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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A Weekend Derailed By Anxiety

I had a different post planned for this week that I hope I can post soon, but some things happened over the weekend that inspired a different type of post from me today. As I’ve written before, sometimes anxiety beats me, and on Saturday I had one of the worst anxiety attacks I’ve had in a long time. Before I continue I should say that I am doing better now, and that the situation itself is resolved. But one of the reasons I view this as one of the most difficult anxiety attacks I’ve had in a long time was because of how hard it was to not view it as an enormous setback, which is what I’d like to write about today.

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How ‘Life Hacks’ Simplify My Mental Health Challenges

For me, an important part of living with depression and anxiety is research. Back when I was first learning about my mental health struggles Google was my best friend, and I’d look up everything from symptoms to the best way I can overcome depression. I found a lot of helpful information that taught me a lot about mental health and what I was dealing with, but not all of the information felt helpful to me. And it usually came when I was on a page that would talk about ‘life hacks’ to improve my mental health or beat depression. While I love the concept of life hacks, their application to mental health simplifies the challenges we face every day. I struggle with the idea of using life hacks to ‘beat’ depression, and here’s why.

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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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What The Weather Does for My Mental Health

Out of the four seasons I experience where I live, it’s safe to say that winter is my least favorite of all. That’s not to say I dislike it – on the contrary, I enjoy most aspects of what winter brings. I have fond memories of holiday seasons, being a homebody during the cold nights and enjoying a little snow every now and then. But some of the things that make winter an enjoyable time are the same things that make it extremely difficult to manage my anxiety and depression. And while the other three seasons offer brief respites at the very least, winter often feels like a never-ending set of blistery days and frigid nights. It’s a challenge, but every winter I learn something new about how my mental illness functions – and today I’d like to share what I’ve learned this winter.

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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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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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Breaking Down the Different Types and Categories of Insomnia

I want to start by thanking the great words of advice I received from folks after my post earlier this week. I’d never opened up about my insomnia in this space before, and it was encouraging hear advice from others who have struggled with insomnia before. One of the biggest things I’ve learned about insomnia this week is that it’s so much more than not being able to sleep. With that in mind, I thought I did some research so I can talk more about the different types of insomnia and the challenges they can create in your day-to-day life.

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