Learning and Growing in the New Year

Happy New Year! I’m sure you don’t need to read another post from me about how I feel about New Year’s resolutions; I can save that song and dance for another year. Instead, what I’d like to focus on today is how I’m hoping to approach the year: what I can bring to the table, how I’m hoping to grow, and trying to build on what I’ve learned about myself in 2022.

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The Drawbacks of Going on Autopilot

Last year, I wrote a blog post about the trouble with being in ‘autopilot’ mode when it comes to our mental health. At the time, my focus about being on autopilot came in terms of awareness and understanding. Rather than simply recognizing the what and where, I wanted to understand more about the why. In time, I’ve learned how to harness that focus to get things done even when I’m experiencing symptoms of mental illness. However, there are also drawbacks to this approach and today, I’d like to reflect on some of what I learned.

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Balancing Helplessness and Hopefulness

There are many symptoms of depression that are frustrating to deal with. Among them, hopelessness is one of the most difficult ones to manage. Hopelessness is a feeling that can sneak up on us. It can be disguised as so many other ways of feeling, and it can be hard to distinguish between other emotions. But to me, living with depression is a constant balance. On one end is the persistence of helplessness; on the other, the optimism of hopefulness. Life can be a constant back and forth between the two, which is what I want to talk about today.

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Ambition And Depression

They gon’ love me for my ambition… – Wale

I’ve always had an interesting relationship with the word ambition. As long as I can remember, I’ve been told ambition is something you need. It’s hard to meet and necessary for success. Without ambition, we’re all floating around without a care in the world. I’ve always thought myself to be an ambitious person. I have dreams of what I want to do, what I want my life to look like. But some things get in the way of ambition and today, I want to share about one of those things.

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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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Learning to Find Comfort in Messing Up

I get annoyed at myself a lot. Like, a lot. Multiple times a day. Part of that is my natural inclination after years of experiencing depression and anxiety, but part of it feels like human nature. No one is is happy about every single choice they make. We’re humans and we make mistakes. The problem is, I can hear that a million times, but an aspect of that never sinks in. Failing is extremely uncomfortable to me, and even though I’m discovering why, that doesn’t make it any easier to manage.

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Focusing on What’s Effective for Mental Wellness

When I write about mental health, I often use the word effective to talk about a certain technique or method that I’m researching or using. I’ve started to use this word more and more in the past few years, and it’s become one of the biggest ways I’ve measured mental wellness and how I manage mental health challenges. By putting a focus on how effective things are, I’ve been able to prioritize my mental health in a way I hadn’t been able to do before. Here’s why that’s important.

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Making Mental Health Adjustments Part One: Adjusting to Symptoms

How do you adjust to changes in your mental health? I’ve never seriously reflected on this question, but I know why I haven’t – it’s because I’m always doing it! I’m constantly adjusting and adapting to changes in my mental health, and I know many other people do this on a daily basis. Even though we’re constantly adapting, it’s difficult to take the time and break down how this is possible. Today is the first of a two-part series on how I’ve made adjustments to my mental health; specifically, how I adjust to symptoms of mental illness.

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Challenging My Instinct to Minimize Accomplishments

Most days, I don’t feel like I do anything. I definitely don’t feel like I accomplish things – and to me, an accomplishment is anything from finishing a book to getting out of bed. I’d chalk this up to the anxiety and depression I live with, but it’s also part of my personality to downplay achievements and minimize success. Despite this, I know that I (like everyone else) accomplish things in life, and I knew that the longer this problem persisted, the less I’d be able to acknowledge any sort of success. Now, I constantly work to make sure that I’m viewing achievements in a positive light – even if I don’t always believe myself.

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Balancing Accomplishments with Our Mental Health

When I was in college, I was very interested in motivation culture. I’m sure most of you are familiar, but to, that meant a lot of videos, speeches and mixtapes about being your best self and going after the life you want to live. It was one of my first real attempts at improving my mental health, and the results were…mixed. I viewed depression as a battle – one I was going to win. But my excessive interest around this self-improvement and self-help content was centered around getting rid of my depression. This approach made it nearly impossible to appreciate any sort of accomplishment – big or small – and in the years since, I’ve tried to create a more balanced approach to balancing my mental health with accomplishing and working toward goals I’ve always dreamed about.

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