Guest Post Archive

Sarah Lockwood is a concerned parent and former social worker. Having worked with the public for decades and after watching her own daughter struggle with addiction, Sarah knows all too well the devastation that can be caused by drug and alcohol abuse. Sarah’s daughter is now in recovery, but her experiences with substance abuse inspired Sarah to get involved with ThePreventionCoalition.org. She plans to spread awareness and support through her work for others dealing with addiction. While Sarah devotes a lot of time to the Coalition, she makes sure to relax and enjoy the small things in life, as every day is a gift.

Nothing tests us more than a personal emergency that causes severe anxiety, feelings of depression, or even thoughts of suicide. When a personal crisis has become so devastating that you feel there is no way out, asking for help may seem out of the question. You may be embarrassed or ashamed about having a problem. You don’t want to let people down, and you don’t want to be judged. While these concerns are valid, there are many avenues through which you can reach out for help without being subject to judgement or shame.

Getting Assistance for Alcohol Abuse

Many people battle some kind of problem with alcohol. Some have issues with binge drinking or alcohol addiction, which are serious concerns.Untitled

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, “approximately 17 million adults ages 18 and older have an alcohol use disorder (AUD) and 1 in 10 children live in a home with a parent who has a drinking problem.”

When people think about treatment for alcohol abuse they think of a 12-step program. You can call Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) to talk with someone who may be able to help you work through your problems or help find sources of your community. You could also attend an AA meeting. It’s important to remember it’s anonymous, so you are able to choose what you share about yourself within your own level of comfort .

Does your employer offer an assistance program? Call or speak with them to find out what programs and services are offered through this benefit. Seeking out a therapist or speaking with a counselor at a treatment center are other options when you’re not sure where to turn. If you know someone who has gone through recovery and feel comfortable, others who have endured similar struggles are often more than willing to offer a helping hand to someone else who is navigating the journey of recovery.

Finally, turning to your primary care physician is a helpful starting point. Your doctor can start evaluating you to determine the types of treatments that are best-suited for your unique situation. If needed, they can refer you to specialists who can provide treatments and services to aid you on the road to recovery.

Seeking Help for Suicidal Thoughts

It is crucial to seek help if you’re having thoughts of hurting yourself or suicidal thoughts. If you or someone you know are having suicidal thoughts, please seek help immediately. Call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). If you’re not currently in danger, there are resources on the internet to help find support groups and therapists to help you through these hard times.

If you’re having a difficult time, and are not sure what to do, contact a close friend or family member who might be able to talk with you and help relieve some of the stress in your life. Although loved ones can often be supportive, not all of them know how to be helpful in these types of circumstances. You may feel more comfortable speaking with your doctor, sharing your struggles with a therapist or support group, or speaking to a professional over the phone. Don’t forget, seeking help is (always) a “sign of strength.”

Find Help Now

If you’re battling alcohol abuse or suicidal thoughts, or other crises in your life, it is important to figure out a way to get help. It is never easy to ask for help, but it is truly a sign of strength to do so. Remember that you aren’t alone – many people share similar struggles, and no one suffering from addiction, mental illness, or suicidal thoughts should ever feel ashamed or guilty.

Image via Pixabay by Counselling

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Jennifer Scott has been experiencing anxiety and depression since she was a teen. She shares her journey toward improved mental health on her website, SpiritFinder.org. When she isn’t blogging, Jennifer loves to travel, volunteers at her local animal shelter, and rock climbs.

We’re obsessed with tech. The collective obsession with technology is so immersed in our culture that memes circulate the Internet poking fun at families who are enjoying a meal together or spending time in the family room – every member staring at his or her smartphone. The proliferation of technology is often criticized for reducing person-to-person interaction. In spite of this criticism, tech actually holds tremendous promise for people with mental health conditions. Here’s why:

Mobile Apps Offer Mental Health Support and Educationgirl on phone

An April 2015 report from Pew Research reveals that nearly two-thirds (64%) of U.S. adults own a smartphone. What’s more, “[nineteen percent (19%)] of Americans rely to some degree on a smartphone for accessing online services and information and for staying connected to the world around them,” making mobile apps an effective means for providing information to a large portion of the population. Among teens, these figures are even higher.

