Digging to Roam

Mental Wellness

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  • Crisis Intervention
  • Depression
  • Healing Journey
  • Mental Health
  • Mental Illness Stigma
  • Self-Advocacy
  • Symptomatic Sensations
  • Traumatized Minds
Multi-exposed silhouette in green and purple
Addiction or Mental Illness: Which Should You Treat First?
Substance use can alter behaviors, moods, and personalities so severely for people with addiction that without specialized knowledge and experience, it’s difficult to determine underlying causes such as mental illness or trauma.
Nightmares on Repeat
My dream recall is vivid and detailed. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had nightmares so intense that they carry over into my waking life.
Follow Your Bliss…Differently
Sometimes one thing that frequently makes me happy will be completely joyless and painfully uninteresting on another day. Which is a hindrance for trying to create a life that allows me to follow my bliss in my work.
Create Your Own Motivation
My motivation ebbs and flows. Real dedication to work towards contentment and health comes through on an unpredictable stream. It’s rarely strong and often is barely a trickle, but it is just enough to keep me going.
Yes, You Can Travel for Work With a Mental Illness
The most invisible and stigmatized of all health issues are mental illnesses. It’s fucked up, but disclosing a mental illness while looking for a job can impact your chances of getting hired. It might be illegal (depending on where you live), but so many people in this world are ignorant. Companies may find some other point of contention…
Memories, Parts of Self, and Cohesive Identities
Recovering repressed memories is possible. Trauma is subjectively experienced. Flashbacks are real. Depression is physical.
Will I Pass My Mental Illness to My Children?
I want children of my own, but for the past few years I have been afraid that I would pass this on to my offspring. I feared how will my body and mind handle it?
Ocean view with adobe hut
Meditating With the Ocean in Cozumel
I’m in Cozumel. It’s my first time here. I’m lying on a towel in my black and white retro high waisted bikini–lathered in sunscreen, of course–already dry from a long swim in the ocean.
Couple sitting against a wall
Relationship Red Flags: Are You Dating an Abuser?
Trust your intuition, relationship red flags aren't easy to identify, but there are warning signs. Are you dating an abuser?
Women in a class
The Importance of Women’s Recovery Spaces
I’ve heard rumors suggesting that women’s only recovery meetings are not good because they’re just “man-bashing.” This is unequivocally false; just because something isn’t for you doesn’t mean it is against you.
crying woman
Feeling Depressed Is Different Than Being Depressed
What I'm here to say is that "feeling depressed" is a different beast than “having depression.” Depression is a diagnosable medical condition and a disorder in the DSM-V. It affects many more aspects of life than just emotional. Some symptoms can severely impact the quality of life for people with it.
I Hate Having Depression
My depression is really bad lately. I find everything meaningless. I don't even feel happy in a quiet bit of nature. I hate having depression.
Getting Back On Track
It was the longest period of time I have gone without a psychologist appointment since I first began treatment three and a half years ago. And I was getting weird, real weird.
Recovery Sayings One Day at a Time
Doodling, drawing, and coloring impromptu art is a go to method for me to stay centered. Maybe it'll work for you, too.
Depression Isn’t Weakness, But I Don’t Feel Strong
Depression isn't weakness, but I don't feel strong. Depression is clawing her way back into my consciousness. Usually she dwells in a spot hidden away, and when I put her back she stays there for a while. This time, it's like the lock is broken and she is not staying put.
Weeding Out Anxiety
I allowed a seed of anxiety to grow and take roots in other parts of my psyche. It is kind of like when a tree brings water up through its roots to nurture itself, only in a much more fucked up and non-poetic kind of way.
What is Dissociative Identity Disorder?
Dissociative identity disorder (DID), formerly called multiple personality disorder, is an extremely misunderstood condition related to serious trauma usually in childhood. It’s a controversial diagnosis, in part because of the widespread ignorance and because it frequently occurs alongside other disorders.
Mental Health Stigma Nearly Killed Me
Stigma about mental illness was encoded into my inner schema. It was so deeply embedded in me that it prevented me from even trying out possible solutions.
looking up at palm trees
Waves of Depression and Tides of Hope
Today depression came up again. Buoyed by shorter daylight filled hours, the negative number in my bank account, an unrelenting sick feeling of headache, stomach pain, and mainly my brain and body reverting to default state.
