My Attitude on Mental Health, Explained

For one reason or another, I’ve been thinking about the word optimism for the past weeks. I’m thinking about it in a lot of ways – what it means to practice it, what it looks like in my life, and what it looks like for my mental health, just to name a few. Whether this is purely in my own imagination or something evident in my writing, I feel like sometimes my posts can seem overly optimistic about how to approach mental health and mental illness – and in months like September, suicide prevention. I truly do believe in the idea that ripples in the pond can raise awareness, reduce stigma, and help people learn that it’s okay not to be okay. But I also know how impossibly frustrating it can be to exist that way. At the end of the day, I think I’ll always end up opting for the glass half-full when it comes to mental health, but I don’t think I’ve ever really explained why. There are a few key reasons for why I write the way I do, and I thought I’d share them with you today.

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How Can We Use Metaphors to Describe Mental Health?

Getting through the day while struggling with mental health is difficult. Trying to be productive isn’t easy when you’re dealing with negative thoughts, a lack of energy or any one of the many symptoms that make existing hard. Nevertheless, millions of people do their best every single day get through things, and one of the best ways to explain that is through metaphors.

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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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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 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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Dating With Depression: To Love and Be Loved

This post is the last part in this “Dating With Depression” series. You can read the first post about putting yourself out there here, the second post about talking about mental health with your partner here, and the third post about what your partner should know about your mental health here.

As I’ve gone through this series, I’ve been looking at different stages of a relationship in chronological order, and that was done for a specific reason. Every part of a relationship requires different advice, knowledge and tips, and having romantic interests while living with mental illness can make those parts even more complicated. But to wrap the series up, I want reflect on something for the readers, and it’s this (potential hot take coming up): for people living with mental illness, it’s possible to give and receive love in a romantic relationship. Not only is it possible, but being who you are can actually improve the relationship.

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Dating With Depression: What Your Partner Should Know

This post is the third part in my “Dating With Depression” series. You can read the first post about putting yourself out there here, and the second post about talking about mental health with your partner here.

Dating someone while dealing with mental health issues, or living with a chronic mental illness, isn’t easy. It’s not easy for the people who are living with these issues (obviously), but it can also be very difficult for the other person, the other half of the relationship. It’s great that people want to help care and support their partners who live with mental illness, and it’s beautiful to see relationships thrive even though one (or both) people are dealing with mental health issues. But if someone wants to be as helpful and supportive as possible, what am I supposed to tell them? Even though my experience is specific, there are a few things you could tell your partner that might help them understand what you’re dealing with.

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Dating With Depression: Talking About Our Mental Health

In the first post of my Dating With Depression series, I wrote about how to put yourself out there and be open to meeting someone. I don’t think I’d have been able to put myself out there if I wasn’t prepared to handle what was next, which is how I’d like to segue into the next post in this series – how to bring up that mental health conversation with someone you’re dating. Obviously every relationship and person is unique, but there are a few bits of advice I’ve learned (and heard from others) about more approachable ways to bring up mental health that everyone can shape for their own needs and relationships. Let’s dive in!

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