That’s why apps like Ginger.io are proving a viable means for offering support and tools to smartphone users who suffer from mental illness. The app offers users access to licensed therapists through video visits, tools and health tips, personal coaches and care plans, and even medication support by connecting a user’s Ginger.io care team to their physician to share information and determine medication needs. Ginger.io is not alone; Healthline identifies other apps that offer support for various mental illnesses or tools for relaxation, connections to communities of supportive peers, and more.

Even the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Promotes Technology

The National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) “is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.” The organization’s AIR (Anonymous. Inspiring. Relatable) app is a free, mobile-based social network aimed at supporting those with mental illness and their families and caregivers.

AIR encourages anonymous sharing of stories for support and encouragement, providing information, and making connections between those with similar conditions or who have experienced similar struggles.

Mental Health Tracking is Becoming a Reality

We rely on technology to track our heart rate during exercise, the number of steps we take each day, and even our sleep patterns. Why not track mental health, too? While this is a more challenging feat, researchers and data scientists are running myriad studies and analyses to develop effective mental health tracking solutions by identifying linguistic clues that reveal insight into an individual’s mental health.

While apps like Ginger.io are already making use of such technology to some extent, the goal is to ultimately create a highly effective tracking application that would enable providers to proactively treat patients experiencing a change in mental health status with the hope of reducing negative outcomes such as overdoses or suicide. At the very least, it provides mental health providers with additional tools to better manage patient treatment plans, understanding triggers, and pinpointing key changes that indicate a need for medication changes or intervention.

Online Communities Help Eradicate Stigma and Provide Lifelines

You don’t have to be using a smartphone to take advantage of the mental health benefits of technology. Anyone suffering from or caring for a loved one with a mental illness won’t have to look far to find online communities and support groups for people who share similar experiences.

For those who need a bit of optimism, communities like Post It Forward on Tumblr are home to a plethora of uplifting images, inspirational messages, and positive encouragement from others who have suffered from anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses. Love is Louder, “a project of The Jed Foundation created with actress Brittany Snow to support anyone feeling mistreated, misunderstood or alone,” is an online and offline initiative with a similar focus.

These resources, in addition to the instant connection to loved ones through family conference calls, text messages, and emails, makes technology a valuable tool in the battle against mental illness. Whether an individual suffering from mental illness is feeling isolated or does not feel like leaving home to socialize, those all-important social connections and critical emotional support is at their fingertips thanks to technology.

Image via Pixabay

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How to Bust Out of the Winter Blues

Posted January 29, 2016 By kmarrs

Today I have for a you a guest post from Jennifer Scott.  She did a fabulous job of writing about the winter blues and I’m excited to share it!

Jennifer Scott has been experiencing anxiety and depression since she was a teen. She shares her journey toward improved mental health on her website, SpiritFinder.org. When she isn’t blogging, Jennifer loves to travel, volunteers at her local animal shelter, and rock climbs.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects about nine million people. Even people without symptoms severe enough to warrant a clinical diagnosis may find that they have less energy or tend to feel more depressed during the winter months.
Causes range from lower levels of Vitamin D (which your body produces when exposed to sunlight) to changes in our behavior or dietary habits during the cold winter months. No matter the cause, there are many ways to help combat the winter blues and maintain your sunny attitude – even when it’s not sunny outside:

Stick to a Healthy Diet
During winter, we have a tendency to crave comfort foods. Never does a heaping helping of mac ‘n’ cheese sound better than when there’s snow on the ground and we’re stuck inside. But making healthy food choices can help to boost your mood, as foods like candy and carbohydrates can increase feelings of anxiety and depression (despite the initial euphoria they sometimes create). Loading up on fruits and veggies may not seem as appealing, but these healthy substitutes will pay off by making you feel a lot better.

