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If you’re in your twenties, you’re dealing with uncertainty. I am not even slightly uncertain about that.

Hah. But really. If you’re in your twenties and you’re also struggling with anxiety or depression, dealing with uncertainty can be that much more stressful for you.

Today, for Mental Health Monday, I’ve brought in Sylvia, who like the rest of us, is a twenty-something trying to wade through all the unknowns life is dumping on her. She is sharing the four tips that have helped her the most, and that she thinks will help you, too!

I thought this post was great for Mental Health Monday because like I said, if you’re in your twenties, you’re dealing with uncertainty. And, since Uninspired is a blog for women in their twenties, it seemed like a perfect fit. Since I’m all about trying to strike that balance between enjoying life now and building for the future, I want to make sure I give you guys plenty of tips about caring for yourself. If you don’t engage in self-care, it’ll be next to impossible to find that balance and keep it. Not only will you not be able to keep the balance, you’re also much more susceptible to anxiety, depression, alcoholism, or more depending on your situation.

So, now that I’ve scared you into caring for yourself, it’s time to switch it over to Sylvia, who blogs at sylvmarcia.com. Her four tips for dealing with uncertainty will help keep you sane when you feel like you’re going crazy planning for the future.

If you're in your 20s, you're dealing with uncertainty. I know that for sure! But, Sylvia's 4 tips will help you find certainty even in the worst situation.


Dealing With Uncertainty

“Sometimes I wish life was easy. That the path I was supposed to go down was clear. I would know the right decisions to make. I’d know when it would be good to chase a dream or when to give it up. I would know which friends to choose or what books to read. I’d know what to major in and what jobs to apply to. I would know that life would work out the way it’s supposed to. I would be able to feel confident that my life is going the way that is best for me.

Right now, I don’t know that. I don’t know anything. I’m treading water trying to grasp at whatever I can, but I feel as if I only end up sinking. Life is currently a blur. I don’t know much right now. I don’t know if I chose the right career path or the right place to live. Honestly, I don’t know if blogging is even worth continuing to work on at times. I don’t know what I’m doing most of the time. I’m making it up as I go along and hope I’m doing something right. At times, the feeling of wanting to give up is overwhelming. I hear it getting louder and louder every day. It’s hard to stop at times. It makes me question who I think I am that I can do whatever I’m about to do.

I’m dealing with uncertainty. A lot. 

I like to believe everyone has these doubts at times. Everyone, at times, wishes they knew the decision they were supposed to make. I also believe that when you’re struggling with mental health, it can make it harder to manage. Things that are not meant to be anxiety inducing or dreadful are already for me, so let’s add on things that would stress anyone out, and it makes it unbearable.

I find it hard to trust the process of life. To be okay with dealing with uncertainty. To be okay with trying when I don’t know how it’s going to work out. Below are four tips I have for handling the unknowns of life while struggling with anxiety and depression.

 

1. Remember how you got where you are today.

    Once, a path I thought I was supposed to go down suddenly closed. This may sound cliche, but most of the time though, things happen for a reason. The path I ended up going down instead lead me to new passions, relationships I wouldn’t have otherwise. I discovered things I would never expect if I knew exactly where I was going all the time. If you asked yourself five years ago, where you thought you were going to be in five years, would you have been right? I know I wouldn’t have. There is beauty in that, I think. There’s a beauty in dealing with uncertainty, and in embracing it. I remember those times that things didn’t work out the way I wanted, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It allows me to acknowledge that sometimes life’s surprises are for the better.

 

2. Grounding techniques.

   It’s easy to get caught up in the unknowns of the future, especially when it seems anxiety and depression control you. Living in limbo. Getting so caught up in the future, that you forget how to live in the present. Research grounding techniques that bring you back to present. You can only truly control your present, so stay there. I have an essential oil roller that I put on my wrist and smell when I find myself getting caught up in ideas I can’t control. There are many other techniques – I suggest clicking the link above and finding one that works for you.  

 

3. Do your best no matter what.

   The only thing you can do and should do is your best. If you do your best, you can’t have regret. No matter what the future will bring, bring your best self. It’s so easy to get caught up in dealing with uncertainty, especially with anxiety. Currently, I don’t know what job I will have come September or where I’m going to be living. I have goals, but I have no idea what will happen. It’s easy to get caught up in all the negative outcomes that can possibly happen. I become paralyzed by all the options and ideas I can do. This is when I try just to do my best and keep pushing through, so no matter what I will know that at least.

 

4. Take advantage of where you are now.

   I recently moved back home, which is something that gave me extreme anxiety. I appreciated and enjoyed living on my own and having my own space. Moving back home gives me a new sense of being restrained or that I’m in high school again. Even though I’m here now, I try my best not to think of it and know that it’s only a temporary situation or else I get too caught up.

I also try to take advantage of living at home. I get to be around my pets, live close to my niece and nephew, save money, not have anxiety about my apartment catching on fire, and it’s a good temporary place before I start the next step. Yes, this situation has some difficulties, but it also has some positives, and I try to enjoy those when I have the chance. Think of where you are now. This could be the people you are around, location, amenities, or anything else. Focus on those things that can make you feel better and remind yourself of those when anxiety teases you about the unknowns.

 

Dealing with uncertainty is typical. No one ever fully knows what the future is going to be even if you have it all planned out. Living in those unknowns can often heighten, especially for me, anxiety and depression. By remembering the four things I listed above, I can cope with them a little bit more.

