When Mental Health Catches Us Off Guard

Life has its ups and downs, and mental health is no different. There are times when I feel like my mental wellness is in the best place it’s ever been. Other times…not so much. Most of my time is spent bouncing somewhere in between these two extremes, but highs and lows are part of life. I’m used to dealing with these highs and lows, but part of that familiarity is what I’ve learned from previous experiences. However challenging some things can be, it’s comforting when you know it’s coming. Sometimes I can feel my mental health slowly deteriorating, which is when I know it’s time to make some sort of change. Other times, I get caught off guard with moments of anxiety or depression, which is what I want to talk about today.

It happens a few times a week; sometimes daily. I’m in the middle of something – at the grocery store, doing some cleaning or organizing, even sitting around at home – and my body tightens up. I’m panicked, and I don’t know why. It’s not always clear what direction this pang of panic will take me in. Sometimes it’s the onset of an anxiety attack or a panic attack. Other times, it’s a reminder that I need to do some deep breathing, or need to slow myself down.

When mental illness manifests itself in several ways, it can be a challenge to determine what might be happening in a specific instance. It might not seem like a big deal in the grand scheme of things but for people who get stuck on specifics, it can feel like a moment that never ends. Is it my anxiety? Is it my depression? Some other third thing? Does it even matter? In the moment, that thought process can quickly evolve into feeling overwhelmed, exacerbating my existing feelings.

There’s a saying that goes something along the lines of, “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t,” and that’s an apt description for my relationship to my mental illness. No matter how hard my mental health challenges get, I always feel slightly more hopeful when I know what I’m up against. When it comes to our health, we can have anxiety over fear of the unknown. If you’re already predisposed to have anxiety, that fear can run your life at times. When I don’t know what’s going on or how it’s affecting me, I can wind myself up even more – the opposite of what I was hoping to do.

I don’t enjoy when this happens but, like other aspects of my mental health, I grow in experience and knowledge every time it happens. Whether it’s grounding yourself or finding a way to get our of your head, you have options when it comes to being caught off guard. Wherever you are in your mental health journey, I hope you find what you need today!

Now, over to you! Do you ever feel like your mental health catches you off guard? What does it look like for you? Let me know in the comments!

Five Ways To Cope With Limitations

As I wrote about earlier this week, it’s been a very interesting road to coming to terms with some of my limitations. Identifying my limitations (whether they’re physical, mental, emotional, etc.) is an important part of growth I’m coming to terms with. But the next step is more challenging: how do I cope with these limitations? How do I manage my feelings around them so they don’t make me upset, annoyed or depressed? I found five things I’m going to start trying in an effort to cope with some of my limitations, and I hope these offer some help to anyone looking to do the same!

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Looking Inward Instead of Outward

For the past month, I’ve been getting more into meditation as a daily practice. I’m trying to use meditation as something I look forward to during my day-to-day, instead of adding another item to my to-do list that I need to check off. This lets me put less pressure on myself (which is nice), but it also lets me go into those meditations with a bit of a freer mind. And it’s that freer mind I’m grateful for, because that plays a big role in looking inward during meditation – something I’ve really struggled with before.

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Managing Self-Awareness and Mental Health

Over the years, my relationship with therapy has ebbed and flowed. I’ve gone from being skeptical about it to going twice a week and everywhere in between. The common thread is that I’ve never been with one therapist long enough to making any long-term changes – until now. And now that I’m noticing some things about myself and how mental health affects my life, I’m facing a new challenge. But now that I’m self-aware about these these things, how can I use this information to improve?

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Gaining the Self-Confidence to Choose

As someone who experiences depression on a fairly regular basis, I struggle when it comes to the concept of choosing. I forget about my power to decide, and how those choices can directly impact my well-being. After so many years of experiencing mental illness, the power to choose feels like a theoretical concept at this point, but I don’t think I’d realized just how much I was limiting myself until the pandemic hit. Remembering the power to choose can go a long way toward building up confidence and self-esteem, which is why it’s an extremely important thing to remember when you’re experiencing mental health challenges.

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The Trouble With Playing Catch Up

It has been a surprisingly productive week for me but for some reason, I still feel like I’m behind. It doesn’t matter why, but this is about the time every single year where I feel like I’m behind on everything (it happens other times during the year, but this is when it hits the most). It’s discouraging to feel like you’re constantly catching up on things, but I’ve learned to manage these feelings in a way that helps me, not hurts me. And that starts by admitting that in my game of catch up, I’m never going to win.

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Five Tips for Managing Self-Doubt

This week, I’ve been doing a lot of research and reflection about self-doubt, what it looks like and the mental health challenges it creates. Even though it’s been helpful to understand more about doubt and the role it plays in our mental health, managing or overcoming self-doubt is more than just being aware of it. Here are five tips that I hope will be helpful to you on your journey to better manage your self-doubt.

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What is Self-Doubt, And How Can We Handle It?

There are many symptoms for anxiety and anxiety disorders: feelings of panic or doom, shortness of breath, trouble sleeping, a general sense of uneasiness…the list goes on and on. Symptoms of anxiety can create challenges with how we view the world and view ourselves, creating issues with self-worth, confidence and self-esteem. But lately I’ve noticed one one area that I don’t often see people discuss – self-doubt. After years of experiencing anxiety, my self-doubt has grown in a major way in recent months. But how did this happen, and why didn’t I notice it until now? I have a few thoughts.

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Going A Little Easier On Myself

One of the things I’ve learned on my mental health journey is that I can be extremely hard on myself. When I make mistakes or experience setbacks, I am quick to place the blame squarely on my shoulders. When I succeed, I’m reluctant to take any of the credit or share in any part of the praise. And while I know many of the reasons behind this (and since I don’t want to turn this post into a pseudo-therapy session), I’ve never really known what to do about it – which is what I’d like to talk about today.

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How to Learn Patience When You Have Anxiety

Earlier this week, I wrote about how patience can sometimes be a difficult concept. Patience might be a virtue, but that doesn’t mean I have to enjoy it all the time! However, I know that building patience – with myself and the world around me – has many benefits for long-term growth. And this can be especially true when it comes to managing my anxiety! Here are a few of my tips for building patience when you live with an anxiety disorder, and how you can learn more about creating a healthier attitude towards the idea of patience.

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