Our Latest Blogs

How I Overcame Body Dysmorphia and Rediscovered Myself

hand touching glass reflection

Hello, dear readers. Today, I want to share my personal journey of battling body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). For 26 years, I lived in a body I found disgusting, believing I was unattractive and flawed. The constant comparisons to others left me feeling inadequate and isolated. However, through perseverance, support, and professional help, I have started […]

14 Methods for How I Cope with Mental Illness

man reading book on tree limb

Coping with mental illness has never been easy. There’s a lot involved, including your commitment to mental wellness goals and outside factors such as stigma. However, with the right routine, tools, and guidelines, you can cope with mental illness. You may wonder what those guidelines are. My battle with mental illness went on for about […]

Overcoming the Effects of My Mom’s Addiction: Self-Discovery Doesn’t Happen in Survival Mode

My mom is a wonderful mother. She’s kind, loves classic rock, has funny stories—and she loves me. I know that. I have always known that. Ever since I can remember, I wanted to be understanding of her problem. I saw her drinking and began to justify how normal it was. Resentment was there, but it […]

Disclosing Your Mental Health Diagnosis at Work: 3 Persistent Drawbacks and 3 Surprising Benefits

In 1987 when I was 22 years old, I was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Scared and alone, I had no role models to guide me. Hospitalized and given pills, I was sent out into the world to find my way without a map. In June 2000, I obtained a Master’s in Library and Information Science. That […]

Baby’s Got Back: Coping with the Aftermath of a Psychotic Break

I did not inherit Kim Kardashian’s butt. I inherited my father’s rear end – flat and wide. I passed this rear end down to one of our girls. The other lucked out and inherited her father’s butt – a cute pop-out affair from years of squats and deadlifts. Perfect for twerking, but her father and […]

Life with High-Functioning Depression: Feeling Seen When Others See Nothing Wrong

For the entirety of my life, I have tried to do right in everything and by everyone. For the first time this past year, I questioned my capacity to do that and, in turn, questioned everything that I thought I knew about myself. Since adolescence, I have prided myself upon my successes, resiliency, willingness to […]

The Best Advice My Therapist Ever Gave Me about Dealing with Shame

proud black woman

About 15 years ago, I told my therapist about the social isolation I was struggling with. It had been a few years since my mental breakdown, and I didn’t want to be seen by my friends until I felt better. I didn’t know what to say to them, so I avoided them. I was too […]

OCD and Sex Addiction: How It Affected My Life and Dating and Ways I Overcome It

close up of hands

Content Advisory: This guest blog post contains frank language about sex. This is not something I’ve admitted publicly or even to more than a handful of close friends. I have had OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) since I can remember. It started as constant handwashing (whenever I touched someone) and obsessively checking that my door was locked. […]

What They Don’t Tell You About OCD

woman at seashore

There’s a lot that’s unknown about mental health disorders. They are widely misunderstood. They carry stigmas, are joked about, and lack proper research. You may ask yourself: Why is that? Many people struggle with their mental health. Research shows that  20.6% of U.S. adults deal with mental illness. This translates to one in five adults […]

The Loop of Depression Will End – You Just Have to Trust

sun on grassy field

Being depressed, then getting out of it, then falling into it again—does that sound familiar? If you are a depression survivor, most likely you know how it feels. It may feel like you are walking on a never-ending path or a journey that keeps dragging you to the same point over and over again. But […]

Zero to Hero: How DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) Techniques Can Help You Thrive

two young women at laptop

College drop-out. At the height of my anxiety, depression, and inner turmoil, I struggled to take care of myself, let alone do something as demanding as learning and participating in academics. Despite having gone to see therapists, cycling through medications, and buying a shelf’s worth of self-help books, I was floundering, barely able to keep […]

The Art of Processing: un.packing Grief and Trauma in the Brain

young woman writing

The nature of a traumatic event is not completely generalizable and varies from person to person. What constitutes trauma for one person does not necessarily translate to trauma for another. Several factors can determine how a person experiences crisis or otherwise stressful life events. Pain tolerance is not merely an attribute of physical hurt. Emotional […]

Phobia Exposure: The Ultimate Solution for Coping with Social Anxiety Disorder

crowded street in Hong Kong

Ever-increasing urbanization and overpopulation are inevitable in today’s world. Such phenomena can lower ordinary people’s living standards due to the reduction of living spaces, increasing risks of interpersonal conflicts, and loss of privacy. For individuals who experience social anxiety disorder (SAD), living in a collective space can be far more challenging. I have been suffering […]

