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Category Archives: Mental Health

How Can You Promote Your Blog with Pinterest? [TUTORIAL]


You might be asking yourself…

Why Should I Be Using Pinterest to Promote My Blog?

Well, here’s three solid reasons-

  1. Because it’s free.

  2. Because it’s free.

  3. BECAUSE. IT’S. FREE.

So HOW Do I Use Pinterest to Promote My Blog?

Here’s how I do it:

surviving_the_specter_pinterest_001

1.   Create the board on Pinterest. You’ll need to have a Pinterest account before you start “pinning”, or posting images to categories, or boards. In the image above, I titled the board and entered a subheading and then put the link for my blog at the top of the board.

2.   Create the “pin”. Once your board is created, add the pin. Here’s how to do it –

♦  First, I save the image from my post (the quote shown here) on my hard drive.

♦  Next, I upload the image as a pin by clicking the Add Pin button.

♦  Then I add a description in the white space below that.

♦  Finally, (and THIS is where your traffic will come from) in the last section you’ll have to site the source, which is your blog. Just copy/paste your blog address OR the address to the specific post. I used the blog address just to save time but should probably start using the address to the original post.

surviving_the_specter_pinterest_002

3.   Enable Pinterest on your account. Follow this breadcrumb to navigate to the page under your Settings tab on your dashboard:

♦  Settings > Sharing > Enabled Services

I have the WordPress and Twitter buttons visible while all the buttons on the right are hidden under a “Share” button. A person can use any button shown below, it’s just the ones on the right are hidden – it’s a neatness factor for me and my ADD. Fo’ REyull.

Capture

Come check out how it all looks!

There’s several different ways to use Pinterest but the big thing is to get out there, experiment, and have fun with it!

So when it all comes together, here’s some examples of my boards that deal with mental health. You can follow a person’s individual boards, or you can follow all of their boards. I have 169 thus far…it’s really addictive. Especially if you’re a visual person.

Surviving the Specter

https://www.pinterest.com/clewis5039/surviving-the-specter/

Depression

https://www.pinterest.com/clewis5039/depression/

PTSD

https://www.pinterest.com/clewis5039/ptsd/

Codependence

https://www.pinterest.com/clewis5039/codendence/

Anxiety

https://www.pinterest.com/clewis5039/anxiety/

Here’s some other boards you might like-

Quotes (my most popular board)

https://www.pinterest.com/clewis5039/quotes/

Keeping the Faith (Faith-based, scripture)

https://www.pinterest.com/clewis5039/keeping-the-faith/

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I’m Getting Her PTSD. Pt. 4 [POEM]


How do you relate to the people in your life with PTSD?

This post is part of a series of poems dedicated to my girlfriend. She has PTSD and severe anxiety and you will understand her story with each post. Each time I learn something about the mental conditions she lives with, I add a “part” to the series. Please read the previous verses. Each can be found at these links – Part1, Part 2 and Part 3 of her story and the lessons she’s taught me.

Photo of abandoned girl with her legs crossed and her head in her lap.

Remembering all those children of fathers whom they have never had the chance of knowing. I am praying for the emptiness in your soul to be filled with peace.

Fatherless Day-

She sat next to me, as the fathers all stood,

And her soul crashed onto the rocks.

Because she’s never known hers, in all of her years,

Through all of life’s punches she blocks.

My soul is torn, as I stand up,

Next to my beautiful daughter of ten.

Through the pain and the hurt, the tears and the loss,

I’d throw down, I’d do it again.

I feel her pain, and it humbles my soul,

The feeling is so hard to take.

To be humble and proud, as I stand in the crowd,

When she’s sitting there in so much pain.

She doesn’t speak a word, but she rubs my side,

She is so strong and helps me along.

She tells me to keep fighting, to be there for her,

The daughter who I sometimes feel I’ve lost.

Her heart aches and yearns, for a father she’d know,

A man whom she could call dad.

And I want to take it, make it all go away

The abandonment and the sad.

So I’ll honor her, and her tenderly tough soul,

And the selflessness she always gives.

And hold her hand, through this painful day,

And the heartache through which she has to live.

She’s grown on me, and taught me her life,

My mouth hangs open in awe.

For I’m getting her condition, her PTSD

I’m beginning to understand it all.

Thank you for reading the fourth installment of this poem. Please pass it onto those who are missing their fathers today.

 

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The List [POETRY]


This is for the brotherhood and sisterhood of US…those who have been bullied. Let’s befriend those who don’t have someone to turn to.

Background image of notebook with poem transcribed in the foreground.

I knew a boy, who made a list

Of all the wrongs that were done

Of those who broke his soul and will

Of those whose time had come

 

But you noticed him today and said

Hello, my name is friend

Will you be mine and hear my hurt

I’m sure we’ll help each other mend

 

And that boy, his list he took and burned

Because you noticed him, in all his perfect pain

He healed and bloomed because of you my friend

His life was never the same

 

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Ten Things I’ve Learned from My Depression


This is a reblog from a post I wrote for the Mental Health Writer’s Guild. Check out the wonderful work Kevin has done with the site and ask him about being a guest blogger!

