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Blog 2017-08-30T17:30:57+00:00

Depression Sucker Punches You

Remember Mike Tyson's Punch Out for Nintendo? There were different opponents to beat. Each boxer was harder to conquer than the next. There was that King Hippo with the big belly. You punched him right in the stomach and defeated him. When I think about depression, and how it comes out of nowhere, I remember King Hippo. He probably wasn't expecting to be socked in the belly, but it happened. Sometimes depression does that, the sucker punch I mean. You think that things are going along just fine and all of a sudden, BOOM! Depression comes out of absolutely nowhere and that hurts. It's not fun, it's intense, and it can be overwhelming. Nobody wants to feel like that voluntarily. Yeah, depression sucks, and it can come out of seemingly nowhere. But, it's also treatable. You might not necessarily have control over how long it lasts or how severe your depressive episode is. But, there are ways to manage depression even if it does sucker punch you. The thing depression wants you to do the most is stay silent. You don't have to listen to it. You can talk about what you're going through, speak to your friends, your therapist, [...]

By | May 4th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Depression Sucker Punches You

Failing is Succeeding

We all fail. We all stumble, fall on our faces, try hard to do something that explodes in the worst way possible. You might have labeled yourself a "failure" or a "loser." I'm guilty of doing this. Failure can feel intense to me and I adopt it temporarily as part of my identity. It's not that I actually believe that I'm a permanent disaster because I don't. But it's frustrating to want something badly and have it not work out the way I envisioned. It's probably my perfectionism that's activated when I don't accomplish what I set out to do. In reality, we don't succeed at every single thing we intend to do. That's not the way that life works. Life is series of disappointments followed by successes. There's no way to tell which project you try will work or what you'll succeed at. Wouldn't that be great if there was? There are professionals that can guide you along the way and help you accomplish your goals. When you fail, it hurts. It's hard to not take it personally like it was a deficit in your character that made the failure happen. You didn't try your best, you weren't focused or dedicated [...]

By | May 3rd, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Failing is Succeeding

Sharing Secrets about OCD

It takes a while for me to open up; share what's inside of me. I have to feel like I am in safe space, able to be who I am. One of the safest places I can think of is my therapist's office, sitting on her couch. Sometimes it's embarrassing admitting what I'm dealing with, trying to cope with or avoid. There isn't much I can do but hang on sometimes. One of the hardest things to do is manage OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). Ruminating over the same thought over and over again makes my brain hurt. The worst is when the thoughts cause me to feel shame or the compulsions make me embarrassed. I don't want to feel like there's something "wrong" with me, but that's what OCD tries to convince us. It wants us to think we are defective or wrong. It believes that it has power or can control what I think or do. The thing about OCD that is the most harmful is that it tries to get you to hide your symptoms. It doesn't want you to get better so it tells you that you'd better cover up your weird thought patterns. You shouldn't think [...]

By | May 1st, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Sharing Secrets about OCD

I’ll Have a Depression Sandwich Please

Nobody goes to the store and orders a depression sandwich because nobody wants to be depressed. So why would you spend your time standing in line waiting to order something that makes you feel bad? You wouldn't, however, sometimes you don't even realize that you've had a depression sandwich. Did somebody force feed it to you? Not that you're aware of. But all of a sudden you are incredibly depressed and you don't know why. Can you imagine if you went to a restaurant, ordered spaghetti and meatballs and you were served salmon and rice? That would be strange and you would probably complain (nicely) to your waiter. What if your waiter then came back with "sorry, you're just going to have to deal with the salmon I gave you." That would be weird and also frustrating and you might even become enraged. That is what people who suffer from depression feel like. For me, when I feel depression coming on I get angry at first. Not this again! I thought it was over, why do I have to deal with this garbage again? Depression does not care about what you want, if you ordered it, if you asked for [...]

By | April 29th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on I’ll Have a Depression Sandwich Please

In the 4th grade I was a conflict manager

In the fourth grade and my elementary school they offer a program where kids could become conflict managers. I wanted to be a part of this. The goal was to be a peer mediator on the playground. We learned about using “I Messages” to communicate our feelings. For example “I feel angry when you don’t listen to me.” I was trained as a conflict manager, which (as I said) is l similar to a peer mediator. Our goal as conflict managera during recess was to walk around and look for children that we’re having disagreements  with each other; we would stop them and ask if they needed a conflict manager to help. Most of the time surprisingly they would say yes. The way we handled these arguments was quite simple. We would ask one person to tell their side of the story and then we would ask them to use an “I message” to communicate to their friend (who they were having a fight with) how they were feeling. The other party was then asked to repeat back (paraphrase) what they heard using the expression “so what I’m hearing you say is ___.” They would put forth their interpretation of what they [...]