How to Listen Someone’s Trauma Story
You don't need to understand a person or their post traumatic symptoms to listen to their trauma story. Having empathy and patience does not mean you must experience what they experience. We can never know exactly what another person has lived through and how they felt in each moment.
Dissociating Is Being Stuck In My Head and Not My Body
I can’t say anything. He wants me to tell him if I’m ok and I am trapped in my head, but not in my body. I can’t move my eyes to look into his.
Am I depressed or just introverted? The truth about friendships.
Being depressed and an introvert can make it hard to tease apart what these social urges are attributed to. Social contact helps treat depression, but depression causes social isolation. Is it depression or just introversion?
Hugs
Where to Get Help for Suicide or a Mental Health Crisis
A comprehensive listing of suicide intervention and crisis support hotlines and contacts. Talk to someone via chat, text, phone, or email. Find help for yourself or someone else.
Suicidal and Not Giving Up
TW: Suicidal ideation. Raw, honest, painfully real journal journey to a dark time of suicidal thoughts. Get help at suicidepreventionlifeline.org call 1-800-273-8255
Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash
Drinking as Self-Harm
When I can only see the world through foggy glasses, the urge to destroy myself by drinking again becomes an enticing option. Drinking can be a method of self-harm and was for me.
Resiliency, Isolation, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Despite the impulse to isolate, it is socializing that is critical to healing a core identity and building resiliency. Recovery is not something that can occur in isolation.
Caution
The Necessity of Trigger Warnings
A trigger warning is a buffe, a necessary reprieve from the onslaught of triggers we can’t avoid — like the hellish time travel triggered by the sound of a high pitched alarm, the sudden slamming of a door, the smell of a freshly kindled fire or cracks of thunder.
Chaos inside
Sensory Overload, It’s Real and This is What It Feels Like
When this happens, I can’t focus on just one sense — it is all of them happening at once and on overdrive. Instead of tuning out hushed voices outside my door, it feels as if they are in my face and everything occurring is happening at the same level of intensity.
Waving the white flag
Learning To Be Honest
Lying so often feels like the easy way out, but I've been learning the hard way that honesty is the only way to face demons and beat them. To learn from the shit in life and to handle the pain of the world, to see the good things and not just the bad.
Why I am airing my dirty laundry
There is a lot of value in talking about survival and moving forward in life. It is important to see what the future can hold, but when you feel alone in the thick of sorrow the only thing that you want is to feel less alone.
Journal doodle
Contemplating the Unspeakable
I hate admitting this, it’s unspeakable, and writing it down makes it even more real. I’ve been thinking about killing myself a lot. If I didn’t know the horrific trauma that death causes on the people who love the dead person, I think I’d have done it already.
abandoned building
What is Trauma?
Photo by Randy Jacob on Unsplash Trauma is when an incident or series of events overwhelms someone’s normal ability to cope. The psychiatrist Mardi Horowitz explains that trauma shatters a person’s “inner schemata” which is their understanding of their inner self as it relates to their place in the world. Trauma can devastate what someone…
Ocean Wind
You Are Worth Life, Even If You Want to Give Up
If you are hopeless, want to give up, or are contemplating suicide. Please take a minute to read this and call someone. You aren't alone. You don’t have to go through this feeling alone. You are stronger than you know and more incredible than you believe.
Man underwater
The Internet Can Help Trauma Survivors— But It Can Harm Them, Too
For many battling depression and other mental illness, social networking sites are the only place they feel understood. The internet keeps the door to the outside world ajar just enough to make it possible for help to sneak through.
Depression from scrabble tiles
Is This Depression?
Every day I struggle to get up and go to class. I find no meaning in anything I do and I go to a counselor here on campus, but I still feel the same.
Solo Tree Black and White
Alcoholic and Spiraling Towards Bottom
Angry at myself. I’ve been drinking every single day for like a week. I know why I’m doing it. Without something to confuse my sense, I don’t have to deal with this internal struggle.
Making a living
I have a mission. That mission is to eradicate the stigmas that keep people in pain, too ashamed to seek help or unable to get help. If you want to help me do this, donate to support this work.
Summer - Lignano, Italy - Travel photography
How To Practice Self-Compassion in 6 Steps
Self-compassion protects us from ourselves. Another 2017 study published in School Psychology Quarterly found that self-compassion protects adolescents from inflicting self-harm because "those high on self-compassion may be more likely to use adaptive strategies" for dealing with pain and suffering.
