When I feel anxious, I tend to be very aware of the multiple symptoms I experience, including struggles with my confidence. However, because anxiety is something I've struggled with for years, this also means that keeping my self-confidence and self-esteem up has been a struggle for me for years as well.
Since 2016, life has been hurtling unprecedented personal and professional challenges my way. I've been coping with them the best I can, mainly due to my belief in this Persian adage: this too shall pass. And towards the end of 2019, things were looking up, if only just a little. Then in 2020, the world was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Needless to say, I had a new list of challenges to face. However, this time, I had little faith in the adage. I tried to keep going, but in January 2022, I decided to pause for perspective. It's the reason I have only one new year resolution: to reduce unhealthy coping mechanisms.
Postpartum depression (PPD) does not just affect the individual suffering from it. It also affects the family. If you're dealing with postpartum depression, it can be easy to become so introspective that you lose perspective of those around you. By trying to understand how your loved ones are feeling, however, you can strengthen your relationships while also helping them more appropriately support you. 
One significant niche of individuals who suffer from verbal abuse is the senior community. Often abuse happens to vulnerable people, and elders are no exception. But of course, verbal abuse is just one of the many branches of this ongoing problem, making those at risk even more in danger of harm. 
Self-harm and dissociation, separately, can be scary things. Together, they can be a frightening and isolating experience, to say the least. Let's talk a little about what that's like, and how to cope.
Every day, I make a point to take at least one bath. Sometimes if I’m really stressed, I’ll take more than one.
The new year is a new beginning, which brings a special clarity as you reflect on what you want to change. It's often recommended to set concrete resolutions so you can measure how well you're doing throughout the year. This advice can be helpful, but for binge eating disorder recovery, changes are subtle and difficult to measure. In my experience, setting New Year's resolutions for my recovery and eating habits has consistently caused stress and unnecessary pressure. Of course, you can set milestone goals for going a certain number of days without binge eating. But if you are trying to start or strengthen your recovery from an eating disorder, you can't expect your recovery to be as neat as a checklist.
The phrase "new year, new you" is all over the place right now. From social media posts, to news outlets and blog articles, to conversations with friends or family, to marketing tactics from wellness brands, it often seems I can't escape this message once January rolls around. But while the concept might sound positive in theory—a chance to start fresh and reinvent oneself—the truth is, this "new year, new you" mantra doesn't work for me in eating disorder (ED) recovery. I also suspect I'm not alone in that feeling, so let's unpack it further.
I was in my late 30s when I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). As a child of the '60s born of immigrant parents who survived both the Great Depression and World War II—each of them with their own harrowing experiences—I was raised with a don't-complain-pull-up-your-bootstraps-and-get-on-with-it mentality. As such, I grew up feeling unworthy of my anxiety.
Recently, I started becoming more intentional about using Meetup to connect with other writer groups virtually. Until last week, I had no idea that so many writing groups met online. On my day off, I signed up for three writing groups on Zoom. Being more active in my writing endeavors with other people has been helping me come out of my depression. Here are five reasons writing groups are positively impacting my mental health.

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Kim Berkley
Hi Liana,

Nice to meet a fellow HP writer! I'm glad you found my post relatable and—more importantly—helpful. Of course, other people see it differently—I have read many instances in which people decide that they are the same thing, and I can see their point, but for me, as I wrote in the post, I just don't experience the two in the same ways. They feel completely different to me.

That's not to say that skin-picking isn't serious or isn't something that should be addressed, of course. I sometimes struggle with my own body image—for a number of reasons, but one of them is the state of my hands. The worst thing is when I damage my fingers to the point that they are super sore and/or require bandaging, because then I'm reminded of my "bad habit" every time I put hands on a keyboard—which, being a writer, is a lot of the time.

