Category Archives: Mental Health

Loving myself in where I am in my Mental Health

Good morning Dear Reader, 

This week’s affirmation: 

“I love and accept who I am and who I am is enough.”

This phrase is admittedly difficult when I think about it in terms of mental health. I am not at a point where I can say I wholeheartedly believe it. 

The idea of being “enough” is something I can’t fathom. I have really high standards for myself and I’m constantly thinking there is more I can do. Sometimes I do have to repeat to myself “I am enough”. Something I have to tell myself is that even if I don’t believe it yet, it doesn’t mean I won’t feel it someday. 

Recently though, I’ve found a little confidence. It was born from consistency. The more I’ve been on a routine, the more confident about myself. 

I know I have more work to do in this area of my life but I can at least admit that I’m on the right track. 

Thanks for reading. 

Warm Regards, 

Shannon M. 

If you’d like the book for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here. You can also visit Denise Linn’s website here.

Finding Clarity with Mental Health

Good morning Dear Reader, 

This week’s affirmation: 

“There is clarity within me and around me.”

Emotional clutter is something I’ve struggled with for some time. I have always refused to let that hold me back. I never let anyone stop me from anything I have my sights on, including myself. There is a certain resilience in this feeling I’ve carried with me but it comes at a price. 

At the cost of “digging deep” I’ve actually turned a blind eye to my hurt and my need for healing. Pushing things into a jar until I can’t keep the lid on anymore. Similar to how I cleaned out my room, I need to clean out my mind. I know I need to let go of a lot of things. I know I need to change my thinking. 

Looking at the prompt, I’d like to believe that the answers are in me but it’s admittedly difficult to see. I definitely wouldn’t say that this one prompt as I’m writing it will give me that “ah-ha” moment. However, recognizing a problem exists is the first step in solving it. And I’ve already researched many techniques on becoming mentally strong. So now, I must put it in practice. 

Things like: 

  • Having quiet “me time” every morning
  • Listening to uplifting music
  • Meditating 
  • Telling myself that I love me every day

These kinds of things heal the mind and the soul from what I’ve researched. I’m on Day 2 of getting up early in the morning to write and spend some time with myself and it’s been peaceful. I just need to find consistency and discipline but have compassion and gentleness with myself if I don’t do things exactly the same way every time. I’m sure I can do it 🙂

Thank you for reading and I hope you have a great day. 

Shannon M. 

If you’d like the book for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here. You can also visit Denise Linn’s website here.

Honoring my Mental Health Commitments

Good morning Dear Reader,

“I honor my commitments to myself and others.”

One thing that DK has been working with me on is saying one positive statement about myself everyday. I have to write it down and say it verbally. Per my word, I do this daily. 

Objectively, I think this is a very good thing because I know negative self talk is a big problem for me. Subjectively, it is very hard. The whole “you’re your own worst critic” is painfully true to me. I hold myself to a very high standard and being so rigid with myself leads to a whole vicious cycle.

Admittedly, I’m not truly ready to commit to myself. To say so would be a lie.

For now, I can commit to saying more nice things about me to see where that leads. 

Shannon M. 

If you’d like the book for yourself, you can find it on amazon here. You can also visit Denise Linn’s website here.

Evaluating my Mental Health

Good morning Dear Reader,

“My evaluation of myself is not who I am.”

To keep with this weeks theme, I have a very strong yet negative opinion of myself. I evaluate myself for my flaws, bad thoughts, and negative qualities. I believe that these negative things about myself make me an overall bad person. 

I know that is objectively not true and that is not who I am, but I’m not sure how to make myself feel that on a subjective level. 

One of my mentors pointed out that I am not celebrating the small wins enough. I need to celebrate the small things and recognize the good in me. Though this is a struggle for me, I’m willing to at least try to change for the better. 

Warm Regards,

Shannon M. 

If you’d like the book for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here. You can also visit Denise Linn’s website here

Thought Record Exercise

Good morning Dear Reader,

Sundays are for reflecting. Hopefully you’ve been doing GRAPES this week and reading the affirmations. All of that is really helpful for maintaining your mental health. I think the real healing part is challenging any negative thoughts we have. I think everyone at some point in life has experienced some level of trauma. I think we all carry baggage that may affect how we think and act towards one another. Challenging these experiences, thoughts, and triggers is the key to healing from them. In the CBT program, we had to frequently fill out a “Thought Record”.  You can find many of them online. This one is similar to the one I used in the program.