How to Take Care of Your Mental Health While Traveling
No matter how long you're traveling for, or how you're getting there, or how far you're going, you should be taking precautionary measures to protect your health. This is especially critical if you are coping with issues of addiction and mental illness.
The Family and Medical Leave Act and Addiction Treatment
The United States does not have a great health care system to help people with substance use disorders (SUD). At every socioeconomic level, treatment is not easy to access. Stereotypes about addicts are outdated and inaccurate. Addiction and alcoholism are usually treated like moral failings or personal choice.
Me Journaling on the beach
How Journaling Has Helped Me Heal
From a young age, I learned that writing about my pain was like talking to a friend. My journal has traveled as far and wide as I have.
Donald Trump - Caricature by DonkeyHotey
Cutting Domestic Violence Programs is Dangerous
Courtesy of Donkey Hotey on Flickr Creative Commons Sharealike License The current political climate in the United States is putting victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) and the police officers who respond to their emergency calls in greater danger. President Donald Trump has repeatedly said one of his top issues is protecting police officers; the White House website even included “Standing Up For…
Walking away
Why Do People Return to Domestic Abusers?
There are many reasons people return to domestic abusers. One of which is the psychological phenomena of re-enactments and re-experiencing.
Wedding at the Beach
Why I Didn’t Try To Lose Weight For My Wedding
The author on her wedding day. Courtesy of Adrian Herrera of Victor Herrera Photographers To take care of myself in the months preceding my wedding I had to make a conscious effort to not dive into dieting. Wedding weight loss was off the list of things for me to do, or to even attempt. As…
How to Stay Sober on Vacation
Photo courtesy of Giuseppe Milo at http://www.pixael.com/en/shop Summer is here and the warmth radiating into the office window conjures up dreams of poolside lounge chairs and remote sun-kissed beaches. While you mentally plan your dream getaway and add pins to your vacation planning Pinterest board, guilty and anxious thoughts about drinking can trickle in. You…
Emotional Selfie
When Depression Shows Her Face
Why is Depression so heavy? Hanging around in the pit of my stomach, a pulsating orb, a cancer re-emerging after remission. The sorrow is physically manifested in my gut. I feel a deep discontent. A piece missing or shifted into the wrong position. A heavy weight, crushing. Like soaking wet wool fabric, clinging to my…
skin picking
I Can’t Stop Picking At My Skin
Mom liked to redecorate and renovate. She decked out the main bathroom in blue and put up yellow and blue wallpaper. The dated linoleum floor was replaced with one to match the new décor. The bathtub had always been blue, now the rest of the room was too.
Drawing of eye
Opioids, Dissociation, and PTSD – The Shocking Connections
Animals that are put under constant duress seem as if they are on an opioid like heroin. Scientists also observed animals reacting like addicts in withdrawal when an opioid blocker was used to disrupt the flow of natural endogenous opioids.
Social Anxiety and Racing Thoughts
I prefer to go under the radar than let people get close and reject me once they get to know me. I am afraid to be honest.
Advice for Traveling with Chronic Illness
Use language that makes you the authority on your health, but don’t use language that makes it sound like it is your fault or completely in your control.
Angry Man by Steve Rhode
What Donald Trump’s Presidency Could Mean for Mental Health
Donald Trump is the President-Elect, and it is not good news for mental health care. Unlike Hillary Clinton, who had a comprehensive mental-health-care program as part of her platform, it’s difficult to discern what Trump’s plan is — or if he has one at all.
How I Learned to Love Meditation
It isn’t easy to deal with stresses again without my old crutch of booze. It can really suck. The world around me is loud, crowded, and smelly. Combine that with the obsessive thoughts that regularly run laps around my brain—it’s a recipe for a meltdown. To my surprise, sprinkling in some meditations completely changed the mix.
Donald Trump is Just Like My Abuser
That’s when it clicked: I can’t watch Trump because he is a manipulator, and his manner of speaking is that of an emotional abuser. That’s why I was finding myself fighting panic and flashbacks when I first tried watching him debate. I was flashing back to my own experience as a victim of abuse.
Black and white body
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.
Flower by Sebastian Bota
5 Happiness Tips When You Have PTSD
Living with post traumatic stress disorder and her bluesy sister, depression, has drastically changed how I handle everyday life. Anxiety and lethargy applied for permanent residence in my body, and I thought I had to fight to have their applications thrown out. Turns out I didn’t have to fight, I had to give up and stop trying to control everything.
