Woman holding cardboard sign that says What lessens one of us lessens all of us

Micheile Henderson

First  of all, I’d like to say that I rarely get political on my social media or blog. There’s a reason for that. Storytime:

Way back in the day, when George W. Bush (the young one) was president and we were at war with Iraq after 9/11, my then boyfriend did something…shall we say…foolish. You see, this was a time before Twitter or even Facebook.

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Hi Friends!

Long time, no see! Unless you are following me on social media, then you have seen a little bit of me 😉

First and foremost, in case you haven’t heard, I was a little busy in my absence…

Image from Sarah's point of view, looking down at her pregnant belly and holding an ultrasound photo of her baby.

Why did I disappear?

I felt the same when I was first pregnant with Wade. The hormones of early pregnancy triggered a depressive episode that was overwhelming.

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white background with purple letters spelling out the hashtag 21 day Self Talk Reboot

 

I started doing daily affirmations in May of 2017. Wade was almost 2 months old. I was managing my mental illness without medication, and it wasn’t going well. Postpartum depression had a stranglehold on me and breastfeeding got off to a rocky start (who the heck knew Raynaud’s Syndrome on your nipples was a thing???) I was trying to cling to all of my mindfulness training. Trying,

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Self-Care. It is thrown around a lot in the mental health space, usually hashtagged with pictures of people using rainbow unicorn bath bombs. Not to diss on rainbows, unicorns, or bath bombs, but self-care is a lot more (and usually a lot less) than that. Sometimes self-care is having an impromptu dance party of one. In the kitchen. Might as well have a snack and hydrate while you’re there. Sometimes it’s simply remembering to shower in the morning.

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Sarah wearing shorts and a crop top, facing away from the camera but looking back over her shoulder and smilingWe have all seen the Sponsored Instagram posts of perfectly sculpted bodies glistening with sweat, holding a smoothie shaker cup and inviting you to join their “team” so that you, too, can achieve the ever elusive “body love.”

But what is “body love,” and how can you get it?

 

I read an interesting blog post by The Militant Baker and she talks about why she uses the term “body liberation” instead of “body love.” I have shared it with several friends because the message resonated with me and it made me re-examine what I’m referring to as “body love.”

Let’s make something perfectly clear.
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Pink garage door with the words, "You are going to be fine" painted on it, and a person laying on the ground next to it.

I’m struggling.

The energy required to create content can be exhausting. I have a severe, chronic mental illness. I’m raising three children, struggling to keep my apartment somewhat clean, and posting on Instagram. I also built a social network and community forum into this site, which was no easy task. (Click here to request to join)

I’m barely keeping all of that manageable, yet I feel like I’ve hugely neglected my writing,

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How is it May already?! I would have forgotten if it weren’t for all the Justin Timberlake “IT’S GONNA BE MAY” memes on Instagram. Sigh… Mom life.

I wanted to try something different for the month of May. I was inspired by Amber Allen of The Fairly Local Vegan and her No Spend Challenge videos. While I don’t think the No Spend Challenge in it’s true spirit is not feasible for us (at least not right now),

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Parenting is universally difficult. FOR REAL. These tiny minions you created are SO NEEDY! I think everyone can relate to the struggle of having a pack of wolves running around you while you are sick, still having to take care of everyone’s needs while also taking care of yourself so you can heal. It’s challenging, some things fall temporarily by the wayside, but in a few days you start feeling a little more human and in a week or so life is back to normal…but what about when you are suffering from depression?

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I wanted to die this morning…
…but I don’t now.

I was extremely depressed earlier. Bipolar doesn’t work like one minute I’m depressed and the next I’m happy. This is my life–an ongoing cycle. It comes in waves lasting at least several days but can be several weeks or even months.

This particular depressive episode seemed like it was fading into memory… Until someone was unkind and quite frankly cruel and all the insecurity and self-loathing came back to say,

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A depression episode during the winter is normal. I’ve come to expect it. It’s like clockwork. It’s not just a Bipolar disorder thing either… Seasonal affective disorder affects many. The cloudy days and longer nights limit our vitamin D production and leave many of us feeling more than gloomy. Couple that with family issues or terrible memories from past holiday seasons and it’s not surprising that the “most wonderful time of the year” is less wonderful and more of a shitfest.

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