Megan Glosson

@megan-glosson | contributor
Mighty LeaderSuper Contributor
Hi, I'm Megan, a Community Leader here at The Mighty who also runs the "BPD Safe Zone" group. I'm very open about my struggles with Borderline Personality Disorder and other mental health conditions because I hope that by sharing my story, I can help erase the negative stigma surrounding mental illness. Besides writing, my daughters are my life. I love board games, traveling, and large quantities of ice cream. You can follow my personal journey at Living On The Borderline, or check out my writing on The Mighty, Thought Catalog, Unwritten, Thrive Global, Moms, and Project Wednesday.
Megan Glosson

Being LGBTQIA+ and Living With Borderline Personality Disorder

A few weeks ago, I stumbled across a research study about people with borderline personality disorder (BPD) within the LGBTQIA+ community. It really made me stop and think because, although I am a bisexual woman who also had a BPD diagnosis for years, I had never really connected the ways in which those two aspects of my identity correlate. However, as I read through the study and thought about my life, I realized these two aspects of my identity coincide in the most painful ways. Living as a bisexual woman comes with its fair share of rejection and ridicule. People have distanced themselves from me upon learning my sexuality, while others have simply denied the validity of bisexuality. I’ve received emails filled with “fire and brimstone” religious ramblings and social media comments about my “lifestyle choices.” I even lost decade-long friends from college after I made the decision to “officially come out” in my late 20s. The same thing happened with my borderline personality diagnosis — people either ran for the hills because of the attached stigma or questioned the validity of my treatment team’s assessment. Complete strangers on the internet said I’d be better off dead and used words like “monster” and “evil” to describe me. Even friends I met who also live with mental health conditions have weaponized my diagnosis or used it as an excuse to belittle me years into my recovery. As you can imagine, this type of treatment regarding multiple aspects of my identity merely fuels my severe fear of abandonment, unstable sense of self, and suicidal ideation. There have been days when I wished I could simply “choose to be straight” or “stop being borderline,” but of course, it’s not possible to simply discard yourself like a pair of old socks. For better or worse, both of these parts of my identity aren’t things I chose to live with, which means I can’t just toss them out. (Believe me, I tried.) However, in true Marsha Linehan fashion, I don’t think that living with BPD and being a part of the LGBTQIA+ community is an entirely bad thing, either. In fact, I think that for all the pain and problems these aspects of myself create, they also bring a lot of light to my life. For example, I think that both of these “labels” have helped me connect with people who have truly enriched my life. Because people with borderline personality disorder face a significant amount of judgment and ridicule, they frequently find ways to band together as a community and care for each other. I’ve seen it happen across social media platforms and right here in the BPD Safe Zone group. The same thing occurs within the LGBTQIA+ community like within the local lesbian bar my partner and I frequent. For all the rejection and abandonment I’ve faced, I’ve also counteracted it within these amazing, safe spaces. I have also found that embracing these aspects of myself has ultimately helped me live a more authentic, fulfilling life. Hiding who I am felt necessary for so long, but it was emotionally draining and the cognitive dissonance caused severe emotional distress. Now that I’ve learned to accept myself entirely, I feel lighter and happier than ever before, and it’s really an amazing experience. You may not fit into both of these communities I mentioned, but I think that many of us experience these dichotomies of “good and bad” or “darkness and light” within many aspects of our identity. And although it can cause pain and distress at times, I also think that embracing who we are can ultimately bring us joy — but you have to be willing to show up for yourself day in and day out. Because, as Brené Brown says, “You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging…” even if you are a queer person with BPD, like me.

