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Thought I'd share my good news ๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค— A few months ago I put pen to paper and entered the Hillingdon Carers and Brunel University Poetry and Short Story Competition with a poem about the experiences of a loved one with Mental Illness. I was delighted to find out last week that my poem simply titled 'This Illness' was awarded 1st Prize ๐Ÿ†๐Ÿ…and will be published in a book. Can't wait to share it with you all ๐Ÿ’– #CelebrateYourWins #MindYourMind #BreakTheStigma #MentalHealthAwareness #Rethink #Poetry #Competition #LoveWriting #StraightFromTheHeart #Winning #Bipolar #schizoaffectivedisorder

Tonight is the night โœจ#starwarscountdown #starwarsgeek #foodie

Hey! Check out these tips on how you can help us make a difference in the acknowledgement of Mental Health ! Pt.1 ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿง  #breakthestigma #bethedifference #mentalhealth #mentallove #mentalhealthawareness #mentalhealth #mentalhealthstigma #mentahealthsupport

December can be a busy, stressful and emotional month. For those who have lost a loved one or others who are going through tough times, the holidays can be difficult and depressing. While itโ€™s wonderful to think of others, donโ€™t forget to take care of yourself too! #spreadlove #loveyourself #healthythoughts #healthymind #selfcare #takecareofyourself #christmasgrouptherapy #christmas #december #christmascartoon #christmasfunnies #holidaze #therapy #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness #breakthestigma

My clean workspace post-finals ๐Ÿ˜Œ๐ŸŒฟ (with plant friends!) // This quarter challenged me in so many ways, but I'm glad to have a bit of time off to relax and get my creative juices flowing again. I'm so thankful that I have great friends and co-workers who had my back when I was struggling with staying on top of everything while not trying to push myself too much (because dealing with the side affects of antidepressants is exhausting ya'll). I don't ever want to sacrifice my mental health for the voice in the back of my brain that says you're not doing enough. Being able to shut that off sometimes and being happy about where you are now and how far you've come is so important. Great things take time, and small steps. Also kittens and yoga help too...(I'm not kidding, I really recommend surrounding yourself with cute kittens whenever you can ๐Ÿ˜…) Anyways, even though this was a tough quarter, I'm proud of all the small steps I've taken and all the new things I got to try. Let's #breakthestigma of mental health issues and keep on rollin' โœŒ๐Ÿฝ #mentalhealthmatters #postfinals

#FACT: Men are more than women to drink excessively and consistently have higher rates of alcohol-related deaths and hospitalizations than women. This statistic is all too real, especially during the holidays. It can be an extremely tough time for those in recovery, but having a set plan and understanding your triggers will help guide you through the rest of the month. Just remember to take it a day at a time, not just for this time of the year but for all year long. #3DMonth #NationalDrunkandDruggedDrivingPreventionMonth

THOUGHTS ARE NOT FACTS... Shocking, right? Just because a notion crosses your mind, does not make it โ€˜soโ€™.
So then, why do we stress ourselves out over so many things that either simply are not true or will never eventuate?
โ€œDonโ€™t believe everything you think.โ€
It sounds SO simple, but boy oh boy... it ainโ€™t.
Us humans are so utterly convinced that what we think, IS... these Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs) will pop into our brains and instead of inspecting them & doing a security check, we just wave them right on in! Thus allowing them to wreak emotional havoc & mental anguish to their heartโ€™s content.
Go on, have a quick think about the countless hours or days on end youโ€™ve spent feeling anxious over things that probably never, ever came to pass.
We assume, we deduce, we calculate, we hypothesize, we speculate on ALL possible outcomes in any given situation. And in the process we expend unknown amounts of energy worrying about all of those said outcomes, in equal measure.
Now Iโ€™m not an anthropologist or a sociologist, but I am sure that our minds evolved this way for a good reason.
All of those nights in our caves, precariously trying to deduce if the noise outside was just the wind or a saber-toothed tiger, probably, you know, kept us alive. Iโ€™m quite certain it was helpful... back then.
But now?
Letโ€™s just say itโ€™s no wonder we are always tired!
Something Iโ€™ve worked very hard on since the age of 20 (and my first stint in a wheelchair, following a major car accident) is to be solutions focused.
I was lucky enough to meet an incredible clinical psychologist following that very traumatic time in my life.
Everything Valma taught me about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) I have done my best to apply to my thought patterns on a daily basis. But itโ€™s not easy, it takes a conscious effort.
What is CBT you ask?
Put simply, it is the development of personal coping strategies that target solving current problems & changing unhelpful patterns in cognitions (your thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes); behaviors; and emotional regulation.
CBT helps you to focus on solutions & encourages you to challenge distorted thoughts....

