Hello my name is Anna, and I want to talk about mental health. There are so many of us who struggle in this area--normal people whose brains don't produce enough of a certain chemical, or produce too MUCH of another one, and just throw us a little (or a LOT sometimes) out of balance.
I'm not a doctor or a psychologist, so I am not speaking to everyone's situation. But I have been living with this brain and actively working to manage my own mental health for over 20 years, so I feel qualified to share my own story!
My friend Curt describes depression as viewing the world through a pair of dark sunglasses, and I love that description. You know that the world and your life isn't as dark as it seems, but you just can't SEE that. I got my pair of those dark sunglasses when I was about 16. I'm sure it had to do with my hormonal development and changes happening during puberty that maybe didn't quite click into place. I think it's important to note that people who live with depression are not necessarily negative people. It's just really difficult to see what's so great about the world when your brain is flooded with chemicals that indicate doom and despair.
As I dealt with this new situation as a teen and young adult, I started experimenting with parts of my lifestyle that I noticed had an effect on my mental health. I'm a figure-out-the-problem-and-find-a-solution type of person. I collected tools that could help me navigate those periods of darkness, and sometimes even bring me out of them into the light again.
Over the next few blog posts, I would like to walk through the tools that I use, even today, to manage my mental health. At this time I am not on medication, but I am VIGILANT about assessing my own state of mind, along with a couple trusted people in my life, and will immediately consult a doctor if at any moment it becomes unmanageable on my own. The great thing is, the tools I want to share with you are helpful whether you are using medication or not! So please, if this is something that interests you, or you have a loved one who struggles in this area, join me!
I'll be back next time with my first tool for managing mental health.