By | April 27th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , |Comments Off on In the 4th grade I was a conflict manager

Love is Dangerous

Here I am listening to a Blink 182 song where Tom is repeating "love is dangerous" over and over again. I could not agree more, Tom. Love is dangerous. When you feel that deeply, that intensely, it's hard for you to see clearly. You can't control who you love or why you love them. The heart wants what it wants. Not being able to control your connection to another person is difficult. It would be amazing if you could turn the "love light switch" off. But it doesn't work that way. When I love someone, I fall head first into that love. My heart opens and I reveal my vulnerability. Once I feel safe and I connect with a man, which takes me some time to do, I will show him exactly who I am. The times that this has actually happened to me are rare when I fully revealed who I was. When I did this, when I was able to freely be myself, I did it without thinking, which is never a good thing to do regardless of the context. However, logic and love don't go together well. They don't because love doesn't care about logic. You can [...]

By | April 26th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Love is Dangerous

Do Kids Really Need Therapy?

When I was three, I went to see a play therapist. I don't remember much of what happened during those sessions. What I do recall is that the therapist was kind and warm. She sat back and observed me playing with action figures. The reason I was there (my parents told me later) was that I was profoundly introverted in nursery school. My teachers told them that I needed to learn more social-emotional skills. My social skills were underdeveloped to the point that the instructors recommended that I stay an extra year in nursery school. This way I could get more practice with making friends and interacting with other kids. Still, here I was in therapy as a child. I was seeing a therapist because someone, maybe one of my teachers, believed I should see a mental health professional. Thinking about this now, it seems funny to me. I was only three and having trouble talking to other children. I didn't have a severe developmental delay in speech or gross motor development. I wasn't on the autism spectrum and I didn't experience trauma (to my knowledge) at that age. So I'm wondering, was therapy actually necessary? I have no clue whether it [...]

By | April 25th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Do Kids Really Need Therapy?

Ready Player Sarah Fader

I recently saw the film Ready Player One, which is based on a book about a virtual reality world where people are different versions of themselves. In this world, you can be whoever you see yourself as. If you are gawky and pimply in "real life" you can be a supermodel in this virtual world. When you watch the film, you are continually wondering what the characters look like in the "real world" outside of virtual reality. Virtual reality is becoming increasingly popular in our generation, and not just for fun, but it is also used as a therapeutic modality. I never imagined that visiting a fictitious land where you can be whoever you want to be and do whatever it is you want to do would actually evolve into a therapy session. It makes sense that entering into an alternate universe would be a freeing experience. One of the things that people tend to find difficult about therapy is that it's hard to open up about your problems. If you're experiencing emotional pain, you don't necessarily want to let it all out at once. It can hurt. So, if you are placed into an alternate/virtual reality, it might be a [...]

By | April 24th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Ready Player Sarah Fader

Finding the Help I Need

There have been times when I have been at a loss as to what was going to help me. I was depressed, having passive suicidal ideation, and feeling like things just weren't getting better. My panic attacks were daily, and nothing seemed to help. I tried everything from going to a Reiki healer to an acupuncturist. I saw a variety of different therapists including gestalt, psychodynamic and psychoanalytic ones. Nothing seemed to work. I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. Was it me or was it the therapy or both? I wasn't getting better and I needed to, desperately, but that isn't the way getting well from mental illness works. It wasn't like I could just snap my fingers and make things okay. In psychodynamic therapy, I was asked to recount my childhood trauma that could be influencing depression. I didn’t like rehashing my past and I wasn’t a fan of doing hippie dippy new age stuff entirely to make things better. I like hippie dippy new age stuff but it’s not the end all be all solution to mental wellness. I remember searching through my insurance provider's handbook and calling around to different therapists and asking what kinds of therapy [...]

By | April 22nd, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Finding the Help I Need

The Face Inside

There's a face I wear outside like a mask. It protects me from pain, anger, and fear. It's like a suit of armor, but only for my face. I can't figure out why it's solidified on me. It's like melted wax on the oval of my visage. I wanted to peel it off but it sticks. It reminds me of the wrapping of the Baby Bell cheese. They are red wax circles that encompass pale yellow cheese. The red wax covers my face but you can't see it. It makes it so my emotions are invisible to most people. It makes it so that my family says "you don't seem depressed. I can never tell with you." The mask is solid. I want to rip it off, I want to feel like the "real me" again. I wonder if there's a way to get to her. Hypnotize me, put me under a spell and ask me who I actually am. I want to be in touch with the truest version of myself. The pain, the grief, and the trauma created a trifecta that was impenetrable by people asking me "are you okay?" I simply responded "yeah, I'm hanging in," which doesn't mean [...]

