Your mental illness is not the most interesting thing about you.

20181018_110356.jpgYour mental illness is not the most interesting thing about you, and it shouldn’t be. If you find yourself reaching for your disorders name when trying to define yourself you might want to take a hard look at why you’re doing that. I’ve talked about labels before, and one of my bullet points was about mental illness, but I don’t think that covered the topic fully enough.

You are a complete person, full of dreams, hopes, fears, interests, and memories. A lot of them may be tied into your mental illness. That’s fair, especially if you’re currently fighting it with everything you have. Your mental illness is a part of you, and at times it may be a really big part of you, but it’s still not the most interesting thing about you.

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Ways to donate and help human-trafficking victims:

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Some topics weigh on you a little heavier than others. Human trafficking has been one of those for me lately. It’s a complex topic because there are lot of different forms of human trafficking and a lot of different ways the victims are being sold and enslaved.

It’s something we don’t see a lot of personally. I have never seen someone being trafficked to my knowledge, so in a lot of ways it seems easy to keep ignoring the topic, anyway it’s easy to say that you don’t know how to help or who to give to. It doesn’t seem like it has a simple fix, after all it’s nothing like volunteering at the soup kitchen.

But lets not dismiss this because we don’t know anything about how to help. Modern day slavery isn’t something that should be out of sight out of mind. I thought one of the ways I could help outside of donating myself was to spread this knowledge and make this topic show up on your feed and the feeds of as many people as I can possibly reach.

Here are some places to donate to:

So how can you help outside of donating? Our government actually has a full page on ways to help and be mindful of the topic.

I hope these resources help empower you to help!

Reflection: What makes a person’s personality consistent or spontaneous?

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If you know me now, you’ve known me since 11th grade. I wrote that I was thankful for our ability to edit and change ourselves in my thanksgiving post. I meant it, I know a lot of people who have changed for the better, I’ve changed for the better, but when I look at myself now compared to then, I realize that it wasn’t really change that happened, but more of a consistent polishing.

I’m a consistent person, a remarkable feat given that I’m bipolar, but I guess with enough time that becomes a constant as well. I remember talking to someone and telling them that I felt like I only knew one version of them, and that was all I could know, because they had changed so drastically over the years. Then I looked at myself and realized that there were only three versions of me. My outgoing crazy energetic and social childhood. My self loathing almost bullied to extinction middle years. And the adult version of myself, that surfaced a little early due to all that happened in the stage before. I say adult version lightly, because you can only be so much of an adult in high school, but if you knew me then you would see me now. There is a lot of similarities and though they’ve been edited, my dreams and wishes haven’t changed a ton.

Honestly, I wonder if it makes me a little boring. But I think I’m like this because I figured out some tough questions early on. It was easy for me to pin-point what mattered in my life, and I didn’t have to have violent revelations of self discovery. I fell into a pattern of picking up traits and interests that made sense, if you had been following along you’d see them and go “of course Anna liked and added that!”. Simple. Easy to define.

Again, maybe boring? But I don’t know if people would describe me as boring either, because I’ve got a lot going on, it’s just the type of things in my whirlwind of character are typical for me.

It makes me wonder what makes a person this consistent.

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Giving and Taking Health Suggestions: No, you don’t actually know the fix.

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Suggestions normally come from a good place. We want people to feel better, we think we know a way to help, so we share. But lets be real here, every mental or physical illness can not be healed by the latest fad diet or the new “it” supplement and offering them as a cure all can honestly be very rude and condescending.

Of course I’ve tried to heal from Lyme Disease, of course I’m still working on it actively. I’m not better yet, I’m not just going to give in and submit to it. I’ve found that there are some things that seriously work, but they normally aren’t the things suggested to me by everyday people. They are things my doctor suggested or things that other people with this disease had work for them. They aren’t things that your best friend sells (hello oils) or diets that your mother in law did for her energy (hello keto).

