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Happy May, my friends, and welcome to Mental Health Monday!

Today you’ll read a story by Charlotte, who survived a suicide attempt after her father’s death. It’s a really amazing story that goes to show that you can come back from almost anything, even a suicide attempt. Before we start though, let me remind you of what we do here.

If it’s the first time you’re visiting, Uninspired is a blog to help twenty-somethings be better adults, and a huge part of that is learning to take care of yourself. That’s Mental Health Monday comes in. Twenty-somethings do a million things at once-  school, internships, jobs, businesses, families, boyfriends and girlfriends like HOLY CRAP! With all the giving you do, you have to remember to fill your cup. These stories help you do that.

Mental Health Monday is full of stories like Charlotte’s that instill hope that the life you want is coming. Whether you’re struggling with mental illness or just big life adjustments that come with transitioning to adulthood, there’s an MHM story to show you you’ll get through it. Today’s story is about coming back from a suicide attempt and losing a loved one. In the past, we’ve had stories about anxiety, depression, college stress, and way more. Some stories are educational and some are more emotional, but every post was written by someone with personal experience. Someone who knows what they’re talking about because they’ve been through it.

Before I let Charlotte talk…

…let me remind you about BetterHelp. I partnered with this online therapy service to give you all an affordable, flexible therapy option. Whether you’re grieving or getting past a suicide attempt like Charlotte, or something else entirely, the licensed therapists at BetterHelp can talk you through it. Here’s a link for a 7-day free-trial. You can also download my free mental health resource list below, which includes BetterHelp as well as hotlines that can be used in many different mental health emergencies.

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suicide attempt“My father went missing in January 2014.

A month later he was found as a suicide victim. It was my worst nightmare come to life. My father was my life and the only one in my family who really understood me. I suppose when he left, I lost my family altogether and it left me in a massive state of shock. Life can change overnight and very little can be done to prepare you for it, I know that now. I also know that some things in life can’t be changed, but we can change how we respond and react.

It was a unique experience as I never considered that anyone I knew, let alone my father would ever die by suicide.

I believe that we all tend to think our loved ones will live to old age and die peacefully. As comforting as this thought is, it is not always realistic and we need to remember that. 

I remember so vividly how I felt; I was so numb and it was like I couldn’t breathe. It was like nothing was real anymore; I was not living as I died with my father. My days felt like I was a backseat passenger in my mind; I could see everything but I was not in control. And at night, it was full of terror and fear.

I did not allow myself to grieve at the start; I was too busy helping everyone else and trying to keep the strings of my family together. That included walking miles a week to buy groceries, planning my father’s funeral and planning a house move. Being only 18 at the time, I took on more than I should have. I felt responsible in a wa

y and I wish I knew that by repressing the grief, I was doing myself more harm than good.

We need to cry and let out emotions. It is not a sign of weakness, it just makes us human. Being kind is in my nature; like my father, I am an empath. However sometimes we need to be selfish and put ourselves first. It is one of the things that left my father ill and it certainly pushed me toward a demise like his. I now live by the motto that we need to be selfish while being kind, it turns mental illness into mental wellness. 

My inability to allow myself to grieve and focus on my own mental health led me to falling back into old habits.

As a 14-year-old I was an alcoholic which I did recover from, but after my father’s death, I spent most of my inheritance on alcohol. I spent hundreds of pounds a week alone on my fix, just so I could not think or feel the pain building inside me. Drinking at this level was not only harmful to my physical and mental health, it has also led me to financial regret. he money I spent on refusing to grieve could have bought me a deposit on my house today – I just wasn’t thinking straight.

By April, after my father’s death, I ended up in hospital following my own suicide attempt. My

father’s funeral, though months after he was missing, hit me like a truck. I did not cry before this day but as soon as I saw my father’s coffin, I cracked. I couldn’t unsee it. And I had horrible images of his body in my head that made me physically sick. It hurt me so bad to imagine my father lifeless.

suicide attempt

My suicide attempt was due to the memory of the words said at the funeral.

They said that one day I would see my father again. I wasn’t willing to wait for my death because I wanted to be with him now. I had such a hard life already, and my father was the reason I kept going. He helped me through so much and I couldn’t see a life without him in it. Honestly, I didn’t want to. 

I do not think I would have resorted to a suicide attempt if I had allowed myself to grieve and had someone to talk to. I did not have any support so I ended up in a very bad place. Talking to someone is so

hard, but opening up and letting those feelings out allows you to be honest and find comfort as well as support. 

Life has not been easy these last few years.

