Michaela Lovell

Community Voices


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Community Voices
Haley Quinn

36 Holistic Methods For Managing Depression

Other ailments are more straightforward. You go to the doctor with a sore throat, red tonsils and maybe a fever. They run a test which comes back positive or negative. The test comes back positive and they give you medication that leaves you feeling better in just a few days. If only depression was that easy to treat. Like most mental illnesses, each person experiences a different set of symptoms to varying degrees. For some, medication can be a viable option. For others, a more holistic approach is more helpful. And sometimes, you find relief with a combination of the two. Whatever option you’re looking into, it is always good to know and understand the entire spectrum. That is why we asked our Mighty mental health community to tell us one holistic method they’ve used to manage their depression.   Here is what they told us: 1. “Keeping a journal and noting down all of my thoughts in it really helps me let stuff out and keep calm.” — Mohini R. 2. “Yin Yoga. I tried different styles of yoga, but surprisingly, yin yoga felt best for my body and mind. Apparently my body and mind were screaming for chill-out and peace within.” — Joyce J. 3. “I will draw out amino structures and poly-peptides as a way to relax. Side note: I’m a biochemist.” — Amanda D. 4. “Turmeric. I have battled depression for 27 years and I’ve tried almost every natural solution. I mix about a teaspoon in water or my coffee three to five times a day and I’ll add some to food whenever I get the chance.” — Alayna D. 5. “Drinking herbal teas.” — Bethany L. 6. “My dog. He knows my cues for a low and just what to do to help me overcome it. He has literally pushed me out of bed when I was so low I didn’t want to get up. He doesn’t ever let me stay in bed longer than I need to, and when my boyfriend has told him, ‘Take care of mommy,’ he never left my side.” — Marissa M. 7. “Music has been my escape. It can change my mood in a song and sometimes makes me feel less alone because when I can relate to a song I realize the person who wrote it feels/felt this too and they’re OK.” — Courtney B. 8. “Patchouli and lavender oils in oil burners to relax me.” — Riley D. 9. “Journaling and a wild orange essential oil. The smell is so calming.” — Michelle B. 10. “Distraction has been the only thing to help me. It comes in the form of reading whatever I can get my hands on — usually books, sometimes fan fiction. I’ll read for hours upon hours until I can sleep.” — Annie G. 11. “A nice bubble bath with relaxing scent helps me.” — Alicia C. 12. “Horseback riding and caring for my horse. I have three dogs too, but the bond with my horse is different. Teaching him to move with me and taking care of him always pulls me to quiet place within my soul that my medications can’t seem to reach.” — Melina A. 13. “I write a daily log in my Insta-story on how I deal with depression on a day-to-day basis and how my antidepressants affected me on that day. I also allow my friends/followers to ask me questions if they would like to understand more about mental health. I am not glorifying my illness but I wish I can do my small part on advocating mental health as well as de-stigmatize any misconceptions.“ — Jen C. 14. “A long bike ride keeps me going. Or spending time with family.” — Gavin H. 15. “Get a Harley, because no matter if your riding down a quiet open country road or through a busy town, the only thing you think of is the road ahead. Everything else vanishes behind you and you get that brief moment of serenity where you think of absolutely nothing. It may not be for long, but for me it’s enough to pull me out of that ditch to a point where I can focus on things that I can fix and change to make myself better.” — Lee O. 16. “Hiking is my number one healing activity. I turn off all electronics, walk into nature, breathe fresh air away from the city and let the beauty of nature lift my spirits. Sometimes it’s really hard getting myself there, but I feel a lot better just smelling the mud and feeling the space over pollution and overcrowding.” — Holli H. 17. “Keeping in regular contact with important figures like close friends, family, therapists and doctors. Having the right people around has made the difference every time depression has reared its head. Not seeing people, or not seeing the right people and just stewing solo makes everything much more dragged out, isolated and a tougher struggle. Dieting and exercise were short term releases but nothing holistic, I found.” — Luke P. 18. “I had a routine. I made sure to always get up, take a shower, brush my teeth, do yoga and get ready for the day. I made sure to be as structured as possible so that I could take care of myself.” — Kelcee J.   19. “Reminding myself how much my family loves and cares for me. If I reached out, they would be here in a New York minute.” — Cindy C. 20. “Going out to the beach or something that has a nature vibe to it, listen to my favorite artist, eat well, doing my favorite hobbies, taking my medication correctly, breathing exercises.” — Mariel S. 21. “I listen to relaxation imagery recordings. They take you to beautiful calming places. That paired with my favorite music can instantly boost my mood.” — Lynda N. 22. “Lavender scented anything helps with my depression and anxiety.” — Tiana O 23. “Acupuncture — it relieves my symptoms for a few hours a day. I still take medication though because it has a long-term effect.” — Luz P. 24. “Writing and drawing my characters. It always helps me. I’m not in the real world, so it can be really beautiful.” — Tar F. 25. “I’ve been going to Reiki and doing emotional release. I feel so much better than when I was on my antidepressants.” — Melanie L. 26. “I’ve been designing and drawing out my depression and anxiety demons — destroying them in various ways as a way of coping with them.” — Amanda J. 27. “I paint. And when I do paint, I have to paint for someone. I just don’t feel like my painting has a purpose if it’s just sitting in my room.” — Hayley J. 28. “I take my dog for a walk to the park. Getting outside in the sun helps redirect my negative thoughts and feelings.” — Lora S. 29. “Enjoying each season and what it has to offer. This spring I have been foraging for wild herbs, flowers and mushrooms.” — Heather J. 30. “Soaking in a hot epsom salt bath with music blaring. It helps me to relax and ease my thoughts for a bit.” — Cherish I. 31. “My hot water bottle. The comfort and warmth settle me and stop me shaking as much.” — Emma C. 32. “A light therapy lamp really helps me in the morning when I’m waking up.” — Amy F. 33. “Abdominal breathing.” — Catrina C. 34. “Exercise and nutritional guidance. It’s the reason I became a personal trainer. No one thinks about the connection between nutrition and mental illness but your brain is very much a part of your body.” — Stacie C. 35. “Massage therapy, sunshine and meditation.” — Kelsey L. 36. “Coloring, dot-to-dots and arts and crafts.” — Joanne B. Editor’s note: This piece is based on the experience of individual’s and shouldn’t be taken as medical advice. What’s worked for you?

