Learning Languages Will Turn You Into a Super-Human! Yoga for the Brain and Other Reasons Learning Languages is Good for You

Monday, March 16, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under General

Ever wonder whether learning a new language is beneficial outside of being able to talk to new and interesting people? If so, I have a special treat for you. And if you want more information on the benefits and struggles of bilingual individuals, check out The Psycholinguistics of BilingualismBilingual: Life and RealityTongue-Tied: The Lives of Multilingual Children in Public Education and A Parents' and Teachers' Guide to Bilingualism (Parents' and Teachers' Guides).

By: Olga Mecking

Even before I became a linguist and had my own trilingual kids, I was a language geek. I speak five languages (Polish, German, English, French and Dutch) and use at least three of them in everyday conversation. 

Being bilingual is not uncommon in other parts of the world the way it is in America. Instead of languages, guns and bacon, I associate America with superheroes. And each of you people can become super human and have fun doing it.  All it takes is learning a language. I am going to go all nerdy and science-y on you, but stick with me to learn how new languages gives you super human powers. (Cue evil laugh)....  continue reading

Military Men, Sexual Harassment and the Incident That Turned Me Into...A Slut?

Thursday, March 12, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under Mom Stories/Opinion

Previous posts have discussed the unique struggles that women in the military face (see more here in Fuck This Shit: Female Veterans, Trauma, Informed Consent and Working Towards Something Better). But when it comes to sexual assault, there is some gray area that we need to address, particularly in cases where women consent under duress. Just because we don’t — or can’t— fight doesn’t mean we are consenting. It doesn't mean you wanted it. And today I have one brave military woman here to share her story with you. 

By: Annonymous

I was 18 years old, fresh out of Basic Training for the United States Air Force.  I was assigned to the 99th Logistics Readiness Squadron and was a Vehicle Operator. The dorms were co-ed and 95% male. I was treated as “one of the guys” by most. 

But not by all....  continue reading

Freak Outs and Ice Packs: Women, Autoimmune Conditions, Inflammation and Stress

Monday, March 09, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under Physical Health and Emotion

Stress and the immune system have a relationship as complicated as Common Core math (so I’ve heard). In the short term, acute stress — or the kind you get running from a tiger —  boosts immune function and improves our ability to fight off illness and infection. Escaping from a tiger only to die of an infection would have been a bad evolutionary move and would surely have pissed off even the most chill cave man. 

So, if you’re going to the jungle gym and want to make sure you don’t catch a cold from those germy, monkey-bar-climbing heathens, make sure to be in full-on panic mode by pretending there’s a tiger behind a tree. Plus, what a fun game for the kids!

“Dude…your mom is whack.”

It’s the long term, chronic stress that does us in. That initial immune burst after run for your life is great. But when we can’t come down after it, say because instead of a tiger it’s a pile of paperwork, our stress stays at a lower but ultimately constant level. When that happens, our body starts producing more than the chemicals needed for fight and flight and things go a little haywire.

Okay, okay, a lot haywire....  continue reading

Why I Cut: Triggers, Risk Factors and Coping with Self Harm

Thursday, March 05, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under General

Self harm is a beast not easily overcome. While previous posts have discussed the evolutionary triggers to self harm and possible coping skills, sometimes hearing from those who have suffered is the best way to glean understanding. If you or someone you love is dealing with self harm, get professional help and check out some of my favorite books on the subject: Freedom from Selfharm: Overcoming Self-Injury with Skills from DBT and Other TreatmentsA Bright Red Scream: Self-Mutilation and the Language of PainHelping Teens Who Cut: Understanding and Ending Self-Injury and Cutting: Understanding and Overcoming Self-Mutilation.

By: Ashley

When you discuss your issues with self-harm, there are a few different responses.  Some will say nothing. People who love you might beg, lecture, or threaten you. But most people ask what I've come to call the "Frequently Asked Questions of Self Harm”: the who, what, when, where and most importantly... the WHY....  continue reading

What Most People Don't Know About Self-Harm: The Evolutionary Basis for Injury

Monday, March 02, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under General

"I just want the pain to go away. The blade....it helps. I just don't know how else to make the feelings stop."

The woman in my office was not alone. Self-harm is an issue that is notoriously difficult to cope with, for individuals and families alike. There are several models that explain why these issues may come about, some of which have adaptive significance. Though it is unlikely that only one of these is triggering the behavior on its own, understanding them in combination may help those who engage in self-harm, those who love someone who does, and those who treat them. 

This blog is for informational purposes only. If you or someone you love is engaging in self-harm, please seek professional help and check out the books at the bottom of this post....  continue reading

"Pass the F*cking Kale." Food Additives, Allergies and Anxiety

Friday, February 27, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under Anxiety

Do you have anxiety? It might be what you’re eating. You might even have allergies. 

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “DUH, Meg, I’d KNOW if I was allergic to something! What the hell are you wasting our time for?”

Well, because you might not know that contrary to popular belief, allergies are not just indicated by hives or trouble breathing. Allergies might also show up as anxiety, depression, panic disorders or even behavioral conditions such as ADHD.  

Now, I am not saying that all anxiety or mood disorders are related to allergies. That simply isn’t true. But they can be and that’s a problem because the general population has no idea that this is the case. We aren’t taught to look at anxiety as a mental health issue; the first line of defense is generally anti-anxiety drugs or cognitive behavioral therapy. While both may have merit in some populations, we must also consider that what we put into our bodies has the ability to trigger mood issues. You never know what you will uncover when you look at the whole person as opposed to just one isolated symptom, such as “I feel nervous.”

But it isn’t just new-agey bullshit. Let’s look at the research on food, anxiety and allergies....  continue reading