I had to walk down the aisle without my father. My future children will never know the man they would have called Grandpa. However, I am at a place now where though my past is a part of me, I don’t resent it. I cannot change it, but I can choose to not let it define me. I allow myself to cry about my dad, I allow myself to miss him, but most importantly, I don’t bottle anything up, which I like to think would make my father proud.

In grief we will all make mistakes because our minds are not at their best, but it’s ok. It is important though, when you lose a loved one, to stop comparing yourself to others. Grieve in your own time and way but don’t bottle it up. If you talk about those feelings and let them out, there is less of a chance you’ll have regrets in the future. Talking really makes a mile of a difference. 

I am in a good place now. I do not abuse substances or self-harm and I have not had another suicide attempt. Plus, I am happily married in a little house with my fur babies. Though I do wish my father could see me now, I achieved so much and am content with my life simply because I accepted the idea that moving on just means learning to live this new life. I allow myself to feel happiness and do all the things I wanted to because even though I still miss him, I learned I do not have to die with my father. In fact, through all of the work I do today, I allow my father to live on and tell his story and help people. It’s like a therapy for me.

So, to recap:

Try not to be so hard on yourself and do not bottle up emotions. You do not always need to be strong because grieving is not a weakness, and neither is needing time for yourself. If you can allow yourself to be “selfish” and talk about the pain you feel, you can avoid falling into bad habits and choices from which it’s much harder to recover, like a suicide attempt or alcoholism.

No matter how you grieve though, life will start to get easier and you will feel happy again, I promise you that. So please do not give up.”

Charlotte's father went missing in January of 2014. A month later, he was found as a suicide victim. Read how this led to Charlotte's own suicide attempt, and then ultimately her recovery.

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There are probably millions of self-care books out there.

The self-care book section of Barnes and Noble can be pretty big and intimidating. I’ve stood in front of that long stretch of books so many times, trying to figure out which book would enlighten me most– make me my best self. Cure me of all my emotional ailments. How do you know which self-care books are legitimate and which ones are a load of horse shit?

This Mental Health Monday, Jo (Duffy the Writer) and I are going to help you out with that. Jo has picked out five self-care books that she has personally read and enjoyed. She gives you a quick synopsis of each one, along with a little guide of who should read each book! That way, you’ll know exactly how to avoid wasting your time on a book that isn’t helpful for you.

If you’re not sure what you’re reading, let me give you a little explanation before we start. At Uninspired, we’re all about helping people in their twenties be the best adults they can possibly be. We talk about lots of things, ranging from cooking and DIY tips all the way to personal finance. But one of my favorite parts of Uninspired is Mental Health Monday.

Every week, I feature a different blogger who has something to say about mental health.

I am a therapist (in training!) myself, so technically I could write a post myself every week, but I choose not to. I have extensive knowledge on how to treat lots of different mental disorders and relationship troubles, but a lot of times, people get more hope from seeing that people have actually been through the same things as them and come out the other side better for it. Mental Health Monday is all about hope stories.

So, now that we’re all on the same page (haaah. Get it? ‘Cause this post is about books), I’ll let Jo take the wheel and talk about the top five self-care books for people in their twenties. Happy reading!

Related: 25 Blog Posts About Practicing Self-Care

There are probably millions of self-care books out there. In fact, the self-care book section of Barnes and Noble can be pretty intimidating if you don't know what you're looking for. Luckily, today Duffy the Writer and I are here to help you find the perfect self-care book to enlighten you.

Bonus!

Self-care books are great for helping you get from your baseline up. But if you’re in an emergency situation, or just looking for more tailored help than a self-care book can provide, I’m here to help. I compiled this list of mental health resources that I’m offering you for free. It’s full of hotlines for lots of different situations including substance abuse and trauma, as well as online counseling options through BetterHelp. BetterHelp is a great option for people who are struggling but don’t have enough time or money to visit a therapist’s office. Check it out and get a free 7-day trial with this link. And don’t forget to claim your list below!

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Self-Care Book List For 20 Somethings

“It’s the beginning of the year, and our Instagram feeds can be full of inspirational quotes with whimsical backgrounds and Facebook posts welcoming the challenges of 2018.  It’s great that the dawn of a new year means we can start fresh and kick some goals, but sometimes it can all be a little overwhelming. Especially for young people who may have trouble expressing how they feel, or even knowing where to start.

Luckily for us, as much as our social media feeds are full of positive vibes, it’s also becoming more commonplace to also talk about mental health and self-care. Stigma and taboos are gratefully being torn down and in its place we have understanding and empathy.

