Mental Note Vol. 22
Hey all! Happy holidays. The first thing we want to say is how thankful we are to all our wonderful writers and readers. You impress us all the time with your quality of work, vulnerability, and hard work. We’ve missed a couple newsletters, but we hope that despite the crazy year we’ve had and the interrupted gathering and travel plans, everyone has had a time to rest and recuperate.
We have a couple announcements to make. Nikki Kay is taking a break and putting a hold on her column, and we have decided to nix Poetry Wednesday. While we love the strong poetry many of you have submitted and that we have published before, we have decided that Invisible Illness is not the best outlet for poetry given the pressure we’re under and the direction we’re headed.
Moving forward, on feedback for submissions, we’re really going to focus on research and the scientific side of your pieces. We don’t want to shut out nonmental health professions, but centering your pieces through science and research, and then navigating personal experience is the priority we take, rather than vice versa like before. As a mental health publication, the types of pieces we want to avoid are advice oriented pieces that give the message of “this worked for me and it’ll work for you too.”
Individual experiences are not universally applicable, and professional advice is important in any takeaway. If not, disclaimers will strongly help increase the chances of curation and telling people that your personal experience isn’t applicable to everyone.
With all the news, here are the 10 pieces from the past week we would like to highlight, all of which are curated:
“My appointment with the dietician came in the last week of December — eleven months ago. I was in a bad place, both physically and mentally, and that was before I knew about the pandemic, losing my job, and nine months of lockdown.
I didn’t leave that appointment planning to walk 600 miles and lose 50 pounds by the end of 2020. All I knew was I had a chance to change my life and I didn’t know if I’d get another one.”
“Any way you look at it, we need a break more now than ever. Find out what works for you, test it, then implement it. Doing this on a regular basis can make you happier at work, increase productivity, and prevent nasty health issues in the future. If you find you are not supported by your workplace and have had meaningful conversations with your supervisor and HR, you might need to consider switching jobs.”
“I didn’t sign up to be a carer.
The entrusting of being my loved one’s support person happened gradually. I didn’t sign any forms. I didn’t take a course in mental health support. Nor did I study how to be the lifeline of someone suffering from mental health issues.
So as ‘jobs’ go, you could say I learned on the fly.”
“In letting go, I gave myself a gift. That gift is going to last me for years to come. It’s one thing that doesn’t get placed back in the boxes with the decorations when the tree comes down. I’m keeping that imperfection on the coffee table all year-’round. It’s pretty and I like it. I’ve earned it.”
“Maybe these aphorisms are working wonders for you. It’s not my mandate to bring them down. But it is my intention to share how, at times, they worked to obscure my personal experience and distract me from my body, thoughts, and feelings.
Questioning and re-evaluating the meaning of these three clichés was one piece of the puzzle (had to) I needed to treat clinical depression.”
“Nowadays, my relationship with food is so much better. I eat until I’m satisfied and enjoy eating the special holiday foods, without letting guilt take over — even if I eat more than I know I need. If you’re not at that point yet, that is okay. Recognize it, and don’t feel obligated to do what everyone else is doing.
Remember that Thanksgiving is about family and fun, rather than food and guilt. Enjoy yourself. Whatever that looks like for you.”
“Yet this journey is also by far the most worthwhile with the richest of rewards waiting on the other side where emotional freedom is waiting.
It just takes that first step. And then the second. When it gets hard, you take the third. When it seems impossible and you feel you might cave from the pain, you take the fourth.
And so on until you’re no longer lost. You’re no longer blind.”
“There are plenty of capable autistic actors who could have been cast in Music. Or any role, for that matter. However, allistics don’t seem to trust autistics to be able to portray the realities of our lives.
But we are human beings. And, like any other human being, we deserve to be able to tell our own stories.”
“Ultimately, my need to comprehend the mental illness I and my family endured propelled me to examine the human condition. My journey through complex trauma and a fear based existence, informed who I am as a psychotherapist. Most importantly it brought me full circle to embracing who I am as a human being, and it rendered me the greatest gift by bringing me to a place of fully owning these inspiring words of Dr. Carl Jung,
“I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.”
“When you grew up with anxiety or everyone in your family is nervous and uptight, it can feel like it’s your destiny. It isn’t. You don’t have to live with chronic anxiety forever. I’m a testament to the fact that if you experiment with different ways of thinking and living, it can and does get better over time.”