Megan Glosson

Being LGBTQIA+ and Living With Borderline Personality Disorder

A few weeks ago, I stumbled across a research study about people with borderline personality disorder (BPD) within the LGBTQIA+ community. It really made me stop and think because, although I am a bisexual woman who also had a BPD diagnosis for years, I had never really connected the ways in which those two aspects of my identity correlate. However, as I read through the study and thought about my life, I realized these two aspects of my identity coincide in the most painful ways. Living as a bisexual woman comes with its fair share of rejection and ridicule. People have distanced themselves from me upon learning my sexuality, while others have simply denied the validity of bisexuality. I’ve received emails filled with “fire and brimstone” religious ramblings and social media comments about my “lifestyle choices.” I even lost decade-long friends from college after I made the decision to “officially come out” in my late 20s. The same thing happened with my borderline personality diagnosis — people either ran for the hills because of the attached stigma or questioned the validity of my treatment team’s assessment. Complete strangers on the internet said I’d be better off dead and used words like “monster” and “evil” to describe me. Even friends I met who also live with mental health conditions have weaponized my diagnosis or used it as an excuse to belittle me years into my recovery. As you can imagine, this type of treatment regarding multiple aspects of my identity merely fuels my severe fear of abandonment, unstable sense of self, and suicidal ideation. There have been days when I wished I could simply “choose to be straight” or “stop being borderline,” but of course, it’s not possible to simply discard yourself like a pair of old socks. For better or worse, both of these parts of my identity aren’t things I chose to live with, which means I can’t just toss them out. (Believe me, I tried.) However, in true Marsha Linehan fashion, I don’t think that living with BPD and being a part of the LGBTQIA+ community is an entirely bad thing, either. In fact, I think that for all the pain and problems these aspects of myself create, they also bring a lot of light to my life. For example, I think that both of these “labels” have helped me connect with people who have truly enriched my life. Because people with borderline personality disorder face a significant amount of judgment and ridicule, they frequently find ways to band together as a community and care for each other. I’ve seen it happen across social media platforms and right here in the BPD Safe Zone group. The same thing occurs within the LGBTQIA+ community like within the local lesbian bar my partner and I frequent. For all the rejection and abandonment I’ve faced, I’ve also counteracted it within these amazing, safe spaces. I have also found that embracing these aspects of myself has ultimately helped me live a more authentic, fulfilling life. Hiding who I am felt necessary for so long, but it was emotionally draining and the cognitive dissonance caused severe emotional distress. Now that I’ve learned to accept myself entirely, I feel lighter and happier than ever before, and it’s really an amazing experience. You may not fit into both of these communities I mentioned, but I think that many of us experience these dichotomies of “good and bad” or “darkness and light” within many aspects of our identity. And although it can cause pain and distress at times, I also think that embracing who we are can ultimately bring us joy — but you have to be willing to show up for yourself day in and day out. Because, as Brené Brown says, “You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging…” even if you are a queer person with BPD, like me.

Megan Glosson

Being LGBTQIA+ and Living With Borderline Personality Disorder

A few weeks ago, I stumbled across a research study about people with borderline personality disorder (BPD) within the LGBTQIA+ community. It really made me stop and think because, although I am a bisexual woman who also had a BPD diagnosis for years, I had never really connected the ways in which those two aspects of my identity correlate. However, as I read through the study and thought about my life, I realized these two aspects of my identity coincide in the most painful ways. Living as a bisexual woman comes with its fair share of rejection and ridicule. People have distanced themselves from me upon learning my sexuality, while others have simply denied the validity of bisexuality. I’ve received emails filled with “fire and brimstone” religious ramblings and social media comments about my “lifestyle choices.” I even lost decade-long friends from college after I made the decision to “officially come out” in my late 20s. The same thing happened with my borderline personality diagnosis — people either ran for the hills because of the attached stigma or questioned the validity of my treatment team’s assessment. Complete strangers on the internet said I’d be better off dead and used words like “monster” and “evil” to describe me. Even friends I met who also live with mental health conditions have weaponized my diagnosis or used it as an excuse to belittle me years into my recovery. As you can imagine, this type of treatment regarding multiple aspects of my identity merely fuels my severe fear of abandonment, unstable sense of self, and suicidal ideation. There have been days when I wished I could simply “choose to be straight” or “stop being borderline,” but of course, it’s not possible to simply discard yourself like a pair of old socks. For better or worse, both of these parts of my identity aren’t things I chose to live with, which means I can’t just toss them out. (Believe me, I tried.) However, in true Marsha Linehan fashion, I don’t think that living with BPD and being a part of the LGBTQIA+ community is an entirely bad thing, either. In fact, I think that for all the pain and problems these aspects of myself create, they also bring a lot of light to my life. For example, I think that both of these “labels” have helped me connect with people who have truly enriched my life. Because people with borderline personality disorder face a significant amount of judgment and ridicule, they frequently find ways to band together as a community and care for each other. I’ve seen it happen across social media platforms and right here in the BPD Safe Zone group. The same thing occurs within the LGBTQIA+ community like within the local lesbian bar my partner and I frequent. For all the rejection and abandonment I’ve faced, I’ve also counteracted it within these amazing, safe spaces. I have also found that embracing these aspects of myself has ultimately helped me live a more authentic, fulfilling life. Hiding who I am felt necessary for so long, but it was emotionally draining and the cognitive dissonance caused severe emotional distress. Now that I’ve learned to accept myself entirely, I feel lighter and happier than ever before, and it’s really an amazing experience. You may not fit into both of these communities I mentioned, but I think that many of us experience these dichotomies of “good and bad” or “darkness and light” within many aspects of our identity. And although it can cause pain and distress at times, I also think that embracing who we are can ultimately bring us joy — but you have to be willing to show up for yourself day in and day out. Because, as Brené Brown says, “You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging…” even if you are a queer person with BPD, like me.

