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.

Group Collage 2

Continue reading “Photo Series: Visualization of the Manifestations of Mental Health Disorders”

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.

Continue reading “Why I Started The Pete Foundation”

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.

unnamed-9

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

postpartum issues, you’re not alone.

Continue reading “Being a Mom With Postpartum Depression and Anxiety”

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.

Continue reading “Self-Care is Deeper than a Bubble Bath”

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.

Continue reading “Mental Health: Body Positivity and Eating Disorder Recovery via Food Photography”

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.

Continue reading “My Friend Anxiety”

Mental Health Awareness Series: Intro

Hey Y’all!

I’ve been busy orchestrating and planning this blog series for the past few weeks and I’m so excited to see it come to fruition. I just wanted to hop on here and give an overview of what’s to come and the idea behind the series.

When I learned that May is Mental Health Awareness Month, I started thinking of a topic for one blog post. I quickly realized that that wouldn’t cut it. Mental health is consistently put on the back burner and deemed less legitimate than diagnoses related to physical health. I would be contributing to the issue if I thought that mental health awareness could be summed up in one post.

I have struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember, even before I could give it a name. I was diagnosed with OCD when I was in 8th grade and began going to therapy. This was when I realized that I, and a lot of people around me, knew next to nothing about mental health. I was constantly being told by other kids,  and even some adults, that there’s no way I was truly OCD because of how messy I kept my locker, binder, desk, etc. It took me a long time to realize that how mental health is portrayed in pop culture isn’t how it laments in everyone it effects.

Remembering these feelings of thinking that each mental health diagnoses had to fit neatly into a box also made me think that one single blog post would be a disservice. Because of this, I reached out to other bloggers, influencers, artists, and friends to share their own personal stories, struggles, triumphs and advice related to mental health. What I have gone through with anxiety, OCD, mood instability, and countless prescriptions is such a small sampling of what mental health can mean. I am so happy with the roster of amazing people who will be sharing over the next month. Hitting mental health from as many angles as possible will hopefully make it clear that every single case will be different, and that’s ok. No matter what you’re going through, you’re never alone and your feelings are valid.

I can’t wait for this series to progress and for everyone to gain something from this. Whether you’ve struggled with mental health your entire life, known someone who has struggled, feel completely removed, or this is all new to you, I think we can all benefit from trying to better understand how other the humans around us see the world. Learning more about others never hurt anyone.

The next post in the series will be by artist Victoria Roman with a focus on her artistic series “My Friend Anxiety”. Stay tuned!

Kya Cheese

Threading and Dermaplaning: How I Keep From Looking Like a Werewolf.

Hey Y’all!

One of the big things (literally) I get questions/comments about are my eyebrows. Now that big brows are in (why wasn’t this a thing in middle school?) people are wondering how to achieve the shape and style.

First off, I am a hairy person who has no other option than to have thick brows. Trends change, and you aren’t going to be able to achieve all of them. You know when everyone had tiny eyebrows? Well, this girl definitely did not and it felt like the end of the world at that time. Like, so bad that I shaved my eyebrows pretty much completely off in 2nd grade and proceeded to fill them in with mascara to hide it from my mom. That obviously didn’t work.  It was absolutely horrible and I am #blessed that they grew back normally. With that said, you should never feel like you need to conform to any trend ever and rock whatever you want to rock because that’s cooler than conforming anyway and I wish I had realized that when I got made fun of for having caterpillars on my face as a child. Ok, end nonconformist rant and get to the good stuff.

10494717_10202563951715461_3977316066065905662_n
Proof I’ve always had all this hair
10620596_10202563949795413_1753424793538934626_n
Came straight from the womb like this

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading “Threading and Dermaplaning: How I Keep From Looking Like a Werewolf.”

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

Happy February, y’all!

I’m going to preface this post by saying that I’m not a huge fan of Valentine’s Day, but I also don’t turn down a chance to spread a little extra love. Picking out gifts is my super power and I love to give gifts year around to everyone in my life. While I usually gift experiences, this is a solid comprehensive list of things I would personally gift or want to receive. Check this list for yo’ woman, yo’ man, yo’ mom, yo’ dad, YO’SELF.

Continue reading “Valentine’s Day Gift Guide”