Mental health is a journey, and the destination is unknowable... yet full of potential.

During Mental Health Awareness month and always, our present awareness along this journey matters.

What led me to track my menstrual cycle was my mental health challenges that have followed me my entire life. My mental health has only led me deeper into my cyclical, wholistic awareness. One informs the other, as nothing in nature exists alone, and our bodies are a deeply interconnected system.

So while mental health is of course a focus which can be considered without the menstrual cycle, for anyone who experiences one (regular, irregular or absent), I believe it's an important part of wholistic wellness. Thus, why I created Cycles Journal.

As I continue to learn and accept myself - physically, mentally, spiritually, I am growing. 

Neurodiversity is a gift that teaches me through alternate perspectives; mental illness/imbalance is a quality that does not define me but teaches and guides me into deeper healing and understanding. Whether you have a chronic condition, mental health diagnosis, dis-order, or not – we all experience versions of highs and lows; we all experience turbulent inner weather and calm seas at times.

Diagnosis can be helpful and/or unhelpful – but were/are certainly a valuable part of my process. In a western culture that struggles to consider the whole picture and multi-faceted layered issues and root causes, I've learned to use them in finding resources and affirmation for my experiences through keywords, and to also consider beyond over-identification or boxing myself in from looking at the layers beneath the labels.

Sometimes it's hard to know where to find support – the answers, remedies, medicine are often unclear and deeply personal. All I have learned is that the balance of spirit and science, inner intuition and outer guidance, stillness and movement, earth-based and hand-created is essential being able to receive the support we each deserve.

No matter your resource pool, one of the greatest tools already lives within you – your own self-awareness. To know your own patterns or lack there-of is essential information to being able to support yourself and/or ask for help.

Shame and stigma can hold us back longer than we realize, especially for those of us who grew up in households or cultures who do not talk about mental health. But I've learned it's not a weakness to need support, it's not shameful to need modern medicine, nor is it wrong to find alternatives or of course remember traditionals. What I've found to be essential is to know all options, to ask and research, to seek help from professionals and peers alike, and to honor your unique needs, lineage and desires.

Intuition is a vital tool in our men(s)t(ru)al health journeys, to help us advocate for ourselves, speak our boundaries, as well as open up to new perspectives, possibilities and modalities.

Whatever you're going through, you are not alone. I hope you can allow yourself to find the support you need, to utilize resources online and locally, to confide in yourself and in community.

Wherever you are on your journey, whatever path or shift you seek; write and release it like seeds in the autumn wind; let it rest so the answers can break through soil when the cycle says so.

Sometimes the answer is rest, patience, pause. Sometimes it's to reach out for support or ask for help. Sometimes it's setting boundaries, or going outside of your comfort zone. Sometimes it's surrender. Sometimes it's action.

Us being unique beings means that there's no one way, and that awareness and efforts to find what works for us is the only way.

Wholistic wellness is only possible through awareness and introspection in collaboration with external resourcing.

I owe much of these realizations and the progress I've made to a wide array of loved ones, therapists, teachers, spiritual mentors, practitioners, authors, & other generous souls.

In deep solidarity and empathy for everyone struggling with mental and/or menstrual health stability, here are some resources of our own & others which have helped my journey and hopefully can help yours too;

Mental Health Tools + Resources:

  • Insight Timer App for mindfulness & meditation practices
  • Community; in person or online safe spaces like our Cyclical Community, and our Moonthly Meets Circle where we hold share/support circles & workshops.
  • Tbh, Reddit has been a helpful tool in affirming and relating my experiences to that of others
  • Guided embodiment meditations
  • Routine-building apps like Routinery, Fabulous, etc.
  • Of course, our very own Cycles Journal which supports your self-awareness and wholistic cycle tracking, along with supportive rituals, tools & more.
  • DBT Self-Help Skills is a great resource my therapist recommended. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based psychotherapy that combines Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with Zen Buddhism.
  • CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) Diary App (now called Clarity) is a great place to practice and get into a daily habit of thought-checking.
  • Endless tips and resources via The Integral Guide to Well-Being database

*If you are navigating a crisis or need professional help, please visit the National Institute for Mental Health's R for hotlines, support and further resources. 

Mental Health Advocates + Educators:

Please feel free to help add to our resource-sharing list by commenting below! :) We want to know what helps you most~

With gratitude & care, Rachael Amber Cycles Journal Founder & Creator

DISCLAIMER: Cycles Journal is not a clinical or medical organization or tools – it is not a replacement for consulting professional resources. We are simply a guide, connection point & sharing resources.

May 26, 2023 — Rachael Amber Longo

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