Megan Glosson

Boundaries You Might Find Helpful With Borderline Personality Disorder

“Boundaries” has become a big buzzword in recent years, yet boundaries are difficult to conceptualize. Once you start using them, though, you will find that they can be a helpful tool in your recovery. In fact, several therapeutic modalities for people with borderline personality disorder (BPD) explore boundary setting and its benefits for emotion regulation and interpersonal relationships . If you want to set boundaries but aren’t sure where to start, consider some of these helpful boundaries you can set with work, loved ones, and yourself. Boundaries With Work Work can be a stressful place for anyone who lives with a mental illness . However, for people with BPD , work can be a source of extreme panic and dysregulation. There are deadlines to meet, people to communicate with, and lots of places to let symptoms creep in. But, if you commit to specific boundaries with work, you can at least somewhat avoid these issues. Some boundaries you may want to set with your work or coworkers include: Only checking work emails at one or two set times each day. Using “block scheduling” to keep yourself on track and help you know what to expect each day. Holding yourself accountable for working your scheduled hours, not more or less. Establishing smaller milestone deadlines or creating a daily to-do list to make work feel more manageable. Saying “no” to additional commitments if you know they will cause you stress or impact your well-being. Not discussing your mental illness with coworkers candidly. Taking a mental health day when you know you won’t be able to focus on work or you notice an uptick in symptoms. Boundaries With Loved Ones Dealing with friends and family members can be very emotional at times. You may even struggle with things like “splitting” or extreme emotional dysregulation as a direct result of things your loved ones do or say. However, setting and maintaining healthy boundaries can really help with this. Some boundaries that may help you regulate your emotions when interacting with your friends and family include: Maintaining a two-sided conversation where you listen as well as talk. Asking people if they have the emotional bandwidth to talk to you before divulging something serious or telling them you are dysregulated. Not answering phone calls or text messages during your work or sleep hours. Pausing before you respond in conversations when you feel yourself growing dysregulated. Taking certain situations to your therapist for coaching before simply reacting emotionally. Creating a list of “off-limit topics” (i.e. politics or therapy) with family or friends who do not agree with your perspective. Saying “no” to requests that feel uncomfortable or may lead to poor decisions on your part. Asking people to not use your diagnosis as a weapon or excuse to treat you poorly. Boundaries With Yourself Unfortunately, some of the hardest boundaries for any of us to maintain are those we try to establish with ourselves. This can be especially true when our emotions quickly envelop our thoughts and push us to break commitments we’ve made to ourselves. This is why personal boundaries are so important. More importantly, though, setting firm boundaries with ourselves can really help our mental health . Oftentimes these boundaries help us regulate our emotions and care for ourselves the way we deserve, which is a critical part of recovery. Some boundaries you may want to set with yourself include: Sticking to a budget. Waiting 24 hours before sending more than one text message to a loved one. Not speaking negatively of yourself. Maintaining routines that help you regulate your emotions (i.e. going to bed at a certain time, eating three meals per day). Practicing coping skills when you feel dysregulated. Avoiding or limiting your exposure to known triggers. Not falling back into “old habits” on hard days. Boundaries don’t have to be extravagant, and they aren’t a proclamation you need to always make out loud. In all actuality, boundaries like the ones mentioned above are simply little lines you draw in the sand to help you stay on track as you create a life worth living.

Megan Glosson

Boundaries You Might Find Helpful With Borderline Personality Disorder

“Boundaries” has become a big buzzword in recent years, yet boundaries are difficult to conceptualize. Once you start using them, though, you will find that they can be a helpful tool in your recovery. In fact, several therapeutic modalities for people with borderline personality disorder (BPD) explore boundary setting and its benefits for emotion regulation and interpersonal relationships . If you want to set boundaries but aren’t sure where to start, consider some of these helpful boundaries you can set with work, loved ones, and yourself. Boundaries With Work Work can be a stressful place for anyone who lives with a mental illness . However, for people with BPD , work can be a source of extreme panic and dysregulation. There are deadlines to meet, people to communicate with, and lots of places to let symptoms creep in. But, if you commit to specific boundaries with work, you can at least somewhat avoid these issues. Some boundaries you may want to set with your work or coworkers include: Only checking work emails at one or two set times each day. Using “block scheduling” to keep yourself on track and help you know what to expect each day. Holding yourself accountable for working your scheduled hours, not more or less. Establishing smaller milestone deadlines or creating a daily to-do list to make work feel more manageable. Saying “no” to additional commitments if you know they will cause you stress or impact your well-being. Not discussing your mental illness with coworkers candidly. Taking a mental health day when you know you won’t be able to focus on work or you notice an uptick in symptoms. Boundaries With Loved Ones Dealing with friends and family members can be very emotional at times. You may even struggle with things like “splitting” or extreme emotional dysregulation as a direct result of things your loved ones do or say. However, setting and maintaining healthy boundaries can really help with this. Some boundaries that may help you regulate your emotions when interacting with your friends and family include: Maintaining a two-sided conversation where you listen as well as talk. Asking people if they have the emotional bandwidth to talk to you before divulging something serious or telling them you are dysregulated. Not answering phone calls or text messages during your work or sleep hours. Pausing before you respond in conversations when you feel yourself growing dysregulated. Taking certain situations to your therapist for coaching before simply reacting emotionally. Creating a list of “off-limit topics” (i.e. politics or therapy) with family or friends who do not agree with your perspective. Saying “no” to requests that feel uncomfortable or may lead to poor decisions on your part. Asking people to not use your diagnosis as a weapon or excuse to treat you poorly. Boundaries With Yourself Unfortunately, some of the hardest boundaries for any of us to maintain are those we try to establish with ourselves. This can be especially true when our emotions quickly envelop our thoughts and push us to break commitments we’ve made to ourselves. This is why personal boundaries are so important. More importantly, though, setting firm boundaries with ourselves can really help our mental health . Oftentimes these boundaries help us regulate our emotions and care for ourselves the way we deserve, which is a critical part of recovery. Some boundaries you may want to set with yourself include: Sticking to a budget. Waiting 24 hours before sending more than one text message to a loved one. Not speaking negatively of yourself. Maintaining routines that help you regulate your emotions (i.e. going to bed at a certain time, eating three meals per day). Practicing coping skills when you feel dysregulated. Avoiding or limiting your exposure to known triggers. Not falling back into “old habits” on hard days. Boundaries don’t have to be extravagant, and they aren’t a proclamation you need to always make out loud. In all actuality, boundaries like the ones mentioned above are simply little lines you draw in the sand to help you stay on track as you create a life worth living.

