There’s so much stigma around mental heath but honestly screw that. If you’re struggling I want you to know that you’re not alone at all. I wanted to start this series for people to share their experiences with mental health to help other people feel less alone and share their healthy coping strategies. I’m super excited to be able to feature some readers on the blog. If you’re interested in taking part of this series you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks so much to Brandice for taking part in this series, please make sure you checkout her blog and social media.
Name: Brandice Lardner
Location: Clearwater, FL
Career: Blogger & Nutrition Coach
Social media: Facebook; Pinterest
Favorite quote: CS Lewis- “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
Who are your biggest inspirations: Paul, the author at least 13 books of the New Testament Bible. He didn’t let his past keep him from changing the world for that which was most important to him.
Give us the rundown, who are you and what do you do?
I am a mom of a 21-month-old girl and wife to the most amazing husband. In 2006, I found my calling in life and began working as a personal trainer. While training I found an even deeper passion for nutrition. I began to work for a one-on-one nutrition coaching company and learned so much about how our interactions with food mirror the way we live our lives. Coaching became about so much more than what we eat; it became out how we think and feel and how we react to those thoughts and feelings. In 2016, I began the faith-based health and fitness blog- A Joyful Plate. I am privileged to coach several online clients and I love pouring my heart into my blog every second I get!
How has mental health impacted your life?
At the age of 14, I developed an eating disorder which plagued me for the next 20 years. I sought treatment in every way imaginable and it was only through persistence and faith that I am now (mostly) on the other side.
Then 6 weeks after the birth of my daughter my “baby blues” took on a life of their own. I was plunged headfirst into postpartum depression and anxiety. It felt as though something had taken over my body. I experienced panic attacks and suffered from severe insomnia.
I am SO grateful for the friendly advice that I received during my pregnancy, urging me to seek treatment immediately if I felt any signs of postpartum depression. The day that I realized that something was terribly wrong, I was at my doctor’s office getting help.
Through medication, counseling, prayer, Bible Study, and meditation, I was able to slowly make my way out of the dark hole that I was in. By the time our baby was 4 months old I began to feel like myself. At her 1 year birthday, I felt better than I have in my entire life!
Now, a year and a half later, I feel great and am in the process of weaning myself off the medication.
What has been the best and most difficult parts of your mental health journey?
The best and the worst is the amount of work that it takes to be well! In this world of quick fixes, it is overwhelming to think that it may take months or even years to reach the level of happiness that we desire. But, what is the alternative? We get to choose if we want to work at happiness or stay stuck. It is only in doing the work that we grow. By asserting ourselves to be well we learn skills that we would have developed otherwise.
What does self-care mean to you and how does it fit into your life?
Self-care means understanding that we can not pour from an empty cup. We all need to take care of our spiritual and physical health proactively so that we have something to give.
For me, self-care comes in the form of daily Bible devotional reading, exercise, eating well, spending quality time with my family, and taking the risk to pursue a career that I really love.
What is the best thing you’ve ever done for your mental health?
Seeking the help of a counselor and being willing to visit several until I found one that truly resonated with me.
Share your secrets, what are your favorite resources (books, youtube, movies, podcasts etc)?
Daily Devotional Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. Short reads that speak encouragement to the heart.
Any Bible Study by Beth Moore. In-depth studies that make the scriptures come alive and offer truths that you can apply to your life.
The Headspace meditation app. Short 10-minute meditations tailored to your specific challenges.
Spread some inspo, what keeps you going when you’re struggling with your mental health?
Realizing that continuing is a choice. At any time I can throw in the towel, but do I want to? Hard times come in recovery but being stuck is far worse.
Drop some wisdom on us, what lessons have you learned from managing your mental health?
There is no such thing as failure. The only criteria for success is to keep facing forward. If you trip, it’s ok, you are human. Give yourself grace and keep moving on.
Spread a message, what do you wish more people knew about mental health?
Mental health issues can happen to anyone. They are NOT a sign of weakness and overcoming they takes an incredible amount of strength. You, my freind, are doing a great thing!
What advice do you have for anyone reading this that is struggling with mental health?
it is OK to be the “needy” one! When I was struggling with postpartum depression and anxiety I reached out to friend every. single. day. A phone call, a text, a message, a visit- anything I needed to help get me through! Do not be shy. Reach out to your support network as often as you need to. Soon, you will feel better and YOU can be the ones supporting others!
I would love it if you join my internet family! Checkout Facebook/Twitter for informational articles and Instagram for inspirational quotes to keep you going. Follow me on SnapChat to see me get through the day to day grind (also videos of my cute pup!). I always try to follow you guys back.