Why I Finally Decided to See a Therapist

Angkor Wat lotus blossoms

I can still remember the first time it hit me. I was in high school. As my teacher handed my exam back to me with a failing grade printed on it, I felt nothing. What once would elicit an emotional response in me now didn’t even justify a second glance. It wasn’t anger. It wasn’t […]

The Child of Two Alcoholics Became the Alcoholic… and Recovered

woman drinking wine on floor

I am 6 years old. My dad and mom are fighting—this time over a field trip that I missed because my parents slept in too late. The screaming starts. I go into the kitchen to see what the commotion is about. I hear my dad yell at my mom and then push her into the […]

Finally Beginning to Deal with Anxiety after a Trip to the Emergency Department

emergency department sign

For the ten millionth time, I recently ended up in the emergency department (ED) for shortness of breath, chest pains, and nausea.  What I didn’t realize is that these symptoms are also symptoms of a panic attack or anxiety.  Panic attacks can come on unexpectedly and manifest in physical symptoms.  This is something that has […]

My Father’s Son: How My Dad’s Drinking Drove Me to Stop

drunk businessman passed out on bed

My dad was a brilliant, hardworking attorney with a great sense of humor and loads of charisma. My dad was also an alcoholic. In many ways, I followed his footsteps. I was 13 when I started working in his law office, and I went to college and pursued a career as an attorney. I worked […]

Normalcy through Daily Systematic Medication

medication vials

I am here to say that there is much hope for people who have a mental illness.  From 1990 through 2001, I was hospitalized four times.  Most of the recurring visits were due to my perception that the regular consumption of medicine would put me into a class of people who suffer from stigmatization.  Mostly […]

How Long Does it Take to Overcome Depression?

man thinking

Depression is a serious mental health condition that is characterized by feelings of sadness and hopelessness. If you’re going through depression, you might wonder how long it will last. While there is no average for how long it can take to overcome depression, it’s not uncommon for feelings of hopelessness to last several months. In […]

Embracing My Inner Artist as a Bipolar Person: How Creativity Saved My Life

artist at work

My life with bipolar disorder II has included six periods of success and six periods of failure. The worst began in 1980 when I was 42 years old. I had purchased a small guest ranch in Wyoming with the woman I loved.  The ranch, which faced the Continental Divide at 8,000 feet, was to be […]

A Parent’s Journey: How Wilderness Therapy Made the Crucial Difference for a Family Impacted by Mental Illness

walking in the woods

At 3 am on January 18, 2018, a cold winter’s night when most everyone was fast asleep, my wife and I were wide awake. Our then 17-year-old daughter, Audrey, was about to be abruptly woken up and transported by a third party to a wilderness therapy program.  She had no idea this was about to […]

My Experience with Cannabis as an Undiagnosed Borderline

young woman vaping.

How cannabis abuse aggravated my borderline personality disorder to the point of medical intervention. Marijuana is a controversial topic when it comes to mental health. I have friends who have been self-medicating for years, insisting that weed cures their anxiety and helps them cope with their depression. I also have friends who refuse to touch […]

Why We Ran Out of Yeast: A Mental Health Story About Life During the COVID-19 Pandemic

hands kneading dough

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the fact that toilet paper, bottled water, and disinfectant wipes sold out nearly everywhere was common knowledge. What you may not know is that in some communities baking yeast was just as hard to find. During a time of complete and utter panic, many people turned to baking […]

They Don’t Notice: Coping with Anxious Negative Thoughts

anxious black woman in bed

Today’s world is a world of constant controversy. No one seems to agree—on anything. No wonder anxiety plagues so many of us! I often wonder if I will ever get better—less depressed, less anxious, less paranoid, with this current state of things. It reminds me that although I was personally diagnosed with bipolar disorder, depression, […]

How Meditation Helped My Treatment-Resistant Depression

young woman meditating at Grand Canyon

“Depression is treatable.” That’s what the brochures and websites always say. “Help is available,” they say. And it is, for most people. But for some people, treatment isn’t so simple. How long does depression typically last? According to Harvard Health, depression can last any duration, but the average for untreated depression is “several months”—suggesting people […]

