Mental Illness is… a Lifestyle?

It’s Mental Health Awareness Month and I’m not done talking. Stay tuned for my post on suicidal ideation.

Every time you read a blog post or watch a YouTube video about someone’s new diet or fitness regimen what do they always say?  “You see this change is gonna stick because this isn’t about just going on a diet. This is about a lifestyle.”

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I love working out, but GTFO fitspo!

When I was religious it was always “Christianity isn’t about religion, it’s about a relationship.”

Folks are always trying to prove that what they’re doing or experiencing isn’t some fad, they aren’t doing what they “should” and they’re not being forced to suffer against their will. No they’re doing this thing because this is what they love. Now this is who they are.

It Feels Like Mental Illness is My Lifestyle.

Continue reading

You Can’t Do Everything. So What?

Perfectionism. If you struggle with depression it may be at the root of your terrible self talk. One minute you’re berating and belittling yourself for being imperfect. The next you’re imposing standards even a perfect person couldn’t live up to as punishment for your imperfection.

Worst of all, if you ever do live up to a standard you’ve set for yourself, you can’t just be proud of yourself. If you can reach the bar you know it’s time to raise it.

Clearly the bar was set too low.

If you’re a perfectionist, you likely push yourself with no regard for your limitations, sensitivities or weaknesses. You have something to prove. You’re never comfortable with your flaws.

If you’re a sensitive person and a perfectionist you may often push yourself until you’re nursing a cold and a migraine just waiting to lash out at the next person who asks you a simple question.

I went on like this for years.

I rapidly cycled between superhuman overachiever and burnt out slacker — sometimes within a week. It was killing me. Continue reading

Don’t Forget to Be Sensitive to Your Self, HSP

As a highly sensitive person, perhaps the greatest bane and boon in life is maintaining boundaries.

On one hand, the empathy of HSPs is one of their greatest strengths, permitting them to connect with and understand people. HSPs can often break past people’s walls. Many are capable of drawing out those who might normally be ignored or marginalized in ways that others cannot not.

On the other hand, to beA2E33C32B9 an HSP is to be constantly inundated with unwanted stimuli that it’s nearly impossible to shut out: coworkers, partners, strangers at Dunkin’ Donuts. Further, empathy often leads to compassion and can create considerable confusion for the HSP who may be hurt or offended by someone while simultaneously understanding the motivation or the misfortune that led the offender down such a path.

The stimulation can be endless and crippling, resulting in the draining of all of an HSP’s emotional resources.  If an HSP reaches a breaking point they may resort to creating physical boundaries to stand in for emotional ones. When that happens, the only option is to shut oneself up in a dark room and avoid the world until recovery.

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The Secret to Building Healthy Boundaries

Step #1: know yourself.

Step #2: embrace yourself.

These two steps don’t cure all ills, but they do give you the tools to create the space you need to survive and thrive. It is far too common for many HSPs to internalize the message that their sensitivity is some sort of defect or disability. They may feel that the best thing for them to do is to try to fix themselves, which involves permitting others to trample the boundaries that they need for health and wellbeing.

When HSPs know and embrace themselves, they can see when they need time away from the world and take it. They can turn their compassion and sensitivity inward to realize that those who don’t accept, respect or understand them — or worse who take advantage of them — don’t add to their lives and so seek to limit or eliminate the stimulus.

Knowing oneself can help an HSP understandphoto-1453127370373-a52c2f02c097 when connecting with others will actually help them.  Many HSPs feel both the good and the bad far more deeply. In light of this, an HSP who tunes their sensitivity in to their inner self can grow as a person by learning when and how to connect with others in meaningful ways.  They can learn when it is safe to open up.

The importance of erecting proper boundaries for anyone is quite great, but for the HSP, it simply cannot be overstated.  Although it would do no good for an HSP to completely isolate him- or herself from the world, the inner life of an HSP is an intricate and beautiful thing and so it is in their interest to create a gatekeeper to let in those things and people that add life, to guard against attacks and to usher out those things that have worn out their welcome.

Avoid Regret By Rewriting Your Self-Talk

Ask any good lawyer or photographer what’s most important to their work and the one thing they’ll agree on? Framing.

What we choose to focus on, where we point the audience’s attention is crucial.

No One Asks What Was Left Out of the Picture

You see, there’s always a whole lot more to the story than the one flower that’s in focus or that particular cobblestone walkway. There’s more to any individual than a couple of youthful indiscretions a litigator may play up for the jury.

When a story is told, the audience follows the direction of the lens.  Continue reading

Science Confirms: You’re Stronger Than You Know

Overcoming difficult life experiences is an obvious defense against future difficult life experiences.

Another, more proactive, defense is to just go pick up heavy ‘ish and get strong. Continue reading