How to Support Someone With Mental Illness

Mental Illness, Megan Hall, Life Coach. Motivational Speaker

Two weeks ago social media was in a stir over the death of two celebrities, Kate Spade & Anthony Bourdain, via suicide. During that week I saw some incredible support for those with mental illness. I also saw some very inconsiderate and ignorant comments about suicide and mental illness. Some of those comments even came from people in the wellness space. It’s as if mental wellness did not fit in the physical wellness space.

It’s hard to understand what it’s like to be in a place where suicide seems like the only option until you are there. I remember when I was younger thinking that suicide was selfish and that I could never do that. As I share in Suicide Awareness episode of The Inspired Women Podcast my first suicidal ideation came when I was 13 years old. Even after that I didn’t quite understand what brings someone to make that ultimate decision because I didn’t act on my ideation. It wasn’t until the time that I was acting on it that I could really understand.

How to support someone With Mental Illness

1) Check on them. Don’t just assume that because they seem ok that they are really ok.

2) Be a listening ear. You are most likely not a therapist so don’t try to diagnosis just listen. 

3) Encourage them to seek out a mental health professional. Diagnosis should come from a mental health professional not a friend or a primary care physician. 

4) Validate their feelings. Nothing is worse than having someone tell us that our feelings are invalid. 

5) Educate yourself. Learn more about signs of mental illness and suicide. Be a willing student. 

If you have never experiences mental illness or suicidal ideation it can be difficult to understand. It’s important we set aside our inherent biases and judgement so we can support those around us who are struggling. It’s not up to you to “save” someone with mental illness but it is important to support them. Each person has to make their own decisions when it comes to their mental health. When we are informed and supportive we can help with those decisions.

Just because someone may seem “happy” or “successful” that does not mean they aren’t struggling. Many of us have spent years learning how to fake being “ok”. That doesn’t mean the signs won’t be there just that we need to look a little closer to see them. Many times today’s society is too busy to see those signs. If you lose someone to suicide know it’s not your fault. It’s not that they didn’t love you or they thought you were awful. They were struggling and probably thought the world would be better off without them in it.

Remember YOU ARE BRAVE, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, YOU ARE AMAZING & YOU ARE ENOUGH!!!

XoXo

Megan Hall

If you want more information on the subject of suicide prevention please listen to Episode 73 of The Inspired Women Podcast.

32 Lessons I’ve Learned

32 Lessons I've Learned, Megan Hall, Life Coach, Motivational Speaker

This week I will celebrate my 32nd trip around the sun. Looking back there are so many lessons I’ve learned but in honor of this birthday I am going to share 32! Many of these things I’ve shared over time in The Inspired Women Community or on The Inspired Women Podcast but this is a consolidation of all of that. Will these lessons always be true? Maybe! In the next year I will probably learn new & different ones.

32 lessons I’ve learned in 32 years

1) Life isn’t always fair. 

Yes I believe in karma. I also believe that sometimes shitty things happen to good people. Adversity does not discriminate.

2) Just because someone is family doesn’t mean they are good people. 

We have to set those boundaries with family. Just because someone is blood or pushed you out their vagina it does not mean they have the right to a spot in your life.

3) It only takes one decision to change the trajectory of your life. 

This can be good or bad. I’ve made decisions that changed my trajectory for the worse then later made decisions that changed my trajectory towards the better.

4) Profanity does not mean someone has a limited vocabulary or that they are not intelligent. 

Y’all some of the most intelligent people I know swear and they believe that profanity just adds to their vocabulary. I mean sometimes we just need a shit added in there for emphasis.

5) Change isn’t always a bad thing. 

In most cases change is good. As we age we learn and grow in new and amazing ways. In order to do that change is necessary.

6) We need friends. 

Friendships are necessary for our physical, mental & emotional health. Not any friendships though. Those friends who lift you up and support you.

7) Forgiveness is necessary. 

When we don’t forgive we drag that shit around with us forever. It’s not hurting the other person it’s only hurting us. By doing this we are allowing that person to continue to hurt us long after the initial hurt. That’s no way to live.

8) Even though we have come a long way we still have a long way to go.

Seriously though! The fact that there still is some very racist, homophobic, bigoted people out there on the planet means we still have a long way to go.

9) What you want today may not be what you want five years from now. 

What I wanted at 27 is no where near what I want today. I had full plans to be a personal trainer and make my own work out videos.

10) Everything we put in our bodies effects our bodies. 

Whether that’s what we are eating, what we are listening to, the air we breathe, etc… It all makes a difference.

11) There is no such thing as perfect. 

There’s just not. Embrace those imperfections because we all have them.

