It’s Time We #SlayStigma And Talk About Mental Health in a Bold Way

Sunday’s are for Slaying Stigma, as I announced tonight on my Instagram @halfway2hannah. I am redecorating my account and confronting mental health in a bold way. I have been working on this renovation for the last couple months, coming up with ideas to talk about stigma and mental health in unique and vibrant way. I will be sharing personal stories from my journey living with bipolar 2 disorder on images captured by the beautiful photographer Jillian Clark. Sharing mental health awareness, inspirational quotes and bad ass statements!

One of the major reasons I am doing this is to get people to speak up about mental health and the issues facing society by sharing their thoughts and/or experience in the comment section. Mental health pertains to all of us, with or without a condition, so join me by following my Instagram (@halfway2hannah). I look forward to getting to know you!

 

 

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A Personal Success Story from My Life with Bipolar. Whats Yours?

On my new HealthyPlace YouTube video, I am celebrating my 28th birthday by sharing a personal success story.  On Monday, September 11th, I took another step into my late twenties with a grateful heart, unfiltered attitude, and colorful hair! Although many people complain about getting older, I embrace aging to the fullest and how could I not? On September 11th, 2001 so many innocent individuals lost their lives. It is a constant reminder of how fortunate I am to be alive.

In case you forgot to buy me a gift don’t worry because it’s not too late. One major goal of this video is to encourage you to share a success story from your life living with a mental health condition. C’mon tell me something that you are proud of! Share your story in the comment section of my YouTube video or do a response video and send it into info@healthyplace.com!

 

Hypersexuality and Bipolar Disorder

Let’s talk about sex and bipolar! In my experience as a single young adult, with or without a mental health condition, sex can complicate any friendship or relationship. When you have bipolar disorder, there are a couple more complications you face due to your emotional extremes. I have the ability to feel everything, however, also the capacity to be completely disconnected. This is heavily present when I am in a manic episode and engaging in sexual relations. In my new HealthyPlace video, I talk more in detail about my experience with hypersexuality living with bipolar 2 disorder.

Share your comments or do a response video and send it into info@healthyplace.com!

Revealing My Life with Bipolar on Voices for Change 2.0 Podcast

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.

Bipolar Disorder and Friendships

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.

Resources for Our Veterans Fighting a War at Home

Sometimes the war does not end when a soldier steps back onto American soil. For many veterans, the war continues at home. As Americans, we are obligated to serve these soldiers. Thank you to all those who have served this country. You are the root of America.

Below are a few online resources (blogs, articles, jobs, social media, apps) to check out. If you know of any more resources please comment below and share the link and/or information. I will add it to this post.

1. Download the Mobile App PTSD Coach

2. The Soldier Project: Resources for Veterans & Their Loved Ones 

3. Healing Combat Trauma

4. My Story of Survival: Battling PTSD 

5. PTSD Chick Blog 

6. Veterans Seeking Jobs: 6 online resources for Veterans who are seeking jobs 

7. FaceBook Page Dedicated to Supporting Veterans 

Sending love to all our Veterans!

21 Images That Make You Understand Why The Stigma of Mental Illness Exists!

The stigma of mental illness SUCKS!  It is so bad that it causes those in the mental health community to ask, Why does the public have such a deep misconception about mental health?  The images relayed to the public pertaining to mental health are disturbing to say the least.  To reduce this “madness” we have to acknowledge the ridiculousness of the images, and words, used to describe mental illness.

Below are 21 images that make you say to yourself, “Oh thats why people think the way they do about mental illness!”

                               Stop Stigma.  Spread Love.

9 Ways To Reduce The Stigma Of Mental Illness

It does not matter if you have or do not have a mental disorder, stigma affects us all!  Mental health is a hot topic right now, and it has never been more important to work as a community to reduce stigma.  It is time we open up the mental health conversation on our terms this time!  Here are 9 ways to reduce stigma…

1.  Knowledge is power.

Read up about mental health.  The information is easy to find.   Ask yourself, What is a mental illness?  What types of mental illness are there?  What are the symptoms? Why is it referred to as a “mental illness?”   

2.  Be active on online media platforms.

On Twitter, Instagram and/or Facebook post positive articles, blogs, quotes, and/or images that relate to mental health.  Stay away from going on a wild political rant.  This can be a major turn off.  You want to encourage the conversation, not diminish it.

3.  Get people involved.

Bring your friends along with you to events or volunteer opportunities.  It gives a different image of mental health than what they may have originally thought.

4.  Develop your own opinion.

You do not want to sound “memorized” when talking about mental health to other people.  Take the information you have gathered, and form your own personal opinion.  What ideas will you share with the public?

5.  Be confident, cool & collected.

It is nerve-wrecking to talk to people about mental health.  This should not stop you from being vocal.  You do not have to be aggressive.  Be calm and collected when expressing your views to others.

6.  Get people talking.

Casually introduce the topic of mental health in a social conversation with friends or family.  Hey, did you know that Demi Lovato is diagnosed with Bipolar II?   Get the conversation rolling and get people talking.  You might be surprised how interested people are by the topic.

7.  Focus on the positive.

There are many successful, and incredibly gifted people with mental disorders in society.  However, this is not what is heard or seen in the media.  Discuss mental health with a positive attitude.  People are more willing to listen, and engage in the conversation.

8.  Reveal the parts of you that contradict stigma.

It is important to reveal things about yourself, or someone else, that conflict with what “stigma says.”  Mental illness does not define you, or anyone else.  You want people to embrace your character before acknowledging your disorder.  This encourages people to question what they hear in the media about mental health.

