Leisure

How Mental Illness Impacts Our Bodies

The Body Keeps the Score is the beautiful and suggestive title of a book published in 2014 by a Dutch professor of psychiatry at Boston University called Bessel van der Kolk.…

Relationships

The Difference Between Fragile and Strong Couples

How can you tell whether a relationship is going to last the course - or whether it’s doomed to founder? What’s the difference between fragile and solid couples? Here are some…

Relationships

The Maturity of Regression

One of the most striking features of relationships is that, after a while, if things are going well, one or both partners will almost naturally start to refer to the other…

Self-Knowledge

Two Reasons Why People End up Parenting Badly

Given how important it is to be properly loved by one’s parents in order to have an emotionally sane grown-up life, one may wonder with some urgency why – in cases…

Self-Knowledge

What is Emotional Neglect?

When we imagine the difficulties involved in a so-called ‘bad childhood’, we most readily think in terms of children who are physically harmed – beaten, underfed, sexually abused – or else…

Self-Knowledge

How Unloving Parents can Generate Self-Hating Children

A central fact about early childhood is that babies are born into the world entirely at the mercy of others. They have no native strength, intelligence or utility, they cannot fight…

Self-Knowledge

On Falling Mentally Ill

For a long time, we may cope well enough. We make it to work every morning, we give pleasant summaries of our lives to friends, we smile over dinner. We aren’t…

Self-Knowledge

Living Long-Term with Mental Illness

We would – of course – like any encounter with mental illness to be as brief as possible and, most importantly, to be isolated and singular. But the reality is that…

Self-Knowledge

How Mental Illness Closes Down Our Minds

It may sound odd or impolite to suggest that most of us, when we are in the grip of mental illness, are no longer capable of thinking. That’s not how it…

Sociability

Companionship and Mental Health

One of the cruellest aspects of mental illness is that it strips us of any ability to believe that other people might be suffering in the way we are. We aren’t…

Self-Knowledge

The Role of Love in Mental Health

The one ingredient on which any recovery from serious mental illness depends is also one which, curiously and grievously, never makes an appearance in any medical handbook or psychiatric diagnostic, namely…

Self-Knowledge

The Role of Sleep in Mental Health

Part of the reason why many of us have a tangled and unhelpful relationship to sleep can be traced back to the way we first learnt about the subject many years…

Self-Knowledge

The Role of Pills in Mental Health

A standard strategy, when we are physically unwell, is to head to the doctor, take a pill and then expect, in a short while, to feel a lot better. This recourse…

Self-Knowledge

Mental Illness and Acceptance

One of the great contributing factors to mental illness is the idea that we should at all costs and and all times be well. We suffer far more than we should…

Self-Knowledge

What is Mental Health?

So efficient and hushed are our brains in their day to day operations, we are apt to miss what an extraordinary and complicated achievement it is to feel mentally well. A…

Self-Knowledge

Mental Illness and 'Reasons to Live'

When we are feeling well in our minds, we hardly notice that we might be harbouring in ourselves anything as formal or as dramatic-sounding as ‘reasons to live.’ We simply assume…

Leisure

Zen Buddhism and Fireflies

One of nature’s odder creatures is the firefly, a soft bodied beetle that emits a warm yellow glow from its lower abdomen, typically at twilight, in order to attract mates or…

Self-Knowledge

Trauma and Fearfulness

Some of the reason why we are far more fearful, inhibited and sad than we should be is that we are – unbeknownst to ourselves – wandering through our lives with…