Mental Health Advocate

Recovery: Day 1,096

Recovery: Day 1,096

Today marks three years of recovery for me, and what amazes me the most is how quickly time is able to pass us by if we do not pay attention. This is what recovery has been about for me; paying attention. At first, what started out as realizing and admitting I had a substance use disorder, had now become a three-year recovery process of understanding…why. By showing up for my life, keeping myself accountable for my own choices, and learning how to express my emotions in a healthy manner, I have been able to see another day and live my best life in recovery.

In this post, I will share with you some of my biggest recovery struggles, and why this way of life is no easy feat. I will talk about what recovery has offered me thus far, and despite the challenge of it, why I would not live another way. Regardless of what it is you may be battling, recovery from anything is a day to day process. Recovery is simply choosing to want the best for yourself and your life, and getting honest about the things that pull you away from that.

Thank you for reading. I appreciate you.

My Thoughts on Suicide!

My Thoughts on Suicide!

With the recent passing of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, the topic of Suicide and Mental Illness has taken a front row seat in the news. It is unfortunate that it must take these kinds of extremes to get people talking, but I am a firm believer in these being the kinds of conversations that we need to be having more of. In a world filled with so much suffering, there has got to be a way for us to discuss these kinds of issues. By remaining available, as well as vulnerable, to those closest to us, we can begin creating a ‘safe space’ for those that are desperately just trying to be heard, seen, and felt.

In this post, I share my thoughts on Suicide and I suggest ways that we can ALL get better at when it comes to paying attention to the people in our lives and those around us. Suicide is a dark topic, but we need to know that there can be a light shed on it. We do that by talking about it, reading about it, and doing what we can to understand it to the best of our abilities. This is just my attempt at doing that through my own knowledge, and experience with it.

Thank you for reading. I appreciate you.

Dear Depression,

Dear Depression,

It’s #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth, and you know what that means…I am going to write about it! Except this time, I am doing things a little differently; I am writing a letter directly to Depression.

If you have spent any part of your life having to overcome the battle of this mental illness, you will understand this letter on a deeper level. If you have never experienced the struggle that is depression, then I urge you to read this letter so you can try to understand. Depression takes on many forms, and it has this cruel way of making everything seem fine to the outside world when in reality, the person suffering is having to fight a constant internal battle.

For me, writing about my own experiences, and sharing the struggles that I face has been a key component in my own mental health recovery. I hope by reading this letter you feel better knowing you are not alone, or you are able to take something away from it so you can empathize with those in your life who do suffer from depression.

Thank you for reading. I appreciate you.

'Therapy' is NOT a Bad Word!

'Therapy' is NOT a Bad Word!

It took me a long time to admit that I needed to talk to a professional. I had come to a point in my life where I felt I had to add another ‘tool’ to keep my recovery going, and therapy was something I had been avoiding. Why? I am not too sure. Fear? Stigma? Pride? It may have been a mixture of all three, but I am happy that I finally got out of the way of myself.

Admitting that you may need to talk to someone is NOT a weakness. In fact, it has been because of my choice to see what therapy was all about that I have been able to see where more of my strengths lie. Before I chose to take this next step, I was one of the many people in the world who considered therapy to mean that something was seriously wrong with me. Oh, how wrong I was about that.

In this post, I hope to destigmatize the word ‘Therapy’ and let it be known that we should never feel ashamed about needing some kind of help. I recommend therapy to even the healthiest of people. There is nothing wrong with having an unbiased, professional opinion about our life, our truth, and our stories. We never know how beneficial something can be for us until we try it. Same goes for therapy.

Thank you for reading. I appreciate you!

10 Lessons My Mental Illness is (still) Teaching Me

10 Lessons My Mental Illness is (still) Teaching Me

My Mental Illness never fails to remind me that it has a key role in the way I live my everyday life. I still struggle with the fact that each day has its own set of challenges, but that is only because I still struggle to let go of what I cannot control. Having to accept that my mental health will always require a certain level of work has been challenging, because let’s be honest, mental illness can be exhausting.


