Mental Health Awareness Posts

It’s my hope that we will continue to talk about mental health, dissolve the stigma and let the healing begin.

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, I gathered a list of a few of my posts and poems that describe some of my experiences with mental illness.

We have been in a mental health crisis for some time now and has severely increased since the pandemic.

It is time to be open, honest, and without bias.

You are not alone.

If you think you are experiencing symptoms of mental illness, please talk to somebody.

Talk to a family member or trusted friend, and/or seek professional help such as a Psychiatrist, a medical doctor who diagnoses and treats mental illnesses, or a psychotherapist, such as a psychologist or licensed counselor.

Call 911 or go to the closest emergency room

Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach a 24-hour crisis center, text MHA to 741741

Poems

It’s One of Those Days (https://breakdownchick.wordpress.com/2019/05/15/one-of-those-days/

The Dark Side of my MInd https://breakdownchick.wordpress.com/2018/06/05/the-dark-side-of-my-mind/

A Day in the Life of Depression https://breakdownchick.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/a-day-in-the-life-of-depression/

Posts

Mental breakdown https://breakdownchick.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/mental-breakdown/

Disassociative Identity Disorder https://breakdownchick.wordpress.com/2016/07/03/dissociative-identity-disorder-did/

EMDR: My next step in therapy https://breakdownchick.wordpress.com/2015/09/14/emdr-my-next-step-in-therapy/

Agoraphobic Flashback https://breakdownchick.wordpress.com/2015/02/11/agoraphobic-flashback/

Recognizing Depression https://breakdownchick.wordpress.com/2015/11/16/recognizing-depression/

Parenting & Mental illness https://breakdownchick.wordpress.com/2017/04/05/parenting-and-mental-illness/

Deep breaths and baby steps (https://breakdownchick.wordpress.com/2018/11/06/deep-breaths-and-baby-steps/

My daily basic battles https://breakdownchick.wordpress.com/2014/10/24/the-5-daily-basic-battles/

5 ways I am managing my stress https://breakdownchick.wordpress.com/2021/08/11/5-ways-i-am-managing-my-stress/

Back on Antidepressants https://breakdownchick.wordpress.com/2022/02/23/back-on-antidepressants/

Officially Registered!

My business is finally officially registered! If you had told me this would happen when I was debilitated with depression, I would not have been able to imagine it.

Yet here I am! It has been a long recovery and I still struggle; but, I keep putting one foot in front of the other, taking baby steps, one step at a time, and pausing for deep breaths.

Wherever you are in your recovery, you are not alone, don’t give up, limitless possibilities await you!💜

Back on Antidepressants :/

After 10 years off of antidepressants, I chose to go back on them. I thought just for the winter but I am not so sure anymore.

Truthfully, I’ve been struggling for a while. I’ve kept busy with herbal apprenticeships and my business course through VR. but not without several little breakdowns and many cries in between.

I had been contemplating medication for months, discussing it with both my doctor and my therapist.

I wanted to try herbal remedies first for the winter depression, but I only made a few and was late in the season making them.

I was teetering.

Then my family pushed me over the edge. Many family members were struggling with their own mental health and it affected me deeply.

I began having suicidal and self-harming thoughts.

Red flag, stop, breathe and evaluate.

Presently I know with all I am that I won’t act on these thoughts; but when my brain starts going there, it is time to get some support.

I realized I could not try to start a business and elevate my life, all while getting caught in the cross-fire of my family, it was just too much.

I felt like I was failing and was ashamed, by going back on meds. Then I remembered that my brain sometimes needs help. That I have a chemical imbalance. That it is okay to get help. That I am still doing the work and moving forward.

I set that shame shit go and am still adjusting; but so far, my focus is better and my depression not quite as severe, and/or for not as long.

Sometimes, recovery and healing is an up and down, back and forth experience.

Learning in layers and spirals can feel like you aren’t getting anywhere, but I know better.

Feeling a tiny bit more stable, I have set boundaries with my family and continue to move forward with my business goals.

