My Mental Side to Wellness

Wellness corner of my desk - three glass vases of different sizes, one with dried eucalyptus in it, a wooden box that says "Potions and Spells", and a tag saying "Nightshade potion For graduated Witches and Goblins Only" with a picture of a bird on it.

            I’ve had wellness on the brain. When I put it like that, it sounds like a medical condition, but my sister’s project, Otherworldly Women Press, has gotten me thinking about it.

            Since I was young, I’ve struggled with “feminine” things. Dresses, pastels, and makeup sparked discomfort in me. I crave a touch of the dark to feel at home. Sometimes, I wonder why that is.

            Other times, I just run with it. Pastels and princesses have their place, but so do deep colors and adventurers. My comfort zone doesn’t mesh with a lot of what the wellness industry sells, either.

            Wellness is all about health. I love crystals, candles, and essential oils. They soothe me, and they have places in my belief systems. However, it’s less that lavender is supposed to be soothing, green is supposed to be healing, or rose quartz is supposed to draw love, and more that they make me feel grounded.

            For me, it is all about how I think about things. It’s about how I cope with the anxiety of the future, regrets of the past, and challenge of the present. Wellness is about flowing with the tide of my thoughts and changing the channel to steer them in a better direction.

            Things we buy are tools to do something similar. It’s not one-size-fits-all. Some people love baths, but baths make me feel like I’m marinating in my own juices. That’s okay. Those folks might not find relief from the world in a horror novel the same way I do. Their bath and my horror both provide our minds with the opportunity to break harmful thoughts.

            Wellness is personal. We can read as much as we want and buy as much as we can afford, but ultimately, we must discover what it means for us.

On Advocacy: A Message to Parents From a Dyslexic Adult


When I graduated high school, I was terrified. I should have felt happy and proud of my Regents diploma. It was a huge accomplishment, especially for someone who went from failing to honors. My family was proud, but all I could feel was anxiety. I knew I was broken somehow but didn’t feel like I could talk about it. I had no idea how to advocate for myself.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate everything my parents have done for me. There were always extra stresses, and they didn’t have nearly as many resources as there are today. They did a fantastic job with what they had. I will always be proud to be their daughter, but I now have the luxury of time to see some of what I needed.

I’ve found most information about learning disabilities for parents circulated through social media only addresses current struggles. While I understand the need to get through the moment, kids need to learn early on how to effectively speak up for themselves.

This can take shape in many ways. Here are a couple ideas:

  • For older kids, fully involve them with post-high school plans. Do they want to go to college? Research with them. Is college not for them? Point them at resources about work programs or internships. Then look at disability accommodations together.
  • Listen if they’re having trouble at school with teachers or bullying. Discuss possible courses of action with them (taking into account, of course, age and development), then carry through as partners. and other similar websites have excellent resources that could help with this issue.

I’m not speaking as a parent, but as a child with disabilities who has grown up. Learning self-advocacy early on will make adult years easier and may prevent some heartache.

Invisible Strength

disability theory
Yellow and purple flowers growing out of rocks

            I’ll admit it. I have a hard time with motivation sometimes. It’s just a part of being human, and it’s often compounded by that nasty little critical voice living in our heads. One of the big issues with my voice is the way my neurodivergence has reinforced what it says.

            Part of that has to do with anxiety, which I’ve lived with for as long as I can remember. I had written an article about my coping mechanisms here, but as I was stumbling through last week, I got to thinking about invisible strength.

            Invisible strength is the overlooked power to get through those mental blocks. Getting up and going can take huge effort, but it’s not obvious by looking at us. My lens is through that of invisible disability. People don’t see the years of mental training needed to get to my current functional level. They don’t see the ongoing fight to maintain health and an environment I can efficiently work in.

            It’s hard, but that’s life.

            You don’t have to fit into any specific demographic to struggle. We all have our own fights, regardless of how good our lives may look. That’s something we need to learn how to honor. At the same time, we also need to at least notice the struggles of other and remain compassionate about whatever they’re going through. Your difficulty is never an excuse to abuse others.

            We’re all strong in our own ways. Our brains may be hardwired to notice the negatives, but that’s all the more reason to make the effort to see the positive and to build upon that. That starts with seeing our invisible strengths. It continues with building upon them.