How To Freak Yourself Out in Six Seconds Flat: Sensitization (and Other Causes of Anxiety)

Monday, June 15, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under Anxiety

Have you ever felt completely overwhelmed at the thought of getting a work project done or making dinner? How about agitation at those around you for little cause? All of these things may be the result of an overly stressed system. Or not enough wine. But, probably, it's the stress. 

Too Much Stress Adds Up

The body and brain are wired to work together, which is why anxiety can be triggered either way. It's the difference between feeling anxious from that extra cup of coffee or anxious because you have to deliver a presentation; they both give you similar feelings, but with different root causes. 

However, that extra coffee in addition to a looming presentation can make things that much more difficult for the body to deal with. The project and the coffee become multiple slights to the same system. You get enough small stressful events and it doesn't take much more to reach panic levels. And that last little thing that triggers panic often makes people feel crazy or guilty when they find themselves having trouble breathing over something seemingly mundane....  continue reading

Pieces of Memory: Trauma, Fragmented Images and Flashbacks

Saturday, May 30, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under Trauma

Trauma changes the brain in ways many do not fully understand. While other posts go into more detailed explanations of traumatic response, the issues of fragmented memories and flashbacks are often first and foremost in the minds of those who suffer. These issues were prominent in my time working on the locked inpatient unit at the VA. 

This post is an exploration of why memories fragment, how they become integrated and the story of a man who fought flashbacks for sixty years before his traumatic memories returned.

The real cost of war can be seen at any VA hospital, but post-traumatic stress is not isolated there. You can also see traumatic reponses in those who fled for their lives on 9-11, in those with a history of abuse. Hug a veteran today. Hug someone you love. Celebrate them and the fact that we are the lucky ones. We are still here....  continue reading

Curiosity My A**: Josh Duggar, Signs of Abuse and How to Keep Your Children Safe

Wednesday, May 27, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under Sexuality/Relationships

Over the last week, my inbox has exploded with questions about the Duggar scandal. “What makes someone turn into a child abuser?” “How can I make sure my kids don’t inadvertently hurt someone when they get curious about sex?” And my personal favorite: “Isn’t everyone just being too hard on Josh Duggar? It’s unfair, he was just curious and experimenting.” 

We will get to all of these questions today, but on that last one…no, people. Just NO. I mean, I’m sure he was curious, but psychopaths are often curious about what the inside of your organs look like. It doesn’t mean we excuse their behavior when they pull out your liver. 

It’s not simple curiosity. He snuck into his sisters’ bedroom in the middle of the night so he could touch them without consent or repercussion. He’s ill. He needs help. But that doesn’t mean that he should be our focus today....  continue reading

The Never Ending Amusement Park Ride: How it Feels to Have Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder

Thursday, May 21, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under Mom Stories/Opinion

In previous posts, I have talked at length about the genetic triggers to Bipolar Disorder, the evolutionary advantage of Bipolar and the link between Bipolar Disorder and creativity. But rapid cycling Bipolar Disorder feels a little different, so I have invited a dear friend of mine to tell you about her experiences with this condition. 

By: Misty Browne

The rapid mood changes associated with Bipolar Disorder are like my favorite carnival ride: the big swinging pirate ship suspended in mid-air. As a young girl I loved the way it felt to be lifted to one side so quickly you hardly had time to catch your breath before you were suddenly swinging back the other way. 

But if I relate this carnival monstrosity to the rapid shifts in mood I experience these days, I imagine myself backing away from the ride. Stumbling over other children and adults, looking for an exit. Fighting the urge to run as fast as I can away from the looming evil in front of me....  continue reading

"Get the F*ck Away From Me, Doc!" Iatrophobia, Hypochondria and Ways to Cope With Medical Phobias

Monday, May 18, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under Anxiety

Most people have some fear of medical procedures. We are preprogrammed to be squeamish at the sight of blood or to be upset if we see someone else bleeding. Though we tell ourselves we’re being silly, it isn’t unreasonable to be anxious about going into a room so someone can stab us with a needle. We see it as being threatened. You say, ‘I need to get this test done,” your amygdala says, “What the fuck are you doing!? RUN! She’s trying to attack us with a sharp metal object!” 

This is normal, rational, and okay, particularly because we do it anyway and feel fine about it afterwards. 

But not everyone has it so easy. For some, phobias make medical situations unbearable. Luckily there are a number of ways to cope. First, the basics.  ...  continue reading

Why I Hate Mother's Day

Saturday, May 09, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under Mom Stories/Opinion

As Mother's Day approaches, many are gearing up for celebration. Today I have a guest post from someone on the flip side of that coin. This post is for anyone out there struggling today. 

By: Scarlet Hayes

The day of the year that I dread most is upon us: Mother's Day. 

Don't get me wrong. There is nothing that I love more than being a mother. Having my children is the best thing I have ever done. I look at them and my heart skips a beat, much like it does with new love, except that feeling never goes away. The love of one’s children is love in its truest form. 

But on Mother’s Day, I also feel a pang of emptiness, because I know that the woman who gave birth to me does not, actually cannot, harbor the same love and feelings towards me. 

Sometimes, mothers suck. I know because mine did. She tried to destroy my career, my family, and my life. My womb donor was, and is, a piece of shit....  continue reading