Step One: You take a negative thought about yourself.

Example: I’m worthless.

Step Two: You write everything that serves as hard-core evidence proving the thought. It can’t be an opinion.

Example: I make mistakes.

Step Three: You analyze each piece of evidence and see if it in fact proves the thought.

Example: Does making a mistake inherently make me worthless? No.

Step Four: You write everything that serves as evidence against the thought. Also not an opinion.

Example: People have relied on me in the past.

Step Five: You ask yourself qualifying questions about the thought.

Example: Based on the evidence, is this statement inherently true? Would I believe this statement is true of my best friend, child, or coworker?

Step Six: You write a new, balanced statement that serves as an affirmation. Repeat this affirmation whenever you have the negative thought again.

Example: Just because I feel worthless, doesn’t mean that I am. I’m not worthless just because I make mistakes.

Now, it may sound too easy. I promise that the more you do this, the more it helps. It is a slower process but it does help clear out the emotional clutter. Suddenly you’ll find the negative thoughts that plagued you everyday replaced with new balanced thoughts. Challenge every bad thought about yourself. If you want to go even further, try to think about where the thoughts come from. What event triggered it initially? What events in your current life trigger these feelings? Are these events connected? These are just a few things to think about.

Warm Regards,



Good evening Dear Reader,
Let me tell you a quick story:
Once upon a time, there was a girl. She was sad all the time but didn’t know why. For years she carried this sadness inside of her and it spread to every area of her life. One day, she went to a place where there were others like her. Others who had the same sadness. Together the practiced a magick spell called GRAPES. Everyday they repeated the spell until one day the girl found the sadness felt a little bit lighter. Day by day the sadness became lighter until it was hardly there at all. The girl realized that happiness had begun to replace the sadness she once felt. And she lived.
Now, I’m going to share the magick spell with you all. The concept of GRAPES is something I learned in a Cognitive Behavioral Program years ago. The basic theory is that your thoughts lead to your feelings. Your feelings then lead to your behaviors. If you can change your behaviors then you can change your life. The purpose of the”spell” is to change both your thoughts and behaviors.
Here’s what it stands for:
G: Gentle. Do something gentle for yourself.
R: Relaxation.
A: Accomplishment. Do one thing. It can be big or small.
P: Pleasure. Do something that pleases you. Something that brings you intense joy.
E: Exercise.
S: Social.
Practice them daily. Be present while doing them. I will go into more depth of each one throughout the week. On Mondays, I’ll go into more depth about gentleness. Tuesdays will focus on relaxation. So on and so forth. I read a great post about it here if your interested. Even if you don’t suffer from any mood disorders, this is a great way to maintain your mental strength. I recommend it to everyone.

Warm Regards,


Week Four-New Things

Good Evening Again Dear Reader,

Last time I opened up to you about a past relationship that had been holding me back. This one will be about my current relationship and how that helps me. I’ll also explain more about that “Healing From Depression” goal I touched upon in the last post.

Let’s skip ahead.

First and foremost, I am a fast learner. So, after dating for a little while, I got some of those…what do you call them?…oh right, standards. I obtained some of those and decided what I want and what I don’t want. I settled down with someone recently and it has been awesome. I know what some of you may be thinking, “isn’t it too soon?” well for me no. When I wasn’t ready I didn’t date. When I was ready to date, I dated. Now I’m ready for a new relationship, so I’m in on. Time is irrelevant. Another thing about me is that even though said events are awful and devastatingly intense, I move on and bounce back very quickly.

Anyway, I’m taking this new relationship more seriously. I actually feel like an equal to this man and it is beyond  wonderful ^_^. We communicate like adults. He loves my body and actually makes me love it more (even the parts that I had been so ashamed about in the past). He inspires me to be better which is awesome.

Just wanted to share that little bit of happiness.