Megan Glosson

Types of Therapy for Borderline Personality Disorder

I have spent nearly 1,000 hours in therapy since I first received a borderline personality disorder (BPD) diagnosis nearly five years ago. Although it has by no means been a walk in the park every single week, I have reached a point in my life where I no longer meet the criteria for BPD and feel (mostly) satisfied with my day-to-day routines. Like many people who receive a borderline personality disorder diagnosis after a hospitalization, I was given the contact information for local dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) treatment facilities and therapists trained in this modality who may be able to help. What I didn’t realize at the time was that DBT isn’t the only option out there for people like me. In fact, there are a total of five different types of therapy that all have a proven success record with borderline patients. 1. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based therapeutic modality designed specifically for individuals with borderline personality disorder. Psychologist Marsha Linehan designed DBT in the 1980s. Linehan, who spent years researching clients with extreme emotion dysregulation and suicidal urges, felt like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) caused these clients to experience burnout, lack of motivation, and invalidation. So, she combined some of the aspects of CBT with the ideas of acceptance and mindfulness practice to create a modality that was more fitting for this clientele. Fully-adherent DBT includes weekly individual therapy sessions, weekly skills group education sessions, and phone coaching between sessions. A full course of DBT takes around six months to complete, and clients are encouraged to complete two cycles to master the skills for mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal communication. 2. Mentalization-Based Therapy (MBT) Mentalization-based therapy is another evidence-based practice created specifically for people with borderline personality disorder. It’s highly beneficial for people who experienced early childhood trauma that caused abandonment issues or people with insecure attachments to one or both of their parents. The modality borrows some techniques from other common types of therapy, including cognitive-behavioral, psychodynamic, social-ecological and systemic therapies. However, the main focus of this specific modality is to enhance each person’s ability to differentiate between their own emotional state and the emotional state of those around them. This concept is called mentalization, and it is something that many people with BPD struggle with. By learning how to separate your own emotions from others, you can regulate your emotions more effectively and spend less time trapped in a dysregulated state. Like DBT, people who enroll in MBT with a therapist typically attend weekly individual sessions as well as weekly group sessions. Unlike DBT, though, members in groups often interact with each other to offer advice and learn from one another. 3. Transference-Focused Psychotherapy (TFP) Transference-focused psychotherapy (TFP) is a specific type of psychoanalytic treatment in which the focus is on the relationship between the therapist and the individual client. The idea is that by focusing on the interpersonal dynamics that occur between the therapist and the client, the therapist can gain insight that will help the client improve. According to therapists who use TFP, most people develop BPD because of dysfunctional relationships with parents and other caregivers during early childhood. For people who live with borderline personality disorder, TFP is used to uncover the underlying causes of a person’s borderline symptoms so they can build new, healthier thought processes and behaviors. 4. Systems Training for Emotional Predictability and Problem Solving (STEPPS) Systems Training for Emotional Predictability and Problem Solving (STEPPS) is a manual-based, 20-week group therapy program designed specifically for people with borderline personality disorder. Like dialectical behavior therapy, STEPPS combines cognitive behavioral elements and skills training in a group setting. The skills group programs meet once per week for two hours each session. The groups are typically led by a pair of therapists, and the groups are kept fairly small, with around six to 10 participants at a time. Within STEPPS, individuals learn how to identify automatic thoughts through schema work, monitor their symptoms, and how to problem solve situations in healthy manners. STEPPS also teaches the importance of self-care, and how to better manage overwhelming emotions. Although it has not gained as much recognition as other therapeutic modalities for people with BPD, it is still an evidence-based approach with studies that show its success. 5. Trauma Treatment Studies show that people with borderline personality disorder are 13 times more likely to have experienced early childhood trauma. Because of the strong links to trauma, many clinicians have started using trauma treatment with BPD clients to see if processing the trauma helps lower emotional intensity and other symptoms. In fact, some preliminary studies show trauma work as a viable option for people who have BPD and a trauma history. There are several notable types of trauma treatment that work well for people with borderline personality disorder who also have a history of trauma. Some trauma treatment methods that may work include eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR), skills training in affective and interpersonal regulation (STAIR), and cognitive processing therapy (CPT). While each approach is a little different, they are all methods of processing trauma, which can help decrease symptoms over time. Like most other mental health conditions, treatment options for people with borderline personality disorder shouldn’t be a “one size fits all” approach. However, many people with BPD don’t realize just how many viable treatment options exist for them, and instead they give up when one recommended method doesn’t work. If you are looking for a path to recovery from borderline personality disorder, I hope this list gives you some options to pursue. Recovery from BPD is possible —  it’s just a matter of finding the treatment method and lifestyle that works for you.

