Ashley L. Peterson
Mental health blogger | Former MH nurse | Living with depression | Author of 4 books: A Brief History of Stigma, Managing the Depression Puzzle, Making Sense of Psychiatric Diagnosis, and Psych Meds Made Simple | Proud stigma warrior
Recovery-Oriented Practice and Mental Illness Stigma
Unfortunately, mental health professionals are a major source of stigma towards people with mental illness. Recovery-oriented practice is one possibility for transforming mental health care into a less stigmatizing place, so let’s talk about what that might look like.
Supplements for Depression that Work
Some people claim that vitamins and minerals can cure serious mental illness. That's not what I'm talking about here. While in general, there's not a ton of research funding for supplements and herbal products, there are a number of supplements that do have some research evidence to support their effectiveness in depression.
Mental Illness Treatment vs. Wellness Promotion
One of the things I talk about in my new book Managing the Depression Puzzle is the idea of differentiating between illness treatment strategies and wellness promotion strategies. I think it’s a distinction that applies to mental illness in general. So what’s the difference?
The Healing Power of Ayahuasca
When I first heard of ayahuasca, I was skeptical. How was a hallucinogen going to be helpful in treating mental illness? Still, I thought it was worth doing some looking into, especially since a big proponent of the therapy is Dr. Gabor Maté, who I'm familiar with through his book In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts. He advocates for its use in treating trauma and addictions.
How to Embrace Introversion
There are a lot of introverts in this world, but society in general seems to have pretty strong expectations of extroversion, or at the very least extroverted behaviour. Susan Cain's bestselling book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking has helped many an introvert to realize they're not alone in the world, but it takes another step to get to the point of embracing introversion.
Constructing a Trauma Account
Sometimes it takes a while to figure out if what has happened to you counts as trauma. Not all trauma is capital-T Trauma, and not all trauma causes PTSD. PTSD at its core is a disorder of processing; the brain gets stuck processing the traumatic event(s), and those memories remain active but fragmented. Not everyone who experiences traumatic events gets fully stuck, but processing may be slow and interrupted.
How to Sleep Better
Chances are you know someone, or are someone yourself, who suffers from insomnia. Prevalence rates vary among research studies, but up to 50 percent of people may have problems with sleep. That can end up having a major impact on other areas of life.
Spotlight on Female Reproductive Health
Despite our hyper-sexualized society, female reproductive health often gets swept under the rug. It can be uncomfortable to talk about, either in a social context or with a health professional, and it's certainly something that isn't especially fun to get checked out for.
Truth, Lies, and Mental Illness
Some things are better left unsaid. But which things? And said, or unsaid, to whom? Figuring out how much of our deepest inner workings we should disclose to others can be difficult at the best of times, but there's a whole other layer of complexity when there's mental illness involved.
Sex Ed for Adults
Depending on where and when you grew up, as a teenager you may have gotten a moderate amount of sex-related education, you may have had a clunky demonstration of rolling a condom over a banana, or you may have been taught that abstinence is all you need to know.