Mental Illness

To anyone struggling with mental illness: you have everything to live for, your life is valuable, and if you are suffering there is a better future ahead. You are loved, you are love, and you deserve love.


Percentage of the adult population that will experience a mental illness this year.¹


Likelihood of a person with mental illness to receive mental health care this year.¹


When someone discloses a mental disorder, they face discrimation by powerful influencers such as potential landlords and employers.2


People with mental health conditions are 10 times more likely to be victims of violent crimes, the more severe the mental health condition, the more likely it becomes.3

1. USA population over age 18. Source: National Institute of Mental Health
2. Source: Medscape
3. Source:

How Journaling Has Helped Me Heal

August 27, 2017

Why I Didn’t Try To Lose Weight For My Wedding

July 10, 2017

Retracting Allegations of Abuse is Not Proof – Trauma and Memories

June 20, 2017

When Depression Shows Her Face

May 29, 2017

I Can’t Stop Picking At My Skin

May 9, 2017

Opioids, Dissociation, and PTSD – The Shocking Connections

March 2, 2017

Stigma Punishes Victims, Helps Perpetrators – Destigmatize vs Normalize

December 30, 2016

Journal Journey: Social Anxiety and Racing Thoughts

December 28, 2016

Advice for Traveling with Chronic Illness

December 11, 2016

What Donald Trump’s Presidency Could Mean for Mental Health

November 17, 2016

How I Learned to Love Meditation

October 21, 2016

Defending Trigger Warnings: Trauma Survivor’s Perspective

September 22, 2016

5 Happiness Tips When You Have PTSD

September 7, 2016

Journal Journey: Anxiety

May 19, 2016

Journal Journey: Depression Part 3

May 18, 2016

Journal Journey: Depression Part 2

May 17, 2016

Journal Journey: Depression Part 1

May 16, 2016

I Was Invisible Until Batman Kicked my Ass

October 14, 2015

Living Without Anxiety

March 2, 2015

Expats and Depression: The Research

July 14, 2014

Expats, Depression, and Honesty

July 8, 2014

The Scared Traveler, My Dirty Secret

January 29, 2014

10 Scientifically Proven Ways To Become A Happier Person

January 2, 2014

Domestic Abuse, It Happened To Me, It Can Happen To You

October 29, 2013

Homesickness – Life On The Move

September 17, 2013

Candid Confessions: Silver Linings in Failure and Tragedy

August 15, 2013

Family, Fires, and Gratitude: How 1 Year After My Dad Died, He Saved My Life

July 10, 2013

Medical Disorders: The Social Component

July 9, 2013

How Pharmaceutical Companies Sell Diseases

June 29, 2013

Journal Journey: Social Anxiety and Racing Thoughts

December 28, 2016 | 0 Comments

Monday, Summer, Age – Late 20s Social Anxiety and Racing Thoughts… I’m at the park again. I sit, hunched over my coverless journal. I ripped the front and back off in a drunken fit of rage and panic. The parrots, or maybe they’re parakeets, are squawking in their communal homes, high in the trees. Today

Journal Journey: Anxiety

May 19, 2016 | 1 Comment

Thursday, Summertime, Age – 26 Anxiety… I have the kind of fatigue normally attributed to all night study sessions or marathon training. Not the way you’re supposed to feel mere hours after waking up. I can’t get myself to do the things that I know I need to do and the things that I want

Journal Journey: Depression Part 3

May 18, 2016 | 1 Comment

Wednesday, Autumn 2006, Age – 20 Depressed in college… Woke up today and depression weaseled its way in. Ever lurking in the shadows. I don’t even know how it got here. I’m still feeling it. It’s a pulsating lackluster orb that stretches to fill in the spaces in me. Usually it hangs around the pit

Journal Journey: Depression Part 2

May 17, 2016 | 0 Comments

Wednesday, Undisclosed Date, Age – Late 28 Depression… Window’s open. I can’t bring myself to pull the blind up all the way. It bangs loudly against the metal frame with every burst of air. I feel a strange up and down in my emotions. One moment I feel excited and ready to try something new,

Journal Journey: Depression Part 1

May 16, 2016 | 0 Comments

Monday, Undisclosed Date, Age: late 20s I am depressed… How do you avoid losing everything? Don’t let yourself have anything to begin with. Sometimes I get these ideas of grandiose plans. Nothing big, but just like a surprise or a last minute spur of the moment thing to do. For someone else that idea is

Defending Trigger Warnings: Trauma Survivor’s Perspective

If you think the use of trigger warnings on college campuses coddles students and stunts intellectual growth, you don’t understand trigger warnings. A trigger warning is not censorship and it is not topic avoidance. Trigger warnings, or content notes, are a simple way to respect other people’s boundaries without intruding on their privacy.

