Blogging About Mental Health

The Mixed Review

Meet Kya

Kya partnered up with us to support Mental Health Awareness month in May. She featured a few of our staff's posts on her blog  The Mixed Review as well as a powerful photo series on various mental health disorders.
We asked Kya to share her thoughts on incorporating mental health into her blog.

The Mixed Review Blog

When I decided to start my blog, The Mixed Review, I really had no idea what I was doing. I still don’t really know, to be honest. I just knew that I needed a creative outlet. Going from being an American Studies major in college and writing a disgusting amount of papers, to a second-degree nursing program made me realize that I actually liked writing and missed it.

As I’ve gotten older and experienced more, I’ve realized that helping others is the root of my happiness. I naturally share my experiences with people (sometimes they ask for it, sometimes I take it upon myself to tell them regardless) especially products I have tried, places I have traveled and anything else I think people would like to know. I decided instead of constantly texting my friends about these things, I would take it to a public forum and possibly help more people find products, places, and clothes they love. In my mind, this was going to be an easy transition from casual texting to writing on the internet where literally anyone can read it. Not exactly true.

My main objective with The Mixed Review is to be honest, genuine, and authentic. With social media being so huge and living in a consumer based society, it’s very easy to but a filter on everything. We are constantly being inundated with pictures of people’s perfect life, ways to change our lives to make them more perfect, lose weight, make our hair longer, get tanner skin, and the list goes on forever. There are things I have seen on social media that I never even thought about being an issue with my body or my life and I immediately questioned my worth because of an ad or something telling me that it was something that “needed” to be changed.  This can be incredibly tolling for anyone and especially for people who already suffer from mental health disorders.

I have suffered from OCD since about 8th grade that has manifested into a mixed of generalized anxiety and bipolar II disorder. Lucky me! I am constantly wondering why mental health is treated so differently than physical health. Most physical diseases are talked about with few issues while mental health is seen as taboo still. I complain a lot about this issue and the fact that it’s so much easier to show your highlight reel to the world than it is to show them your daily struggles. There have been so many times that I look at influencers who have tens or hundreds of thousands of followers and are just showing their highlights, and it upsets me. It hit me recently that I’m part of the problem. I can’t complain about people with a platform not talking about the hard stuff if I’m not also willing to talk about the hard stuff. I decided that adding a mental health element into The Mixed Review was the next logical step.

I was all excited to tell my story but quickly realized that I couldn’t just kind of spring these stories on my readers and followers. It just didn’t make sense to me to put a story about mental health in between a post about my favorite jeans and my favorite face mask. It deserves more than that. Thankfully, I decided to make this transition in late March and learned that Mental Health Awareness Month was coming up in May. This was the perfect way to segue into including mental health posts on The Mixed Review.

I sat down and started to write my story and journey with mental health. I quickly realized that I could only do just that, tell my story. My story is only mine and in the grand scheme of things, my experiences are such a small sampling of what goes into mental health diagnoses, treatment and occurrences. This is how I decided to reach out to other bloggers, influencers, and artists to share their stories and mental health journeys. I got a pretty overwhelming response and was so happy to know that people wanted to tell their stories. Some of them didn’t feel like their own personal blog was the place to share while others share mental health topics regularly. This greatly broadened the scope of mental health diagnoses that could be covered by this series and in different ways. Some people respond better to images than they do to writing and different writing styles conjure different feelings for each individual.

I am so happy that I was able to do use Mental Health Awareness Month to do this series. Writing about how I feel and what I have experienced has been way more therapeutic for myself than I could have ever imagined. I think there is a lot of power in understanding what others are through and adds to the human experience. We all experience things differently, but are never alone. I think that is just amazing and powerful, human connectivity is what keeps us going when life can really suck. Keep going and reach out, there is always help out there and someone wanting to help you survive. You are enough, no matter what social media and advertising tells you. We’re all on this journey together, even though our stories are unique.

The Mixed Review Blog

Honoring Memorial Day and Veteran's Mental Health

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Today is Memorial Day and the last #MentalHealthMonday for May (Mental Health Awareness Month). Veterans are highly at risk for mental illnesses because of the stressful situations and trauma they have been exposed to. Unfortunately, the stigma surrounding mental illnesses sometimes prevent the proper and adequate care for veterans. Let us think and honor those who have served our country, currently serving, and all work towards stomping the stigmas to enrich our lives.

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Animal Therapy

They say a dog is a man’s best friend, but did you know there are so many scientific studies that back up the mental health benefits of companionship of animals— even farm animals? A study done in 2008 by Berget et al., shows that animal assisted therapy with farm animals had a significant increase in self-efficacy and quality of life in the treatment group of various mental disorders. Give a furry friend (or friends!) some love today. 💞🐴🐶🐱🐰🐮🐹🐷🐭🐔

Let’s Talk About Music

For this week’s #MentalHealthMonday, let’s talk about music. Why does music evoke emotions from people? Researchers at McGill University have established a connection between music and dopamine, which is a chemical in the brain that is linked with the feeling of pleasure and joy. Because the effects of music is strongly correlated to neurochemistry, music is also being used throughout the country as therapy to aid in processing grief, trauma, and various emotions, as well as different mental illnesses.

We recognize the amazing effect of music and celebrate it at our annual PeteFest music festival, where people come together to celebrate life through music and community. 🎵🎶💚

Picture credits: Kris Kass and Michael Kearns

Let's Talk About Support

For our very first #MentalHealthMonday, let’s talk about support.

According to numerous studies done on social support and its effects, such as one by Ozbay and et al., in 2007, there is a strong indication that social support is “essential for maintaining physical and psychological health.” It may be hard to recognize that there is support and help around you with a mental illness, but there is always help.

We’ve redone our Support page to add helpful descriptions to each source and organization so you can find the one that helps you and/or your friends best! We hope you have a wonderful Monday, and tune in next time again for #MentalHealthMonday! 💚

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental Health Monday

Happy May! May is the National Mental Health Awareness Month. Everyday, take a moment to stop what you’re doing to evaluate yourself mentally and give yourself and your mind a break. Also, tune in every Monday of this month for #MentalHealthMonday for tips, info, and positive vibes. 💚💚💚