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This is the story of how I began a lifestyle of kindness. I befriended a homeless family, talked to strangers in the airport, and learned to get out of my comfort zone. 
The struggles of motherhood when living with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can leave you debilitated. Picture this: it's the crack of dawn, and the sun has yet to rise. You awaken from your slumber because, according to the youngest child, "It's wake up time." The kids are ready to watch a slew of morning cartoons, argue about who got the most cereal, and then leave the same bowl of soggy half-eaten Frosted Flakes on the table next to a trail of milk. Kid number one can't find the Legos they hid from kid number two, so a meltdown erupts--and it's only 6:55 a.m. The rest of the morning goes something like, "Mom, don't forget to pack my lunch," and a whiny, "Mom, I want fruit snacks, too," so the monster mother I told myself I wasn't going to be today emerges. Quickly, my little reserve of patience begins waning. Now I'm yelling, overwhelmed, and to add to the stress, late dropping kid number one off at school--as always.
Many of us who are diagnosed with depression struggle with loving ourselves. We might feel the sting of stigma, whether it's from others, from within us, or from a combination of both. As individuals with depression, some of us deal with negative thoughts, which can make it difficult to foster feelings of love towards ourselves. How can we overcome these challenges and learn to love ourselves?
Stim toys are a way of life for some of us with dissociative identity disorder (DID). If you’re living with a mental health condition such as DID, you might already know how important it is to have stim toys ready and waiting to be used whenever you need to get grounded. How does using stim toys help people with DID, and what is stimming?
Body dissatisfaction is a part of Behcet's disease for me, and it's easier to talk about Behcet's disease than my body dissatisfaction and disordered eating. 
Mantras for eating disorder recovery work for me. For example, I don't meditate. I have trouble sitting still for more than a few seconds. Even when I do yoga, it's the sweat until you vomit sort, not the calm, restorative kind. All this is to say the idea of mantras do not come easily to me, but using mantras for eating disorder recovery has been a powerful and subtle tool that helps me overcome negative thinking.
Are you using old coping mechanisms that no longer serve you? Coping mechanisms are habits and behaviors that we use in order to cope with problems we can't necessarily solve. For instance, if you have to take a big test and it gives you tremendous anxiety, you can't just not take the test or simply stop being anxious. Instead, you need to cope with your anxiety to get through the experience. But what happens when the old coping mechanisms we use actually start causing problems instead of solving them?
Does exercise help you cope with anxiety? You've heard it before. You've been told to exercise to help your anxiety. But how are you supposed to do that when you have a million things on your mind? You don't get much sleep, you are often moody, and you can't seem to concentrate on anything. Exercise is the last thing you are thinking about and the last thing you want to do.
Many know the difficulty of dealing with mental health stigma, but there are also situations where a person might end up facing layers of stigma. This changes what it's like to deal with mental health stigma overall.
Visualization and guided imagery can relieve the feeling of being stuck in your head that depression and anxiety can cause. It can be dark and scary there. By using visualization and guided imagery, you can temporarily escape all of your negative thoughts and stress at the present moment. To learn about how you can benefit from visualization and guided imagery, read this article.

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Comments

Lizanne Corbit
This is such a beautifully expressed read. I love the whole concept of gently and genuinely supporting your friend. One piece in particular that I have to make mention of is the idea that it is not your job to "fix" your friend. This is something so many of us can easily shift into without even really realizing we're doing, the "fix it" mood. This naturally happens because we care and want to make the other person feel better but what we really need to do is hold space, the fixing can make the other person inherently feel like they are a problem to be fixed, and this is of course not what you're trying to convey. Thank you for sharing!
Lizanne Corbit
I love this read! What an amazing testament to the power of shifting our perspective. I love this takeaway: "When I face difficult situations at work, I feel like I have a reservoir of self-belief and strength because I've seen how much positive change I can achieve in just a few years. " How amazing to look at our experiences with things like fear and anxiety and see the other side of the coin with them (so to speak). I think this is something many people can not only relate to but benefit from. Thank you for sharing your experience here.
Lizanne Corbit
This is such a well-crafted read about something that is so true, but probably not realized by many. The "confession" energy around discussing mental health is very real. This may be one of those things that we feel but don't really put a name to, thinking about in terms of a confession really provides a clear lense for how this can be negative and why a shift in perspective is needed. Wonderful read.
Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC
Hi Laura,
I have found that practicing mindfulness helps me be comfortable not only with silence, but with myself in situations like these. To make it possible for me to pay attention to what is going on rather than on my thoughts about it or on my anxiety and discomfort, I ground myself. You might find that helpful, too (it does take a while to get used to). Try placing both feet firmly on the ground, and notice the feel of the floor beneath your feet. Breathe slowly and deeply (even deep breathing can be done quietly so you don't feel like you're drawing attention to yourself). Don't try to force thoughts, but just notice your feet planted and your body breathing. Then, let yourself find a focal point and concentrate on that, noting shapes, colors, etc. Grounding yourself this way calms your mind and body and allows you to gently turn your attention to the moment at hand. When you catch your anxiety climbing again (as you know, anxiety tends to do that!), do the grounding exercise again to re-center, then return to the moment. The idea isn't to force thoughts out of your mind but to clear your mind so you can be fully present in your moment.
Shirley
You all are my kindred spirits! I’ve had noise sensitivity since birth. I’ve always felt like an oddball. I don’t know anyone personally who feels as I do. I think I’m one of these Highly Sensitive People. I buy foam earplugs in bulk and use when I vacuum, sometimes when I sleep, or when there is more outside noise than usual. Fireworks at July 4 and New Year’s are the worst. I try to find a town to visit where fireworks use is limited or banned. I can understand people using fireworks on these two holidays but the rude people in the community where I live set them off at random other times of the year. People who blast their vehicle audio systems (boom boom boom) are the rudest of the rude. Being stuck at a traffic light with these jerks is hellish. I’m looking for a quiet place to retire.