I keep my mental health posts to a minimum on ‘Time to Talk Day’ because every day should be ‘Time to Talk Day’.
I’ve repeatedly told people that I’m there for them and I always mean that.
You need to cry? Call me.
You need to vent about complete bullshit? Call me.
You have no idea what you’re doing with your life and don’t know who to tell? Call me.
Whether it’s 12pm and I’m about to start work, I’ll get back to you as soon as I’m done.
Whether it’s 3am and I’m half asleep, I’ll answer.
I’m so tired of this ‘keep your negativity to yourself’ and ‘don’t burden people with your problems’ bullshit.
This toxic mentality, in both men and women, is why mental health issues are increasing ever year.
Life today is tough. Societies are becoming more toxic, friendships are strained, relationships are under pressure.
You sometimes feel like you are fighting every piece of your life and for what? Why do we have so much pressure? So much judgement?
Life is difficult, and keeping your emotions bottled up is one of the worst things you can do.
You need your family and friends.
Maybe don’t text the same person about every, little, trivial thing you feel every second of the day. Other people have lives too. Some people really are too busy for negativity and you have to respect that, but you can find those who have time for you.
I have at least 3 friends that I actively do not talk to about mental health or bad days, because I know they will say very little, or brush it off completely. It’s occasionally annoying, sometimes upsetting, but that’s just how they are. They don’t want the negativity and I respect that.
I have at least 3 friends that I can go to no matter what my emotions are, what time of day or night it is and regardless of how many times I’ve discussed my thoughts on the same topic.
Because it goes both ways – friends are supposed to support each other through their bad days and difficult times. So you know that when your friend is in trouble, you need to support them too.
If you feel like you’re annoying someone, or anyone, ask them. Ask them if they have time to talk. Ask them if you can talk about your bad day, or your mental health. Hopefully they will have the decency to give you an honest answer.
Aside from just ‘talking’ about your feelings, you should be actively working to challenge them. Whether it’s stress, depression, negativity, tiredness, break ups… Whatever it is, you need to get out and do something.
Find new friends, make plans for coffee or beers.
Take a new class – dancing, painting, yoga, rock climbing.
Turn your phone off after 9pm, delete your social media apps, download a new app.
Speak more effectively. Don’t use negative phrases like ‘everything sucks’ or ‘I hate my life’ – think about what is making you unhappy and rephrase your thoughts. Think about why this is happening. Can you change it? Can you change the way you look at the situation?
Everyone has different ways of coping, of dealing, of managing negative energy so the above suggestions might be completely useless to some people, but the main thing is that you try and channel your negative emotions in a positive way.
Not eating 5 packs of donuts and 2 bottles of coke every day, not by taking drugs and getting black-out drunk every weekend. Because let’s face it, they are not solutions, are they?
If you still feel like you need someone else to talk to, you could consider seeing a therapist or join a local mental health group where you could meet people in similar situations (from my experience, mental health groups don’t always help me feel better because there can sometimes be too much negativity).
Talk to your doctor, but don’t always assume that pills will be the answer to your solutions.
Start a diary or a daily emotions log. It might sound annoying or pointless at first, but when you start to see patterns in your emotions you can sometimes pinpoint what’s causing them.
This sounds like stupid advice, I know it does.
I continuously receive ‘advice’ like
“Just cheer up!”
“Go for a nice walk”
“Maybe you should just relax”
“You should do yoga!”
Absolutely none of those suggestions are helpful.
Oh relax? Hey, I never thought of that. Could someone please tell my depression to chill the fuck out? That would be great. Thanks.
Yoga? Ahhh yes. When your brain is racing at 1000000 miles per hour it is nearly impossible to do yoga. Yoga isn’t for everyone. Just because the hipsters and health fanatics are doing it, it doesn’t mean we all should.
I fully understand that some people have absolutely no idea what to say, or how to be supportive. Sometimes their words just come out wrong and may sound insensitive. However, it’s quite easy to tell when someone actually cares and when they’re just trying to get you to shut up.
Just a few pointers for people who don’t know what to say. Thanks to Believe Perform HQ for this:
Even on your bad days, your worst days, or just your meh days.
Find something that gives you just a little bit of comfort.
Don’t want to get out of bed? Okay, but maybe take a shower first, put clean PJs on and climb back into bed. No big deal.
Don’t feel like eating? Fine. But try and at least grab an apple, a sandwich, or even a pizza. Don’t starve yourself, even if you’re feeling lazy.
Don’t want to talk to anyone? No problem. Switch your phone off, or on night mode so you don’t see the notifications. It’s perfectly okay to ignore people for a day or two. Everyone does that anyway these days, right? It’s perfectly fine to sit on Instagram for 2 hours, scrolling through stupid memes or ‘advice’ quotes, but not reply to a single message.
Find what brings you comfort.
Cry. Eat pizza. Watch Netflix for 12 hours straight. Take a bath. Walk in the park. Buy junk food (not a good survival technique long term though).
It’s also extremely important to remember that supporting those who struggle can be a struggle for you too. So, be honest when you have to. If you can’t handle negativity, or if you’re not feeling great yourself, you need to tell the person who’s reaching out to you. Either you can face talking negatively, or at all. Or you need space or time before you can discuss certain things. You have to look after yourself too.
I respect people who say they haven’t got the time, or energy, to discuss certain things. I definitely have those days, although I always try and be there for my friends.
Here’s some excellent advice from mental health blogger Katie:
It can also be draining to be there for someone struggling, so it’s important to look after yourself so you can be there for them. If you’re extremely worried about someone, it’s important you encourage them to find help. #TimetoTalk
Remember: Life is tough, but so are you.