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Appreciation,  Gratitude,  Great information,  Guest Post,  Inspiration,  Kindness,  Self Esteem,  That's Life,  THOUGHTS

Guest Friday Feature – Christy Birmingham on Mental Health Awareness #WATWB

Featured author of the week


Today I’m delighted to introduce one of my oldest blogging friends, author, poet and huge advocate for empowering women, Christy Birmingham.


About Christy Birmingham

I have a BA in Psychology and have taken professional writing courses. I am an avid freelance writer, author, blogger and poet living in British Columbia, Canada and am the proud owner of the blogs Poetic Parfait and When Women Inspire.  I dedicate one blog to poetry and all kinds of literary goodness, while the other blog supports female-driven initiatives to impact and change the world positively. I have written two poetry books to date, Pathways to Illumination and Versions of the Self. My short story collection will release soon.


Christy runs two wonderful blogs – The Poetic Parfait and When Women Inspire.  On her Poetic Parfait blog you will find posts on poetry, short stories, writing and book reviews. At her When Women Inspire blog (which I’m all about and addicted to), you’ll find inspirational and informative articles on empowered women and issues that women have overcome through the decades on topics covering anywhere from health, feminism, politics, lifehacks, education, environment, and so much more.

I invited Christy to write a post for my Friday author feature today and she has chosen to write a post on mental health to share with us today.

Christy Birmingham


Mental Health and Friendship: The Importance of the Company You Keep

When Debby asked me to guest post on her blog, I immediately knew I wanted to use this valuable opportunity to write about mental health. But, the exact topic within this umbrella changed the closer I got to the posting date.


You see, I had a wonderful evening with a dear friend and reflected on it afterward. The mental “high” I felt continued well after our friendship time and I realized that the company you keep plays a pivotal role in your mental health. With that in mind, let’s look at who to surround yourself with for good mental health, whether they be friends, family, acquaintances, or work associates.


Uplifting People

These are your go-to people who can make you feel better with a text saying “thinking of you” or who always offer positive advice when you come to their doorstep with tear-stained cheeks. They support you, tell you when they think you did something great, and (here’s what happened to me recently with my awesome friend) you feel energized after visiting with them.


It is the uplifting friends, family, and others in your life that help you better deal with stress and react to changes in your life. A sense of confidence and contentment is important for a mentally healthy person.


Those Who Motivate You

Aha! They make you want to be a better you. Instead of holding you back with criticisms, they are cheering you on to keep going with your goal to lose weight, get your degree, keep applying for jobs, and so forth.


After talking to my gal friend last week about my falling off the fitness path, she encouraged me to balance exercise with the other things my life and, so, I went for a walk the next day. I did it! It was the company I kept that motivated me. And, you know what, I felt better, both mentally and physically, after that walk.


Non-Judgmental Personalities

Immediately some people will argue that this sub-heading is pure fiction. While we all do judge, to some degree, as an intrinsic part of the human personality, it is not something we have to voice out loud. Instead, I am talking here about surrounding yourself with people who will not speak or act in a demeaning way toward you or chew you down for a decision you made. Who needs that unnecessary drama?


If they disagree with you, they will do so with a respectful tone and also will listen to your justifications. “No judgment,” and my dear friend and I say to one another regularly when talking about happenings in our lives.


Looking Forward

To sum all of this up, choosing to surround yourself with positive people can improve your mood and keep you feeling confident. It may take some time to assess who these people are in your life but it really is important to do so to make the most of your days and keep you away from people who only radiate negativity. Slowly detach yourself from those who have unhealthy influences on your life. Instead, the well-wishers are the ones to embrace in your life to achieve and sustain good mental health.

Thank you to Debby for having me here to your wonderful site! Talking about mental health is a passion of mine, and I appreciate the platform you’ve given me today.


Thank you Christy.

Check out Christy’s books

Pathways to Illumination

Birmingham’s intense collection of poetry follows the trail of a woman’s journey from the end of an abusive relationship to the valiant growth of a newly-awakened, independent spirit. Inner light shatters layers of powerful verse to deliver a poignant hope.

