Volume 2, Resources 13: Find Your Words and Access Guide

Hi friends! I don’t know about you, but I feel like this week has gone by very quickly. I’m settling into my weekly therapy sessions and it feels good to have someone to bounce things off of and to give me a fresh perspective, though, more than once my therapist has said to me the same things I say to other people but fail to say to myself. As much as some of us would like to, we really suck at being our own therapists.

I have a few new subscribers so I want to say hello! It’s good to see you here. This newsletter is weekly and drops on Fridays. The issues alternate between something meaty and thoughtful and free (or mostly free) resources I’ve found around the internet.

It’s resource week but before I get to that I wanted to share a tip. One of my friends was looking for the newsletter issue where I shared “You Feel Like Shit: A Self-Care Game.” They scrolled through each issue trying to find it. When I said there is a search function, they let me know they didn’t see it. I took a look at my homepage and realized that wow, the search option is all but hidden and it makes sense that no one can find it. So, I wanted to share a screenshot of my homepage with the search option circled in green, just in case this is helpful for any of you:

Resource #1: Find Your Words

Find Your Words is a free mental health resource from Kaiser Permanente. What I like most about it is that it is focused on two audiences: people who may be seeking help for themselves AND people who are looking for advice on how to help a loved one. While the primary focuses (foci?) of this site are depression and anxiety, it does have a self-check and screening page with issues beyond those two (e.g, addiction, eating disorders, postpartum depression, and more). There are so many resources on this site, including resources for building resilience, coping with stress, and practicing self-care. This site intends to be a catalyst for bringing conversations around mental illness out in the open. There are resources for spreading messages on social media, Zoom backgrounds, messages of hope, and more.

Aside from the assessments, I think the most valuable things on the site are around language. There are resources for how to talk about depression (if you have it) and how to ask for help. There are also resources for people who have a loved one they see struggling: how to recognize depression, what you can do to help, advice for family and friends, and the best part (imho), what you can say.

Story time: I started to spiral downward into depression in my early 20s. I remember being at work at a staff meeting and I was being incredibly mean and angry, snapping at my coworkers for little insignificant things. An older gentleman, who I respected very much, softly put his hand on my shoulder and I burst into tears. He pulled me into a hug and said, “Hey, maybe it’s time to talk to someone?” Until that point, no one had ever said that to me. In my whole life. I hadn’t considered that there was actually help out there to assist me in not feeling like a dumpster fire. I hadn’t considered that I didn’t have to do everything on my own.

I, however, am a bull in a china shop when it comes to other people’s feelings. I’m not nearly as bad as I once was, but there is plenty of room for improvement. For example, I will look someone dead in the eye and say, “You would really benefit from talking with a therapist.” Like, no chill at all. Smooth as gravel. Patience is a virtue I do not possess. This works for some people! And for many people, it does not work. That’s why I’m really grateful that this specific page with phrases to use exists.

Resource #2: Access Guide by Alex Chen

Alex Chen is an accessibility-focused product designer based in Chicago. Their work, Access Guide, offers resources and tips for digital accessibility. I discovered them via their Instagram account as I was searching for ways to improve accessibility on the digital content I put out in the world (it’s one of my goals for 2021). Their Instagram profile includes this link of where else to find them on the internet, including their personal page, Medium, and Twitter as well as a few resources they’ve created, such as this article on how to write an image description.

That’s it for this week! I’m going to leave you with my new favorite photo of me:

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