Note to Reader: This post mentions my suicide attempt. If this is a trigger, please do not read it at this time. May peace find you in your valley, my friend.

Quote, "I am perfectly imperfect and that's perfectly okay."

My mantra that has allowed me to give myself grace and forgiveness.

A Short Blurb About My Story-

Hi there! My name is Chris and I’ve lived with clinical depression since middle school. On 9/14/14 attempted to take my life. I was saved by my friends who arrived after I had blacked out. In hindsight, these are the ten lessons my depression has taught me. Thank you for taking the time to read this post.

1.   My Faith. 

I was brought down this path for a purpose. Perhaps it was to build me to the next level, or strengthen my dependence on the Lord, or to bring me to humbleness in order to care for others. Either way, I’ve been able to learn the message from the lesson. And that is, that with the Lord’s help, I am surviving through what (at times) has been a tumultuous ordeal. I know I couldn’t do it on my own. And for that my faith has increased.

2.   Imperfection. 

My mantra has become, “I am perfectly imperfect, and that’s perfectly ok.” I had a hard time with feeling like a failure. With feeling like I let people down. With having low self-esteem.

It was when I was attending classes in the psychiatric center that I had an epiphany. The world does not stop rotating when I mess up or feel like I fail people. Others make mistakes, I’m allowed to as well. I ain’t perfect and will never be. I accepted it. I stopped the self-berating. I got my ego under control. I left the pity party. I’ve been able to allow grace for myself.

3.   Support Network. 

I never realized I had this until I “woke up” in the hospital two days after I chugged a bottle of sleeping pills and passed out at the end of a noose hanging from the closet doorknob in my bedroom.

Friends and family were there. In abundance. They had dropped everything to be by my side. They put their lives on pause and came from states away to be with me through my struggle. Unconditionally.

I hope that when that time comes for me, and the call is given, I can be there for those that need it in the same manner these folks were there for me. Generally, you don’t need a ton of people in your support network. You just need the right ones.

4.   Personal Accountability. 

In order to be released from the hospital, I had to take responsibility and become accountable for my actions. I needed to have a plan in place in for the times Specter decided to fade out of the shadows and peel back his lips over his razor incisors. Here are some things I am personally accountable for-

My coping skills from when I was in the psychiatric facility that reads, "My coping skills...What I can do to be calm and stay safe IN THE MOMENT - Stay away from alcohol and call a friend. What can my support person do to help me? Continue to be supportive."

My coping skills that were recorded while I was in the psychiatric facility.

♦  COMPLIANCE – Taking my medicine consistently and on a regular basis.

♦  911 – I realized that I needed to have a plan in place. I now have people that I call if I feel I am having an episode of depression. We keep our phones on at night (I used to turn my volume/vibrate off) and answer without hesitation.

♦  HONESTY – I have to be transparent with my medical providers/doctors/psychologists. I know I need to give them as clear a picture of my mental state as possible and they are here to help me. In turn, they need to know the effects of the medications as well.

It’s a good idea to keep a journal. Since I’m not one for lugging a notebook around, I use my Evernote app on my phone. I also try to bring in all my meds whenever I have an appointment. It gives my doctor an accurate picture of my supply and whether or not I need an emergency refill. The last thing you want to happen is to run out of your medications.

The.

Last.

Thing.

5.   Stumbling. 

There will be times when I fall. When Specter knocks me to the ground in an assault from-the-rear. This goes back to #2. I have to realize stumbling is ok. That I’m a human. And that I am imperfect. And that is okay.

6.   Learning. 

Be willing to learn about your condition…your mental health. Read articles on it. Start a blog on your condition. Be open and receptive. Make connections with other people. Join a local NAMI group where your voice will be heard. Never stop learning about your mental health.

7.   Cognizance. 

It helps to be aware of your feelings. The cycles. The timing of the waves. Through recording my episodes (or simply noticing when they happen on a calendar) I used to almost be able to anticipate when I would have one – usually about every two weeks. Fall-down crying, broken on the kitchen floor. It’s not a good place to be. The medicine I have now minimizes those episodes (20 MG Lexapro with 5 MG Abilify) and evens out the highs and the lows of a life with depression.

8.   Healing. 

Find what helps you in your journey of healing. Journaling is a very popular coping strategy. I experimented with the tech version of journaling recently – blogging. I started surviving the specter in February of this year (2015 as of this post) and it has helped me process my experiences, as well as network with individuals going through the same thing.

9.   Sharing. 

I’ve tried to share my story as much as possible with those whom are comfortable. I was attached to a belt for 45 minutes. I have been fortunate. I have been given a second chance and I believe I have a duty to be open about it. To discuss it. To teach about it. To join others in their struggle. You will never know how much hope you will be able to give someone by telling your story.

10.  Outlets. 

You need to have an outlet. Mine is art in one form or another. I like to create beach décor and I started a side business into which I channel my energy. It is a healthy outlet. I’m an introvert by nature and so I enjoy being by myself with my tools and materials, building, and creating. I get satisfaction from creating happiness for others. Ironically, this is the project I completed hours before my downward spiral. What’s your outlet? What channels your energy?