Hi friends! It’s Monday again, and I know you know what that means. It’s Mental Health Monday!

If you’re new, this means that the post today will be from a guest blogger who has experience with a particular angle of mental health. In the past we’ve talked about depression, alcoholism, anxiety, depersonalization, and much more! Today’s post is about finding a creative outlet for our feelings.

We cover everything under the sun here at Uninspired– from dating to TV recommendations to great vacation spots. But I feel it’s incredibly important to talk about mental health especially because twenty-somethings have got a lot on our plates. We’re expected to build our entire futures in this time. And we’re expected to enjoy life, because this is the prime of it. Also, we’re expected to act like we’ve got it all together, all the time. That just isn’t realistic. And if we try to pretend it is, we’ll go absolutely bonkers. We’ve got to take care of ourselves, but often, that need to pretend we’ve got it all together gets in our way. We need others to give us hope that it’s possible, and that’s the point of this series.

Since I can’t relate to all of you individually, I’m not able to give you all hope the way I’d hope to. Yes, I’m in the mental health field, but hope doesn’t live in textbooks. Hope comes from reading a story about someone who has been through your situation and come out stronger because of it. And, y’know, lots of other places, but the one I said is the one I can actually offer you.

Today’s guest blogger is Jennifer, who runs a personal blog and contributes to several more. Her creative outlet has been instrumental to her recovery from depression, and she wants to talk to you about how that happened. Our hope is that you’ll be inspired to find a creative outlet that sustains you through your darkest times.

My guest blogger, Jennifer and I have a shared hope that you'll be inspired to find a creative outlet for your depression like writing, drawing, or playing music. She shares how it has helped her, and how you can get started with your own expressive hobby.


The Benefits of a Creative Outlet

“Greetings to you all. I’m grateful for this opportunity to be a guest blogger on Nicole’s site. Mental health is an important issue and one that needs as much coverage as possible. I use every opportunity that I’m given to use my creative outlet and write about it. In this post, I’d like to share my background with depression and how I use my experiences to write and advocate for those of us who battle this illness. Together I believe we can eradicate the stigma and bring hope and healing to this generation.

I don’t know when depression first entered my life, but I do know when it hit me full force. It almost killed me.

I have always been what people consider “moody.” I am temperamental. Even as a child, I would get angry easily. I thought it was just my personality.

In addition to being easily angered, I would also have bouts of sadness. I wouldn’t even be sure why I was sad. I would just feel this overwhelming sense of gloom. This got worse during my teen years. I began to feel that I didn’t really fit in anywhere. Sure, I had friends, but I always kept a protective shell around myself. I didn’t want anyone to get too close.

I would go through periods where I didn’t want to go to school. It wasn’t the typical thing where nobody likes to go to school. It was more like I didn’t have the energy to get out of bed. I had such a hard time making myself do anything. I didn’t even want to go out with friends. I’d fake it and go through the motions just so people would leave me alone.

I dealt with the same issues during college. The stress increased, and my battle with insomnia began. I believed that I was messed up, but I did my best to keep everything hidden. I had routines that I followed so that no one would know the real me. It was exhausting, but somehow I managed and gained both a degree and a husband.

None of my plotting prepared me for what was coming.

Years of caring for my child with severe special needs broke down every wall I had built. I ended up in the kitchen prepared to take enough pills to end my life. Miraculously, my husband arrived home from work early and stopped me. It was the first step in my long journey of healing.

Starting that night, I spent a week in the psychiatric section of a local hospital. I saw doctors and therapists and got put on anti-depressants. I now see a psychiatrist and a therapist regularly. I’m thankful that I got help, but I wish I’d known sooner that I didn’t have to suffer in silence.

 

One thing that I had always longed to do was write.

Prior to my near suicide attempt, I had always been too afraid to share my thoughts and the words I’d written with others; however, after nearly losing my life, I found the courage to finally open myself up to the world. I began to write poetry, blog posts, and articles. I discovered writing to be cathartic, and this creative outlet has become a form of therapy for me. It has also connected me to others who battle depression, and they have reached out to me to thank me for sharing my story. People who have never experienced depression themselves thank me for helping them to better understand what it is like. I am thankful to be opening doors and breaking down barriers so that conversations about mental health can start taking place.

I encourage others who are diagnosed with mental illness to find a creative outlet, whether it be writing, painting, sketching, singing, dancing, or whatever speaks to you. You don’t have to be a professional or be the most talented; it is not about trying to be perfect. You will probably find, however, that you will improve with time. You will most likely find the creative process to be healing and helpful on your journey. I certainly have.Craftsy Unlimited FREE 7 day trial at Craftsy.com

Another thing that writing has done for me is to open up career opportunities.

In addition to my own personal blog at https://freeindeed-redkitchen.blogspot.com/, I am also an author at The Mighty (you can find my author page here: https://themighty.com/author/jennifer-smith-13/) and a contributor to How to be a Redhead (you can find my page here: https://howtobearedhead.com/category/author/jennifer-smith/.) I have also recently accepted the position as co-blogger of the Coping with Depression blog at https://www.healthyplace.com/. Look for my posts and videos to be posted soon. I am honored to be able to use my voice to advocate for mental health awareness and also to show a lighthearted side of myself as well.