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**PHOTO CREDIT: Image via Pixabay user cuneax**

Maintain Healthy Levels of Physical Activity
It’s easy to get up early with the sun and exercise regularly when it’s warm outside and the sun is shining brightly. But when it’s bitter cold outside, the last thing you probably want to do is venture out for a run. Still, maintaining healthy exercise routines is important for beating the winter blues. If you can get outside, the sun will benefit your mood even when it’s not accompanied by 80-degree weather. Otherwise, take things indoors. Hit up your local gym or take advantage of the benefits of aquatic therapy (which, as this guide notes, is especially great for recovering addicts with SAD). Diving in well help boost your mood and is a great source of relief for chronic pain that may be worsened by cold, wet weather.

Spend Time with a Furry Friend
According to research from the University of Missouri–Columbia, petting a dog for just 15 minutes releases serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin, all positive hormones that help you feel good, while reducing the stress hormone cortisol. And if you’re a cat person, not to worry. Petting a cat will offer similar benefits.

Take Vitamin Supplements
It’s often a good idea to take a multi-vitamin all year long, but it’s especially important to supplement your diet with vitamins such as Vitamin D, which your body will have less of due to the decreased daylight hours during the winter. Of course, it’s important to consult with your physician before taking any supplements so that you can ensure you’re not at risk of any medication interactions or other risks to your health.

Try Light Therapy
About 70 percent of patients with SAD experience results from light therapy, or sitting in front of a light box (which produces much more light than ordinary sources of indoor artificial lighting) for 30 minutes or more each morning. After a few weeks of treatment, many patients experience relief from SAD symptoms. For patients with SAD who don’t have success with light therapy, anti-depressants may provide symptomatic relief.

Treat Yourself to a Getaway
Sometimes beating the winter blues is as simple as a break in routine. What could be better than a quick weekend getaway to a warm, tropical climate during the coldest, dreariest months of winter? Not only will a trip to a warmer location give you a chance to soak up some mood-boosting sunshine, but getting away from the same-old routine at home is often a welcome reprieve during the winter months. And if you can’t get away bring those warm vibes to you. Host a tropical-themed party so that you and your friends can leave the gray days of winter behind, even if it’s only for one evening.

Many people experience a shift in mood during the winter months. While not everyone has symptoms severe enough to be clinically classified as Seasonal Affective Disorder, these tips and tricks can help anyone relieve the winter blues.

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How to Make Someone with BPD Happy

Posted May 9, 2012 By kmarrs

clipart-stop-sign-512x512-bb91There truly is a great info in this article.  I give no argument to that.  However I have one simply request:  If you are here it is a fair guess to say you have Borderline Personality Disorder.  Or maybe a loved on has it.  If that is the case, please take some time and look around this site.  This blog is filled with great information for those with BPD and those who love them.  It is my honor to have you here and I hope you                                               enjoy your stay, whether it be 5 minutes or you come back day after day.

I am looking to do a series of guest posts under this topic. If you would like to chime in, please by all means chime in with your 2 cents via email. All that I ask is that you keep it respectful. Here is response #2 to this challenge!

Author Bio – Audrey Porterman is the main researcher and writer for doctoralprograms.org. Her most recent accomplishment includes graduating from Ohio State, with a degree in business management. Her current focus for the site involves Computer Science PHDs and PHDs in Education Online.

Managing a psychiatric condition such as borderline personality disorder can be hard on the people who have it, as well as the people who love them. When you love someone with BPD, you just want to do whatever you can to make that person happy. However, it can be difficult to understand just how to do that.

While every person who has borderline personality disorder will deal with the condition differently and have different needs, there are a few universal things you can do to help someone with BPD to be happy. Here are a few ideas:

 Encourage Self-Worth
Those who suffer from borderline personality disorder experience a low and unstable self-image. They doubt their own worth, and they have a hard time accepting love from others. You can help a person with borderline personality disorder be happy by encouraging a sense of self-worth. Help them to see their own value and to recognize what they have to offer others. Emphasize their talents, the positive aspects of their personality, or other valuable aspects of their character.  

Help Them Feel Accepted
People with borderline personality disorder constantly worry about being rejected. In fact, many of their outbursts can be caused by hypervigilence to signs of real or perceived rejection. Help them to feel a sense of acceptance in your presence. Use calm, reassuring, and non-judgmental language. Find ways to show them that you accept them for who they are as a person, and that you are committed to helping them manage their disorder.  

