Tag Archives: Mental Health

This Is Why You’re Not Happy is Not the Perfect Solution to Mental Health Issues, But It Comes Pretty Close

From the eyes of the general public, when one is a celebrity, life is nothing short of perfection. Everything (and everyone) that we ever wanted or needed just appears in our lives. Our problems melt away like ice off a cold beverage that has just been removed from an ice filled cooler.

The truth is that celebrities are human beings just like the rest of u, who by some twist of fate, became famous and earn more money in a year than most of us earn in our entire lifetimes.

Back at the end of May, the YouTube channel Absolute Motivation released a video entitled “Matthew McConaughey – This Is Why You’re Not Happy | One Of The Most Eye Opening Speeches“.

What I love about this video is that Mr. McConaughey speaks to all of us. He challenges the viewer to consider their definition of happiness and joy. It’s not the perfect solution to making our mental health issues disappear. But it’s practical and given the complicated world that we live in, it might be the answer we are looking for.

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The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty Book Review

When I was growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, the late former First Lady Barbara Bush looked like a grandmother straight out of Hollywood central casting. Her white hair was cut short, she was known for her pearls and matronly clothing and she was the matriarch of a large family. But there is so much more to her than the image.

Susan Page’s new biography, The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty, tells the story of Mrs. Bush from her perspective. Born in 1925 to a wealthy family whose roots went back to the founding of America, she was the third of four children. Equally belittled and ignored by her mother about her weight, the future First Lady never got over the comments she received as a child.

In her late teens, she married the future President George H.W. Bush. Married for seven decades, she brought six children into the world. Her oldest son, George W. Bush, followed in his father’s footsteps. Her oldest daughter, Robin, died of Leukemia at age three, leaving her mother with an emotional scar that never healed. Later as an adult, she battled depression and aided both her husband and son during their time in the White House.

Containing interviews with Mrs. Bush, President Bush, her family, political aides, press clippings, diary entries and other details, this books is the complete story of one of America’s most respected First Ladies.

One of the things that I was surprised about was how emotionally strong and outspoken Mrs. Bush was. Like many women of her generation, her adult life focused on her home and her family. But unlike the Donna Reed-like ideal of the 1950’s and 1960’s, Mrs. Bush was not the yes-woman to her husband nor was she the picture of motherly perfection. She was bold, she was outspoken and not above providing unsolicited advice. She may not have been a traditional feminist, but she is the definition of a strong, intelligent and capable woman.

This book is a must read, especially if one is a political junkie. It sheds light not just on the public side of Mrs. Bush, but also the private that only a few were privileged to see.

I recommend it.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Feminism, History, Mental Health, Politics

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed Book Review

In our culture, therapists have achieved a unique status: part confident, part best friend and part confessor. But what happens when a therapist needs to see their own therapist?

This is the premise of Lori Gottlieb‘s new book, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed. At the start of the book, Ms. Gottlieb had what appeared to be it all. A happy and healthy son, a solid career as a therapist and a boyfriend who was as dedicated to her as she was to him. Then her boyfriend broke up with her and she decided to see a therapist for her own needs.

Blending her professional history with patient profiles and her experience on the other side of the couch, the book is a novel approach to human relationships and the need, when it occurs to seek out a therapist.

Among the books I have read about mental health, this book is certainly very different. I like that in revealing that she sought out a therapist for her emotional issues, Ms. Gottlieb has shined a human light on an industry that in which is often seen differently from the outside.

I do have to warn that the book is a little slow at points, but overall, it is a good read and well worth your time.

Do I recommend it? I am leaning toward yes.

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Thoughts On the New Disturbed Song “A Reason To Fight”

Mental health disorders have a way of isolating those who suffer. Logically, they know that they have a solid support system of family, friends and partners/spouses. But mental illness and depression specifically says otherwise. It makes that person feel alone, that everyone around them is lying. The only thing that is honest is their depression.

Recently, the rock band Disturbed released their latest song and accompanying video, “A Time To Fight“.

The thing that strikes me about this song and the video is that it negates the idea that those who suffer from depression and other mental illnesses suffer are alone. There are millions of us who wake up everyday with this weight on our emotional shoulders.

Knowing that we are not alone, that there are many out there who suffer from this disease is important not just for those who live with mental illness, but for those who love them. That knowledge, from my perspective, is the most important aspect of not just treatment, but living a full life.

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Sometimes the Best Thing We Can Do is Prioritize Our Mental Health

The best sensor we have is our body. When it tells us to slow down, we should listen to it. If we ignore it, we do so at our peril.

When it comes to mental illness, ignoring the signals that we need help is more than detrimental. It could be life threatening. Last week, Britney Spears checked into a mental health facility following her father’s health scare.

I admire her for getting help and not being afraid to publicly admitting that she needs to take time to take care of herself. The hardest thing that one can do when suffering from mental illness is to ask for help. It’s easy to pretend that your OK and try to go about your business. It’s harder to take a step back and say that you need to talk to someone.

