If you experience suicidal thoughts or have lost someone to suicide, the holidays could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.
By Sarah Schuster
With that expert’s list of ways to manage anxiety, the latest trendy mental health app and that “magical cure for depression” your aunt heard about on TV, it seems like everyone’s full of mental health advice these days.
So, we asked our mental health community to share pieces of advice they’ve actually found helpful. These little nuggets of wisdom aren’t FDA-approved, but when used correctly side effects may include: self-care, acceptance and a little more patience with yourself.
Here’s some advice that’s actually helped people with mental illness:
1. “On a particularly difficult day, I was trying to fight through an anxiety attack and finish all the child-related tasks I needed to complete. My husband kept offering help, and I kept refusing. He pulled me aside in the laundry room as I was frantically folding another load and said, “Just let me help you.” It doesn’t immediately make the anxiety go away, but it’s helped me learn to let go.” — Maria Hildreth
2. “Don’t wait. See a doctor. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be embarrassed. Chances are, someone knows exactly what you’re going through.” — Kristin Salber
3. “I have depression and anxiety (as well as other chronic medical conditions), and after the worst week I’ve had in a while, my doctor said, “Find something you enjoy, and if you can’t find that, find the joy in something.” This really had an impact on me and still reminds me to look for a silver lining.” — Faith Merryn
4. “I have generalized anxiety disorder, and I made friends with someone who’s extremely similar to me. She told me to always be myself and the people who truly care will stick around. It truly did help.” — Julia Ann Lange
5. “Words can hurt to say, but they need to come out. Write all those words down on paper.” — Melissa Cote
6. “A friend recently told me that no matter if I get a job one day or not, your life matters as long as you can make people smile. When I think of it that way, it’s easier to see my life as something of worth.” — Emma Wozny
7. “A great therapist I had told me to focus on ‘harm-reduction, not perfection.’ I felt like I was expected to magically ‘get better,’ and she helped me learn that starting with baby steps was totally OK.” — Jen Decker
8. “Someone said, ‘I’ve been here, I know a way out, I’m here to show you too.’ And, ‘It gets better, it may not leave, but it gets better. And it has.” — Tom Everman
9. “I have anxiety and major depressive disorder. This is going to sound ridiculous, but my best friend once told me, “When you’re sad, watch ‘The Simpsons.’” It actually works when I’m panicking, too. It gets my mind off whatever I’m obsessing about, and I usually end up laughing.” — Dawn Czarnecki Seshadri
10. “It wasn’t long after my diagnosis that I was told pretty bluntly: ‘This illness is has no cure. You’re going to carry this illness for the rest of your life. So you can either wallow in the weight of that, or you can fight for your only life and make it a good story.’” — Lyss Trayers
11. “My depression and anxiety stem from a traumatic childhood. Just hearing ‘it wasn’t your fault‘ from my psychologist was incredibly helpful.” — Kathrine Elise
12. “Don’t always believe what your brain is telling you.” — Kerri Lewis Brock
13. “It’s OK to feel sad. You don’t need to pretend.” — Allyson White
14. “The best advice: Treat yourself as if you were a good friend.” — Julie Jeatran
15. “Celebrate every accomplishment, no matter how small, instead of dwelling on all the things we perceive as failures.” — Jennifer Northrup
16. “I have post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder. When I was in intensive outpatient therapy, the counselor looked at us and said, ‘It’s over. That moment is over. It isn’t going to happen again.’ For some reason, that resonated with me.” — Nicole Hanes
17. “They told me this: ‘You are not broken; you are a whole person. You are just human. A human who is living, learning and growing. And learning, living and growing comes with bumps in the road. Remember that this is just a bump.‘” — Kallie Kiefer
18. “Celebrate every accomplishment, no matter how small, instead of dwelling on all the things we perceive as failures.” — Jennifer Northrup
19. “Your worst days will only be 24 hours.“ — Arielle Smith
19. “You wouldn’t skip a dialysis or chemotherapy appointment. Your therapy appointments are just as important. No excuses.” — Jennifer Davis
20. “‘I think you need to give therapy a try.‘ Thanks to that, I started therapy and I’m now on the path to recovery.” — Julianne Leow
21. “Your struggles are your accomplishments in disguise.” — Katherine J Palmer
22. “Remember: Depression lies. Don’t believe it.” — Beth Brogan
23. “Always ask for help. There is never any shame in asking for help.” — Meghan Shultz
24. “Take life 5 minutes at a time.” — Stephanie Lynn
25. “You can’t give everyone else everything you have. You absolutely have to save a little of yourself for yourself.” — Shawn Henfling
26. “I am a human being. Not a human doing. I just have to be.” — Michelle Balck
Megan Roach By Megan Roach Jan 12, 2016 Mental Illness – Other Mental Illness
Checking myself into a mental health unit because I was suicidal and needed to keep myself safe was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I’ve been hospitalized for suicidal thoughts and behaviors (including self-harm) more times than I can count. Sometimes I was forced to go and sometimes I checked myself in voluntarily.