That day when you catch a glimpse of your shoulder muscle out of the corner of your eye. โ˜บ๏ธ #mamahaspipes #hardworkin


Thank you @rajpanda & @sweetlikehoni_ for hanging with @thebumbleflyeffect today, and thank you @_107objects / @107projectsinc for supporting our endeavour to #breakthestigma of #mentalhealth! ๐Ÿ’–

Morning reminder that you are a force to be reckoned with and you're gonna make it through today no matter what life throws at you. ๐Ÿ‘ธ๐Ÿคด๐ŸŒŸ (everlasting liquid lipstick in shade Lolita II from @katvondbeauty ๐Ÿ’„)

#RealTalk #BreakTheStigma

You can now follow my recipe advent calendar- the hashtag is #BYBrecipeadvent - Iโ€™ve been sharing a festive recipe or tip each day during the count up to Christmas - each one is perfect for the Christmas season. If thereโ€™s anything youโ€™d really like to see then comment and Iโ€™ll try and make it happen. #recipeadvent
#goodmoodfood #healthyfood #eatingforhealth #eatingforanxiety #healthymindandbody #bakingyoubetter #mindfulness #positivevibes #positivity #compassion #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness #anxiety #anxietysupport #depression #breakthestigma #foodblog #foodblogger #foodphotography #positivity #positivevibes #positiveattitude #Christmasrecipes #BYBrecipeadvent #recipes

Recipe Advent day 16.
Take your #sausages on a stick up a gear - before cooking mix together 3 tbsp hoisin sauce & 3 tbsp honey or maple syrup then add 48 raw Cocktail sausages and mix until coated. Cook for 20-25 minutes in a hot oven. Serve with 2 tbsp hoisin sauce mixed with 2 tbsp mayonnaise for dipping.
#recipeadvent #stickysausages #hoisinsausages
#goodmoodfood #healthyfood #eatingforhealth #eatingforanxiety #healthymindandbody #bakingyoubetter #mindfulness #positivevibes #positivity #compassion #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness #anxiety #anxietysupport #depression #breakthestigma #foodblog #foodblogger #foodphotography #positivity #positivevibes #positiveattitude #Christmasrecipes #BYBrecipeadvent

After a few years of working up the courage and a few months on a waitlist, I couldn't help but cry tears of joy after receiving a phone call that I was accepted into a culturally conscious therapy program. I finally, finally, finally.. get to heal properly from the traumas that have haunted me for too long. ๐Ÿ’› #breakthestigma #mystory

whenever you find yourself doubting how far you can go, remember how far youโ€™ve come. remember everything you have faced and all the battles you have won. #breakthestigma #luckywelivehawaii #livingwithpurpose

BE NICE: You shop. We give. Itโ€™s that simple. Every single sale on the platform we donate cold hard cash to @cocoon_family_support who support women and families suffering with PND and other maternal mental health conditions. Simples! #itscooltobekind #lobellaloves #benice #itsnicetobenice #itsnotcooltobecruel #pnd

In this picture, there is a homeless person sitting on the ground holding a sign that's says "hungry anything helps". Meanwhile there is a person near the homeless individual with a phone in their hands. The powerful message in this photo "We worry about full signals. Why not about empty stomachs?" This interaction between homeless individuals and individuals with a home show the disparity between humans different values. Reflect on the wording of this message and see what kind of person you are if you don't sympathize with another human and instead care about getting a signal in your phone. Your life is just as important as the homeless individuals life. If a person was already stressed and worries about where their next meal would come from, that would be their primary concern and take priority over finding resources to help them deal with their mental illness. #breakthestigma

