10 Things I've Learned in the Year Since My Father's Death

Monday, March 23, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under General

A year ago, my father passed away. Massive coronary, completely unexpected, utterly devastating. I wrote about it in Grief From Love. The outpouring of support was humbling and I cannot thank you enough. But I also got many questions about it. Did it get better? How did things change? Today I will do my best to answer those questions but I may have done it even better in "Alien Landscape," a short story I wrote that used metaphor to explore my emotions. For more on "Alien Landscape," click here. Otherwise, read on....  continue reading

Learning Languages Will Turn You Into a Super-Human! Yoga for the Brain and Other Reasons Learning Languages is Good for You

Monday, March 16, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under General

Ever wonder whether learning a new language is beneficial outside of being able to talk to new and interesting people? If so, I have a special treat for you. And if you want more information on the benefits and struggles of bilingual individuals, check out The Psycholinguistics of BilingualismBilingual: Life and RealityTongue-Tied: The Lives of Multilingual Children in Public Education and A Parents' and Teachers' Guide to Bilingualism (Parents' and Teachers' Guides).

By: Olga Mecking

Even before I became a linguist and had my own trilingual kids, I was a language geek. I speak five languages (Polish, German, English, French and Dutch) and use at least three of them in everyday conversation. 

Being bilingual is not uncommon in other parts of the world the way it is in America. Instead of languages, guns and bacon, I associate America with superheroes. And each of you people can become super human and have fun doing it.  All it takes is learning a language. I am going to go all nerdy and science-y on you, but stick with me to learn how new languages gives you super human powers. (Cue evil laugh)....  continue reading

Why I Cut: Triggers, Risk Factors and Coping with Self Harm

Thursday, March 05, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under General

Self harm is a beast not easily overcome. While previous posts have discussed the evolutionary triggers to self harm and possible coping skills, sometimes hearing from those who have suffered is the best way to glean understanding. If you or someone you love is dealing with self harm, get professional help and check out some of my favorite books on the subject: Freedom from Selfharm: Overcoming Self-Injury with Skills from DBT and Other TreatmentsA Bright Red Scream: Self-Mutilation and the Language of PainHelping Teens Who Cut: Understanding and Ending Self-Injury and Cutting: Understanding and Overcoming Self-Mutilation.

By: Ashley

When you discuss your issues with self-harm, there are a few different responses.  Some will say nothing. People who love you might beg, lecture, or threaten you. But most people ask what I've come to call the "Frequently Asked Questions of Self Harm”: the who, what, when, where and most importantly... the WHY....  continue reading

What Most People Don't Know About Self-Harm: The Evolutionary Basis for Injury

Monday, March 02, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under General

"I just want the pain to go away. The blade....it helps. I just don't know how else to make the feelings stop."

The woman in my office was not alone. Self-harm is an issue that is notoriously difficult to cope with, for individuals and families alike. There are several models that explain why these issues may come about, some of which have adaptive significance. Though it is unlikely that only one of these is triggering the behavior on its own, understanding them in combination may help those who engage in self-harm, those who love someone who does, and those who treat them. 

This blog is for informational purposes only. If you or someone you love is engaging in self-harm, please seek professional help and check out the books at the bottom of this post....  continue reading

Cramps, Bloating and...Suicidal Thoughts? Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder and Ways to Combat PMDD

Monday, February 23, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under General

PMS doesn’t have an official definition, so anyone can attribute anything to it. Cramping. Bloating. Irritability. Tearfulness over cat videos or commercials. The incessant craving for ice cream. The incessant eating of ice cream. (More here in 5 Ways Your Hormones are Affecting Your Brain).

But Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is a completely different beast. And it is a beast. It disrupts the daily lives of women, decreases their ability to function and at worst can tear families apart. I know. It happened to mine. But we’ll get into that in a minute. 

Despite the seriousness of the issue, the drug companies kinda fucked us up and made everyone and their mother pretty sure they have it through clever drug marketing. This has led to a great deal of potentially dangerous misconceptions. 

So let’s clear this up shall we?...  continue reading

"F*ck This Shit": Female Veterans, Trauma, Informed Consent and Working Towards Something Better

Monday, February 16, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under General

War comes at a great cost to the people who fight. 

We are great at programming people to be soldiers. At this point, we can adjust the brain at will in order to make sure that the people we send to fight our battles will do what we need them to, to protect American interests. 

But we suck terribly at reintegrating people. I’ve seen men hang on desperately to the notion that, “All Commies are the devil,” because they needed to believe it lest they recognize that they murdered women and children who could have been theirs. I have also seen the ones who recognized that these things were not true reduced to such horrendous guilt that they were never able to function again. 

This is the real cost of war. Sure it’s about money and about political interests and a whole lot of other shit, but the price we pay is too high to justify it unless we assume that the “greater good” outweighs the lives of the people who volunteer to protect these interests. Which for the most part, we do as a nation. And, for the most part, veterans assume that their ultimate sacrifice is  for something greater than themselves, and they face this with trepidation but ultimately nobility. 

But this post isn’t about whether it’s worth it to us as a nation. It’s about informed consent. Because while these men and women go in with the knowledge that they might die, they are not often informed that the emotional issues acquired during their stints may persist throughout the rest of their lives....  continue reading