Get this book Here  

Versions of the self poetry

Imagine a shift to the way you see the world that arises through poetic narration. Imagine the world, at its base level, is a collection of selves. These selves collide, disperse, intermingle, and share themselves in lines of free verse. Such is the premise of Versions of the Self, poetry that assumes multiple types of selves exist and relate in ways that alter them. Each of the eight chapters looks at a different type of self, including the singular “I” and romantic interactions. These unique 80 poems definitely color themselves outside of the lines.

Get this book Here

Feel free to connect with Christy on social media at:

This post has been added to #WATWB the monthly post for posting for positivity!


We are the World Blogfest

The cohosts for the June 2017 WATWB are: Belinda Witzenhausen,  Lynn Hallbrooks,  Michelle WallaceSylvia McGrath, Sylvia Stein.

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D.G. Kaye is a nonfiction/memoir writer, who writes from her own life experiences and self-medicates with a daily dose of humor.


  • Smorgasbord - Variety is the Spice of Life.

    I agree with you Christy..I am afraid that there are some people who by their very nature want you to share in their own misery and you eventually find that you are being slowly dragged in to their world. I have been a counsellor for many years and I eventually decided to stop simply because I found that I was not dispassionate enough to not absorb persistent negativity. It is very damaging. We are all down at times and that is when friendship is at its best but you do need to walk away sometimes. Thanks Gals… great post.

    • dgkaye

      Thank you Sal for sharing your view here. It seems in order to put up with negativity we must wear some sort of invisible shield of armor to deflect the bits that zap our energy. It’s difficult not to feel for others. To be doing it on a daily basis would be too much for me too. <3 Hugs xoxo

    • Christy B

      Hi Sally, I’m glad you took on a new path before you experienced burnout in counselling.. And we are all benefiting from your writing talents now 🙂 Negativity really hangs around all in contact with that person so I believe in surrounding myself with positive people. Some are more persistent than others though – and the negativity can sure hang on! Plus, I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by removing them.. it’s not easy… Thank you for your valuable comment here and once again to Debby for the opportunity here.

  • Judith Barrow

    Must admit I’ve been caught out down the years with people I thought I would share an enriching friendship, only to realise, too late, how drained/bad/ inferior… they could make me feel – or I allowed them to do that. Lovely post, ladies. Thank you.

    • dgkaye

      Thanks Judith. I think we’ve all been trapped in that pattern at least once. The trick is to realize it and know if it can’t be fixed, to walk away. <3

    • Christy B

      Hi Judith, isn’t it funny how we can see other peoples’ relationships as damaging yet seeing it in our own relationships is not as easy.. Thank you for taking time here xx

  • Sue Dreamwalker

    Wonderful guest post by Christy. 🙂 and Christy is so right, those whom encourage us and share our ups and downs, indeed do make a huge difference to how we feel about ourselves.. Sometimes its only a simple comment, those little words of encouragement that make the extra difference.. That help us feel more confident and help lift us up.

    I love Christy and her writings, She is an accomplished writer and beautiful poet.. With a heart of gold..

    Many thanks Debby for sharing Christy.. Loved reading her thoughts on mental wellbeing, so important for all of us..

    Love Sue <3… xxx

  • Jacqui Murray

    You are spot on, Christy. I find myself avoiding people who bring me down. Sure, I could respond, try to cheer them up–and I probably start with that–but then, I need to protect myself. Really good post, Christy.

    • dgkaye

      So true Jacqui. Sometimes people can’t always be happy, and that’s understandable. But chronic ‘downers’ that don’t want to change or even aware of how they are, nobody is comfortable being around them. We sometimes have to save our own sanity. 🙂

  • amreade

    Lovely post! You’re right–it’s so much better to surround yourself with people who encourage and support rather than people who judge and condemn. Your book covers are beautiful and they seem to reflect perfectly what’s inside.

