02nd Jan 2021
People took to Twitter to share the best mental health advice they had ever received, while the thread is an amazing look at the time ‘before’, the answers are more relevant now than ever.
Have you ever received a piece of advice and thought about how much it could help others? We are so often told that talking about mental health is the key to progression, but, as we have detailed before on IMAGE.ie, we can often struggle with how to respond to someone about their mental health too.
Giving advice about mental health issues can be difficult, but when someone really reads your situation well, and responds with a nugget of wisdom that completely changes your perspective, it’s worth holding on to. Most of the time, this advice comes from a mental health professional, such as a therapist, who is an expert in breaking through mental barriers. But sometimes, advice can come from others – parents, close friends, the people that know you better than anyone else.
On Twitter, author and mental health advocate Matt Haig asked his followers about the best piece of mental health advice they had ever received. A simple question, that we’re sure he didn’t expect to get over three-and-a-half-thousand responses to. His followers shared the nuggets of wisdom that the people in their life had given them when they were struggling, and many of the responses were really eye-opening.
We all have very different experiences of mental health, so it can be hard to imagine that one person’s advice may be able to help your unique situation as well. But as the thread shows, often the simplest ideas in shifting perspective can be tremendously helpful in repairing your mental health when you are struggling.
Don’t believe everything you think
Thoughts are not facts
— Rachel Hawkins (@ourrachblogs) January 24, 2020
One of the most powerful things you can learn about your relationship with your brain. If you struggle with anxiety, low self-esteem or intrusive thoughts, start learning not to automatically believe everything your brain is telling you about yourself – the voice in your head calling you worthless is not correct.
There is no such thing as closure
There is no such thing as closure. You will never get nice, tidy answers about why things happen or why people do things that may hurt you. You have to move forward without waiting for answers, explanation or karma
— Sarah Leach (@ASarahLeach) January 24, 2020
If you have struggled with coming to terms with a previous bad experience, and feel like your moving past it requires an apology or redemption from another person, this advice is for you. Most of the time, this closure will never come – you can’t force other people to acknowledge their wrongdoing or how they may have made you feel. You need to find a way to move forward without needing closure from external sources – you have the strength inside you to do that.
You are allowed to grieve
You are allowed to grieve things besides death.
— Tory Fields (@ToryFields13) January 24, 2020
Societal norms often make us feel like grieving over the death of a loved one is the only acceptable situation to take time off to heal. This is not the case – any traumatic event, whether it be a break-up, or an eviction, or an assault, deserves time to grieve. Do not push down your feelings and tell yourself that you don’t deserve to deal with them – the feeling of loss will pass, but only if you dedicate time to healing it.
You did your best
* You did the best you could with what you had at the time. It wasn’t your fault.
* There are no good/right or bad/wrong emotions, just that some feel more uncomfortable than others, and they will pass eventually.
* It’s not weak to cry or to need to ask for help.
— Emma Seward (@MrsEmma) January 24, 2020
Many people struggle with feelings of guilt over how they may have handled a traumatic situation – could they have done more, or have recovered quicker? The truth is, that at that time, you did the best with the tools you had. Do not apologise to yourself about the methods you took to recovering – it takes time and hard work, and that’s okay.
Go at your own pace
Life is like scrubbing a dirty floor. You can scrub really hard, with every bit of energy you have and get a clean floor. If you lightly scrub, you’ll still get a clean floor. Don’t exhaust yourself for the same outcome.
— Laura Pérez (@LaPez) January 24, 2020
The feeling of impatience around healing a mental health problem is something many people experience. But exhausting yourself in an effort to get better quicker is not always the best outcome. This metaphor is a perfect way to look at it – if the outcome is the same, then why would you waste mental energy in trying desperately to reach it sooner? Be patient with yourself and go at your own pace.
It’s the old cliché but it’s true – the first step is always asking for help. It can be hard to do – there may be many things holding you back from reaching out. Remember that it takes tremendous strength to admit that you’re not doing well, and to ask for help. It is not a sign of weakness.
Need to talk?
If you feel you need additional support to improve your mental health, the following services are available for people in Ireland:
– Samaritans, Ph: 116 123
– Aware, Ph: 1800 80 48 48
– BeLonGTo, Ph: 01 670 6223
– Alone, Ph: 0818 222 024
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