Walking Out of the Darkness in 2020

Even though I have been working from home for the past seven months and only seen a handful of people in-person during that time, I’ve still be able to participate in virtual events throughout this pandemic. One date that’s circled on my calendar every year is the Out of the Darkness Community Walk, an annual event that’s hosted in communities across the nation by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Things looked a little different this year, but a big thing remained clear: suicide prevention has always been an important issue and no matter how it looks, there are so many people who continue to do whatever they can in this work.

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Why My Anxiety Makes Me Feel Irrationally Guilty

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about guilt. Why we feel it, how we feel it, when we feel it. I think I’m just as susceptible to being guilty of things as anyone else, but I’ve also learned something about myself in the past few years: when I feel guilty, I feel really guilty. The physical effects that guilt have on me can send me into a spin and mess with me for the rest of the day. Even though I’ve learned that this happens to me, it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. But I’ve also accepted the connection between my anxiety and these feelings of guilt, and making that connection has been extremely helpful.

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Mental Health Impacts Everyone

World Mental Health Day is a date that’s marked on my calendar every year, and while I usually write a post for that day (you can see last year’s post here and my 2018 post here), I was busy participating in something different this year. I am a Mental Health Advocate for Rethink Mental Health Incorporated, and on October 10th, they hosted a World Mental Health-athon on Instagram by bringing on their advocates at the top of every hour to talk about their own mental health stories and why mental health matters. When I was on Instagram Live for my portion, Rethink’s founder made a good point during our conversation that I wanted to expand more on today – that everyone deals with mental health.

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If I’m Not My Mental Illness, What Am I?

I’ll tell you all, it has been a week! Not any wilder or different than any other week in 2020 but just like every other week, I’ve learned something valuable about my mental health that I’d like to share. Before you get excited, no, I didn’t remember the post I wanted to write earlier this week – we’re going to have to let my GAD have the win there. But I also realized that I use the phrase ‘you are not your mental illness’ quite often, and while I know what it means and that others know what it means when I say it, I haven’t explained how I came to that conclusion (hint: it wasn’t research!).

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Sometimes My Anxiety Beats Me – And That’s Okay

I swear to you all, I had a great idea for a post today. I sat in bed last night, and something popped into my head that was interesting, thought-provoking, and was likely going to lead me right into another solid post on Thursday. But in my excitement (and because this was right before I fell asleep), I forgot to write it down. I thought I might remember it in the morning – and here we are. While I have other things I could focus on today, I decided to write about it because it taught me a lesson I learn often: sometimes, my anxiety outmaneuvers me, outwits me and I take the loss during my daily life. But that’s okay, and here’s why.

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Breaking Down Some of the Common Types of Therapy

While I was writing Tuesday’s post about my biggest misconception about therapy, I realized that, outside of mental health professionals, not too many people talk about the different types of therapy and what’s available for people. Most conversations I have about different therapeutic methods are with therapists, counselors and social workers, and even then there is a tendency for people to use fancy jargon or psychological terms that aren’t always the most helpful. SO, I decided to break down some of the most common types of therapy, what they look like, and what their purpose is. We as a community are stronger together, and knowing what’s available in therapy (rather than waiting to be told what’s available to us) can help us take charge of our therapy so that it works for us.

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My Biggest Misconception About Therapy

I still remember the first time I went to a therapy session. I was 17 years old, and I saw my therapist at a family services center near my house. I was confused during most of our session so while I was trying to answer her questions honestly, I didn’t also know what she was getting at. I saw this therapist for a few months, and then I didn’t give it any thought until a few years later. But in the ten years since that day, there is so much I’ve learned about therapy: it’s goal, it’s purpose, how it works for individuals, etc. But I had one huge misconception that I didn’t shake off until recently, and I want to share it today in the hope that it can help anyone who thinks therapy might be worth exploring.

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Advice on Pushing Through

I’ve been a bit discouraged this past week. To be fair, I think a lot of people have been. There’s plenty to be discouraged about, and it seems like it’s coming from every part of our world. Back in January, I actually wrote a post about making it through a tough time. That’s right, in January. In the United States. Maybe I should have saved that advice for another time. But when I thought about that post, I realized one of my keys to getting through a tough time is pushing through, but I never elaborated on that idea, so I’d like to build on that today.

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Closing Thoughts During Suicide Prevention Month 2020

In the three years I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve learned a lot about mental health and mental illness, but the topic I’ve learned the most about has been suicide prevention. As we reach the end of another year of Suicide Prevention Month, I try to take some time and reflect on what I’ve learned and the info and resources that have been shared. And since I love finding the perfect word or phrase to try to wrap up all the things I write, I spend too much time trying to find that one perfect thing to say. In reality, it probably won’t come this month, because while we’re wrapping up this month, we’re not finished talking about suicide prevention.

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My Attitude on Mental Health, Explained

For one reason or another, I’ve been thinking about the word optimism for the past weeks. I’m thinking about it in a lot of ways – what it means to practice it, what it looks like in my life, and what it looks like for my mental health, just to name a few. Whether this is purely in my own imagination or something evident in my writing, I feel like sometimes my posts can seem overly optimistic about how to approach mental health and mental illness – and in months like September, suicide prevention. I truly do believe in the idea that ripples in the pond can raise awareness, reduce stigma, and help people learn that it’s okay not to be okay. But I also know how impossibly frustrating it can be to exist that way. At the end of the day, I think I’ll always end up opting for the glass half-full when it comes to mental health, but I don’t think I’ve ever really explained why. There are a few key reasons for why I write the way I do, and I thought I’d share them with you today.

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