Wherever you are at in your journey, know that it’s okay and you are exactly where you need to be❤

Launching Soon!

It’s been over two years that I’ve been working diligently with NH Vocational Rehab and taking their business course with success coach, Dr. Deborah Osgood, who has been an enormous support.

There have been so many trials and tribulations during this journey. It took me six months of therapy to work on feeling worthy enough to even begin.

Then when I thought I was close to being ready, I learned about the FDA’s Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP’s). It took me another chunk of time to reformulate my lotion recipes to include all-natural preservatives so I could offer a safer product and avoid bacteria, yeast, mold, etc., I also changed the packaging from jars to pump bottles, because constantly putting our fingers into a jar of product can increase chances of bacteria, especially if water gets into it.

Not only did I need to reformulate recipes and packaging; but, I had to change my business direction as well. I originally wanted to include tea blends, herbal extracts, and salves; but according to FDA, those fall under the Supplement category, and my herbal chest rub under the Drug category, which has very rigid rules and regulations. Firstly, I would need a commercial kitchen and that just isn’t plausible presently. This discouraged me for a while and I struggled with depression, but I redirected myself to work under the Cosmetics and Aromatherapy categories which are a tiny bit more lenient, and I am able to make them from home. (I ranted a bit more in my post, GMPs, FDA, and reformulating)

All the while I was still studying herbalism and completed four herbal apprenticeships with Blackbird’s Daughter Botanicals, to build on the foundation I learned at Misty Meadows Herbal Center. I also took some online classes on Cosmetic formulation and preservatives.

Last month, I finally finished the course at VR and submitted my business proposal. I was congratulated and commended on a job well done. I felt such a sense of accomplishment, having persevered through my anxiety, fear, depression, family problems, health issues, etc.,

There were times I felt stupid for taking so long, and times I wanted to just give up, wondering if I was even capable.

Last week I received the email saying that NHVR has approved my proposal and they will begin buying supplies needed for me to launch my business over the next 3-4 weeks!!!

Tears of joy and relief were wept.

I signed the contract saying that I have ‘cashed in’ my Social Security ticket to work and I will submit profit/loss reports monthly.

If you would’ve asked a former me, I would have never thought I’d be here.

Sometimes I held a vague vision or a daydream of where I wanted to be.

Now I am living the daydream!

I have moved from being severely disabled, broken and unable, to an able person, functioning, and moving forward, still struggling with disabilities but also still doing the work and healing.

Disabled but not broken.

I am excited and I am terrified, but no matter what happens from here, I am proud to have made it this far.

Practicing my GMP’s 🙂
Working on Packaging!

5 Ways I am Managing my Stress

I’ve been reflecting and came to the realization that for the first time in a very long time (16 years to be exact) I have a very full life, balancing and juggling quite a few things. I can only describe it as ‘living again.’

Last time I was this busy, I was raising my daughter, attending college, working and caring for my mom as much as possible through her cancer journey. Not to mention attempting to save a failing relationship with my boyfriend. My mom would literally catch me spinning in circles, talking to myself trying to remember everything I needed to do, and she would calmly say, “Breathe”, I joked “how am I going to remember to breathe without you mom”. After her passing, I didn’t have the strength or ability to juggle anymore and had my mental breakdown.

Today I am juggling my herbal apprenticeship (classes, intern hours homework), with a business course through vocational rehab and preparing to launch my own business (which is way more work than I dreamed). Along with still “raising” my adult child, trying to support and encourage her in becoming independent, and developing and maintaining relationships with my family, my coven, and my friends old and new. When I have a spare moment, I am tending to my gardens and doing housework, or simply collapsed.

At first I was severely stressed and riddled with anxiety and panic attacks. I became so overwhelmed I would just sit and cry. After learning more through my herbal classes about how stress depletes our bodies and yes, kills us, I decided I need to get a grip.

