Good Monday morning to you loves 💚 Welcome to... wait. My goodness... how is... it... August?!
I started writing this and was about to say welcome to a new week, but nope! It's a whole new MONTH! This year is certainly flying by and I'm not even mad. It hasn't been the best one for me, so each day, week, and month that passes by, I'm just thankful to be here.
Which brings me to today's post! I think I'm going to start doing at least one "Mental Health Monday" post a month. So far I'm 2 for 2 so we'll see how long I can keep this up :)
Today I wanted to share some recent articles I've come across that have been super helpful to me, in the hopes that you may find them comforting or enlightening as well...
Every time I read an article that expresses things I've felt/feel, but haven't quite been able to put into words, it brings a sense of relief- to finally have those feelings articulated, to know that I'm not alone, and to once again be reminded that mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of. We are all struggling, and it always helps to know you're not in this alone.
I am thankful for these beautiful souls who have bared their feelings and allowed themselves to be vulnerable in a way that connects them to others dealing with the same struggles 💚
"Living with a mental illness is a study in survival. Every day, every emotion is questioned. What is this? Am I happy or am I starting to head towards mania? Is this an honest sadness or is my brain breaking again? Why is it breaking now? What is so different now than yesterday? Why me? Why this?”
I've talked before about my deep appreciation for Bassey, and today is no different. My bipolar diagnosis is still not one I'm used to claiming, let alone understanding. But it plays such a huge role in my moods, my decision making, and my overall way of approaching life, so the more I learn about it, the more I learn about me. Reading Bassey's writing always feels so familiar because I can relate to a lot of what she speaks about, but she is able to articulate it far better than I could have.
"Sometimes I try to dismantle my own happiness because I don’t feel worthy or good enough – like I can’t live up to the expectations of being healthy – and it feels easier to relapse and let things fall apart with no room to disappoint myself or anyone else."
This was a painfully honest read, but Sam nails every single one of these. That first one? Hit me like a ton of bricks. I know I've felt this way (and can see it in some of my life decisions), but to see it articulated this way was really tough. It made me realize that, every day, I have to challenge the lies that my brain says are facts. Although I can't relate fully to each of these 6 things, I sincerely appreciate his candidness in sharing this list and his personal experiences along the way.
"One aspect of living with a mental illness very few people talk about is the exhaustion you feel after completing simple day-to-day activities. Just getting out of bed is sometimes the hardest thing to overcome. Then, you have to complete simple tasks like brushing your teeth, changing your clothes... All the while, you are fighting your gut instinct to simply crawl back into bed and be done with the whole process."
^ THIS. THIS. THIS. ^
This is one of the toughest things about depression. EVERYTHING is exhausting. Existing is exhausting. Not living... just existing. It takes so.much.energy to do the most basic things. On top of that, your brain STILL criticizes you for not being productive- knowing it doesn't even have the energy to do so. It's a vicious cycle. One that I'm learning to manage. But some days? Some days, simply making it through the day is the achievement itself.
"Stop letting people tell you to choose happiness. The darkness in your mind isn’t wired to an on/off switch you can control. I know that isn’t always the case. But today, even if you aren’t smiling, you are living. Keep making that choice."
I have no doubt that positive thinking helps. I know it does. But when something is broken, you can't simply tell the thing to start working again. That's how it feels when people give you that "well-meaning" advice. Sometimes, a little more than that is needed.
As I've mentioned in previous posts, since deciding to share my diagnoses, my goal has been to keep the conversation on mental health going and do my part to break the stigma surrounding mental illness. That's where posts like these come in.
My hope is that even if you are not personally dealing with a mental illness yourself, maybe these articles will help you to understand what it is like and to be a bit more empathetic to your family members, friends, co-workers, classmates, associates, etc who ARE coping with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or any other mental illness.
We could all use a little more kindness 💚
Did you appreciate any of these articles? I'd love to hear what you thought about them as well!
I hope you have a beautiful Monday and first day of August.