Why Instagram Is the Platform to Talk About Mental Health in 2018

Instagram is not only a place for pointless selfies anymore. In 2017 Instagram took significant steps toward becoming a tool for self-expression, mainly focusing on mental health. Now more than ever it is becoming a platform for mental health advocates, and users who are advocating for change. This type of movement lessens the control of the gatekeepers of information such as the news media. How does this help the mental health community? It reduces stigma in a groundbreaking way. It gives the everyday person an opportunity to share their side of the story with a broad and diverse audience. Instagram is the platform to talk about mental health in 2018, and in this post, I explain the reason why.

#HereForYou Campaign

In May 2017, Mental Health Awareness Month, Instagram showed their commitment to spreading awareness with the #HereForYou Campaign. It’s objective was to bring awareness to mental health, portraying users of Instagram who are sharing their story and making an impact. Chief Operating Officer Marne Levine told Abc News, “People come to Instagram to tell their stories in a visual, and through an image, they’re able to communicate how they’re feeling, what they’re doing. So what we decided to do is to create a video campaign highlighting these communities of support that exist on Instagram.”

As an advocate who is very active on Instagram, I was taken back by the initiative, and I will explain the reason for this reaction. I was diagnosed when I was 20 years old with bipolar 2 disorder and started advocating for mental health four years later. The last four years, I have spent time traveling on my own dime, reaching out to brands and businesses, speaking at events where only three people sat and listened to my thoughts about mental health. Thankfully, HealthyPlace.com was the first to reach out to me, giving me the opportunity to share my story on their YouTube Channel. However, again they are a mental health website, whose main objective is talking about mental health. To be honest, I felt like people, outside of advocates and online platforms like Healthyplace, didn’t give a sh*t about mental health! Then in 2017, a year after I came forward with my diagnosis of bipolar 2 disorder on mediated platforms, everything seemed to change. When Instagram started this campaign, I saw that other major companies were finally taking action.

Mental Health Advocates on Instagram

Advocates, like myself, are sharing the truth about our lives with a mental health condition and persuading the public to take a different outlook on mental health. Not only is it where advocates are building a career, but a place where everyday users feel comfortable sharing their own experience. Not feeling as though they are alone on this journey. It is a diverse range of advocates which makes Instagram all the more appealing to users. It gives everyone a voice and a safe place to share it. Can you believe it? Social Media? A Safe Place? For the most part, it is a safe place, and the person who takes the hit with stigma usually is the person with the account. In 2017, Instagram showed their loyalty to the mental health community. It has taken steps to ensure the content being shared is meaningful and with a genuine objective. In 2018, influencers will continue to grow, using Instagram as a tool to spread awareness and advocate for change in society. Personally, I have some major projects as well that I will be revealing on my Instagram. Please follow if you have not done so yet, and say hello!

 

 

Advertisements

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.

StandUp SpeakUp: A Candid Interview About My Experience with Bipolar II

In this podcast done for Wearable Therapy Tokii, a company creating wearable art with a powerful message about mental health. In this interview, I talk in depth about my experience with bipolar II and the need for better resources for those struggling with mental health conditions.

Podcast: https://standupspeakup.podbean.com/e/episode-1-overcoming-bipolar

Blog: http://www.standupspeakuptokii.com/a-journey-through-bipolar/

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Why People Feel Uneasy Taking Meds for the Head

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…

I don’t need a pill to make me happy.

Lets do a word replacement, instead of happy, lets put healthy.  I don’t want to take a pill to make me healthy!  Make sense?  Happy and health go together like PB&J.  Think about people from the past, who would have done anything to receive treatment to help them maintain a stable life with a mental disorder.  Virginia Wolf is shaking her head.

I feel like I am weak if I have to resort to medication.

Are people who have diabetes weak because they have to resort to insulin in order to survive?  It is all about how you frame it.  You are not weak, you are honest about your situation and health.  A strong person acknowledges their pain, and does something about it.

I am afraid people will judge me.

Okay, write out those people who you think will judge you.  Now delete them from your phone.  People who love you won’t judge you.  I hate to tell you, but when you get a prescription you are not the headline on the 10’oclock news that night.  If you fear judgement…dont tell anyone.  You will be pleasantly surprised that over half the people you fear in opening up to, are going through a similar situation.

I don’t want people to think I am crazy.

What is crazy is having the available resources to receive good mental health care, and not taking advantage of it.  Reaching out for help is far from crazy.  People will get wasted, and have sex without a condom with the first person they meet at a bar (no judgement) and that is not considered crazy.  However, taking anti-depressants for depression, YIKES that is insanity!  Think about it.

I don’t want to stay on medicine long-term.

Okay, do not jump the gun.  Get to Point A before jumping to Point Z.  You may not be on medicine for the long-term, but if you are so what?  If you feel like your life, relationships and your day to day has improved since taking a medication than why would you stop.   Again, everyone has to take a different route to happiness sometimes.  Do not be ashamed of the route you take.

 

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.