Megan Glosson

Boundaries You Might Find Helpful With Borderline Personality Disorder

“Boundaries” has become a big buzzword in recent years, yet boundaries are difficult to conceptualize. Once you start using them, though, you will find that they can be a helpful tool in your recovery. In fact, several therapeutic modalities for people with borderline personality disorder (BPD) explore boundary setting and its benefits for emotion regulation and interpersonal relationships . If you want to set boundaries but aren’t sure where to start, consider some of these helpful boundaries you can set with work, loved ones, and yourself. Boundaries With Work Work can be a stressful place for anyone who lives with a mental illness . However, for people with BPD , work can be a source of extreme panic and dysregulation. There are deadlines to meet, people to communicate with, and lots of places to let symptoms creep in. But, if you commit to specific boundaries with work, you can at least somewhat avoid these issues. Some boundaries you may want to set with your work or coworkers include: Only checking work emails at one or two set times each day. Using “block scheduling” to keep yourself on track and help you know what to expect each day. Holding yourself accountable for working your scheduled hours, not more or less. Establishing smaller milestone deadlines or creating a daily to-do list to make work feel more manageable. Saying “no” to additional commitments if you know they will cause you stress or impact your well-being. Not discussing your mental illness with coworkers candidly. Taking a mental health day when you know you won’t be able to focus on work or you notice an uptick in symptoms. Boundaries With Loved Ones Dealing with friends and family members can be very emotional at times. You may even struggle with things like “splitting” or extreme emotional dysregulation as a direct result of things your loved ones do or say. However, setting and maintaining healthy boundaries can really help with this. Some boundaries that may help you regulate your emotions when interacting with your friends and family include: Maintaining a two-sided conversation where you listen as well as talk. Asking people if they have the emotional bandwidth to talk to you before divulging something serious or telling them you are dysregulated. Not answering phone calls or text messages during your work or sleep hours. Pausing before you respond in conversations when you feel yourself growing dysregulated. Taking certain situations to your therapist for coaching before simply reacting emotionally. Creating a list of “off-limit topics” (i.e. politics or therapy) with family or friends who do not agree with your perspective. Saying “no” to requests that feel uncomfortable or may lead to poor decisions on your part. Asking people to not use your diagnosis as a weapon or excuse to treat you poorly. Boundaries With Yourself Unfortunately, some of the hardest boundaries for any of us to maintain are those we try to establish with ourselves. This can be especially true when our emotions quickly envelop our thoughts and push us to break commitments we’ve made to ourselves. This is why personal boundaries are so important. More importantly, though, setting firm boundaries with ourselves can really help our mental health . Oftentimes these boundaries help us regulate our emotions and care for ourselves the way we deserve, which is a critical part of recovery. Some boundaries you may want to set with yourself include: Sticking to a budget. Waiting 24 hours before sending more than one text message to a loved one. Not speaking negatively of yourself. Maintaining routines that help you regulate your emotions (i.e. going to bed at a certain time, eating three meals per day). Practicing coping skills when you feel dysregulated. Avoiding or limiting your exposure to known triggers. Not falling back into “old habits” on hard days. Boundaries don’t have to be extravagant, and they aren’t a proclamation you need to always make out loud. In all actuality, boundaries like the ones mentioned above are simply little lines you draw in the sand to help you stay on track as you create a life worth living.

