Tag Archives: psychology

For When You Can’t Forgive: The Power of Pity

Let’s say someone has wronged you grievously, possibly repeatedly over the course of your life. People keep telling you that you’re “only hurting yourself” by holding a grudge, that forgiveness will set you free, but… it just doesn’t sit right. It’s a square peg in a round hole. You try to forgive, but it chafes at you because it feels wrong.

Life is full of petty little tyrants, bullies with a hard-on for their own power. That boss who treated you like an insect because he had risen to the lofty position of “manager at a Starbucks.” The friend who manipulated you for years for seemingly no reason other than caprice. The abuser who controlled you because… why? They had a taste of power over someone else and their first impulse was to instill shame. ... continue reading.

What To Do When The World’s Crashing Down

I’ve had a couple of major sky-is-falling crises in my life. Times when everything was going wrong, and my brain wasn’t helping matters one bit. Money stuff was all wrong, relationships were going to shit, and my anxiety was through the roof. Every waking moment was a nightmare because of depression or grief, and there was no end in sight.

Maybe you’ve never had an era in your life like that, or maybe you’re feeling a little queasy seeing someone talk about it so openly. Either way, let’s figure out how to weather the storm. Let’s punch disaster in the nuts. How?

Survive.

That’s number one. I know it seems trite, but sometimes all you’re capable of is crouching down and covering your head as the blows rain down. You won’t win the round, but you’ll make it to the bell. ... continue reading.

The Anxiety Tripwire: My Intermittent Problem With People

Hi. I’m Ian Harvey, and I’ve got social anxiety.

Consider the following: You’ve spent a year of your life learning a skill, then several more honing it as a hobby. You get licensed, you’re good at what you do, and… nothing. Your brain vapor locks at the thought of actually executing your craft. Thousands of hours sunk in, and your hand drops the paintbrush, or your feet go numb when you strap on the tap shoes.

That’s where I was on Tuesday, all dressed up and no place to go. I’m a massage therapist, and I can’t bring myself to see clients.

The whole massage thing was completely out of left field in the first place. I was a weird kid in high school, with too much Dungeons and Dragons and too little self-awareness. I thought that hugs were only about the arms, and that wishing hard enough could make my crush come around and see the real me. I had hair down to my mid-back and a sweet collection of Hawaiian shirts. ... continue reading.

Feel Depressed A Lot? Please Go Get Medicated, You Jerk

Hey. I know we barely know each other and all, but let’s pretend that you’ve been feeling shitty, off and on, for a long time. And by “off and on” I mean “pretty much always feeling shitty but you’re doing okay, so can’t we just drop it?”

This may not apply to you. Please accept this video of dogs in slow motion as consolation and enjoy your day. Otherwise, let’s talk.

Let’s define clinical depressionYou don’t have to be paralyzed by despair to qualify, you don’t even need to be really, really sad. The one defining characteristic of depression is that it disrupts your ability to live your life. While this is fine and dandy after something terrible happens, what if your low mood is screwing your life over for no obvious reason? ... continue reading.

Catastrophizing: How To Worry About Nothing

Let’s talk about catastrophe. As I sit here in my bathrobe, whiling away a morning off before a meeting, I’ve already had at least 2 moments of utter shocking horror.

One: I realized that I committed to going somewhere at a time when I already have to be somewhere else. That is simply too many places for any given interval. Needless to say, I panicked, despaired, considered the possible implications for my job and livelihood, and then shoved it away to deal with later. I’ll need to fix it when I get to work later, but that doesn’t stop it from popping up over and over again in the interim, like a ghost haunting my happiness. Thanks, I had been feeling good for a few minutes, I needed a fresh wash of adrenaline.

Two: I briefly considered working on my research project for my psych MA. At this point, it is my boogieman, the half-glimpsed horror seen just as you jolt awake in a cold sweat. It is my hemorrhoid. ... continue reading.