Mural Buenos Aires
Anxious Discomfort and Chronic Fatigue
No matter how ready this anxiety is trying to make me, there is no way to prepare for doom. Living in fear is a kind of hell.
The Dull Ache of Depression
I'm not incredibly sad all the time. I don’t feel much of anything most of the time. I’m not just sadder than I used to be, I’m less everything.
Shadow of someone on a swing
Feeling Half Alive
Up and down emotions. One moment I feel excited and ready to try something new, and the next I am afraid of rejection and hide back in my bed.
Street Art Face with Mouth Covered
Depression, Sensitivity, and Effort
Where is the inspiration I used to have? It feels weird to be an adult and sometimes feel like the same sad little kid I once was.
I Was Invisible Until Batman Kicked my Ass
Imagine my surprise when I looked in the mirror and I wasn’t there. I couldn’t see myself, at all. I also couldn’t remember what I looked like. Have you ever had to search for something when you had no idea what that thing looked like? It’s not very easy. I have a vivid imagination and fancy…
Lightning Storm
Expats and Depression: The Research
My last blog post on depression and expats sparked some interesting discussions on LinkedIn. Unfortunately, I accidentally deleted the thread when I got pissed at my non-responding mouse and started clicking it like a madwoman. In my fury of clicks it responded, just to delete a very productive conversation. Thanks technology. I’m going to follow…
Me Journaling on the beach
Expats, Depression, and Honesty
[dt_quote type=”pullquote” layout=”left” font_size=”big” animation=”none” size=”1″]Now it is 11am on the 16th. I barely slept. My anxiety is through the roof. My heart is racing, my head is in a nervous fog, my stomach is tied up in knots and I could throw up. I’m holding something in, but what? What is weighing so heavily…
The Scared Traveler, My Dirty Secret
The author, aka me, in Vermont. I write for a living. I write about myself and about the world. The façade I put on is that I do not fear self-analysis. I seem to be a person unafraid of being intimate with myself. That is my dirty secret. I continue to move and flee to…
Girls smiling peace sign
10 Scientifically Proven Ways To Become A Happier Person
It’s the holiday season and the new year is upon us. The holidays are not always an easy time of year—many of us are missing loved ones, while others are struggling with mental illness that stand in the way of feeling happy.
Emotional Selfie
Domestic Abuse, It Happened To Me, It Can Happen To You
I know surprisingly few people who would admit to having suffered abuse. Is it because we are ashamed? Because we blame ourselves? Because we're scared?
Homesickness – Life On The Move
I’m at the age now where everyone is having kids on purpose, at least three times a week someone I know on Facebook is getting engaged, and every weekend someone posts wedding pictures. Some people I know play bridesmaid in multiple weddings each summer, and my family and friends are all moving towards a life…
Candid Confessions: Silver Linings in Failure and Tragedy
I’m sure you’ve read one or more of these: “In the middle of a difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein “Everything happens for a reason.” – Marilyn Monroe “Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.” – His Holiness the Dalai Lama Feeling like nothing is going your way?…
private-journal-cover
Spying, Journals, and Obsessive Habits: Three Reasons You Should Write
My first journal, circa 1996 I have kept journals since I was a kid and Harriet the Spy came into my life, I read the book and watched the movie (about a dozen times). My first journal starts with “Kristance The Spy” on July 4, 1996. Wow, seventeen years ago! All of my handwritten journals from…
Family, Fires, and Gratitude: How 1 Year After My Dad Died, He Saved My Life
Today my blog post is really personal, it’s a story that I need to tell and I haven’t known who to tell or even how to tell it, so I thought I’d start here with my readers. I hope it’s a story that can in some way inspire you to keep moving forward, no matter…
Medical Disorders: The Social Component
“It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” [Jiddu Krisnamurti] Have you ever gone to the doctors having already self-diagnosed yourself? Do you ever find yourself suggesting which medication to go on to your doctor? Maybe you are very aware of your body and take control of your own…
How Pharmaceutical Companies Sell Diseases
Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash What is Disease Mongering? Do you have a headache? Take some Ibuprofen. Stomach upset? Take a TUMS. Are you lactose intolerant? Eat dairy and just take a lactose pill. Have you been feeling down lately and watching a lot of TV because you feel sad? There’s a pill for that!…