Megan Glosson

7 Children's Books That Explain Tragedies, News, and Difficult Topics

As much as we try to protect our children and create a positive world for them to grow up in, the reality is that our children are constantly bombarded with devastating news topics filled with tragedy and loss. In fact, an average of 12 children die each day because of gun violence. Add to that the number of deadly storms and other types of tragedies that happen on a daily basis around the world, and it’s easy to see why so many children live with anxiety and fear. Unfortunately, parents can’t do a lot to prevent these events from happening, nor can they keep their children away from the news forever. However, parents can use books (like these seven suggested ones) to help children deal with the news and other difficult topics. 1. “What to Do When the News Scares You” by Jacqueline B. Toner As part of the best-selling What To Do series, “What to Do When the News Scares You: A Kid’s Guide to Understanding Current Events” helps children put the jarring information they may see or hear from various news sources into a perspective that can help avoid panic. The book offers explanations behind triggering news stories and suggested coping skills children can use when news alarms them in some way. 2. “Something Bad Happened” by Dawn Huebner “Something Bad Happened: A Kid’s Guide to Coping With Events in the News” is a great guide for children ages 6 to 12 and the adults in their lives who want to help them make sense of large-scale disasters they see or hear about through the news. The text addresses questions regarding why these events happened, where they occurred, and whether or not they will happen again. The text also normalizes common emotions for news events, like sadness, fear, and confusion, which can really help older children who are still learning about their feelings and how to manage them. 3. “A Terrible Thing Happened” by Margaret Holmes Sometimes fictional texts can be just as beneficial to children as nonfiction ones, especially when it comes to dealing with difficult topics. In  “A Terrible Thing Happened,” Sherman Smith deals with many of the common issues children face when something difficult happens, and learns that talking about your feelings can be a powerful tool. Although the book never divulges what “terrible thing” happened to Sherman, it does offer relatable moments for kids and explores all of the avenues children may try to cope with their emotions. 4. “When the World Feels Like a Scary Place” by Abigail Gewirtz, Ph.D. When children try to make sense of difficult topics, it is often up to parents to find the right things to say. But what happens when a parent isn’t sure how to handle an unimaginable situation like many of the recent events in the news? That’s where “When the World Feels Like a Scary Place: Essential Conversations for Anxious Parents and Worried Kids” comes in. It’s a text filled with conversation scripts to help parents have difficult conversations with kids about modern events. For each topic, you receive actual dialogue, talking points, prompts, and insightful asides that can help you talk to your child about these issues in an age-appropriate way. 5. Bright Littles “Safety Convo Journal” If you’re looking for something a bit more interactive for your whole family, the “Safety Convo Journal” by Bright Littles may be what you need for these difficult conversations. This book is not just a text to read, but an interactive activity journal designed to help your family have open discussions about certain topics so you can create safety plans and help your children know what to do. The book covers many common topics families would need safety plans for, but it also includes a section on gun violence, which sadly is something we all seem to need these days. 6. “The Breaking News” by Sarah Lynne Reul “The Breaking News” is yet another excellent text that specifically covers what families can do with disturbing information they receive through news sources. However, unlike some of the other texts on this list, it doesn’t just focus on dealing with fear and other painful emotions. Instead, the text covers topics like resilience, community, and optimism as a way of showing children that positive change can come from the most difficult times. 7. “Catching Thoughts” by Bonnie Clark Sometimes it isn’t just the news that children need help dealing with, but also their racing thoughts that appear in the aftermath of tragedy. Luckily, this story teaches kids exactly how to acknowledge the uncomfortable thoughts they have after hearing certain types of news, then teaches them how to replace those unwanted thoughts with more positive ones instead. It’s a great way to teach children the basics of thought reframing in a way that makes sense to their little minds. This can help ease anxiety and provide comfort for children who are wrestling with difficult emotions day in and day out. Books are a great way to help kids understand complex topics in a way that’s relatable and digestible. These seven books may not have all the answers, but they can certainly help your family learn how to cope with painful moments in a healthy way.

