I’m Sorry, I Lost My Train of Thought…Again.

One of the most frustrating aspect of living with depression and anxiety is that at times, my brain can get easily overwhelmed . Whether it’s managing negative thoughts or trying to process what’s going on around me, it doesn’t take much to get my brain going. However, when there’s so many thing going on, it can be easy for my to lose track of my thoughts – a common experience for people living with mental illness. So how does this happen, and what can we do about it?

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Learning to Sit With Uncertainty

Earlier this week, I shared some news about adjusting to the fact that, after nearly a year, I’ve had to stop seeing my therapist. It’s a process I’m used to – in fact, this is the most success I’ve ever had with a therapist – but there’s something familiar about being in this position. Whether it’s feeling like I’m starting from scratch or having to wade into the pool of finding someone new to talk to about my life, it’s not a feeling I enjoy. But I think what I dislike most is that it brings up a lot of uncertainty in my day-to-day life – an uncertainty that’s hurt my mental health in the past.

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Making Adjustments and Moving Forward

Something I’ve come to expect in life is that unexpected things happen all the time. That’s not a lead-in to say that anything major recently happened, but the most recent unexpected thing is that I have to find a new therapist (shoutout to insurance for ruining a good thing yet again). This isn’t anything new – in fact, this past 11 months is the most success I’ve had with a therapist in the 10 years I’ve been exploring therapy – but it’s yet another adjustment to make on my mental health journey. Here’s how I’m feeling at the moment.

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The Persistence of Negative Thoughts

I don’t always like to start off my posts with ‘this week in therapy’ but….this week in therapy, I absent-mindedly brought up the fact that my negative thoughts have been more present lately. When I reflect on my negative thoughts, I don’t really view them as something to get rid of at this point. They’re here, they’re not going anywhere, and I need to figure out how to deal with them. However, it bothers me that my negative thoughts are very persistent. They can come and go whenever they want, and the hardest time to deal with them is when I forget they exist.

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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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Coping With Chronic Mental Health Challenges

I’ve knowingly lived with depression and anxiety for more than eight years. Even though I’ve grown in a lot of positive ways over that time, there have also been many challenges and obstacle, a lot of which existed primarily due to depression and anxiety. A while back I realized that matter how many steps I take to improving my mental health, obstacles will always exist. They might look different during various parts of life, but they will continue to happen, challenging my mental wellness in a now-familiar pattern. It’s one of the most frustrating aspects of living with a chronic mental health condition, but there are things I’ve learned over that that improved my approach to living with depression and anxiety.

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How Depression Shaped My Attitude on Routines

When I first started dealing with depression in a major way, I got hooked on the concept of routines. I’d had some routines growing up, but they were created more by things I did, team sports or group activities, than activities I planned on my own (of course, that’s also childhood). I’d started my own routines when I reached college, but when dealing with depression started to feel like a full-time job, I looked for ways to still live my life despite having depression. I’d read about life hacks, about little things I could do throughout the day so I wouldn’t be depressed, but nothing ever stuck. It took me a long time to learn why ‘routines’ would never work in the way I understood them – but I also learned how depression could help me create a healthier attitude toward them.

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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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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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Hitting a Mental Health Wall – and How to Respond

It feels like every few months, I have to write a reminder post of some sort. Sometimes, they’re reminder posts about my own mental health journey – reminding myself that progress is a process, and that when I have a bad mental health day, all of the progress I’ve made isn’t undone (even though it feels like it). Other times I’ll write an encouragement post that’s for anyone who happens to come across it, because we could all use some encouragement now and then. So I’m back today with another reminder post to remind myself (and anyone who reads this) that the physical toll it takes to maintain mental health and fight against the stigma has a breaking point – and that it’s okay to hit that point.

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