I am mentioning this because this man and my roommate have been trying to help me heal. They explain that I don’t need to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders and it’s okay to be who I am despite what others think.

I’ve been learning a lot from them and that has definitely put me in a better place. This challenge for example, is something that I am using to explore more about myself. I am learning everyday and I gaining a sense of self-worth. It’s awesome.

One thing that I think has helped is keeping positive influences in my circle (my roommate, my bf, my sorority sisters) and eliminating bad influences in my life because at the end of the day, this is MY life. I’m the only one who can live it, and it’s finite. I only have so much time and I don’t want to spend it depressed and on the edge of darkness. I know what brings me to that place so I have a list of things that either keep me from there or help me work through it.

Watching Batman has taught me to always have a plan and a back-up plan. In terms of my depression, I do have that. I won’t lie, sometimes, I turn to alcohol or I withdraw a little, but I am getting much better and I know how to work with myself to have more highs then lows.

One thing that is oddly helpful is wrestling. I know that sounds a little weird but for some reason, that definitely helps me get out my pent up negative feelings. I’ve been practicing with my roommate mostly and it’s really fun. Now, I kinda suck at it since I don’t know many moves but I have so much fun. I’m mentioning this point because everyone tells me that exercise will help my mood. Well, I hate running so doing something I hate probably won’t make me happier and I don’t have weights at home so I can’t have fun that way. However, wrestling is something that I enjoy and I can do in my living room and it is awesome ^_^ So, yea exercise helps, but it doesn’t have to be typical by any means. I mean, if climbing a tree makes you feel good, go climb every tree you can find as often as possible. 🙂

So yes, I do feel healed. I am more productive, have more energy, and am at peace a lot of the times. Peace is priceless so I am very glad to be experiencing it more often.

On Facebook, I’m working on a page called “Depression Wellness Toolbox”. It’s not ready yet, but I want to use it so I can share things that you can keep in your own wellness toolbox (like GRAPES) to help you on those darker days.

This post is a little shorter so I do apologize and I hope you found it helpful. Have a good evening Dear Reader.

Until Next Time,


Week Three-Reflection on The Past

Good Evening Dear Reader,

This post is a little late so sorry about that. It’s a reflection on week three of my 30 Day challenge.

So, I may have mentioned earlier this year that one of my goals for this year was to “Heal From My Depression”. I feel like at this point, it took all year but I have. Let me tell you how that happened.

One of the hardest things I dealt with this past year was breaking up with my boyfriend of 3 years in mid April. It was challenging because I gave my 110% to a man who not only did not appreciate me, but also cheated on and emotionally abused me. After being free from that I realize how much that took out of me.

I won’t name this person Dear Reader but in all honesty, I loved him through it all. Despite the tears and the way that his words crushed me at times I stuck through it…until I found out he was cheating. What bothered me the most about it is that I always tried to make our relationship better. If he didn’t like how I did things, I did them differently. When he didn’t like how “fat” I had gotten, I tried to lose weight. When his mother openly told me to “go kill myself” in February of last year and he told me to get over it, I succeeded (in this past March actually). As well as many other sometimes emotionally cruel things.

My friends asked me many times when they’d see me cry about something he’d said or did “why are you with him?” and at the time I would say “because I love him”. That was true. I did love him…at the same time I was afraid. I was afraid that I’d be broken if we ever broke up. I was afraid that no one would want me (especially since I lost my virginity to this man) or that it would be possible for anyone else to love me.

I’m sharing my story with you only because I want to caution anyone who is in a relationship like that.

If your significant other, makes you feel like you have to change, that is NOT okay.

If they degrade you or make you feel like something is wrong with you, that is NOT okay.

If they use your emotional triggers against you in order to manipulate you, that is NOT okay.

If they touch you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable and won’t stop when asked, that is NEVER okay.

Even if they express kindness towards you, even if they tell you they love you (which may be true), these things are absolutely NOT okay. If they do these things and you talk to them and they will not stop doing them, you need to leave. You know why? Because you are better than that. I don’t care who you are, you don’t deserve to be put down, or made to feel ugly, or used, or abused. Everyone deserves genuine kindness and love. Point. Blank. Period.