9.  Share your story, only if you are comfortable with it.

This is not for everyone.  It is not easy to be open about mental illness, and due to the stigma, there are consequences.  Your story established a personal connection with readers, and shows the impact of stigma and labels.  If you want to share your story, I will be creating a page in the following weeks on my blog, “Your Story.”  The guidelines will be listed, and I would love to help you on your journey to sharing your story.

8 Strategies To Improve Your Body Image

I look fat in this”  “I would die for her body” “He thinks I am fat” “I have no boobs” “I am on this new fad diet…again” “I look like a boy.”

Have you ever said statements like this?  I know I have.  Instead of spending time trying to accept our body, we waste time comparing ourselves to others, beating up our bodies, starving ourselves and place obtaining the ‘perfect body’ at the top of our priority list.  This is a tragedy in modern day society.  In the moments when we are suppose to be celebrating life such as, your child’s birthday, your graduation, your wedding day, I mean damn even at your funeral, the most important thing on the agenda is ‘looking good.’  Skinny, but not too skinny.  Boobs, but not too big.  Round medium sized ass, but no cellulite.  Perfect skin, but no stretch marks.  Toned, but not too toned.  It sounds like the children’s book “Goldie Locks,” not too hot, not too cold, but just right.

As someone who struggled with body image, and an eating disorder, majority of my life, I understand this conflict.  I missed out on proms, high school dances, and immature movie dates with guys all due to a lack of acceptance of my body.  One day I told myself that there was no point.  No matter how skinny or overweight I would be, people would find some way to discourage me.  So I said, ‘Fuck it! I am going to be healthy, but enjoy my life!”

There is no genuine definition or equation to obtaining ‘beauty.’  Do not waste one more minute.  The sexiest thing a woman can be is confident.

Here are a personal strategies to help in developing a positive body image.

1. Self-talk.

Communication is not only important between two people, but also with yourself.  Every morning write a note to yourself, put it on the mirror, and say it aloud or in your head while you brush your teeth.

“I love myself just the way I am”

“I believe in myself”

Go to this link, 14 Mantras To Help Build Positive Self-Talk…, to get some extra help in self-talk.

2. Switch Up Role Models.

If majority of the figures you follow on Instagram or Facebook are accounts that make you feel even more inadequate, hit the ‘unfollow’ button for now. Follow accounts who encourage positive body image.

Here are some of the accounts I follow promoting positive body image on Instagram: @positivebodyimage, @end_body_shame, @mybodynoshame, @bodyposipanda

This gallery  of images portrays female figures, from Greek Mythological Goddesses to Amy Schumer, who give a realistic and positive outlook on the female body.

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3. Exercise your mind and body.

Try out a class like yoga or zumba, workouts that are centered on embracing your body, not about burning as many calories in a short amount of time.  Eat something healthy everyday, get creative and switch it up.

The two links listed below are easy at home exercises that help strengthen mind and body.

Yoga For Complete Beginners

The No-Equipment Workout You Can Do at Home

 

4. Reach Out.

Talk to friends & family about your body image issues.  Ask them if they have insecurities.  It is surprising to hear some of the people you admire have insecurities as well, and makes you realize you are not alone.

5. Meditate to Appreciate.

Body is just as important as mind.  On days I am feeling insecure, I sit and take ten minutes to reevaluate my insecurities.

This is a great video I listen to, called Guided Mediation: Positive Body Image.

 

6. Role Play.

This is not dressing up like a naughty officer!  Play the role of someone helping a young teenager with body issues similar to yours.  Write a “pretend letter” to them discussing  your struggle with body, and ways to overcome this challenge.  This is a letter to the “insecure you,” and acknowledges your insecurities.  It is a creative way to take an outside perspective on your personal feelings.

Use this alternative link, 20 Ways to Love Your Body, to write some helpful tips in your letter.

7. I love myself, because I am…I love my (blank) because he/she is…

Grab a pen and paper.  Write down, “I love myself because I am…” List alteast 5 things you love about yourself and 2 personal accomplishments.

       …I am positive, kind, strong, intelligent and creative.  I have graduated from college and I have a good job.

Then write “I love my (family member, close friend and/or peer) because he/she is…”  Write a list of what you love about them.

Now look at the list, and ask yourself:

Do these your personal positive character traits have to do with your body?  

Would you have been able to accomplish these things without having the perfect body?

Would you not admire this family member or friend if they were too skinny or overweight?  

This gives you an outside perspective about how people view you, and how you view others, separate from body.

8. Set a Goal & Stick to It.

Pick out an outfit you have been dying to wear, but have felt self-conscious in.  Bring the outfit, and only one, to a friends house where you get dressed before you go out.  This way you are forced to wear the outfit.  As time goes on, your insecurities will slowly fade.

I had an obsession with my arms and refused to wear anything that showed them.  Recently, I bought a few sleeveless shirts, and took majority of my other shirts to my moms house.  I was forced to wear a sleeveless shirt the next day.  In the beginning I was nervous, and then I realized no one was looking, or pointing at me.  I looked good…I looked damn good!  It is something that has to be practiced in order to be mastered.

End note:

 I know that feeling, when you look in your reflection, and criticize every part of your body.  The thing is, we are women, are bodies are a work of art, and deserve to be loved.  Do not waste anymore time, be the Goddess you were destined to be.