Once again, I would like to say thank you for this opportunity to share my life with you. I hope that all of you will find a creative way to express your thoughts and feelings. I would love to hear from you, so please visit me at one or all of my sites. Remember: stay strong and keep fighting!

Finding your purpose is something almost all twenty-somethings struggle with…

and it’s a huge topic of conversation on this blog. You might already know this if you’ve read my About page, bu Uninspired is all about helping women in their twenties build their futures without sacrificing their now. And it’s specifically because you’re all so stressed about finding your purpose that you forget to enjoy this part of the journey. That’s why stories like Ana’s are so important. Yes, it’s a cautionary tale that warns you not to stress so hard over jobs and finding your purpose. But it’s also a story of hope and overcoming immense hurdles. Not everyone’s path is the same length, and you certainly can’t compare your chapter one to someone’s chapter ten. But everyone does have a destination.

Before I turn it over to Ana,

I want to explain a little bit more about Mental Health Monday for anyone who hasn’t joined us before. If you’re new, welcome! I’m so happy you dropped by my little corner of the internet. Since you’re here, you’re probably a woman in her twenties looking to become a better adult. The biggest part of that, in my opinion, is self-care. You can’t be your best self in any aspect of your life if you’re not taking care of yourself first, but a lot of you struggle with that. You either feel guilty about putting yourself first, you don’t know that you should, or you want to but you don’t know how. Well, Mental Health Monday takes care of that.

The Mental Health Monday series is a series of guest posts by writers who have something to say about mental heath. It can be literally anything! We’ve had posts about autism, insomnia, postpartum depression, practicing gratitude, and tons more. Each posts opens up a conversation for people struggling with those issues, and urges them to help themselves. Sometimes they offer super actionable advice, like Millie does in her post on how to process pain and negativity. Other times, like in Courtney’s case, they offer hope, which can change lives just as easily.

This week’s post, as I said earlier, is about what it feels like when depression gets in the way of finding your purpose in life. Our guest blogger, Ana, knows exactly how it feels to get dragged down by the weight of planning for your future. She’s a severe burn victim, and yet it was trying to figure out what to do after college that landed her in a deep depression. Her post explains her emotional experience in detail and, unfortunately, it might look familiar to a lot of you. So, with that, I’ll turn it over to Ana and her fun, bubbly writing style! For someone who has suffered so deeply, she sure still radiates positivity!

You know finding your purpose is hard when you're a severe burn victim, and THIS is what sends you into a spiraling depression.

When Depression Gets in the Way of Finding Your Purpose

“Greetings Bloggers,
I’m here to enlighten your perspective on what it means to be a survivor of severe depression, and how finding your purpose isn’t worth what I went through. But don’t worry! It won’t be too depressing to read about.
It all began on a dark and gloomy night as the wind howled into the darkness… nahhh lol got ya. I’m being silly, but here’s the real story. I was enrolled in USF to get a B.A. in geography, and I literally had a semester to go. As I was preparing to graduate, I started to think:

“damn, these loans are coming up, so I better get ready to pay them off.”

So, I made a plan that I would find a job. I spent a couple nights in a row just googling jobs left and right, and right and left. I literally went down the list of all possible careers or jobs I could attain, and applied to them all. But as the days passed, I got no results. I began worrying heavily, and my sleep began to diminish little by little. What was I going to do with my life? Here I was, twenty-four years old with no career, no degree yet, no car, no nothing. If I couldn’t even get a crappy job, how would I ever get a career? Figuring out what I was going to do with my life was crashing and burning like no other.

I hadn’t realized it myself yet, but this was the start of the depression that would turn this summer into the worst four-month period of my life. Really quickly, I was spending entire nights just thinking in this negative perspective, to the point where I was only getting an hour or two of sleep. I didn’t have any medical coverage, so seeking medical attention wasn’t at my disposal. I did use over-the-counter sleeping pills when I couldn’t take it anymore, but they barely had any effect. My symptoms were way more severe than the over-the-counter meds could handle. At some points, I literally thought I would have a heart attack at any point, because my heart pumped so rapidly it felt like it would pop out of my chest at any moment. I had lost my appetite completely, and I experienced constant shaking that I couldn’t control.

I hate to admit it, but eventually the depression was so severe that I became suicidal.

In addition to actually being depressed, I also had a really hard time accepting that I was depressed. There was an extra layer of pain.

I didn’t want to accept that I had driven myself to this point with all the negativity I constantly thought. I constantly blamed myself for being weak. Not only could I not get a job, I made myself so upset about it that I put myself through hell. And my family, because they had to care for me. They literally forced me to go outside, when I didn’t even want to look out a window. I couldn’t even make simple decisions of what to wear, because my negativity made me feel like everything looked awful, and I was ugly. As a burn survivor, I was used to the stares, but during this time, I knew they could just see the emptiness on my face. I just wanted to die peacefully by the depression or end it myself.

So, how did I get here, talking to you guys about what I went through?

I thank God above all, because His mercy upon me has been overwhelming. That, and the support of my family were the two key ingredients in my survival. Basically, I came out of depression by resorting to my faith. Believing in something bigger than you can be a really great help in finding your purpose. Another motivational thought was that yes, I fell into depression, but so had many others before me. And they came out of it, so I probably wasn’t the exception to a road to recovery.