These words have a very powerful meaning when you stop and think about it. One aspect of this awareness campaign is to get people to think and re-evaluate how they treat homeless people. Some people may think they could never be homeless and be on the streets, but it's easy to forget that anyone can suddenly become homeless due to a variety of reasons (including financial situation).
We should try to end the stigma around homeless people by acknowledging them next time you see them. If we want to help them by providing them with resources to help them deal with their mental illness, the first step is to treat them like human beings and show compassion. They might be feeling increasingly lonely when they realize no one makes eye contact with them or helps them in a time of need. #breakthestigma

These pictures show the same homeless man in different poses. In the first picture, he looks like he's in pain; in the second picture, he seems to be very vulnerable and his eyes seem to be asking for help; in the third picture, he is more zoomed out and you can see he looks distressed. Having a mental illness while being homeless can put someone under a lot of stress and be emotionally draining. #breakthestigma

While people naturally think they are helping a homeless individual by giving them money, you really don't know what that money is going towards. Instead of risking the money being spent on buying drugs or alcohol by handing money directly to the homeless people, you could instead donate your money to an organization for homeless people. That way you know your money is still going towards helping homeless individuals and is going to be used for the right reasons. #breakthestigma

The "Housing First" policy puts homeless individuals into housing first, then provides additional support services for them.
Individuals should encourage homeless organizations that work with the mentally ill to implement the Housing First program because it offers permanent housing for homeless individuals quickly. #breakthestigma

The royal highness wishes to be taken around his town and he shall have it!
Black cats are the most beautiful creatures and we strive everyday to break the stereotypes around such a pure animal.
#blackcat #beauty #pure #soul #breakthestigma #cat #cats #catsagram #catstagram #instagood #pussycat #kitten #kitty #kittens #pet #pets #animal #animals #petstagram #petsagram #catsofinstagram #ilovemycat #instagramcats #catoftheday #lovecats #furry #lovekittens #adorable #catlover #instacat

All the feels ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ’“๐Ÿ’“ Artwork by the incredible @bymariandrew ๐ŸŽจ
#nourish #nurture #recoveryispossible #recoveryisworthit #recoveryquotes

Let us speak our truth. Even when itโ€™s hard to hear. Ask us how we are and be prepared to hear the truth. #pndawareness #endthestigma #panda #beyondblue #postnatalcare #Repost @whentheboughbreaksdoc (@get_repost)
We must keep working hard to break the stigma associated with postpartum depression and all perinatal mood disorders! #educate #shareyourstory #whentheboughbreaksdoc #breakthestigma #endthesilence #postpartumdepression

Another awesome flow with @rocknnpole yesterday, way to make something not so festive seem just a little more festive ๐Ÿ˜œ

The wordings behind this poster demonstrate the stigma people associate with being homeless. People are more likely to avoid eye contact with homeless people and ignore them instead of treating them like human beings. This is a powerful message and when people pause to really think about it, their inner judgements and attitudes will be revealed as they reflect on their initial reactions. If a mentally ill homeless person were sitting down in this location, how would you react? #breakthestigma

The worst is over ๐ŸคžI'm no longer passed out in bed, but now I'm left to mourn the fact that in my 24-hour flu-induced sleep stupor we had to forfeit our midnight Stars Wars tickets and we now have to wave a sad goodbye to Net Neutrality. December, are you quite done with me yet? I'd love to get in a wee bit of merriment off the couch before 2018, thank you very much. At least my appetite is back a skosh, I can get to making up for the last 48 hours of fasting. Who makes good vegan pho in Portland?

Wouldnโ€™t wish it on my worst enemy #breakthestigma #anxiety #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness #yourenotalone ๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜โค๏ธ

Come on down to the @_107objects Makers Market and #supportlocalartists working to #breakthestigma of #mentalhealth!

