TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF (70+ IDEAS)

hey babes!

how’s your heart? did you know that May is the Mental Health Awareness Month? of course, this holds a very special space in my heart. as someone who has battled anxiety disorders, phobias, and depression for nearly her whole life, caring for my mental health & making others aware of the reality of mental illness, is super important to me.

so, in celebration of this month, I thought I’d share with you some thoughts & ideas for caring for your own mental health.

because, honestly, your mental health is the MOST important- it affects every other type of health… physical, emotional, and spiritual.

so, loves, here are some ideas for taking care of yourself and silencing the shame surrounding mental illness. Continue reading “TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF (70+ IDEAS)”

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MENTAL ILLNESS & MOTHERHOOD

maybe you know that my husband & I were surprised by a beautiful, amazing, gorgeous, sweet-natured, PERFECT (of course) little baby girl who was born just over a month ago. her name is Iola, and we love her to bits and pieces. though not literally. cause that would be odd. and unfortunate. 😉

maybe you also know that I have generalized anxiety disorder & clinical depression. the first time I remember experiencing a very-not-normal type of anxiety, I was only five years old, although it really came at me like a punch in the gut the summer after I turned 16.

if you’ve been around the blog for very long, you probably know both of those things. but here’s something you might not know:

mental illnesses like these run in my family.
and my husband’s family.

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and for this reason, I was never really sure I wanted to have my own children.

so…
sweet, freshly-diagnosed girl looking out into her future with these fears, this is for you.
strong mama in the double trenches of mental illness & motherhood, this is for you.
tentative pregnant gal who never had to think about this until you had to go cold turkey off your meds, this is for you.
anyone who loves a mama with a mental illness, this is for you. Continue reading “MENTAL ILLNESS & MOTHERHOOD”

LET’S ALL STOP USING “MENTALLY ILL” AS AN INSULT

yeeaahh… let’s all just agree to not do this, okay? 

for those of you who haven’t had to walk this road, please allow me to humbly explain to you why this phrase can really wound when used incorrectly. I know that as our friends & family, you care about those of us who have to battle monsters like anxiety, depression, or another disorder, and we want to communicate to you how we can all best live in harmony! sound good? good.

here’s the thing: some of us are mentally ill. it’s a fact of life. sometimes our brain chemicals just aren’t doing their job, and it leaves us in the dust trying to figure out which way is up! or perhaps it was a traumatic event in our past that has significantly screwed with our emotionally sanity. either way, our lives look a little different from other people’s. 

here’s thing #2: mental illness is exactly what it says it is… an illness. like cancer or arthritis, it’s a sickness that takes lots of time, care, and sometimes medication to begin to heal. and while some mental illnesses can cause things like outbursts, momentary lapses in judgement, and the like, it’s not something that makes people terrible human beings.


when the people we know say things like “ugh what a complete mentally ill moron”, those of us who actually are mentally ill, associate the two. we feel like you must think that mentally ill people are terrible, mean, and ignorant. or worse… that because we are mentally ill, we have no other destiny than to become wicked people who hurt others and cause strife

those are already some of our deepest fears. we’re already scared that we are doomed to become horrible human beings because our mental illness has somehow broken us beyond repair. these are all lies our brains are already assaulted with. these are already lies we are fighting off at every moment. we are constantly striving to be kind & genuine people, despite the fog of confusion that clouds our hearts & minds

people with mental illness may be unconventional, but our illness does not take away our inherent worth, or make us somehow less than, or doomed to a fate where we are brokenly breaking everyone around us.

we are capable of greatness & goodness. but we won’t rise to our height of possibility, unless you believe in us, unless you’ve got our backs, unless we know that you will stand up for us. we can do this… but only with your help! 

can we all agree to no longer use mental illness as an insult anymore?

awesome. I knew I could count on you. 😉

xoxo

I DON’T FIGHT MY DEPRESSION

I don’t fight my depression.

yeah, you read that right.

I just don’t. in fact, after 5+ years of losing every single battle I’ve tried to fight with this beast, I have decided it’s just not worth it to fight anymore. It isn’t worth it to wind up bruised and beaten, licking my wounds.

before all of you go crucifying me on the cross of panic and political correctness, let me explain.

