Kyle MacDonald: The Truth About Introverts
In a social, extroverted and image occupied world introversion can often be judged as lacking, or seen as a deficiency. Kyle MacDonald explains the truth about…
"Shyness seems to be confused with introversion and social anxiety. I consider myself introverted and anxious, but not shy. Does it matter, or is it just different words for the same thing?" Via Twitter
Being called shy is rarely a compliment, and increasingly these days the same applies to being an "introvert". But is it actually a problem, and what does it mean?
Kyle MacDonald: The Telltale Signs of OCD
OCD.. or just tidy? Kyle MacDonald is here to answer a concerned readers question.
"My friends and flatmates give me a hard time for being "OCD". I'm starting to get worried they might be right, I like things tidy, and get annoyed when things aren't clean. How can I tell if I am?"
I prefer order to chaos, always have. Years ago I had a flatmate (actually, truth be told more than one) who used to deliberately shuffle my CDs out of alphabetical order just to wind me up. Now of course iTunes has solved that particular issue for me, but I feel your pain.
Kyle MacDonald: Emotional Distress or Attention Seeking?
Kyle MacDonald adresses a common concern with depressed family members.
"I have a relative who has struggled with depression for a number of years. When they feel any strong negative emotion, they start talking about suicide and friends and family rally around to show support. We wonder if this relative is stuck in this pattern, and defaults to these suicidal thoughts to gain reassurance or some other benefit?"
We all do it, if we're upset enough: "I could kill him"; "I'm just going to leave town"; "I just want to disappear". It's human nature to express feelings by verbalising what our emotions make us want to do. Angry enough, we want to lash out. Ashamed, we want to hide. Afraid, we want to run.
Kyle MacDonald: What Type of Therapy is Right For Me?
"It's been recommended I have therapy, and CBT was suggested. But I've been told a few different things. Does it matter what type of therapy it is?" -Confused.
Since the time of Freud the field of psychotherapy has been a series of conflicts and disagreements about what helps people in mental anguish. At times different disciplines have behaved more like warring tribes.
So if it can be difficult for professionals to agree about what course of treatment is best for people, how are clients supposed to know what the best approach is?...
Kyle MacDonald: The Golden Rule for Helping a Child With Anxiety
Kyle MacDonald Answers a question about anxiety in children
"My 9 year old son seems to be suffering from anxiety. He gets worried about all sorts of things and it really is affecting him. What can I do to help ease my son's anxiety?" -Concerned parent.
As human beings we're hardwired to feel what others feel. And when it comes to children, they're emotional sponges. They soak up the emotional environment they live in, and some do so more than others.
Kyle MacDonald: Why You're Having Trouble Sleeping
Kyle MacDonald tackles insomnia and answers a question from someone who wants an alternative to pills
Sleep is one of life's great mysteries. While there are many theories, we still don't really know why we sleep. But one thing we do understand is how difficult it can be when sleep eludes us night after night.
Sleeplessness is associated with many mental health disorders, most commonly depression and anxiety. It can make mood and anxiety levels worse. Even mild sleep deprivation can affect mood, our metabolism - causing weight loss or gain, concentration and memory problems. In extreme cases sleep deprivation can cause extreme confusion and even psychosis. It is literally torture.
Kyle MacDonald: The Truth About Social Media Addiction
Today Kyle MacDonald answers a question about social media addiction and has advice to help you be less reliant on the technology
My partner spends all their spare time on their phone, on Facebook. Is there such a thing as social media addiction?"
Likes, shares, favourites, new followers... it all just feels so GOOD doesn't it? We're social creatures, and the short burst of feel good vibes from a digital human "stroke" is highly reinforcing, and indeed, for some, addictive.
Around 80 per cent of New Zealanders with internet access have a Facebook account, with slightly more women than men using the platform. On average people check their Facebook account 14 times a day.
Kyle MacDonald: Can You Ever Overcome Anxiety?
In this article Kyle MacDonald answers a question about anxiety and gives advice on how to help manage anxiety.
Anxiety is a universal human experience. It's our emotional alarm system and it exists to warn us of impending danger. It is a highly advanced, highly sensitive system, but unfortunately it is prone to malfunction.
Anxiety is not an illness or a disease in the conventional sense of the word. You aren't born with it and you can't catch it. It is caused by a complex combination of things, including the natural sensitivity of your alarm system, (largely your "amygdala" which is part of the limbic system in the brain) and the events of your life and childhood that you live through. It's heavily influenced by trauma and life circumstances.
Kyle MacDonald: How to Give Good Advice
It can sometimes be difficult to give good advice to someone who may be depressed, Kyle MacDonald has tips to help you help others
In an earlier column you talked about what not to do if someone is depressed. Why is it bad to share one's own experience of depression, if useful tools have been found?
One of the common clichés about therapists is that they never answer a question, instead you get one fired straight back at you:
"Why is it important to you to talk about your own depression?"
Kyle MacDonald: How Much Can You Really Help Someone With an Addiction?
Kyle MacDonald looks into addiction and answers the question "How do you survive a relationship with a control freak gambler who blames every problem with money on me?"
There is little doubt gambling is an addiction. I worked for a gambling helpline while I was training to be a therapist. Here I heard firsthand the terrible effects and destruction uncontrollable compulsions to gamble inflict on people and their loved ones.
One of the things I heard time and time again was the way partners were often shocked at the extent of the problem, and that it had been hidden from them for so long. It isn't obvious a person has a gambling problem...