Christina Lowe

Ankylosing Spondylitis: Deciding Whether to Park in a Disability Spot

This has often been a great debate of mine since I got the thing years ago. To use or not to use… That is the question… I often find myself staring at this ominous piece of blue plastic in my purse like a curse. Once upon a time, I would have given anything to have a disability placard. “Just get me closer to the door, I don’t care, who feels like walking,” said my youthful ignorance. Now every time I see that thing in my purse I’m reminded that I have a choice: I can either park in the disability spot, park far out or try and find something close enough. Most days I look for something close enough and leave the disability spot for others who “really need it.” If I’m not feeling too bad I will park a little ways out and walk, as the exercise is good for ankylosing spondylitis. On those bad days when I have to use it, or when I grocery shop and have to use it, I dread it. I have been approached once and told that I look too healthy to need a disability placard, while limping into a store, by a woman who parked in a disability spot too and had managed to beat me into the store. I just stood there dumbfounded. This was the first time I had ever been approached and told that. I stood there for a minute and then left the store in tears. Needless to say, I didn’t use my placard for a while after that. Two days ago I used it again at a local store I go in all the time. I try to park as close as I can, but this time I had to use it. I’m flaring really bad and I’m weaning off the prednisone I’ve been on for four months (I can’t breathe and my chest feels like it’s in a vice). It was a day before my shot for my ankylosing spondylitis (none of my bones are moving properly) and my migraine meds are all messed up at the pharmacy (so I have a dull headache, bordering on migraine, with light sensitivity and nausea) so I’m a disaster, but I’m still trying to hold my family together and get some groceries. As soon as I walk in and pass the counter I hear two girls say, “She doesn’t need that disability pass.” I don’t know if I was already so defeated already physically that I mentally didn’t care or what, but for those who like to pass judgment on others, there is a special place for you and I hope nothing ever happens to you or someone you love that no one can see on the outside, but it is literally killing them on the inside. Yes, I may look fine – that is what an invisible illness is – but make no mistake, my insides are wrecked and if my outside looked like my inside, you wouldn’t question once my use of the disability placard. You would then be talking behind my back about how scary I look. 1. A doctor has to write a letter to DMV stating the need for a temporary/ permanent disability placard. 2. You cannot just pick one up from Walmart. If someone has one, they obviously need it and do not need to justify their need for it to anyone. See #1. 3. You do not know what someone is going through on any given day, so if you do not have something nice to say (in hushed tones behind their back, or to their face), do not say anything at all. I should never have to feel guilty for using my disability placard and neither should anyone else who has one and looks at it with shame. We didn’t do this to ourselves, we didn’t ask to be sick, and given the choice to not be a sick 35-year-old, I would choose that over this. However, these are the cards I have been dealt and I will make the best of it no matter what. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Community Voices


