Aug 26

Tips and Tools for the Sensory Defensive, Part I

A few weeks ago, I wrote about what it means to be sensory defensive. The basic definition, as provided by Dr. Sharon Heller in Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Fast, Too Tight, is this: “sensory defensiveness is a condition that encompasses a constellation of symptoms, including tension, anxiety, avoidance, stress, anger, and even violence, that result …

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Aug 12

Travel: Leavenworth, Bavaria’s Cutesy American Cousin

When bored urban planning committees “seek to revitalize,” places like Leavenworth are born. What this means for the easily distracted is that all we have to do is drive two hours northeast of Seattle, and gesundheit, we’ve hit Bavaria-land, a place where beer and sausages reign supreme. It’s where even the banks, gas stations and …

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Jul 29

PNWA 2014 Writers’ Conference: When Zen Sets In

This July’s PNWA Writers’ Conference marked my third go, and while I learned six cups of coffee, three glasses of wine, a gallon of water, two Advil and a 90-minute “recovery” massage worth of stuff, the most important bit of enlightenment from it all was this: I’m still in it. What I mean by those …

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Jul 15

Mental Health: What Is Sensory Defensiveness?

I’m currently reading a book called Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Fast, Too Tight by Sharon Heller. Sounds like erotica, I know, but it’s actually about what it’s like to be a sensory defensive person in the world, and how to cope. My coach recommended it a few weeks ago after I told her how spending …

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Jul 01

Female Solo Travel in the Digital Age: Just Flipping Go

While the Internet can be given credit for revolutionizing oh-so-many things, one of the biggies is travel. How the heck did we do it, back in the old days? When we relied on outdated, five-pound printed guide books? And made international calls from telephone booth pay phones? (Or, maybe like me, you just “disappeared” for …

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Jun 16

Mental Health: Dual Diagnosis and Effective Treatment

The comorbid existence of a mental illness and a substance abuse problem is called “dual diagnosis.” Until recently, I hadn’t read or heard too much about it, beyond its basic definition, but was interested to learn that the condition brings about its own set of treatment considerations. Today, Matthew Peters is here to share his personal experience …

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Jun 02

Memoir That Isn’t Memnoir: Tragedy and Levity

Many a memoir covers topics and events of tragedy and trauma; they are about real life, after all, and almost anybody who has ever engaged in a relationship with another two-legged creature is going to have some T&T filed away on their hard drive. (Hopefully they don’t need anything bigger than 500 gigabytes.) Some of …

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May 19

Travel: TSA Precheck in a Nutshell

Whenever I’m in an airport or about to cross a border, my collectivist cultural outlook goes out the car, plane or train window. Elite status? Yes, please. Fast-pass lane? I’m there. Step on some children’s hands in the process of queue jumping? If I must. (Oh, come on, they’re children, they heal quickly.) There are …

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May 05

George Clooney Got Engaged, and We Acted Like Assholes

George Clooney keeps his personal life so private, and held on to his bachelor status for so long, that we, the media-watching world at large, pretty much figured hell would freeze over before he got married again. Plus, that’s what the media told us. Last week’s announcement of Clooney’s engagement caught us off guard, then, …

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Apr 28

Mental Health Treatment and Mass Shootings

After each mass shooting in the United States, there are calls for increased gun control, better access to mental health services, or both. Fuelled by emotion, we seek solutions; I have been right in there, too, simultaneously grieving those lost and asking for system changes to prevent reoccurrences. A bit ago, I came across an …

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