In this post, I share TEN lessons my mental illness is still having to teach me about myself, or better yet, lessons I am still having to accept about my journey. We are all going to face our own set of challenges in life, and for a portion of the world, mental illness will be one of those battles. We cannot deny what we must face about ourselves, and the 10 lessons I talk about are just some of the truths I can no longer run from.
 
Thank you for reading. I appreciate you.

On Life, Loss, & Learning That One Cannot Happen Without the Other!

On Life, Loss, & Learning That One Cannot Happen Without the Other!

The idea for this post didn’t come to me because of good news I received, but because of the opposite. The news of an old friend passing caused me to take a deeper look into loss and what it has meant for me over the years. Although this is a much tougher topic to cover, I always feel that it’s necessary to explore both the ups and downs of life, because like my title says, with life comes loss, and we must learn to accept that one cannot happen without the other.

In this post, I talk about loss in a way that hopefully offers you a lighter way of looking at something so dark. Not that we should become numb to it happening, but instead, we should live our days moving forward believing that our life is for something greater than the pain we experience. If we allow the darker times to consume us completely, we take the risk of forgetting just how beautiful life can be when we are able to learn from it!

This post is not only dedicated to my friend who is now in peace, but also, to any, and all families that have been impacted by the violence that has been occurring...everywhere quite frankly. We live in a scary world, but we cannot allow the world to make us afraid to live!

Thank you for reading. I appreciate you. 

You Are a Result of Your Actions!

You Are a Result of Your Actions!

We all know the saying, ‘Actions speak louder than words!’ but how many of us are actually applying that into our everyday lives? I know I am guilty of having a great idea, talking about wanting to make it happen, but then allowing life to get in the way, and realizing a couple months later that I forgot all about my ‘great idea’. It is one of those things where, unfortunately, it is easier said than done. So, how can we go about changing that?

In this post, I talk about the importance of OUR ACTIONS and how the everyday choices, and routines we develop lead to the RESULT of who will become. When it comes to change, and pursuing the goals we want to achieve, eventually we have to stop talking about it and do the things that allow us to become it.

Thank you for reading. I appreciate you.

(Please) STOP ‘Looking’ For Love…It Will Find YOU!

(Please) STOP ‘Looking’ For Love…It Will Find YOU!

Now that February is here, I wanted to start off strong with a ‘love’ post, since that tends to be the common theme this month, with Valentine’s Day right around the corner. This can stir up a mixture of emotions within people depending on their current relationship status, or situation. Regardless of if you are currently in a relationship, boycotting them, or wanting to be in one, the message within this post is for anyone!

In this post, I talk about ‘love’ and the injustice we are doing ourselves by looking for it in all the wrong places, settling for it because we think we need someone, or hoping for it because we believe it will fill a void. I talk about the differences between loneliness and being alone, and hopefully, you will leave this article with the important message of self-love, and why we should ever only focus on that kind of love in the first place.

Thank you for reading. I appreciate you!

People Will Only 'Show Up' When They Are Ready!

People Will Only 'Show Up' When They Are Ready!

When it comes to love, careers, passions, and just, everyday life, we are often having to balance a mixture of them all, while learning what is more important to us, and to others. All of us are moving through life at our own speed, while also, having to deal with our own unique set of strengths, and weaknesses. With that said, people are only willing to ‘show up’ in relationships, opportunities, and commitments when they themselves are READY for them.

In this post, I talk about what it means to ‘show up’ in life, and how we can become more honest with ourselves about what we are ready for, and what we are not. ‘Showing up’ for our life is just another healthy form of self-care. The sooner we decide to ‘show up’, the sooner we can rid ourselves of anything that is holding us back!

Thank you for reading. I appreciate you!  

