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Alixzandria Paige
I’m Alixzandria Paige, and I’m so excited to join HealthyPlace. I grew up in a big family, and unfortunately, many of my family members have a mental illness. While it has been challenging, my family with mental illnesses have all gotten so much better over time. As for me, I have a psychology degree and use my degree experience to help myself and others overcome mental health issues so that we may live the lives that we deserve.
Jennifer Lear
It is often said that relationships are a two-way street — that you get out what you put in. So how do you maintain relationships (platonic, romantic, or familial) when your mental health interferes with your ability to support others? When you are so preoccupied with your thoughts and ruminations that it doesn't even occur to you to check in on the people closest to you? Sure, the odd blip can be forgiven, but in the case of chronic, long-term depression, how do you manage to convince other people to stick around? How do you tell them that you're not selfish — just suffering?
Annabelle Clawson
Going down the rabbit hole of a negative thought-spiral is no fun, and yet sometimes it's so automatic that it feels like there's nothing I can do to stop it. It only takes one negative thought to blast my mind into a dark place where I feel lots of anxiety and no control. If this happens to you, too, it's not your fault--but you can learn to reframe negative thinking so these nasty thoughts taunt you less and less.
Amanda Richardson
As we face our final days of 2020, the holiday stress is rising and many of us with a history of addiction are bracing ourselves for the food-related festivities. The holidays can feel terrorizing and traumatic for numerous reasons, but a big factor could be the substances consumed around this time of year. For some, the dread of holiday cocktails might be causing you anxiety, but for others, the sacred meals and traditional foods could be your cause for concern. 
Mahevash Shaikh
Like me, I'm sure many people have been advised to "be positive" when they are depressed or struggling in general. One would think over time this typically misused saying would fade away. Instead, we have a version 2.0: good vibes only. The 'good vibes only' attitude is a form of toxic positivity and is harmful to a person with depression. Allow me to explain why. 
Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC
When anxiety strikes and skyrockets, chances are you'd enjoy an anxiety hack for instant relief from your symptoms. While unfortunately there is no quick fix for anxiety that will make it magically disappear from your life forever, there are things you can do to immediately help your soothe your mind, brain, and body. When you catch yourself caught in high anxiety, try one or more of these 12 anxiety hacks to reset and center yourself so you can deal with the stressors you're facing. 
TJ DeSalvo
I’ve always been one who enjoys traveling. However, much as I like to travel, there is one part of the process that I’ve always been uncomfortable with: actually traveling. Specifically, flying to my destination.
Jessica Kaley
I have a talisman that I carry with me everywhere I go, and it helps keep my self-esteem strong. A talisman is a good-luck piece, but it can also act as a trigger to evoke a memory or an emotional response. Here's the story of my talisman and how you can use one of your own.
Court Rundell
Rapid weight change due to mental illness is challenging enough without dealing with people's reactions. I've experienced rapid weight loss and gain on three separate occasions. The most dramatic weight change I survived was a 30-pound loss that left me looking like a skeleton with dark circles under my eyes. The only thing more shocking was people telling me how great I looked. As infuriating as these reactions were, I learned that my rapid weight change created an opportunity to start talking about mental illness.
Krystle Vermes
One of the most fear-inducing symptoms of dissociative identity disorder (DID) is dissociative amnesia. When the mind is elsewhere and split off from the conscious body, it can be easy to lose track of everything from time to conversations with other people. It took me years before I understood this commonly overlooked symptom of DID, and just as long to gain control over it and my everyday life.

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Ellen Mott
Dear Meghan, thank you for this article. I'm so happy to hear that you are well on your way to achieving your goals/goal. It was great how you listed what helped you get this far and how.
Me? I'm 41 and I have faced many difficult experiences with bipolar 1 disorder. I rarely got fired from jobs but they were always so hard and mania-triggering that I ended up losing them.
These past four years have been very, VERY hard for me. I faced depressions so low that I tried hard to do lethal damage four times. And the mania was interspersed inside those times. I feel rather unstable after all of that, but I am experiencing a med change right now that is indeed making me feel stable.
I'm not married and decided I couldn't have children because of my illness' severity, and I think it was the best decision though I have some feelings of loss over the operation that sterilised me. Anyway, I desire a mate for life, also; I want to be married someday.
This leads me to tell you my career interest: it's working with bridal gowns! I also desire to become a full-fledged wedding dress specialist or seamstress. I want to work at a salon as a consultant, but I have not been ready for that sales-type job, mentally.
Thus, after reading your article, I am inspired to take the route of seamstress career even though it will be a much longer process than taking the sales route. I have to learn how to see, for one thing. I know very little but not nothing! I worked as a seamstress volunteer in our local live action theater costume shop and learned how to use a serger!
Thank you so much for your inspiration, Meghan. I was ready to give up on my dream of any kind of achievement until I read your article. Now, keep on keeping on, and the best of all wishes for your health, wellness and happiness!!
Sincerely,
Ellen Whitney Mott
Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC
Hi Frank,
Absolutely! External pressures expectations from others most definitely contribute to anxiety. Sometimes, expectations might be unrealistically high. Other times, they might clash with what you want for yourself and your life. Other times, we think that others expect certain things from us and we conclude that we can't or don't want to meet them. This can contribute to a host of anxious thoughts and feelings about yourself, others, and your life. It can lead to excessive worries about the future and what might happen in your relationships, career, finances, or general life satisfaction. Everyone's anxiety in this area is unique, so your experiences might be slightly different than what I've mentioned here. Do know, though, that outside expectations (whether they're actual expectations or your own assumptions and thoughts about them) can definitely cause anxiety. It can often be helpful to work with a therapist to explore what, exactly, is going on, why it's happening, what you want to do about it, and how to go about reducing this anxiety.
Ruby
Its a really nice article, I feel like I am living a lie. DID, and just wanting to stay protected. I reject everything. And it is self destroying. Wish I could feel how to begin.
Sarah Sharp
Jenn,

Thank you for sharing so much of your story with us. It sounds like everyone close to you is going through a lot and is in a lot of pain.

Thank God you put those pills back in the bottle. Do you have a therapist, doctor, or another advocate you could talk to? If not, there are suicide and domestic violence hotlines you could call to get more information about where to turn for help. You can learn more about the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ and the National Domestic Violence Hotline at https://www.thehotline.org/.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that eventually, life WILL get better, no matter what I'm going through at the moment. It can't hurt forever. There are moments in my future I WILL want to be here for. I just need to hold on tight and keep doing the next right thing.

We at HealthyPlace are here if you want to chat more.

Kindest regards,

Sarah Sharp