How Art Helped Me: Creating a Safe Place for Healing

young woman drawing

I had a trauma-filled childhood with a single, alcoholic, abusive mother. She belittled me, neglected me, and really acted like she hated me. She said she wished I wasn’t born, called me a slut and too fat or too thin. Nothing was good enough for her, except her alcohol. I could never make her happy, no […]

Overcoming Panic Attacks with Relaxation Techniques

woman doing yoga

I glanced down at the speedometer and realized that I was doing 80 mph, much faster than usual. After slowing down to a more reasonable speed, the engine of my beat-up station wagon was still revving strangely. Something wasn’t right. I pulled my foot off the brake and, as an experiment, removed it from the […]

EMDR Saved My Life: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy for Complex-PTSD

young woman driver

On June 8, 2020, I had a dissociative episode that nearly resulted in suicide. When I say ‘nearly,’ I mean that had I not called a therapist that night, I wouldn’t have been there by the next week. This probably comes as a surprise to many who know me. I’m happy and bubbly and cheerful, […]

The Battle Between Two Depressions: When Both Parents Struggle with Mental Health

new parents with baby

Here are three things I know for sure: Dealing with Postpartum Depression (PPD) is hard. Watching your partner struggle with clinical depression is hard. Doing both at the same time feels unbearable. Dealing with PPD is Hard I gave birth to my first child on January 16th, 2020. I’m not quite sure I can accurately […]

I Have Anxiety and Depression. This Is How the Pandemic Has Affected Me.

girl in medical face mask

The World Health Organization recognizes that mental health disorders are the leading cause of illness and disability worldwide. That’s 450 million people suffering from a mental health disorder today. That’s a lot of people!  With the Covid-19 pandemic at its peak, the number of diagnosed mental health disorders worldwide is rising daily, as observed by […]

How I Healed: My Traumatic Brain Injury and Journey Back from Depression

young woman hiking

In 2015, I fell off of a cliff. I faced a long recovery from orthopedic and internal injuries, but thankfully, I made it out alive. From gaining strength and mobility to walk again to learning to live with a traumatic brain injury, each step of my healing journey presented a new set of challenges. What […]

The Dangers of Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms

drunk man with bottle

Coping is hard. Life gives us problems, and sometimes they’re not really fixable. They remain sore spots for us throughout our lives, even as we grow and change and move on from the old places and things that used to scare us. Too often, we don’t take the time to process and accept the things […]

How I Supported a Friend Experiencing Mental Health Issues during Coronavirus Isolation

online friend support

For people with a history of mental health issues, such as anxiety disorders or depression, isolating during the COVID-19 pandemic can create the perfect storm of worry to cause a crisis. I knew that one of my dearest friends would be experiencing just such a difficult time, and as a friend, I knew I had […]

“Learning to Give” – A Personal Story of Mental Health Recovery

helping hands

I experienced a happy childhood in many ways.  My father was a college professor, and my mother had a medical transcription business at home.  I was loved and cared for.  Seven years after my birth, my sister Laura came along.  She was a joy and a delight to me. I attended a private school, and […]

Climbing the Ladder: How to Get Out of the Hole When You’ve Reached Your Limit with Mental Illness

Coping Strategies for Mental Health

Many people living with a mental illness will hit extreme lows in their lives. They may feel discouraged as they shut themselves off from friends or family, struggle to find work or even refuse all forms of treatment. About one year ago, I hit that low point. I had just moved out of my parents’ […]

Struggling with Depression and the Natural Road to Recovery

healthy biking

Over the last few years, depression has become much more widespread. We’ve all heard it before, “mental health issues don’t discriminate,” and that quote couldn’t be more accurate. Depression impacts people in the suburbs and on farms, in inner cities and refugee camps, in boardrooms and in classrooms. It is estimated that over 300 million […]

Illness, Acceptance, and Grace: How I Finally Recovered

Illness, Acceptance, and Grace: How I Finally Recovered

The kindest thing I ever heard my father say about me is that I was smart. Really smart. My father never spoke for the sake of being kind. If reality happened to be kind, then so be it. So, when I heard him tell his long-time friend that his daughter, who he scarcely seemed to […]

“Shame on You” – A Message About Stigma for Minority Mental Health Month

african american woman

In recognition of Minority Mental Health Month, for our final blog post of the month, we are featuring a guest post by an African American writer who lives with bipolar disorder. Thank you, Ms. Jordan for your contribution! – Jay Boll, Editor in Chief www.rtor.org You would think going to the psychiatric floor of any […]