I don’t fight my depression, because I have a greater goal in mind- I don’t want to keep getting beat until I can no longer get back up. nope, I don’t care any longer to be a hero. I don’t want to fight it. I want to survive it.

and I can’t do both. I can’t both keep fighting AND survive.

this is not a pity party, and it’s not a declaration of defeat. this is not me throwing in the towel or waving the proverbial white flag. this is none of those things. this is a decision so much bigger and so much braver than nonsensically charging into battle, armor-free, which is what it is like trying to fight depression.

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hear this well: there is no armor strong enough to protect your mind from itself when it is determined to take you away from everything you are, everything good, everything safe, everything that is true. regardless of what you think you do or do not know… depression plays by only two rules, and those two rules never change: shame and isolate.

you cannot beat shame and isolation with brute force.  Continue reading “I DON’T FIGHT MY DEPRESSION”

Creating Positive Triggers

for those of us whose life stories contain chapters of mental illness or trauma, triggers are a terrifying part of everyday life. it’s like your life is a jack-in-the-box that keeps getting rewound. you’re not sure when it’s going to pop out at you, dragging you back to that point in time you were most vulnerable, most taken advantage of, but you know it’s there… waiting… and the fear of it can keep you from living your life.

it feels rather unfair, that something you survived and lived through should then be allowed to haunt you, to surprise you, to not let you forget. but it is a scar, and though they fade they don’t disappear. I’m right there with you, friend.

but let’s take a step back real quick.

here’s the definition of a trigger:

trigger
verb
(used with object)
to initiate or precipitate (a chain of events, scientific reaction, psychological process, etc.)
so, as you can see, even though it is overwhelmingly used to describe a person, place, thing, word, situation, (etc, etc…) that ignites a negative process or chain of events… there’s no rule that says that has to be the case.
but what if we started combating this with like firepower?
what if we started creating our own positive triggers?
positive triggersc
I realize this might be a new concept to some of you. it’s not really something that I’ve ever heard of either. it just kind of came to me during my yoga flow a few days ago, and it stuck. it won’t leave my head, and I just can’t lose the idea that this could be something so big in my life.

Continue reading “Creating Positive Triggers”

Why just showing up is the most important thing you can do

Just. Show. Up.

It doesn’t even matter how you show up, but show up. Keep showing up every day, every minute. The second you stop showing up is when apathy and numbness set in.

So keep showing up.

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To life. To your quiet time. To the hard thing. To other people. To the healing work. To the fun. To what scares you. To the people who make you angry. To the situation that is good for you under all the muck.

Just. Show. Up.

Show up angry, messy, hurt, disheveled, broken, raw. Show up as yourself. Show up happy, confused, wondering, hopeful, in pain. Show up as who you are, and as no one else.

Wholeness requires your whole mess.” ~Brooke Boon

Show up every single minute of every day, and keep showing up no matter what. Even if you’re judged for it, criticized, looked down on. Because there are others who are looking for the courage to show up, and you showing up in all your messiness might be how they find the courage to show up in theirs.

Show up. Always in all ways. Whoever you are, bring that person. That person needs it desperately. Showing up is how that person finds courage, freedom, grace, healing… Showing up is how you become yourself. Showing up is wherein you find the strength & peace & hope you didn’t know God would or could give you.

Show up. And keep showing up. It’s the most important thing you can do.

Let the arrows fly- a lesson in healing & freedom

Let’s get something straight: sometimes in this ugly, broken world, our hearts are punctured by brutality and injustice inflicted upon us- either intentional or not. As often as not, we are punctured by the church. Though this is not the way it should be- not the way it was designed to be– it is the way it is.

In those moments of acute and stinging pain, it can feel like arrows aimed at our souls, at the soft and carefully hidden pin-points of our insecurities, and the wounds carved out by these arrows go immeasurably deep, are unspeakably painful. It can leave us breathless, pincushioned by shafts of carefully aimed lies, protruding from our chests.

I know this, sweet friend.

And sometimes, it’s the same arrow. Sometimes, it’s the same lie. Sometimes, it’s the same spot, scarred over from dozens of attacks, that gets split open once again. 

See, sometimes we think we’re safe- that after this vast array of identical scars in the same exact spot, we can’t possibly withstand another. But then it comes. And what then?

let the arrows fly

I’ve been there, too. The enemy has one lie that he’s constantly shooting, wailing through the air, at my heart.one lie that he’s used God’s church to attempt to hammer into me my whole life: Continue reading “Let the arrows fly- a lesson in healing & freedom”

when faith isn’t the answer

“do you want to be healed?”

