Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Blogging for Mental Health - Part 1

One of my favorite bloggers is Brandy at Mannly Mama. You guys, seriously. Check out her blog and I promise you won't be sorry! I would love to do nothing more that talk about her fabulous blog all day long, but I really wanted to talk about mental health.

Brandy posted today, The Mental Health of Motherhood, where she shares with everyone the tremendous community of online support for women suffering from postpartum depression. Brandy even shares her story and struggles with PPD and I encourage you to click over and give it a read.

She also pointed out that today is Blogging for Mental Health Day and I knew I couldn't sit this one out! Mental Health is a very important topic for me as I've experienced my own struggles with depression and a slew of periods where I just haven't been at the top of my game mentally.

I first shared my story about why I see a therapist back in February of 2012. It was actually the third blog post I had ever written! I wanted to dispel some of the stigmas that may be attached with seeking professional help and my hope was to connect with someone that felt like they needed help but didn't think therapy was even an option for them.

I also shared that I had my own spells of depression-like states during college that were crippling and difficult. Many, many days spent in tears, paralyzed by something that I couldn't quite put my finger on, and knowing that I was not myself. When this was at its worst I can't say that I fully received the proper help that I needed or that I was willing to accept the proper help that I needed. I wanted a "quick fix" and I honestly did not want to put in any effort to fix anything for myself.

It took some growing up, some life experiences and the right therapist to make it all click! I'm in a much healthier place where I sit today but my journey will never truly end. In fact, I had a major set back while I was pregnant with P-Nut.

I am going to share with you that experience in my "Part 2" of this topic because I now realize how important my story is in relation to the person I am today. I did not struggle with PPD, but I did struggle. It was intense and scary but I made it through.

As for today, on Blogging for Mental Health Day I just want to share these things with you:

  1. You do not have to suffer any longer. If you feel like something just isn't right and it is something you haven't been able to shake, then please do not ignore it. You shouldn't have to just "get through" each day. There are resources and there is help out there you just have to be ready to admit that you may need it.
  2. You do not have to do this alone. It takes a village, people! If you can find at the very least one person that you feel like you can trust and confide in when it comes to what you are struggling with. I promise you will not only feel better by sharing your struggles but you will be surprised by how much people are willing to help you in your time of need. Also, find support groups online or in your community. Solidarity is key!
  3. You may not have to go through this alone, but you and only you are in control of "getting better." When you are in the middle of whatever's got you down I assure you picking yourself up, dusting yourself off, and getting back to the swing of things is the most challenging task you will ever be faced with. It takes baby steps and you have to be willing to put in some work. This can be a slow process and even the smallest step will be a HUGE triumph!! The small steps will start to add up, I promise.
  4. You are not weak. Struggling with mental health is not a sign of weakness. In my opinion it is a sign that you are self aware.
  5. Find a good therapist. Therapy isn't for everyone but I urge you to at least explore the option. Therapy comes in many different forms so finding they right style for you is very important. Also, notice I said, "find a GOOD therapist." You may find that you don't "gel" with the first person you sit down with. My advice is to not force it. Therapy is for you and this is one place in your life that you get to be extremely selfish and picky. I will explain in more detail in anther post my experience with finding my perfect match and the things I would look for in a good therapist.
  6. Give yourself a break. This shit is hard! There is no way around it. When your mental health is suffering your whole world can seem upside down and you feel like every day your are trudging through endless sadness, anxiety, anger, etc. Your road to getting back into a mental health sweet spot may not be a fast one. You will have some bad days and I'm here to tell you, that's ok! You are doing the best you can with whatever circumstances you have been dealt and even though you will have some tough days you will also get some good ones that will inspire you to keep moving forward.
  7. Hang in there. It will get better. You can do this. You can overcome anything you are struggling with. You are strong and the light that feels so buried deep inside you will surface to the top once again. Like I said, when you are down this doesn't seem possible and it can feel overwhelming to visualize but if you just start slow and start with whatever you are comfortable with then I promise... one day, you will be back to you and even stronger then before.
Take care of yourself and if there is anything I can help with I'd be happy to try. I've been in your shoes and I've made it out the other side. Now it's your turn.

I'm Blogging for Mental Health.

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