Driftwood peace sign multi colored in purple, yellow, and aqua.

What has your mental condition taught you? I’d like to hear your thoughts.

Thank you for taking your time to read this post. May peace find you in the valley you are currently traveling.

-Chris

 

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Who is Morgueticiaatoms? [GUEST BLOG]


I asked several bloggers whom I’ve become acquainted with if they would do a guest post on Surviving the Specter. They have all graciously accepted, and I am really excited to feature them over time. They have in one way or another, inspired me, made me laugh, made me think, told it to me like it is, been supportive, reached out to me, and been there to pull me through my rough stuff. They are beautiful people and excellent bloggers. They have so much to share and it would be a dishonor for me to hoard them all to myself, haha.

My guest blogger today is Morgueticiaatoms. She is a whitty and sarcastically beautiful person. Please visit her blog and drop her a line in her Comments section. Unlike me, she is really great at holding dialogues! Check her site out – https://morgueticiasmentalhealthmausoleum.wordpress.com/

And now, I’ll turn it over to Morgue’…

My name is Niki aka Morgueticiaatoms. I am 42.  Bipolar, seasonal depressions, and anxiety are my biggest demons. I have a daughter about to enter first grade and she is happy and healthy, which proves mental illness is not contagious. I struggle daily and feel the sting of being on disability as the stigma of mental illness does takes its toll. Especially when you know you’re for real, not some scammer too lazy to work. I enjoy long walks on the beach, sunsets, and poking dead things with a stick. Okay, that’s my macabre humor but it gets me through. I like writing, reading, watching TV shows, blogging, and am addicted to the game Word Poker on neopets. (No, I feel no shame.) For the most part, I consider myself boring. Occasionally amusing. Blogging has been a lifeline for me, especially after being told “no one wants to read about your mental crap” by someone close to me. I’ve found a supportive system of people through blogging and I am grateful for each reader, each like, each and every comment. I am also grateful for the chance to spew my demons in blog form so they don’t systemically poisoning me. Venting is good.

1.   How long have you been blogging?

Off and on for about eight years, four years steadily. I also have boxes of old school pen and paper journals I’ve kept though the years.

2.   What is the focus of your blog?

Life with bipolar and anxiety disorder, for the most part. How I cycle, how I react, for better, for worse.

3.   Is there a particular time that you write/post?

Nope. Whenever the notion hits, or more like, possesses me.

4.   Where do you get the inspiration/ideas for your blog posts?

From outer space. Seriously, it could be anything, what’s going on in my life, a TV show, an ad, a song, another blog post, a book, or just some random spark. As unpredictable as bipolar, creativity is.

5.   From your experience, what three pieces of insight/wisdom can you give to new/growing bloggers?

Be honest, use your own voice, and if your goal is readers, learn to use the tags appropriately. It counts as to quantity of views though for me it was more for quality, weeding out the flotsam and jetsam trolls.

6.   What mental conditions (“illnesses”) do you survive with? E.g., depression? PTSD? anxiety? self-harm?

Bipolar two, generalized anxiety disorder, seasonal affective disorder, ADD, panic attacks, personality disorder not otherwise specified, chronic depressions related to seasonal affect

7.   For each condition, what is at least one coping mechanism you have found to be successful?

Sarcastic humor. If you can mock yourself even at your worst…You’ve got signs of life in spite of it all.

8.   Do you have a personal story you would like to tell? One of success? One of growth? A story that tells about your rough stuff?

I was improperly diagnosed for ten plus years. They gave me anti depressants, which just made the bipolar worse. It resulted in a lot of instability, impulsive decisions, and burned bridges with family and friends. Followed by an interaction to an MAOI that landed me in the hospital and they were unsure if I would come out of it. I suffered brain damage, to a small but still relevant extent. I was granted disability after that. Took three more years to get proper diagnosis and so much finally made sense. I proved med resistant as far as the anti depressants went. But in spite of it all, I managed to have a gorgeous daughter who is happy go lucky so you can be a parent with mental illness. Kids need love, not perfection.

 9.   From your experience, what three pieces of insight/wisdom can you give to others surviving with mental illness?

The best counselor I have ever had told me, “Some days you just have to accept you feel the way you feel. Happy, sad, depressed, anxious. Accept it because fighting it makes you feel defeated if you fail. Set one small goal for the day, accomplish it, and LET yourself feel the way you do.”

Do NOT ever let societal pressures, resistance to medications, chronic cycling,or self doubt dictate your self worth. You LIVE your truth, and if others aren’t accepting and supportive, it is hardly your fault.

Remember that in spite of all our programming, doctors are humans and fallible and prone to their own biases. You can respect a doctor without having to agree with their every word, especially when it comes to the medications you put into your body. Don’t be a people pleaser when it comes to your mental health. Politely but firmly assert yourself or the doctors are prone to treating you like just another file number.

Again, thank you Morgue’ for being a guest blogger and taking your time to write this! Such powerful feeling and useful information here for all of us. X

Please be sure to drop over to Morgue’s blog and leave her some comments on this wonderful post. 

 

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Nicholas C. Rossis

Award-winning, dream-protecting author

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