communication Archive

Four Ways to Help Show Support to a Loved One with a Phobia

I would like to welcome the newest member of our writing team, Nic Alea. In their first post with us, they give valuable tips on how to support someone with a phobia or other anxiety disorder. Thanks for sharing with us, Nic!

One thing that has hurt me over the years is my consistent effort to try and tell people that I have Ichthyophobia (Fear of Fish) and people not taking it seriously. Well it’s serious. This phobia, although somewhat uncommon, can trigger me anywhere, whether it’s a picture on the internet or in a museum, a fish market, or walking into a shop with a fish tank, shit can be really scary sometimes. It’s already hard to tell people intimate things about ourselves and it’s even worse when people don’t believe it.

My Experience with Detox and Outpatient Rehab

My alcoholism reached a head in spring of 2013, brought to desperation by the death of my wife and my subsequent despair. By this point I was drinking from three pm onward everyday, first wine and then vodka, whiskey or rum. Nothing would bring her back, but I could annihilate myself. It was starting to dawn on me, though, that this was making me nothing but miserable. I wasn’t going anywhere or doing anything. I wasn’t socializing or running errands. I could barely cook. Being on disability, I wasn’t working. My full-time job was getting to the bottom of the bottle.

DBT Skills: Emotion Regulation

This is the final installment of the DBT Skills series. I want to say a special thank you to Breyonne for her hard work in writing this series – I know it will be useful for so many of our readers!

When I first heard the words ’emotion regulation’, the first thing I thought was, Oh great. Another therapist trying to tell me that feelings are just feelings, they can’t hurt me, they can’t kill me, blah blah yadda yadda. And I’ve been to enough therapy, enough counseling, enough self-help meetings to know this, even if only theoretically. So I wasn’t prepared to learn a whole lot from this module. I couldn’t have been further from the truth.

I want Sexual Accountability

Trigger Warning: Mention of rape

I am beginning to pathologize the sexual desperation I have felt for a cis-male-flesh-cocked lover in my life lately. This is new for me as I have mostly never been able to enjoy penis-centric heterosexuality and I consider myself exclusively queer. I have been incredibly weighed down by my sexual dysfunction for my entire sexual life. By sexual dysfunction, I mean my inability to experience healthy arousal, be orgasmic and/or connect sexually with another person without fear of becoming triggered. I haven’t had many positive end results when attempting to experience sexual pleasure with another person of any gender/orientation.

My Experience with Dissociative Identity Disorder (Lily)

Trigger Warning: Self-Harm, Abuse, Rape, Human Trafficking

I’ve been half-aware that I’m multiple since about the age of fourteen, when I started to realise that it really wasn’t usual for people to experience severe blackouts and time loss and memory issues (lasting hours, days, weeks, months and even years); that it wasn’t usual for people to so routinely and constantly be addressed by a completely different name by strangers who will insist that you have met them and that your name is something else; that it wasn’t usual for moods and personalities and tastes to change so drastically and so constantly. I had no word for what I was experiencing; I had no knowledge and no understanding and after about a year of being so, so aware of this I finally told my (then) therapist about those experiences. The result? A long lecture about self-diagnosis and “making up more lies to make my supposed PTSD more believable” followed by being asked about where I had researched Dissociative Identity Disorder and that I did know that it was made up and not real and that nobody would ever believe me. So, for almost ten years I hid it except from a very close friend online and one of my partners (he lived with me so it was very difficult to hide).

DBT Skills: Interpersonal Effectiveness

I have to admit that social interaction and communication are not my strongest points. This is a relatively new development for me, or so I thought. I used to think I was great at using my voice, at standing up for myself, at being in social situations. Today there are a number of barriers that prevent me from being effective in interpersonal communication. One of them is mental and emotional health issues. It’s really hard for me to connect with others when I don’t feel so great myself. Another is acute hearing loss, in both ears, coupled with tinnitus. And finally – and probably the most overwhelming for me, especially when it comes to asking for what I need and speaking up for myself, or saying no when being asked for something – I was raised in an environment that didn’t really encourage me to use my voice under any circumstances. In fact, it was preferred if I was invisible, or at least that’s how I translated it.

Codependant Relationships: What They Are and What You Can Do If You Find Yourself In One

Previously in time, codependent relationships were typically described as a relationship involving one person with a substance abuse problem with a sober (or generally non-addicted) partner. The idea of a codependent relationship regarding substance abuse is that the sober one continuously tries to help the person with the addiction. Seeing as how an addicted person struggles with their own issues and their focus is primarily on feeding the addiction, often all the work in the relationship to keep it functioning lands on the non-addicted partner. The substance abuse becomes the main focus of the relationship and the non-addicted person allows everything to revolve around their partner’s problem, often ignoring their own needs in the process.

Group Therapy – Panic and Anxiety, Session 1

Trigger Warning: mention of rape, sexual assault

This is the first of an 8 week series reviewing panic and anxiety from a group therapy point of view. It is based on the group therapy services available through Langley Memorial Hospital. Feel free to follow along and answer the questions posted in each section.

Session 1: Exploring Anxiety Disorders

Today, Like So Many Others, Is A Great Day

Editor’s note: This story mentions some severe triggers. Please be careful about reading this story if you are easily triggered by the topics mentioned in our trigger warning.

Trigger warnings: Abuse, including torture and child sexual assault, forced confinement, rape, violence, bullying, and hate crimes.

Yesterday/today was/is a great day. A day to celebrate. Any day that slaps me upside my head and and asks, “WTF you bitching about?” is always a great day!

How to be an Ally to Disabled & Neurodiverse Folks in Activist & Academic Communities

This is based on my own experience as a Disabled, Trans, Queer, Autistic activist. In compiling this list, I consulted other Disabled activists as well. Most activism I’ve been involved with has taken place in Queer, Radical, & Academic communities. I’ve been both a grass-roots activist and a student activist. I do not claim to speak on behalf of Neurodiverse or Disabled folks–or any group for that matter. Here are a few ideas I’ve compiled on how to be a better Ally to folks who have been left out of social and political movements/communities: