I had my share of panic attacks as a kid. Especially over schoolwork. I was dead sure, absolutely positive, that I would never ever be able to complete the assignment, pass the test, and get forwarded to the next grade. Because I was so stupid, I thought, I would have to repeat fifth grade until […]
A month into our relationship, my now-husband asked me, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” I didn’t hesitate. “As a nun in a third-world country doing missionary work,” I said. “Interesting.” Somewhere around that time I also told him it would be five years before I slept with him. It was the quickest […]
“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete,” said Jack Kornfield.
Sometimes bad boundaries can disguise themselves as compassion. I didn’t realize this until eight or nine years into therapy. I always thought I opened my arms for anyone and everyone who needed help because of my years training to be a nun, as my responsibility to “let peace begin with me,” the final refrain to […]
If “I believe you” are the three most powerful words you can say to someone with an invisible illness, four of the hardest or most painful words to absorb—whether they are said directly or communicated indirectly through insensitive behavior—are “I don’t believe you.” And yet, people who live with depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders […]
I met with a new doctor yesterday. I’ve been interviewing them like babysitters lately. “Do you believe there is such a thing as a mood disorder?” I asked him. “Yes,” he replied. “At least in language there is.” “When and why did you decide to break from conventional medicine and practice a more holistic approach? […]
Someone recently asked me to write on what I wish people knew about depression, in light of Robin William’s suicide. Here’s my response. I wish people knew that depression is complex, that it is a physiological condition with psychological and spiritual components, and therefore can’t be forced into any neat and tidy box, that healing […]
One of my favorite professors, an expert in Carmelite spirituality, reminded me that Wednesday was the feast day of St. Teresa of Avila. I pray her “bookmark” prayer most days. Here’s an excerpt.
Nine years ago I decided to wean off all my meds and take natural supplements instead. One evening I was fixing a magnesium concoction, chatting with a friend. We were talking about my depression, and this new holistic route I was taking. “You have everything you need inside you to get better,” she said. Yeah, […]
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain,” wrote Vivian Greene. “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow,” wrote Mary Anne Radmacher. These are two of my favorite quotes about living with […]
One of the chapters of my memoir, Beyond Blue, is called “The Least Harmful Addiction.” I explain that will power is, regrettably, a finite thing. We have a limited amount, so we must preserve it for the most harmful addictions we have (i.e. When desperate, we should inhale chocolate truffles over geting wasted on vodka). […]
Most people who have been sober longer than a year are asked to give a “lead”—to tell their story. Mine was structurally simple, covering what it was like, what happened, and what it’s like now. Having only drank for three years, my addiction story is pretty straightforward: I stopped guzzling down mood-altering beverages. My depression […]