Defense Mechanisms: The Department of Homeland Security

Defense mechanisms are like your personal department of homeland security; they are taxed with the job of protecting your interior landscape from domestic threats of psychological terror. Defense mechanisms protect you from the intensity of your feelings. Their intentions are always in your best interest, despite the consequences of their tactics. And there are always consequences. It just how it goes. 

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Sarah SarkisComment
Podcast Guest- Not Another Anxiety Show

This weeks installment from The Padded Room comes in the form of a podcast appearance on Not Another Anxiety Show.  On this episode Kelli and I explore the role of fear in our psychological and emotional worlds. Additionally, we cover mindfulness, meditation, TM, therapy, and a host of other interesting and compelling topics that will help you think about your feelings through a new and different lens.

To enjoy this episode please click on the link below and look for episode #141.

Not Another Anxiety Show: Episode 141-Fear: A Master of Disguise

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Sabotage: An Inside Job

I work in clandestine realms. Shadowy and furtive by nature, I orbit in the background, the underbelly of your mind.

You will not see me coming.


I’ve infiltrated the velvet ropes and I have free reign over your unconscious landscape. I roam pathways and corridors that even you don’t know exist.

You cannot hear me coming.


I am suspicious of change and progress. I detonate, undetected, as soon as I feel threatened. I live parasitically inside of you.

You will always be caught flatfooted.


My networks are savvy, tactical, and coordinated.

You will not smell, feel, or anticipate my presence.


I am relentless and I am unpredictable.


This is an inside job.


Do you know who I am?


I am sabotage.

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The Power of the Pivot

There is power in the pivot. Momentum, agility, and instinct converge to create a (seemingly) sudden action that that has the potential to change the course of our life. Literally. The ability to pivot, to course correct, is an integral component of psychological wellness. To master this ability means to re-examine the meaning of failure, disappointment, loss, and self-doubt. Our ability to change our mind, to change our behavior is a critical component to our ability to adapt and adjust. This concept is at the heart of what psychologists refer to as resiliency. Also layer into this notion the idea of emotional agility and grit and you have the making of something profound. But also deeply difficult to achieve, maintain, and sustain. 

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Fear: A Master of Disguise

We all know the overt and obvious ways that fear operates, such as phobias, panic attacks, and the like. But in this blog we are going to examine the covert language of fear. I want you to start to observe how fear is also a master of disguise. It cloaks itself in other more seductive costumes, like bravery, perfectionism, anger, arrogance, people pleasing, FOMO, and adrenaline junkies (to name only a few). Often the very parts of our personality we are most wedded to are simply efforts to compensate for, keep ourselves distant from, or otherwise control fear. And most of the time, because of the power of the unconscious, people are completely unaware of how these dynamics operate in their life.

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It was one of those dreams that felt so real that even while I was dreaming I was trying to figure out the blurry and disorienting line between waking and sleeping.  Within the dream I remember telling my dreaming self “this is just a dream.” But I was also in that partial state of wakefulness, where your body is heavy and your mind is foggy.

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Unconscious, it is--What Yoda Teaches Us about The Power of the Unconscious.

Luke Skywalker:
What's in there?
Only what you take with you.

I love this scene in Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back because I believe it perfectly illustrates the role of the unconscious in our lives. In this scene, Luke turns to enter a spooky and dark cave and what he comes face to face with is the feared (and unconscious) forces of darkness and anger personified by the presence of Darth Vader. In his vision, he enters in to battle with Vader and eventually decapitates him. The cinematic insinuation is that Luke has deeply unresolved issues related to his own core identity as a man and a Jedi.

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Sarah SarkisComment
Howard Stern is the Modern Face of the Feminist Movement in America (and no, I’m not being ironic)-

By all accounts, Howard Stern is pretty damn squeaky clean compared to his peers in the entertainment industry. As a feminist, I revel in that irony. I really gloat in the hypocrisy that Howard Stern is the alleged face of social perversion, meanwhile the list of politicians, business execs, and supposed rainmakers being taken down, one by one, by the #MeToo movement is cataclysmic. If this isn’t a case of the emperor having no clothes, I don’t know what is.

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Podcast: Not Another Anxiety Show/Deconstructing Anxiety

This months installment comes in the form of a podcast I did with Kelli Walker for her series, Not Another Anxiety Show. On this episode we "got deep under the hood" of my previous post about Deconstructing Anxiety. Please have a listen (click episode #102)  and see what you think and feel about our discussion.  There's a lot of content to get your head around and start to better understand your own anxious process.  And, as always, please pass it on if the spirit moves you. I rely on word of mouth and social media to grow my audience, so your gesture of support is much appreciated.

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The Myth of Specialness

What do I mean by the Myth of Specialness? Isn’t everyone special in his or her own right? It’s true.  We are all special on a certain level. Everyone has a unique temperament and personality they bring to the world.  This is what and how you impart your own unique set of influences and dynamics on the world around you. 

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He Wept

I knew it was coming. I’d felt a change in his relationship to magical thinking – sensed that he was starting to put the puzzle pieces together in a way in which reason and logic were starting to conquer fantasy.

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As a Clinical Psychologist who values an emphasis on insight oriented, mindfulness based psychotherapy I am struck by this type of social media passive aggressive syndrome that has developed over the last 5-10 years and is now reaching epic proportions.

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WellnessSarah SarkisComment