What Causes Trauma? The Evolution of PTSD and the Desire for Control

Monday, June 23, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Trauma

"It feels like being trapped in a cage. You're certain something is in there with you because you can feel it, smell it, but you can't see it. So you just keep frantically looking around this cage, waiting for it to pounce. Except the cage is like...your own brain and everything around you might be the thing that will hurt you. I just want someone to let me out."

My patient understood trauma well. Traumatic disorders are deeply distressing, a constant battle with your own mind and body. While past therapeutic intervention centered on the notion that trauma must involve actual or threatened death or serious injury, most practitioners are coming around to the idea that trauma can result from any situation where someone is overwhelmed by frightening emotions. The more helpless and frightened one is, the more likely they are to be traumatized. 

But, it is more than helplessness. Though some studies are currently looking at possible traumatic responses in domesticated animals, many wild and domestic animals go through life or death experiences on a regular basis without having long-term traumatic reactions....  continue reading

Talk Dirty To Me: But First, Tell Your Husband

Friday, June 20, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Sexuality/Relationships

Sometimes, happy couples have shitty sex lives because of a disconnect between what partners are thinking and what they say. 

“I want her to be happy, but everything just gets so…hard. And I never know when it’s going to be hard and when it isn’t.”

“That’s what she said.”

He laughed. 

“No, seriously, sir, that's what she said. You guys need to talk more.”

“That’s what she said” is a phrase I want to say more often. Not because I love a good sexual innuendo (which I obviously do), but because if she actually “said” it , I wouldn’t feel obliged to....  continue reading

Why We Need Maury Povich: Sexual Selection, Trust and Misunderstanding

Monday, June 16, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Sexuality/Relationships

How did you choose your lover? Sexual selection is more than a choice of position, though that is by far the most fun definition. 

"Tonight's sexual selection shall be....the reverse cowgirl."

In evolutionary psychology, sexual selection refers to the idea that specific traits evolved over time for the purpose of attracting a  mate, and not for survival. Examples in the animal kingdom would include the dancing ability of a bird, or bright colors on a frog.  

However, for humans, sexual selection does not stop at the physical. With the development of higher order cognitive functioning, and more complex social interaction, came other criteria for mate choice....  continue reading

Why Am I Thinking About All This Weird Stuff? Real Stories About Intrusive Thoughts and Anxiety

Monday, June 09, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Mom Stories/Opinion

Have you ever felt like your thoughts are on hyperdrive? I'll tell you a secret: a lot of people do.

So today, we are going to do something a little bit different. Instead of quoting research, I am employing the help of Kristen Mae, fellow writer extraordinaire, to tell you about her personal experiences with anxiety, racing thoughts and the physical process she experiences. She has also shared some tricks that she uses to calm down.

This anxiety process is not the same for everyone, and everyone has a different level of tolerance for the symptoms themselves. But most with anxiety struggle with some physical symptoms such as rapid heart rate, and trouble breathing along with scary or intrusive thoughts of some type, from losing their minds, to fear of embarrassment, to suddenly blurting out something inappropriate.

Even though it can feel horrible when it's happening, those around you are usually blissfully unaware that it's occurring at all. Everyone around you is going through something, their own struggles, their own "weirdness" regardless of what outside appearances may lead us to believe.

It doesn't feel normal to most people. But it is. It's those little pieces of "weirdness" that makes us all normal....  continue reading

Is Your Sweetener Messing With Your Brain? The Link Between Aspartame and Depression

Monday, June 02, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Physical Health and Emotion

Think artificial sweeteners are safe? Think again. Because in a serotonin and aspartame smack-down, aspartame will win every time.

It isn’t that serotonin is a weakling. Aspartame has a three-on-one advantage that destroys neurotransmitters and alters the way brain cells respond to one another. It’s like serotonin--one of the brain's happy chemicals--has to fight blindfolded with one arm behind his back, and we get depression, irritation, aggression or trouble sleeping as a reliable byproduct of this exchange. 

In short, aspartame is a cheating, ear biting asshole.

Don’t believe me? Let’s check out the research....  continue reading

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Using Humor to Combat Stress, Reduce Phobias and Decrease Intrusive Thoughts

Friday, May 23, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Treatment Techniques

Laughter. It’s kind of a big deal. 

I, to my benefit or my peril, have the uncanny ability to turn almost anything into a ridiculous, sarcasm-filled fantasy. If this sounds fun to you, humor may be just the ticket out of scary thoughts

The Psychological Benefit of Laughter

Humor may be just as effective at reducing fear as desensitization, a type of exposure therapy1. Even the simple act of smiling has the ability to improve mood according to David Eagleman author of Incognito8

But why would this be?...  continue reading