The Link Between Sleep and Mental Health

Once upon a time, I used to be good at sleeping. Then, when I was 18, I went through a rough stage of life and it affected my sleep schedule in a major way. It became almost impossible to go to sleep, stay asleep, and get the right amount each night. I’d be going through my day on 3-4 hours on average – it wasn’t fun.

Since life does go on, I got through that rough stage, but my relationship with sleep didn’t get better. And though it’s improved in the years since then, it’s very safe to say that I don’t sleep as much – or as well –  as a healthy person should.

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We’re Just As Human As Everyone Else

How’s 2020 treating you so far? Maybe you’re thriving, crushing it in every way and absolutely loving life. Maybe it’s the opposite and you’re just hanging on for dear life. Or you might be like me – hopelessly stuck in the middle and uncertain of which direction to go. I usually wait until later in the year to tell myself what I’m about to tell you, but I didn’t feel like waiting. It’s time for a public service announcement:

Whatever is going on in your life right now – you’re just as human as everyone else.

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One Way to Improve Self-Talk

When I’m facing bouts of depression and anxiety, sometimes it’s hard to see things outside myself. And if I’m spiraling, it becomes almost impossible. If all you’re trying to do is hold on and survive the next minute, hour or day, it’s easy to forget that you aren’t the only one going through this. But as statistics show, you are not even close to being the only one. But I’m different, I would tell myself. No one is suffering in the same way I am. And I know why I thought that so much when I first faced depression. Even now, years later, there are still moments where that’s in the back of my head when I’m in a tough spot. I never viewed myself as a person just like everyone else, so the way I spoke to myself was extremely terrible (it’s still not great now, but it used to be much worse).

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Taking Steps Forward in 2020

For the first time last year, I didn’t make a New Year’s resolution. I had my reasons and I stick by them, but in the back of my head, I knew I was feeling some type of way about the concept of New Years’ resolutions. Mostly it’s because they’ve never worked out for me. There’s an inherent belief that when we do what we’re supposed to, things will go our way. That extends to a lot of things in life but in this case, that meant every year, I was ready for things to go my way if I stuck to my resolutions. That never really seemed to be the case.

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No More Meds: Some of the Side-Effects (Part 2)

Whenever someone weans off a medication, there are side effects to the process. Whether they are mental or physical, going from taking any medication consistently (or daily) to not taking any at all will come with different outcomes. Part one of this post spoke to the physical side-effects I’ve noticed most – mainly, that my energy levels are different and I am much more tired than I used to be. Now I’m here to talk about the mental aspect.

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No More Meds: Some of the Side-Effects (Part 1)

A few months ago, I finished completely weaning off the meds that I’ve been taking for depression and anxiety for the past two-and-a-half years. I’ve written about the process before, but when it comes to the end result, I couldn’t write about it all in just one post.

To be honest, that result will be ongoing, as a person’s mental state is not linear, and I’m no different in this situation. I will say that as of right now, I don’t feel an immediate need to go back to my medication. That’s all I was really looking for in the first place, so I consider that a win. However, there have been some side effects of being off meds completely that have affected my life in ways that I wasn’t expecting – one of which is that I am very tired all the time.

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You Can’t Force Timing

I remember early on in this blog, I wrote a post about what I called the Waiting Game. Without going into the entire post, I basically wrote about how it’s not so bad to be patient and wait for things to happen to you as long as you continue to do your best to live a good life. That waiting on something doesn’t have to be so terrible, and sometimes it’s necessary.

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Being a Friend to Someone Who’s Depressed

“If you know someone who’s depressed, please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn’t a straightforward response to a bad situation; depression just is, like the weather. Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness, and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you will ever do.” – Stephen Fry

It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed. This might sound obvious, but if you aren’t well-versed in mental health or mental illness, it’s not.  It’s easier to help someone who’s depressed when you’re in the moment. It’s easier to help them find a psychiatrist or a therapist. It’s easier to help them get help. But to be their friend – to love and support them through what could be the darkest points of their life up to that point – is hard.

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Out of the Darkness Community Walk 2019

Last week, I was fortunate to participate in an Out of the Darkness Community Walk, one of the hundreds that are around the country every year by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. This is the third year that I’ve been able to participate and fundraise for the AFSP, and every year I end up becoming stronger and more inspired by this event as it continues to shine a spotlight on bringing together thousands of people in the local area who are affected in some way by suicide.

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