12) Technology is helping and hurting us at the same time. 

Look at how much we are on our phones or computers in a day. It’s addictive.

13) Our physical, mental & emotional health are all important. 

If your mental health is shit eventually your physical health will be and vice versa.

14) There will never be a point where we look and say “I made it.”

It’s human nature to keep striving towards something new. There’s never a time that we know everything and have done everything we want to.

15) Mental illness does not discriminate. 

It doesn’t matter what race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, socio-economic background someone is we are all susceptible.

16) Being you is the best person you can be. 

No one else can be you except you. Trying to be someone else is just being a second rate version of them.

17) Every human is equal. 

We all have a brain, a heart, & lungs. We all bleed. There’s is nothing that makes one of us better than another. If we were born in a different environment or had different experiences we might be someone else entirely.

18) Your experience in a situation will be different then someone in the same situation. 

Our beliefs, perceptions, opinions & past experiences taint our current experiences. That doesn’t make anyone right or wrong.

19) No one is safe from adversity. 

We all experience it in our lifetimes. Adversity doesn’t discriminate.

20) Hard is hard. 

Who really wants to win the game of who has it harder. I know I don’t.

21) No one can tell you how you feel or how you are suppose to feel. 

Our feelings are ours alone. No one has the right to dictate that.

22) Success is individual. 

Your definition of success and my definition of success are two different things. Don’t let anyone dictate that for you.

23) There can be more than one right answer. 

So many times we see things in black and white when actually there is a whole spectrum of color out there. Sometimes there can be more than one right answer for the same question.

24) Your intuition is one of the most valuable tools you have. 

Trust it!

25) You can never say what you would do until you’ve been in that exact situation under those exact circumstance. 

Today I saw someone say “I would never take my own life.” This is someone who stated they have also never experienced mental illness. You don’t know until you are there.

26) It is never to late to pursue your dreams. 

I know women who have pursued a new career later in life. They are rocking it too!

27) Just because someone’s life choice isn’t your own doesn’t mean they are wrong. 

We just naturally want to be right but leave it be. Just because you do something doesn’t make it right. It would be so boring if we were all alike.

28) Our experiences shape who we are but that doesn’t mean we are stuck that way. 

At any point in time we can decide this is not how our story ends.

29) Someone’s opinion about you has very little to do with you and everything to do with them. 

It’s all about their beliefs, perceptions, and insecurities. Their judgments about you have so much to do with that. Until they work through those it won’t matter what you do.

30) Apologies are absolutely necessary. 

If you do something wrong apologize. If you hurt someone’s feelings unintentionally apologize for hurting their feelings but don’t apologize for what you did not say/do.

31) You don’t need another person to complete you. 

You are more than enough just as you are. Don’t put that kind of expectation on someone else.

32) It’s 100% acceptable to ask for help when you need it. 

Whether it’s seeking out a therapist or asking you spouse to help more around the house or asking your friend to watch your cats. The worst thing that they can do is say no.

That’s it! I’m sure there are more things I have learned but I’ll keep it to 32. I would love to hear what lessons you’ve learned just comment below. Remember YOU ARE BRAVE, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, YOU ARE AMAZING, & YOU ARE ENOUGH!!!

XoXo

Megan Hall

 

Nothing Is Unforgivable

Forgiveness, Megan Hall, Life Coach, Motivational Speaker

You probably saw the title of this article and thought OH HELL NAW! Hear me out for a second. Forgiveness is not about the other person. It is not about forgetting or saying what someone did was ok. It’s not even about wishing them the best on their life’s endeavors. What it’s really about is you releasing the burden that you are carrying around and allowing yourself the opportunity to heal.

Every time we don’t forgive we add another brick on our backs. Over time this burden can be too heavy to bear. It can cause us emotional and mental pain. Instead of “getting back at” the person who hurt us we are only continuing to hurt ourselves. If anything we are allowing these people the opportunity to continue to hurt us for years after they are done.

How can we practice FORGIVENESS

1) Identify the hurt or wrong this person has committed

2) Feel the feelings that come up around this hurt

3) Try identify why the person may have done this

4) Think of the hurt and say “I love you, I’m sorry, Please Forgive Me, Thank you.” This is towards you not them 

5) Seek out a therapist if this wound is so deep that you cannot release it

One of the best ways I’ve found to help me heal besides therapy is empathy. That’s why #3 is so important. Having empathy does not mean we think what the person did was acceptable but we can now understand why they did it. For example with my ex fiance who abused me and shot off a gun in my house. When I looked at his childhood and how he was raised I can see where his hurt stems from. As a victim of abuse himself and growing up seeing his mom be abused as well he became a very hurt, confused individual. Instead of dealing with that hurt in a healthy manner he took it out on those around him… like me.

