This is by no means an exhaustive list of resources – these are simply things I have found helpful throughout different seasons in life. It is ever evolving, and I will continue to add to this list the more I learn, grow, and live with my own depression and anxiety. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any resources you’ve found helpful during seasons of anxiety and depression.
If you or a loved one is thinking about suicide, don’t wait to get help. Call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255. You’ll get free, confidential help, 24/7. If you’re like me, and hate talking on the phone, they have a great website and online chat tool. Please talk to them if you’re having suicidal thoughts! You’re not alone. We’re all here to help.
A health and wellness blog by Katie. In her own words, “I’m passionate about sharing stories; both my own and others, as I find there’s always a lesson, laugh, or at least some good entertainment that comes from it. Expect plenty of stories. I fully believe that we have the power to change our own lives and health. I love yoga, running, weight lifting and taking long walks (on the beach – ha!). I eat to fuel my body; I believe in chiropractic; and I love using essential oils in my home and on my body. Throughout this space, I hope you will not only get to know me but will also find a place for comfort, support, learning, and growth.”
Find out more at: http://journeythru30.com/
A blog about motherhood, depression, grace, and God, but Abigail. Here is just a small section of her story, “Our son, Miles Wilhite, was born 2 years after Norah- almost to the day! If Norah was born after a season of depression, it’s appropriate to say Miles was born into a season of depression. We had a traumatic labor and delivery and within two months after he was born, I realized I was swimming in a sea of depression again. It didn’t make sense to me- how could I be depressed about having a baby when I had previously been depressed about not having a baby? But Miles’ first year of life taught me more about grace than I had ever known before. I learned to give myself grace when motherhood wouldn’t look how I wanted it to look. He is my sweet, sensitive boy who is a picture of grace and mercy in my life.”
Read more of Abigail’s story here: https://www.peaceandjoyblog.com/
This hilarious blog by Jenny Lawson chronicles the every day ups and downs of depression. In her own words, “I’ve been blogging about my strange little life for almost a decade. It’s mainly dark humor mixed with brutally honest periods of mental illness. I’m not sure how it happened but somehow this became a very popular, award-winning blog. In 2012 my first book (Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir) debuted at #1 on the NYT best-seller list and my second book (Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things) spent 5 months on the NYT top 20 best seller list.. I assure you, no one was more surprised about this than I was. I assume I’m in a coma and all of you are fever-dreams. Magnificent fever-dreams.”
Read more of her story here: http://thebloggess.com/
Seaneen has been hospitalized for type 1 bipolar disorder. And has the courage to blog about it. In her own words, “This blog was initially started for my benefit so I could wank on about mental health stuff and not annoy my friends. However, over the years I acquired lovely readers and friends who were walking the labyrinth with me, and who have supported me, cheered me and chided me when necessary.”
Read more of her story here: https://thesecretlifeofamanicdepressive.wordpress.com/
This is such an open and honest blog about depression and anxiety! Amy shares her experiences not only surviving her father’s suicide, but having a breakdown herself – and putting herself back together. Amy is now an advocate for mental health, and her blog has won several awards and recognitions within the mental health and wellness community.
Read her story here: http://bluelightblue.com/
**Disclaimer: When it comes to books, I love memoirs, fiction, and literature. I don’t read many self help books, so you won’t see many on this list! The books on this list have shown me in one way or another that we’re not alone, we’re not crazy, we’re all just trying to live life and deal with the crap we’ve been dealt. If you have other books you love, I’m always looking for recommendations!**
From Amazon: “In Furiously Happy, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jenny Lawson explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? That sounds like a terrible idea. But terrible ideas are what Jenny does best.
As Jenny says:
Some people might think that being ‘furiously happy’ is just an excuse to be stupid and irresponsible and invite a herd of kangaroos over to your house without telling your husband first because you suspect he would say no since he’s never particularly liked kangaroos. And that would be ridiculous because no one would invite a herd of kangaroos into their house. Two is the limit. I speak from personal experience. My husband says that none is the new limit. I say he should have been clearer about that before I rented all those kangaroos.
From Amazon: “At his new school, Craig realizes that he isn’t brilliant compared to the other kids; he’s just average, and maybe not even that. He soon sees his once-perfect future crumbling away. The stress becomes unbearable and Craig stops eating and sleeping-until, one night, he nearly kills himself.
Craig’s suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital, where his new neighbors include a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors, and the self-elected President Armelio. There, isolated from the crushing pressures of school and friends, Craig is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety.
Ned Vizzini, who himself spent time in a psychiatric hospital, has created a remarkably moving tale about the sometimes unexpected road to happiness. For a novel about depression, it’s definitely a funny story.
From Amazon: The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette’s brilliant and charismatic father captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn’t want the responsibility of raising a family.
The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered.
(Or really anything by Anne Lamott). From Amazon: Anne Lamott writes about faith, family, and community in essays that are both wise and irreverent. It’s an approach that has become her trademark. Now in Small Victories, Lamott offers a new message of hope that celebrates the triumph of light over the darkness in our lives. Our victories over hardship and pain may seem small, she writes, but they change us—our perceptions, our perspectives, and our lives. Lamott writes of forgiveness, restoration, and transformation, how we can turn toward love even in the most hopeless situations, how we find the joy in getting lost and our amazement in finally being found.