I have a few unhealthy coping skills but am developing healthier habits as well. I thought I would share a few ways I am managing my stress, each of these could probably be a full post, but here are the highlights:

1) Shift my perspective, They say things are not as bad as they seem, but when you struggle with mental health, they can seem monstrous! I remember my mom being so stressed out and struggling with depression, when things went wrong, she reacted like it was the end of the world and our family doomed. I understand the reaction, and have been guilty of it myself, but I now know it isn’t necessary or even accurate. In my overwhelmed mind, it feels catastrophic, but reacting this way only adds to the stress. Still, it is challenging. There have been so many obstacles on my business journey, I take a step forward, something happens and it feels like it puts be two steps back, but I now realize this is an illusion. I only feel like it sets me back, when in reality it makes me stronger and in a position to make improvements. When downfalls happen, I immediately stress and panic, but have learned to observe my reaction and shift the way I look at it.

2) Shake it off and let it go. My mama used to say, “let it roll off you like water off a duck’s ass”, yup she was a character! She had a point though. It makes such a big difference to be able to let things go and not brood, or overthink. I can not worry about things I cannot control, and I can’t control other people’s hurtful actions or rude comments. I can’t control the long line at the grocery store or sitting in traffic. If I let these things get to me, it only makes me sick. I constantly remind myself of this. If I catch my mind in race mode, I try to calm myself and breathe. “Worrying is like a rocking chair, you can do it all day but gets you no where!” I try to not be so hard on myself on all the things I don’t get done and acknowledge and celebrate my daily accomplishments.

3) Morning routine. This is a lifesaver for me. I have mentioned before I am not very good at routine or consistency. It took me a long time to develop, tweak and maintain my morning routine but it is an immense help to begin my day in a manner that will carry me peacefully into my day. I get up early and try to make it the same time every day. I have hot lemon and ginger water, meditate to music and affirmations, do yoga and workout, and pray at my altar, giving thanks for another day, followed by my coffee, while I read or journal, or I have my coffee outside marveling at the birds and chipmunks. Then I begin my work for the day.

4) Self care. Self love and care have been a journey for me. I carried a lot of trauma and low self worth because of it. Therapy is a great way to care for yourself, and it has helped me tremendously with integration and my mental health. Other ways I practice self care is to do things that nourish my soul, like gardening, time in nature, loving my pets, time with friends and family, a nice bath, or a cup of herbal tea. Also, basic self care, like eating healthy as much as possible, taking my supplements and/or medications, exercise and time to just sit and be silent.

5) Herbs. I try to take teas, tinctures, infusions and homemade capsules everyday, made with nettles, holy basil, lemon balm, calendula, chamomile, wild lettuce, mullein, dandelion, turmeric and ginger. I use Bach’s Rescue Remedy drops and spray, and I also smoke marijuana (which helped me quit my Xanax and anti depressants years ago) because it helps me center, ground and tune into my spirit.

Of course, I am a work in progress, and have unhealthy habits too, like smoking too much marijuana sometimes, or my wine and Netflix escapes, and recently I have relapsed on smoking cigs, but I know I am doing the best I can and I am proud of where I am. Not long ago I was not able to get up out of bed, get through a day without crying or my heart racing or my mind. I couldn’t socialize or function. My old self could not even imagine that I would be here now, with this full and beautiful life.

Where ever you are in your mental health recovery, please don’t give up, keep going, it does get better and easier. Just keep showing up for your life, one baby step at a time, take a break when you need it, but don’t stay down.

Wishing you love, luck, light, peace and power!

May be an image of flower, nature and text that says 'Transformation formation in progress... @beyouthentic'
I was lucky enough to catch this picture of a Monarch butterfly pollinating my Calendula flower! Butterflies represent transformation and affirms that I am right where I need to be. My healing and metamorphosis is in progress! I AM TRANFORMING!
May be an image of 1 person and text that says 'I HAVE THE POWER TO CREATE THE LIFE I DESERVE!!! @BEYOUTHENTIC'
On the recent New Moon in Leo and the Lion’s gate portal, I thought it was a good time to set a powerful intention!! Yes, I do have the power to create the life I deserve! I AM WORTHY!