Support! Who Needs Support?!

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The quick answer is everyone.  


Being diagnosed with a mental illness is one of the most difficult things that you can deal with.  When I was diagnosed, I wanted to get as much information as I could possibly get my hands on regarding bipolar disorder.  I wanted to how I could live with it and what I would do to maintain it. I was looking for hope. I found a few articles online and I also found a magazine called BP Hope.  It is a magazine that tells the stories of people who live with bipolar disorder. This what exactly what I needed because I figured if so many others could live successfully with their illnesses, then so could I.  While reading about these awesome people in a magazine were great for me to see, I never found people in real life that I could relate to, who also suffered from some sort of mental health disorder.


My need to connect with others who shared a situation that was similar to me was overwhelming.

I wanted to be around people who were high functioning, had families, careers, and also a mental illness.  I wanted to feel like I was not “abnormal” or the only one in the world who suffered in silence. I wanted a connection, and I was determined to find it.


I searched high and low for a support group that I could attend with people who could relate to me.  I did find a support group, and it was nothing like I expected. Now don’t get me wrong, the people were very nice and they were polite and all of that.  The thing that I did not like about the group was that when I would leave, I felt more sad and depressed than when I arrived. I was always under the impression, that support groups are supposed to help you through your tough time and also offer hope along the way.  That is not what I felt. I felt like I was doomed and that I would live a sad, grim existence based on the folks that I had met in this support group. If I could help it, I never wanted anyone to feel the way I did during my support group experience.


I have created an online support group called the Sanctuary Support Group.  

I created this group to combat the feelings of loneliness, and isolation that I felt so many years ago.  This is a safe place for sharing hope, inspiration and experiences with others who live with a mental health disorder.  The group will meet once a month, and the next meeting is scheduled for January 19, 2019.


For more information on the Sanctuary Support Group Virtual, please visit the link below.  

http://bit.ly/SanctuarySupportVirtual



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Out List: 2019 Edition

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Happy Holiday and Merry Christmas for all of you lovely people!  

We are now officially five days away from the start of 2019. A New Year that will bring us new opportunities and possibilities.  I know that many people are gearing up for the the New Year and will be making resolutions and pacts with yourself that will start once the clock strikes 12!  LOL! Just kidding.

Last year I created what I called the “Out List 2018 Edition”.

These were the things that I was no longer willing and available to participate in for sake of my own mental health and peace of mind.  While I am not a person who makes resolutions, I do like to set my intentions for the new year and have some clarity on where I am headed for the year to come.

My list from last year was comprehensive and contained 16 items that I was no longer willing to participate in.  I have to say that with all of the work that I have done personally on myself, I am proud that I was able to adhere to many of the items on the list.  So without further adieu, here is the Out List 2019 Edition.


2019 Out List

Fear

Energy Vampires

Lack of Inspiration

Unfulfilling relationships

Lack of Rest

Instability

Ignoring My Intuition

Perfectionism


I have learned so many things over this last year.  Too many to recall right here. But one of the important things that I have learned is that this is MY life to lead and that I truly do know what is best for me.  I just have to take some time, and look within to find those things. And you can you! So tell me, what is on your Out List for 2019?


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How Beautiful Brain Collective Came to Be

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Back in 2014

I was diagnosed with generalized disorder and bipolar disorder.  When my psychiatrist diagnosed me, I was in a state of shock. What was this “mental” illness that I had just been labeled with.  There was no way that a person like me, could have a mental illness. I have to admit, I was uninformed about mental illness and who it affected.  I was a smart, hardworking, creative young mother. How in the hell was I going to be able to tell people about this. It was something that I did not want to admit to myself, much less tell other people about it.


When I got over the initial shock of my diagnosis,

I decided to do some research on my own.  This thing could not be as bad as everyone had made it out to be. I was determined to get as much information as I could.  I did a lot of research on anxiety and bipolar disorder. I read up on the illnesses and I also looked for people who were living with the illness and doing well.  It was discouraging to not see as many people as you had hoped talking about their lives despite bipolar disorder and anxiety.

