VLOG: Finding The Magic In Mental Illness

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Happy Monday and Hello Friends!

I was asked to do a Mental Health video for a YouTube page and thought I’d share the content on here in hopes it brings comfort that you’re not alone in struggling with Mental Illness. These are just some of the tips I’ve learned along the way on my own Mental Health journey and I hope they can bring light into your journey.

Youtube: Finding The Magic In Mental Illness

If you have tips of your own, please share! I’m always looking to learn more.


Until next time,



Well Hello There!
How are you doing?

Just being completely candid; I’ve felt tired, mentally and physically. I couldn’t find the inspiration to even write.  I barely could get myself to care about my homework that was due— in all honesty, I missed several assignments. I have been having panic attacks driving ever since my car accident a month ago when my car was totaled and I don’t even like to go into crowded grocery stores right now. Anxiety (and the other endless mental illnesses I have) have  had a tight grip on me for about two weeks now. But finally it’s lifting a little bit. The silence isn’t as scary. Breathing is a lot easier today and the world looks a little brighter. 
il_340x270.1324658998_1agpThat’s when I realized how much control anxiety can have over someones life. What better way to learn than personal experience? So while insomnia kept me up for days the last few weeks, I spent hours researching, listening and watching videos about anxiety. I’m finding the answers I needed to know and I feel they are  worth sharing.

A little anxiety is good for all of us, right? We understand our fight or flight response has kicked in and that means physical danger is nearby.  But what if your body kicks into this adrenaline rushed state of mind when there isn’t any physical, real danger nearby? That’s just one  half of how anxiety feels. Constantly 

Than there is worry. A little worry is normal. Most people worry about finances, plans, work, money, health, etc… the normal parts of life. But when we begin to experience emotional distress from our pervasive, excessive, uncontrollable worries; and we’ve reached the other half of what anxiety feels like. Painful both emotionally and physically. 
Those that live with anxiety know exactly what I mean when I say we live in a state of mind that’s constantly experiencing a fight-or-flight response; only there isn’t a reason for it. Just a clenching tight chest, shortness of breath & physical exhaustion. Our thoughts, emotions and physical response have been  kicked into high gear and sometimes it’s from tasks that make no sense like simply shopping at the store, being  out with friends or without any reason at all. 

Eventually anxiety caused me to  lose complete control over my own thinking and I couldn’t stop the excessive worrying about everything which eventually led me to feel most comfortable when I was alone, isolated from the world. I knew if I was alone– than I have a lesser chance of encountering anymore painful panic attacks. The fear of anxiety is so real and it holds me, along with many others, back from experiencing the fulfilling parts of life. Someone once said, “Anxiety is explained most simply like you’re drowning, but there is no air for you to breathe”. I think that’s a spot-on explanation. 

Eventually though, we all stop and think: “What kind of life am I living, What am I getting out of living like this ? How much longer can I go on like this?”

anxiety-symptomsI know anxiety can be debilitating and take control of every aspect in your life– social life, jobs, friendships, dreams and aspirations.. simply everything.

But what if we decide today that it doesn’t get to do that anymore. Making this change is  not going to be easy, it’s going to take a lot of work. But it’s something I am working on everyday and even seeing the littlest bit of progress has kept me hungry to learn more and more about the ways I can remove this anchor from my foot that’s kept me drowning for far too long. I know that if I can do it, anyone can do it.

The moment I decided I needed to become proactive in managing my anxiety and start building the courage to ask for help was when I became a mother.  I couldn’t stand the thought of letting my anxiety control me when I’m in charge of raising a little one. So finally,  I sought help, went to therapy religiously, became more educated about anxiety disorders and although I’m nowhere near perfect– I continue to work on managing anxiety day by day using the skills I learned when I first started getting help.  Even if I take three steps back, I’m still moving forward from that debilitating place that anxiety once held me in. I forget during these hard times that I’ve been here before, that I have the skills to be resilient. And isn’t it amazing the incredible amount of strength and hope that we can all tap into to during pain?

It is possible to change and control your anxiety. Step by Step and little by little; YOU will see progress.

