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I Think I Swallowed a Bug Yesterday
Written by Allison Ricciardi, L.M.H.C.   


allison nametitleWell, for once, this is not just a clever title. I wish it were. I think I really did swallow a bug yesterday. I was working at my desk with a glass of kombucha on the rocks and it happened. I took a sip without looking and felt something else going down.

Now for those of you who are unfamiliar, Kombucha is a fermented tea. It’s loaded with probiotics and enzymes and is an acquired taste, for sure. My husband can’t even look at the stuff. I’m pretty sure fermenting it in jars in my kitchen delayed my long awaited marriage proposal (“They look like brains!”). What can I say? I like it. It’s not uncommon though to get bits of the scoby (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast responsible for the fermentation process – (Are you queasy yet?) - when you’re drinking it, which can gross out many people. I’m not one of them. I’m sure it wasn’t a scoby as those are pretty gelatinous and go down rather easily. This was different. I felt it. I’m pretty sure it was a moth. Maybe a lady bug, which is slightly less repugnant, but my best guess is…moth.

I was amazingly calm after it happened, although the more I think about it today the more skeeved out I get (and even a little nauseous). The point is that if you were to ask me to swallow a bug, any bug, even for $1000 there would be no way to convince me (although at $10,000 we might start negotiations). I would never countenance such a thing. Out of the question! It’s just too gross.

Read more: I Think I Swallowed a Bug Yesterday  [I Think I Swallowed a Bug Yesterday]



Mental Illness Awareness Week: October 4th -10th
Written by Dr. Rev. Richard J. Jakubik, LCSW   


fr-richard-jakubik-psy.dIn 1990, the U.S. Congress established the first full week of October as 'Mental Illness Awareness Week' (MIAW).  This week is to help raise awareness of behavioral and mental health issues and working to reduce stigma.

Take a moment and look to your left, then to your right. Now look behind you and in front of you. One of the people you just saw has been diagnosed with a mental illness.

One in four adults−approximately 61.5 million Americans−experiences mental illness in a given year. One in seventeen−about 13.6 million−live with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder. Approximately 20 percent of youth ages 13 to 18 experience severe mental disorders in a given year. For ages 8 to 15, the estimate is 13 percent.

As a Catholic Priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago and serving as a clinical psychological therapist for over 20 years, I know that with the help of treatment, individuals suffering from mental illness can develop strategies to deal with their illness, and carry on healthy, productive, and meaningful lives. Receiving treatment early is the most effective way to deal with a mental illness or mental health problem. 

Read more: Mental Illness Awareness Week: October 4th -10th  [Mental Illness Awareness Week: October 4th -10th]



5 Survival Tips to Love the Addict in Your Life
Written by Elizabeth Galanti, MBA, MA, LMHC   


elizabeth-galanti-lmhcI was recently talking with a friend who is a long-time, sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous. She asked, "How many people come to you because of addiction?"

I said, "A good number. But I have more clients who want help because they have a loved one who suffers from an addiction." She was surprised and asked me why.

The impact of addiction -- albeit an addiction to alcohol, drugs, gambling, pornography, Internet, affairs -- are equally as damaging to the loved one as they are to the addicted one.

FINANCIAL WORRIES: Those with an addiction spend a fair amount of money on their habit. That leaves the family with less money and in constant fear.

EMOTIONAL STRESS: It is like riding a roller coaster. Those with addictions typically exhibit unpredictable behavior which causes turmoil in the family.

CODEPENDENCY: When a person takes on the responsibility of 'helper' -- they enable the addict. This is an incredibly stressful role that includes worrying and constant maneuvering.

I said to my friend, "Those that love an addict are walking on eggshells and always trying to prevent disaster."

This creates so much stress, but there are survival guidelines that can help.

Read more: 5 Survival Tips to Love the Addict in Your Life  [5 Survival Tips to Love the Addict in Your Life]



The Cutting Edge…What Every Parent and Teacher Needs to Know
Written by Dana Mayeux Nygaard, LPC   


dana-nygaardYou suspect that an adolescent has self-inflicted cutting injuries and you are naturally alarmed. This behavior is known as self-mutilation and the most common form is cutting. What is cutting? Cutting is one way in which a person uses self-harm as a method of coping, albeit not a healthy way of coping. Adolescents typically self-harm to ‘feel alive’ or to divert themselves from overwhelming emotions such as anger, sadness, or anxiety. Some will cut as a way to relieve stress or feel in control of their life. A small segment of those who self-harm are seeking to ‘purify’ their bodies. Cutting behavior is frequently linked to low self-esteem and depression. Girls, more than boys, opt to cut. Such self-harming behavior can be risky; however it is not typically indicative of suicidal thoughts or attempts on one’s life.

Some warning signs of cutting are: scars, cuts, scratches, sporting long sleeves or pants that cover their exposed skin and blaming such recurring injuries on accidents or pets.


Read more: The Cutting Edge…What Every Parent and Teacher Needs to Know  [The Cutting Edge…What Every Parent and Teacher Needs to Know]

ct angel"When Jesus saw the vast crowd His heart was moved with pity, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things."
Mark 6:34