Month: April 2015

Does Everyone Have a Mental Illness?

By Natasha Sharma

The answer to this question of course is ‘No.’ Nevertheless the percentage of people diagnosed and dealing with a mental illness increases with each passing year. Certainly over the years, due to advances in society and technology, we have become more aware of the biological and psychological markers of mental illness, and more willing to recognize it. Another reason put forth to explain the rise of mental illness is the idea that we currently live “in more difficult times” than previously. I don’t agree with this. The reality is we now live in arguably the easiest times in the course of human history, and we seem to have lost some of our “toughness.” But I’ll save that last point for another article. Sure, we have our fair share of problems (faster pace of life, career burnout, environmental concerns), but I wouldn’t trade these problems in for the ones our ancestors had (such as world war and widespread disease) any time soon. And we are no more pre-disposed to mental health issues now than we were then. So what is really going on here? Are we all getting sicker? Or do we simply need to understand the difference between a mental illness and a normal response to the experience of life? I think it’s the latter.

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Top 4 Ways Social Media Is Killing Your Relationship

By Natasha Sharma

How many times in the last hour have you checked in with any Social Media platform on which you have a profile? Once? Twice? More than 10?? Studies show that people between the ages of 18 and 64 currently spend an average of about 3 hours per day on Social Media sites. That’s a little over 11 minutes each hour, figuring a 16-hour day. That works out to an average of about a minute for every 5 minutes. And that equals almost 20% of our waking lives! If we are going to dedicate that much of our precious time to something, it would be wise to understand and evaluate the quality of our experience.

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Relax! It’s OK for Your Kids to be Angry with You

By Natasha Sharma

Early on in my practice as a psychotherapist, I worked with a lovely but troubled young family from Maryland. These were parents of an 8-year old child who struggled with his mood. He often had emotional ‘melt-downs’ at school and home that involved severe tantrums and oppositional behaviour. One evening when they came to see me for an appointment, the boy was wearing a t-shirt that read: “My Family is Afraid of Me.” Funny enough in a tongue in cheek sort of way. But for this family it spoke volumes about their issues. This was a trio where the power dynamics were consistently in favor of the child. Every effort was made by his parents to ensure he wouldn’t become upset or angry or dislike the outcome of something, even if that meant never saying the word “no” to him. When I gently confronted his parents about this, their response was simple enough: “We don’t want him to be mad at us.”

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