By Liz Paul and Stephanie Oxenford
If you’ve attended FitBloggin’ you know that the conference and the community is about much more than fitness. It is a supportive space where people gather together with the common goal of wellness in mind, body, and spirit.
At FitBloggin’ 15 this year, we lead a session called Mind Games: Depression, Anxiety, and Healthy Living. During the session we talked about stigma. Not enough people talk about mental illness and as a result people often struggle alone. We all agreed that we want to break down that stigma, but it can be hard to write about these topics. One way to make it easier is to do it together; several bloggers writing about mental health at the same time and supporting one another. The idea for the Mental Health Monday linkup was born.
Mental Health Monday is the first and third Mondays of every month, and we alternate hosting the linkup on our blogs. All are welcome to write a post relating to mental health and link their posts. All are invited to visit the linkup and read the posts.
Our first linkup had 14 posts. Not only did our MHM posts experience higher than average views and comments, but they also had people sharing stories they had not shared before. The posts were brave, powerful and touching. Our second linkup had another eight posts.
Mental health is about diagnoses like depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder, but it is more than that as well. It is also about work-life balance, self-talk, and how you handle stress. It is about how we support others. It is about how we inspire ourselves to grow. It’s the big and little things that make up our thoughts and determine how we feel.
Every story is important. Yours. Ours. Every time we share our stories we can help break down stigma and remind others (and ourselves) that we are not alone. Join us by reading, sharing, commenting and, if you are comfortable, sharing your own story. Who knows who may find comfort in your story.