A Drake Lyric for Every (insta) Occasion

Hey y’all!

If you’re reading this then I’m sure you’re aware that Drake’s album, Scorpion, that came out on June 29th. ( I tried to hard to make an “if you’re reading this it’s too late” joke right there but I just couldn’t make it work). I was going to write a full review of the album since it’s all the buzz right now, but I didn’t think anyone would truly want to sit here and read what I thought about all 25 songs and I didn’t really want to write that. Instead, I present to you a list of captions from the album perfect for any Instagram occasion. After all, Drake lyrics and Instagram captions go together like mac and cheese.

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Photo Series: Visualization of the Manifestations of Mental Health Disorders

Hey y’all,

When I began this Mental Health Awareness Month series, I wanted to include as many different diagnoses as possible. Along those same lines, I wanted to convey the messages through different mediums. This series, shot by Kesley Moorefield (@justkesley), with hair and makeup provided by Jonathon Sierra-Weaver (@jonathon_sierraweaver) and Mirna Andrade (@mirnamaybe) of J Alexander Beauty Team, is a visual representation of some of the ways mental health disorders can manifest. With out them and the other models (credited below their respective photos), this series would not have been possible. I won’t be writing much to go along with these photos other than a brief snippet of what they mean to me, as I think there is more power in them than anything else I could write.

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Why I Started The Pete Foundation

Aside from being a lifelong friend and one of the strongest people I know, Michelle Jones is one of the founders of The Pete Foundation. The Pete Foundation aims to spread mental health awareness and “stomp the stigma” surrounding mental health. 

 

Why I started The Pete Foundation
Michelle (third from right), and the rest of the Jones family at the inaugural PeteFest.

 

After losing my brother and best friend, Pete, to suicide about a year and a half ago, the grief, shock, confusion, and enormous mix of all other emotions nearly blocked out any other logical thoughts, behaviors, or reasoning. One of the few things that peeked through that cloud of darkness was this penetrating realization that there exists a whole other world where mental health is a thing and suicide in your family isn’t so unthinkable. It was always one of those things that everyone thinks would never happen in their family. It took my brother’s suicide for me to realize how bad his depression really was, or that suicide can happen in even the most loving families, or that no matter how close you are to someone, our society’s view of mental health could keep you from saving them. In this other world, there are people desperately trying to raise awareness about mental health, because they know the things it can do.

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Being a Mom With Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

Leah McNally of Life as Leah, (lifeasleah.net)  is a millennial mom turned blogger and social influencer. She created her instagram account @life.as.leah_ and the page @honestmommin to connect deeper with other mom’s. Leah and her family moved to New Jersey from Florida, when her daughter was 6 months old. This move was the catalyst into connecting more with moms on social media, because she didn’t know anyone in the area. This is her journey with Postpartum depression and anxiety.

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I want to start this off by saying if you’ve been struggling with

postpartum issues, you’re not alone.

Having a baby is such a complicated, emotional, transitional roller coaster, and it’s freakin’ hard. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Mommin’ Ain’t Easy! If you want to read my birth story before you get into my Postpartum journey, click here.

It took me a long time to decide to write about my Postpartum struggles. Actually, I’m still questioning it as I type this, but I keep telling myself maybe this can help someone. If you’re that “someone”, I hope this article finds its way to you! You’re not alone, I suffer from Postpartum Depression and Anxiety too.

Can I just say that any form of Postpartum ANYTHING is a real bitch? Excuse my language, but it really angers me that moms in general already have to go through SO much after pregnancy & delivery, adding PPA/PPD to the mix is truly unfair. My heart aches for the moms out there that suffer daily because I understand what you’re going through.

The main reason I’m sharing this besides potentially helping someone else is to bring awareness to Postpartum depression. I know personally,  I thought it was only something that happened immediately or only for a short amount of time. I also didn’t know it can manifest as anxiety instead of “depression.” Women are scared to talk about what’s going on, and I feel it’s important we share hope and strength with one another. I believe we’re stronger together!!

So what IS Postpartum depression? Below are just SOME of the symptoms you could be experiencing. You may feel symptoms immediately, or like myself, after months have passed since becoming a mom. You can feel all of them, a few of them, or even just one of these symptoms.

~ Depressed mood or severe mood swings

~ Excessive crying

~ Severe anxiety or feeling constantly worried

~ Panic attacks

~ Difficulty bonding with your baby

~ Withdrawing from family and friends

~ Loss of appetite, or eating much more than usual

~ Inability to sleep (insomnia) or sleeping too much

~ Overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy

~ Reduced interest and pleasure in activities you used to enjoyable

~Extreme irritability and anger

~Fear that you’re not a good mom

~ Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt or inadequacy

~ Diminished ability to think clearly, concentrate. or make decisions

~Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby

~Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

~ You feel like you have to be doing something ALL the time

~ You don’t have the energy to do anything at all

~ You are worried about literally everything

~ You feel a sense of dread like something terrible is going to happen

 

~ You know something is wrong. You may not know you have a mood or anxiety disorder,

but you know the way you are feeling is NOT right.