I have forgiven my ex for what he did for me. Does that mean I will allow him back into my life? Absolutely not. Does it erase what he did? HELL NAW! Is my anxiety around our daughter going to visit him diminished? NOPE! But instead of having hate fester inside of me and allowing me to weigh me down I am free of it. For years I allowed my fear and hate to control me but no more. Forgiveness does not mean you continue to allow someone to hurt you or be part of your life. Instead it means you are not going to carry them and that pain with you any longer. This is for you not for them.

Remember YOU ARE BRAVE, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, YOU ARE AMAZING, & YOU ARE ENOUGH!!!

XoXo

Megan Hall

 

5 Things To Do Instead of Mom Shaming

Mom Shaming, Megan Hall, Life Coach, Motivational Speaker

It’s not only moms who are guilty of mom shaming it’s people without children too. I have to start with if you don’t have children you certainly should not be shaming moms. Like it or not as a mom this is one of my biggest pet peeves. As with most anything else it’s difficult to understand what it’s like to be a mom until you are one.

The worst mom shaming is when it comes from other moms. Momming is difficult every mom knows it. Every child, family situation, mom, etc… is different. What works for one mom might not work for another mom. There is no one perfect way to be a mom. Are there bad ways? Absolutely! But there is so much gray area where things aren’t necessarily right or necessarily wrong. None of us are perfect.

What We Can Do Instead of Mom Shaming

1) Work on ourselves. Unless we are the epitome of perfection don’t throw stones. 

2) Offer to help. If you see a mom that’s struggling instead of pointing fingers offer to help out. 

3) Be a listening ear. Sometimes we just want someone to listen to us bitch without judgement. 

4) Ask before giving advice. Maybe I do want a mom who has been there and done that to guide me or maybe I don’t. Ask first.

5) Keep in mind we don’t know everything and we don’t know their whole story. 

It’s tough to be a parent in today’s society of highlight reels and gurus. Let’s be honest with all the resources our there we learned the most from our parents. Unfortunately they too were flawed human beings. We tend to either mimic their parenting style or do the exact opposite of it. Being a mom is a learning journey. Sometimes we have things handled and sometimes we are a hot mess.

I’ve been a working mom, a stay at home mom, and a work from home mom… all have their difficulties. My children were both breast and bottle fed… some by choice and some not. The only age range I haven’t dealt  with my children yet  is adulthood. Guess what? After 15 years of being a mom I still don’t have this shit figured out. What I will tell you is none of it is a cake walk.

So whether you are a mom or not let’s stop the mom shame. No matter what your parenting choices remember YOU ARE BRAVE, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, YOU ARE AMAZING & YOU ARE ENOUGH!!!

XoXo

Megan Hall

 

Social Anxiety is Real

Social Anxiety is real, Megan Hall, Life Coach, Motivational Speaker

I know it’s hard for anyone who has met me to believe but I have social anxiety. What is social anxiety? Social anxiety is what it sounds like, it’s nervousness in social situations. Sometimes this is quite severe where people cannot even be in social situations without a full on panic attack. Other times people can function in social situations but those situations make them very anxious.

I have more moderate social anxiety. Most of my nervousness is more internal.  I can hold conversations and even speak publicly but my whole insides are a mess. When I was younger it was so much worse but now it’s only bad when I am around a lot of people who I don’t know. Through out the years there have been many things that help to minimize my social anxiety.

How I Manage My Social Anxiety

1) Saying no to attending things that I know I won’t feel comfortable at

2) Making sure I am in a good place emotionally when I attend social functions

3) Leaving early if I am starting to feel drained 

4) Taking a bathroom break or break outside for some deep breathing when I start to feel nervous

5) Minimizing my alcohol intake in uncomfortable social situation

Sometimes social anxiety requires therapy. Either way being really mindful of how we feel in social situations is very important. We can’t be afraid to say no or leave when we don’t feel comfortable. With social anxiety you may not always feel 100% comfortable so choose the situations that won’t drain you in five minutes. Maybe these are the things that you can make it two hours before you have to go home.

Don’t let this stop you from being social and making new friends or connections. Just make sure you have ample time to rejuvenate afterwards. Remember YOU ARE BRAVE, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, YOU ARE AMAZING, & YOU ARE ENOUGH!!!

XoXo

Megan Hall

Ending the Stigma

Ending the Stigma, Megan Hall, Life Coach, Motivational Speaker

I remember when the first time I saw a therapist. My husband had to ask his work to leave early so I could go to my appointments every week. I remember being so worried that other people would find out and judge me. Over my life time I had heard so many people make cruel comments about people who were in therapy. That stigma is part of the reason I didn’t want to go in the first place.

