We aren’t going to Ask for Help

People always say things like, “Don’t be ashamed to ask for help.” Or, “If you’re feeling depressed, get help.”

This isn’t bad advice. And, it almost always comes from a good place. Here’s the thing, though: if you’re really struggling with depression and/or severe anxiety, you’re most likely NOT going to be asking for help.

It’s not out of stubbornness or because of pride. It’s just a side effect of depression. It makes you lie to people. It makes you put on a front to let everyone think you’re doing fine, when you are not fine inside your mind at all.

Depression can follow a person every second of the day. Just because you see someone laughing and being social, doesn’t mean their depression isn’t lurking. It’s a disease that’s always there. A smile can hide a lot of pain. Emotions go deeper than a “surface” smile.

You cannot wait for someone with depression to ask you for help. You have to watch for the signs. You have to offer help. That can be in the form of a, “just checking on you” message, or a coffee date.

Little gestures may not seem like they’re breaking down walls, but sometimes those small acts of kindness are the only thing getting a person through the day.

It’s important to understand sufferers of depression aren’t weak, angry, or selfish. They’re just going through something. Love and support go a long way.

Don’t wait for a cry for help. Be the out-of-the-blue help a person may need. You never know the difference you can make.

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I’m Loving Me.

Listen, there is NOTHING wrong with having self love. There’s nothing wrong with having confidence and taking pride in yourself. Don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise.

I’ve struggled with insecurities. So many of them. I will never lie and say otherwise. Confidence has never been a strength of mine.

I’m a social butterfly that dreads meeting new people and going to new places because of low self-esteem and social anxiety.

I always feared that people would see me the way I see myself in the mirror.

But, I’m putting this mentality behind me now. I’m checking my insecurities at the door.

I am who I am. I struggle with my weight. I have dark circles under my eyes. I don’t like my smile. But, I am so much more than that.

I’m a wife. A friend. A daughter. A sister. A believer. A photographer. A lover of all people. These qualities far outweigh my own insecurities.

I’m loving me. I’m loving me for all I am, and all I have to offer. And, you love you for all you have to offer, too. We’ll get through our insecurities together.

It’s time to start looking in the mirror and seeing past our flaws. It’s time to start seeing everything that makes us unique and beautiful. It’s time to embracing ourselves.

I’m preaching to myself here, too. It’s time to take my own advice.

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A Thank You to those that Love Someone with Anxiety.

To those of you married to someone with an anxiety disorder, the parents, the siblings, the friends supporting people with a mental illness: this is for you.

I think it takes a special kind of person to love someone with anxiety, unconditionally.

As someone that has anxiety, I know just how much patience it takes to deal with loving me. It takes understanding, and a kind heart.

If you are loving someone through their mental illness, you are more of a hero than you know. Every hug, late night talk, and reassuring smile makes us feel a little more normal again.

To those of you that sit in silence with us when we can’t find the words: you are speaking volumes.

To those of you that treat us like a normal human being, because that’s what we are: you make us feel sane.

To those of you that take the time to actually listen when we just need an ear: you’re helping us to get our emotions and feelings off our chests.

Living with a mental illness can be frustrating, challenging, lonely, and sometimes unbearable. But, having at least one person that knows just what to do, can make a huge difference in our lives.

You may not understand why we are the way we are, but you love us anyway. And, that is impressive. You will probably get aggravated with us. (Hell, we get aggravated with ourselves!) But, you don’t leave. You always stick by us. And, that is impressive. You show us compassion, even on the days we don’t want it. And, that is impressive.

YOU are impressive.

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Why Treating Yourself is Important

Treating yourself is essential for good mental health.

I’m not talking about spending $1,000 at your local makeup store, or buying $20 bath bombs. (But if that’s what you want to do, go for it!) I’m talking about taking fifteen minutes out of your day.

“But, fifteen minutes isn’t enough time to do anything.” FALSE.

Here are five things you can do each day in fifteen minutes or less to help relieve stress and improve mental health:

1. Meditate or pray.

Taking 15 minutes of silence can do a lot more than you would think. Spend time with yourself, and your thoughts. Pray for your needs. Concentrate, and just breathe.

2. Take a bath.

(If you’re not a bath person, showers are fine, too.) Make sure to use all your smell good bath products and essential oils. Putting some Lavendar in your bath is great for relaxation.

3. Do Yoga.

You don’t have to be experienced to do a Yoga routine. There are plenty of beginner videos that are great on YouTube. If you aren’t into Yoga, just take some time to stretch your muscles and relax your body.

4. Listen to music.

Music is a big part of my life. It doesn’t matter what mood I’m in, I always want to listen to music. It’s so therapeutic. I have different playlists for my different moods. It ranges from Broadway to alternative rock, and everything in between.

5. Go outside.

Fresh air and sunshine can make a big difference in your mood. Go for a walk around the block, or just soak up the sun on your deck. Take in that Vitamin D!

A lot of people think they can’t take care of themselves because they don’t have the time or money. But, it is so important to take that small amount of time out of your day to take care of yourself. You only get one body, and one mind. Make sure you treat it right!