By | April 21st, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on The Face Inside

Singing is My Catharsis

Catharsis in simple terms means release  I first learned the word when I was studying method acting at LaGuardia High School (The Fame School) in NYC. Acting is a form of catharsis because you are releasing emotions as the character and as you, the actor. Good old Stanislavski taught me something special about releasing my emotions on stage and in "real life." As an actor, I had to be in touch with how I was feeling on a regular basis. As a teenager, my emotions overwhelmed me to the point where it felt like they ruled over me. I wasn't able to temper them. I was depressed, anxious, and I was having panic attacks on a daily basis. Some of my feelings were based on trauma I'd experienced, but others were residual emotions that were unresolved from old childhood and pre-teen memories. I needed a way to cope with my overwhelming feelings They would build up in my mind and body to the point where I couldn't function. I was literally sick because of all the anxiety. I wanted to eat but I couldn't. When you are filled to the top with anxious energy, what's the solution? For me, it was [...]

By | April 19th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Singing is My Catharsis

Acupuncture Changed My Life And Helped My Anxiety

Acupuncture changed my life. Before Acupuncture, my anxiety was extremely high. It was to the point where my life was unmanagable. I was having many panic attacks and I wasn't able to navigate them even while I was going to therapy and taking medication for anxiety. It was difficult for me to calm down my body and my mind because I didn’t know how to do it organically. I wasn't able to figure out what tools I needed to use in order to tell my mind to chill. I wanted to be cool with what was happening around me, even if it caused me to feel anxious, but it's not that easy. Anxiety doesn't care what you'd like to happen, it does whatever it feels like doing without consulting you because anxiety is selfish like that. The first time I tried acupuncture I was 24. I saw a holistic acupuncture and massage clinic on Henry Street in Brooklyn Heights and I walked in, curious as to what this was all about. My experience with it at that time was not that eventful. I felt more relaxed than usual, but it wasn't life-changing by any means. Years later, when I was [...]

By | April 18th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Acupuncture Changed My Life And Helped My Anxiety

Emotional sundown

I don't want to look inside of myself right now. If I opened the doors to my heart it would be so painful that I would collapse. The liquid pool of emotions would pour onto the floor and stain the carpet bright red. I woke up this morning believing that things could change. I was hopeful that I could glue the fragmented parts of me back together but even with all the self-actualization that I have gone through talking about myself, I still don't have the adhesive to fix me. It's a bad feeling to be broken and not have the means to repair yourself. The day goes on and I believe things will improve. I am aware of the pain inside, I understand where it comes from: loss, grief, him, and him too. I will never know him, and I wanted to. I tried so hard to carry him but I couldn't. It's my fault, all of it, and he will never know who I am. We only spent those small moments together and then he was just gone. And the other "him," that's a different story. He's still around, but I don't know if I'll ever see him [...]

By | April 16th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Emotional sundown

Sex, Love and Addiction

For me sex and love are interconnected. I suppose I would consider myself demisexual. This  means that in order to have sex with somebody I have to have an intellectual and deep connection with that person. I know many people who can disconnect from their brains and have sex with somebody that they don’t necessarily have an intellectual connection with but that’s not me. The person that I have sex with. I have to be attracted to the person’s brain. It’s difficult to find somebody that I connect with on that level and when I do find them I hold on tight. Because I love the intimacy associated with sex and someone I am in love with. Because I live with bipolar type 2, I experience hypersexuality. However I do not engage in risky sexual behavior in the sense that I’m not involved with multiple partners. I believe firmly in monogamous relationships and I don’t care to experiment with dating multiple people at once because frankly it overwhelms me. I find sex and love  interconnected, but there are people who do not as I mentioned before. There are individuals that have an addiction to sex and it causes them to feel [...]

By | April 13th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Sex, Love and Addiction

I run from emotional pain

I don't like feeling pain, whether it's physical or emotional I have no tolerance for it. It hurts. When I am in physical pain, I just want it to end. I want medicine that will take it away. I don't want to feel the burning, the stabbing the cramping or the bleeding. I just want to feel better. That's a human reaction to not want to hurt physically. As people we are trained to understand that pain is bad. We dislike it and we avoid it at all costs. I can remember begging various doctors to give me medicine for some ailment in my body. Giving birth was horrendous. The pain overwhelmed my body. I didn't know when it would end and that frightened me. People kept saying that the reward at the end of giving birth was the baby. That's true, however it doesn't negate the excruciating pain you feel when you are bringing that baby into the world. Emotional pain is something I also don't like to experience. Heartbreak, rejection or feeling unloved are some of the worst feelings that I can think of. I want to be happy. I want to be snuggled, held, kissed and loved. [...]

By | April 11th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on I run from emotional pain
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