Little by little, I slept more hours, and weaned myself off the sleeping pills that were only supposed to be very temporary. I began facing my situation instead of hiding from it, and eventually I did seek psychological evaluation. This was a booster to a full recovery as my therapist made me realize that I DID have the potential to achieve my goals in life despite this huge bump I had to encounter in my life.

Overall, depression is an experience I wouldn’t wish upon the worst criminal.

Nobody deserves to experience that kind of mental and physical pain and agony. Depression kills the mind, but as I learned in the darkest part of that summer, it can also kill the body. But even so, it is possible to stop someone from experiencing this sever depression, and it is possible to recover yourself. I survived raging flames, so I know recovery is a reality to all that seek help, and most importantly seek help from above.

Thanks for taking the time to read this super long story of my life. The biggest takeaway is the one thing my mommy always says to me:

While there is life, there is still hope!

xoxoxoxo

🙂

– Ana

Looking for more on finding your purpose? Check out this hilarious yet amazingly poignant post by Mark Manson on the subject.

I’ve been excited for this post for a few months, since our guest blogger, Millie and I came up with the idea together.

I love it so much because it’s applicable to everyone. Yes, I said everyone! It’s all about how to process pain and negativity, which everyone in the world experiences.

As you well know at this point unless you’re new (welcome, if you’re new!), Uninspired is a blog for twenty-something women. And Mental Health Monday in particular was born to help you twenty-something women remember to care for yourselves while you’re in this high-pressure process of building your futures. It’s insane, I know. And it can cause some horrible things like depression, anxiety, or even worse depending on the situation. While it can be super rewarding long-term, right now it’s full of negativity, and a lot of growing pain. So I think it’s particularly important for you guys to read this article. Especially considering the older you get, the harder it becomes to build new routines. If you establish these healthy habits now, they’ll become second nature throughout the rest of your life.

Millie, who blogs over at Love and Flourish, knows all about creating healthy habits. Her blog is absolutely stuffed with actionable tips for living a more positive life. She was kind enough to share a few of them with us today, so I’ll turn it over to her!

Today's Mental Health Monday features Millie, who knows exactly how to free herself of pain and negativity. She wants to share her wisdom, so listen up!


How to process pain and negativity

Pain, sadness, fear, heartbreak, anger, depression. All of these sound horrible right? These are not feelings we want to feel, but we do. Some of us can feel pain and negativity every day, while others feel it every now and then. It’s a part of life and all of us will feel these feelings at some point in our lives.

I want you to ask yourself how you feel about these feelings. When you are sad, a bit blue, maybe a little depressed, do you have a negative attitude towards them? Do you wish the pain would just go away and never come back? Is pain and negativity holding you back from living? Well my friend, if you answered yes to all of these questions, it doesn’t have to be like this anymore! I now view these feelings as good things and opportunities to grow! I want to share with you how I have been able to process pain and negativity in my life.

Acknowledge and feel it!

The first thing you want to do when pain or other negative feelings arise, is to acknowledge it and really feel it! What I mean by this, is to just notice how you are feeling in the moment and allow yourself to feel whatever you are feeling! Nothing bad is going to happen if you just sit with those feelings for a little while, but when you notice them and get to know them, you may even find yourself wanting to investigate why you are feeling the way you are. Of course you would rather run away from pain and negativity when they come up, but I know that if you do that, they will probably arise again in the future. So just for now, sit with it and allow it to pass through you!

 

Face it

If you want to completely free yourself of pain and negativity, you have to look it in the eyes! This can be extremely difficult and you may feel worse when you begin to do this. But you will feel so free when you choose to process the pain and allow it to no longer bother you! Some things might be easier to process and let go of than others, but the fact that you are ready and willing to have a go at processing it, is a fantastic start. To be able to process pain, you have to shift your current view of it to a more open and positive one. I have written more about how I have changed my attitude towards inner pain here on my blog. 

Learning to view negative feelings as good things and not fearing inner pain is essentially what will set you free! Once you change the way you feel about pain, processing it and letting it go will become so much easier.

 

Remove those inner thorns!

A book called ‘The untethered soul’ by Michael A. Singer has really guided me to process pain and negativity.  Michael believes ‘real transformation begins when you embrace your problems as agents for growth’. He uses a really great analogy to illustrate inner disturbances and how to free yourself of them.

He describes our inner disturbances as thorns. These thorns cause a lot of pain when they are touched, and we have two choices to how we respond. The first choice avoids all situations that could touch the thorn to ensure nothing touches it, as it’s so disturbing. The second choice is to take it out since it’s so disturbing when things touch the thorn. If we go with the first choice, we will live a pretty restricted life trying to avoid situations that will cause pain. But if we go with the second choice and remove the thorn, we will be free of that disturbance and no longer be bothered by the pain it caused.

‘If you don’t solve the root cause of the problem, but instead, attempt to protect yourself from the problem, it ends up running your life.’

You can free yourself from these inner thorns.

You just have to look deep within yourself and decide that you don’t want these things holding you back. A way you can do this is to firstly separate them from yourself. You are not your problems, insecurities or your pain. They have nothing to do with you. ‘You are the one who notices these things’, so to free yourself of pain and negativity, ‘simply stop playing with them’. Your consciousness is separate from these disturbances. You are simply just watching. Allow them to come up, and let them go. What you are watching is just an object, so all you have to do is just notice who’s watching and allow whatever you are feeling to pass through you, instead of pushing them back inside of you.