I'm still trying to understand my triggers, too. When I'm stressed, I pick. When I'm bored, I pick. Those instances, at least, make sense to me. But sometimes I'll have a pretty darn good day and still catch myself at it. I think part of the problem is that, having done it for so long, the habit of scanning my fingers (touching one finger unconsciously to others, looking for blemishes, rough spots, and other pickable places) has become so ingrained that I don't even notice I'm doing it most of the time until I'm already picking.

It's interesting that we share the same experience with our moms! I wonder if there's some sort of genetic component at work, or if it is more of a learned compulsion. Or something in between?

Anyway, thank you so much for your comment. I hope we both figure out a way to heal our poor fingers (and whatever's at the root of these compulsions of ours) one of these days. Until then, keep the bandages and the antiseptics handy, just in case. :)

Kim Berkley
Hi Eliza,

That is an excellent question—one I'm unfortunately not really qualified to answer. A better person to ask would be a current or former NASA employee—maybe someone like an HR specialist? An actual astronaut, of course, would be ideal to talk to for a number of reasons, but I'm not sure how easy they are to reach. If nothing else, do lots of digging into online resources and maybe some books by astronauts and/or other NASA employees.

This page on the official NASA site also has some great links to check out if you haven't already:
(I would start with the "How to become an astronaut" link)
And this page as well:

I would imagine that mental health screenings play a role in the process, but I don't know for sure, or to what extent if they do. But I know being an astronaut can be an... intense... career in a lot of ways, and being in space for long periods of time can certainly mess with even the most resilient and stable people, so this is definitely an answer worth tracking down in detail if you want your book to be accurate.

I'm sorry I couldn't be more helpful with this particular topic, but if you have any questions about self-harm, feel free to ask! Or if you have any writing-related questions (not necessarily related to self-harm), I also write fiction and always enjoy a good writing discussion. :) Here's my contact page if so:

In any case, I wish you the best of luck with your research and your book. Take care!

I am having severe birthday depression. It gets worse every year. I beg people to please just let the day go by. I am 59 years old today, January 17th. I have several very traumatic events that happened over a course of years, on the dreaded day. Then when I get out of sorts and want to spend the day alone, people get all bent out of shape. In fact one friend insists that I have to celebrate, it’s my duty. Granted, I have some odd friends. She still acts and dresses like a child even at 46, so I chalk it up to her own personal issues, but cannot convince her that I really don’t give a rats patootie anymore. It’s just an embarrassment to be fussed over. And the singing....oh Lord help awful that is. Treat me the same everyday. Please. My birthday is mine to not celebrate as I see fit. Yours was the most realistic article I have found thus far. Thanks for not being condescending like most of the other articles I have read. Some people think they get it, but unless they suffer the affliction, they truly have no clue. Thank you for helping. This has gotten worse for a decade now. Can hardly wait for the big blow of 60..... not. Ugh ! And yes the pandemic, scamdemic, plandemic, whatever one wants to call it, has not helped. I’ve lived long enough to watch my Country falling into a cesspool of disrepair and that seems to make it worse. Now the very head of my Country is the most evil creature on earth. So it seems my birthday is always tied to the results of an election year. Or the resulting disaster thereof in this case. No wonder I’m so damned depressed. Thanks for helping me with that breakthrough. Literally.
I was in a relationship when I was 29 years old and when the relationship broke, I also lost my job and felt very alone and lonely. I started to have thoughts of suicide that life is not worth living. I saw a few doctors about it, they said it was schizophrenia depression. So a few doctors thoughts it was schizophrenia and other doctors thought it was depression. I do feel down at times and it may be depression but I think it is also a finanical problem as I do not have very much money or a steady job.

I have been able to get a job just not able to keep for longer than 6 months. I feel a little better theses days after quitting smoking 1 year ago and running a mile every day for the last 1 month.
Eliza Whitlock
i’m writing a book, and one of my characters struggled with self harm in the past. her dream job is to be an astronaut— would her experiences with self-harm affect her getting chosen to be an astronaut (because of her needing good emotional stability etc?) just a thought.