Lately I've had a lot of trouble getting anything done. I've had several health flares from lymphedema and fibromyalgia, as well as IBS. My thyroid is a little over-productive right now and it's hard to concentrate on much of anything for any length of time. I have a lot of things going unfinished around here, and I'm finding dishes scattered from room to room.

The good news is, I'm keeping up a little better with my medications, and I've been going to a clinic which seems to really be looking after my best interests. I'm still scared that I'm going to run out of money before the next time I'm paid, but so far it's been okay.

I'm very lonely and very frustrated, and I can't even think of anything I'd like to do. I don't have a vehicle after the wrecking the van (I think I was dissociating), so there isn't much I could manage anyhow. #Lymphedema #Fibromyalgia #thyroid #medications

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10 Questions You Should Ask Your Doctor If You Have Fibromyalgia

Being diagnosed with fibromyalgia can feel daunting. There is so much to learn about this illness and how it can affect you. Doctors can be extremely helpful in this case, because they can often answer a lot of your questions with ease and knowledge. Research on your own can also be helpful, but sometimes taking what you learn to your doctors to help debunk some of the myths you come across may be necessary. The following are 10 great questions to ask your doctor if you need some guidance about what to ask. 1) What medications are available for fibromyalgia? Medication tends to be the top choice for managing fibromyalgia. Your doctor might refer you to a rheumatologist to discuss further treatments and create a treatment plan. When meeting with this doctor, you can ask to discuss all medication options and possible side effects to make an informed decision about your health. 2) Will exercise or physical activity help with my fibromyalgia symptoms? There are a lot of different opinions about the role of movement and exercise in the treatment of fibromyalgia. This tends to vary from person to person based on each person’s symptoms and what they can best handle. Your doctor can discuss the role of movement in your treatment and help you come to a decision on what is best for your body. 3) Are there any special diets that can be helpful for fibromyalgia? While doctors can be helpful when asking about any special diets, their breadth of knowledge on nutrition is generally not very vast. With that being said, I would suggest that speaking to a dietician, nutritionist, or even naturopath can help you learn about any research that has been done on the diet’s connection with fibromyalgia, while helping you guide possible lifestyle changes that may help you to manage your fibromyalgia better. 4) Are there alternative treatments for fibromyalgia? Like the above question, sometimes more natural treatment options can be discussed with a naturopath or lifestyle coach specializing in fibromyalgia. You can ask your doctor for recommendations in this area, and they can help guide you to professionals who may be able to help you. 5) Can I manage fibromyalgia without medication? Asking your doctor about how to manage fibromyalgia without medication can help guide you to all treatment options while also giving you an idea of what life without medication may be like considering the severity of your symptoms. Your doctor will be best able to help you understand the role of medication in your treatment, and what going without medication may mean for your health. 6) How physically active can I be with fibromyalgia? The level of physical activity that an individual is able to manage deeply depends on each individual’s severity of symptoms and how movement affects their symptoms. However, by bringing up the subject with your doctor you both can follow you as you try out different forms of movement and document how they make you feel. This process of trial and error can help you to better understand what type of movement is most beneficial for you and your illness. 7) Is fibromyalgia a chronic illness? By asking your doctor about fibromyalgia and how it may evolve throughout time, you can learn more about how fibromyalgia is generally not a progressive disorder, but how often the symptoms do become worse over time. Your doctor can help you to navigate this possibility and prepare for it. 8) Should I stop taking my medication if I feel like my fibromyalgia symptoms have improved? You should always talk to your doctor before deciding to stop taking a medication. Bringing up this option with your doctor will help you to learn more about the role of the medication and how the medication is helping you. 9) What other conditions can occur alongside fibromyalgia? Fibromyalgia commonly occurs with many mental illnesses and conditions such as lupus. Learning more about these conditions may help you to understand how your fibromyalgia may have developed, while helping you to learn how to manage any other conditions that you do have that may be connected to your fibromyalgia. 10) Is fibromyalgia a mental illness? This is a common misunderstanding, and your doctor can help you better understand how your fibromyalgia can affect you physically and mentally. Understanding both sides of the illness can help you to better understand how to manage your fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia may seem like a complicated illness that is often difficult to understand, but with the help of your doctor, you can learn more about the illness and how it may affect you now, and in the future. I hope that the above questions provide you with insight to bring to your next doctor’s appointment!

