I've written for the "Mental Health for the Digital Generation" blog for a little over a year now. My experience as a writer here has been both difficult and rewarding. In writing about mental health, I've had to confront the realities of my own mental illness, a very vulnerable process. I've also gotten to connect with all of you online, which has been a treat.
I will be the first person to confess that physical rest does not come easily to me. In fact, one of the most persuasive lies from my eating disorder, which I'm still working to dismantle, is that I am not allowed to rest. For years, I assumed that a body in constant, relentless motion would equal strength, power, and control, whereas a body at rest would signal weakness. However, as recently as this past weekend, I had no choice but to pause and remember that rest is an essential part of eating disorder recovery—and health overall.
Laura A. Barton
Two things are going to become clear in this blog: my taste in music and there are songs that remind us that it's okay not to be okay. Realistically, "It's okay not to be okay," is probably a statement you've heard repeatedly in the world of mental health awareness and advocacy. As potentially overused as it is, this sentiment is an important one when combatting mental health stigma.
Something I started doing when my brother was first diagnosed with mental illness was personifying his diagnosis. This might sound a little kooky but stay with me here. I found I was getting angry or upset at my brother for things he couldn’t control, things that were directly linked to his illness. There are parts of his illness that still infuriate me on his behalf – I hate his diagnosis for taking away so many things and causing him so much suffering. The thing is, personifying his mental illness gave me the ability to separate the illness from the person.
The title of this blog is "Coping with Depression." In the past, I've used it to talk about ways to feel productive, beat procrastination, and improve relationships during a depressive episode. But the reality is that some days, "coping" just means surviving through the worst days. So, in honor of World Suicide Prevention Month, I would like to offer some simple tips on how to get through when "getting through" seems impossible.
It can be challenging to stay grounded in the present moment when you live with borderline personality disorder (BPD). Unstable emotional states and anxious thoughts can often pull you into a past or future mindset. However, bringing yourself back into the present can have a wealth of benefits for your mental health.
I was diagnosed as schizophrenic in 1999 after a psychotic episode at college. My first diagnosis of a serious mental illness markedly changed my sense of fashion, and the changes stuck even with a later reassessment that I was schizoaffective. I have a few ideas as to why.
The stories we tell ourselves can often become self-fulfilling prophecies. Using creative writing for self-harm recovery is one way to rewrite the narrative of your life in a way that can affect real, positive change.
Keeping a child mentally healthy can be challenging, especially if your child has a mental illness as mine does. In fact, I think it can be harder than keeping a child physically healthy since keeping the body in shape basically involves a checklist: good diet, check; lots of exercise, check; plenty of water, check; annual checkup, check. A child's mental health, though, can be a bit more complicated.
Struggling with anxiety means often experiencing symptoms unexpectedly, so compartmentalizing anxiety can help. Life does not stop when you experience anxiety. The day goes on, you still have to go to work, go to school, tend to your family, and all of this does not stop when you feel anxious. However, there are coping strategies you can use to help you manage chronic anxiety on a daily basis when you know that life goes on and it is important to focus on the present. During times that this has occurred for me, I have found that it has been helpful for me to compartmentalize my anxious thoughts and feelings.