Ya, thatโ€™s right.
This hunky muscle man loves the shit out of plant powered meatballs. โ˜บ๏ธ #itstruelove #realmeneatplants

It's good to feel good while doing good. #wearthepill

Overheard on Tuesday: "I really like it here." "Me too. It's good to get off the streets for a little while." Come join us in our Sanctuary Studio at the Kensington Storefront on Tuesdays. โค #kensingtonphilly #kensingtonstorefront #epidemicweavings #thehealingblanketproject #tuesdayteaandtextiles #muralarts #breakthestigma #opioidepidemic #artheals #sanctuarystudio

Can you guess who in these pictures is depressed?
Well surprise! It's me. I haven't posted as frequently as I would like & the reason is because I have been under a cloud. Some of you may be compelled to ask why. I was too. I racked my brain to figure out why & in the process I became more & more judgemental of my fragile self. I shamed myself harsher than I would if my closest friend was in the same state. But the questions kept coming.
Why can't you see the good? Why can't you be grateful for what you have? Why are you wasting time being so pathetic?
After days of trying to avoid the pain, trying to avoid feeling, and mainly trying to avoid letting anyone know, I ask myself a different question. What good is this? What positive outcome could this bring? And the answer was so simple. I need to share this. I need people to know that depression isn't always a sad face walking in the rain. Depression isn't always crying on the floor with a suicide note in hand. But it is something that should be met with the same compassion.
The most important lesson I learned this week is that this compassion needs to start with me. I need to hold myself and let myself feel however I want to feel for as long as it serves me without shame or judgement.
For a long time I wanted everyone to think I was happy ALL the time. And when I wasn't, I faked it. But I would hate for someone seeking inspiration or guidance on here to see my fake life and think to themselves, why? Why can't I be like her? Why can't I be grateful like her? Why am I the way that I am?
The truth is that on my birthday, surrounded by the people who love me most, during the picnic in the park, the walk around union suare, the dinner, I faked it. On the outside I had a blast, but on the inside I couldn't care less & would have rather been laying on the couch watching movies or crying.
Whew! I said it. I faked it the best I could for fear that if I didn't I would come across as ungrateful or lame. I didn't trust that my destined & chosen family will love ALL of me.

With the holidays approaching, remember to be kind. You never know what could be going on in someone's head. #breakthestigma #depression

The gift of encouragement Day 6: Comes from the stunning and vibrant @teddieve ใƒปใƒปใƒป
Please watch your words. You never know what an individual has gone through or going through.
Someone could be on their last leg and needing a simple smile, hello or how are you doing.
Others maybe be planning to take their life. I'm so adamant when it comes to treating yourself and others with respect.
I don't care about your class or title, rich to poor will be treated with the same genuine approach.
Our actions speak volumes.

What you fear is what gives you strength #fear #fearless #fighter #survivor #noise #loud #bipolar #mystory #breakthestigma

Also today was my last day at CCM so I wanna thank them for giving me and many others a great opprotunity to go to school for less money, as well as giving me and alot of other students another chance to show what we are capable of after highschool. Alot of people are embarassed to go to CCM but if you make the most of it it can be a really good opprotunity. You can save money and it can also be a second chance school for people looking to improve their grades to get into a better school than they could have. #BreakTheStigma #RutgersBound

Has anyone else had this experience haha!? ๐Ÿ˜‚ Itโ€™s my biggest problem with the mental health system! This is why creating a network at home or in your personal life is so important to surviving those difficult moments! #anxiety #recovery #mentalhealth #depression #depressed #anxious #mentalhealthawareness #mentalillness #meme #funny #positivevibes #breakthestigma #dailymentaljourney

I really agree. Not only is it important to help those around us, it will help us find a purpose to all of our own hurt. Stay strong beautiful people! โค๏ธ #anxiety #recovery #mentalhealth #depression #anxious #depressed #mentalhealthawareness #mentalillness #icare #breakthestigma #dailymentaljourney

Educate. Break the stigma. They are more than just being HIV positive!

Day one hundred thirteen.
Advent kindness calendar day 15.
Leave a treat for the mail carrier.
So Iโ€™m totally not gonna pretend that I didnโ€™t rob my sister Jen on this display. Hahahaha hers is way way more fancy, but it is the thought that counts!!! We left this out this evening for our mail carriers and package delivery peeps.
#advent15 #dayonehundredthirteen #advent #kindness #kindnessmatters #mailcarrier #packagedelivery #breakthestigma #ppd #postpartumdepression #selflove #canon #selfexpression #photographytherapy #colorphotography #markiii #liveauthentic #onephotoaday
#resilience #againstthestream #dharmapunx #freedom #mindful #meditateanddestroy #meditateeverydamnday #library #positivevibes #gratitude #grateful #yogaeverydamnday

So much easier said than done, I know. But do it for those you love. God had given many of us a second chance at life, so let's honor Him by being our best.

