Learning to Sit With Uncertainty

Earlier this week, I shared some news about adjusting to the fact that, after nearly a year, I’ve had to stop seeing my therapist. It’s a process I’m used to – in fact, this is the most success I’ve ever had with a therapist – but there’s something familiar about being in this position. Whether it’s feeling like I’m starting from scratch or having to wade into the pool of finding someone new to talk to about my life, it’s not a feeling I enjoy. But I think what I dislike most is that it brings up a lot of uncertainty in my day-to-day life – an uncertainty that’s hurt my mental health in the past.

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Making Adjustments and Moving Forward

Something I’ve come to expect in life is that unexpected things happen all the time. That’s not a lead-in to say that anything major recently happened, but the most recent unexpected thing is that I have to find a new therapist (shoutout to insurance for ruining a good thing yet again). This isn’t anything new – in fact, this past 11 months is the most success I’ve had with a therapist in the 10 years I’ve been exploring therapy – but it’s yet another adjustment to make on my mental health journey. Here’s how I’m feeling at the moment.

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Being Resilient Against Mental Illness

Living with known mental illness can be exhausting. I don’t mean this in a dramatic way, or to make it comparable to living with other known conditions. I literally mean it can be exhausting. I get tired a lot because I spend a ton of physical energy on managing my depression and anxiety. Once you recognize how your mental illness can manifest itself, you can exert a lot of energy toward minimizing those feelings or situations. These situations can leave you physically, mentally and emotionally drained, which is frustrating. But I’ve learned that being resilient against mental illness not only goes a long way toward wellness, but it can help you manage living with mental illness in the long run.

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When Depression Makes You Feel Like a Failure

I’ll be honest: it took me a long time to learn how to live with chronic mental health challenges. It was a bit of a bumpy road, and there were some definite missteps in the process. Some days, it felt like I was just doing a trial and error for how I lived my life. This process is fluid and ongoing, which means that new challenges will continue to pop up, but managing these challenges makes up a big part of my day-to-day life. However, one of the flip sides of this has been that sometimes, I inadvertently cling to a routine I’ve created and feel like a failure if I decide to change that schedule. It’s had a negative impact on my mental health, but sometimes it’s just as hard to recognize as it is to adapt to.

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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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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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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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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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