So, as well as looking to improve your muscles at the gym, be sure not to forget about the biggest one you have: your beautiful, barmy, bewildering, brilliant brain. These excellent self-care books will help you do that.

Related: Classic Novels from High School to Re-Try in Your Twenties 

1. The Anxiety Book by Elisa Black There are probably millions of self-care books out there. In fact, the self-care book section of Barnes and Noble can be pretty intimidating if you don't know what you're looking for. Luckily, today Duffy the Writer and I are here to help you find the perfect self-care book to enlighten you.

Elisa Black talks about the triggers for anxiety and some really practical solutions to reducing attacks and symptoms in a witty, matter of fact way.  There are no air-fairy statements to be found in this self-care book, just real life observations of what it’s like to live with anxiety. And who better to write such a book than a journalist who suffers from it herself?

Read Q&A with author Elisa Black here

Buy now on Amazon.com

A Good self-care book for: Anyone experiencing, or living with someone suffering from anxiety and panic attacks

Related: Mental Health Monday- Understanding Anxiety

 

2. Because We are Bad by Lily Bailey

There are probably millions of self-care books out there. In fact, the self-care book section of Barnes and Noble can be pretty intimidating if you don't know what you're looking for. Luckily, today Duffy the Writer and I are here to help you find the perfect self-care book to enlighten you.

Lily Bailey details a heartfelt childhood into adult account of what it’s like to be a young girl with severe OCD. The rituals that can make or break her world and the thoughts and anxieties that run rife through this little girl’s mind can be a little tough to read at times, but there is an ending of hope and optimism. An inspiring true story of an ordinary girl with a busy mind and her journey from childhood, teenage years and into adulthood.

Read the full book review here

Buy now on Amazon.com

A good self-care book for: Anyone experiencing, or living with someone suffering from diagnosed OCD

Related: Mental Health Monday- Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors 

 

3. Presence by Amy Cuddy

There are probably millions of self-care books out there. In fact, the self-care book section of Barnes and Noble can be pretty intimidating if you don't know what you're looking for. Luckily, today Duffy the Writer and I are here to help you find the perfect self-care book to enlighten you.

Starting your first full time job can be a daunting one. There are workplace politics, strong personalities, difficult conversations and awkward social interactions to deal with, and that’s all before you actually learn the skills of the job!

Presence gives practical exercises, power poses and examples to help you go into work, university, in fact any social situation feeling ‘present’, positive, and confident.

Read full review here

Buy from Amazon.com

A good self-care book for: Introverts entering the workplace for the first time, social anxiety sufferers and those who find public speaking and presenting excruciating

Related: Mental Health Monday- Getting Through a Job Interview with Social Anxiety

 

4. UnFu*k Yourself by Gary John Bishop

There are probably millions of self-care books out there. In fact, the self-care book section of Barnes and Noble can be pretty intimidating if you don't know what you're looking for. Luckily, today Duffy the Writer and I are here to help you find the perfect self-care book to enlighten you.

There are lots of expletive filled motivational self-care books out there, but this is one of the best.  Bishop, in his straight talking Scotsman way tells you why you are where you are. What’s difficult to comprehend at the start of the book is that where you are right now, however unhappy you are. That’s right! It starts tough, but talks you through some sometimes confronting thought process and negative thought loops we all get ourselves tied up in.

Read full review here

Buy on Amazon.com

A good self-care book for: Anyone who feels stuck in a self-pity rut and wants to get back on track

 

5. It’s All In Your Head by Rae Earle

There are probably millions of self-care books out there. In fact, the self-care book section of Barnes and Noble can be pretty intimidating if you don't know what you're looking for. Luckily, today Duffy the Writer and I are here to help you find the perfect self-care book to enlighten you.

This is a self-care book every young adult should have on their shelf.  Luckily, not all of us have manic depression, OCD, or full blown, crippling panic attacks. But many of us struggle with tough days and short-term depressive episodes. It’s All In Your Head deals with all manner of mental health issues and struggles that young people experience regularly, or from time to time. What’s wonderful about this book is that author Rae Earle tells the reader that it’s OK, most of us have experienced it. There is also some sound advice on how to feel better and get better. An excellent plain speaking self help guide for young people with some great illustrations.

Buy on Amazon.com

A good self-care book for: Every teenager and young adult!