Who Am I? The Initial Shock and Steps to Finding your Identity Post-Diagnosis

man at window

You’ll hear this phrase a lot: Your diagnosis doesn’t define you. These aren’t the worst words someone could say to you. In varying forms of ignorance and hurtfulness I’ve been told: You don’t look like you have bipolar disorder That’s a lot to take in I don’t think I can do this These comments and […]

How I Overcame My Deep Depression After I Got Hit By a Car on the Freeway

Overcoming Depression

“2:48 am” My body lay still as a doll as I dully gazed at the clock on my desk. My slow, sad, depressing music reverberated and echoed off the walls in my bedroom. I could not sleep. I did not want to get up, move, or feel anything at all. These long restless nights had […]

My Story of Recovery from Depression and Addiction

new dawn

As early as grade school, I remember struggling to gather up the energy and motivation I needed to get out of bed in the morning and go to school. Some days it was so bad that my mom had to nearly drag me out of bed. I had no problems in school and no real […]

How I Survived My Mental Health Crisis

male vet and dog

Surviving a mental health crisis isn’t about hospitals and medications that dull your mind and senses. It’s about building a network of people around you to support you and talk with, and to know you well enough to see you’re heading down a bad path, with a lonely road ahead. If you’re lucky, they will […]

Returning from Depression: A Passionately Committed Athlete’s Story

return from depression

Evan had just returned home from his final race of the season when I caught up with him. We decided to take a hike up to a ridge on the outskirts of his city. He was quick to smile, and you could see his eyes dance with animation when we discussed his recent activities. But […]

My Mental Health Story: A Family Legacy of Mental Illness

thoughtful young adult

“Mood likely and able to change between high and low without warning” – this was written on the keychain charm my mother carried around when I was in my teens. I didn’t understand what bipolar disorder was. I didn’t notice her symptoms, because I simply didn’t know the difference. I’ve always been around mental illness […]

My Miraculous Recovery from Depression: Reviving My Creativity & Renaissance Soul

happy woman

I’m Jo, artist, writer and Renaissance Soul with a potty sense of humor. For over thirty years, I suffered from depression and anxiety, a result of my toxic upbringing followed by post-natal depression. It was a pain in my posterior because I really, really wanted to indulge in my creativity and the Renaissance Soul side […]

My Story of Hope and Recovery

Substance Abuse Recovery

I grew up with everything I could ask for. A supporting, loving family. Great, safe neighborhood. Basically all the opportunity in the world. If you told 15-year old me that in just a few years I would be living a life filled with drugs, there’s not a chance he would believe you. I was the […]

Not Mentally Ill Enough

depressed young adult

“It’s not that bad.” “Others have it worse.” “I’m just being a child.” “I’m not really depressed.” “I’m being ridiculous.” “I’m just a weak person.” “I should be able to handle this myself.” “Why am I being such a baby?” “Stop being stupid.” “Get over it.” Do you hear yourself thinking these things over and […]

How Impostor Syndrome Kept Me From Getting Help For My Mental Illness

imposter syndrome and mental health

Generally, you see “impostor syndrome” in the context of someone’s performance at work. However, in my experience, as well as Fiona Thomas’, it can occur with mental health as well.  Even more so, a few Google searches show its application outside of work performance—in relationships, parenting, talent, and then some. One thing that all people […]

Coping With Depression After a Sexual Assault

Sad girl on bridge

Depression. What a loaded word. Not a word I used to let myself say or really think about. A word that used to make me unbearably uncomfortable and filled with shame. A word that people can joke about and may not completely understand. Ten letters that convey so much. Depression. Depression and I were not […]

Going Up in Flames: Wildland Firefighters and Mental Health

Wildland Firefighters mental health

We met on Tinder. His profile said he was a wildland firefighter, and one of his photos was of him covered in soot and ash with brilliant flames engulfing a forest behind him. I was completely infatuated without ever having met him. It turns out that he was as charming as he was brave, and […]

My Story of Co-Occurring Disorders and Overcoming Addiction

Co-occurring disorders, also known as dual diagnosis, refer to the combination of substance abuse and the presence of a mental health disorder. Many individuals who enter treatment for substance abuse are also diagnosed with a co-occurring disorder. Over half of all individuals experiencing drug addiction are also believed to have a co-occurring disorder such as […]