I have written a blog post over on my blog very similar to this post where I share how I have changed my attitude towards pain and negativity that will help you with processing inner pain and letting go! Remember, YOU are the only one who is responsible for your own happiness. YOU have the power to create your own happiness and free yourself from negativity.

 

With love,

Millie xx

Today, we’re super lucky to have Jem from over at Little Adventures sharing her story about suffering from chronic depression.

Before we get started though, let’s talk a little about what Mental Health Monday is about. Some of you may be familiar with the series, but for the newbies, I wanna make sure we’re all caught up.

Uninspired is all about helping twenty-something women live passionately now, even while we’re building our futures. That’s why it’s so important to talk about mental health! Our twenties are this wild free-for-all where we haven’t quite figured out the logistics of who we’re going to be, or how we’re going to set the stage for the rest of our lives. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how exhausting that can be. It can be so exhausting that it causes people to need medication for anxiety or chronic depression. If we don’t talk about how common these things are, and if we don’t talk about people who have successfully gotten through it, these people might lose hope.

So, why don’t I just write the Mental Health Monday posts myself? I am a grad student in marriage and family therapy, after all. I’m a prime candidate to answer all your questions about the mental health field.

Well, lemme tell ya.

I only have one personal experience. And unfortunately, my personal experience is highly textbook-based. When I tell you guys that people survive being depressed, and they live happy lives even through anxiety, I want to show you examples. Not textbook examples. Real people. So I got some real people.

I’m so grateful to everyone who has volunteered to tell their personal stories for Mental Health Monday. This series is helping people– just look at the comments. Jenn from the postpartum depression and anxiety post from July was able to help a brand new mom find hope. Nour’s post from June about overcoming social anxiety for a job interview gave some seriously actionable advice on what you can do to calm down in an important social situation. Today’s story is going to give you hope that even when you have chronic depression, even when you’re lying in a hospital bed after attempting suicide, you can come back. You can come back and live the life you’ve always wanted.

Every Monday is Mental Health Monday here at Uninspired! I feature a new blogger each week who has something to teach about mental health. This week's story is about Jem, and how she overcame suffering from chronic depression


“I have been suffering from chronic depression in varying degrees since my early teens.

I’m very open about the basics of my experience with depression, but I don’t tend to discuss it in great detail. I’m used to talking about the fact that people bullied me. And the fact that there’s a large history of chronic depression in my family. But there’s much more to it than that.

Bullying led to many scars that I still carry with me to this day. Lack of self-worth, self-esteem, and confidence are some, along with the core belief that I don’t deserve anything. I’ve fought hard to change these beliefs, and they don’t inhibit my life as much as they used to, but they’re still there, lurking like some creepy stalker hiding in the bushes, waiting to approach. Bullying is evil and cowardly, and children can be so cruel, not realizing the long-lasting effects their actions can have on someone.

In addition to this, all the women on my mother’s side of my family have been suffering from chronic depression. As a matter of fact, we recently learned that my maternal grandmother had her children taken from her for a month while she recovered from a breakdown. No one spoke of it until after she died. I’m glad we now live in a time where  we talk about mental heath. Even if there is still a stigma, we don’t brush it under the carpet as much as we used to.

When I was at my worst a few years ago, the inside of my mind was a hell I couldn’t escape.

There was this large back hole constantly hanging over me that sucked the joy out of everything. There was an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness and despair. Nothing could lift the fog I was living in– I was drowning and saw no way out. The worst feeling was the emptiness– I felt like a shell of myself, not really participating in life. My chest felt heavy all the time, I was constantly having irrational thoughts, and my motivation was at rock bottom. Even eating seemed too much effort. My only way of coping was to sleep. It was an escape from reality, and if I slept, the next day would be closer. One step closer to the end where I could finally free myself of this awful burden I carried.

One day, I’d had enough.

The strange thing is, I don’t exactly know what led to that decision. Nothing out of the ordinary happened that day; I was just tired. Tired of living, tired of even existing, tired of being tired. So, I took matters into my own hands.

I took pill after pill hoping each one would make more of the hurt, more of the despair, everything, go away.  I thought I was a burden to everyone around me, too. To me it seemed everyone would be better off without this moody, irrational, empty shell of a person sucking the happiness out of their lives. I was texting a friend as I took the pills and with each message, my words were more and more jumbled. I don’t remember much of what happened next, but I was told he broke the speed limit driving through town to reach me. He got me to the hospital, and had to carry me through the doors. They took me straight in and put me on a drip. Apparently, I’d gone blue.

When I woke up the next day, I saw my parents. They lived six hours away, and they’d driven the journey to be by my side and I felt so ashamed that I’d made them worry. Lying in that hospital bed, taking in the things people had done to save me and support me, was a turning point. No one realized how low I’d sunk, because I never talked about it with anyone. Now that I had the support of my family, friends, and therapy, I could begin the long, hard road to recovery.

I started taking a cocktail of pills.

Often,  I felt worse, and they’d change the cocktail. About a year of that, and I once again decided that I’d had enough. Only this time, instead of having had enough of life, I wanted to take it back again. All the pills made me lethargic, nauseous, irritable, and a whole host of other unpleasant things. Through sheer bloody mindedness and against my therapist’s advice, I threw all my pills in the bin. As I was on at least seven a day, and I didn’t wean off of them, I went through withdrawals. I was sensitive to light, had constant headaches, was even more irritable, the nausea increased, and my body ached. Honestly, I don’t recommend that method at all. But, I got through it.