In any case, I was afraid to leave because I wasn’t sure if I could handle it. When I found out about the cheating, that was the last straw for me and I broke up with him without thinking. He never apologized or gave an explanation. He came to collect his tv and his car. I told him that I would give him his things and not fight or argue with him, as long as he gave me an explanation. Instead of answering my questions, he called the police because I “wouldn’t give him his stuff back”. When the school police came (I lived on campus at the time) they talked with me and I let my ex take his things. The officer was very nice to me and explained that sometimes people don’t appreciate what they have and he told me I deserved better. That was comforting because, I won’t lie, the moments afterwards were awful…the officer called the school counselor for me and that was a big help because I needed extra support.

This was the suckiest time for this to happen because it was my last semester in college. I was already struggling to not only complete that semester’s work but also some work from the previous semester (you may recall in Sept-Dec when things got really bad for me hence the CBT program) so I really didn’t need heartbreak on the menu. I remember the first 3 weeks I couldn’t really sleep or eat, I left multiple class periods in tears, and I had one of my sorority sisters sleep over every night to make sure I would be okay. It was awful…but I held on because it was temporary. Everyone kept saying it was temporary. I knew in my head that was true but my heart was hurting.

What ultimately helped was contacting my support team. Individuals in my life who said they would be there for me. I talked with them, tried really really hard not to withdraw, and did nice things for myself. GRAPES and anime helped alot too be honest.

In the summer, I decided to date again. It was only 2 months afterwards but I needed the confidence boost because apparently, I am very hot. I am desirable and people think that I’m cute. Not going to lie, this was a shock to find out that people wanted to date me. It was awesome. It’s funny because one thing that would always be asked was “why are you single” and when I said it was due to my man cheating on me, the response was always “he must be stupid”. I found that amusing….at the same time I realize, I am a good woman. I’m a good girlfriend, I am passionate, I am amazing and I deserve a lot more than what I had been getting up until that point.

My dad says that I need to take what I can from my previous relationship and learn.

I wont’ say that there wasn’t any good in it because there was a lot of good, at the same time, I wasn’t happy a lot of the time and I’m learning to put myself first.

Next post, I’ll tell you about more recent events. 🙂

Summary of what I’ve learned.

-I’m awesome.

-I deserve love and kindness.

-No man should treat me like a doormat or an emotional punching bag.

-I’m awesome.

-I need to take better care of myself.


I hope you find strength in this Dear Reader 🙂



30 Days of You

Hello Dear Reader 🙂

This isn’t my typical type of post so please bear with me 🙂

Yes it has been awhile but I am back yet again. If you’ve been following my blog, you already know this past year has not been the greatest for me. You’ve been with me through my ups and downs. You read my posts even though they were very sparing. Some of you even sent me encouraging messages. For that, I thank you. This blog and all of you have helped me heal.

I do want to give you an update. So, I’m not on my medication anymore due to the cost. Don’t fret because I am in a much better place right now and due to my wellness toolbox, I am bouncing back much easier than before. I’ve had my heart broken, I’ve begun a new relationship, I’ve moved from my old place, I’ve graduated college, I’m practicing more self-awareness and overall I am having more peaceful moments.

Now, I won’t lie to you. It was very hard. Very Very Very hard. There were nights during the past few months where I cried my eyes out and didn’t think I was going to make it. I depended on a lot of people to support me and I became discouraged at many intervals. I’m not claiming to be magically healed nor would I insult you all by giving you a step-by-step to recovery (since it’s relative anyway).

However I will say this, I am not at a low. My lows aren’t as low as they used to be and my highs are higher than ever. I can look in the mirror at least 3x a week and smile and say “you are beautiful” and mean it. I am experiencing increased happiness and I am amble to better catch myself in negative thinking instead of ruminating.

What I want to do is to share something with you. I want to help those who have suffered like I have or who are currently suffering. Depression, although it is getting a bit more talked about, is still an illness that is underestimated. It takes lives and robs souls. What I want to do is use my time, talents, and gifts to help others.

One thing that I am doing is inviting people to my Facebook challenge “30 Days of You”. Don’t worry, it’s free. I just want to help others.

