Bess was a 34-year-old, attractive, single, accomplished attorney living in the Boston area.* She lived comfortably in her condo, managed her finances, had no close friends and a succession of unfulfilling relationships with men. She struggled to sustain connections with others and often felt quite lonely. Only at work did she feel empowered and on her game. Bess could not figure out what got in the way of her establishing better relationships. Time was passing her by and [click to continue…]
Years ago, I directed the Stress Management Department at the Pain Unit of Boston’s Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. My first mind-blowing exposure to addiction came when a diabetic patient communicated her physician’s warning that if she did not stop smoking, she risked having her legs amputated. Several days thereafter she was discharged from the pain unit. Three months later she returned to the hospital, this time with stubs for legs. Still she continued to smoke [click to continue…]
Personal transformation happens through authentic connection with others. When we feel loved, valued and included, we are empowered to find personal meaning and realize our greatest potential.
Sadly, many of us believe that we are alone in our uniqueness, in our vulnerabilities, in our failings; so we choose to isolate ourselves from others. We especially hide from those people we perceive as having their lives in better order, rather than exposing our [click to continue…]
Cutting or self-injury (SI) is about scratching or cutting your body with a sharp object (scissor, razor blade, paper clip, glass, tweezers etc.) enough so that the skin is broken and bleeds. As was mentioned in Cutting Part 1, this behavior is not usually meant as a suicidal gesture.
Every story regarding why an adolescent would engage in cutting behavior is different, yet there are certain commonalities.
The short conversation on the phone left my husband, Martin with a look of shock. “What was that about?” I asked. Martin stood in silence, took some forced deep breaths and softly spoke. “There’s been an accident. A terrible accident.” As it turned out, one of my son, Max’s dear childhood friend was killed in a car crash hours before. He left a party in the early morning hours feeling it would be safe to drive. He got into his car, still slightly intoxicated from the night before neglecting to put on his seat beat. He drove off and almost immediately crashed into a tree. He wanted to get home; it was such a short distance. This was a great kid who made a terrible decision.
My son was on his way to a concert in Boston, ready to savor his last night in town and then finish up the packing [click to continue…]
Jennifer transforms feelings of loneliness into an opportunity for greater self-care and connection with women friends. She didn’t even realize the depth of her isolation and depression until we started talking about her typical daily routine.
A forty–one year old mother of two pre-teen girls, Jennifer is more of a planner and caretaker than the warm and fuzzy sort. Jennifer dutifully takes her daughters to school, music and skating lessons and assorted play dates. She routinely does the laundry, grocery shopping and prepares the family meals. Jennifer take her job as homemaker seriously and carefully analyzes the best ways of handling her multitude of responsibilities. [click to continue…]
Maggie, a single thirty-six year old teacher, began each school year feeling energized and optimistic. Once daylight savings time arrived, her mood spiraled downward. Invariably in the weeks following the winter break Maggie’s energy dragged. It became harder for her to get out of bed in the morning and her enthusiasm for work subsided.
Maggie told me she hibernated in the winter. By each February her level of fatigue felt deep and relentless. Her social life suffered to the point that she did not attend social activities because getting together with friends required too much effort. She essentially isolated herself during the darkest months yet felt deep pangs of loneliness. [click to continue…]