What I did pick up in my research was how important it was to have support systems and the benefit of  going to support groups. It would be a good way for people with similar circumstances to discuss their trials and tribulations despite having a mental illness.  I was determined to find a support group in my area that I could go to and talk to people who I thought would get me.


My first visit to the mental health support group in my area made me feel uneasy.  

There were a lot of middle aged, mainly Caucasian men in attendance who spoke about their illnesses.  The mood of the room and the group in general was very sad and depressing and to be quite honest, I was one of the younger people in the group and felt like no one there would be able to understand me and how I was feeling.  I didn’t write the group off completely. I went back for a second meeting. I decided to give it a chance. I desperately wanted the group to work for me so I went back. Let me just say that the second meeting was worse. I felt worse than I did after the first meeting.  I was depressed and I felt like I was doomed. I would not be able to live a normal life with my anxiety and bipolar disorder because the people in the group did not appear to me that they were thriving. Just merely surviving.


Last year I decided to start Beautiful Brain Collective.  

I wanted to help people who lived with mental illnesses who had jobs, families and were deemed high-functioning.  My mission has always been to show others who have mental illnesses that they can live a great life despite a diagnosis.  I have been on my recovery/stability journey for a year and a half, and I must say I have never felt better. This does not mean that there will not be difficult times, or that hard work will not be required, but I am here to tell you that recovery is possible!!!!!


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Everyday Warriors: Stephanie Mitchell Hughes

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There is no secret that I am passionate about talking about mental health.  

My journey started back in 2014 when I was diagnosed. For years I thought that I was the only one in the world who suffered from a mental health disorder.  I had gone through a range of emotions trying to figure out where I “fit in” as I navigated my way through life while dealing with a mental illness. I am always amazed and intrigued when I meet and talk to other strong, brave men and women who are thriving and surviving despite their mental health disorders.

This brings me to the reason of this post.  

I met a woman named Stephanie Mitchell Hughes on Instagram a few months ago. She is amazing!  She is a mother, attorney, speaker, and she also lives with a mental illness.  She is very passionate about helping others and spreading the word about mental health and mental illness.  I want share a podcast from the American Bar Association Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs (CoLAP) in which the talks about her mental illness and how she was able to find recovery and stability.  

The link to her story is below.

https://soundcloud.com/aba-colap/aba-colap-voices-of-recovery-podcast-series-episode-7-featuring-stephanie-mitchell-hughes

Please take some time to listen to this enlightening, and inspirational account.  

There are so many pearls of wisdom, and I know that you will find her story powerful.   


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Sunday's Are For......?

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For years I was on the go a lot.  

I was going here and going there. Making plans with this one and then planning something else with another one. It was non- stop.  I thought that on my days off I had to take advantage and to me that meant that I had to be constantly on the go. On my off days, I had to be “on”.  It is amazing how much your perspective can change over the course of a couple of months, or even a year.


This past year has been a year of great exploration and transformation.  

I am so grateful for that. I have come to terms with the fact that I am an introvert.  I have also come to terms with what I need to be in charge of my mental health. As an introvert, I need time to recharge and recover from the energy that I expel when I am out around loads of people.  There is nothing wrong with this. This is just who I am and I have come to accept this fact. I also know that when I do too many activities, I need to rest! Everyone has different remedies that make them feel better, the key is to find what works for you.


Now that I know and accept this part of myself, I can manage myself and my expectations accordingly.  This is an act of self- awareness, self-compassion, and the ultimate act of self-love. Figuring out who you are and what makes you tick is half the battle.  


I love Sunday’s!

Those are the days that I reserve for quiet time at home to rest and recharge. I work on content, catch up on my TV shows, prepare meals for the week and I stay at home and relax and connect with my spiritual self.  I love it. This is the needed when the rest of the week can be so busy.


I encourage you to take some time for yourself and just rest.  You need it and you deserve it. Your body will thank you and so will your brain!


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