On COVID-19 and Mental Health:

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Hi, it’s me, a sometimes mental health blogger who realized that I might have picked the worst time for society to stop talking about taking care of your mental health.

But the truth is, I was taking a break because I needed one. Things are weird right now, and though I’m handling it pretty well, I think I speak for everyone when I say even those who are handling it well still feel the dread and uncertainty that comes with a worldwide pandemic.

Even if you somehow were not worried about the illness itself, isolation can get to you, and so can the uncertainty when it comes to our economy and jobs. It’s great if you’re handling it well but it’s also 110% okay if you’re not. It’s okay if your spending most of your time stress eating and hiding under the covers. It’s hard times and you’re allowed to feel them. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.

I feel like I’ve seen two viewpoints, the utter panic one and the “grind” while off the clock one, and honestly I don’t think either one of them are very healthy. Panic is bad for you, forcing yourself to stay up to date on the stats and the latest news can plumet your mental health. So can trying to hard to be productive in a time when stress has infiltrated everyone’s lives.

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Why we like morally grey characters so much:

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Have you ever noticed that your favorite TV or book characters are that lovely shade of morally grey. They do bad things all the time, but they are still somehow a good character. A few examples that pop to mind is Kaz from the book series Six of Crows, or Lucifer in the show Lucifer. They’re not technically good characters but we root for them regardless. Why do we love these morally grey characters so much?

They’re redeemable, whether it’s in certain actions, their tragic back story, or simply their love for other characters. They all have redeemable traits, no matter how bad they get or what they have to do to survive, and I think deep down inside, we all relate to that. We all want to be redeemable. We all strive to be redeemed.

We’re not out killing people (I hope) like a lot of morally grey fiction characters but we all have our fair share of dirt we’d rather not discuss or think about. We are all riddled with flaws, we are human after all, and when we see others riddled with flaws in our entertainment we root for them, because if there is good in them there sure as hell is good in us.

I think it’s human nature to see both the worst and the best in people. Our society likes to pretend that we normally see the worst in people, and maybe they are right to a certain degree. We as a species stereotype, we hold on to grudges, we cling to anger. But if our entertainment says anything about us it tells us that we are still rooting for the best  in people, we still want the good in everyone to prevail.

We like our morally grey characters because no matter the scale, they are relatable, and we like them because they give us someone to root for.

Self love isn’t self flattery.

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Coming in with a hot take. I see a lot of people, especially young women on social media, who have gone the wrong why with trying to find self love. It’s turned into self flattery. As viewing yourself as a “goddess on earth” or something else equally as large. It’s gotten to the point that I see women talking up this form of self love, this form of flattery as the definition of what self love is.

Self love isn’t seeing yourself as a goddess, it’s not trying to hold yourself so high up that you can’t hear your negative thoughts, actually it’s normally the opposite. It’s seeing yourself as a wonderful but flawed being worthy of love and worthy of all the time and energy it takes to improve.

Self love is more self acceptance than it is self flattery. Yes, you should look at yourself as someone worthy and lovable and good as you are, but you it isn’t just about praising yourself. It’s about loving the core of you, faults and all and knowing how to make yourself better.

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Expanding horizons: On Friendships built on Differences

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Have you ever met someone that you have nothing in common with and it bloom into a friendship? It’s an interesting situation, and I mean that in the best way, these people can help you grow and widen your horizons, but they can also just be interesting people to discuss things with.

I think we’ve lost a lot of the art of being friends with different people. We like to surround ourselves with replications of ourselves. We like to know what kind of advice we’re going to get. We like to do our hobbies with other people who like our hobbies. Even if we don’t mean them to be, our friends tend to be very similar to each other. But they don’t need to be, we can have friends from all walks of life with all sorts of different hobbies and ideals. We might not get the joy of hearing our opinions spoken back to us, but we can learn about different ideas and we can fall in love with different activities, or types of music, or books.

We grow when we’re introduced to new and exciting things, but we also are mammals completely dependent on having support systems and being loved. We can find that love in company with all sorts of people.

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Seven Things:

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  • This TIME link will tell you what your name would be in 2020 based the ranking of your current name the year you were born. It gives you the names for a lot of other years. So fun!
  • Guess what was more visited than the movie theaters in America this year? The library! Don’t believe me? Check out this article.
  • This cranberry walnut bread is the lowest effort bread I’ve made and it tastes SO GOOD. No kneading required.
  • You know how the US life expectancy has been on a downward swing between cancer and drug overdoses? Well some good news, this year, it went up according to this article by CNN!
  • I just bought these minimalist horse prints from Target. They remind me of Picasso’s famous line drawings. I needed more horse art… clearly.
  • I’ve made this pork dishfor dinner multiple times and I love it. It gives us a break from chicken, which is my normal go to.
  • This inspirational video will put your life and struggles into perspective while moving you deeply.

Trying to delete depression as it forms:

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Oh boy, another post about mental health, after a few months without them I’m back! Mental health is so important and with all that has been going on in my life lately, mine got a little rattled. As I said to my husband “I’m in a funk”, only, I knew what that funk felt like. It felt like the beginnings of something much worse, something that I needed to act on as soon as possible. My warning signs were clear. It was time to shape up my mental health, here’s how I’m approaching that:

Talking about it: Whether you do it with a therapist or with a trusted friend or family member, talking about your mental health is important. It not only makes you feel less alone but it also helps you untwist your feelings. The same way journaling is good for discovering what is really the root cause, talking helps you get to the bottom of your feelings. As I spoke about “my funk” I figured out some of the key things that were causing me to sink. It was important information!

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My husband met and married me while I was sick: Finding love while chronically ill

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Photo by: Sarah Warden Photography

A few months ago my husband looked at me and said “I really don’t know who healthy Anna is.” And he wasn’t wrong. He met me when I was really sick with Lyme Disease, and I was still fighting it when we got married. I still am fighting it in a lot of ways, I’m still on medication. I’m still trying to get my “normal” back, but most of my life has fallen back in place. I’m blessed. I know a lot of people don’t get this far with Lyme, but something about that line hit me hard, he didn’t know who I was healthy.

We all are different when we’re sick, even if we have the same loves and personality deep down. It gets distorted by pain, our hobbies get dismissed because we’re not able to do them. We struggle to be ourselves when we’re ill. There’s no way to sugar coat it. I was a lot grumpier when I was at my sickest and definitely a lot weaker and less enthusiastic.

But still, I got the love of my life while coming out of this terrible illness. Someone fell in love with me when I was my grumpy unable self. That’s a testament to our love story for sure but it’s also more than that.

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