8 Truths My Tattoos Won't Tell You!

8 Truths My Tattoos Won't Tell You!

When it comes to tattoos, we all have our reasons for going under the needle to permanently put ink into our skin. In the 8 years that I have been partaking in the art form that is tattooing, I have learned many truths about having tattoos; what they mean to me, what they mean to other people, and why the latter is the least bit of my concern.

As I excitedly await a tattoo appointment I have today, I felt that it was appropriate to write about my tattoos and shed some light on the topic. In this post, I talk about 8 of the more important truths I have gathered through my journey, passion, and appreciation for ART that is tattooing.

Thank you for reading. I appreciate you!

Instead of Calling It 'Change', Let's Call It 'Improvement'!

Instead of Calling It 'Change', Let's Call It 'Improvement'!

It’s Day 6 of the New Year, and if I had set any ‘resolutions’ I probably would have cheated on them already. If you read my post from last week, you already know how I feel about the pressure of ‘resolutions’ and the ‘change’ that most believe is required of them due to the changing of the year. But that is not what today's post is about.

In this post, I entertain the idea of us using a different way to describe ‘change’ since it usually gets a bad rep for being something that people never actually do. The word ‘change’ does not have to sound as scary as it may seem, because all we are really doing when we attempt to change, is improve something for the better. So, this year, maybe instead of calling it ‘change’, we should call it ‘improvement’, because isn’t that all we should be after anyways?

Thank you for reading. I appreciate you.  

A New Year is Always a Good Reason for a New You!

A New Year is Always a Good Reason for a New You!

We are always expected to have a list of goals that we want to accomplish in the New Year, and it is easy to feel pressure to be more prepared than most of us are ever truly feeling. So, instead of getting stressed about all the things we may need to change in our life, let’s allow ourselves the permission to be excited about this New Year, and the potential of a ‘New You!’

In this post, I try to avoid the word ‘resolutions’ and I do my best to focus on what a New Year could mean for a New You! As cliché as it may be to believe in the magic of new beginnings, there is a reason for why there is a magic there in the first place. Who really knows what the New Year could bring, but only you have the choice to make this Year a new one for YOU! Celebrate that!

Thank you for reading! I appreciate you!

10 Healthy Ways to Manage Your Mental Health This Holiday Season!

10 Healthy Ways to Manage Your Mental Health This Holiday Season!

Whether you care to admit it or not, we all have our own ways of dealing with our Mental Health. It’s important to acknowledge the fact that mental health is prominent in everyone’s life. We must all actively work towards maintaining a certain level of balance, because, without it, we may fall a little too far off course. The Holidays can bring up a lot of emotions within us, and I know I am not the only one who may need extra ways to manage my mental health this Holiday Season!
 
In this post, I share TEN ideas and ways to potentially help manage your mental health. With all the end of year festivities that may, or may not be occurring, it is nice to have some coping mechanisms up your sleeve to use when you feel overwhelmed at any point in time. Please note that not all these may cater to your liking, but also, you never know when something new may surprise you!
 
Thank you for reading. I appreciate you.  

Let's Be Better Than Small Talk!

Let's Be Better Than Small Talk!

I am just going to come right out there and say it: I hate small talk. I hate it so much, that I am even using the word ‘hate’ to explain the seriousness of my feelings towards it. 99% of the time, I believe ‘hate’ is a strong word; but not when it comes to describing how I feel about small talk.
 
In this post, I talk about my reasons for the pain I experience when having to be in, what I consider,
a stressful situation. We should all want to have deeper, more meaningful conversations with each other. If all we have is small talk, how will we ever discuss the things that truly matter? Let’s talk about it! Share your thoughts in the comments. Let’s be better than small talk!
 
Thank you for reading. I appreciate you.

Taking a Break (from Life) in Boston!

Taking a Break (from Life) in Boston!

This past weekend I traveled to Boston, Massachusetts to explore a new city I am unfamiliar with, and ultimately, take a small break away from my life. The older I get, the more I have begun to appreciate the importance of self-love and doing things that provide you joy. Putting ourselves out there, and adjusting to change is a big part of discovering our independence.