~ You think you’ve “gone crazy.”

~ You are afraid that this is your new reality and that you’ve lost the “old you” forever

~ You’re scared that if you reach out to people they will judge you, or that you will have your baby taken away

Are you thinking “wow? I have a lot of those things going on, maybe I DO have postpartum depression??” because that’s what I did when I realized my anxiety wasn’t just “normal” mom fears. Or maybe I was in denial that I struggled with Postpartum depression longer than I realized. I’m not sure really, but I do know that a lot of those symptoms I’ve experienced. Honestly, learning more almost gave me a sense of relief because it’s pretty normal amongst women. Isn’t that weird? More than 3 MILLION women a year experience some form of PPD but it’s rarely spoken about? Why is that?

We need to change that for the sake of our daughter’s and the future mother’s out there. Other women need to know that they’re not alone. We need to stand together, rise together.

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I was aware of the possibility of getting PPD and even went as far as encapsulating my placenta in hopes to prevent it.  (Yes, I swallowed my placenta in capsule forms. No, it doesn’t taste like anything. Lol ) I had this fear of PPD during pregnancy because I’ve experienced bouts of depression before. I always thought of it as mom’s snapping and hurting their babies. That’s what lifetime movies made it out to be at least. Anyways, I felt great the first 5 months of Sterling’s life. My milk supply was awesome, she was growing, I was getting the hang of this mom thing, and started “figuring” it out. Of course, it was hard, I was exhausted, and my anxiety was still there, BUT I wasn’t freaking out every day. I thought, and still kind of do think that my anxiety was “normal” back then for being a first-time mom. I need people to understand that Postpartum depression can happen to you at ANY time, in multiple forms, if you’ve had a baby within the last 12 months. Some women experience it much longer than that.

Looking back I think the turning point for me, that was really the “catalyst” of my PPD/PPA struggle was when we decided to move to New Jersey. Everything happened so last-minute and moving thousands of miles away with a newborn wasn’t ideal, but it’s what we had to do. My stress and anxiety really skyrocketed at this point because we had to get our house packed up in less than 6 weeks and figure out the logistics of it all….with a 5-month-old. Not only that, my best-friends all simultaneously had a life crisis happening, and were not available to be there for me as a new mom in the way I really needed back then. I don’t blame anyone, at all! But, going through your own crisis while they are, the last thing you want to do is ask for HELP.  Shit was hard. I was stressed out maxed. On top of being stressed from moving, I was anxious about leaving Florida and my friends and family. I was anxious about having to start over but knew it was the best choice for Sterling. If all of these things happened separately I might have been fine, but all together at once, I started to spiral into a whirlwind of anxiety and fear.

For the last 5 months, I’ve struggled almost every day with some form of depression or anxiety, or both. Some days I’m able to leave the house, others I can only manage a walk or two. Most days im worried and anxious about something, but do my best to push through. It’s so hard trying to manage all of this and being a mom, AND maintaining work. Then you have family, friendships, and meeting new people. I want to be able to be there for everyone and fulfill every area in my life, but sometimes I can’t. Actually, a lot of times I can’t. A lot of days I can only focus on myself and Sterling and making sure WE are okay. We cuddle a lot, sometimes cry a lot, and always play a lot. Spending time with her makes me happy, and that’s what life’s about, right? With that though, the guilt of not being able to keep up with your friend’s lives makes you feel like an awful person. You just feel shitty that most days you can barely manage with everything going on in life that your friends start to fall to the background. I’m working on that one and I’m finally starting to feel like “myself” again now, almost a year postpartum. ONE YEAR later.

Life as Leah, this blog, also helps me in a creative way that I’m so thankful for. This postpartum journey is all about balance, communication with your spouse, and honesty. (Especially with yourself) I’m learning, growing, and getting better every day!!

Thanks for letting me get vulnerable here, an allowing me to share with you on a more personal level. Writing this was really hard for me, but again, I hope this can help someone else out there struggling. Us women, especially us mom’s, really need to stand together! We need to have each others backs! Let’s help one another, and grow stronger together.

Have you gone through any postpartum issues? If so, I would love to chat with you!! Leave a comment or message me on the contact page. If you have a question about my struggle, I will be transparent with you.

Appreciating Every Moment of Life with a side of Mental Health Awareness

Kayla Cassaro is a cousin of Pete and one of of many mental health advocates within The Pete Foundation non-profit. She also works for an airline full time and is in love with aviation in general. When she was in first grade and asked what she wanted to be when she grew up – all of her peers picked professions like doctors, lawyers, firemen, etc. She simply stated “Martin Luther King Jr.” or an angel…she took everything she’s ever been told about both and decided she just wanted to be able to be helpful. It’s taken over over fifteen years of working experience, early eleven of those within aviation. She now sees at thirty one years old, that you can do that no matter who you are or what type of job you’re in. So is she living her dream? Yes. Everyday. Sometimes in the clouds!