Fast forward five years and I will tell anyone who will listen that I see a therapist. Why? It changed my life! So much so that I am pursuing a degree in psychology so I can help others as well. I openly share my story to help dismantle the stigma around mental health. Each time I share I hope that it will encourage others to go seek out therapy as well.

How we can help end the stigma around mental health

1) Seek out therapy ourselves. Others won’t learn just by hearing but by seeing. 

2) Share our mental health struggles openly. This doesn’t have to be with strangers but with those closest to us. 

3) Support others who are struggling by being empathetic not judgmental.

4) Speak out when we hear someone making ignorant comments about mental health. 

5) Surround ourselves with mental health advocates who are willing to talk about mental health. 

Mental health is just as important as physical health. Society doesn’t see a problem with seeking out a doctor when we have problems with physical health. It is ludicrous to think that it’s not also just as acceptable to seek out a therapist when we have problems with our emotional health. If we want to make total body health acceptable we must start here.

I am going to keep sharing my story and I hope you will as well. Let’s work towards ending the stigma around mental health together. Then perhaps more people will seek the help they need before it’s too late. If you want to hear more about my mental health journey you can tune into The Inspired Women Podcast or read Dealing With Depression and What I Learned From Being Clinically Depressed.

Remember you are beautiful, you are brave, you are amazing, and YOU ARE ENOUGH!!!

XoXo

Megan Hall

 

Stop Tolerating Other People’s Bullshit

Stop tolerating other people's bullshit, Megan Hall, Life Coach, Motivational Speaker

Can I be real with you for a second? We tolerate way too much bullshit. Many times we do it because we don’t want to be mean or we can’t imagine what someone will say if we don’t. Guess what? We aren’t being mean and what people say about us is none of our business. That’s all about them not us. Stop tolerating other people’s bullshit.

When I was in college the first time around we read a book on bullshit. Yes there is a book on bullshit. It’s short, sweet and you can get it where ever books are sold. I haven’t read the book in awhile, like 12 years, but what I remember most about the book is how it points out that we tolerate to much bullshit. It’s not untrue. We, as a society, are so polite that sometimes we become too polite. During the process we fail to set boundaries with other people.

How to stop tolerating other People’s Bullshit

1) Learn to say no. Without excuse, without reason, without anything… No is a complete sentence. 

2) Stop spending time with people who drain you. Just cut them loose.

3) Be you unapologetic-ally. Stop pretending to be someone your not just to impress the bullshitters. 

4) Find your limit. We each can only tolerate so much bullshit in a day. Some times bullshit is unavoidable so know your limit.

5) Get real with your soul. Is this path really the one your suppose to be on?

That last tip might have thrown you for a loop. Why does the path I’m on really matter? We often tolerate other people’s bullshit because we think we have to in order to get where we want to be. Once we get there we realize this is not where we wanted to be at all! That’s because we don’t take the time to check in with ourselves and get real about where we are going.

No matter what your goals and dreams are you shouldn’t have to tolerate other people’s bullshit. It doesn’t make you polite. Instead it emotionally drains you or mentally exhausts you. That’s just not a life to live. Be merciless about setting boundaries. You only get one life, might as well make it a good one.

Remember YOU ARE BRAVE, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, YOU ARE AMAZING, and YOU ARE ENOUGH!!!

XoXo

Megan Hall

PS You can check out these resources on boundaries: Creating BoundariesBoundary Basics, & What’s in Your Space.

Protecting Your Space

Protecting Your Space, Megan Hall, Life Coach, Motivational Speaker

As I drove my teenage daughter to school this morning her 6 & 8 year old sisters fought in the back of the van. I heard “No don’t do that.” followed by “Mom Lillian won’t stop putting sand on me.” Lillian’s rebuttal “I want to play with her.” I told her that  her sister said no and she needs to respect her boundaries. My son piped up ” What are boundaries?” To which I responded “Protecting your space.”

Really when we boil down to the core of what boundaries are it’s about protecting ourselves. My son even said this morning “I own my body.” Yes he does and that’s why he needs boundaries. You own your body too and that’s why you need boundaries. Of all the things in the world our bodies are the one thing we are guaranteed to own. No matter how hard societies try to take that ownership away from us it’s just not possible. Why? Because we are our bodies, our mind, our souls and we have the right to protect those things.

Protecting your space

1) Take ownership of you and your space. No one has ownership over that but you.

2) Be mindful of what doesn’t belong in your space or what words/actions make you feel like an invasion of your space. 