In this post, I talk about my trip to Boston, but also, I talk about the value of doing things for yourself. Sometimes, all we need is a mini break from our lives to remind us that we are living for much more than just an everyday routine. Discovering what works for us will unfold over time, but we must start somewhere, and for me, Boston was just a stop along the way!

Thank you for reading! I appreciate you! 

5 Habits That Keep Me Happy, Healthy, & Recovering!

5 Habits That Keep Me Happy, Healthy, & Recovering!

We all need ways to cope with life. Period. Regardless of if you struggle with mental illness, addiction, or are currently in recovery, we could all could use advice when it comes to dealing with the everyday stress of simply being human. Why? Because sometimes being human is not simple at all.

In this post, I share with you the habits I swear by when it comes to staying sane in a crazy world. I incorporate them into my everyday life and they have proven to be beneficial in getting me out of a rut, spiking my serotonin (happy chemicals), and keeping me in recovery!

Thank you for reading. I appreciate you.

Dear Readers,

Dear Readers,

This week I wanted to do things a little bit differently, and write a letter to, well… you; the one reading this; the one who has somehow found this page. You are a huge part of the reason why I continue to put myself out there, and just by clicking that ‘read more’ button, you are supporting me in more ways than you will ever know.

In this post, I open up in a different way and I get the chance to say how I feel to those of you that are reading this. Every single one of you is a reminder that I am not alone, you are not alone, and together, we can make the world that much better.

Thank you for reading. I appreciate you. 

5 Podcasts That Have Influenced My Life!

5 Podcasts That Have Influenced My Life!

2017 has been the year of the podcast for me, and honestly, I am not even sure what I did with myself before I discovered this free form of education, and/or entertainment. It’s kind of mind-blowing to think that I used to drive 70 miles a day, stuck in traffic, only listening to music, when I had an entire library of endless information just waiting to be discovered. I can say with full confidence that listening to podcasts has changed my life for the better, and I think we can all benefit from this beautiful resource, that quite frankly, not enough of us are taking advantage of.

In this post, I share with you my Top 5 rated podcasts, and why I think you should consider giving them a listen. Regardless of if you like my picks or not, I still think the benefit you could receive from implementing podcasts into your life is worth exploring. These picks of mine are just a good starting point for those of you that are new to the podcasting world. I would love to hear some of your own favorites in the comments so I can add them to my never-ending queue.

Thank you for reading! I appreciate you!

10 Reasons Why We NEED to Be Talking about Mental Illness!

10 Reasons Why We NEED to Be Talking about Mental Illness!

This past week was Mental Illness Awareness Week (October 1st – 7th), and if you have been reading my articles long enough, you know that I would never pass up the opportunity to talk about it. So, when coming up with this week’s title, I decided that it would be best to discuss why we should be talking about it ALL THE TIME; not just on specific days, or weeks that are designated to the topic.
 
In this post, I go over 10 major reasons why we need to address the elephant in the room, and why we need to be more accepting of the illnesses so many people are affected by on a daily basis. It’s important that we educate ourselves on what we may not understand, and treat all people with kindness because you never know what they are battling.
 
Thank you for reading. I appreciate you.

Once an 'Addict', Always an 'Addict'

Once an 'Addict', Always an 'Addict'

There is a lot of debate in the recovery world about this phrase; half of me accepts it, while the other half resents it. Since becoming sober I have shared my story with hundreds of people and there are two things that occur: they either congratulate me on how far I have come or, they instinctively put me in a category that I did not ask to be put in.

In this post, I share how it feels to be constantly ‘labeled’, and I offer a new way to approach those with a past of addiction. At the end of the day, we are all just people, and regardless of if you were an ‘addict’ for a period of your life, you are so much more than that.

Thank you for reading. I appreciate you.