After the Break-Up: When Moving On Seems Impossible

It’s impossible to win love when you feel like a loser. If you’re trying to recover a lost relationship, convinced s/he’s the one, yet feeling unworthy, then the affirmations in my popular post “Coping with Distress and Agony After a Break-Up” may fall short. Inspired by a recent comment, here are strategies for reclaiming your power and recovering yourself, first.

Trauma vs Treatment for Cassandra in a Connecticut Hospital

Teenager Cassandra C is being treated for Hodgkin’s lymphoma under court order and against her will at Connecticut Children's Medical Center. She has written about her “hospital arrest” and the trauma of being placed in restraints, procedures performed without consent, and being isolated from loved ones. How might the medical team have handled this situation better?

Holding Onto Hope When a Medical Prognosis is Grim

Receiving a grim medical prognosis is emotionally overwhelming. You may be concerned when a patient or family remains in denial, seems delusional, or holds onto unrealistic hopes. Is living a fantasy or reaching for miracles a sign of serious maladjustment? Resist pushing folks to "get a grip on reality" and trust their process for coming to terms with the situation.

"Death with Dignity" and Brittany Maynard's Legacy

Brittany Maynard, terminally ill, went public with her plan for a physician-assisted suicide in the face of terrible suffering. On November 1, she took the fatal dose. Her careful decision was consistent with her values and based on self-determination of her own best interests. Her legacy is our growing awareness and discussion of the issues raised by her dying and death.

Monday Morning Dementia: Part Six, In Summary

When my mother drove away from home-- in search of home—it was a blessing in disguise. Her wandering got us to ramp up her care to 24/7, which in hindsight, we were remiss in failing to do so sooner. Yet still, we suffer from "Caregiver Dementia" as we continue to be mystified and amazed at her incapacity and ongoing decline. Adjustment is an ongoing challenge!

Monday Morning Dementia: Part Five

This is the saga of my mother’s wandering, our recovery of her, and our adjustments to care. Here we hip-hop to the satellite facility; I gather Security's piece of the story; I swallow the car keys and install flip latches, bolts, & dowels at all exits; and our team of caregivers steps up to provide 24/7 care while my dad’s away-- and beyond.

Monday Morning Dementia: Part Four

When I arrived in the ER to fetch my wandering mother, I was scolded by an Imperious Trio of caregivers. Their brassy, bossy behavior only added to my trauma. In this "Part Four", I describe the treatment I experienced from two other ER caregivers and how their individualized, compassionate care was helped me feel like I could persevere and everything was going to be okay.

Monday Morning Dementia: Part Three

My mother officially entered the Advanced Stage of Dementia when she drove off in my dad’s car, in search of “home.” Her whereabouts were unknown for the eternity of two hours. But as demented luck would have it, she turned onto a highway that dead-ended at a security checkpoint. This is Part Three of the saga, where I detail how hospital staff only added to the trauma.

Monday Morning Dementia: Part Two

Last month, my mother entered the advanced stage of dementia with a flourish. Her descent has been so gradual over the past ten years, we haven’t been able to pinpoint when her mild cognitive impairment turned into mild dementia and then moderate dementia. But she clearly crossed the threshold into advanced dementia when she drove away from home in an attempt to "go home".

Monday Morning Dementia

Wandering, a facet of dementia, is the result of being confused and disoriented even in familiar places. But only 60% of people with dementia will wander away and get lost. Naively, we assumed my mother would be one of the 40% who do not wander, due to her cautious nature. And 5 years ago we took away the car keys. Imagine our surprise when she drove away Monday morning.

On Parents who Choose Hospice Care instead of Intensive Care

When parents of a critically ill newborn choose hospice care instead of intensive care (NICU), they are often judged as selfish cowards who are unwilling to let their baby fight for survival. But as Meloney Dunning’s prize-winning essay in Real Simple demonstrates, choosing hospice can be the courageous decision. It’s not about giving up in fear, but letting go with love.

Dancing with Dementia

Five years ago, my mother claimed she shoveled a foot of snow off the driveway. Indeed, it was cleared of snow, with no other explanation at hand. We were incredulous. Did she? Looking back, we cannot believe we entertained the notion for even a second. But taking care of a loved one with dementia involves a learning curve. And we're learning to dance with dementia.

Providing After-Death Care at Home When a Baby Dies

When hospital births became commonplace in the U.S., babies who died were quickly taken away. But shielding parents this way did more harm than good. Now parents are encouraged to spend time with their babies, and as part of the home funeral trend, more parents are providing after-death care themselves, even taking their babies home until burial or cremation. Here's why.

Bode Miller Unplugged

After winning the Bronze, skier Bode Miller became emotional remembering his recently deceased brother, pro snowboarder Chelone. As tears streamed down his face, NBC interviewer Christin Cooper asked one more insightful question, to which Bode put down his head and wept. Did Cooper cross the line? Is it appropriate for global television to train its lens on a weeping man?

