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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How To Recognize High-Functioning Depression

Like other facets of mental health disorders and conditions, understanding high-functioning depression can be tricky. Since people experience symptoms differently, it might be difficult to understand if someone is just having a bad day or going through a difficult bout of depression. And since depressive episodes can last anywhere from a few days to several months, the situation can be even more confusing. But recognizing signs of high-functioning depression, whether we recognize them in others or in our own behavior, is one way to improve the situation. I’ve put together a list, based on personal experience and the advice of others, about some of the ways high-functioning depression can show up in our lives.

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What Does It Mean to Have High-Functioning Depression?

“High-functioning depression.” The first time I heard a mental health professional say those words to me, I did a double-take. That phrase didn’t add up. At the time, I understood depression as a debilitating mental illness, one that was capable of robbing me of energy, personality and ability to be myself. And while I’d feel that way most of the time, there were periods where I was able to be productive and get things done. Those were the times I didn’t have depression then, right? Not necessarily. Learning about high-functioning depression was an necessary education – one that helped shape the way I view living with mental illness.

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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 Depression

Earlier this week, I wrote about some healthy ways to cope with anxiety, and I dove into the relationship between coping strategies and what we’re mentally dealing with. I thought that I’d continue that today by talking about healthy ways to cope with depression. Just like earlier in the week, it’s not just about the specific coping strategies we use, but our relationships with those strategies, too – and making sure that unhealthy strategies don’t turn into habits.

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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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How Are We Handling a Mental Health Crisis?

I’ve hinted at this on the blog, but I’ve been in a mental health crisis before. More than once, actually. This isn’t the time or place to discuss those crises in detail, though, because I want to focus on how I felt, what I did, and how all of that made me feel safe and secure. Based on my personal experience, I’ve had to basically teach myself how to have a mental health crisis. It shouldn’t be that way, but that’s what I had to do, and I think I am better for it. So now I want to share my experience.

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