My Brain’s Not Broken Song of the Month – Don’t Matter Now

I love music. I love listening to it, having it on in the background, seeing it live, popping on a record. I love the way music can make me feel any and every emotion there is, sometimes without even trying. Most importantly, I love music because of the way it impacts my mental health.

That’s why, each month on My Brain’s Not Broken, I’m going to share a song with you. It might be a song I can’t stop listening to at the moment, or a song I have a history with. It could be a song I don’t know much about, or I’ve listened to a thousand times. Regardless of the reason, these songs have inspired me and my mental health, and I want to share them with you. Whether you’ve heard of them or not, I hope these songs give you more insight into my world and my approach to mental health.

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Guest Post: Burnout, Shame and the Sticking Point of Our Words

Today’s guest post is written by Rachael, who runs the amazing Call On Courage podcast.

Have you ever noticed how you call something affects how you perceive it? There’s a famous quote: “Watch your thoughts, they become your words; your words become your actions; your actions become your habits; your habits become your character; your character, it becomes your destiny.” We go from the micro that is a single idea right through to the macro of future destiny. Is that grandiose or grain of truth? I think this quote inhabits both descriptions. Where mental health is concerned, it’s vital; we label and frame our diagnosis around the language of recovery. It’s unhelpful to my mental health and well-being to describe myself as a depressed person…but someone who has had challenges facing depression and anxiety.

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Suicide Prevention Awareness Month 2022

CW: This post discusses suicide.

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month in the United States and every year, I aim to write posts and share information directly related to suicide prevention throughout the month. Though this month of awareness has grown in recent years, there are still many challenges to how we discuss suicide prevention. That said, I think this month is a good opportunity to have conversations and demand attention for suicide prevention. It’s a public health issue, and we should do everything we can to push for more education and awareness around suicide prevention.

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Every Day Is a Good Day to Talk About Mental Health

I’ll be honest – I write and talk about a mental health a lot, but I know conversations around mental health aren’t always easy. They can be awkward or uncomfortable, and sometimes it might feel like they don’t go anywhere. But even though those interactions might be hard or feel pointless, there’s nothing further from the truth. Mental health matters every single day, and here’s why.

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The Value of Taking Baby Steps Toward Mental Wellness

One of the most exciting things I’ve experienced was watching my niece learn to walk. It didn’t happen overnight; there was a long time of her getting comfortable at different stages of scooting, standing and moving, but one day it all came together, and she hasn’t stopped moving since. I thought about her today because it made me realize just how important those little steps are – a fitting metaphor for dealing with mental health challenges.

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Five Ways to Find Focus During the Day

It’s no secret that there’s a lot going on right now, and that we’re trying to do everything we can to make sure that we’re mentally healthy and in safe spaces. Since COVID has robbed us of the ability to travel to places when we need a minute (or more) to decompress or relax, it’s been difficult to get to another place physically to find balance or focus. A day at the beach has been replaced by taking a wellness day off work, or finding peace in different mental health strategies and techniques. Basically, the focus is on where we are mentally instead of physically. And finding that focus without changing your setting is hard, but it’s not impossible. That’s why I decided to share five ways that you can find focus during your day.

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Supporting Children And Their Mental Health Right Now

Since this blog is more based on personal experience than anything else, I’ve always felt more comfortable writing about what I know. Whether that’s something I’ve experienced or an experience that’s been shared with me, understanding what someone is thinking or feeling has always been important to me as a basis for a post. But I’ve been reading more news about how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting children who now have to stay at home for school, and it’s got me thinking a lot about kid’s mental health during this difficult time.

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I’m Thankful for My Mental Illness

It’s Thanksgiving time, which means it’s time – of course – to give thanks. I wrote this post last year, and it means just as much to me now as it did when I wrote it. It can be hard to be thankful or grateful, but when you’re able, it’s an incredible feeling. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

My Brain's Not Broken

A few weeks ago I was sitting in therapy (more on that next week!), and something occurred to me. My therapist said she’s amazed how I’m able to get so many things done despite my mental illness, which made me think of two things.

The first was that yes, I am high functioning despite my depression, but it took me six years to work up to that success. The second thing was that I’d rather be a motivated person who didn’t like himself than someone who had a ton of confidence but never got anything done.

And as we turn to a season of thankfulness and gratitude, I often think about how grateful I am for my mental illnesses. Sounds weird, right? Stay with me.

Living with depression and anxiety has taken a lot away from me. But it’s also given me so much. It’s given me strength. It’s taught…

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Things Get Better…Right?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this post lately because I’m back in the same place I was when I wrote this. I haven’t had a ton of wins recently, but I’m going to continue to fight!

My Brain's Not Broken

Whether I’m in a funk or not, I ask this question fairly often: are things ever going to get better? Whether it’s something good or bad, I tend to ask this question after big events or moments in my life. To me, things can always be better because – whether or not good things happen to me – I’m usually too sad, tired or anxious to see the good things happening around me, so by that logic they can always be improved.

It took me a long time, but I finally stopped asking that question when it occurred to me that it didn’t matter how things were, or how life was going. What mattered was how I felt about those things, and how I felt about life. And there’s where I realized there was a problem. I wasn’t asking are things ever going to get better; I was asking, am 

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The 5 Second Rule

I spend a lot of time listening to different motivational videos and speeches, often when they’re compiled together in an inspirational YouTube video that makes me want to tackle a bear. It was in one of these videos that I heard about something called the “5 Second Rule” (and no, I’m not talking about food that falls on the floor).

As it turns out, the 5 Second Rule comes from someone named Mel Robbins. You can find the entire post here, but what it boils down to is this, according to Mel:

“If you have an impulse to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill the idea.”

That sentence resonated with me for a few reasons when I realized how much that could impact my life – and my mental health.

Like most people, it’s hard for me to get out of bed in the morning. There are many reasons for this. We’re tired, we’re comfortable, we just want to stay in bed all day. More often than not, my reason is a bit darker, which leads to me not wanting to get out of bed and exist that day. Some days it takes every bit of strength I have to get out of bed and get dressed be ready for the day. So these five seconds that Mel is talking about, these five seconds that can make or break me getting out of bed, are HUGE. Monumentally huge.

These five seconds she’s talking about? They could change my day. And if I change my day? One day at a time, I could change the way I do things. The way I think. The way I live. Yes, this is quite a leap and a bound I’m taking, but it is possible. And that type of hope, that hope of what is possible, is what drives me to be the best I can be – even when I think that the best I can be isn’t all that great.

So I’m going to try this 5 Second Challenge for the few weeks. Apparently, it helps if you count down backwards from five, kind of like you’re on a rocket ship set for outer space. I think I’m going to try that. I have a feeling that to make this work, you have to treat every day with equal importance – that it’s going to be the best day you’ve ever had. I hope that at the very least it will challenge me. To be my best and to strive for being my best self. And even if this doesn’t work out, to be resilient in the process.