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10 Reasons St. Louis is a Beautiful City

I’m going to start this list off with the obvious:

1. The Arch.

This beautiful Gateway to the West is visible from almost every point in the city. It’s unique and huge. People from all over the world stop by St. Louis to visit it. I love seeing a crowd of diversity every time I’m there.

2. Affordability.

There is so much to do in St. Louis for little to no cost. Forest Park alone has a full week’s worth of activities. From the beautiful zoo, to the museums, to the Science Center, and even our outdoor theatre: The Muny.

3. Character.

Everywhere you go downtown, you will find huge amounts of character. There are so many beautiful buildings, parks, monuments, and homes. The structure is just amazing.

4. Laclede’s Landing.

I’m giving this it’s own number. From The Old Spaghetti Factory, to the wax museum, this area is one of a kind. You can walk on beautiful cobble stone streets, take a horse drawn carriage ride, or walk down to the river. It’s perfect for a night out.

5. The Nightlife

While St. Louis isn’t a huge city, it definitely lights up at night. Everyone needs to drive down Grand Avenue after the sunsets. And, of course, see a show at one of the theatres there!

6. The Views.

There’s just something about being on a roof top in the city. It’s so peaceful to me. There’s something interesting to see everywhere you turn.

7. Kiener Plaza

This lovely park downtown is great for the family. It has a wonderful view of The Arch and Courthouse. There’s places for the kids to play, and an awesome statue park. At Christmas time, they light the giant tree and have a skating rink!

8. Small Town Vibes

There are so many one of a kind, small businesses in the St. Louis area. Seriously! Just Google them!

9. The St. Louis City Museum

Again, I’m giving this one it’s own number. This place is a million square feet (slight exaggeration) of pure awesome! You could easily spend the entire day here and not even see it all. It’s filled with jungle gyms, hidden passageways, arcades, and restaraunts.

10. The People.

Last but, not least I’m giving a shutout to the ones that make the city what it is: the residents, workers, and tourists of the city. 🖤

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Why I’m not Making a New Year’s Resolution

It’s that time of year again! Time for all the resolution posts to come flooding in. I admire all you people that can make a resolution and stick to it! I, however, am just not one of those people. 

I have decided that 2018 is going to be an awesome year. I will try to make the best of every situation, and enjoy every second of life. But, no resolutions for me. Why? 
 The Pressure. 

Every year I make a resolution, then feel so obligated to keep it. Not to mention, people on social media saw that resolution, too. And, you know they’re watching. (Slightly joking, here) 

Sometimes, I make a resolution just because it’s what you’re “suppose” to do. Not this year! I’m livin’ the carefree life! 

I think I’ve just come to the conclusion, that life is too short to waste it on resolutions I may or may not keep. So, instead of making a resolution, I’m making a lifestyle change. I will be optimistic, excited, and patient with life. I will try to maintain a positive outlook, even when negative things are happening. 

I want to be the positive aspect in other people’s lives. I want to be a light for those in the dark. 

New Year, new me? No. Same me, but, with some slight improvements. 

So, here’s to a new year! Here’s to a fresh start for everyone. Here’s to making memories that last, and spending time wisely. And, here’s to all of you, who ARE making a resolution. I hope you see it through! But, if you don’t, that’s o.k., too. 

Don’t be so focused on the pressure of keeping your resolution, that you forget to live the best life you can! 

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Five Must-Do things this Holiday Season

Are you as obsessed with the holiday season as I am? (I don’t know if that’s possible!) Do you need to do every Christmassy-is that a word?- thing there is to do? 

Here’s my top five things I feel are “Must-Do” throughout December: 
1. Go to a light show. 

This year, my husband and I went to the St. Louis Zoo for their light display. It was beautiful! It’s definitely something that will put you into the Christmas spirit! They’re usually decently low on the price scale, too. (We paid $10 a ticket, and it was worth every penny.) There’s just something magical about walking through the beautiful colors. 

2. Go ice skating. 

This is such a fun activity. It’s something the whole family can enjoy together. It brings the feeling of snow to those of us that haven’t got to experience it first hand yet, this year. It’s always so picturesque, too. 

3. Visit your nearest city. 

There’s just something about christmas time in the city. There’s really nothing like it. Everything is lit up and festive. There are holiday activities everywhere you look. Spending time in the city during December is one of my favorite things to do, for sure! 

4. Bake Christmas cookies.

Want to feel like a kid again? Just make some cookies! I love decorating them. It’s something I did with my grandma as a kid. It’s super in-expensve, but will make great memories! 

5. Take advantage of store decorations. 

This is a little goofy, but I love to take photos of the Christmas displays at stores. They’re always so beautiful! Some of them look straight out of a Christmas card. Some of my favorite holiday photos this year came from store set-ups!

Merry Christmas and happy holidays from my family, to yours! 

All photo credit: Shutterflies Photography… http://www.facebook.com/shutterfliesphotog
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