October 10 is World Mental Health Day. There are a lot of people writing blogs, making videos, and sharing personal stories on social media to support those of us with mental health issues.
For me, every day is Mental Health Day. One of my missions in life is to help people understand that having a mental health issue is nothing to be ashamed of and that the things you see on TV or in the news about mental health are often WRONG.
I don’t think we should just spend one day a year encouraging people who need it, but I’m jumping on the bandwagon today because the message is so important.
Today and every day, I want you to know that if you struggle with anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues, you are not broken.
I know it can FEEL like you are. Sometimes even now the critical voice in my head is pretty loud, telling me about all the things I haven’t done yet and all the ways I’ve failed as a human being. It can be easy at such times to look around at other people and think that they have it together and I don’t.
But the truth is that everyone has their stuff they’re dealing with and that sadly, in our world, depression and anxiety are common reactions. Especially right now when the future seems very uncertain and the news is full of disease and violence. I think this pandemic and other things going on in the United States and the world make anxiety, hopelessness, and depression normal reactions to an extent, especially if you have problems that other people don’t seem to have to deal with during this.
But we are not broken. Our world is.
That doesn’t mean we have to get stuck in hopelessness or the feeling that the world is all wrong and that all of it is beyond our control, though. If you’re feeling depressed or anxious today, here’s a few things you can do.
World Mental Health Day Tip #1: Tell someone how you are feeling.
When I’m depressed or anxious, I feel a lot of pressure to keep it to myself. I’m supposed to be this inspiring, empowering force, right? So how can I be struggling?
But that’s a lie that my mental illness is telling me. The truth is, there is no reason to be ashamed of feeling bad. Our uber-positive society makes it feel like we’re failing if we’re not positive 100% of the time…even when we have reasons to be heartbroken or angry. And I’ve found that if I break the silence, it helps me feel better. Stronger. More empowered.
Suffering multiplies when you’re suffering alone.
Of course, it’s important to find the right people to talk to. You need people who will be supportive and understanding, not those who will put you down or tell you to “just snap out of it. ” (If you don’t have anyone like that, I’m here! That’s part of my job as a life coach: to be in your corner during your worst days.)
Who is in your life who might understand? Make a list now so that next time you feel depressed or anxious you’ll be ready.
World Mental Health Day Tip #2. Express your feelings.
It can be hard to concentrate or to find the energy to express your negative feelings when you’re struggling. But I find that writing, drawing, or playing music that reflects how I feel helps me feel better.
You might have to push yourself to do it, especially if you are feeling like you don’t want to do ANYTHING.
Also, make sure you do something that reflects how you really feel. Don’t play or listen to happy music when you feel sad or angry, for example. That won’t help because it’s the opposite of how you really feel.
Covering things up NEVER helps. When you try to run from your feelings, you send yourself the message that you’re powerless to deal with them. So if you let yourself express those painful, negative feelings, it can help you feel empowered.
World Mental Health Day Tip #3. Challenge your negative thoughts.
This is difficult to do on your own, but it can be worth it.
After you’ve taken some time to feel and express your feelings, give yourself a reality check.
I’ve done this myself and it’s not easy. Here’s an example from my own life.
I felt down and depressed and like I’d “accomplished nothing.” After expressing those feelings, I asked myself if that was really true. And of course it wasn’t! I’ve written and published a book I’m proud of, I’ve helped people like you feel better about themselves and their lives, I’ve played violin in an orchestra, and all sorts of other things that I don’t think about enough.
Similarly, what are you thinking right now that might or might not be true? Write it down and look at how true it is.
If you are suffering today, I want you to remember that you’re not broken and try some of these tips to see if it can help relieve your pain. And if you’d like even more help, sign up for the Empowerment Ezine so that you can get guidance and inspiration in your email!