Protect Your Brain from Images of Violence and Cruelty

Our brains are soft-wired with mirror neurons, which allow us to empathize and emulate others. Unfortunately, mirror neurons are what enable children to emulate the violence they witness in life and media. And mirror neurons are what compel people who are enraged with the world to emulate how others express their rage, making violent imagery so potentially poisonous.

Bah Humbug—Are the Relatives Getting On Your Nerves?

Grandma can talk the paint off a fence post. Brother sniffs up his snot. Sister is always running late. Uncle exaggerates and brags. And Mother keeps asking, “Do you want instant coffee?” even though you hate it and always will. Oh, to endure family time without being driven to distraction! Here are some mindfulness-based stress reduction tips to help you keep your sanity.

Sunday Morning Dementia

My mother tried to make coffee every morning last week, but she’s not even attempting it today. In fact, we’ve watched this skill wane the past few months. But suddenly not knowing how to get her cereal together? This feels huge. I picture a raft of her brain cells careening over a waterfall, plunging to their deaths, never to be replaced by new ones to pick up the slack.

When a Baby Dies: Picking Up the Pieces

After your baby dies, your grief runs deep. It’s normal to doubt your ability to survive this experience. Your devastation feels too all-encompassing, coloring everything around you. The trauma makes it difficult to imagine ever healing. Ever. How and where can you find the strength to go on?

The $400 Speeding Ticket: Processing Emotional Burn

My pulse races. My gut tightens. I feel violated, harshly punished for unintentional criminal activity. My strategy: Put this dastardly document in a visible spot on the kitchen counter. I’ll pay the vile ticket when the emotional burn has subsided. Then it won’t be so excruciating. For the next 2 weeks it taunts me from its perch. Each time I see it, I process more...

Coping with Guilt After Your Baby Dies

When a baby dies, most parents struggle with feelings of guilt. If you are a bereaved parent, you likely know this emotion well. At times, guilt can feel like a flood that threatens to sweep you under. To cope, view guilt as a normal part of grief, and a natural result of being a responsible, devoted parent. And know that feeling guilty is not the same as being guilty.

After the Break-Up: Bearing the Pain When She Dates Others

After your relationship ends, you may feel okay… until your former love starts becoming intimate with someone else. For many people, this marks a new and painful phase of the break-up. Yup, that’s right. The relationship is not completely over until you’re completely over it, as in, you've adjusted and moved on. Here are some pointers for getting there.

Imagine...Being Inspired by the Resilience of Others

Sandy Hook shooting. Boston Marathon bombing. Cleveland abductions. All horrific. Those directly affected are enduring a nightmare of trauma. And you may be traumatized by just hearing about it. It’s especially disconcerting when it’s hard to imagine that you—or anyone else—could ever be able to pick up the pieces after tragedy. Take heart and tap into The Imagine Project.

After the Break-Up: What if He Wants You Back?

After the break-up, what if your former beloved wants you back? This can be tempting, especially if you are still in the throes of dopamine deficiency. But is reconciliation really in your best interests? Dare you risk repeating past mistakes or falling into familiar dysfunctional patterns again? Have you grown beyond what this relationship can possibly offer you?

'Tis the Season... to Flee Folly

Given that “crazy busy” is how many of us describe our lives these days, how are we supposed to fit in all this seasonal hyperactivity and stay jolly to boot? Try de-stressing your holidays with these 3 key strategies.

Keeping Perspective on the Presidential Election

If you believe the hype, you may feel outraged by the doomsday predictions and be a passionate advocate for your chosen candidate. Still undecided? You may feel anxious, not knowing who to believe or what to think. As we head into the final lap of presidential campaigning and election coverage, here are 12 tips for maintaining serenity and feeling hopeful about the future.

Hiking with a Child

Hiking with a child usually requires compromise. Many parents find themselves annoyed at the painfully slow pace, and then feel guilty about being annoyed. You may vacillate between a implementing a forced march and just letting your child dawdle and play. How can you find a balance that honors your child's agenda as well as your own?

Coping with Distress and Agony After a Break-Up

Are you caught up in the stormy emotional aftermath of being rejected by a lover? Are you tempted to stalk, plead, and generally make a needy fool of yourself? Your urges are a result of a temporary but powerful imbalance in your brain chemistry. Here’s a list of affirmations to help you understand your emotions, reframe your urges, and set a new course toward recovery.

Coping with the Tragic News of the Colorado Theater Massacre

The news about the theatre massacre in Colorado is particularly riveting. It taps into our worst nightmares with its mythic themes and terrifying features. We want to master our fears, thwart evil, and practice escape plans in our minds. But do we need to immerse ourselves in others’ trauma in order to be informed, responsible, and caring citizens?

Realistic Advice for the New Graduate

The typical commencement speaker attempts to inspire new graduates with platitudes. ”Life is bowl of cherries.” “Reach for the stars.” “Go forth and change the world!” Not helpful. So as an antidote, here are a dozen pieces of down-to-earth advice on how to ward off stress, seek fulfillment, and fly after graduation.