I hope that her actions inspire others who suffer from mental illness to seek treatment. The more we speak of mental illness, the less it becomes a stigma and that will finally lead to an open conversation about this debilitating and deadly disease.

 

 

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The Scar: A Personal History of Depression and Recovery Book Review

Mental illness affects millions of people around the world.

Mary Cregan knows all too well the pain that mental illness can bring. In her new book, The Scar: A Personal History of Depression and Recovery, she talks about her own bout with mental illness and how she was able to survive.

When she was in her late 20’s Ms. Cregan had it all: a job that made her happy, a loving marriage and a soon to be new addition to the family. The joy of a new child soon turns to grief when the baby dies two days after she is born. The death of her daughter plunges her into depression and thoughts of suicide. Years later, in writing this book she reflects on her deeply personal and heartbreaking experience with mental illness while talking about the history of how mental illness was viewed and treated.

One of the most glaring aspects of mental illness, from my own experience, is the feeling of being alone in the world. Ms. Cregan’s book reminds me that those of us who suffer from mental illness are not alone. We may not have asked to join millions of others who suffer from mental illness, but it brings us together in a way that allows us live full lives while grappling with a disease that will always be part of us.

I recommend it.

 

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This Time, The Potential Removal of the ACA is Personal

Earlier this week, you know who took another swipe at the ACA.

If he had attempted the same thing six months ago (not that its first time he’s tried to remove the ACA), I think my response would be of a general outrage. This time, the potential removal of the ACA is personal.

I wrote a while back about an unexpected curve ball that was thrown my way.

That curve-ball is a change to my career that I did not see coming. As of the end of next month, I will be out of work. My employer is generous to include health insurance in the severance package, but that health insurance is temporary.

The fact is that health insurance is a necessity. Not just to ensure that I have continued access to the mental health professionals who help me to live with my depression, but to provide access to my regular doctor.

Health insurance is a human right, not a privilege. No one should be denied access to a doctor because they cannot afford the appointment or have to go into debt to remain healthy.

But then again, some politicians are so blind that they prefer to save their own skins instead of supporting the voters who hired those politicians to represent them.

 

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Margot: A Novel Book Review

No one goes through life without asking the “what if” question at least once during their lifetime. This question becomes multiplied when it come to war and the loss of life that comes with war.

In the 2013 author Jillian Cantor asked this question in the book, Margot: A Novel.

It’s 1959 in Philadelphia. Margot Frank survived the war and has started a new life as Margie Franklin, living as a Gentile and working in a law firm as  a secretary.

Her sister’s diary has become the darling of the publishing world. The movie, based on the book, has just been released into theaters. Margot/Margie’s carefully constructed outer shell begins to crack. While juggling PTSD and survivor’s guilt, Margot/Margie’s past come back to her via a case and an unusually strong emotional bond with her boss.

This book is amazing. When it comes to the story of Anne Frank, her elder sister is often pushed out of the spotlight. In giving Margot the spotlight, Ms. Cantor tells the story of Holocaust survivors who for any number of reasons, choose to keep their pasts to themselves. It is also the story of America in the late 50’s when antisemitism was not as obvious, but still existed beneath the thin veneer of respectability.

I recommend it.

 

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How to Be Yourself: Quiet Your Inner Critic and Rise Above Social Anxiety Book Review

Social anxiety, like any mental illness, is not obvious to the naked eye. The definition of social anxiety is the following:

Social anxiety is the fear of being judged and evaluated negatively by other people, leading to feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, self-consciousness, embarrassment, humiliation, and depression.

The 2018 book, How to Be Yourself: Quiet Your Inner Critic and Rise Above Social Anxiety, by Ellen Hendriksen, is about the science and emotion of social anxiety. The author explores the roots of social anxiety, tells the stories of people live with it and encourages them to move beyond what is holding them back.

I really appreciated this book. I appreciated it because it is not a pie in the sky, unrealistic way of looking at social anxiety. By referencing the true life experiences, the science behind social anxiety and suggestions on how to move beyond the inner critic.

I absolutely recommend it.

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The Joy of Doing Nothing: A Real-Life Guide to Stepping Back, Slowing Down, and Creating a Simpler, Joy-Filled Life Book Review

I don’t know about anyone else, but I feel like I am always busy. I got to work, I write, I work out, I see my family and friends, etc. But sometimes, I just want to relax and do nothing.

Rachel Jonat’s 2017 book, The Joy of Doing Nothing: A Real-Life Guide to Stepping Back, Slowing Down, and Creating a Simpler, Joy-Filled Life, is about just that. In the book, she encourages the reader to slow down and take time out for themselves. The advice varies from getting up 15 minutes earlier to simply breath to taking the kids outside and away from the screens that occupy most of their time.

I loved this book and I loved her recommendations. I loved it because it reminds me that our mental health is often forgotten over the course of our busy lives. Taking a break is more than lying on the couch and watching television or going out with our friends. It gives us a chance to decompress, relax and put our mental health first.

I recommend it.

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