struggle

Thoughts on Words, Support, and Culture

Hello, beautiful darlings,

Is it just me or has this felt like the looonngggessst week ever? I’m getting so sick of shutdowns and being trapped at home and not being able to function like a normal human being. Ughhhh…

Anywho. Today I wanted to jump straight in and have a little chat about mental illness and a few of the things that really affect it, especially right now. Heavy subject matter maybe, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about lately.

Over the last ten years or so, possibly longer if I could remember, I’ve heard comments from all sorts of people about how mental illness must just be laziness or some other such nonsense.

“It’s all in your head.”

“Have you tried NOT being depressed?”

“You have nothing to worry about, your life is great!”

“You must not be trying hard enough. If you do X, you’ll get over it more quickly.”

“I know someone who did X and they’re totally normal now!”

Ad nauseam, on and on and on again.

Please. Just. Stop. It.

I’m begging you.

First of all, mental illness is just that. An illness. Would you say those same things to someone who was suffering from a physical medical diagnosis? I’m willing to bet that you would not. Well, some people might, but most people wouldn’t. Not only that, but mental illness is not considered an acute illness. There is such a thing as situational depression or anxiety that is caused by a traumatic event, of course, but the majority of cases are CHRONIC. Meaning that there are good phases, there are bad patches, and there’s everything in between. We keep keeping on, doing the things that help keep us in the good places and move on.

Trying to find the support that is truly needed is hard. I personally have a very small number of people that I would consider reaching out to during a really rough patch. I may write about it all on here, but 9 times out of 10, I’m writing about the experience after the worst is over.

Mental willpower is something that people misunderstand, though, and that seems to play into a lot of the bizarre comments that I and many other folks with mental issues have received. Religious communities tend to give pat answers like “pray harder!” or “if you have enough faith/trust, God will release you from your illness.” I’m sorry, but that just isn’t the case! Of course, I believe that God has the power to take away our struggles and our ailments – that not what I’m saying at all. The problem with these answers is that they’re pretty and easy. They put all the blame at the feet of the suffering individual. And we’re not meant to go through things all alone, we’re meant to go through them together, with community and encouragement and love.

The other thing that contributes to a lot of this problem is simply the culture that we have right now. The world is lonely. We have social media and memes and entertainment at our fingertips, and we’re always working and running from this place to the next. We have no true connection. We don’t have people that we do life with on a basic, emotional level. Like I said, we’re meant as humans to have a community. We’re not meant to go through life alone. And I’m not talking romantically alone, I mean having meaningful friendships and relationships that you cultivate and nurture.

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Photo by DJ Johnson on Unsplash

Trust me, I am preaching myself more than anyone right now. I have failed my friends in so many ways. I have pushed people away, and I struggle every single day just to text people back when they reach out. Nobody said that the things that we truly need would be easy to find. They take work and believe me when I say that I am SO awful at searching for community and friendship. But the times that I push through and actually try? Those are the moments that I really treasure and hold close.

That’s my little rant for the day, and reading back over this, I realize that I’ve glossed over a lot of deep topics that could very easily be turned into their own posts – so I guess that will probably happen in the future. All I’m trying to say right now is think about how powerful words can be and how important we are to each other.

What do you think? Is this something that you think about and struggle with too? I would love to hear other people’s thoughts on these ideas. 🙂


Love, kindness, and so many hugs!

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Posted by katharine_marie in Anxiety, Depression, General, Life in 2020, mental health, 0 comments

Coping Mechanisms: Thoughts on Meditation

Hi lovely people and dreamers!

I’m so behind with everything right now, but I’m still managing to show up at some point, right? The Tiny Princess hasn’t been quite herself this week, which means I haven’t had much time for anything else the last few days.

2020 hasn’t been the year any of us thought it would be, and it’s not always easy to let that go. I’ve been doing a lot of meditating lately as a way to sift through my feelings and calm my anxiety. It’s not the easiest thing all the time – my brain likes to run a million miles a minute and finding the focus for meditation isn’t always easy.

