I feel [...]

By |October 3rd, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Loving Yourself Myself Isn’t Easy

I’m Not Always Right

My opinions are powerful I have strong opinions. Whether I verbalize them or not, I feel passionate about my stance on various issues, and it shows when I debate things with my friends or my partner. What I'm realizing is that my opinion isn't the only one. I need to listen to others so that I can view things from alternate perspectives other than mine. It's difficult when I get locked into my viewpoint. I want to convince the other person that I'm right, I see things clearly, and I'm determined to get the person to follow my lead. I'm stubborn, but I know I'm not omniscient. I struggled with my obstinant behavior, and I'm learning what to do next. Mindfulness and ADHD I tend to interrupt people when I don't agree with their opinions, but that's not productive to a back and forth discussion. It's hard to curb the impulse to interrupt, but I'm working on ways to stay in the moment, take a deep breath, and listen to what the other person is telling me. They're allowed to have a differing opinion from mine. Two diverse perspectives can exist, and there's validity to both of them. When I have [...]

By |September 29th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on I’m Not Always Right

I Don’t Want My Kids to Remember Me Working

I work hard as a single mother, and it's difficult to stop working, even for a moment. Whether it's preparing food for my kids, sitting at the computer writing articles, helping my daughter with her homework or teaching my son multiplications tables, which (by the way) he knows well know. I was impressed! Other than the parenting I do, I'm continually chasing freelance writing gigs, and working my day job, which thankfully is a remote writing gig. I'm so grateful that I can work from home, but honestly- working from home is work. People need to realize that I'm always thinking about my job, considering what I'm doing on a given day, how much I can manage and I want to please my co-workers even if I'm not sitting in a cubicle near them. What do my kids see? My kids see me, probably, as a hard worker, but they also watch me on the computer a lot. I'm writing into the night hours, trying to think of creative ideas for my side jobs, or finishing up an article for my day job. I'm lucky that I get to do what I love, but I worry about the balance between work [...]

By |September 27th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on I Don’t Want My Kids to Remember Me Working
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