1.You are not weak
You’ve just been trying to be strong for too long.
We often say to each other “you’re so strong” or “be strong”.…but it’s ok to not be strong. It’s ok to be vulnerable. It’s ok to be human.
Asking for help and facing your demons is not a weakness. It’s one of the bravest thing you can do.
2. It is not your fault
You have a chemical imbalance in your brain. Whilst we talk about mental health, anyone who suffers from anxiety and depression knows all too well that they manifest themselves in extremely physical symptoms.
Accepting that you’re not feeling very well is very difficult but very important.
If you broke your leg, it would get put in a plaster.
If you had an infection, you would get antibiotics.
If you had the flu, you would be asked to stay off work you contagious little thing, and you would rest up.
There is no shame in getting help, getting medication, or simply needing to rest.
3. Sadly, some people simply will not understand or recognise anxiety or depression as an illness
“Why are you sad?”
“Worrying will get you nowhere”
“Pull yourself together”
“What do you have to worry about?!”
“There are people worse off than you!”
“I’ve been through so much worse than you”
“You should be grateful for your life”
“Mind over matter!”
There is still such a stigma around mental health issues.
This needs to stop and we need to educate people.
If you’re struggling to help people relate, send them this link or similar to try and articulate how you feel.
If they read this and they still choose to dismiss anxiety and depression….they are not misinformed but are choosing to be ignorant.
So ignore them.
You do not have to explain yourself to these people.
To those people:
Would you tell your friend that they didn’t have a broken leg?
Or that they don’t have diabetes?
Or that they don’t have an infection?
Even though a medical professional has diagnosed them?
More importantly, even through your friend/family member is telling you that they are suffering first hand?
Would you tell them not to take the medication for the heart condition because they are stronger than that?
Do not trivialise or deny other’s truth.
I don’t know what it’s like to have asthma….that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist as a condition.
4. Find your rocks…
Being inside your own head can feel like the loneliest place on earth and it can feel like nobody could possibly understand…
…however, around 1 in 4 people suffer with some form of anxiety or depression in the UK.
You aren’t unique in that sense.
There will be someone around you who will understand because they’ve been through it themselves.
Let them help you.
There will be some people around who will try to understand even though they haven’t been through it themselves because they have empathy.
Do not feel guilty or indebted to them.
Real friends want to help you.
You are not a burden.
Find your rocks.
They love you even when you can’t find it in you to love yourself.
5. Try to start to treat yourself like your own best friend
You know your best friend? The fabulous one? The super sassy one who you adore, who you would defend to the death and wouldn’t let a bad word be said about them because ….DO YOU NOT KNOW HER? She’s fantastic!!
Would you ever tell her she isn’t good enough?
Would you let her doubt herself?
Would you hear her put herself down?
I didn’t think so.
So why do we do it to ourselves?
The reason is because silencing the inner voice is so hard for many of us. It’s a daily (minutely!) struggle.
This one is the most challenging of all.
However, this is the one we really have to try and tackle.
Recognise that this destructive voice isn’t the truth.
Challenge the voice.
Whenever you hear it, even though you may not be able to stop it, even though it fills every space in your brain with negativity, try to ask yourself, “what would my best friend say to this criticism in my defence?”
Be kind to yourself.
Don’t beat yourself up.
Practice this over and over and over until that voice recedes, even if only for a little bit, even if only for a few minutes at a time.
It’s ok not to be ok.
(OK…I know I’ve ended this on a Jessie J lyric….sorry about that).
If you’re looking for help or support regarding mental health issues, or if you want to understand how to help a loved one who is suffering, these links are really useful: