What It Means to Be Thankful When You Have Depression

After writing about gratitude earlier this week (including my tips on how to have a better relationship with gratitude), I thought more about Thanksgiving. Specifically, I reflected on the word thankful and what it means to me. Thankfulness and gratitude don’t come easy to me, and I know there are plenty of people who it doesn’t come to either. Over the years, I’ve learned some things about thankfulness and living with depression that I’d like to share this Thanksgiving day.

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Five Ways to Improve Your Relationship With Gratitude

Since this week is Thanksgiving in the US, I’m thinking a lot about the word gratitude. Being in the mental health space, I heard this word quite often. One of the most common tips for people dealing with depression centers around finding gratitude in our lives. There are many ways that people can find gratitude (and I hope to make a post about that in the near future!), but what isn’t talked about as much is that people’s relationships with gratitude can be tricky. There’s a fine line to balance if we feel like we’re being forced to look on the ‘bright side’ if we’re struggling to cope with mental illness. That’s why, before I reflect more on this word and what it means for me, I want to share some of the ways that you can improve the way you view gratitude and your relationship with this tricky concept.

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When It Comes to Mental Health, Simple Doesn’t Mean Easy

People say it all the time – easier said than done. That phrase can extend to a lot of different situations for a lot of different reasons. In fact I don’t think I realized just how often I said it (to myself or to others) during my day-to-day life. And while I think that this extends to plenty of situations in our lives, there’s no area where this plays out for me in a clearer way then when my mental health is involved. When it comes to mental health challenges and finding ways to improve my mental wellness, it is always, always, always easier said than done. Because even though mental health solutions might sound simple, they are anything but easy.

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Walking Out of the Darkness in 2021

This year, for the fifth year in a row, I raised money and participated in the Washington, D.C. Out of the Darkness Community Walk, an annual event held by the National Capital Area Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). I was very fortunate to learn about this organization and the work they do and every single year, I’m reminded about how much I’ve learned and grown from being part of this event.

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Why Your Mental Health Journey Is Unique

A lot of people face mental health challenges on a daily basis. That might sound like it’s a lot to deal with, but there’s something that’s easy to forget when we talk about mental health and the challenges that people can face – each person, and each challenge, is unique. There is a sense of community and togetherness that is important when it comes to the mental health discourse (think about ‘you are not alone’ and phrases in that vein), but it can be difficult to remember that even though we’re in this together, each person is on their own mental health journey. This means that our challenges will be faced in many different ways, which can get left out of how we talk about mental health.

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It Sounded Better in My Head

One of the more prominent aspects of my anxiety is my difficulty with conversation. Most of that stems from social anxiety, which (according to the National Institute of Mental Health) is “an intense, persistent fear of being watched and judged by others.” Having conversations with others, especially people I don’t know all that well, can make me very nervous. I’m often worried I’ll say the ‘wrong thing’ and ruin a conversation, which is why I often avoid them. The biggest reason I end up in these situations is that I have an unrealistic view that every interaction I have with someone should be ‘perfect’ – which is what I want to talk about today.

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Closing Thoughts During Suicide Prevention Month 2021

I’ve written before that one of the topics I’ve learned most about in the four years I’ve done this blog is suicide prevention. As we reach the end of Suicide Prevention Month, I try to take time to reflect on what I’ve learned this month and how that helps my work in suicide prevention going forward. After my research this month, I’ve been able to connect more dots in regards to suicide prevention. Whether it’s calling attention to mental health or naming the connection between marginalized communities and a higher risk of suicide, I’ve learned that suicide prevention looks like a lot more nuanced than we think.

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Fighting My Instincts Toward Negative Thoughts

I think a lot about instincts. Whether it’s the instinct to think something or feel something, I’m pretty fascinated by the concept of instantly having a thought or feeling throughout my body because of something I’ve experienced. Unfortunately, people who experience mental illness can often have natural instincts that create negative thoughts or feeling, which can be very frustrating. It’s difficult to live in a world where every instinctual thought about yourself is negative, but that’s the reality for many people who experience depression.

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A Chance for Reflection: Sharing My Journey With Depression

I can’t underestimate how much I enjoy talking about mental health. It’s one of the few times in my life where I feel free, my brain isn’t going a hundred miles per hour and I’m able to speak honestly on a topic I feel comfortable talking about. A few weeks ago, I accepted a chance to be a guest on a mental health podcast and talk about my journey with depression, which is something I’d never done before. The experience taught me not only about the importance of sharing my story, but the growth I’ve experienced in my mental health journey.

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Why I Always Make Room for Mental Health Improvement

Over the years, I’ve learned a number of methods and techniques to manage my depression and anxiety. Some of those have worked very well (meditation and talk therapy), while others haven’t been as effective (I’m hoping to come back to journaling one day, but it’s not soon). Either way, I’ve learned a lot about what’s helpful for me on my mental health journey, and used those lessons to continue building my mental health toolkit and growing more certain in how I manage mental health. But as I’ve learned recently, there’s always space to find more ways and improve that relationship with mental health, which is what I want to talk about today.

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