Help Them Feel WantedShowing a person with borderline personality disorder love will go a long way toward making them happy. Many with BPD feel insecure and have trouble accepting that others care for them. Do what you can to show them that you do care, and you will help to ease this doubt. Show love by being a consistent presence, by minimizing criticisms, and by showing patience and acceptance.  

Accept that You Don’t Have Control
Though there are some things you can do to try to make someone with borderline personality disorder happy, you ultimately can’t make the person happy. You can help them to feel more accepted and loved, but you can’t instill a sense of happiness. Every person has to find his or her own happiness, and those with borderline personality disorder may have to get medication and professional counseling in order to do so. Influence the things you can and offer support for the person with BPD to get the help needed. Over time, you may be able to make that person a bit happier by helping them to feel loved and accepted.

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How to Make Someone with BPD Happy

Posted March 14, 2012 By kmarrs

How to make Someone with Borderline Personality HappyI am looking to do a series of guest posts around this topic.  It is ALWAYS open to your interpretation as long as it’s respectful.  I can’t wait to hear what you have to say.  In the meantime, here is guest post #1 on How to Make Someone With BPD Happy!  And I think she hit a home run!

Author Bio:-
This is a guest post by Coleen Torres.

Borderline personality disorder is not something that can be flipped on and off like a switch. In the same way, happiness and sadness cannot be overcome by anything you do or say. They are internal emotions, and thus are not controlled by outside forces. However, there are things you can do to encourage and uplift the BPD sufferer.

  1. Don’t expect perfection – Everyone has their good days and their bad days. BPD sufferers just have more intense versions of this. Don’t expect them to stay happy forever, or depressed forever. The more flexible you are in your thinking, the better off both of you will be.
  2. Validate – Being validated is one of the greatest feelings in the world. Validation means that someone is listening, understanding, and agreeing with what you are saying. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go along with everything the BPD sufferer says, in fact that’s harmful in the long run, but just don’t dismiss them because of their affliction. They are people, and they want to feel respected, just like you do.
  3. Don’t get discouraged – For someone that doesn’t suffer from BPD, it can be frustrating when you feel helpless. But don’t get discouraged. BPD is treatable, and can be controlled. Be patient in the bad times and enjoy the good times, but don’t get discouraged.
  4. Make sure their medication is right – You are not their doctor, so don’t tell them they need to change medication. However, if you see a pattern arising: long periods of depression or agitation, you may suggest that they get their medication checked out. Maybe they need a higher does, maybe they need to switch. But whatever you do, don’t tell them to take their pills. It’s not respectful of them as a person and certainly won’t change their behavior.
  5. Quality care – Last but not least, make sure (to the best of your abilities) that they are receiving proper care. There are good therapists and bad ones, and it is often difficult for patients to tell the difference. If you feel the BPD sufferer is not receiving the care they should, encourage them to seek alternate help.

You can’t change people, but you can encourage them. Just stay positive, set boundaries, and keep strong. A strong support system is the best medicine a BPD sufferer can have.

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Looking For A Few Guest Posts

Posted March 7, 2012 By kmarrs

I would like to do a serious on “How To Make Someone With BPD Happy”.  Which is of course, a daunting post to write.  Mostly because, we all know you can’t really make anyone happy.  Especially if they have something like BPD.  But I do feel that there are things you can do to aid the process that are universal such as: encourage them to seek help, be supportive through the process, etc.  And there are somethings that are person specific.  Taking me creeking at my favorite local creek is a good way to cheer me up.  Will it cure me of a really deep depressive?  No.  But it is still my own special brand of magic that soothes me.

The topic is open to interpretation and I want yours.  Anything from “dude that’s impossible” to “I know exactly how to get that smile!”  The post will have your name on it, a blurb about you, and a link to your own site.  Blog, twitter, whatever is yours.  Or not, if you prefer.

If you would like to submit a post, please email it to me at: kmarrs at walkingtheborderline dot com

Happy writing!

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