A mental health advocate in every sense of the word, Morgan Boerup has dedicated herself to delivering honest content and support for individuals struggling with mental illness. Morgan has used her platform to share the advice that has helped her manage her chronic OCD, Anxiety and Depression. Her site, Itsjustmyocd.com, has also become a soapbox for others to share their experiences with its weekly #survivorsunday.
Lavender Life had the opportunity to ask Morgan a few questions about her experience with mental illness as well as about her devotion to ending the stigma around mental health.
How would you describe your experience with OCD?
Oh man, my relationship with OCD is wild. I can’t live with it but a strange part of me feels like I can’t live without it. It’s my crutch. I have lived with it for so long that a part of me is scared to let go and live without it, although I am getting closer to that stage. OCD has made my life a living hell at times, and at others it has been nothing more than a nuisance. I find that I go through stages where I am on top of everything, and at other points I am barely making it. It’s a cycle that I am trying desperately to break.
You’ve mention that you also began struggling with Anxiety and Depression by the time you were in high school. How would you describe your experience with those?
I have had OCD my entire life, but I never had real intense experiences with anxiety, panic attacks, and depression until I was 15.
I had to learn at this stage that I am more prone to stress and sadness if I don’t take care of myself. My sophomore year in high school was the worst year of my life. This was when I had my first real brush with depression and had no idea what was going on. I felt numb and tired all the time, and on the briefest of occasions where I felt anything, it was a blinding panic. I had to quickly learn how to handle it and take care of myself.
It was very difficult, and to be honest I really struggled. When you’re in high school, you are so much more vulnerable and figuring yourself out, and I was really sad that I was this mess of a person. Halfway through my year I had to make the decision to pull myself out of my misery and make my life happen and make myself happy.
What has been the biggest help for you in regards to your OCD, Anxiety and Depression?
The biggest help for me in dealing with my mental illnesses has been serving others and finding ways to turn out instead of turning in.
I think mental illnesses can make us selfish at times (even though it’s totally justifiable), and we focus on our issues and worries.
In those moments where I recognize that, I try to reach out to others and become more selfless.
I have found that I forget a lot of my worries or my anxiety will ease and I will be able to feel better about things.
What would you want people to understand about you and your experience?
My experiences with mental illness sucked. I had a difficult time living at points. My story is nowhere near perfect, and neither am I.
But I am not a victim.
My sucky experience have taught me to hustle. They have taught me to be tough and have inner strength that I didn’t know I was capable of having.
I have learned and grown and improved so much because of my sucky experiences.
I had a lot of mental issues, but I am not a victim.
I am a survivor and a thriver. And anyone can be that too.
If you could describe your current state of mind in one word, what would it be?
Honestly, one word doesn’t do it. I think I’m more of the phrase, “kinda somehow making it” haha! But in all honesty, I have just gotten out of a difficult phase with my mental health and the future is looking bright, but I still struggle. But that’s okay!
When and why did you beginning blogging? What has been your favorite part of blogging?
I began blogging for my college senior project. I was going through a difficult time and my overall health was not at it’s best. I wanted something to share my experiences and just be real about life. I talked to my mom all the time about my issues and she would always repeat one phrase back to me, “It’s not you, it’s just your OCD…” and that always stuck. I thought it was an appropriate name for my blog and project, so I started a website and Instagram and it has really grown since then.
My favorite part of blogging and posting to Instagram is getting messages about how people can relate, or how they found strength from the quotes I find on Pinterest and post. Just connecting with people who I can help and who in return help me. I have gotten so many sweet messages and tips on how to manage my mental illness and it brings me to tears every time!
You have a page on your website titled “What You Don’t See” with clever visual representations of mental illnesses . How did you get the idea for this photography project? What is your favorite photo from the series?
For my senior project, my teacher wanted me to include one of my passions. Photography is one of my favorite things to do and I thrive on the creativity. When I mentioned this he suggested capturing expressions of people feeling anxiety, depression, etc. I liked that idea but I wanted to take it one step further. I asked people to send in their analogies of their mental illnesses. I got so many great responses, and I took those and turned them into visual representations.
These photos were the standout in my senior project showcase, and so many people flipped through them and said, “Wow, it really does feel like this.”
My personal favorite from the series is the picture of my red head friend sitting on the couch, looking tired and sad, with paper confetti falling all over her. She was capturing the essence of Bipolar disorder and how it feels like you are shattered and falling back together, but in a million little pieces. I just love how her face pulls you in and the paper adds the confused and shattered feeling.
You recently started a podcast. What gave you the inspiration to become a podcaster? What has been your favorite part of starting a podcast? What are some of your pans in the future for your podcast?
I was actually interviewed for a podcast and I loved that there was a platform to speak on. I wanted a platform where I could raise my thoughts and fears and share them with the entire world. I love that I can talk about things that impact mental and physical health, share advice and tips that I have received, and even talk about therapeutic techniques I have learned.
I plan on interviewing people in the future with different mental illnesses and allow them the same platform to raise their concerns and help to break the stigma of mental health.
What advice would you give someone struggling with OCD, Anxiety and/or Depression?
Don’t give up. Keep working and keep going. Things get better and you get better. You learn, you grow, and you improve. Trust the process of healing and let things go. You can do it.
What is a quote or motto that you live by?
It’s really white girl, but the quote, “Spread kindness around like confetti.” Seriously though, I think that if everyone was a little more kind, we would live in a much better world.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Compassionate, tough, and kind.
What are your favorite things to do to brighten your mood?
I am a pretty simple person to please. I like good food, comfy sweats, good movies/shows, crafts, a good book, and essential oils. Any combination of those puts me into a good mood!
What are you most excited about in the future? Do you have any goals you are looking to achieve?
My future is bright and I am very excited to be graduating from college and moving onto the next chapter of my life with my husband and pup.