Balancing Accomplishments with Our Mental Health

When I was in college, I was very interested in motivation culture. I’m sure most of you are familiar, but to, that meant a lot of videos, speeches and mixtapes about being your best self and going after the life you want to live. It was one of my first real attempts at improving my mental health, and the results were…mixed. I viewed depression as a battle – one I was going to win. But my excessive interest around this self-improvement and self-help content was centered around getting rid of my depression. This approach made it nearly impossible to appreciate any sort of accomplishment – big or small – and in the years since, I’ve tried to create a more balanced approach to balancing my mental health with accomplishing and working toward goals I’ve always dreamed about.

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Doing What You Need to Get What You Need

Sometimes the word productive gets on my nerves. It’s unfortunate, because in a lot of settings the word is helpful. I like thinking about the work I do in terms of productivity – whether it’s my job or passion projects on the side, it’s important that I’m productive because I love the things I do and I want my work to reflect that. But the second people started slipping the word productive into how we live our personal lives, I knew it would be something that bothered me. I can see how daily goals set around productivity and efficiency can help someone accomplish many things, but in my experience, that sort of mindset never helped me get what I needed to be mentally healthy.

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I Don’t Want to Leave My Anxiety At Home

Every day, people go into the world and do things. We run errands, we go to work and school, we exercise…the list goes on. And when we go out into the world, we bring our whole self with us. If we’re happy, we’re going out into the world with a smile on our face. If we’re upset, we’re not in a good mood, and the world is going to hear about it. Either way, we still go out. I’m usually annoyed at the fact that I have to continuously interact with the world, because it means I have to bring my depression and anxiety with me. But everyone once in a while, I can actually use that to my benefit.

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I Can’t Always Do More – And That’s Okay

In a surge of excitement earlier this week, I decided I’d go get a haircut in-person for the first time in more than a year. The pandemic and my anxiety are the main reasons I haven’t done so already, and while I didn’t regret that at all, I got excited because I found a place to go that I might feel more comfortable in, that wasn’t as busy and didn’t have as much going on. But then things shifted.

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Being Resilient Against Mental Illness

Living with known mental illness can be exhausting. I don’t mean this in a dramatic way, or to make it comparable to living with other known conditions. I literally mean it can be exhausting. I get tired a lot because I spend a ton of physical energy on managing my depression and anxiety. Once you recognize how your mental illness can manifest itself, you can exert a lot of energy toward minimizing those feelings or situations. These situations can leave you physically, mentally and emotionally drained, which is frustrating. But I’ve learned that being resilient against mental illness not only goes a long way toward wellness, but it can help you manage living with mental illness in the long run.

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The Difficulty of Putting Mental Wellness First

Mental wellness is one of my favorite things to talk and learn about. Because of that, I’ve learned a lot about the ways that people incorporate mental wellness into their day-to-day lives. From therapy and meditation to physical exercise and coping strategies, there are plenty of ways that we tangibly put our wellness first. However, focusing on mental wellness in our daily lives isn’t as easy at it sounds. Why? Simply put, life happens – and that’s okay.

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Why I Don’t Always See My Mental Health Progress

When I was in the midst of managing a string of anxiety attacks a few weeks ago, I couldn’t think about much else that was going on that day. Fortunately I didn’t have work or any set plans since it was the weekend, but my anxious symptoms made me feel as though the entire day was a wash. But having some time to look back that day, I now realize that I handled the situation much better than I would have in the past. I still didn’t enjoy those symptoms and feelings of anxiety and depression in the moment, but I could see the progress I’ve made with a little hindsight. Unfortunately, it takes time to notice that progress, which can be hard to see when you’re in a difficult mental health situation.

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Changing My Perspective to Improve My Mental Wellness

The inspiration for this post came a few days ago. I was riding a stationary bike at my girlfriend’s for the second day in a row, and I wasn’t sure how much I was going to get out of it. The day before, I slogged through the ride, feeling like I wasn’t really getting what I needed. I didn’t think I had the mindset to do that again, so I decided to adjust everything on the bike – and I mean everything. The seat, the handlebars, the resistance on the pedals. I ended up having one of the best workouts I’d had in a few weeks. When I was done, I immediately thought about the connection between this workout, my mental health, and how perspective is allowed to change and adapt when it comes to our wellness.

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Why I Changed My Goals for Therapy

This past summer, I decided to go back to therapy. It had been a few years since I’d seen someone on a regular basis, and I thought I’d benefit from talking to someone about some of the life changes that were happening at the time. There have been many positive things that came out of my therapy sessions in the past nine months, and I can tell that a big benefit of therapy is talking to someone on a semi-regular basis. But over time, I also noticed how my goals for therapy shifted, which is what I’d like to talk about today.

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When Depression Makes You Feel Like a Failure

I’ll be honest: it took me a long time to learn how to live with chronic mental health challenges. It was a bit of a bumpy road, and there were some definite missteps in the process. Some days, it felt like I was just doing a trial and error for how I lived my life. This process is fluid and ongoing, which means that new challenges will continue to pop up, but managing these challenges makes up a big part of my day-to-day life. However, one of the flip sides of this has been that sometimes, I inadvertently cling to a routine I’ve created and feel like a failure if I decide to change that schedule. It’s had a negative impact on my mental health, but sometimes it’s just as hard to recognize as it is to adapt to.

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