When physical illness leads to depression
Kyle MacDonald discusses the common occurrence of stroke victims in particular experiencing depression during their recovery.
"A family member recently had a stroke, and while they were recovering they also got really depressed. Is that common?"
There's this weird split in medicine, right around the neck, between what's "physical" and what's "mental". (Philosophers interested in how the mind works call it "dualism".)
The problem is, we're so used to thinking about the brain and the body as separate things, it can be hard to recognise...
Kyle MacDonald: What does it really mean to 'let something go'?
How do you let go, and how is it possible to let go of the pain that the avoidable loss of a loved one causes?
Saturday September 10 marked World Suicide Prevention Day and with it came the very painful stories of loss endured those left behind by suicide.
"Letting something go" is the idea that when we're hurt, or in grief, we should just be able to move on. It's also true that people often feel stuck and unable to stop hurting about loss or past hurts and injustices.
Kyle MacDonald: The Healing Power of Sharing Your Story
This week, I decided to ask myself a question: "What is the People's Review of the Mental Health System, and why are you asking for people's stories?"
I hear people's stories all day. Therapy is about stories, how we author the chapters of our own lives, re-writing and editing them as we move forward through life. While most will never actually write their own memoirs, we all have a detailed autobiography writ large across our minds, and hearts.
It's always been this way. Humans seem to innately understand their existence through stories. Myths, legends, creation stories, family tales told over Christmas dinner. It's universal.
Kyle MacDonald: Are We All Racist Deep Down?
Research on unconscious bias suggests we are all more racist and xenophobic than we would like to admit, writes Kyle MacDonald.
Why is it people only care about those immediate to them rather than applying the same caring to all in society? via Twitter
If you believe the research: deep down, we're all racist and xenophobic.
So why is it hard to generate caring for people we don't know? And for others, why is that caring limited by political views?
Kyle MacDonald: Why People Don't Always Fight Sexual Assault
You've likely heard of the "fight or flight" response, but there is one more very important "F" that keeps getting left out, writes Kyle MacDonald.
"My friend was recently sexually assaulted and she beats herself up for not fighting back. And to be honest I don't really understand why she didn't, what am I missing?" Confused
I can understand why your friend is distressed, and I can also understand why you're struggling to understand her actions. But it's also completely expected.
Kyle MacDonald: How Cannabis Affects People
Psychotherapist Kyle MacDonald discusses the potential damage that can be caused by cannabis and how to identify addictive behaviour.
"Is cannabis really addictive? I'm concerned about how much a friend smokes, but they keep telling me it's not physically addictive. Is that true?"
From Cheech and Chong to Dazed and Confused there have always been ways in which we haven't taken cannabis very seriously: as a drug it can seem harmless.
It's also one of those old ideas: that some drugs are physically addictive, and some are psychologically addictive. I say old because we now know that any pleasurable behaviour can become addictive and that making a distinction...
Kyle MacDonald: Donald Trump is Proof the Idea of Self Esteem is Flawed
Despite his shortcomings, Donald Trump is unshakable in his confidence. And that tells you everything that is wrong with the idea of "self-esteem", writes Kyle MacDonald…
"What are some tips for improving my self esteem?"
You know who has really great self esteem? Donald Trump. He backs himself. He believes in his own skills, self worth and abilities. He is unshakable in his confidence and view of the world. He even believes he can be in charge of the most powerful country in the world, despite having no political experience.
And that tells you everything that is wrong with the idea of "self-esteem".
Kyle MacDonald: How to Stop Overthinking Things
Does your mind feel like a runaway train of negative thoughts? Psychotherapist Kyle MacDonald explains how to quiet the mind and unplug.
How can you handle the amount of internal dialogue that is normally part of the anxiety and depression thinking cycle? - Overthinker.
I remember an old saying, that "talking to yourself is the first sign of madness." Personally I find it's the only way to guarantee intelligent conversation. Either way, we may not all do it out loud, but in our own heads we all talk to ourselves.
Kyle MacDonald: Why Positive Affirmations Don't Work
Using positive affirmations has become a popular practice. But, warns Kyle MacDonald, it can actually make things worse.
Randomly pick up any book in the self-help section of a bookstore and you've probably got about a 50/50 chance of choosing one that tells you how to use positive affirmations.
But what does it mean to "use positive affirmations"?
The cliché is standing in front of the mirror every morning and saying ten times: "I'm a good person". More generally it is intentionally telling yourself positive things about yourself, with the aim of feeling better and eventually believing them.
Kyle MacDonald: Signs and Symptoms of a Porn Addiction
Access to pornography has been supercharged by the internet. Psychotherapist Kyle MacDonald explains what constitutes a porn addiction.
Gone are the days of a few tatty magazines hidden under the bed. Pornography has been supercharged via the internet. As most people know it's as close as a click (or a poorly worded Google search) away.
So while therapists have always talked about sexual problems and compulsive sexual behaviours, the conversation about porn addiction is a relatively modern one.