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What's In Your Crisis Kit?

*Content warning: Mentions of mental illness, crisis, and symptoms*
What is a crisis kit, you ask? A crisis kit, for mental health or other types of crises, is a kit in which you place all the things you would need to get through a crisis - kind of like a 'bug-out bag' or an emergency overnight bag if you need to leave home suddenly.

In this blog post, I want focus especially on mental health crisis kits because they can be tailored very specifically to your own mental health needs in a crisis.


Why should you have a mental health crisis kit? 

Those of us who suffer from mental health problems can't always know when and where we'll be when something happens to trigger a low point - be it a depressive episode, an anxiety attack, etc. Even if you don't suffer from any serious mental health concerns, traumatic events can happen to anyone and a mental health crisis kit could be the one thing that helps you get through that moment until you're able to seek more concr…

Mental Illness and the Workplace

In the United States, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects people from discrimination at work and in public places and programs. It was signed into law in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush so it's quite a recent piece of legislature. It's benefit is that it's also the most comprehensive piece of civil rights legislation in that it prohibits discrimination and is supposed to guarantee that people with disabilities have the same opportunities in life.

Much like the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the ADA is the "equal opportunity" law for those of us with disabilities, physical or mental or otherwise.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission backs up this info.

So what does this all mean, actually?

Well, it means that your employer cannot harass or discriminate against you for having a mental health condition. They are not allowed to fire you, reject you for a job or promotion, or force you to take leave based on your mental health.

However, an empl…

Why Mindfulness May Not Be For Everyone....

mind·ful·ness ˈmīn(d)f(ə)lnəs/ noun 1. the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
"their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition" 2. a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.




I'm an introvert. The inside of my mind is my happy place. All the things happening in the world around me...the physical status of my own body...the room I'm sitting in...not my happy place.

And according to a lot of Wellness Gurus and Lifestyle Bloggers, this is not a good thing.

But maybe, just maybe, the modern take on mindfulness and "being present" isn't for everyone. Hear me out:

Meditation and mindfulness have a dark side. According to Dr. Miguel Farias and Dr. Catherine Wikholm (authors of The Buddha Pill), this isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's just problematic when your yoga ins…

What's on My Mental Health Shelf?

I recently came across an article on ManRepeller from Victoria Storm - where she describes a "mental health shelf" - whether real or imaginary, that was a compendium of books, movies, music, or rituals we return to when we need a comfort boost or a mental health pick-me-up.

Now, I understand that not everyone is the type of person who enjoys re-watching the same movies over and over or re-reading a few favorite books hundreds of times - it definitely cuts into the amount of time we have to new and shiny experiences - but let's be honest. Nostalgia is great.

So here are the things on my personal Mental Health Shelf:


Films




Hocus Pocus | Labyrinth | Fifth Element | The Princess Bride | Kamikaze Girls | The Mummy

Books




The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang | Dracula by Bram Stoker | Inkheart by Cornelia Funke | Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy | Malice by Chris Wooding | The Raven by Edgar Allen Po

Music



Spice Girls | HYDE | Olivia Lufkin | Linkin Park | Queens of the Stone Age | Che…

Depression is Like the Tide - It Comes in Waves

To preface, I've been struggling with depression, anxiety, and PTSD for a long time now. I've written about it on this blog too; here, here, and here. 



I always feel the urge to start off a post like this with "Have you ever woken up one morning and just felt..." but then I stop. I am stopped by the internal fear that I am the only one who feels like this and no one could possibly understand. Rationally, I know that's not true and millions of people around the world wake up feeling like I do on my really bad days.

Spankie Valentine from SWOOP recently posted this moving video to her Youtube channel and I wanted to share it with all of you. Because I am not okay either. And it's okay to not be okay right now.


I woke up Sunday just feeling really...off. And it's true that we all have those days sometimes, but usually we're able to crawl up out of our funk, shake it off, and live our best lives. Usually. But this Sunday was not that kind of day for me. It…

What You Can Learn From Your Introvert Friends

If you're an extrovert, you probably have a busy schedule - days packed with family outings, extracurriculars your kids, coffee with friends, brunch with the girls, and happy hour with work colleagues. You enjoy being around people and experiencing all the vivaciousness that life has to offer.
But you might also be feeling burnt out, a little exhausted, and maybe even stressed from trying to keep track of so many engagements. If keeping up with the status quo of "being busy" is taking it's toll on you, here are a few words of advice from an introvert who understands the value and peace of a life lived more quietly:
1. Do your own thing.

I get it - you want to spend time with the people that you care about, and sometimes that means doing things you aren't always interested in doing, for the sake of being able to spend time with those people. I've been there and done that.

But it's perfectly okay to take a hard look at your own interests and choose to do thin…

De-Stressing After A Hectic Move!

Whew! It's been a crazy past week, kids. There was so much happening at work - from Quarterly Meetings that needed planning, Interpreter Orientation (again), and professional photographs being taken for business purposes - AND at home - we moved over the weekend!

If you follow my Instagram, you've probably seen some of the craziness. I can't believe we had so much stuff - well, I could believe my partner had that much stuff but even after all the Goodwill donation bags I still had a LOT left over.



