Wrapping Up Mental Health Awareness Month 2021

Hi everyone! Since Mental Health Awareness Month is coming to a close, I wanted to share some of the things I’ve read and seen this month that have inspired me on my own mental health journey. I also wanted to create a space where I could reflect on the writing I’ve done this month and how it could be helpful on your mental health journey as well! Let’s dive in:

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Focusing On Mental Health And What’s Next

This month on My Brain’s Not Broken, I decided to intentionally focus on the pandemic’s impact on mental health. We’re also closing out Mental Health Awareness Month, and I’ve been very pleased to see the content that people have created and the wonderful ways that people have embraced conversations about mental health. Today, I want to focus on what’s ahead – not necessarily on what our mental health should look like after the pandemic (if that’s even a thing), but what we can do now. We’ve been living this way for 15 months now, and that’s brought a renewed focus on how we can better take care of ourselves in many ways, including mental health.

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Mental Health Can Be Exhausting – And That’s Okay

I try not to think about it too often, but I spend a lot of my time being tired. In fact, I’ve spent so much time being tired that it’s become more of a default setting rather than something I feel. Part of that could be that I don’t rest/sleep as much as I should (which I’ll admit is true), but the biggest reason I’m tired all the time is that I spend my days managing and living with mental health issues. And even though that takes a lot of energy from me (mental and physical) on a daily basis, that’s okay. In my experience, being tired isn’t always a negative thing – in fact, most of the time it’s a reminder of who I am and what I am working toward.

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Five Reminders During Mental Health Awareness Month

For those who are more familiar with Mental Health Awareness Month, this month can be a good time to reflect, learn, and grow as mental health advocates. However, it’s also a time to share with others, especially in the ways that we discuss mental health and how exactly awareness is spread. If you’re just getting started in your journey as a mental health advocate (which anyone can be!), I put together five helpful tips and reminders that can help you spread mental health awareness and start having those important conversations.

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Four Ways to Spread Mental Health Awareness

I’ve said this plenty of times before on the blog, but I talk about mental health a lot. It’s a topic constantly on my mind, and the more I discuss it the more it comes up in every day life. I view mental health as a key part of people’s lives, which is what makes Mental Health Awareness Month so important as a mental health advocate. But how do you spread awareness about a topic as broad and far-ranging as mental health? Where does a person even start? Today, I’m sharing four of the biggest ways that I spread mental health awareness in my work, and how each of these ways works to shrink the stigma and start a discussion about mental health.

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Being Resilient Against Mental Illness

Living with known mental illness can be exhausting. I don’t mean this in a dramatic way, or to make it comparable to living with other known conditions. I literally mean it can be exhausting. I get tired a lot because I spend a ton of physical energy on managing my depression and anxiety. Once you recognize how your mental illness can manifest itself, you can exert a lot of energy toward minimizing those feelings or situations. These situations can leave you physically, mentally and emotionally drained, which is frustrating. But I’ve learned that being resilient against mental illness not only goes a long way toward wellness, but it can help you manage living with mental illness in the long run.

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The Difficulty of Putting Mental Wellness First

Mental wellness is one of my favorite things to talk and learn about. Because of that, I’ve learned a lot about the ways that people incorporate mental wellness into their day-to-day lives. From therapy and meditation to physical exercise and coping strategies, there are plenty of ways that we tangibly put our wellness first. However, focusing on mental wellness in our daily lives isn’t as easy at it sounds. Why? Simply put, life happens – and that’s okay.

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Why I Don’t Always See My Mental Health Progress

When I was in the midst of managing a string of anxiety attacks a few weeks ago, I couldn’t think about much else that was going on that day. Fortunately I didn’t have work or any set plans since it was the weekend, but my anxious symptoms made me feel as though the entire day was a wash. But having some time to look back that day, I now realize that I handled the situation much better than I would have in the past. I still didn’t enjoy those symptoms and feelings of anxiety and depression in the moment, but I could see the progress I’ve made with a little hindsight. Unfortunately, it takes time to notice that progress, which can be hard to see when you’re in a difficult mental health situation.

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When Depression Makes You Feel Like a Failure

I’ll be honest: it took me a long time to learn how to live with chronic mental health challenges. It was a bit of a bumpy road, and there were some definite missteps in the process. Some days, it felt like I was just doing a trial and error for how I lived my life. This process is fluid and ongoing, which means that new challenges will continue to pop up, but managing these challenges makes up a big part of my day-to-day life. However, one of the flip sides of this has been that sometimes, I inadvertently cling to a routine I’ve created and feel like a failure if I decide to change that schedule. It’s had a negative impact on my mental health, but sometimes it’s just as hard to recognize as it is to adapt to.

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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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