Dating is hard with or without a mental health condition. We have this overwhelming pressure to have the perfect body, perfect job, perfect social life and perfect mind. So you can imagine what it’s like when you have a mental health condition such as bipolar disorder. The stigma of mental illness sends a negative message to people. We are crazy! She’s a cheater! She’s unstable! So what is it like when you are actively dating with bipolar disorder? Lucky enough Teen Vogue contemplated the same question and reached out to me. I am so excited to share my interview with Teen Vogue. Check it out and please share.
I started my journey with HealthyPlace.com almost a year ago. I am so thankful for the opportunity to share my experience and talk about mental health in an authentic and open way. The adventure continues on my HealthyPlace blog, “I’m Bipolar Too.” There will be new posts every Tuesday and Thursday morning. I am getting personal, sharing advice and keeping it candid about mental health. Share your thoughts and experience in the comment section of posts or do a response video and send it into email@example.com.
Also, don’t forget to keep up with my HealthyPlace YouTube channel! New videos every Monday morning. Again, please share your experience or do a video for us. You have a story, a voice, and it deserves to be heard. Please subscribe if you have not had a chance!
This past Saturday, March 4th, I had the opportunity to speak with Rebecca and Joe Lombardo on their blog talk radio show Voices for Change 2.0 podcast. Prior to the show, people always ask me one particular question, “Are you nervous Hannah.” The part of me that always puts on a strong front answers, “No not at all. I am used to this by now.” The other part of me answers, “Hell yeah I am nervous.” The show was live, meaning anything I revealed stuck like glue. Luckily for me, Rebecca Lombardo eased my nerves days prior to the show. We talked about the podcast, but no specifics. It is better not to have the questions prior to a show like this. The thing that put me most at ease, was that Rebecca has bipolar disorder as well and has been sharing her story for years. For an hour we talked about our work as mental health advocates, the future of mental health and parts of our own story living with bipolar disorder.
On Saturday I was asked questions pertaining to my diagnosis of bipolar 2 and what it has been like coming forward. We discussed my experience in media and the importance of utilizing mediated platforms to spread awareness. We took people who called in with questions. One caller requested an answer to the golden question that I think many people hesitate to ask me. How is dating for you Hannah? Take a listen to the podcast to find out what I say.
Please follow this amazing podcast on their journey via Twitter @Voices4ChangeRJ.
When I was diagnosed with bipolar II, I had to come back to the place I had run from, my home. In this video, my best friend Courtney opens up to me about her experience having a best friend with bipolar. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel.
I will never forget when my ex would grab the rolls off the table as I would reach for them, and say to the waiter, “She doesn’t need these,” or all the times he asked for a togo box after I took my first three bites of a meal at a restaurant. I am not looking for sympathy by telling you this. I already disposed of that garbage. I am letting you know this actually happens. Body image issues are heavily present among women. We are surrounded by things that make us question our reflection constantly. The last thing we need is for our guy to do the same. So I am going to help you guys out. Here are 10 rules to follow when talking about body or weight to your girl that could potentially save your relationship, get you a second date or even asked upstairs.
10 Rules Every Guy Should Follow When It Comes To Her Body…
1. Don’t ever, ever, ever, ever comment on her eating…ever!
You might think a harmless, “Hey babe you must be hungry tonight,” is not a big deal. However, the minute you see the devil rise in her eyes, you realize you have made a huge mistake. We eat, some days more than others, and the myth is true, when our monthly friend comes along, our hunger intensifies. Its simple, mind your own business.
2. Don’t ever mention her weight.
Even if you are saying, “Wow you look like you lost a lot of weight,” you could enter the danger zone. “So you are saying I was fat before?” To a woman, commenting on weight means that it plays a major role in your relationship. It is almost if we feel like you are constantly watching how we fit in our jeans. Maybe you are not, but this is how our mind works.
3. Don’t ever buy her a weight related gift.
“Merry Christmas hun, I bought you a Jenny Craig Membership!” I hope you kept the receipt, because after she has lit the tree on fire, you are going to want to return it! Imagine if you open your Christmas gift, and it is a hair transplant consultation. You didn’t think you were balding, but immediately you know that she does! Buy her a gift that flatters her, and not a months supply of Nutrisystem.