Or maybe it just looks that way because it's all congregated in the living room rather than in designated spots?

Even so, it was a real hassle to move. We rented an Enterprise moving truck (did you know they had those? I did not know they had those.) because Uhaul was totally booked up and no one else had any rental trucks available. Hindsight's 20/20: I should have booked one way in advance! Oops.

So then we packed everything up on Saturday, cleaned up as best we could …

Creating a Self-Care Plan: Coping with Stress, Loss, and Trauma

Last week was a dozy for a lot of reasons. For the world, it was the loss of two beloved public personalities. For some of you, it may have been loss of another variety or some other pop-up crisis. For me, it was unbelievable work stress and problems at home with the partner.

We all go through hard times and it's really important that we have a Self-Care Plan in place to help us cope with those things. For some of us, self-care is just something we think about when we need a spa night after a long week at work and for others, it's a long-term plan put in place to keep us going through chronic illness or an enduring trauma.

"Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health."
So what is a Self-Care Plan?

Very simply, it is a plan that we put together for ourselves that include self-care strategies for the short-term, medium-term, and long-term. Short term self-care strategies include things like deep …

When the Suicide Prevention Hotline Doesn't Work....

Full disclosure: This post talks very heavily about suicide, suicide prevention, and virtue-signaling. It will make some of you uncomfortable. If will make some of you squirm. And it should - it's designed to. There's something to be learned and understood here.





Earlier this week, Kate Spade took her own life. Ever since, the internet has been awash with speculations about her apparent mental illness and how she'd been faring recently. In addition, 99% of people who have been posting about it have also been tossing out the Suicide Prevention Hotline number like candy at a parade.

"If you're struggling, reach out to someone. Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255"

 "If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255."

"Please know that your feelings are temporary and you can and will get over this. Call this # as a place to start 1-800-273-8255, it’s the national suicide prevention hotlin…

Self-Worth and Resilience: how the two walk hand-in-hand

Do you remember being a kid on the playground? How often you would fall off the monkey bars, only to get right back up there and try again until you finally made it? What resilience!

At what point in our lives do we lose this?

When every single failure and flaw chips away at our self-worth...when the people in our lives no longer seem to be in our corner encouraging us...when competition is the name of the game and only the winners get to have the good life...

Our inner resilience flounders and dies. Our self-esteem crumbles. We let the world dictate our worth by its standards instead of our own.

In honor of National Mental Health Awareness Month, I'm going to talk about my own struggles with self-worth, self-esteem, and where I find my inner resilience. *trigger warning for anecdotal musings on depression and suicide*



I think I was probably in 10th grade when it first occurred to me that I could be depressed. I wasn't just sad all the time - I had stopped caring about eating,…

Sophrology: Next Gen Mindfulness or Holistic Scam?

At the start of the new year, we may tell ourselves that we want to be more present in our lives and bodies, that we want to be more mindful of what's going on within and around us, and we may want to even try incorporating a yoga or meditation practice into our daily routine.

But what I've discovered is that very few people will actually stick with it unless it comes pre-packaged in a nice little box. And thus we have sophrology, the next wave of Mindfulness

Sophrology - 'the science of the consciousness in harmony'
The phenomenon is currently on the rise in parts of Europe - where it's offered as a therapy at some businesses and colleges, but expected to make its way across the pond shortly to American audiences. It mixes aspects of Western relaxation with the meditation of Eastern practices, and includes breathing and relaxation techniques using gentle movement and visualization. These self-development techniques aim to create an alert mind in a relaxed body.

An …

February Faves

February is one of the coldest and most depressing winter months - at least in Minnesota. With entire weeks topping out at -1° F, it's hard to feel anything other than miserable, tense, and well....cold!

Here are a few of my favorite things this month that helped stave off the worst of the cabin fever.




1) The Jean Pierre MILK Sheet Masks - I bought a box containing five of these bad boys from Hollar and wow, they were worth the $5. The masks themselves are made from a nice, soft cotton and the scent of the nourishing liquid has a very light dairy scent to it - kind of like milk, kind of like cream, none of the curdle. Thankfully!



2) The Apricot Fig Body Oil from Olivia Care - I've had this since December but I'm using it so much more now. Not only does it smell amazing, but it's been perfect for locking in moisture after a bath or shower. I put it on at night and in the morning, my skin still feels incredibly moisturized and there's no need for perfume!



3) This sup…

POP Pilates for Beginners: Ready, Set....Go!

POP Pilates
This won't be the first time I've said it and I know it won't be the last.

I don't really like exercising. I have always been a sedentary, introverted bookworm who'd rather stay cooped up in bed all winter then unroll my yoga mat and intentionally hurt myself.

But it's the new year and I've been taking a pretty critical look at myself. And taking stock of where my health is, what condition my body is in, what my alcohol intake has been the last few months...I'm not happy.

So rule #1 for January was cutting out beer completely. And aside from half a glass from the boy's bottle a few nights ago, I've been successful. I know it's gonna be a challenge - I've got the genes of a drunk Irish Catholic history to contend with and a habit of drinking several times a week to really face down and eliminate.

But that's just the start.

In order to get my health back on track, I need to start listening to my body and eating more regular…