What’s worked for me when I’m anxious? good question.
The list is always being refined as I make breakthroughs or regress.
But I still force myself to find something positive to focus on.
These little steps below are what I’ve found to be helpful for me:

  • I started to write what I was grateful for. It sounds cliche, but changing your worrisome state of mind into a more positive one is powerful. 
  • I started to drink more water. and I hate water..
  • “Be kind to my mind..” is my personal mantra. It reminds me to be patient with myself because I’m doing the best I can. It stops me from entering the cycle of worrying.
  • I remember to rest, often. With insomnia, my body can get in bad shape if I don’t put it to rest.
  • The present moment is more than enough. I refuse to stay stuck in the past or future. 
  • Slow down my breathing– mindfulness is the most powerful tool for me in regards to anxiety.
  • I Shut off the stimulants– no phone, computer, tv. Just the moment I’m in.
  • I ignore the negative self talk and excessive thoughts by reconnecting with myself. Even if that sounds crazy, talking to yourself really does help!

This website below gives some really good information on anxiety, the science behind it and most importantly– a variety of ways to cope with it. I hope you take a few minutes to check it out. I think you’ll find at least one thing useful! Education can be such a great motivation. I found it helpful to learn, study and listen about anxiety for a long period of time until I started to find strategies that worked. Understanding anxiety helped me control it immensely (link below)
“This Way Up” (About Anxiety)

539f5cddd5b517cd73237d2c0702af11-e1535146920299.pngSometimes pain prevents us from understanding our purpose.  I know in the pit of this darkness that hope seems so unattainable. But hold on because you have a bright and amazing future on the other side of this challenge. You have all the courage you need right inside of you to make a decision and control this “giant”. — it doesn’t need to hold us back anymore. The real point of me sharing this story is not to bring focus to me or my story exclusively. It is to show how taking the courageous step to reach out for help changed my life tremendously and changed my life quickly. It will do the same for you!

29542236_10208606809327549_7980654487013811350_nNone of us are alone in this battle. My anxiety issues are still extremely relevant and I deal with the battle on a daily basis. But the battle now is one that I embrace. We all have different characteristics and challenges–mine just happens to be an anxiety disorder….(or two or three other disorders if we’re being honest). Don’t forget your purpose. We can’t disover it without a little pain. 

If you believe you can, you can. You’re stronger than you know and braver than you think.  




The Candid Truth About Anxiety & Ways To Deal With It

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How to move forward on days you are fighting Depression? Here is how & most importantly, why!

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“It is estimated that nearly thirty percent of those diagnosed with bipolar disorder will attempt suicide at least once in their lives. The suicide rate for people with bipolar disorder is twenty times that of the general population.” and “The annual suicide rate in the U.S. is over 13 deaths per 100,000 population.” (Source: CDC)

The battle is real.

It seems like it comes out of nowhere–  The bad days piled on top of each other, the insecurities subconsciously revealed and eventually the dark, depressive episode that’s been anticipated for some time has come. Even with practice, a lot of time spent learning how to self-coach and how to develop helpful strategies plus a variety of natural supplements– I think that I am getting better at finding the right strategies for me; the tools I can use to help ease the symptoms of Mental Illnesses. But living with this new world and drastically difficult experience of Bipolar II leaves me clueless on some days.  I still have so much to learn. And part of this learning process is understanding the disorder more and more along with understanding how to best combat the powerful symptoms that show up uninvited.

Like, the inevitable emotion of “feeling alone” that is stronger than any other emotions today. A loss of connection, which is the one thing that truly makes my world go round, leaves me feeling so isolated and living in a part of a world that’s different than the rest of society lives in.  The Mental Health Community knows these feelings all too well– we never welcome them, but we know how to overcome them more and more because of pure experience and from practicing different strategies that get us through these incredibly tough moments.

ashleigh1On some days, like today, the worst is just beginning– the self talk inside our head starts to develop and begin telling you a story that isn’t your story. Yet it’s heard with such persuasiveness that you can fall into it’s trap in a moments notice; If you don’t have a set intention and a strategy. The self talk begins the same way; that it’s “just you– nobody else who feels like this. You’re the crazy one. No other mom has depression like this, or even… Bipolar. And no other wife has low moments like this. Plus, your in your twenties, Carrie? Something has to be wrong with you— (with us, right?) Maybe we are the crazy ones after all” and that’s how the self talk begins to get a grip on our lives. Our symptoms make us feel like the strength we’ve built up after all these years has dissolved overnight and we suddenly we feel defeated in a world we were just on top of yesterday.  So as that tape of negative self talk replays over and over, reminding you of the things you suck at and ambitions you ‘won’t ever amount to’… you’re faced with two options.

