Category: mental health

Living on after a loved one's suicide: After Anthony Bourdain and all the others

Suicide – so final, so impulsive, so theoretically preventable, so hard to understand, so very hard to forgive. I am going to miss Anthony Bourdain, who died of suicide yesterday in Paris, a few days after fashion icon Kate Spade did in New York. I will miss Anthony in a devoted TV viewer sort of way. ... Read more »

School Shootings: 4 things that should be obvious by now

18 school shootings so far in 2018, and it is only Valentine’s Day. Where will we be by July 4th, Veterans”s Day, Christmas? One thing we can all agree on, children should not be giving up their lives for our inaction on problems we continue to avoid. Here’s what looks obvious to me: To identify likely... Read more »

Call them survivors not victims: the power of language in sexual harassment

These women who have suffered sexual harassment or assault, these “accusers,”  these women  (and men) harmed by powerful men with no restraints – either internal or external – have been waiting for acknowledgement for a long time. Some spoke up and were ignored or sidelined. Others turned inward, embarrassed or ashamed or silently enraged, to deal with the trauma... Read more »

The public face and private cluelessness of the sexual harasser

The current deluge of sexual harassment stories is a real opportunity for all of us to come to understand the sexual predator in a whole new way. As we hear story after story, we can begin to see patterns, even as we retch at the details, from gropes and grabs to full-on assault. I see a natural... Read more »

If I'd known then what I know now, I would not have said Yes so much

I am a recovering chronic yes-sayer. It started in my first professional job as a counselor in a mental health center. In the six years I worked there, I’m pretty sure I never said No, not even once. Could I help start a “battered women’s” shelter? Absolutely. How about a halfway house for alcoholic women?... Read more »

Time for a personal news blackout: Outrage overload

I have just been diagnosed with news overload syndrome, by myself, a mental health professional. The symptoms became clear when I had to mute the TV to avoid hearing three straight reports on the morning news. Donald Trump and now Joe Biden want to be my president, Hillary’s idea of national security sounds pretty loose,... Read more »

Practicing compassion, and teaching your kids: #1000speak

When I was in counseling grad school, it was the fashion to see children as not yet ready for empathy and compassion, as if they had to get through their self-involved it’s-all-about-me years before they could develop an ear for others’ needs. That never seemed right to me – I’d always had a soft spot... Read more »

How to choose a sympathy card: Thoughts from a grief counselor

I had to pick out a sympathy card yesterday, for some wonderful people who’d had an unexpected and devastating loss. So I went to Walgreens where I found a section full of flowery and reassuring messages: Celebrating the Home-going; A Journey with the Lord; Where there is sadness, love plants a garden… I found several... Read more »

You have a story to tell, whether you think you can write or not

Every one of us is a writer. Take me. These days, I’m a blogger who is also working on a serious book project. But for years about all the writing I did was counseling notes after sessions with my clients, my annual Christmas letter, grocery lists, and the occasional journal entry when I had a... Read more »

Grief at the Holidays Part II: How to spend the holidays with your lost loved ones, in a way

Even though you no longer can feel their hand on your shoulder, or reach them on the phone when something comes up – do you know that we all do that, reach for the phone and then get the stab of recognition that they have no earthly phone anymore –you can still reach them, and... Read more »