  • Christy B

    Debby! Your introduction to the post has me feeling quite emotional. Thank you for organizing the post beautifully here and for giving me such a quality platform here to share about mental health. Your spirit is awe-inspiring <3

  • D. Wallace Peach

    Wonderful guest post. I couldn’t agree more that we are influenced by those around us, the cheerful and positive, as well as the chronically bitter and negative. It’s hard to ease away from friendships, but sometimes it’s necessary for one’s own well-being. I loved Versions of the Self. A beautiful collection of poetry full of heart. 🙂

    • Christy B

      Diana, you’re right that it is tough to step back in a relationship. Sometimes, though, it’s the right thing to do. Your comment is so thoughtful and I thank you for it! I’m glad you enjoyed the book (beaming here!)

  • robbiesinspiration

    Such a lovely author interview, Debby and Christy. It is best to surround yourself with positive people as negatively has a way of getting you down, even if you are usually a happy person.

  • Resa

    Wonderful! I adore Christy, and both of her blogs. I have both of her books, and look forward to her next book.
    Her views on mental health are well founded, well articulated and of much value. Thank you Debby for featuring this article on Mental Health and Friendship by Christy!

    • dgkaye

      HI Resa. I’m self-hosted. WP doesn’t offer a follow button for self hosted blogs. There’s a sign up box on top of each post and on the side bar to be notified of posts by email. 🙂

  • John Fioravanti

    Christy. this is a wonderful post. I had a close friend who was extremely negative and I always left him feeling depressed and skeptical about the world and everyone in it. What you’re saying here is very true. My daughter is a successful CEO in the insurance industry, and she absolutely refuses to work with negative people and she won’t have any in her personal life. All of us need to heed your advice and be very choosy about who is part of our inner circle. Thank you! Thanks,Debby, for hosting Christy today.

  • Sherri Matthews

    Thank you so much Deb for featuring Christy’s inspirational guest post. the power of positive friendship…knowing someone is thinking about you and takes the time to send a quick message can make all the difference on an otherwise bad day. Just like both of you with your wonderful, caring friendship to me and many others… 🙂 <3 xoxo

      • Sherri Matthews

        Big hugs back dear Deb…I love coming over here as you know to read all your posts, whether from you or your guests 🙂 <3 Sadly, I will be ducking out again as the move is fast approaching and I am feeling that all too familiar overwhelm…I'll see if I can get a signing off post up to let people know who I haven't been able to tell personally. Will be so glad to get this move over with. In the UK buying and selling is made even more stressful it that is at all possible lol because nothing, and I meant nothing, is legal, until everyone in the chain (there are 7 sets of people in ours, including my mother's buyers) have signed the Exchange of Contracts, and that is usually only 2 weeks, but often closer, from close of escrow (completion as we call it here). So despite weeks and weeks of back and forth and legal documentation, title searches, surveys, mortgages offers etc. (already 3 months in this case!) we have yet to do that. So you can imagine how horrible it is. I need to book a removal company but we still don't have a date…but we need to start clearing out everything, hubby and I started by spending the entire weekend clearing out our garage. Ha…why am I telling you all this? I got carried away lol! Okay…well, I better get on with things…but I would much rather stay here and chat with you! I am soooo good at procrastinating!! Will be in touch my dear friend…as best I can in between pulling my hair out lol lol lol 😀 <3 😉 xoxoxoxoxo

        • dgkaye

          Lol Sher, you’re so funny. Thanks for sharing here what is entailed when buying and selling in the UK. Unfortunately, I know all about it from my friend who lives there, the one I was going to stay with had I come to the Bash, who was in the exact spot you’re in now.
          Forget the blogging, get on with the deed my friend. We all know you try your best to make the rounds. Nobody will forget you, lol. Just don’t forget to breathe my friend. 🙂 🙂 Sending you lots of motivational thoughts to over-ride the procrastination, lol. <3 <3 xoxoxo

