Mind Unwind

mental1 (1200 × 628 px) (900 × 600 px)“I’m fine, thank you. How are you?” We regularly reply in this manner even though we are feeling something other than fine! This is a response that hides how we really are and might prevent helpful communication before it starts. I suffer from ADHD, anxiety, and depression, and I’m not always fine. Sometimes people don't believe me when I tell them because I’m always smiling and joking. I struggle, and I understand it. I strive my best to regulate my moods. Most days I am strong, however, every now and then I break. So, in case you see me very quiet, I'm not being rude, I'm not mad at you, you are not bothering me, I may simply want a minute to myself. In case you haven't heard, it's okay to not be okay. Please, tell someone you're not okay. (It's okay, I promise.) Mental health conditions are treatable, and by telling others and showing compassion, we can improve (and perhaps even save) lives!

Self-care isn't selfish

May is Mental Health Month. While there may be more joy in celebrating National Jellybean Day, there is a special place in my heart, or rather, brain, for Mental Health Month.  I've learned quite a bit about my strength and ability to come back. I am proof you can thrive with a mental health condition. “Why do you have depression? Look how good your life is.” is the same as saying. “Why do you have asthma? Look at all this air.” Mental Health is health. You would seek treatment for a broken leg, and you should likewise seek treatment for a broken heart. I have been to therapy five different times in my adult life. I have put together my “toolbox,” similar to a “first aid kit,” for my mental health. In my “toolbox” are things like music, breathing exercises, intentional thoughts of gratitude, making sure to allow myself alone time (as a full-time working mom of three this is important for me), in addition to therapy and medication.

mental2 (1200 × 628 px) (900 × 600 px)Sometimes it's like that

Sometimes my mental health causes me to be shy or reclusive. Sometimes it's not quiet at all, (just ask my husband and kids if I get loud). Sometimes it's hidden behind my face smiling and laughing. Sometimes it's hidden by lists and perfectly organized chaos. Sometimes I’m the person doing and doing in order to not stop and allow myself to think. Sometimes I’m the girl who has everything and still feels like I’m letting people down. Sometimes it's in the “I forgot to text back” coverup, when it's really that texting back feels like an act of bravery. Sometimes I can't bring myself to do it. Sometimes it's in the fear of showing my vulnerability – especially when people think I am strong. Sometimes, I don't feel strong at all, and that makes me question if I’ve ever been worthy or good enough or brave enough at all.

Find the tools that work for you

My journey has been long and hard at times, but I’ve learned a great deal about ADHD, anxiety, and depression and ways to treat them. My message is: You are not alone. There are many of us living with mental health conditions every day. You are allowed to take your mental health seriously and put it as a priority, using whatever “tool” works best for you. You got this. And I do, too.

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