Despite it being possible to be as connected as you would look at almost any time; in recent years people have been becoming increasingly disconnected from one another in many ways. There is a greater percentage of the population than ever suffering from mental health issues in one way or another, from anxiety to loneliness and if that is you, it can help to remember you’re not alone. There are people that want to help, people going through the same things and most importantly there is a day when you find your peace.
With that in mind, here are five very quick reminders on how to deal with mental health issues, whether your own or someone close to you:
There are times to be strong and times when strength won’t fix the problem. When you need to retreat, do so.
It is easy to fight and think that you can battle through all hardships, especially if you are not someone who suffers with mental health. But there are some things that there is no amount of strength that will fix the issue.
With this in mind, knowing when you need to retreat and look after yourself is key. Knowing what brings you peace when you need it and seeking that in times when you are struggling, over appeasing others is crucial to help ease your mind.
Stop comparing yourself to others, your journey is your own.
It’s the old adage of…”comparison is the thief of joy”.
Everyone has their own strengths/weaknesses, starting points and desires from life, so any comparison is not useful or in many times… accurate. Another point to note here is that often, what you see is often not actually the case. It’s very easy to see the best parts of someone else’s life and assume it’s all sunshine and roses, but learning to assume everyone has their own troubles can help when comparing your position to theirs.
The only person you should compare yourself to is you yesterday, nothing else is helpful.
Ask people how they are…and mean it. Then be prepared to listen with your full attention.
Often ‘how are you?’ is a throw away comment used to greet people, but not many actually mean it.
Pay attention to the people close to you and ask genuinely how they are doing in themselves, what they are dealing with, how they are feeling mentally etc. Sometimes people just need a small nudge to open up and asking a genuinely intended and honest question to give them the opportunity could be just what they need to start the dialogue and avoid the bottling up that leads to the deep feeling of loneliness from handling your problems alone.
Speak up if you’re struggling or if you think someone else might be. You’ll be surprised just how many are and it can help ease the weight to know you’re absolutely not alone.
The flip side of the above is knowing when opening up about the fact that you are struggling would be helpful. It’s easy to assume that nobody cares or wants to hear about your problems, but I assure you they are likely going through something similar and will feel relieved to speak openly. Speaking is absolutely key to battling mental health.
Know there is a future that is brighter, people who love you and you have value to offer.
When suffering with mental health problems, it feels like the walls are closing in and there is no relief in sight. Remind yourself that there is a future where you don’t feel how you currently do or your situation is different. I know it doesn’t feel like it, but it is not forever and there is a time when you will be laughing with people who love you for you.
Lastly, be kind to yourself.
There are lots of places and people who are there to help, including the below as a starting point:
Campaign Against Living Miserably