          • Sherri Matthews

            Ahh, yes, of course, I did wonder if you knew all about the conveyancing process here…it really is so stressful. Now our buyer has threatened to pull out if our purchase doesn’t speed up. I will indeed have to forget the blogging…we are seriously looking at selling fast and living in our camper van for a few weeks! I don’t mine if it means not losing our sale in a precarious market…but I just want to get on with it, as you say! Thanks so much for saying nobody will forget me…aww, you’re so kind and lovely dear Deb. I need all the help I can get…and I thing I just got the motivation after the scare tactics of our buyers lol!!!! I might not be as active on FB either, if I disappear you’ll know why, but I’ll check in there as much as I can. You know me lol, I do what I can…and I really want to bend your ear about my memoir and ask you lots of questions, but that will have to wait until after this craziness settles down. So…my dear, lovely friend, I bid you fare thee well until I can get back here…but you we’ll keep in touch as and when we can, all over the place lol! Much love and hugs to you…and I am remembering to breathe…yes I am, thanks to you… 😉 <3 <3 <3 xoxoxo

          • dgkaye

            Arg Sher, sounds grueling. No worries on my end, I know your dilemma. Deal with first things first and don’t sweat the rest. And DO keep me posted! Sending you good vibes and big hugs! xoxoxo 🙂 <3

          • Sherri Matthews

            Arrrrgh…it’s been so long since I’ve been back here and I miss you and everyone so much. Oh my dear Deb, it’s been a really stressful time. Thank you so much for understanding, and boy do I need those good vibes. I haven’t been on FB or anywhere for a while, hope to today, as I’ve taken a moment out to catch up here a little becasue it’s been the most horrible stressful time. As you know, this year has been pretty tough in a lot of ways, and after working so hard on getting this move and house sale/purchase off the ground, 3 months worth of work, we were almost there last week. Ready to exchange contracts and complete and move this Friday. So you can imagine how busy we’ve been and all the arrangements, bookings with removals etc. to make. A ton and expensive too. Well, there was a problem with the bottom of the chain with their deposit and long story short, the entire chain – 7 parties – had their sales and purchases threatened, including losing our purchase. I was devastated and cried all week it seemed, which has left me pretty ragged and not feeling well as this stress is taking a toll. Thanks to our amazing realtor who has worked over and above the call of duty, it now looks this morning that things can be resolved, but of course we’ ve cancelled our movers and everything else. I’m still packing anyway as I jsut want out now, I’ve already made the mental transition and let go of everything and just want to move on in every sense of the word, even if we end up in our motorhome. I know, be careful what you wish for and all that, but I have had it. So…and so sorry for ranting here on your blog Deb!!!!…there is my update. I’m praying for resolve by the end of the day and at least we’ll know what’s happening. It’s so good to catch up here with you albeit a quickie lol, and I’ll keep you posted. I hope things are well with you my dear friend and enjoying a good summer 🙂 <3 <3 <3

          • dgkaye

            OH Sher, I’m sorry to hear about the delay, but happy to hear your agent is working diligently to make things happen. I know you haven’t been around, in fact, I was talking to Tina about you, we were sure you were in the midst of moving so that’s why it’s been quiet. Hang in my friend, the mercury retrograde is just about over. It was a kerfuffle for so many. Murphy’s law was running rampant but the beast is about to be tamed. Sending you love and hugs and serenity. <3 <3 I look forward to hearing soon that all is complete! :) xoxo

          • Sherri Matthews

            Arrrgh Deb…my responses are getting later and later! I’m beating my own record lol. Seriously though, my heart leapt with joy about that bad moon ending…that beast needs to be tamed as I seriously have been in a bad place but starting to come up for air now, albeit it slowly. I’ve let Tina know too…thanks so much to you both for thinking about me and caring about me. Means the world to me <3 I'm taking this time away to focus exclusively on my memoir which I agonised over as I seriously thought I couldn't write another thing, but I'm back into the swing of it now and I don't want to lose it. This brief lull while we re-market our house and hopefully, Lord willin', we can still proceed on our purchase, I've decided is now or never to make this push. I am hanging in there, waiting for Murphy's law to quieten down and for brighter house news soon. I hope things are well with you my dear friend…it helps me so much knowing we are still in touch despite my absence. I will try to put up a short post and/or FB update soon…I've been saying that all week. But my writing has absorbed me which is a good thing in that respect. Meanwhile, I hope you're making good progress with your book and enjoy a lovely weekend ahead and we'll catch up soon. Much love and huge hugs dear Deb… <3 🙂 <3 xoxoxo