Eventually, I found myself again.

I found myself through friendship, exercise, and proper nutrition. Not long after I came off the meds, I found roller derby, and it saved my soul. Through derby I formed those positive relationships, found an exercise I enjoyed, and found a release for my emotions. I gained confidence in myself because I was able to see that I am capable and can push myself beyond my limits. My suffering from chronic depression is one of the main reasons I am so passionate about friendships. Without my friends, I don’t know where I’d be now. And laughter really is the best medicine. Talking things over with someone close is invaluable, and that’s something I have only learnt in the past few years.

I will always have chronic depression floating in the background. But as long as I look after myself, and am aware of my warning signs, I can keep it under control.”

This Mental Health Monday, think about the people who love you unconditionally, and spread some love yourself. You never know who is suffering from chronic depression, or who you could be saving.

I’ve gotten at least ten emails this month from people who want to write for Mental Health Monday about depression.

It’s a sobering reminder that depression runs deep in my audience. It makes sense though. My readers are generally women in their twenties (sorry if you don’t fall in that category, I’m so happy you’re here, too!) and they’ve got a lot going on. There’s a ton of pressure that comes along with building your independence, and feeling like you’re not where you want to be is certainly depressing. Of course, all those messages are also a reminder that many people beat depression, and that you can too.

In fact, I started this blog when I was feeling down about my place in life. I’m in the middle of building my independence myself, and I felt like I was wasting my entire life building for tomorrow. It was like a dream where you’re running down a long hallway but never get closer to the end. So, I decided to start living more passionately, and urging you to do the same. I wouldn’t say that I “beat depression” like our guest blogger today, but I know I could’ve easily slipped there if I didn’t take care of myself.

Long story short, I don’t think I’ll ever say no to someone who wants to write a story about how they beat depression on Uninspired. Every story is different because every person is different, and yet people can always relate. It amazes me every time.

Enough of my talking though– we’re here to talk about Courtney, AKA Unfiltered Mama. On her blog, she talks about the struggles of motherhood, and advocates for mental health issues. Her guest post today, obviously, is about how she beat depression and self-harm in her teens. It’s extremely emotional, but it has a happy ending, don’t worry!

Each story about depression is different because each person experiences it differently. Yet, so many people can relate to each one.


I Beat Depression.

“When I started cutting, a whole new side of me was born. I had finally found something to take over my inner demon. All the pain I deserved took over for the stress in my body. Each cut, every drop of blood, was a thought being released by my crazy mind. I was addicted to the sensation it brought me and I wanted more. I didn’t realize how badly of a turn my life had just taken, but I was okay with it. This lifestyle was made for me… and it instantly won me over.

What the hell was going on with me? One minute I was playing manhunt with my friends around the complex, and then suddenly I turned into a couch potato who wanted nothing to do with breathing. There were many times I found myself face down in my pillow, praying that I would doze off and never wake up. The music I played described a slow, yet peaceful, death. All of which sounded like a fairy tale. My heart beat stuttered in anticipation, waiting and waiting for the day to end. But then I remembered how essential it was to end the night with that relieving pain. I usually made sure no one was awake to avoid any disturbances. I sat in front of my body mirror and watched myself draw a line with the piece of glass I saved for special occasions.

When I saw the dark red color appear, I looked away so I could finish the job.

It wasn’t like me to be squeamish in situations like this one, but I wasn’t always fully prepared for the worst to happen. When I thought about ending my life, it seemed ideal and it was easy to come up with a way for it to come true. But reality set in when I realized that I was in control, and I hesitated numerous times. It was a battle within myself that I couldn’t tame. I was suffering from depression.

There was no way around it- depression had taken its course. I didn’t know why or how long I’d have to deal with this, nor what to expect. But my world flipped from bright yellow daisies into mood swings and rain. My friends turned their backs on me, and I felt like the last person stranded on the side of the road. My hand signaled for help, but no one felt the need to respond. “It’s just a phase,” they said. They were blind to the dark route headed my way… full speed. Right when they thought I’d grow out of it, anxieties and a strong wave of depressing thoughts and cravings hit me head-on. I felt like there was no way out from here. Either I’d survive this burst of sadness or I’d fall for the temptation. The question was, which one would I choose?

When my family didn’t know where else to turn, they decided that seeing a therapist would be the best way out.

I sat in agony every time I was forced to speak to this woman who wanted to know every detail of my day. She always fixed her perfectly brushed, blonde hair behind her ears so it didn’t fall in her face. Her clothes were always up to date with the latest fashion, jewelry and all. Instead of paying attention to her advice and techniques, I judged every little thing I could find wrong with her. I was too ashamed to admit that I was the one who needed fixing. Yet every Thursday, that chair waited for me to rest my body in, and I longed for the usual conversation starter. “What has you depressed today? Are you feeling the urge to harm yourself?”

As I continued to see a therapist, it dawned on me that I couldn’t exactly find a reason why I wanted to hurt myself. I dug deeper into my soul to pick apart why I deserved such pain. Here’s the kicker… I didn’t. I was a teenage girl, a normal high school student who had a fairly large group of friends. The support system I had was beyond this world. So why did I feel the need to release all waves of anger upon myself? Jessica, my therapist, helped me realize that no pain was worth scarring my innocent body. She pointed me toward the light and gave me a little push, in hopes that I would eventually no longer need her guidance. I didn’t ever believe I would make it without her but I surprised myself, along with a lot of other people who always stood near my side.