Profound and hilarious, honest and unexpected, the stories in Small Victories are proof that the human spirit is irrepressible.
From Amazon: Lauren Slater, a brilliant writer who is a young therapist, takes us on a mesmerizing personal and professional journey in this remarkable memoir about her work with mental and emotional illness. The territory of the mind and of madness can seem a foreign, even frightening place-until you read Welcome to My Country.
Writing in a powerful and original voice, Lauren Slater closes the distance between “us” and “them,” transporting us into the country of Lenny, Moxi, Oscar, and Marie. She lets us watch as she interacts with and strives to understand patients suffering from mental and emotional distress-the schizophrenic, the depressed, the suicidal. As the young psychologist responds to, reflects on, and re-creates her interactions with the inner realities of the dispossessed, she moves us to a deeper understanding of the complexities of the human mind and spirit. And then, in a stunning final chapter, the psychologist confronts herself, when she is asked to treat a young woman, bulimic and suicidal, who is on the same ward where Slater herself was once such a patient.
Relaxing Music To Meditate To
If you’re looking for some ambient music to fall asleep to or meditate to, this is a great playlist. Plus, there are really peaceful and gorgeous pictures to calm your dark places. With just over three hours of chill background music, this list has got you covered.
Anxiety Relief Playlist
If you’re on Spotify, go ahead and follow this Anxiety Relief playlist by graceamy. It has over 5 hours of super ambient nature sounds. When I get so overwhelmed and over stimulated (either at work, on the bus, or just, ya know, existing in general) I put this on and try to do some deep breathing exercises. And if that fails, I go hide in the nearest bathroom. But this is a good first step.
Yoga For Anxiety & Stress Relief
I’m probably the least physically fit person to ever do yoga, and believe me – I had my doubts that this would do anything at all. But, when you’re hyperventilating at 2 am and haven’t slept in 3 days and are just manic enough to try anything, yoga seems like a pretty healthy choice compared to other alternatives. Give these a try, I can’t stress enough that if I can do it, so can you!
Yoga With Adriene
This was the first yoga for stress I ever did as an adult. The poses are easy and surprisingly relaxing. When I started this 30 minute practice I was a tense ball of nerves, rage, and exhaustion, and on the final pose and exhale I cried cathartic tears and then promptly fell asleep in the middle of my living room floor. No joke.
Yoga For Panic Attacks
For those of us who like a little more explanation of what each pose is and what it’s supposed to help with, check out this really helpful blog post by Mind Body Green.
Breathing Exercises For Anxiety
I know you’ve been told to just take a deep breath when you get anxious. As if that will magically rewire your brain and bring instant balance to all of the chemical stuff going on up there. In the moment, it does not seem helpful. Mostly, because it’s incomplete. Breathing exercises are shown to help with stress and anxiety, but you have to know how to do them the right way! Here are a few tutorials that have really great advice and practical ways to calm your body and breathing. It won’t solve everything, it’s not a magic ticket to mental stability by any means; it’s simply a coping mechanism to stay grounded when everything feels out of control.
Bell Breathing Exercise
This breathing exercise gives a great tip that most people never think of when trying to take a deep breath: exhaling. We’ve all been there – you keep trying to gulp down air but your chest just gets tighter and tighter and the panic levels skyrocket and you know for sure this is how it’s gonna end. Only it doesn’t. (Apparently, there’s still lessons to learn and love to give).
6 Breathing Exercises To Help You Relax
This helpful article walks us through 6 different breathing exercises (those are my favorite kind of exercises) that can help you calm down in under 10 minutes. These are great for those moments that you’re just overwhelmed, overworked, and overstimulated. Put on one of the stress relief playlists and get to breathing!
Video Of Breathing Exercises
And for those of us who are visual learners, here’s a great video that walks you through how to do some of these breathing exercises. Enjoy!
I have only recently jumped on the podcast bandwagon, and I love them. So much. This is an ever growing list and I’m always looking for more! I know it can be overwhelming to get all this information at once, so I’ll start off with the two podcasts that have made the most difference in my day-to-day living with depression.
I love this podcast. I will listen to it at work and on the bus and I’ll find myself laughing, crying, and totally relating to everything people say. Ok, maybe not everything. But a lot of things. Here’s a brief description of the show:
“The Hilarious World of Depression is a series of frank, moving, and, yes, funny conversations with top comedians and funny creative people who have dealt with this disease, hosted by veteran humorist and public radio host John Moe.”
Anxiety, depression, and insomnia go hand in hand. There’s just nothing worse than feeling like you’re failing at sleeping. I mean, you’re literally not supposed to do anything. I used to have one of those sleep apps that measured the quality of sleep you’re getting every night. After 2 weeks of never getting above 50% quality or more than 4 consecutive hours of sleep, I decided to delete the app. I was so stressed out about performing well for the app, and then so disappointed every morning waking up with a failing grade. It was not great. All that to say… This podcast is designed to help people who have trouble falling asleep! There’s no pressure to actually go to sleep, rather the voice of this podcast gently reminds us each episode that he’s just our companion in the dark night, telling us long, rambling stories to bore us to sleep. You’re gonna love it.