          • dgkaye

            Hi Sher! So nice to see you surface! The tides are changing my friend. Onward and upward. Glad you’re writing again. You’ll be so involved with your writing you won’t realize that suddenly your house will be sold again! Breathe my friend, everything happens for a reason. Remember, no apologies necessary. When we get there we get there. And it’s always nice to know that we are all a Facebook message away!:) Love and hugs to you my dear friend. Enjoy the weekend! xoxo <3 <3

          • Sherri Matthews

            Hi again Deb! I love that I can dip in here, greeted by your beautiful smile and encouraging message, thank you! <3 How you cheer me! Boy, I'm swimming out to those changing tides as fast as I can, and I'm not a strong swimmer, trust me lol! This waiting game is agonising. Things happening, interest, just waiting for 'the' call. Hope you had a lovely weekend…loved having my middle boy home but wish it wasn't to move boxes into storage…just want it done!!!! But at least we're making progress and we will be so ready when it finally comes time to move. A silver lining in that we're getting the house in proper order, first time since I moved back from the States in 2003, so about time, right? And I am on a roll with my memoir, writing every chance I get. Remembering to breathe helps! I'm still barely on FB, but knowing you're a just a message away helps so much. Have a great week ahead my dear friend, and I will remember to breathe! Much love and huge hugs to you from me across the Shining Sea 🙂 <3 🙂 <3 🙂 <3 xoxoxo

          • dgkaye

            Hi Sher! I’m feeling the positive vibes. So glad things are swimming along, lol. Any day now my friend and you’ll be on the next move. Fab you’re back to your book. All things in good time. 🙂 <3 xxx

      • Sherri Matthews

        Aww Christy…I’m feeling your hug anyway and hugging right back! Your post resonnated very strongly with me…quality, true friendships are truly invaluable…on and offline 🙂 <3 xoxo

  • balroop2013

    People make a lot of difference in our lives and I agree with Christy positive people infuse instant self-confidence…emotional and mental wellbeing depends on the kind of people we interact with. I have always been ‘glass is half full’ kind of a person, counting my blessings in the moments of disappointment and saying the same to friends and family around me.
    Thank you Deb and Christy for the reminders! 🙂

  • marianbeaman

    I have connected with Christy on Twitter. Thank you for featuring her here with this inspirational post. One of the most positive people I know is my cousin Ruth Ann, with whom I spent 3 days last week. She exudes happiness and an upbeat spirit. No one would ever guess she is a cancer survivor, lost her daughter to a drunk driver, and suffered the loss of her husband 6 months ago. We laugh together through our tears.

    • dgkaye

      Thanks for sharing your cousin’s story Marian. I couldn’t even imagine going through any one of those things let alone all of them. She must be an earth angel. 🙂 x

    • Christy B

      Hi Marian, I’ll see you over on Twitter! Wow, your cousin has been through a lot and it sounds like her positive spirit is one that shines over all of us. These are the angels among us xx Hold her close and tell her how wonderful she is! Every time I leave my parents after a visit I tell them I love them. You can never say it too often <3

  • shehannemoore

    Ladies. even the dudes are clapping their wee paws at this post. I will get leaving alike later on Google Chrome. For some reason the like button never loads on ordinary. Firstly,, seeing you two together YES!!!! Sure to be a treat in any book. BUT I love the things you have said Christy and I also think it again shows a lady who has made this huge journey because she has the confidence now to write about this topic, this way. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  • Marje @ Kyrosmagica

    Excellent post on mental health – so important to open up and discuss. Well done Christy and Debby for featuring this important topic. Positive people buoy us up negative folk do the opposite that is the last thing someone suffering from mental health issues needs.

