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Mental Health Community  We explore mental health through art & storytelling. Tag us or submit your work below to be featured. _____ Submit here ↓

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Who else has a brain that likes to wander around while you sleep?! πŸ˜‚πŸ‘‹πŸ»

I'm going to share a little tidbit that I've never shared with anyone before- I used to dread the idea of recovery. I had no idea who I'd be without clinging to my trauma and bad habits. At some point along the way, they became how I largely defined myself. I was anxious therefore I must remain anxious. I was a victim therefore I must always be one. I was emotionally numb therefore I must remain that way. I was also deeply, deeply afraid of being happy so the pain and numbness was comforting. There was no risk in living this way but there was no real joy either.
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These things were a part of me and they made me feel safe. But in reality, they were only keeping me small. I can't remember my exact thoughts when recovery first started, but I do remember having an ongoing crisis where it felt like i was going to abandon myself if I decided to change. I thought it meant somehow denying the pain I was in just to put on a fake smile, but I was wrong.
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Making the decision to change your story doesn't mean you're denying what happened. You're not giving up one story for a new one. It simply means you're starting a new chapter. (Or you can even think of it as a badass plot twist). Point being, give yourself the chance to rewrite your story. You deserve a happy ending.

"Many of us wear a mask that many friends and family will see. Reality can be hidden.. More support needed for mental health and wellbeing.. beat the mind not yourself. My support, my story."
-By @gaskinandy
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"They don't call it manic depression anymore, but sometimes that is what feels most accurate. I have threatened to leave twice in 10 days. The last time I packed up everything in sacks instead of participating self harm. I reached out to friends and avoided the ER. But, now I see all my things packed and feel overcome with shame of how quickly when triggered I will cut and run.
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No meds have ever helped me, I struggle to regulate my own emotions when stressed and have a hard time remembering pain is temporary. I have been diagnosed since childhood and sometimes feel like I don't have the skills for adulthood. I don't have health insurance, not that the therapy that works for me was ever covered. Thank you for being a place where I can express myself."
- By @mollieroe
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If you're reading this- comment below with any advice & tips you might have for Mollie

"Been really into these watercolor semicolons lately! @alliejnduff reminded me of how hope stands for hold on, pain ends, and it was a much needed reminder
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Sometimes hope doesn't mean picturing your entire future. Fully committing to recovering a life worth living. Sometimes hope just means holding on. To this minute, hour, day. To the belief that somewhere out there, you'll see the light again. That this will all be worth it. Just hold on."
- By @artwithanxiety
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The conclusion to our How To Communicate With Your Subconscious series! Comment below with your experiences if you used any of the strategies we've shared!
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*we do not take credit for any of the images used.

"Drained."
- By @v.delray
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"This JK Rowling quote hits so close to home, being a writer. It reminds me of my truest passion in life. It's a quote by my queen who wrote the best book series ever. It's on my main self harm arm as additional incentive to stay clean. And it's in both my and my best friend of 16 year's handwriting. Here's to 1 month until I'm 500 days clean!!"
- By @ungluing_stigma
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Congrats on 500 days!!! If you're reading this- comment below with some celebratory emojis πŸ‘πŸ»βœ¨πŸŽ‰πŸŽŠπŸŽˆ

"Got monsters in my mind πŸ•΅πŸ‘»."
- By @grampaface
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"Count to 10. Ink on teabag.
I used to be quick to anger, but I've learned that being angry doesn't get you anywhere."
- By @leegeedesigns
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"My therapist has been pushing me to do more art ever since I've known her really. I never understood why because all she ever saw were depressing sketches and art in my recovery journals. I used to think she was joking or being silly but she kept pushing it. It made me feel uncomfortable because I hadn't done any art "properly" forever and because things have been so bad I just didn't see the point. But part of me knows I've loved art (and writing) since as far back as I can remember.
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They're the only two things that have been a constant for me when all my other interests or passions disappeared. I never stopped writing but I did stop doing art for a lot of reasons. About a month ago my therapist asked me to do a painting over the weekend of something calming, and as usual when it's brought up I didn't agree or even respond. Then she asked me to just do it for her, please, and so I did. And it was amazing! (the process not the painting lol) I remember her face when I showed her it as she just stared at it for ages. Ever since then she's asked me to do more, to show her more. I haven't been able to because my head has been in a dark space and I always think nothing beautiful can come out of that.
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Then last week when I was flicking through my journal she asked if she spotted a drawing, I said no, because it was just a scribble of how I had felt that day. She said, "I've always thought your art was beautiful, no matter the subject." And for some reason that just lifted a lot for me. So I started a new little sketchbook purely for random sketches and art stuff. Because I remembered it doesn't have to be good or happy or pretty if you enjoy it, you're still creating something. πŸ’— So these were the first two little pages I did one evening recently. I enjoyed it! It is the only time all week that I felt not-scared enough to enjoy something for an hour or so. Do what brings you joy and don't let anything or anyone stop you."
- By @emmaroselight
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