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Self-Care is Deeper than a Bubble Bath

Hey y’all,

Let’s talk about some self-care. TBH, things haven’t been going great for me for a couple weeks. But, life happens and at this point I know what I need as a person to keep myself grounded and moving forward. I thought finishing the semester would kind of turn my anxiety off (lol) but boy was I wrong. The end of the school year is kind of weird. You go from taking regular classes all semester with a set schedule, to two weeks of high stress and a random schedule for finals, then it all just ends. There’s no fade out set to music, it all just abruptly stops. For some reason, this semester ending hit me harder than in the past. I’ve felt super anxious about missing things because I feel like there has to be somewhere I need to be. I also notice my anxiety a lot more when I don’t have a busy schedule to distract me.

I actually had my first panic attack in a long time last week. I kind of forgot how terrible they are because it had been so long. After I settled down I realized that it was actually pretty amazing that I went that long without a panic attack and it was kind of an “ah-ha” moment about the fact that I must have been taking pretty damn good care of myself.

If you follow me on Instagram then you know that bath bombs are my kryptonite. Taking a hot bath with a dope bath bomb is one of my favorite forms of self-care. I used to take myself to the breaking point and then kind of scream in my head “I NEED TO TAKE A HOT BATH TO FIX EVERYTHING”. Then I would get in the bath all tense and not even be able to enjoy it because I was so freaking anxious, stressed, and out of control that I would just sit there and internally continue to scream but tell myself I was practicing self-care.

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Eating Disorders & Self-Care

Shine Like a Diemond is a Charlotte- based blog developed to promote and inspire self-love, self-care, and fashion. Empowering women to love themselves in Style by Nicki Segur.

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“Be active” “Eat healthy”  – Growing up this was the constant messages I learned. This was not just taught by family but throughout health classes and in society. The thing I cannot remember learning about was mental health. WOW. I do not think I was introduced to the importance of mental health until entering college. I never knew how much your thoughts can take over your behaviors. I never knew you had control over your thoughts. I never knew how powerful, and incredible our minds are.

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Understanding Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Clare Walton is the woman behind the blog Melanin Adventures. Built out of a turning point in her life, the goal of Melanin Adventures is to be a place of positivity and empowerment for women, especially women of colour. After leaving an abusive relationship, Clare began her blog as a place to focus her energy and rediscover herself and her passions. Then a wonderful thing happened, women read her blog and found comfort and common ground there. Clare’s hope for her blog, and Instagram page, is that other women read her pages and see their power and strength and feel empowered to live their best lives by embracing all the opportunities life throws their way.

Healing is not a linear journey. It is a phrase I have heard repeatedly over the last two years, it is also a phrase I remind myself of often. Sometimes I find myself leaning on this phrase weekly Continue reading “Understanding Post-traumatic Stress Disorder”

Mental Health: Body Positivity and Eating Disorder Recovery via Food Photography

JC Phelps is a Kentucky-based food writer, blogger, instagrammer, and social media influencer. Originally raised on the family farm in Russell County, which was homesteaded in 1798, he now calls Louisville home. He holds a BS in Economics and Finance from Centre College, a MBA from the Gordon Ford College of Business at Western Kentucky University, and is a 2021 candidate for a JD at the University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law. Find his work online at @jcpeats and at www.jcpeats.com.

Mental health is often framed as solely consisting of the mind; however, I incessantly contend that it’s so much more than that. To me, it’s mind, body, and soul – three separate, yet highly correlated, facets of one’s being.

From anxiety, depression via the death of my father, suffering from three eating disorders at different points in my life (bulimia, anorexia, binge eating), enduring eating disorder recovery, obsessively losing weight – I’ve had my fair share of struggles in maintaining my mental health. My journey has been centered around my body, or, rather, body positivity. This is that story.

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My Friend Anxiety

Viki Roman is a Puerto Rican, Atlanta-born, Louisville-based artist who creates with multiple medias. Equally as important as the aforementioned, she’s an amazing friend. I’m so happy that she is a part of this series and gracing my blog with a sampling of her digital art. 
These three images are part of a series called “My Friend Anxiety”.   I’ve struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember and over time, not understanding my mind and path in life often caused periods of depression.  I still suffer from both, but having an outlet like this allows me to convey how it feels to those who don’t understand. And it’s not their fault: they can’t understand.  But when words aren’t enough, a visual cue can help.  These images give people a glimpse into what it may feel like for some, specifically for me. Sometimes it feels like a friend.  Other times it feels like a stranger exists in your reflection. And every now and then it feels as though it has consumed you, and you are what you suffer from.

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