  • Barbara Franken

    Beautiful post christy and Debbie… always love the simplicity and clear message you write christy… mental health is very close to my heart and there is so much we can all bring to enlighten people who suffer so and bring some transformative movement into society. Love to you both, barbara x

  • Damyanti Biswas

    “choosing to surround yourself with positive people can improve your mood and keep you feeling confident.” — it took me ages to figure out this simple truth. Thanks for this wonderful post, Christy and Debby.

  • Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC

    Great post, Ladies, on one of the “habits” of Mental Health that is frequently overlooked. Why attempt to climb mountains with lead weights on your ankles?

    My first Coaching mentor used the term “upgrade community” – meaning to spend increasingly less time with folks who drag you down and increasingly more with folks who lift you up. Christy, you’ve given us some great specifics that help us tell the sheeps from the goats!
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

  • Annika Perry

    Christy, lovely to see you here on Debby’s blog. This is a wonderful post and I found myself nodding in agreement all the way through. Mental health is a huge political topic in the UK at the moment – a lot of talk, not much doing with people seriously let down and sometimes leading to deaths. I liked the way you tackled the subject from a personal, individual level and I felt so uplifted reading this post. It has taken me many years to realise that some people, through no fault of their own, just drain you, pull all the energy and any positive reserves out of you…it’s not easy letting go of these, sometimes impossible but being surrounded by likewise motivated friends and family makes a HUGE difference in one’s life. I’m off to read this again…wishing you a great day! ?❤️

    • dgkaye

      Thank you Annika for sharing your thoughts on the topic with us. It’s no surprise that we all will be surrounded by negative energy suckers at one time or another, the discipline is to learn how to rid ourselves of the emotional drain and not let people burst our balloons. 🙂 <3

    • Christy B

      Annika, you say you are “reading this again” and that is a huge compliment for any writer! It was such an honor to be here at Debby’s site and to receive your feedback cements this experience of guest posting as.. amazing!! Keep sharing positive vibes, my friend 🙂

  • macjam47

    I absolutely adore Christy. Thanks for having her guest here, Debbie. Positive people tend to be happier and don’t let those bumps in the road that everyone faces derail them. The wisdom Christy shared here is spot on. I surround myself with positive people, both offline and online.

  • Mabel Kwong

    Thanks so much for sharing Christy’s guest post. Been a big fan of Christy and her writing for a while now, and she shares such important issues all of us need to talk about. Our mental health is such an important thing to check in with every now and then. I’ve had anxiety for my whole life, and depression that comes and goes. Agree that surrounding yourself with those who will encourage you is very important – these are the people who will give you the energy to get up and face our fears and tackle life head on. Last year when I cut out some discouraging people in my life, it freed up time on my hands and I was able to focus on myself and become a happier version of myself 🙂

    • dgkaye

      Hi Mabel. Thanks for sharing your inspiring experience with unloading the negatives in your life. Just more proof that it really helps to free ourselves from negative baggage that weighs us down. 🙂

    • Christy B

      Woohoo Mabel, I’m proud of you for cutting ties with discouraging people as it means you put yourself first 🙂 And I am so fortunate to have met you all those years back and formed a beautiful friendship. It is lovely to see you here! And thank you again Debby for being such a generous host.

  • Norah

    Lovely to meet your fellow-Canadian here, Debby. I have been following Christy’s Poetic Parfait for a few years but didn’t know about her other blog. I do now, and am now following it also. Thanks for the heads up. I definitely agree with the power of positive people in our lives. While reading Christy’s post I was thinking of one of my best friends, a Canadian would you believe, who does just that for me, and, hopefully, I for her. I am the proud owner of Christy’s book of poems “Versions of the Self” and add my recommendation to yours. The poems hold much beauty and much to contemplate.

  • Sarah Brentyn

    This is wonderful! ? I love how you have focused on healthy relationships and how they affect you instead of taking the direction of staying away from toxic relationships. It’s pretty much the same thing but I just like the direction you’ve taken with this. Fantastic post.

    • dgkaye

      HI Simon. Thanks for dropping by and no need for apologies. My goodness we all have so much going on. Christy is such an inspiring writer, poet and self-helper, I know you’d enjoy her blog. 🙂

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