Intrusive Thoughts, Part One: An Overview

One aspect of my life with anxiety and depression is constantly dealing with intrusive thoughts. It doesn’t matter the time or place, and it doesn’t depend on the activity I’m doing, but every so often, I have unwanted thoughts that become stuck in my brain. And I’m not alone – more than 6 million people are estimated to deal with intrusive thoughts in the U.S. every year, and those are just the people who feel comfortable telling their doctor about it. But what exactly are intrusive thoughts, and how can we recognize when we have them? Let’s break it down.

Continue reading

Dating With Depression: To Love and Be Loved

This post is the last part in this “Dating With Depression” series. You can read the first post about putting yourself out there here, the second post about talking about mental health with your partner here, and the third post about what your partner should know about your mental health here.

As I’ve gone through this series, I’ve been looking at different stages of a relationship in chronological order, and that was done for a specific reason. Every part of a relationship requires different advice, knowledge and tips, and having romantic interests while living with mental illness can make those parts even more complicated. But to wrap the series up, I want reflect on something for the readers, and it’s this (potential hot take coming up): for people living with mental illness, it’s possible to give and receive love in a romantic relationship. Not only is it possible, but being who you are can actually improve the relationship.

Continue reading

Dating With Depression: What Your Partner Should Know

This post is the third part in my “Dating With Depression” series. You can read the first post about putting yourself out there here, and the second post about talking about mental health with your partner here.

Dating someone while dealing with mental health issues, or living with a chronic mental illness, isn’t easy. It’s not easy for the people who are living with these issues (obviously), but it can also be very difficult for the other person, the other half of the relationship. It’s great that people want to help care and support their partners who live with mental illness, and it’s beautiful to see relationships thrive even though one (or both) people are dealing with mental health issues. But if someone wants to be as helpful and supportive as possible, what am I supposed to tell them? Even though my experience is specific, there are a few things you could tell your partner that might help them understand what you’re dealing with.

Continue reading

Mental Health Terms to Avoid – And What to Say Instead

Earlier this week, I wrote about the daily work involved in reducing the mental health stigma. There are things we can do every day to normalize mental health discourse, seeking help and talking to other people about our own mental health. One thing I mentioned specifically is to work on limiting the language that contributes to the disrespect and distrust of mental health issues. These words and terms make mental health issues out as something to be ashamed about, something to fear, instead of something to be open and honest about. Time to change our vocabularies!

Continue reading

The Constant Work of Shrinking the Mental Health Stigma

As I thought about what to write on this week (I have some good posts coming up, so stay tuned!), one thing I kept coming back to was the work I’ve been doing as a Mental Health Advocate. When you’re in a space where people are so open to hearing your own mental health experience and sharing their own, it can make you think that there still isn’t a major stigma out there surrounding mental health. But there is, and in the past few weeks I’ve been reminded of why it’s important to always challenge that stigma wherever we see it.

Continue reading

A Bad Mental Health Day Doesn’t Undo Progress

Recently, I had a bad day (that’s what I call going through any spells of depression and anxiety). A bad few days, even, since the residual effects of dealing with depression can linger in a uniquely difficult way. You can also call them bad mental health days if you want to be more specific. Either way, this was happening, and I felt powerless to stop it. But there was a calm after the storm, and during that time I try to collect my thoughts, process what happened and try to gain insight into that particular episode. It happened a few months ago, and I got through that moment differently. But in this moment, I needed a different reminder, and I got it (hint: it’s the title of the post!)

Continue reading

Guest Post: Key Ways to Cope With Severe Mental Illness

Today’s guest post comes from Mio, who is the fantastic blogger behind Mentally Ill in America. Mio’s primary goal with blogging is to share with others his lived experience with schizoaffective disorder. In addition to blog posts, Mio offers up many diverse forms of writing like poetry and puns! I hope you can visit his space and continue to learn about mental health through the many different perspectives that are offered. A big shoutout to Mio for sharing today.

I have come up with three key ways to cope with severe mental illness, that help me with a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder.

Continue reading

An Encouragement Post – Just for You

Sometimes when I think about what I want to accomplish with this blog, my brain gets all turned around. One important part of my anxious-riddled brain is thinking that every single decision I make is an important one, and that manifests itself more in this space than anything else. Every word I type and post I publish must be the best, most enlightened piece of content ever shared. Which means that sometimes I don’t focus on what I’d like to. I get too worried about how it will be received. And while that’s a long-term issue I’ll have to solve, I thought I’d face it today by posting exactly what I want: an encouragement post just for you. Because however you found this, whenever you’re reading it, and wherever you’re at in your mental health journey – a little positive encouragement can’t hurt!

Continue reading

Healthy Ways to Cope With Depression

Earlier this week, I wrote about some healthy ways to cope with anxiety, and I dove into the relationship between coping strategies and what we’re mentally dealing with. I thought that I’d continue that today by talking about healthy ways to cope with depression. Just like earlier in the week, it’s not just about the specific coping strategies we use, but our relationships with those strategies, too – and making sure that unhealthy strategies don’t turn into habits.

Continue reading