Jessica taught me ways to beat depression that tortured me daily.

When I felt the need to self-harm, she told me to put an ice cube against my skin. The cold water replaced the need for the glass meeting my arm. I had to hold the ice there until it ached. That’s the feeling I craved, wasn’t it? I used this technique every night until I stopped feeling the urges. Along with the ice, I wrote a poem or story in support of what I was feeling at that moment. Sometimes this method worked better than speaking out loud. I’ve written thousands of pieces to express my deepest emotions. I could be as gory as I needed, without fear of judgment. I was me again… it was a long time coming.

My shell slowly opened and allowed me to blossom all over again. My arms displayed scars that couldn’t be erased, but I wasn’t ashamed. I was proud, and still am, to say that I went through a rough patch. One that put me into a realm of suicidal thoughts and actions that almost fell through. But without my scars, I wouldn’t be who I am today. I wouldn’t be able to help those in need of reassurance that everything will be okay. I can tell you, by experience, that you will stumble and you will fall. But once you get back up, you’ll be secure enough to take care of your every need. Don’t allow others to push you into places that you’re not ready to face. When you’re ready, you’ll know it. You, and only you know what’s best for yourself. Are you ready to fight this battle?

Depression didn’t beat me… I beat depression. I’ll say that until red in the face. I am a survivor and I am proud.

You can be, too.”

Today’s Mental Health Monday post is about Postpartum Depression.

Postpartum depression might not seem like the most relevant issue for some twenty-somethings. And, in the past, Mental Health Monday has covered topics that were very obviously relevant to what I see as the twenty-something experience. For example, last week’s post on social anxiety covered how to get through it for a job interview. So many twenty-somethings are at a place in life where they’re trying to find their dream job. In May, you may have read The Food & Mood Connection, which discussed how to get more nutrients in our lives so we can be both healthier and happier. I thought that was awesome for twenty-somethings who, if they’re anything like me, lived off Easy Mac all through college.

But– there’s a reason I have other people write for MHM even though I’m on my way to a master’s degree in counseling. It’s because I only have one personal experience, and that’s from the professional side of mental illness. I don’t want to preach at you about things I only know from textbooks! I want you to learn from the personal experiences of others.

A few weeks ago, I was presented with the opportunity to feature Jenn from thismommyisreal.com. She wanted to write about postpartum depression and anxiety. At first, I wasn’t sure that my twenty-something audience would be able to relate to that, because it didn’t fit my experience. I don’t see children for myself until I’m in my early 30’s. But then, I did a quick Google search, and learned that the average woman in the US has her first baby at age 26! That’s right smack in the middle of my target audience! This is the beauty of Mental Health Monday here at Uninspired– learning about people, and getting to re-shape your view of the world.

So, without further ado, here is Jenn from thismommyisreal.com, and her guest post about postpartum depression and anxiety.


This Mommy’s Experience: An Honest Postpartum Depression Experience

“When you’re expecting, there are so many recommendations and courses that you take. They run from dealing with the birth process, to caring for a newborn, to breastfeeding strategies. I’ve even seen courses on how to introduce your pets to your new baby!

Sadly, one of the things I did not see when I was planning, was detailed information on Postpartum Depression (PPD). I also learned nothing about it’s companion, Postpartum Anxiety (PPA). I remember worrying slightly that it could happen to me, but I wasn’t suffering from it, and I didn’t know anyone who did. After all, who prepares for depression that isn’t happening?

I, and many others, had heard of the “baby blues,” which can happen shortly after birth, but tends to disappear within two weeks. It has similar symptoms to Postpartum depression, like weeping, anxiety, irritability, mood changes, fatigue and insomnia, plus more which can vary from mother to mother. Like Postpartum Depression and Anxiety, the baby blues can also happen to both first-time and experienced mothers. We accept the baby blues, but have a harder time accepting how common PPD/PPA are. The fact remains that PPD and PPA are common, and many parents are unprepared.

Many who do suffer, suffer silently, so no one is ever aware that it’s actually happening.

The main differences between the baby blues and Postpartum Depression are the intensity and duration of symptoms. I noticed my symptoms a few weeks post-birth. It was a very difficult birth and recovery and afterward, I was sad every day. There was no attachment to my child. Yes, I cared for him like every mother should, but found myself detached from him, and everyone. Soon I isolated myself from the outside world and was consumed by thoughts of failure. I wept constantly, was anxious, and suffered from insomnia. I thought I was a horrible mother, and that my inability to function would cause my son harm. There were times I wondered if I’d made the right decision to have this child. I’d fallen into such a dark place in my life– so deep I thought I’d never get out. I panicked often, and found myself unable to breathe.

Around the fourth week, I suffered an extremely debilitating panic attack. I realized then that these feelings and thoughts were not me.

Something was wrong, and I needed to get help immediately.

The first thing I did was contact a local Postpartum support group that offered a warmline to provide support and resources to mothers like me. That same day, someone called me back. They listened to my issues, suggested mental health professionals, as well as parenting courses and support groups I could reach out to. Knowing that someone understood me, and that help was available, gave me hope.

