Dr. Peggilee Wupperman on Mindfulness & Modification Therapy

I had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Peggilee Wupperman, a researcher and clinician who is associate professor at John Jay College/City University of New York, assistant clinical professor at Yale School of Medicine, and a senior psychologist at the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy. Before acquiring her current faculty positions, Dr. Wupperman completed a predoctoral internship and post-doctoral fellowship at Yale University School of Medicine, as well as a DBT postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Washington. …

change

Beyond Survival and into Change

It was my ninth day at the inpatient unit. The doctors noted my progress but a part of me still wanted to feel, as Agatha Christie described, “wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable.” I clung desperately to depression. At the time I didn’t know who I was without it. Any feeling, however awful, was better than no feeling at all. I was desperate to fill the void with something better, something else to keep me afloat. I didn’t…

anythinghelps

What Suffering Has Taught Me

It was a sticky evening in Penn Station and I was in a hurry to head back home. As I weaved in and out of the crowded subway station, a young woman sitting in the corner caught my eye. I glimpsed at her cardboard sign saying, ANYTHING HELPS in black marker. Unlike many homeless people I see, she stood out:  young, long silky hair, jean shorts. For a quick second I asked myself what a…

rain

Observing & Describing Triggers for What They Are

I brought the new therapist up to speed as we reviewed my diary card. An event happened, I was triggered, and the usual suspects made an appearance:  low self-esteem, the idea I should not exist, suicidal thoughts. They all fed off of each other; as one negative reaction surfaced, the other two followed suit. “There’s little hope for change,” I explained. “As difficult as all of this is to hear, Amanda,” my therapist said, “I don’t see…

dark

Feeling My Way Through the Dark

I wouldn’t call what I’m going through right now an episode. It hardly captures what happens on a day to day — sometimes hour to hour — basis. The difficulties I’ve been facing is a part of the reason I haven’t posted in a while. It’s hard for me to share what I’m going through while it runs its course. Oftentimes, those close to me have no idea the depth of my internal pain. But…

emptyspace

Mindfulness: The Space Between Stimulus & Response

I have an old friend that has been in my life for twenty years. He has always helped me sort out the many questions and confusions that constantly float in and around my head. What I do for him I sure don’t know, but I’m glad that we’re in each other’s lives. It’s been over a year since I sat in his office with his rambunctious puppy playing besides him. Today his puppy is fully…

“Perhaps the biggest tragedy of our lives is that freedom is possible, yet we can pass our years trapped in the same old patterns…We may want to love other people without holding back, to feel authentic, to breathe in the beauty around us, to dance and sing. Yet each day we listen to inner voices that keep our life small.”

Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance

Between the stimulus and response there is a space, and in this space lies our power and our freedom.

Viktor Frankl

image

Being Okay with the Process & the Hard Work of Treatment

You’ll have set backs, no doubt. You’ll want to give up, for sure. But you’ve been on this journey before. You’ve built your life up again. And though it may seem that it’s never been worse, that you’ll never change, that you’ll always be falling apart by the seams, all of it is a part of the process. Remember what it’s like to begin again? It’s damn hard at the start. As a boxer you’ve…

image

Lessons Learned on the Psychiatric Inpatient Unit

Two psychiatrists looked at me as I stared at the floor. It’s been a week since I was admitted and to the them, it was clear I was still battling a depressive episode. To me, I couldn’t see anything beyond the pain. I hunched over in the chair and covered my eyes. I was shaking, doing everything I could  to hold it together. All I could think of was how hard I tried in the…