Megan Glosson

7 Children's Books That Explain Tragedies, News, and Difficult Topics

As much as we try to protect our children and create a positive world for them to grow up in, the reality is that our children are constantly bombarded with devastating news topics filled with tragedy and loss. In fact, an average of 12 children die each day because of gun violence. Add to that the number of deadly storms and other types of tragedies that happen on a daily basis around the world, and it’s easy to see why so many children live with anxiety and fear. Unfortunately, parents can’t do a lot to prevent these events from happening, nor can they keep their children away from the news forever. However, parents can use books (like these seven suggested ones) to help children deal with the news and other difficult topics. 1. “What to Do When the News Scares You” by Jacqueline B. Toner As part of the best-selling What To Do series, “What to Do When the News Scares You: A Kid’s Guide to Understanding Current Events” helps children put the jarring information they may see or hear from various news sources into a perspective that can help avoid panic. The book offers explanations behind triggering news stories and suggested coping skills children can use when news alarms them in some way. 2. “Something Bad Happened” by Dawn Huebner “Something Bad Happened: A Kid’s Guide to Coping With Events in the News” is a great guide for children ages 6 to 12 and the adults in their lives who want to help them make sense of large-scale disasters they see or hear about through the news. The text addresses questions regarding why these events happened, where they occurred, and whether or not they will happen again. The text also normalizes common emotions for news events, like sadness, fear, and confusion, which can really help older children who are still learning about their feelings and how to manage them. 3. “A Terrible Thing Happened” by Margaret Holmes Sometimes fictional texts can be just as beneficial to children as nonfiction ones, especially when it comes to dealing with difficult topics. In  “A Terrible Thing Happened,” Sherman Smith deals with many of the common issues children face when something difficult happens, and learns that talking about your feelings can be a powerful tool. Although the book never divulges what “terrible thing” happened to Sherman, it does offer relatable moments for kids and explores all of the avenues children may try to cope with their emotions. 4. “When the World Feels Like a Scary Place” by Abigail Gewirtz, Ph.D. When children try to make sense of difficult topics, it is often up to parents to find the right things to say. But what happens when a parent isn’t sure how to handle an unimaginable situation like many of the recent events in the news? That’s where “When the World Feels Like a Scary Place: Essential Conversations for Anxious Parents and Worried Kids” comes in. It’s a text filled with conversation scripts to help parents have difficult conversations with kids about modern events. For each topic, you receive actual dialogue, talking points, prompts, and insightful asides that can help you talk to your child about these issues in an age-appropriate way. 5. Bright Littles “Safety Convo Journal” If you’re looking for something a bit more interactive for your whole family, the “Safety Convo Journal” by Bright Littles may be what you need for these difficult conversations. This book is not just a text to read, but an interactive activity journal designed to help your family have open discussions about certain topics so you can create safety plans and help your children know what to do. The book covers many common topics families would need safety plans for, but it also includes a section on gun violence, which sadly is something we all seem to need these days. 6. “The Breaking News” by Sarah Lynne Reul “The Breaking News” is yet another excellent text that specifically covers what families can do with disturbing information they receive through news sources. However, unlike some of the other texts on this list, it doesn’t just focus on dealing with fear and other painful emotions. Instead, the text covers topics like resilience, community, and optimism as a way of showing children that positive change can come from the most difficult times. 7. “Catching Thoughts” by Bonnie Clark Sometimes it isn’t just the news that children need help dealing with, but also their racing thoughts that appear in the aftermath of tragedy. Luckily, this story teaches kids exactly how to acknowledge the uncomfortable thoughts they have after hearing certain types of news, then teaches them how to replace those unwanted thoughts with more positive ones instead. It’s a great way to teach children the basics of thought reframing in a way that makes sense to their little minds. This can help ease anxiety and provide comfort for children who are wrestling with difficult emotions day in and day out. Books are a great way to help kids understand complex topics in a way that’s relatable and digestible. These seven books may not have all the answers, but they can certainly help your family learn how to cope with painful moments in a healthy way.