A few days afterward, I attended a local Postpartum Depression and Postpartum Anxiety support group. It was run by a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who was compassionate and supportive. Joining this group proved to be a major turning point in my recovery, and brought me out of isolation. I had been terrified to go anywhere, especially with my son. I didn’t want to leave the safe haven of my home. And yet, each week, I was able to do so through this group. I met other mothers who had similar experiences, and who were just as understanding and open about what was happening to them.

Ultimately, I saw my own psychologist as well.

She helped me get to the root of my feelings and taught me coping strategies to deal with the episodes as they occurred. She also gave me an outlet to talk openly. I was relieved to share my thoughts and fears with someone who would listen without judgment. At times, just talking about my experience made it easier for me to recover.

Eventually, I decided to take antidepressants. It was a difficult thing for me to accept, but I realized that it may have been the most beneficial option in my particular situation. My body rejected the first prescription, but the second was a miracle. I had no side effects, and I experienced clarity in my life. I felt like a cloud had been lifted, and I was finally able to address my issues with a clearer mind. I’m still taking it to this day.

My son is now nine months old. It’s been four months since I’ve returned to work. I have many things on my plate, and finding the balance is always a challenge. There are moments where I feel a potential relapse, and times where it feels like recovery is still further away.

However, I learned that each day I try, I succeed.

Every day, those initial feelings seem more distant. When I do experience distress, the intensity is far less than what it was. Now, I’m able to recognize a problem much easier, and deal with it. Finally, I’m happy and enjoying motherhood.

I’ll never forget my experience with Postpartum Depression and Anxiety, and I feel sympathetic to those who suffer through it. I always try to educate people about it, because it’s something that just isn’t discussed enough. It was a horrific and debilitating experience, but there is a silver lining to it. Once the worst was over, I gained a new outlook on my life, a renewed sense of purpose, and friendships with wonderful people who I am proud to call my ‘Mama Tribe.’ Most importantly, it gave me the clarity to see how much I love my son, and how fulfilling motherhood can be.”

Hi friends! Welcome to another installment of Mental Health Monday.

Each week, I feature a guest blogger who has a story to tell about mental health. This week’s host is Marcie, who know how to get stuff done when you’re depressed.

Before we get started though, lemme tell ya why I do this.

Uninspired is all about helping people in their twenties live a life they love now, even while they’re building their futures. That’s a damn hard thing to balance. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how stressful it can be to have that much pressure on you. So, in addition to talking about dating, money, and college life, we also talk about mental health care. I want to make sure I show you how, even through the roughest days of your twenties, you can persevere. Even if you experience trauma that’s waaaay beyond what you should have to deal with, you can get through it.

Mental Health Monday accomplishes this goal by sharing stories. That’s it! Uninspired is the vessel that carries hope from the people with personal experience to the people who need it. Sure, I could’ve preached to you about the symptoms of mental illness from my textbooks. But if you wanted to know that, you would’ve been a psych major like me. You want hope, and you want proof. Stories from real people who have been there and gotten through it– that’s hope. That’s proof.

Today’s post is by Marcie of All The Things. She suffers from depression, but she doesn’t let it rule her life. She has a whole bunch of tips and bits of inspiration to help you get stuff done when you’re depressed.


If you suffer from depression, you may find it hard to even get out of bed in the morning. Today, Marcie is here to tell us what she's learned about how to get stuff done when you're depressed


~ How to Get Stuff Done When You’re Depressed ~

“I get up most mornings at 5 AM so I can blog before work. Sometimes, it’s a real struggle to wake up in the morning.  I may have gone to bed at a normal time, but still, I’m just really tired.  As the day goes on, motivation drags.  I find my routines getting blurred.  I stop crossing things off of my to-do list unless they’re very urgent.  I’ll get really lazy in the evening, and will probably go to bed early.  If I’m lucky, I’ll wake up like normal the next day and life will go on, and I’ll thank God that it was just a bad day.

Sometimes though, that next morning, I can’t do it.  When my alarm goes off, I’ll reset it to give me just enough time to get to work on time.  The day is long and hard and non-productive.  I try to focus on “survival.” Did I take my meds?  That’s seems to be about all that I can truly handle.  I start to feel bad for not getting things done.  I get stressed out and everything just seems so much harder. Not only am I not crossing things off my list, I’m usually not even looking at my list.

Depression has come to visit.

Over the years I’ve learned how to help myself get through it.

A TED Talk I recently watched called How to Get Stuff Done When You Are Depressed by Jessica Gimeno is a great resource I have found.  In it she tells her story of her many struggles.  She also gives three concrete steps to help yourself keep functioning when you are depressed.  She teaches us that it takes practice and we need to have a plan because once you’re drowning, it’s nearly impossible to remember what helps. You can click the link above, or watch the video here:

This is what I learned from this TED Talk:

  • Being proactive, thinking about urgency, and understanding difficulty are the three keys Gimeno speaks about in her TED Talk.
  • I need to be aware of what helps me, and have a written plan.
  • I need to be aware of myself so I notice the warning signs before I find myself at the bottom of the heap.
  • Practice makes perfect.  Even when dealing with depression. When you implement your plan over and over again, it will get easier.

  • Doing some is way better than doing nothing.

I hope you enjoyed the video.  What helps you get stuff done when you’re depressed”