How Social Anxiety Operates in a COVID World

Now that we’ve been living through a pandemic for almost a year (or more depending on where you live), I have a good read on the types of articles that are being written about this moment in time. A category that I see more than I’d like are stories about how life is “different” now. Whether it’s getting more meals delivered than you ever thought possible or logging on for an online game night, it’s clear that socialization isn’t the same right now. But some things persist in a COVID world, and as it turns out, social anxiety is one of them. Even though life is mostly through a screen, I’m dealing with social anxiety at a higher rate than ever before – and I know I’m not alone in that.

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Pushing Past Feelings of Worthlessness

This week has been mentally exhausting. You could argue that the month of November was pretty exhausting, or that 2020 as a whole has tired you out mentally; both would be true. But what has made this week such a mental workout for me is that I’ve bounced back and forth between joy and sadness, hope and fear, optimism and pessimism. Very good things have happened this week (hopefully I can share more next week!), and the result could be more positive change in my life. But the reason that I’ve been bouncing back and forth between positive and negative feelings this week doesn’t mean I’m not excited at these opportunities – in reality, I’m extremely excited. But adjusting to new things, even positive ones, means I’m taking on an opponent I know all too well – those feelings of worthlessness that can have a huge impact on our mental health.

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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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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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Intrusive Thoughts, Part Two: How to Deal With Them

This post is the second of a two-part series on intrusive thoughts. You can find the first post, where we broke down intrusive thoughts and talked about what they look like, here.

Having intrusive thoughts tends to feel like an everyday struggle. By their very nature, these types of thoughts can work their way into our subconscious and fool us into thinking we put those thoughts there ourselves. But even though this might be something we deal with on a daily basis, there are ways to manage intrusive thoughts with how we acknowledge and deal with them internally. Here are some of the most effective ways to deal with intrusive thoughts.

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Intrusive Thoughts, Part One: An Overview

One aspect of my life with anxiety and depression is constantly dealing with intrusive thoughts. It doesn’t matter the time or place, and it doesn’t depend on the activity I’m doing, but every so often, I have unwanted thoughts that become stuck in my brain. And I’m not alone – more than 6 million people are estimated to deal with intrusive thoughts in the U.S. every year, and those are just the people who feel comfortable telling their doctor about it. But what exactly are intrusive thoughts, and how can we recognize when we have them? Let’s break it down.

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Healthy Ways to Cope With Anxiety

If you’re new to the blog, you might have missed some of the ways I’ve discussed depression and anxiety in this space. Most of my posts come from one of two places: 1) statistics and data that I find or 2) my personal experience living with clinical depression and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I’ve written about managing anxiety before, as well as what to do when depression hits. But this week, I want to talk about coping strategies – namely, how to make sure we find healthy ones, and understanding our relationship with these strategies.

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More Than ‘Why’: Learning to Live With Depression and Anxiety

In some of my recent discussions about current events, antiracism and white supremacy, I’ve found that many people are doing a lot of self-reflection on their own thoughts, biases and actions. As they’d continue to speak, I would think to myself: this is nice, but have your actions changed? Do you treat people differently? Do you live your life differently now? And those thoughts led me to the realization that in the past, I’ve done that same thing about my depression and anxiety. It was a good thing to realize my own mental health issues, but did anything change?

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A Look at Mental Health During Men’s Health Week

As I’ve leaned more into the mental health space and got to know people in the community, I’ve recognized subtle differences and undertones when certain people discuss mental health. I’ve also recognized less subtle differences in part of this discussion, and that usually involves how men talk about mental health. I can’t understand some of the nuances and differences of mental health outside of my own cishet male experience, but by looking at statistics and data alone, something is clear: men need help with mental health just as much as any group of people.

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