During those times in the hospital, I felt so unloved and unlovable. I hated myself and didn’t think anyone else cared about me either. Many people in my position share these thoughts, and when that feeling grows it can seem unbearable.
So, if you’ve recently been admitted to a mental health unit or a psychiatric hospital, there are a few things I want you to know as someone who’s been there:
First of all, you’re doing the right thing. I know it may feel like you’ve hit the lowest point in your life right now, but please know it takes an enormous amount of courage and bravery to admit you need help. Good for you for recognizing that and getting the help you need.
Secondly, please know you’re not alone. There are many people who’ve done what you’re doing and there will be plenty of others who need to take care of themselves in the future. Make the most out of your stay in the hospital. It might not be fun, but it can be the start to healing. Go to groups, talk with your nurses and be honest with your doctor about what treatments are working and which are not. Take advantage of your resources — both in your community and from your family and friends. They are there to help you recover.
Thirdly, please try not to let stigma get you down. It’s hard to admit you’re at a hospital for mental health reasons. Some people might make you feel bad, but don’t let that in. You’re strong and brave for getting the help you need, and it will pay off!
And lastly, if you don’t remember anything else I’ve said, please remember you are loved! I believe you were put on this Earth with a purpose. I care about you, and I know so many others care about you, too. Take that to heart and work on healing your mind and body.
No one should feel bad for taking care of themselves.
If you or someone you know needs help, please visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.
The Crisis Text Line is looking for volunteers! If you’re interesting in becoming a Crisis Counselor, you can learn more information here.
Author: Megan is the founder of Jogging 4 Journals. She’ll be running one 5k every month to raise money to buy journals for inpatients at her local hospital’s mental health unit. Her goal is to deliever 30 journals every month. To learn more, visit her Facebook page.
Do you take mental health days from work? Most people don’t. But should you take mental health days from work if you have bipolar disorder?
If you are a parent, family member, or caregiver of someone with a severe or untreated mental illness, taking care of yourself is even more important. Caring for a loved one can deplete you of all your motivation. Even more, if you are a parent, a mental health professional, or simply a living, breathing human being, life can deplete you of all of your motivation and energy on a daily basis. Let’s face it, as beautiful as life can be, it can also bring a load of problem, burdens, and stressors. Because of this, it is very important that you take care of yourself and your health. One way to do that is by relaxing. Relaxing is very difficult for me sometimes and I’m sure you find it challenging to tell yourself “just relax.” So allow me to encourage you by the great list, compiled during a therapy session with a client, of wonderful ways to take time away from daily life:
- Read (reading a book in bed is nice at times)
- Sleep in
- Write (journaling, blogging, etc.)
- Pray (prayer is simply talking to God about the things that bother you and asking Him to intervene. Prayer does not have to be a formal activity. Be yourself and relax).
- Go for a walk with loved ones
- Photography (“buy a nice camera and take pictures of nature, family, and friends”)
- Exercise (swim, yoga, walking, jogging, Zumba, aerobics, hiking, gymnastics). I just love Refit, a group of free-spirited women who love to dance their stress away. Check them out!
- Engage in introspection (sit quietly and rest your mind and soul)
- Go for a drive
- Stroll through the mall
- Buy yourself something nice (doesn’t have to be expensive!)
- Listen to podcasts online
- Listen to music (upbeat music can have a positive effect on mood, while slower-paced music can encourage feelings of depression. There are times, however, when lower paced music can give you a sense of peace and calm).
- Try Pilates
- Find a dance class (some classes are offered for free at local Community Colleges, agencies, or gyms)
- Sit next to a stream, pond, or river
- Go to a pet shop
- Play with your dog(s) or cat
- Look at a magazine with attractive pictures (looking at photos can give you a sense of joy)
- Look at family photos or watch family videos that make you smile
- Seek personal therapy (check into your EAP-Employee Assistance Program at work)
- Seek pastoral counseling or support
- Call a prayer line or submit a prayer request online
- Play with your children or other kids
- Become a mentor for needy youth (offering your time gets your mind off of your own needs and helps someone at the same time!)
- Travel (traveling can entail going somewhere other than your usual spots. Traveling gives you a whole new perspective on life)
- Try aromatherapy (purchase some sweet smelling scents and spray around your home, on yourself, or in your bedroom)
- Engage in an online group discussion (be cautious and safe)
- Watch cartoons! (as silly as this may sound, cartoons are uplifting and can put you in another mindset temporarily)
- Get a manicure, pedicure, or massage
- Go camping or build a campfire (if done safely, you can enjoy this right in your own backyard)
- Go on a picnic with someone you love or go alone
- Spend time with someone you love or think about them
- Go to the movies
- Stay in your pajamas or lounge clothes all day
- Check Pinterest (there are some great quotes and pictures on this site)
I welcome your suggestions and additions to this list! What are some things you do to de-stress?
All the best to you
Bipolar depression disrupts and devastates lives, and tends to dominate the course of one’s illness. Yet, it’s still difficult to diagnose and a challenge to