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Adele Ryan McDowell

Psychologist, teacher, and writer who likes looking at life through the big viewfinder.

Adele Ryan McDowell, PhD, is a practicing psychotherapist and crisis former hot-line responder with more than 30 years experience helping clients find hope and balance in the face of crisis, trauma, and grief. Dr. McDowell's newest book, Making Peace with Suicide: A Book of Hope, Understanding, and Comfort (White Flowers Press, 2014), speaks to those who have lost a loved one to suicide, those considering suicide, and those who work with or counsel the bereaved and suicidal. Learn more at: AdeleRyanMcDowell.com and AdeleandthePenguin.com.
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The 7 Points On The Spectrum Of Suicide

Over my 30+ years of clinical work, these are the aspects of suicide I have seen in the consultation room and through crisis intervention lines. There are seven points on this spectrum, each with its own degree of severity. Clearly, some points are more intense and critical than others, but each is to be taken seriously and warrants professional help.
05/16/2017 10:16 EDT
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This Is What Grief Feels Like

Loss hammered you incessantly. Grief hollowed you out until you were gasping for breath, empty and fully spent. Your heart was broken and battered into a heap of crumbled bits and pieces. And still, you stood.
04/10/2017 11:24 EDT
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5 Ways To Deal With An Emotional Hangover

There is no hair of the dog for the morning after. There is no specialized rehab. Copious amounts of water to hydrate your burned-out system are of little avail. As with any good recovery effort, you need to acknowledge that you have a problem. Yep, this is your problem.
03/07/2017 09:24 EST
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How To Grieve For Your Pet

You grieve your pet the exact same way you grieve any loved one. You cry; you laugh. You remember the moments, how you came together, and the good times and the tender times you shared. You try to make sense of this gaping hole in your life and, most especially, in your heart. You are asked to accept what you rigorously do not want to accept, but know to be true.
01/09/2017 07:18 EST
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Dealing With Christmas Blues

For some, the stretch of Christmas and New Year's is an endurance test of their mental health. It's too much family, too much togetherness and way too much dysfunction. They have shut down all tidings of comfort and joy in an effort to emotionally survive. As the countdown towards New Years continues, they have, more than likely, felt their grumpiness quotient ratchet up to new highs.
12/06/2016 06:30 EST
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7 Things You Need To Know After A Loss From Suicide

For loved ones left behind, suicide is not painless. It leaves you holding your heart in your hand, vibrating with emotion and reeling with questions. The ground has given way and you are free-falling through space. Here are seven things you need to know after losing a loved one to suicide; they can help you re-find your feet and piece together your broken heart.
09/22/2016 12:10 EDT
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13 Everyday Ways To Help Prevent Suicide

Saturday is World Suicide Prevention Day. Suicide must surely be out of the closet by now. It happens. It happens every 40 seconds, on average, around the globe per the World Health Organization. Even more startling are the numbers of those who have attempted suicide.
09/09/2016 03:43 EDT
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Understanding Teen Suicide Helps Make Sense Of The Heartbreak

Understanding suicide helps. It does not take away the horrific pain, but it can help make sense of the unimaginable. When we learn more, we have a basis for comparison. We learn, perhaps, that our situation, alas, is not so unusual. We comprehend more fully the biochemical or psychosocial elements that led to our teen's suicide.
09/07/2016 07:48 EDT
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You Can Survive The Torture Of Big Grief

It's hard to imagine there is life beyond your exploded heart. How can you possibly merge back into the cacophony of dailiness and demands when your life has been captured by grief? The hollowness, the memories, the break-downs, the images, the gut-wrenches, the what-ifs have kneed you into a tight, dark corner. You can, and will, get out, but it cannot be rushed. Here's how.
08/08/2016 09:01 EDT
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Dealing With The Death Of A Young Person

Nothing feels safe. Nothing feels right. And there is the "who-cares-anymore" well of depression. You are in a place you never imagined, much less prepared for: you are in hell. Dealing with this anguish and sorrow is a rocky, uneven road. Eventually, you manage to put one foot in front of the other, even if you have been robotic and numb.
06/27/2016 12:14 EDT
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What Can We Do After Orlando?

Love is doing acts of service and kindness. That goodness, compassion, generosity of spirit is a kind of light. And the more light we share on this planet with one another the more darkness is diminished.... We love by showing compassion, tolerance and acceptance as we strive for peaceful co-existence with one another.
06/15/2016 09:51 EDT
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Shattered Hearts: Explaining Suicide To Children

Children of suicide are trying to understand a loss that brings grown-ups to their knees. It's a very challenging path to walk, both for the children and their remaining parent or caregivers. And not only are the children trying to understand the suicidal death of their parent, there is the additional stress, possible abandonment and rejection due to social stigma, shame and taboo around suicide.
02/17/2016 05:44 EST
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How To Help Your Grieving Child

Parents often want their kids to hurry up and be OK again. It is difficult to sit with a grief-stricken child. However, if we leap-frog over the grieving process and truncate our feelings, especially our heavier, stickier feelings, we -- both child and adult -- remain emotionally stuck. True freedom from the heartbreak is to walk through the panoply of feelings as they ebb and flow.
02/17/2016 05:31 EST
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5 Ways To Be Happier In Our Upside-Down World

Today's topsy-turvy world has us all running madly in every direction. We often feel overwhelmed with what's before us -- and that is, even, before our feet hit the floor in the morning. We are losing our joie de vivre; there is precious little fun and almost non-existent downtime in our lives today.
02/05/2016 10:57 EST
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Our Loved Ones Are Gone But Never Lost

We grieve for the dead, but, in reality, we are grieving the pain of the loss of connection with our loved one. I suggest there might be more than merely the physical plane and your deceased loved ones are applauding your efforts regularly. You know the feeling of love and connection; perhaps, it is closer than you think.
01/05/2016 12:07 EST
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When You Are The Survivor Of Suicide

For the survivors left behind, suicide is unbelievable and surreal. It is a game changer. Your life is permanently altered. It is the day time stands still. It is the day you stop taking a full breath. It is, alas, the day people can avoid you, talk about you and even blame you.
01/04/2016 10:53 EST