3) Do NOT let anyone try to coerce you into letting them invade that space. 

4) Respect other people’s space. 

5) Allow for the protection of that space to change over time. You might decide to tighten up security or loosen it up. 

I want you to be empowered to protect your space the same way I try to empower my children to. This is your space. It’s up to you to protect it fiercely. That means protecting mind, body, soul and everything in between. This morning we even had to talk about being that person I mention in #3. My darling Lillian tried to tell her sister “If you don’t let me do this you can’t be a part of my game.” That’s a big no no even on an adult level. Don’t let anyone try to convince you that your boundaries are not ok.

Protecting your space is one of the most powerful forms of self care. Hell it’s not just important for self care but self preservation. This is not about blocking people out but allowing the right people in at the right times. There is no one person out there who deserves 24 hour access to any part of you they want. Protect your space fiercely and unapologetic-ally. Remember you are brave, you are beautiful, you are amazing, and YOU ARE ENOUGH!!!

XoXo

Megan Hall

 

Preventing Groupthink

Preventing Groupthink, Megan Hall, Life Coach, Motivational Speaker

I like to think of groupthink as the sheep mentality. It’s kind of like the way sheep follow each other and do everything together. Can groupthink be a good thing? Yes when you are working as a team and everyone is able to come to a common solution that is helpful. Where it goes bad is when individuals don’t want to or don’t feel like they can or just don’t think for themselves. This is where the word conformity comes into play. Everyone conforming to the “norm” of the group.

Diversity is what makes the world go round. Without it we would not see creative thinking or be able to advance in our technology or expand our minds. Thinking, acting, and believing the same as everyone else puts us at a distinct disadvantage. Groupthink stunts our personal growth and  makes us cookie cutter versions of each other. How boring is that? To me that’s super boring. I love to see people thinking for themselves and not going along with the status quo.

preventing groupthink starts with us

1) Diversify the people you hang out with. Don’t just hang out with people who think, act, believe or look like you.

2) Listen to opposing views with an open mind. 

3) Get your information from a variety of places. Even try getting it from new places once in awhile. 

4) Have new experiences. New experiences = new people. 

5) Question everything. Don’t be afraid to place devils advocate. 

We really need to check our belief and opinions. Does everyone around us believe the same thing? Are we closed off to opposing views? Why do we even believe these things in the first place? I had a conversation with my husband about profanity that helps explain this. I believe words are only words. We decide what power they have by how we use them. The only reason some words are considered taboo is because someone somewhere made them that way. Back in the day ass meant donkey and bitch meant female dog.

The problem with groupthink is it prevents us from thinking outside the box. Instead of questioning everything we just go along with it. In extremes this is how Nazis and cults were formed. We must be willing to decide on our own how we feel about the world. That may mean being different than your best friend or your sister. That’s ok because that’s how change occurs. Remember you are brave, you are beautiful, you are amazing and YOU ARE ENOUGH!!!

XoXo

Megan Hall

3 Things We Need To Do Before Adversity Strikes

Adversity, Megan Hall

March 28th I received a call no mom wants to receive, it was my oldest daughters father telling me our daughter was in the hospital 600 miles from me. The next two and a half weeks were a whirlwind, every day it seemed something changed. I drove over 3,000 miles in that time finding myself in the end physically, mentally & emotionally exhausted.

There have been days since that call that I have thought “I don’t think I can take much more”  but then I do. It’s amazing how resilient a person can be when they have to be. There are so many things I attribute to my resilience but there are three main things that helped me hold it together.

3 Things We Need To Do Before Adversity Strikes

1) Create a solid support network. Several people we can turn to when shit hits the fan.

2) Develop and utilize a self are routine. That means taking care of yourself BEFORE adversity strikes as well as after. 

3) Work on personal development. That means continuing to learn an grown on a DAILY basis. Seek out a therapist and/or coach to help you. 

Without all the personal development, including many hours with my therapist, and a solid self care routine I would have been a wreck during those weeks of chaos. Even though my PD & self care became very inconsistent during those three weeks because of the constant changes that occurred. Because I had already built those habits they didn’t take as much effort to implement when I could.

We can’t do this on our own try as we might. We each are only capable of so much. That’s why my #1 tip is that support network. Without the people who offered their time, houses, and listening ears I would not have made it through. Those were all people I spent time building relationships with BEFORE this all happen. It’s important to spend time cultivating those relationships so that you aren’t all alone when shitty things happen.

We all have negative experiences in our lives. These three things will help you significantly when they do. Remember you are brave, you are strong, and YOU ARE ENOUGH!!!

XoXo

Megan Hall