Having an endless line of suggestions that probably won’t do anything aren’t helpful, they’re just saying ‘you clearly aren’t trying everything to get better.” That’s normally not what people mean when they suggest them, but that is normally how it comes off. It also comes off as people thinking they know a lot more than your doctors about science and yourself about your body. Neither of these is true.

That’s not to say that all suggestions are rubbish, some of them might help. How does one pick which ones to try and which ones not to?

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Cleaning my social media: Was it enough?

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I work on social media because I like social media. I enjoy scrolling through feeds, laughing, connecting, and getting inspired. There is a ton good to say about social media, and I think all the nay-sayers ignore the long list of positive features. It can build community, it can connect you with similar people when you can’t find them in your daily life. It can help make your life easier by teaching and informing. Its how most people get their news now a days. It exposes you to beauty that you wouldn’t otherwise see. And it’s great for a good laugh most days.

That being said, social media is a lot like most of your favorite foods. It’s wonderful, it brings you joy, but it needs to be consumed in moderation. It, like every other thing in this world, has negative features to balance it’s positive ones. That doesn’t mean you need to delete all your feeds the moment you notice the not so glittery side of social media, but it does mean that you need to find a way to filter and control yourself and your feeds.

I’ve written about the dangers of consuming things online. At the end of it I decided the solution was to balance what accounts I was following with accounts of the adverse. Then a few months later I wrote about how I filtered all toxic media out of my feeds, which is what I should have done in the first place. It was a learning experience because I lost most of the accounts I was following based on my definition of what toxic media is. I had to start over and find more accounts to follow, mainly ones that focused on hobbies and clean humor. I built back a nice positive social media experience. I thought that was it, that I had achieved what I had set out to do.

But then my fiancĂ©, who doesn’t use hardly any social media, pointed out that I was scrolling instead of doing other actives, which lead me to realize that scrolling always seemed like an easier task than my hobbies, because scrolling doesn’t require you to think or move or commit to anything.

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Things 2018 taught me:

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A lot can happen in a year, everyone knows that, or at least everyone has heard it. I was starting to doubt it when I was sick. Nothing can happen if you’re sitting on a couch… at least, not anything exciting.

But flash forward to 2018. I’m still having treatment, but my entire world has shifted. I’m off the couch. I’m about to marry the man I love. I have been working a year and a half at a wonderful job I love. My world is coming into focus. I’m starting to get a clear picture of what the future is going to look like. And I’ve learned a whole lot in this busy year, so I thought I’d share a few of those lessons with you:

Things really do happen when you least expect them too. It makes life feel like a series of surprises you just stumbled into, but that’s part of the magic. It’s easy to feel like everything is out of your control when it comes to the next step, but our main job is to keep moving forward. Get farther down the trail, there is a lot of beauty ahead.

Kindness doesn’t just happen on its own. Maybe civility happens without much effort, but true kindness, the kind that shifts days and changes lives, that comes from a lot of effort and a series of repeated actions. You have to choose to be kind, and work at it. It’s always worth it.

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Mental illnesses and romantic relationships:

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You don’t need to love yourself before someone can love you, that is something that I hate hearing, mainly because it’s not true, but also because it doesn’t inspire one to love themselves, it just tells them that they are worthless now. The intent behind it is something to talk about though, and that is that you need to take care of yourself sometimes before you get in a romantic relationship. That is true, even if the saying people have made out of it is false and cruel.

You can have successful relationships when struggling with your mental health, there is no question in that, but there needs to be some serious reflection on how your mental health is affecting your actions and also affecting your thoughts.

Mental illness can make us more stand off-ish or more clingy. It can make you hide the truth or deliver it in hurtful ways. Mental illness effects us all over, which is one of the reasons society needs to take it more seriously, but it is also a reason why you need to evaluate yours before you dive into a romantic relationship. What behaviors are your mental illness affecting and how will they effect a loved one? Everyone has a few behaviors that aren’t ideal, everyone has things they need to work on, but if we currently have more than normal, we need to address them before we make a significant other address them.

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