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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Talking About Mental Health on the (Inter)national Stage

TW: This post discusses suicide/suicidal thoughts.

Like millions people around the world, I watched Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s Oprah Interview this week. I thought it was very good for many reasons, but since this is a mental health blog I’ll stick to what we do and what inspired this post, which is how Meghan Markle spoke on her own mental health. The way she shared her story and how she connected the dots reminded me of the value of public figures to opening up about their mental health.

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A Weekend Derailed By Anxiety

I had a different post planned for this week that I hope I can post soon, but some things happened over the weekend that inspired a different type of post from me today. As I’ve written before, sometimes anxiety beats me, and on Saturday I had one of the worst anxiety attacks I’ve had in a long time. Before I continue I should say that I am doing better now, and that the situation itself is resolved. But one of the reasons I view this as one of the most difficult anxiety attacks I’ve had in a long time was because of how hard it was to not view it as an enormous setback, which is what I’d like to write about today.

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How ‘Life Hacks’ Simplify My Mental Health Challenges

For me, an important part of living with depression and anxiety is research. Back when I was first learning about my mental health struggles Google was my best friend, and I’d look up everything from symptoms to the best way I can overcome depression. I found a lot of helpful information that taught me a lot about mental health and what I was dealing with, but not all of the information felt helpful to me. And it usually came when I was on a page that would talk about ‘life hacks’ to improve my mental health or beat depression. While I love the concept of life hacks, their application to mental health simplifies the challenges we face every day. I struggle with the idea of using life hacks to ‘beat’ depression, and here’s why.

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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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How We Glamorize Mental Illness – And What We Can Do About It

It’s safe to say I talk about mental illness more than the average person (okay, much more than the average person), which means I can get so focused on specifics and details that I miss things that are outside my scope. Over the years, mental illness has become more and more glamorized and honestly, I missed parts of it. I mostly ignored this content because I thought I knew what the causes were, but it’s much more complicated than I’d anticipated. So today I’d like to address one aspect of why it’s dangerous to glamorize mental illness – and how easily it can be perpetrated.

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What The Weather Does for My Mental Health

Out of the four seasons I experience where I live, it’s safe to say that winter is my least favorite of all. That’s not to say I dislike it – on the contrary, I enjoy most aspects of what winter brings. I have fond memories of holiday seasons, being a homebody during the cold nights and enjoying a little snow every now and then. But some of the things that make winter an enjoyable time are the same things that make it extremely difficult to manage my anxiety and depression. And while the other three seasons offer brief respites at the very least, winter often feels like a never-ending set of blistery days and frigid nights. It’s a challenge, but every winter I learn something new about how my mental illness functions – and today I’d like to share what I’ve learned this winter.

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What is Empathic Communication?

Understanding perspectives is an important part of this blog. Whether I’m discussing my own point-of-view or sharing details of other peoples’ experiences, perspective is a facet of mental health that should be included more in the conversation. Sharing our experiences is extremely important to help shrink the stigma, and something that’s just as important as sharing our experiences is allowing others to do the same. I want to build on this week’s post about seeing the world through a mental health lens by talking about empathic communication – a tool that puts the emphasis on listening – and how we can use it to help shrink the stigma.

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Seeing the World Through a Mental Health Lens

Everyone has their own unique way of seeing the world. While many of us see it in a very similar way, there are still personality traits and life experiences that make our point of view unique. Some people refer to these as ‘lenses’ through which we see the world. The lenses I see the world through have changed through the years, and recently I’ve seen them change for the better. One lens that I continue to see the world through is a mental health lens. This lens impacts how I see the world in a major way, and shapes the choices I have and the decisions I make. Now I want to share what that means for me, and how you can incorporate it into your life too!

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Showing Yourself Love On Valentine’s Day

I’ve written before about the effect that holidays can have on our mental health, and Valentine’s Day is no exception. Loneliness, isolation and depression are common feelings this time of year, and even though the causes might be different than other times of the year, those feelings are persistent. Whether you’ve been through a breakup or are frustrated by past disappointments in your love life, the feelings that come up can be very difficult to manage. Managing difficult thoughts and feelings is central to mental wellness, and even though it’s difficult to view it through a mental health lens, addressing these feelings in a healthy and natural way is important for us to heal. It’s also a way that we can properly feel the anger or sadness that we rightfully deserve to feel without letting it derail us on our mental health journeys. Here are a few ways to specifically manage those feelings this Valentine’s Day.

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