I can’t count the number of times Christians have pointed me to the scripture in John 5. ah yes, the man who had been ill for 38 years. the man to whom Jesus so gently, powerfully said “pick up your mat, and walk!

they’ve pointed me there and echoed it… “do you want to be healed?”
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I never really know how to respond. so often their well-intended words feel like a stinging slap across the aching surface of my soul.

do I want to be healed?

oh, gee, I don’t know, I’ve never thought about it before. hmm, let me see…

are you kidding me?! do I want to be healed?

for years, I’ve not just wanted… I’ve pleaded. begged. sobbed, rocking on my bedroom floor to be healed. I believe in the deepest parts of my soul that God can heal me!

and yet I’m told “you need faith!”

oh, Christian, I have faith. through my deepest sorrows and blackest nights of the soul, I have gained more faith than many people I know.

sometimes, faith isn’t the answer. Continue reading “when faith isn’t the answer”

3 things to pray when you take your meds

anyone else out there on lovely medication?

just me?
nah, I didn’t think so 😉

medication is an awesome and wonderful gift from God to those of us who need it to live a healthy life! but it can also be frustrating, annoying, or discouraging to have to remember to take them, be sure not to forget them when you go somewhere, etc. it can feel a bit like a ball and chain, reminding you that you’re just thaaaaat close to a mental breakdown or physical collapse (or both!). it’s tough stuff, guys!

I’ve started saying a short prayer every evening as I throw back those pills, and it’s helped me get a little perspective on the grace of God and how much He really loves me and wants me to be well. 🙂

I thought I’d share a bit of that today!
meds

3 things to pray when you take your meds

  1. thank you for providing
    a lot of times, these medications are expensive, and getting to the point where you’re on the right dosage/right medication is a tough road. I thank God each day that He has provided for me to be able to have this medication, that He’s shown me through this, that He is loving and that He is actively caring for me. I thank Him for the financial ability (even if just barely) and the wisdom of doctors that has made this medication possible for me to have.

    .

  2. thank you for this good body
    even with the weaknesses it faces, and the mental challenges it’s endured, my body can do amazing things! I can laugh and have conversations. I can drop over into a backbend. I can teach people about Jesus. I can hug the hurting. I can worship the Lord. even in its fallen-ness… this is a good body!

    .

  3. thank you that you’re coming again
    “even so come, Lord Jesus!” I’m so thankful that He’s coming again, and when He does, I won’t need medication anymore. I won’t need therapy. I won’t have to battle anxiety or depression. I’ll have a brand new body that can do things this one never would have dreamed of. I am so excited for that day!! and the road I’ve walked has only made me more so 🙂

what do you think?

will you be praying along with me? 🙂

till next time
xoxo

The Friday five / 5 characteristics of habitually authentic people

In our church, we’ve really been practicing that whole weeping with those who weep thing lately. Yeah guys. It’s been rough. We’ve been hit hard.

In the span of a year we’ve held two particularly shocking funerals… Two funerals that were held for those who made the heart-wrenching decision to end their lives prematurely.

Our church has survived two suicides this year.

We are broken people, like any other community. But here’s the thing… I can’t help but think we might be holding fewer funerals if we had simply done our job.

If we had loved as Christ loved. Cared as he cared. Walked in humility as he walked.

If we had spread our arms wide with Jesus-love, speaking authentically, baring even the ugly doubts and reeking losses… When will we bulldoze through the society of singularity we’ve caved to and create a safety net of untidy grace where people are free to struggle with those hard and holy things that make life so damn hard. 

How many more will die before we wake up and realize that authenticity is what will heal our churches?

In the wake of the grief and shock that suicide unleashed upon those left behind, I have found true and authentic community with some of those who have been starving as desperately as I for it. I have bared it all and bathed in the relief it washes over those who plunge themselves into the tidal wave of vulnerability and grace that always follows authenticity. Precious authenticity

I have never experienced true authenticity as clearly as I have as of late.

I’m never going back.

My sweet friend and dear fellow blogger, Simone of The Adventures of Everygirl, and I have been making this our theme lately.
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We’ve realized that this is what we’ve been craving, what’s been missing from our souls. After lots of thought, passionate discussion, and epiphanies numbering in the dozens (because, duh), we finally seemed to grasp what it was that made authenticity so enticing, so addicting.

I’ve taken a few moments to jot down what I believe are the five most important characteristics of habitually authentic people. If you want true community, take note, dear ones.  Continue reading “The Friday five / 5 characteristics of habitually authentic people”