Surprise! Look who showed up at the Heroes 6k packet pick up? Chris Miller, his Fiance' Stephanie and his cousin Mike. After running across the country Chris's journey continues as they make their way home to Indiana just in time for the holidays๐ŸŽ„#heroesinrecovery #breakthestigma #onestepatatime #seechrisrun #chriscrossthenation

When your thoughts are racing non stop, you become trapped in your mind, unable to focus on any one thing. Journaling in response to thought-provoking, self-reflecting topics can be a way for you to focus your mind on what you really want in life, and how you will achieve it. Challenge yourself to answer these two questions in a journal, notepad, or even just on a piece of paper tonight and see what part of your soul you get your mind wrapped around. ๐ŸŒžโœŒ

New blog post up. Things have been hectic and so Iโ€™ve been quiet. But I had to post about this amazing boy of mine ๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™
. #instadaily #instamoments #instaday #happy #picoftheday #blessed #instagood #mumswithcameras #photooftheday #love #igcutest #igers #bloggerlife #bloggersgetsocial #bloggers #blogging #instamood

Do you find the holidays stressful? According to @todayshow, youโ€™re not alone if you do. Take care of yourself and if you need help, weโ€™re here. #linkinbio #holidays #holidayseason #holidaystress #wecanhelp #inkblottherapy ๐Ÿ˜Œ

Let Your Voice Be Heard, Episode 1: Ashiee Best

It dropped today! Link in my bio! Repost are appreciated!Hopefully through this, yโ€™all can see where Iโ€™m coming from. Mental health in the African American community needs to be taken more seriously. This was certainly an experience that Iโ€™ve learned and grown from and I have some other things up and coming! Iโ€™m excited for 2018 knowing that Iโ€™m going into it facing fears! Thank you Alisa and team for the opportunity and I thank yโ€™all for the support! We liveeeeeee ๐Ÿ’š
#depression #fuckdepression #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness #blackmentalhealth #selflove
#selfcare #mentalhealthawareness #healthylifestyle #mentalhealth #breakthestigma #semicolonproject #fuckdepression #depression #blackexcellence #anxiety #anxietyrelief #bipolar #ocd #recovery #schizophrenia #follow #courage #blackmentalhealth #suicide #suicideprevention #ptsdawareness #bodypositive #bipolar #blackgirlmagic #followtrain #counseling #mentalhealthsupport #ptsdawareness #itsoknottobeok #endthestigma #psychology

Not very pretty, I wonder if our food feels the pressure to live up to Instagram's beauty standards? ๐ŸคฃAnyway, roast veggies and eggs make a delicious and satiating start to the day

Thank you everyone for blowing up our holiday contest. Like it really blew up. Since weโ€™re data driven, here are some of the contest stats:
3207 COMMENTS ๐Ÿ’ญ
634 LIKES ๐Ÿ’–
524 NEW SIGNUPS โœ๏ธ 363 NEW FOLLOWERS ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€โค๏ธโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉ AND &
1 WINNER ๐Ÿ† ... check out the post images to find out who won ๐Ÿ‘†๐Ÿฝ
We couldn't have imagined the contest was going to be this huge of a success ๐Ÿ™Š and it wouldn't have been possible without the love and support of ALL our Foggers ๐Ÿ’—
Out of the THOUSANDS of people that entered the giveaway, alas we could only pick one winner. We will be sending you your Gold Discovery Gift Box to be enjoyed or re-gifted by Christmas!
Our holiday gift sets sell fast run ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿฝโ€โ™€๏ธ so grab a Gold Discovery Gift Box ($129) ๐ŸŽ , a Birch + Fog Stocking Stuffer ($45) Santa ๐ŸŽ… , or a Dark Decadence Gift Box ๐Ÿ’ ($25) :chocolate_bar: , before it's too late! ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿฝ
hint hint ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•
@tag someone who you would love to get this gift from ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿฝโ€โ™€๏ธ
And for this weekend only you can save 15% on these gift sets with Coupon Code BIRCHMASEVE at check-out
Offer ends December 19th!

Sometimes I attempt to pole dance ๐Ÿ˜œ

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