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Emptying Your Mind is a Misleading Phrase

It’s hard to empty your mind of everything, and often, the way that people talk about meditation makes it seem like that is the only way to meditate: clear your mind and relax, or something like that. And I had a difficult time with that because there is no earthly way to clear my mind – at least none that I’ve figured out yet anyways.

Instead, I’ve found it helpful to find something to fidget with – something with texture to keep my fingers busy is great – close my eyes and just practice acknowledging my thoughts. I don’t focus on anything in particular, I just take note of the things that come through my mind, and then move on. It’s not as easy as it sounds and I’m definitely not very good at it yet, but it’s actually been very helpful in reducing my anxiety on bad days.

On days that it’s hard to even do what I just described, I’ll find an affirmation, Scripture, or inspirational phrase/word and focus on that instead. It gives my brain something to analyze and work on while still practicing that mental focus.

Silence, Sounds, Solitude

It’s hard to find uninterrupted time to myself right now with a 9-month-old baby roaming the house. I’m very lucky that she takes fairly consistent naps, so at least I can time my 10-15 minutes of meditation more easily. But I still have the baby monitor in the room and just knowing that its there can take away from my focus. It’s not easy, and that’s just the season I’m in right now, but it’s still important to take care of myself, so I’ve been trying to make it happen anyways.

The baby monitor we have vibrates when she starts to cry, so I’ve been able to turn the volume all the way down while still knowing that I won’t miss anything if she needs me. That helps quite a bit. Locking the cats out of the room helps too since sitting still always looks like an invitation for them to come and sit on my lap. Claws in my leg are not exactly helpful!

But even perfect silence is still not always the best. I think it causes me to start listening even harder for something to disrupt my mental focus – the irony of that is a little annoying. I definitely do best with some sort of sound, whether it’s white noise or music. I use an app called Insight Timer, and it allows me to add a gong or bell sound at preset intervals throughout my meditation session – sounds like a weird thing maybe, but I’ve found that hearing a specific noise every 30 seconds or so helps me refocus my mind again instead of accidentally getting lost somewhere along the way.

Practice and Forcing It

I’m the worst when it comes to just relaxing and letting things go at their own pace. I have to see improvement quickly or I get frustrated. This is something I’m working on in a lot of areas of my life, but I find that it’s more difficult with certain things. Meditation is one of them – it sounds too easy when in fact, it’s quite difficult.

It took several attempts over several months for me to actually understand that this was something I was going to have to practice as well. Just like drawing: my hands don’t automatically know how to create a recognizable picture. My brain doesn’t necessarily know how to focus and find the clarity that I’m looking for. So meditation is something that requires practice as well. And practice can not be rushed or forced.


This week I’ve been brainstorming and researching some new coping mechanisms beyond writing – I have a tendency to rely solely on the one and it doesn’t always work out so well. So I may be writing more on different self-care and coping strategies in the near future as I experiment and try some new things out!


Love, light, and a heaping dose of kindness,

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Posted by katharine_marie in Anxiety, Depression, General, Life in 2020, Lifestyle, mental health, 2 comments

Therapy Experience

Hello beautiful humans and dreamers,

I’ve spent the last week in a lot of thought, taking in the social situations that the world has been dealing with. I’ve been listening, learning, understanding more and more about other people. It’s been fascinating, saddening, enlightening, and a whole host of other things, but I’m happy, in a way, that people are actually having hard conversations and standing up for other people. I have felt the need to stay quieter than normal, to allow others the chance to speak while I listen, and it’s been a much needed time period. I’m going to return to my regular posting schedule now, with a lot more awareness and empathy.

The easiest way to describe my blog lately would be as a mental health platform. I use it mainly to talk about ways to deal with mental health issues, to advocate for better care, break stereotypes, and create more dialogue about these chronic issues that plague our society. Just under 50 percent of all Americans will experience mental illness in some form during their lifetimes, yet there is still an immense amount of stigma surrounding their experiences.

