How to become a mental health advocate? You do not need a degree, a diagnosis or work as a licensed therapist to become a mental health advocate. The general idea behind advocacy is supporting mental health by spreading awareness, reducing stigma and supporting the cause. If you are looking for a way to become a mental health advocate, don’t worry I’ve got your back.
The author of this post, “Staying Positive About Schizophrenia,” is the beautiful Chrissy Phelps. Thank’s Chrissy for such an informative post about schizophrenia.
Staying Positive About Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a serious illness which affects the way you think, your feelings and behaviour. The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that it affects 1% of Americans. With symptoms like delusions, hallucinations and muddled thoughts, a diagnosis of schizophrenia is, without question, frightening. However, as these inspiring TED Talks demonstrate, it is possible to deal positively with mental illnesses, including schizophrenia, and live a successful and fulfilling life. Read more
I have never been the type of person to worship the ground celebrities walk on. Although, I must admit the whole Kylie Jenner pregnancy chaos kept me up some nights. On a real note though, it is disappointing to see people with such a massive platform not taking a stand on anything in a society that needs people to utilize their voice for good. There is no real message, commitment or loyalty to the community that supports them. However, I am happy to say that it seems like this is changing. In this post, I share some significant celebs who are speaking up for mental health and using their platform to stand up to stigma. Read more
One of the best parts of being a mental health advocate is the connections you make to others with a similar passion for life and mental health. I was thrilled when Julie Kraft, author of the incredible book, The Other Side of Me: Memoir Of a Bipolar Mind, agreed to share part of her story with me. She is both beautiful on the outside and on the inside. In this interview, Julie shares her journey with bipolar disorder and opens up about motherhood, love, stigma and how a move from her home in Canada to Germany gave her clarity in a world that made her feel so clouded. Thank you, Julie, for speaking your truth. Read more
This past May, I was fortunate enough to go to a Mental Health Influencer Summitt in sunny San Diego, California. It gave me the opportunity to meet advocates from all over the US. This is where I met Katie Dale, author of the blog, Bipolar Brave: Power, Love & Sound Mind. Katie is beautiful, and her genuine spirit and open mind make you feel so comfortable around her. Katie is diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder and started her blog to raise awareness about mental health. Katie’s story is very unique, being that she is open about bipolar disorder and her strong faith in God. This is something you do not see often. I reached out to her for an interview and luckily she was gracious enough to answer some of my questions. Read more
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. Read more
Treatment plans for mental health care differ from situation to situation. In some cases, it calls for therapy and in other cases medication is needed. This doesn’t mean that when you wake up feeling sad, you call the doctor and start popping pills. However, when depression or severe emotional behavior begins to affect your daily life, work and relationships, it is time to seek help. There is no shame in taking medicines if needed. If you get the flu do you take meds? Yes. So what is the difference when it is the flu of the mind. There is none. Would you blame someone who lost her husband in war for seeking out medication for anxiety? Would you judge a woman for taking antidepressants who lost her child 2 months shy of his 1st birthday to cancer? We all want to end up at the same place, but some need to take a different route to the intersection of happy and healthy. There is no shame in that.
Reasons why people feel uneasy taking meds for the head… Read more
It was six years ago that I had my first major episode with Bipolar 2 while in College. I was living with a group of girls who this story is about. In the last month before I withdrew from school, I kept my struggle hidden from others, especially myself. Two days before I left, my parents were called by 2 of my friends. They told them that I was falling apart. Day by day I was getting worse. They realized they couldn’t help me, and decided not to tell the other girls. I do not like to talk about the pain of the past. However, a few days ago I learned that sometimes it is necessary to walk down memory lane, no matter how dark the road is… Read more
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.
She is such a slut! Ew, she is huge! Did you see what she was wearing? Why is he dating her?
The goal is to build a ‘sisterhood’ between women, however, there is still much work to be done. We are harder on each other than we are on those keeping us below the glass ceiling. Several women shared with me a situation, in which they felt abused or embraced by their fellow female comrade. It is evident that a readjustment of our attitudes towards one another is necessary.
These are 6 things women need to stop doing to other women.
1. Stop blaming her for his infidelity.
This is common. The boyfriend cheats, we blame the woman for our relationship problems. She is not your problem, he is. In many situations the “other woman” does not even know he has a girlfriend, and if she does, karma will be a bigger bitch than you could ever be!
I gave another woman hell about sleeping with my boyfriend. She didn’t even know he had a girlfriend. I married him, and we had two children. He cheated on me with three different women throughout our marriage. We got divorced two years ago.-Melissa, 42
2. Don’t diminish each other’s life choices.
Whether you are a “work-aholic” or a “mom-aholic.” We need to empower each other’s life choices. We are all making progressive steps as mothers, and boss ladies. Clap for her, not at her.
I chose to have a career over having children. It was my decision. My sister has two daughters. My sister and I love to jump in each other’s shoes once in a while. We respect one another.-Erin, 38
3. Stop calling her a Slut.
We are justifying this type of name calling when we say it about other women. If your girlfriend is living a lifestyle you think is dangerous than confront her about it, don’t call her degrading names for her sexual decisions.
I have had my fair share of sexual partners, but always use protection. I enjoy sex, and I am not ashamed to say so. I have been called a “slut” more by women, than I have been by men.-Johanna, 27
4. Stop body shaming.
It’s bad enough we have to hear it from guys. Women have the power to change this, but for some reason we brutally scrutinize other women’s bodies. Body shaming other females is more mentally damaging than you think.
I went to join a sorority my Freshman year at the University I attended. We had to do the cliche “rush.” One night the sorority sisters lined us up in our bathing suits, and used a marker to circle the areas of our body they found unflattering. I went home to see myself in the mirror covered in marker with words like PIG! FAT! UGLY! I dropped out a week later.-Alison, 24
5. Start embracing, and stop competing.
Being a woman is not a sport, and girlfriends are not suppose to be enemies. We are all different, and bring something different to the table. If you feel insecure around other women, look inside yourself to find the root of the problem.
My best friend is a supermodel, but she has always empowered me. We go shopping, and she dresses me up when we go out. We did not compete, we built each other up. She is a major part of the reason why I am so confident today. Kara, 25
6. Her style may not be your style accept it.
She is not “white trash” because she has tattoos, and she is not a “snot” because she wears Lilly Pulitzer. Instead of calling her blue hair “weird,” call it “eccentric.” Let’s embrace our differences, and respect each others style.
I came from a Conservative home, and my best friend was a wild child from Boston. Her style was totally different, she had tattoos, talked about sex and everything in-between. At first I bashed her. Then one night, we drank wine, and I opened up to her about everything. She was my Maid of Honor at my wedding.-Catherine, 28