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The Surprising Reasons You Feel the Way You Do

  This week has been all about why having a deep understanding of your emotional life is essential to your well-being and the health of your relationships. Today, I will concede that this can be difficult work. I’ve argued before that emotions are information, but decoding the clues they provide sometimes takes a master sleuth. Did you know that chronic emotional states like anxiety, depression, numbness, anger, or irritability can actually be a way to cope? Many people first come to therapy because they want to decrease these emotions. However, this can be tricky for some people because these states developed as a way to cope with even more painful emotions. For example, if you witnessed a tragedy or violence, you may develop chronic anxiety to cope with terror and powerlessness. The mind wants to feel in control, so you     . . . read more

Overreactions

Know what’s really cute and hilarious? That Reasons My Son Is Crying blog. When kids’ overreact, it can be quite adorable, given it’s not your kid and that you are only subjected to a still photo and not the live version. You know what’s neither cute nor hilarious? When a full grown person yells and swears and gives you the finger because they were inconvenienced that you slowed them down by (god forbid) driving the speed limit. In my estimation, the age where overreactions of any kind are no longer cute is about 2.75 years. If you are older than that, please keep reading. If you are not, you are a very smart young person with a bright future. Overreactions aren’t pretty, and yet they happen repeatedly. Why? Because overreactions are always about something else, not the situation at hand.     . . . read more

Is Being In Touch with Your Feelings BS?

Look, I can handle it. I know that a lot of people out there think that it is just not that important to spend any time or energy on their emotional lives. If you’ve ever read this blog before you know that I respectfully but firmly disagree. Is it that I enjoy being the champion of unpopular ideas? No, in fact I’m much happier vehemently defending non-controversial statements (ice cream is delicious, damn it!). It’s because you don’t get to have a quality life if you turn your back on emotions. It’s not possible. And I want you to have a satisfying life, I really do. If you don’t understand your own emotions, you are probably a landmine of bad reactions. If we don’t understand where our feelings come from, we attribute them to the wrong things, for the wrong     . . . read more

The Senselessness of Stigma

Today I have the honor of having my guest post The Senselessness of Stigma featured on Growing Up Chaotic. Growing Up Chaotic is a blog dedicated to “Hope and guidance with a modern kick on how to survive growing up chaotic.” When creator, Dawn Clancy, told me that there has been a lot of talk about mental health stigma on her blog, I knew it was a topic I needed to write about. I’m very interested in adding to the conversation and showing how stigma is both problematic and, well, senseless. (click here to read the post). Dawn contributed a fabulous piece recently, Emotions and the Binge – How I Learned to Sit With Discomfort, for the New Perspectives Series on this blog. Dawn also has a radio program, Growing Up Chaotic Live, where I was a guest talking about EMDR a     . . . read more

Allowing Ourselves to Feel

Note from Hannah: I’m pleased to feature this guest post by Jennifer Barbour of anotherjennifer.com as part of the New Perspectives Series on mental health, wellness, and just being a human. Enjoy! I could feel my eyes start to sting as I fought back tears. Should I be crying? Is this professional? “Denise” read a letter from her then nine-year-old son, begging her to stop taking drugs so that they could be a family again. It was heart wrenching to hear. The three of us spent the day shooting a video for the treatment facility I worked for. I glanced at the filmmaker. He was concentrating on the shot. And while he was visibly affected by the content of the letter, he did not flinch. Earlier that day, Denise told me how she would bring her twin girls to the     . . . read more