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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Strategies To Help Manage Social Anxiety

Earlier this week, I opened up a conversation about how social anxiety continues to exist in a pandemic, and how it can be even harder to manage because of it. It’s helpful that I can be more selective about social interactions due to the pandemic, but it also means there are fewer opportunities to try and work through some of that social anxiety and overcome it when I can. Fortunately, there several strategies and tips that I’ve learned over the years that help me manage my anxiety, and they can be helpful in most social situations regardless of the specifics. Here are some of my most-used strategies that help me manage social anxiety on a daily basis!

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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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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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A 2020 Holiday Message

Earlier this week, I wrote a post about how it’s okay not to be okay, especially during the holiday season. Writing that post brought up a lot of feelings and memories of past holidays, and let me play over some of the more recent ones in my mind. I can’t remember a holiday I’ve experienced where anxiety or depression hasn’t played a role; I know they exist, but I can’t remember them. Instead, my brain will instantly remember the feelings of guilt, anxiety or shame that I felt the holiday before, and that turns individual memories into cycles of negative thoughts. Writing my latest post brought that all up again, so I’d like to respond to that with a holiday message specifically about 2020.

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Five Ways to Ground Yourself and Get Back to Center

On Tuesday, I wrote a post about the work that it takes to get “back to center,” which to me means finding the right level of calm and mental balance. It’s a place where I feel as much like myself as I can, and where I can a productive person because I am present and able to manage the distractions that come with living with mental health conditions. After writing about how important it is to stay calm and centered, I thought it would be good to share some of the techniques that people use to get back to this state of mental balance so that you could try them too! Let’s dive in.

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Not Keeping Calm, But Carrying On

While I mentioned last week that November was a very challenging month for my mental health, I was still uncomfortable to share anything to detailed out of fear of jinxing myself (yes, I am definitely scared that I will jinx myself about most good things in life, but that is not a problem for you to hear, just my therapist). But things actually turned out pretty well – I signed on the dotted line for a new job (I start in January!), and I’ve been able to secure a roommate who will move in without interrupting my rent payments. Things worked out! But, as with everything else in life, making these things happen was not a simple process, and it took a toll on my anxiety. And even though I didn’t always remain calm, I found comfort in how I handled these things.

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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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A Lesson in Stress and Mental Wellness

After months of mentally training to overcome COVID obstacles, I faced a few new challenges in November. They are fairly common obstacles that many people deal with throughout the course of adulthood, but because of the circumstances of this year, it felt like an entirely different challenge than anything I’d been experiencing. However, those challenges were also very common, real-world experiences, so I started to examine my relationship with stress because of them. Since then, I’ve learned how I handle stress in these situations, and it’s taught me more about myself and how I manage mental wellness.

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What I’m Thankful for This Year

I’ll be honest – these next few months are one of my favorite times of the year. Even though the wintertime can be difficult for many reasons, I separate the holiday season from those negative thoughts that I fight throughout the winter months. To me, the holiday aspect of these next few months is a lot about thankfulness, gratitude and reflection. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’d like to share something I am very thankful for this year, which was the opportunity to learn new techniques to manage my mental health struggles. Here’s a bit of what I’ve learned!

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