The 30 Day Challenge is 30 Days of improvement, healing, support, and growth. The idea is that each participant chooses some goal they want to accomplish and stick with it continuously throughout the 30 Days. The goal can be completely personal, so “practicing self-love techniques for 30 days” or “learning to eat healthier” or “drinking more water”.

For some of you it could even be “get out of bed” or “smile at my reflection” and that’s okay 🙂

I’ve created a page called “30 Days of Fabulous” and the idea is to utilize it as a support system for the participants. So we post pictures, comment, share our stories and support one another in our endeavors. I would invite you to join the group and to join the event.

Ideally, one day I want this to become some sort of campaign or even a movement ^_^ that would be awesome. For now though, I just want to reach as many people as I can and support them to the best of my ability.

I hope if you’re reading this Dear Reader, you will join the event or at least share it with someone else.

Here’s the link to the 30 Days of Fabulous Page:

Here is the link to the 30 Days of You Event:

Sorry for the atypical post but I just had to say that 🙂

Thank you so much Dear Reader and I hope to see some or all of you in the challenge.



Good Evening Dear Reader,

It has been awhile since I last posted. I am happy to say that I am recovering from the depressive episode that I had a few months ago.

If you’ve been following my journey, you already know that I started medication in November. In January, I started a Cognitive Behavioral Program and tomorrow is my last day.

During the program I’ve learned many helpful things and I feel more prepared to handle the lows. This post is a testament to my recovery,

What I’ve learned through the program:
1. I don’t have to be perfect and hold myself to such high standards.
2. I can strive for progress, not perfection.
3, Small steps are better than no steps at all.
4. I am good as I am right now, and I will appreciate all that I do.

Now, I’m not saying that I’m at 100% because I am not. I’m more at 70% but at least I am functioning. A few months ago, I was at 10%. So I did make progress and I’m proud of that.

I am learning to be more gentle with myself. Loving myself is essential to recovery and I try to do small things to be kind to myself: like watch an episode of anime, read an article etc.

I’ve also decided that as a writer, I want to use my writing as an avenue to help people who suffer from this illness as well as inform those with misconceptions about depression.

Although the perfectionist in me wants to go out and try conquering the world, I know that I need to lighten my load and take better care of myself. I mean, I do feel like I am back to the functioning range but at the same time, I think I need to be careful right now.

There are some things I want to share with you Dear Reader. Especially if you suffer from depression. There are 5 steps to recovery.

1. Hope
Always have hope that things will get better. Even on those days when you feel like everything is in turmoil, keep a little hope in your heart.

2. Connection
Connecting with others definitely has kept me from withdrawing/isolating. When I have my lows, I tend to withdraw from everyone (including my loved ones) so to help with that, I schedule social connection time. I call my mom on a daily basis (even for just 5 min), I watch anime with a friend weekly, and I try to have lunch with at least 1 friend each week. This has helped so much.

3. Empowerment
I know that I am searching for things that empower me. I feel empowered when I write (hence the blog) or draw. I try to find empowerment in the little things as well (doing the dishes or making it out of bed more).

4. Self-Responsibility
If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you know that I am a firm believer in doing all that I can to help heal. I was very reluctant to try medication. At the end of the day though, I asked myself “What can I personally do to help me heal?” and “Am I doing all that is necessary to help my recovery?” These questions pushed me towards the medicine, COG program, and self love. I thought I was powerless in this. I felt and believed that depression made me powerless, but that’s not true. There are many things I can do to help heal. I can be nice to myself, I can go to therapy, I can take my meds, etc. I have more power than I feel I do.

5. A Meaningful Life
To be honest, I wasn’t quite clear on this one. In my opinion, this means do things that are meaningful to you. What has meaning for me? I know that writing is very meaningful to me, so I try to do it more often. I know that music is meaningful to me, so I listen to it daily. Things like that.

Sorry for such a long post. I hope anyone finds even a piece of this useful. Don’t get me wrong, I am not claiming at all to be cured of depression. Rather, I am saying I have made progress, and fighting off the episodes is a lot easier since I’ve gained skills to help me manage.

I hope you find this helpful Dear Reader and I hope you have a pleasant evening.