Community Voices

What have you done today to make you feel proud?

<p>What have you done today to make you feel proud?</p>
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How I Identify With Randall on 'This Is Us' as Someone With Anxiety

First off, if you haven’t seen “This Is Us,” go do yourself a favor and watch all of the first season. Make sure to have a box of tissues by your side too. I have never been so invested or attached to a show like this before. That’s saying a lot if you know how much I love “ Gilmore Girls.” This show is much different than that and from most shows today. It hits all the right emotions in me in every single episode. Spoilers below. The one thing I have loved the most about this show is the awareness it’s bringing for mental illnesses, specifically anxiety. Randall, who is a middle-aged African American man, has experienced anxiety attacks all of his life. They showed us him having anxiety attacks as a child while writing a paper, having anxiety attacks before his daughters were born, and now having anxiety attacks because he just has a lot going on in his life. The writers didn’t make us aware of this until the last two episodes of the first season. I love the fact that they did it this way because they first showed us that Randall is a man with a successful career, a wife, and two beautiful daughters. He seems to be the perfect man who has no flaws — until his anxiety starts to build up and he starts having anxiety attacks again. I’m not saying this makes him imperfect; it just makes him seem more human. He ends up having to be hospitalized for awhile until he is better. The writers don’t focus on the hospitalization as much as they focus on how he made a comeback from it. Another aspect of this show I appreciate is all the support he receives. He does not seem like an outsider to his loved ones, which is the way it should be! His brother sacrificed his career just to be there for him and to take him to be hospitalized. His wife goes to therapy with him. His birth father told him he was surprised Randall deals with all of this because he seems to be really put together. Randall replied by saying he is “too together.” These words. If I had to describe someone with anxiety, including myself, I would use these two words. When his father was asking about his anxiety attack, he used the word “breakdown” and then immediately asked if that was the correct language to use. Wow! Not many people are aware of the correct language to use for people with mental illnesses; most don’t even bother to ask. Randall responded by saying there are a lot of ways to word it, and he threw out different phrases people used. Randall, himself, called it “anxiety” and “anxiety attacks.” They were then able to talk about it more openly because there was a two-way street of empathy. It amazes me how I can see myself within Randall. Even though he is of a different race, gender, generation, occupation, and economic status I can see myself. I saw myself while he was shaking in the shower crying. I saw myself while he was on the floor of his office hyperventilating. I saw myself while he was calling to cancel big plans because of his anxiety. I saw myself while he was talking to his therapist. I saw myself while he was trying to explain his anxiety attacks to his father. I saw myself when he learned to let loose a little bit while driving with the windows down. The fact that I was able to see myself within him made me feel even less alone. It made me realize how universal anxiety truly is. I’m sure if this show was in a different language that I didn’t know and I was watching these scenes of Randall I would still feel the same way. Not only is the writing of this show amazing, but the acting of Randall is out of this world. He embodies anxiety attacks so well that it’s kind of freaky. But in a good way. I am beyond thankful for this show and for Randall. I have noticed a big change just within myself coming out about my mental illnesses. More people on my Facebook feed are sharing or writing about mental health. I have noticed TV not being afraid to bring up mental illnesses and doing it in a respectable way. My biggest hope is for this awareness to keep on spreading. One day I hope the majority are understanding and knowledgeable of people with a mental illness. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Photo from This Is Us – Facebook

Community Voices

Equal Consideration. Is there such a thing where a chronic, invisible illness exists?

<p>Equal Consideration. Is there such a thing where a chronic, invisible illness exists?</p>
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