One of the starting points for most people dealing with mental illness should be to see a counselor, therapist, or psychologist. But less than 35% of people will actually take that step. And many people, even if they do see a counselor or psychologist, will avoid talking about it to others because they are afraid of being judged.

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I saw a mental health counselor while I was at university. I went almost every week for about four months. I was finally referred to a wonderful facility after the Tiny Princess was born, and started seeing my current therapist approximately 2-3 months postpartum.

Even though I had been in therapy before, it was difficult to go back. It was just as hard for me to take that step and accept that the extra help was actually needed. Now that I’ve been going regularly for almost 6 months, it’s a lot easier to discuss with others.

Going to see someone is not a cure. Not in any way, shape, or form. Some psychologists or psychiatrists do prescribe medications or other therapies that can help, but right now there are no true “cures” for mental illnesses. That is a whole different topic, however…

There are plenty of times when I don’t feel like going (or logging on, in the current COVID situations, all my sessions are through video chat) or I think that “oh! I had a good week, I don’t need to talk to her yet.” In reality, sometimes those are the most productive and important sessions of all. When I’ve had a good week, it can be incredibly insightful to talk to someone who can decipher what was different and how I can replicate that in the future. On the days I “don’t feel like it,” she can encourage me to work through those feelings and come out on the other side with new strategies and fresh motivation. It doesn’t really matter what mindset I have going into a session though because it’s always good to be able to talk to someone who is there to listen without judgment and is 100% focused on helping me find a way through it.

It’s easy to think that going to see a counselor or therapist means giving up on yourself. It’s easy to think that you’ve failed and can no longer do things on your own. In reality, it’s the complete opposite. It takes strength to say “I need help.” It takes courage to face the issues in your mind and work your way through them and having someone to coach you through that struggle can only help.

Everyone faces different struggles and each of our minds work just a little bit differently, but I can honestly say that seeing someone who is trained in mental health can be the first step towards understanding yourself a little bit better. I might not have regular panic attacks or be drowning in depression like I was in the past, but the benefits that I’ve seen from my weekly sessions are enormous nonetheless.

I’m going to write up some more informative posts in the future about finding a therapist and possibly tips for getting the most out of a session, but for now, I simply wanted to share my experience.


Love, light, and kindness, particularly to those currently being oppressed,

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Posted by katharine_marie in Anxiety, Depression, General, Life of a Writer, Lifestyle, mental health, 0 comments

Win the Battle

Hello my lovely dreaming readers!

I talk a lot about how depression is a rough road with a lot of ups and downs. And every word of it is true. The struggle of managing a mental health issue is never a straight line, its always a zigzagging path and you never really know what’s coming next.

But time and time again there’s always one idea that comes back into my mind. I’m honestly not even sure when or where I first saw or read it. Probably on some blog somewhere. Wherever it came from, it always provides some small degree of comfort and hope.

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You’ve won every battle so far.

Maybe it doesn’t seem like a super profound idea, but the first time I saw it, my mind was definitely blown. I happened upon it when I was in a deep dark hole and there seemed to be no way out. I was despairing, there was no hope, and I was ready to give in. While those words didn’t pave the way out of my darkness, they reminded me that I had been at this point before, sometimes even deeper.

And I had won those battles. Every single one of them.

I had come out the other side, usually stronger. I had battled depression and won, more times than I cared to count.

And that thought was, and still is, the thought that kept me going. Kept me fighting for the light at the other end of the tunnel.

Because if I had won this battle before, what was stopping me from winning it this time?


Maybe these words don’t strike you as strong as they did me. Maybe this is your first time fighting this battle so you can’t resonate the same way. But depression will never be stronger than you. It will never be stronger than the power of love.

It is an incredibly hard battle to fight, but it is not impossible. Not as long as you keep fighting.


As always, with the power of love and kindness,

Katharine Marie

Posted by katharine_marie in Depression, mental health, 0 comments