Option 1) Let it feel so real it becomes your reality. As it takes over as your new reality, It will begin to isolate you into a world so far away from others. You’re not aware of how your insecurities are developing into the negative self-talk that shows up during these episodes so that self-talk becomes so loud that the noise inevitability destroys your perception of yourself and the beautiful world around you. Your Mental Illness defines you and there is just a small sliver of hope that you’re barely holding onto as days fade into months.

Or option 2) Stand up and Step Up.  It’s a battlefield in your mind. One you didn’t ask to be apart of but now you’re here. It’s a reality only you can pull yourself out of—even though you didn’t pull yourself into it. Don’t give up and cry. Show up and try. Cry because you are trying your hardest. Cry because you’re trying your best to believe in yourself more than you believe in a Mental Illness defining who you are. With the courage inside you, stand up and say that not another day these thoughts get to paralyze me OR you or all the millions of others who deal with this… Today, we start to notice how our inner self talk is affecting us. Is it positive, do we talk to ourselves with love and compassion or with doubt and impatience?  We can begin to develop our strategies that will help us on these dark, depressive days– After all, we have had a lot of practice. This is why we will choose to move forward when everything in our mind tells us it’s easier to give up.

Today, we can choose if we want to get into bed; But we aren’t going to be forced to bed paralyzed, by our thoughts, because of depression. Not another wasted day where the world feels so big that you can’t ever possibly compete. This feeling is normal to 1 out of every 5 people, you are not alone despite that record playing in your head.  It’s a symptom of many Mental and Physical illnesses, but today I want you to find the courage and strength to say, “Yes” to life and “no” to the symptoms that have the power to dictate our life, only if we aren’t intentional in our recovery.

Some days, it’s much easier to get past the symptoms of Bipolar Depression because I’ve been learning my triggers, I’m working on self-coaching and the way I talk to myself.  I am observing the environments that push me into these pits of hell. I keep looking for the lesson I can use in every low moment so that next time, I’m just a little bit stronger.  Don’t ever let this illness let you forget that before these illnesses came, lived a person inside all of us, that is filled with potential, courage and so much strength. That person still exists and still has so much positive influence in the world & an incredible amount of  power.

It’s easy to lose sight of that on these dark days, I completely understand. I’ve been there. Today, I am there.  But it’s not impossible to gain back that sight of who you really are and where you’re going. This isn’t a permanent place of mind, it’s a temporary stop that we have to embrace in order to become who we really are. 362b26472785ab5bdf449d8f607eadaa

People believe in you when you don’t believe in yourself. That’s why I’m sharing this extremely low point that I am in today, –to provide some of you with  hope and the reminder we all need from time to time that is: with strength and a hunger to thrive beyond this illness, we develop skills that make us resilient. We can persevere past these days and learn a little something along the way. Be kind to your mind! You are not alone. You are filled with the courage and strength that equips you to handle these battle.

af06b730b933c46322041195845dcce9If today is one of your low days– I’ll be the first one to say– you’re a great mom and doing the best you can because you have’t given up. Your child will look up to you for your resilience and will know that you never gave up– a skill that will be embedded in them for life and one they will need to be successful. Maybe your a wife too; the healer and fixer of all things, on so many days.  But not even Wonder woman could save the world in one day. So today, stop and relax and don’t feel ashamed about it.  Be kind to your mind because that’s how we learn to control this Illness and stop letting it control us. Check out this “prescription” for better Mental Health and see if any of them are things you can see yourself using.

My strategies on depressive days usually revolve around the actions below:

  1. repeat positive ” I can” statements.
  2. Reach out to a friend I trust
  3. Write down five things I’m good at and 5 topics I’m grateful for.
  4. Than shower and sit in the water with no interruptions. This helps me retreat to my safety place and calm my anxiety. I’ll take as many as 4 showers in one day if it helps.
  5. and meditate, meditate, mediate. It helps you ground yourself, reconnect to yourself and feel more in control. They have YouTube and podcasts that are short and totally doable at work or at home! Look up positive affirmations, or self confidence affirmations and complete the exercise, mindfully.

Take a look at online resources. Small things below might benefit you more than what benefits me because after all– we are all unique and have different symptoms:

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”              -Helen Keller

Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. I’m always here as someone who can relate.  Check out resources, articles and podcasts that will help you strengthen your skills. Don’t forget to believe in yourself and rely on the strength and courage that continues to move you in the right direction.
img_1776Carriedoran9@gmail.com— in case you ever need someone.