4. If you order for her at a restaurant, it better not be a salad and it better come with a side!
It doesn’t matter if you are a French cuisine expert, and the best thing on the menu is the house salad. Trust me, women know what salads taste like. We want you to indulge us, make us feel like you want to feed us delicious treats and make us plump. Don’t ask, its complicated.
5. Don’t buy her clothes…just don’t.
Some women may love the fact that their man buys them clothes, but come the day you buy one size bigger, that dress is going to be in the garbage along with you. You don’t need to buy us clothes, and as women, we should not be asking men to do our shopping for us. Don’t feel obligated…buy her a gift card always.
6. Grab the most insecure part of her body & tell her you love it.
It may be her butt or love handles, if you know she is insecure about specific parts of her body, let her know that you love them, to the extent that it turns you on. You have the ability to build her up, only making her a better partner in the relationship, and you getting more action.
7. If you think she is lacking confidence, make her feel like the sexiest woman on the planet.
Go out and buy her lingerie or just grab her and tell her how hot she is. She will probably give you the “Oh stop!” but inside heart is pounding with joy. Even the most confident women in the world go through these spurts.
8. Mind your own business when it comes to her eating habits.
Tell her to get dessert when you go out to eat. You don’t have to be our nutritionist or personal trainer, in fact we prefer that you are not. Its our body, not yours, and if you don’t like it then leave. Trust me the damage of a break up is not half as bad as the damage of body shaming.
9. Remind her that you love every inch of her body.
Remind her every once in a while that you love the design of her body shape. This is not a daily thing. Things in the environment we live in have the ability to really make women feel insecure, especially physically. The last thing we want, is for our safe place to be the place we feel the most insecure.
10. If you are concerned that she is gaining weight, ask the right way.
It is all in the approach! If you are concerned about fast weight gain or loss, do not ask…“Hey why are you putting on a lot of weight?” instead ask, “Hey, are you feeling okay these days? Is something bothering you?” Excessive weight gain or loss in a short amount of time usually has to do with something going on inside her head, not her stomach.
Just remind yourself, happy mind=happy body=even happier you. Think if you have a little sister, daughter or niece, how would you feel if you saw them in pain because someone made them feel ashamed of their body. If a a guy made her weigh herself in front of him to humiliate her (true story). A real man defines his own type of beautiful. We are goddess divines, a piece of art, and we deserve to be loved by the artist.
Having a rough Mental Health Monday? Here are 14 videos that will definitely cheer you up…
It is the first time in years you have been decently balanced on the beam. You wobble, but not falling off is good enough for you. And then you look behind you, and you see it coming…Love…and your feet hit the floor.
We are the patients of love. So do you take the chance that you may hit the floor again? Is it worth it? First we have to acknowledge the reasons for why we fear the most beautiful part of life.
We are petrified of falling in love & this is why…
1. …because it means we will finally have to let our guard down.
We will finally be forced to share the story that we have yet to share with ourselves. To be open and reveal our insecurities with the fear that someone will take advantage of our vulnerability.
2. …because we are afraid that our love won’t be reciprocated.
Relationships are never 50/50, and this is normal. However, when it becomes 80/20, and we are on the 80 side of the equation, it emphasizes our insecurities. It makes us feel weak, and powerless, building our inner wall a little higher when it comes to love.
3. …because we are petrified that he/she will not accept our flaws.
Revealing our authentic selves is difficult. It is scary to think that at the point in your life when you have finally embraced your imperfections, someone could come along, and make you think the opposite. Being single seems worth it if it means we do not have to revert back to resenting the parts of us that we have been working towards accepting.
4. …because if it does not work, it breaks a little piece of us.
Because each time our heart breaks, it breaks a piece of our minds and our soul. And too many chips falling off could lead to the whole thing breaking. It undeniably hurts, and as time goes on you may lose hope that love even exists. A thought that is truly tragic.
5 ….because longing and lusting for him/her is just as scary as it is pleasurable.
Love is passion, and this is a beautiful element of it. However, allowing someone to come into your life, and maintain this type of power over your body and mind can be just as scary, as it is pleasurable.
