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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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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Your inner voice is telling you more about your mental health than you know.

I’ve been stressed lately. We’ve had a queue of bad events coursing through my family lately, everything from ill health to work problems. December and January¬† were busy, but we’re starting to see the light (maybe, hopefully?).

I knew that the stress was bothering me, like it would anyone, but I thought it ended there. I was keeping up with everything, handling what needed to be handled. It was going as well as it could.

Then that little voice in the back of my head started nagging me again, and I mean that in the rudest of ways. When I’m over-stressed, run down, anxious, or depressed my mind doesn’t stop with the negativity and it starts directing it at me.

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Losing two years to Lyme Disease: What it taught me.

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I lost two years to Lyme Disease, there is no way to sugarcoat that. Two years of my early twenties got flushed down the tubes, they were spent in unbearable amounts of pain on the sofa. I couldn’t drive, couldn’t work, couldn’t see my friends, I used all my energy to bathe myself. It was difficult. It was terrible, but two years simply vanished in front of me.

It’s a harsh reality, but as we start this new decade I find myself not mourning those two years. It’s not because in retrospect they weren’t that bad (because they really truly where) it’s just that those two years played a special role in my life.

They taught me perspective and gave me sympathy for the sick and disabled in ways I’ve never experienced before, but they also reshaped me. You see, when you’re that sick and that unable you spend a lot of time thinking, you spend a lot of time evaluating, and dang, if I didn’t spend a lot of time praying.

Our early adulthood years are formative, college had taken my brain and worked on it and worked on it. My years on campus and in class had reshaped my brain, and some of that molding was amazing, but some of it needed to be left pliable for the realities of the real world coming after.

I feel like in a way I had a couple of buffer years. A couple of years where I was stuck in limbo and had time to purposely mold myself instead of just letting life beat me into shape. I don’t know if I would have taken all the time to think and process if I hadn’t been forced to. I think I would have kept on keeping myself too busy to be that deep in thought, too busy to truly reflect on my life. And it’s in that way that God used my sickness for good. He gave me the time I needed to take in everything and realize what I needed to work on and what I needed to change.

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The little things that get you through depression:

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Every now and then you’ll see a post on social media that says “the only reason I haven’t committed suicide is because my dog would miss me” or “the only reason I haven’t spiraled into deep depression is because I’m looking forward to this trip.”

These statements are dark, but a lot of statements having to do with mental health are dark, it’s unfortunately part of it’s nature. But these statements are important, because they give reasons to live, reasons to be happy, reasons to look forward to life.

A lot of people struggle to pull themselves out of depression and while you’re in it it’s easy to believe that you need something huge to make a difference in your daily mental health, but that isn’t true. The little things might not send shock waves through your entire life, but they give you reasons to move forward, and I’m begging you to cling to the little things.

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If you look for the bad you will find it.

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It goes for people and events, if you look for the bad in something you will always find it. If you go in with a negative mindset you will find something negative, it’s a simple game of find and seek. Sometimes those bad things are big, sometimes they make us feel justified for our negative views, but the problem is, when we find multiple small negatives, we still find our mindset justified. We still think we’ve done the right thing by raining all over the parade because we found something wrong with it.

Nice going being right, I guess.

The problem is small negatives don’t make a bad person or a bad event, they don’t even make a bad group. Small negatives are everywhere, and not just in the things we hate. All your favorite people, events, and groups also have small negatives. You’re just not looking for them in them, you’re looking at them with a positive eyes, which leads to the second point, which is if you look for the good in something you will find it.

It’s the exact same as the reverse. The half full and half empty debate is raging on, but it’s too generic of a saying, it implies that you’re either always an optimist or always a pessimist. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We find good in the things we want to find good in and we find bad in the things we want to find bad in.

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About a past post: I think there are wrong ways to feel emotions.

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Someone I know personally sent me a message about my language in my last bipolar post, about how I said that under the right treatment plan you could feel emotions the normal way, the right way. I seemed to have slightly ruffled feathers by implying that there was a normal and right way to feel emotions.

It’s true, I suppose, that everyone reacts to their emotions differently, even completely healthy people with no hint of mental illness, that being said, there is most definitely, without a doubt in my mind, a wrong way to feel emotions and it’s not normal.

Being bipolar does not define me, but it is most certainly something that is wrong with me, I think to say otherwise is dishonest. I wouldn’t have chosen to be bipolar, even though it has gifted me with some wonderful things, like being so creative. Actually this has been a debate in my mind, would I give the creativity in exchange for the mood disorder? I don’t really know, but I would never miss the disordered moods. I’d never miss not being in control of my emotions, of not being able to feel happy when surrounded by things that should make me overjoyed. The simple fact that I could be in a situation where literally nothing is wrong and still feel depressed? That is the wrong emotion, that is the wrong way to feel emotions. The same goes for being so manic you lose control of your ability to rein in your thoughts or in some cases control your actions. Is that right? Certainly not. It is a wrong way for emotions to overtake you. They aren’t supposed to do that, they can be consuming, but they aren’t supposed to be controlling.

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