Jo-Ann Duff – Duffy The Writer

Jo-Ann, or Duffy as she’s known in the wordy world, is an ex-pat Brit who has lived an incredible Australian life since 2005. Duffy is a freelance writer, and when she isn’t creating engaging content for small Australian businesses, she has her nose in a book as a reviewer for Australian publishers and independent authors. You can follow Duffy on all social media platforms @duffythewriter.

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 struggling with anxiety or depression, dealing with uncertainty can be that much more stressful. So today, 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.

Related: Practicing Gratitude in Times of Stress

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.

Bonus!

Dealing with uncertainty in your life can be unsettling, and sometimes downright terrifying depending on what’s going on. That’s why I compiled this list of mental health resources that I’m offering you for free. It’s full of hotlines for lots of different situations, as well as online counseling options through BetterHelp. BetterHelp is a great option for people who are struggling but don’t have enough time or money to visit a therapist’s office. Check it out and get a free 7-day trial with this link. And don’t forget to claim your list below!

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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 what decision 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 makes me feel restrained or like 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.

dealing with uncertainty

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

We cover everything under the sun here at Uninspired– from dating to TV recommendations to great vacation spots. But I feel it’s especially important to talk about mental health 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. That just isn’t realistic. 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.

Since I can’t relate to all of you individually, I’m not able to give you all hope the way I’d like to. Yes, I’m in the mental health field, but hope doesn’t live in my 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 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.

Bonus!

A creative outlet is an amazing way to cope with depression and anxiety, but sometimes it might not be enough. That’s why I compiled this list of mental health resources that I’m offering you for free. It’s full of hotlines for lots of different situations, as well as online counseling options through BetterHelp. BetterHelp is a great option for people who are struggling but don’t have enough time or money to visit a therapist’s office. Check it out and get a free 7-day trial with this link. And don’t forget to claim your list below!

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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 get 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 soon. I am honored to use my voice to advocate for mental health awareness and also show a lighthearted side of myself.

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!

creative outlet

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.

Each Mental Health Monday I feature someone with something to teach about mental health. This week I have Jem's story of suffering from chronic depression.

Bonus!

Chronic depression plagues lots of my twenty-something readers. Like I said, you’ve got a lot on your plate right now. And while these Mental Health Monday posts can be motivating uplifting, or informational,  they’re not always enough on their own. For that reason, I’ve compiled this list of mental health resources that I’m offering you for free. It’s full of hotlines for lots of different situations, as well as online counseling options through BetterHelp. BetterHelp is a great option for people who are struggling but don’t have enough time or money to visit a therapist’s office. Check it out and get a free 7-day trial with this link. And don’t forget to claim your list below!

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“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.

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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!

There are countless stories out there about how to beat depression, but no single one is exactly the same. Each has their own unique message of hope and healing, like Courtney's today.

Bonus!

This post about how Courtney beat depression is super motivating and uplifting. But of course, feeling motivated and uplifted is just the first step to healing. For that reason, I’ve compiled this list of mental health resources that I’m offering you for free. It’s full of hotlines for lots of different situations, as well as online counseling options through BetterHelp. BetterHelp is a great option for people who are struggling but don’t have enough time or money to visit a therapist’s office. Check it out and get a free 7-day trial with this link. And don’t forget to claim your list below!

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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.”

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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.

She blogs at thismommyisreal.com, and 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.

Postpartum depression is an often-overlooked part of early motherhood. Many women do not get the care they need because they feel too guilty not being overjoyed about their new family member. Jenn is here to tell us why we should care about these mothers, and what we can do to help them.

Bonus!

Postpartum depression is serious business. If you’re struggling with this or any other mental health issues, I urge you to take advantage of my new free offer: a mental health resource list. It’s full of hotlines and websites like BetterHelp that can offer solutions and help through many different problems, including postpartum depression and anxiety. Please, if you’ve been looking for a sign to get help, this is it! Claim your free list below:

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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.”

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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.

Just one quick thing before we start. I want you to know what this is all about!

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. You want stories from real people who have been there and done that, because those things are hope. Those things are 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.

Bonus!

Marcie and I know how to help you get stuff done when you’re depressed, but we don’t have all the answers. That’s why I made this free printable list of mental health resources I want you to take advantage of. It has hotline numbers you can use in lots of different types of emergencies, as well as online counseling options like BetterHelp. You can print it out and keep it for yourself, or give it to a friend in need. Claim it here:

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How to 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.

“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.  Even if I went to bed at a normal time, I can still be really tired.  As the day goes on, motivation drags. My routines get blurry.  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 feel bad about not doing things.  I stress 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 listeners three concrete steps to improve functioning.  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”

 

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