6. …because we might bring the baggage of our past relationships into the next.
You fear that the damage done by ex-lovers will tag along with you into your next potential relationship. It is hard to admit to yourself that someone from your past has had a negative influence on your present behaviors. You don’t want to take baggage into your next relationship, so you are fearful about entering into one.
So what do we do…
We acknowledge our past, and confront our fears. We take the risk, and fall in love. If there is one thing in this world that is worth risking a lot for, it is love. Love opens you up to new possibilities, and whether it fails or succeeds, relationships build your character.
Only reveal your authentic self when it is deserved. Trust is to be earned, not given. Enjoy the ride while it lasts, and if you hit the ground again, tell yourself that you are going to use the pain as a stepping stone to a successful future in life, and love.
Humor helps heal the mind, and contributes to reducing the stigma on mental illness.
“I embrace the ‘cray’! Why can’t you?”
The older I get, the more reading has become a daily habit, along with dying my grey hairs (just kidding). Finding a book that suits your needs and/or current situation helps in more ways than you could imagine. After time spent in the hospital, reading became a positive outlet that allowed me to use my imagination, while expanding my mind. The following are my personal suggestions for some reads that you might enjoy. Some are entertaining, interactive and deep. These are great for when your feeling down, in need of some inspiration or just looking for a good read.
There are two things in this world that inspire me: A good glass of Vino and Ted Talk’s on mental health. These listed Ted Talk’s helped me come forward about my own diagnosis of Bipolar II disorder. Each Talk is completely different, and gives you a separate outlook on mental illness. You won’t regret watching! I would love to hear your comments about these Ted Talks. I hope some of you can find useful information, and a little bit of inspiration from these unbelievable individuals.
This Ted Talk is by far my favorite! Saks is diagnosed with Chronic Schizophrenia. She shares her story about living with Schizophrenia, time spent institutionalized and the progress she has made over the last 30 years. I have watched this Ted Talk multiple times. Saks is one of my greatest role models, and she gives hope to everyone who has ever been told they are incapable of success. She is a true bad ass!
“The doctors gave me a prognosis of “grave.” At best to live in a Board and Care, and work menial jobs. Fortunately, I did not enact that “grave” prognosis. Instead, I am a Chair Professor of Law, Psychology and Psychiatry at the USC Gould School of Law. I have many close friends, and a beloved husband, Will, who is here with us today. He is the star of my show.”-Elyn Saks
This is a great Ted Talk, with great advice for anyone who is struggling with a suicidal family member or friend. Kevin Briggs gives an emotional talk about the suicides that occur on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. Briggs tells the story of his time as a California Highway Patrol Officer in charge of the Golden Gate Bridge, and what he learned about suicide.
“What would you do if your friend or family member is suicidal? What would you say?…In my experience it is not just the talking you do, but the listening. Listen to understand, don’t argue, don’t blame or tell the person ‘you know how they feel’…just by being there, you just may be the turning point they need.”-Kevin Briggs
I love this woman and this Ted Talk! Ruby Wax adds humor to her struggle with Depression, while emphasizing the need to reduce the stigma on mental illness. I believe, it is important to add humor to such a serious topic, it helps people to relax and become more open about the issue.
She refers to the inmates she was institutionalized with as “her tribe.”
This Ted Talk relayed information that I was completely oblivious to. Thomas Insel uses his ‘doctorish swagger’ to relay facts about mental illness, and suicide, while encouraging viewers to comprehend the need for mental health awareness in society.
“Understanding mental illness allows us to treat it.”-Thomas Insel
This Ted Talk is one of my favorites. It gives a more global perspective on the mental health crisis. Patel makes it clear, the United States is not the only country that stigmatizes mental illness.
“It might surprise some of you here, as it did me, to discover that suicide is at the top of the list of the leading causes of death among young people in all countries of the world, including the poorest countries in the world.”-Vikram Patel
This Ted Talk is actually a Ted Talk Audition, but Comedian Joshua Walters makes it worthwhile. He uses humor to share his story about his diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder and the moment he thought he was “Jesus Christ.”
“I used my mental illness, to embrace my mental “stillness.”-Joshua Walters