Consider this hypothetical scenario between co-workers Charlie and Jamie: Jamie’s partner recently killed themself. If Charlie knows about Jamie’s loss, it would be cruel to nonchalantly strike up a conversation about suicide attempts. Even if Charlie doesn’t know about Jamie’s loss, Charlie is aware that tragedies happen to everyone and thus it would still be insensitive to discuss self-harm in a brainstorming session without first letting all attendees know it was on the agenda. That courtesy is a trigger warning.

Read More

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Disruptive Symptoms

Symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are distressing and disruptive to a person's life.4

Flashbacks triggered by reminders of the event. The trauma is re-experienced and can even re-traumatize the person.

Hyper arousal resulting in angry outbursts, sleep deprivation, and a constant feeling of being on edge.

Easily startled, an immediate response to slightly surprising stimuli. This is not the same as being triggered by situations that remind the person of their trauma.

Difficulty concentrating, terrifying thoughts, nightmares, and loss of interest in activities. Work and other normal tasks become difficult.

Military Combat

Veterans who experience combat are much more likely than the general population to have PTSD in a given year. The rate varies by operation, in the most recent military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan the frequency is upwards of 20% of veterans.5

of people will have PTSD in their lifetime.
of men
of women
estimate of combat vets

Not Just Veterans

It can happen to anyone, not just people who experience combat, 7-8 percent of the population will have PTSD at some point in their lives.5

Cis Gender Disparities

PTSD is more likely to develop in women than men. Sexual assault is more likely to lead to PTSD than other traumatic events, and sexual assault happens more frequently to women.6

Nonbinary Genders

People with non-cis genders are at the highest risk for PTSD and other anxiety disorders. The stigma of non-cis genders is compounded by the stigma of mental illness (gender identity has nothing to do with mental illness).7

5 Simple Ways to Cultivate Joy When You Have PTSD

Remember small victories, like patting yourself on the back for feeling okay and making it through an activity without feeling anxious.

In the fog of a depressive storm, I am overcome with the kind of fatigue normally attributed to all-night study sessions or marathon training. My entire body is exhausted and moves in slow motion, everything takes an enormous amount of effort to complete. In a recent foray into depression, it took me all day to fold one load of clean laundry. Instead of hating myself for “only” completing one small task as if I didn’t do enough, I was gentle with myself and allowed what I did to be enough.

Finding the energy to complete essential daily tasks can be a struggle when depression hits.  When it comes to taking recovery-based actions, it isn’t just difficult, sometimes it is impossible. Setting little goals, realistic goals, will improve your sense of self-worth. Those goals need to be based on you, not anyone else. For one person, having the goal of running daily might be realistic, but it’s just as good to have the goal to change into clean pajamas before you crawl back into bed.

Read More

Mental Health Reminders

One of the main reasons people with mental health issues don’t seek health is because of shame, stigma, and discrimination. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, an estimated 66 percent of people with diagnosable mental disorders do not try and get help. 

Depression is not about your life circumstances, while stressful situations can exaggerate or even bring on a mental illness, without proper care no matter how wonderful your life situation is you will still suffer from the disease.

My saving grace has been learning to cultivate gratitude, even in smallest measure. No matter how down and out you are, there are ways to access serenity during the darkest days of trauma.

What a Trump Presidency Means for Mental Health

The mentally ill are overrepresented amongst homeless adults. Around 46 percent of homeless adults in shelters have substance use disorders and/or severe mental illness. Contrary to Trump’s commentary, most of the crimes committed by people who are homeless are non-violent offenses, like not paying to get on public transportation or selling things on the side of the street without a license. Research published by the American Psychological Association found that there is no link between repeat criminal activity and mental illness.

Read More


Mental illness is the most costly health issue on Earth.8

2010 cost in USD
Estimated cost in USD by 2030

Incarcerated People

Mental illness among the prison population of the United States.9

Female state prisoners with mental disorders
Male state prisoners with mental disorders

Youth with Mental Health Conditions

A lack of mental health services for children and teenagers is a major problem around the world with serious consequences. Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for people aged 10–24 and the 2nd leading cause for youth 15 to 24 years old.10

Youth aged 13-24 with mental health condition
In the juvenile justice system
Who dropout of school aged 14-21
Aged 8-15 who received mental health care
Child suicides due to mental illness

10. Data sourced from National Alliance on Mental Illness

Linked to Substance Abuse


Percentage of those with a substance abuse disorder who have a co-occurring mental illness.11


People with mental illness who have substance abuse disorders. For severe mental illness, it rises to 50%.13

Photos on this page provided by: Chelsea Burgess; Steve Hode - Photos in linked content not attributed here; all others either by Kristance Harlow or Public Domain.