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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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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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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Mental Health Impacts Everyone

World Mental Health Day is a date that’s marked on my calendar every year, and while I usually write a post for that day (you can see last year’s post here and my 2018 post here), I was busy participating in something different this year. I am a Mental Health Advocate for Rethink Mental Health Incorporated, and on October 10th, they hosted a World Mental Health-athon on Instagram by bringing on their advocates at the top of every hour to talk about their own mental health stories and why mental health matters. When I was on Instagram Live for my portion, Rethink’s founder made a good point during our conversation that I wanted to expand more on today – that everyone deals with mental health.

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How Are We Handling a Mental Health Crisis?

I’ve hinted at this on the blog, but I’ve been in a mental health crisis before. More than once, actually. This isn’t the time or place to discuss those crises in detail, though, because I want to focus on how I felt, what I did, and how all of that made me feel safe and secure. Based on my personal experience, I’ve had to basically teach myself how to have a mental health crisis. It shouldn’t be that way, but that’s what I had to do, and I think I am better for it. So now I want to share my experience.

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First Steps to Getting Help for Mental Health Issues

Getting help for anything can be hard. For mental health? In my experience, it can be one of the most difficult things to do. There are so many reasons for why people can’t get the help they need. A lack of information and resources can make people feel like it’s more work than it’s worth. Figuring out how to find affordable mental health care can be another mountain to climb (insurance, you suck). And of course, there is the stigma of it all. So let’s take it back to the beginning. If you – or someone you know – is struggling with mental health issues, how can you take the first step to get help? Here are some things to consider.

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Why Everyone Should Care About Mental Health Awareness Month

As we reach the end of Mental Health Awareness Month 2020, I was trying to figure out what else I could write about it. Seeing as how this is a mental health blog, it feels like every post I write is about mental health awareness – what could I say now that would make this any different? But, seeing as how this is a big month not only for the mental health community but for organizations around the country, I decided to share why this isn’t just a cause for those affected, it’s for everyone. We should all care about mental health awareness – and here’s why.

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My Own Approach to Mental Health

As we continue on with Mental Health Awareness Month, I’ve taken a real interest in trying to define and explain what the concept of mental health looks like. I never thought the answer would be simple, but I did think that there would be a consensus. In the mental health community, it seems like there is.

Outside of that? It seems a bit up in the air. And since there are plenty of people who might be dealing with their own mental health challenges for the first time, it’s not the time for whataboutisms or judging what others are doing to stay mentally healthy. One way I can do that is to explain how I approach my mental wellness. Continue reading

What Mental Health Looks Like

When I wrote my post earlier this week, I wasn’t expecting to get as angry as I did. Not only did it get in the way of what I wanted to write about, but it frustrated me. I know it’s complicated to properly define mental health, but I didn’t think it was complicated because the dictionary doesn’t know how to define it. But we’re moving on…

A question that’s just as complicated to answer as ‘how do you define mental health’ is similar: what does mental health look like? I don’t mean yours specifically (though that IS the Mental Health Month Challenge!), but what the concept looks like. So I created a short photo essay to answer this question.

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