Dear Dad: A Letter From Your Daughter With Bipolar

I was walking through a dark tunnel, no light to be seen.  All I could hear were the echoes of my own voice.  In the moment that I wanted to stop, to give up on finding the light, I felt the strength and confidence you had instilled in me over the years, prior to this moment.  You didn’t come into the tunnel to guide me to the light, for you knew that would not help me in the end.  You gave me the knowledge, the power and confidence to overcome this battle prior to me entering.  As I walked into the light again, you were standing there gleaming with joy saying to me,  “I never doubted you Hannah….I knew you wouldn’t give up.”-Halway2hannah

The first man who had his heart broken by me,was my father.  To see the little girl who danced to the beat of her own drum laying in a hospital bed, withering away only 19 years later;  he could protect me from everything in my life, but the one person he couldn’t protect me from was me.  This is a letter to my father from his daughter with bipolar…

Dear Dad,

Happy Father’s Day!  Instead of sending you a card, I decided to write a post in form of a letter to share with my friends, family & followers.  A novel would not be enough room to share with the people around me the impact you have had on my life.  Your strength helped me get off the ground, your confidence gave me hope when I felt like there was none, and your heart is what saved me in the end.

I will not remember the material gifts you gave me, or how much money you spent, although all gifts received are greatly appreciated.

This is what I will always remember dad…

…you sitting on the sidelines, applauding and gleaming at my success as an athlete, a student, a young teenager, with hope in your eyes for my future.

…you sitting at my bed side a few years later, holding my hand at my weakest, believing in my ability to overcome this battle with bipolar.

…the proud look on your face, sitting in the crowd of over 1,000 people waiting to see me graduate from College.

I will remember these moments because your support for me never changed regardless of the situation.  On the sidelines of being crowned prom queen, or in the moment when I was too weak to move, you were always proud, and always believed in me.

Thank you…

…for working to understand my diagnosis, even though you may never fully get it.

…for making me feel like my power stemmed from my flaws.

…for believing in me, when I didn’t believe in myself.

…for always pushing me to succeed regardless of a diagnosis.

…for never giving up on me.

…for embracing the wild child in me.

…for allowing me to share the details of my life without judgment.

…for making me feel beautiful when my reflection told me otherwise.

…for finding me when I was lost.

…for listening to my late night rambling when all you wanted to do was sleep.

…for loving me when I couldnt love myself.

Thank you dad, for being the father not many can be.  I used to think love could only be observed in the best moments of our lives, but I was wrong.  A fathers love for his daughter is truly shown in the worse moments.  Not in the moments you are seen dancing, but in the moments you are seen crumbling.  A fathers love is endless, thank you dad for teaching me this.

I love you always Dad.

Love, Hannah

Dad

 

To all the fathers who are struggling with their daughters-Do not give up on them.  They are capable, and you are capable of teaching them how to find the light again.  There is nothing more powerful than a fathers love for his daughter.  Happy Fathers Day to you all!

 

 

7 Things You Realize When You Do The Unexpected

As I was walking along Coronado Beach, I could hear the loud sounds of the fighter jets whizzing by my head.  I looked around and realized how quiet the people were around me.  I heard another jet coming.  I climbed to the top of a rock overlooking the beach, threw my arms to wave and blew kisses towards the pilot as if I was Marilyn Monroe in “Some Like It Hot.”  Suddenly the jet waved it’s wings, and increased speed.  You could hear the loud engine roar.  Smiles, laughs and claps came from the crowd.  Those who were seen rolling their eyes were merely bystanders to life, while I was actually living it.  An unexpected moment, that turned into an everlasting memory.-Halfway2hannah

Its about being open about who you are, and allowing yourself to experience life on your terms.  These are 7 things you realize when you do the unexpected…

1.  People will judge you no matter what you do.

Tatted or not, people will judge you.  Wealthy or poor, people will judge you.  Skinny or overweight, people will judge you.  Regardless of how you look, behave or speak people will judge you.  So why not be judged for living the life you want and doing the unexpected?

2.  You are living, while others are just existing.

They may roll their eyes at you, but inside they admire your vibrance.  People who live their life without the approval of others inspire those around them.  They are the electric shock that bring some back to life, including themselves.

 3.  You are making unique memories when you do the unexpected.

These moments turn into stories that are told throughout your life and beyond.  You will not remember how many people were watching or the things that were said about you.  All you will remember is how you felt.

4.  Living life by someone else’s rules dampen’s your spirit.

Day by day, year by year, playing by others guidelines, and not your own, will make you bitter.  Trying to satisfy society’s standards is exhausting, and weighs heavy as time goes on.

5.  You miss out on genuine love & friendships when you play by other peoples rules.

Whether it be to open your eyes up to love, or the world around you, people you meet along the road are of significant value.  The best lovers and friends are the ones who come into your life unexpectedly.  Embrace it.

 6.  You see who your friends really are.

When you do the unexpected, even if just for a brief moment, you learn a lot about yourself and those around you.  The people who will support you even if they do not agree with your actions are the ones to keep around for the long run.

7.  Living life outside the box builds you as an individual.

Whether you succeed or fail, you learn lessons that cannot be taught in the classroom or at your job.  You get a chance to experience life on your terms. It is a wake up call to those around you who have power over your decisions.