Normalizing mental health, its ups and downs, and helping others find their own mindfulness path are serious passions of mine. I, very luckily, grew up in a household where suffering with mental health issues was very normal and accepted. Having depression wasn't a weakness, it was part of life. Suffering childhood trauma wasn't a secret to bury, but something to work through and come out stronger from. I grew up an only child after losing a brother at a very young age, and witnessed my parents process this tragedy over many years to ultimately find a new way of living after this trauma (ILY Mom + Dad).
Alongside this, multiple members of my immediate and extended family experienced life-changing events and mental health struggles, and I became aware of things like depression, addiction, bipolar disorder, and PTSD at a young age, starting my mental health education and passion early on in life.
I was diagnosed with depression around 5 years ago, and anxiety a few years after. While I had an open mind about things like depression, it's a different story when it happens to you. Shortly after, I realized that not nearly everyone was as accepting of these illnesses as my inner circle. Comments like "just get some fresh air" and "you can always choose to be happy!" started to be on replay, and they weren't supportive or healthy. It took me a long time, a lot of self-reflection, and trial and error to get to a point of acceptance and feeling content day-to-day.
I personally take anti-depressants, have gone to therapy, and try to give my mental health TLC daily. No shame here, we all need different things, and I've found what works for me. I still have down periods and moments of extreme anxiousness, but I feel much more equipped to handle those moments than I did at the beginning of my journey with tools like meditation and movement.
Alongside my own personal struggles, knowing that many young people are dealing with the same things I am has inspired me to connect with and educate others about healthy ways to support themselves, mentally and physically. I feel so fortunate to do that with this squad! Every individual and their mental health journey is unique. Life will always have its challenging periods, but working to understand our emotions and who we are now helps us work through those times more easily when they hit.
Aside from life's woes, we also need to focus on our mental health to achieve the big, kickass goals + dream lives we all have for ourselves. I personally fall victim to doing what's comfortable, making choices based on what other people want, and adhering to societal standards out of ease. In my few short years here on this earth, I've learned doing what's "normal" isn't usually what brings us joy. And to get where we want to be, we've got to dig deep, find what lights us up as individuals, and take risks to make those things come to life. No one is going to make your dream life happen besides you. I've had to overcome a lot of false stories (and am still doing so!) I was telling myself to find what I truly want out of life, and I am so grateful for my mindfulness practice guiding me closer to my happiest, healthiest self every day. Also a BIG shoutout to Em GehrkStein herself for being such a huge role model + amazing friend that always encourages me to look deeper and ask for the most out of life.
I've had a whirlwind of a last 6 months (or 2 years, if I'm being honest), and have had to do a lot of soul searching and processing, which wouldn't be possible without my journaling, amazing friends (!), affirmations, or gratitude practice. I'm really proud of myself for asking myself the hard questions and trudging on, even when life feels really sh*tty. And you sure as heck can too! You can find some of my favorite tools I use daily for a happy brain + body for FREE right here.