I was in my thirties before I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and started taking medication, even though I had struggled with anxiety my entire life. It turns out, I’m not alone. Nearly one in five adults in the United States live with an anxiety disorder, and women are more than twice as likely as men to be diagnosed. The same goes for depression.
If you’re among the many women who have been diagnosed with anxiety or depression, COVID19 might be ramping up your mental illness even more. The global pandemic has taken a serious toll on many of us, including our finances, sleep, emotions, and yes, mental health. If you’re like me, you’ve spent a little too much time scrolling through social media, trying to escape the realities of quarantine, which unfortunately tends to make us more anxious, not less. Luckily, I’ve discovered some fantastic positive, female-created mental health accounts to follow. I’ve decided that if I’m going to spend time browsing social media, I might as well be basking in positivity to help my anxiety.
Of course, nothing takes the place of working with your health professionals to figure out what’s best for your mental health, which may include medication and therapy. However, there are lifestyle changes that the Mayo Clinic recommends. For anxiety, these include exercise, proper sleep, relaxation techniques (think yoga and meditation), eating a healthy diet, avoiding drugs and alcohol, and quitting some habits including smoking and consuming caffeine. As someone living with anxiety, I’ve found that all of these have been incredibly helpful, as well as making sure I keep my newsfeed upbeat and supportive.
Check out these diverse female-led Instagram accounts that are inspiring us to be our best selves, taking care of our minds and hearts:
Artist Dani DiPirro shares on her blog that living positively present means “the now is all we have, why not make this moment a positive experience?” She added that her posts “strive to support the idea that life is best lived if it’s lived right now” and she urges us to “Be positive. Be present. This is your life.”
Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis is a minister, artist, psychologist, trained dancer, and actress who frequently shares her tweets. Her posts speak to the importance of establishing healthy boundaries, letting go of what doesn’t help, and embracing our real feelings rather than working to hide or reject them. She told Scary Mommy, “When women share with each other in compassion and transparency, it facilitates the type of healing that only comes when we hear truth spoken in love by someone who has walked a similar path.”
Dominee Wyrick is no stranger to the mental health struggles women face. She shares on her site, “I have anger issues, depression, anxiety, and a severe case of I’m-an-introvert-do-I-really-have-to-leave-the-house-for-this?” Her Instagram page is jam-packed with visually appealing art paired with self-care advice that will have you eagerly waiting for her next post.
Drawn by Mary
Mary Purdie is an illustrator and designer who faced breast cancer. Using her own healthy journey, Mary creates post after post encouraging women through their struggles with anxiety, depression, and self-worth.
Black Mental Wellness
Black Mental Wellness, founded by Dr. Nicole Cammack, Dr. Danielle Busby, Dr. Dana Cunningham, and Dr. Jessica Henry, provides “culturally sensitive educational resources related to Black mental health” among other services. Johns Hopkins reports that Black women are half as likely to seek help for depression as whites, however, social media accounts such as Black Mental Wellness are helping to fight the stigma.
Writer and activist Cleo Wade is well-known for her succinct, moving poetry. She shared, “When we get real and honest and raw about what we go through, we have the power to turn our words into medicine and our experiences into wisdom.”
Morgan Harper Nichols
Morgan Harper Nichols, often seen as MHN, is an author, songwriter, and owner of two popular Instagram accounts, including The Storyteller Co. Morgan is known for her powerful ability to combine poetry and art, eliciting self-reflection, encouragement, and empathy.
Women always have a lot on our plates, and COVID-19 is a big one. Though we can’t control much of what’s going on, we can decide to focus our social media scrolling sessions on women who choose to uplift and encourage us.
This article was originally published on