My Deep Depression: What I Learned From Surviving a Dark Time In My Life

“2:32 am” I stared down at my empty shot glasses. The night was as silent as a graveyard. I stumbled to the edge of the mall rooftop and peered off at the city lights in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I was a 20-year-old college student at the time and I had taken the semester off from […]

Coming to Terms with Body Dysmorphia: Learning to Accept the Body I Reside In

I didn’t always care about the way I looked. For most of my childhood, I was more focused on making mud pies and playing with my toys. I don’t think I ever thought much about the way anyone looked, or even the way I looked. All the people I loved were loved for who they […]

How I Conquered Mental Illness to Succeed in University and How You Can, Too

Mental illness found me at 19 years old. I was in my second year of university with the world at my fingertips, yet I could not get out of bed. I was ridden with depression, anxiety and horrible mood swings that hung over me like a dark cloud. To escape my situation, I would self […]

My Life With Borderline Personality Disorder: A Young Adult’s Perspective

A lot of older people say that kids nowadays are coddled and overprotected; shielded from figuring out how to fight their own battles so they can function in a cruel unforgiving world, a world where emotional regulation and conflict resolution skills are essential. I can’t speak for every millennial but in my case, they would […]

PTSD and Substance Use: How Trauma Fueled My Addiction

PTSD and Substance Use: How Trauma Fueled My Addiction

“And all the while I feel like I’m standing in the middle of a crowded room, screaming at the top of my lungs, and no one even looks up.” I remember watching Titanic as a kid, empathizing with Rose and her emotional turmoil. Growing up, I always felt like I was drowning and desperately waiting […]

Schizoaffective Disorder: What Lies Within

To live life means to go through a series of roadblocks in our journey, but what happens when the roadblock stems from a mental health disorder? Every mental health disorder is unique and no one goes through similar symptoms or experiences. Each and every person’s experience is distinct. And any mental health disorder can bring […]

When You Have More Than One Diagnosis: Integrated Treatment for Co-occurring Disorders

Integrated Treatment for Co-occurring Disorders

According to a recent survey in 2010, over 45% of individuals struggling with addiction, have also been diagnosed with a co-occurring disorder. Co-occurring disorders, also known as dual diagnosis, refer to the combination of substance abuse and the presence of a mental health disorder. Over 16% of individuals receiving treatment for substance abuse have also […]

Through the Past, Not So Darkly: The Rolling Stones, Mental Health and Aging

I still don’t know which is more unbelievable: waking up one morning last year to discover I was 60 or realizing that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones will both be turning 75 later this year. They say a rolling stone gathers no moss, but Mick and Keith managed to accumulate their […]

New York Artist GH Kleiner Showcases His Creative Work on RTOR.ORG for May Mental Health Awareness Month

Today, we kick off May Mental Health Awareness Month with a guest blog post from a New York man who found a way back from the pain of a mental health crisis through the exercise of creativity. GH Kleiner describes himself as “an empath who can visualize and draw my thoughts and feelings.”  His artwork […]

Don’t Let Anxiety Destroy Your Dreams of College: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Help You Succeed at College

I had my first panic attack in Kindergarten.  I was cast as the Mayor in our elementary production of The Pied Piper.  Shortly before I was to be on stage, I found myself flat on my back, out of breath, and terribly nauseous.  What we assumed at the time was a little stage fright was […]

“Snow Fails to Tell Our Story:” A User Poem to Commemorate the ‘Bomb Cyclone’ of 2018

“Weather is a great metaphor for life, sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, and there’s nothing much you can do about it but carry an umbrella.” – Terri Guillemets A few days ago, most of us had never even heard the term “bombogenesis.”  Now, many of  us who live on the east coast are experiencing the […]

How I Faced Anxiety and Learned to Cope: A Young Adult Leaves His Comfort Zone in Scotland and Finds Relief

I feel like with any illness, whether it be mental or physical, there is always a denial period. For some this will be short and for others longer. For me, it was years! In this article, I’ll take you through my own personal story of anxiety: looking at how it gradually got worse and the […]

In Pursuit of Healing: My PTSD Story

PTSD Stories

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is very real. A diagnosis that extends far beyond members of the armed forces who have lived through combat, it affects people all over the world. This frequently misunderstood diagnosis, which often goes hand-in-hand with depression, does not have to instill fear, but can actually be an opportunity to embolden survivors. […]