Megan Glosson

26 Different Types of Headache and Migraine Disorders You Should Know

People often assume all headaches are the same. However, people who live with headache or migraine disorders know all too well that this isn’t the case. In fact, there are actually over 20 types of headaches and migraines, and knowing which type you have can help you and your doctor determine what type(s) of treatment will be most effective. Some headache and migraine disorders are stand-alone conditions, whereas others are secondary symptoms to another health condition. Also, some are fairly common, whereas others are so rare you may have never heard of them. So, let’s take a look at 26 different types of headaches and migraines, sorted by type. Primary Headache Disorders 1. Tension Headache Tension-type headaches (TTH) are the most commonly occurring type of headache disorder worldwide. These headaches cause feelings of pressure or tightness in a band-type shape around the head, and can also spread into the neck. 2. Cluster Headache Cluster headache (CH) is a headache disorder in which people experience severe headaches around one eye or on one side of the head. In addition to the extreme pain they cause, these headaches can also come alongside symptoms like red or teary eyes, sweating around the face, runny or stuffy nose, and restlessness or agitation. Approximately 1 in 1,000 adults live with cluster headaches. Secondary Headaches 3. Caffeine Headache Caffeine headaches are a type of secondary headache caused by either a caffeine withdrawal or overuse of caffeine. Although these headaches are not typically life-threatening, they can be frustrating and painful for people who experience them. 4. Hormone Headache (Menstrual Migraine) Hormone headaches, or menstrual migraines, are headaches that occur either right before or during a person’s period. The headache can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days and can get worse with certain lights, sounds, smells, or movements (much like a migraine). Because these headaches are typically caused by changes in estrogen levels, sometimes doctors will prescribe certain types of birth control to help people manage severe forms of hormone headaches. 5. Sinus Headache Many people experience sinus headaches when their sinus passages become congested or inflamed. This often causes intense pressure or pain behind and around one’s cheeks, nose, eyes, and forehead. These headaches are often treated with over-the-counter medications, but sometimes are the result of a sinus infection, which requires antibiotics to cure. 6. Hypertension Headache Elevated blood pressure can cause what’s called a hypertension headache. It typically feels like a pulsating type of pain on both sides of the head and can be a warning sign of a more serious medical condition. 7. Exertion Headache An exertion headache, or exercise headache, usually occurs as a result of intense physical activity. These headaches can last a few hours or a few days. They usually have no underlying cause. 8. Rebound Headache Rebound headaches, or medication overuse headaches, frequently occur in people who live with another type of headache disorder. They are usually caused by the overuse of NSAIDs or other types of pain relievers. Common treatment includes temporarily discontinuing certain medications. Migraine Types 9. Migraine With Aura Migraine with aura is a type of migraine disorder in which people experience aura, visual and sensory changes that occur shortly before the migraine headache, or attack, begins. About 25 percent of people who live with migraine experience migraine with aura. 10. Migraine Without Aura Migraine without aura is a migraine disorder in which the two warning phases (prodrome and aura) do not occur. Besides that, migraine without aura includes most of the hallmark symptoms of other types of migraine. 11. Migraine With Brainstem Aura Migraine with brainstem aura is a migraine disorder where the aura symptoms originate from the brainstem. This can cause symptoms like slurred speech, vertigo, tinnitus, and impaired hearing in addition to typical migraine symptoms. 12. Episodic Migraine Most people who experience migraine live with what is called episodic migraine. This simply means they have migraine attacks up to seven times per month on average. People can experience episodic migraine with any of the types of migraine disorders on this list. 13. Chronic Migraine People who experience migraine attacks at least 15 days per month have what is called chronic migraine. The intensity of the attacks can vary, and people with chronic migraine are susceptible to rebound headaches because they often need to take medications more frequently than most other people. 14. Hemiplegic Migraine Hemiplegic migraine is a migraine disorder that causes weakness and tingling or loss of sensation on one side of the body. People who deal with hemiplegic migraine may confuse their symptoms for signs of a stroke, especially when the symptoms occur without the presence of head pain. 15. Acephalgic Migraine Acephalgic, or silent migraine, is a migraine disorder in which people experience all of the common migraine symptoms without head pain. People who live with silent migraine deal with visual disturbances, nausea, fatigue, and more. 16. Ocular (or Retinal) Migraine Retinal migraine is a migraine disorder in which the aura phase causes a temporary loss of vision in one eye. It is most common in women, and can be a sign of other underlying health conditions. In most cases, though, the vision loss reverses itself. 17. Vestibular Migraine Vestibular migraine is a migraine disorder that causes vertigo, or repeated dizziness, in people who experience migraine symptoms. People with this type of migraine may also deal with other common migraine symptoms, such as sensitivity to light, sound, and smell, nausea, and more. People who deal with vestibular migraine may or may not experience headache pain. 18. Status migrainosus Status migrainosus is a term used to explain migraine attacks that may not respond to any traditional treatment and last more than 72 hours. Unfortunately, this condition often lands people in the hospital, and it can be hard to diagnose. 19. Ophthalmoplegic Migraine Ophthalmoplegic migraine is a type of migraine that impacts the eyes. People with this rare type of migraine experience headache pain around their eyeballs. They may also experience eye weakness, double vision, and an inability to move eye muscles during an attack. 20. Abdominal Migraine People who live with abdominal migraine experience extreme pain like any other migraineur. However, the pain is concentrated in the abdomen instead of the head. It’s far more common in children than adults. Rare Types of Headache and Migraine 21. Ice Pick Headaches As the name implies, ice pick headaches are short-lasting, intense headaches that create sharp pain that feels like you are being stabbed with an ice pick. They usually occur in the orbit, temple, and parietal area of your head. 22. Cervicogenic Headache Cervicogenic headaches are ones caused by pain in your neck that feels like it is in the back of your head. These headaches can come as the result of a neck injury or from a lesion on the spine. 23. SUNCT Headache Short-Lasting Unilateral Neuralgiform Headache with Conjunctival Injection and Tearing (SUNCT) is a rare headache disorder that only occurs in approximately 6 out of every 100,000 individuals. SUNCT headaches typically occur as bursts of piercing, throbbing, or burning pain and typically happen around the eye or temple on one side of the person’s head. Each episode can last for up to four minutes, and people usually experience multiple attacks per hour. 24. Hemicrania Continua Hemicrania continua is a rare type of primary headache that often occurs as continuous daily pain. Although it can fluctuate in severity, it usually occurs on one side of the head or face, and causes additional symptoms like red, watery eyes, blocked nasal passages, and/or a runny nose. 25. Paroxysmal Hemicrania Paroxysmal hemicrania is a rare form of headache that typically occurs in adults. People who live with paroxysmal hemicrania report severe claw-like, throbbing pain that lasts for up to 30 minutes at a time and can occur as often as 40 times per day. 26. Thunderclap Headache Thunderclap headaches are severe, short-lasting headaches that feel like a clap of thunder striking one’s head. These headaches are rare, and often a sign of bleeding in and around the brain or other potentially life-threatening issues. As this list demonstrates, there are many different types of headaches and migraines, and they are anything but all the same. No matter what type of headache or migraine disorder you live with though, know that your symptoms and your pain are real, but they don’t make you any less worthy as a person.