Sophie Turner suffered from depression while filming Games of Thrones, she’s goes to therapy and has been on medication. Kendall Jenner opened up about her debilitating anxiety and panic attacks. Adele confessed she can slip in and out of depression quite easily, and suffered from postpartum depression. Zayn Malik described his anxiety attacks as, “this thing that swells up and blocks out your rational thought process…It’s a constant battle within yourself.” Prince Harry suffered from complete breakdowns on several occasions due to the fact that he lost his mother at age twelve.
All these famous people enjoy glamorous lives. They don’t have the same problems like us. They shouldn’t experience any anxiety/depression at all, right? Only people with miserable lives experience anxiety/depression, right?
Anxiety/depression is not a weak person’s disease, or something that only affects the poor or unpopular. We’ve all got stress triggers and issues and we all react to them differently. Here are a few examples: A young student stresses out about the SAT’s and fears not getting into an elite college. A middle aged woman files for divorce from her marriage of 20 years. An elderly man got evicted from his home, he’s now living on the street. A young couple are overwhelmed with medical bills due to the fact that their child has cancer. All these different scenarios can cause a tremendous amount of anxiety/depression, even for the strongest among us. That’s why 1 out of 5 adults suffer from mental health issues in the U.S. Some are mild issues and others are extreme.
However, on a positive note, people are becoming more authentic and transparent about this once taboo topic. Shame free sharing of mental health issues are becoming commonplace in our society, and I’m all for that, because it’s not ok to be fake happy.
This is not medical advice.
Seek professional help if you’re in need of serious support:
Suicide Prevention, click here
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, click here
Don’t self-medicate. Self-medicating isn’t the solution. Relying on alcohol, cigarettes, food, illegal drugs, hoarding, sex, pornography, shopping, etc. can lead to dependency and addiction. I’m listing a variety of self-medicating examples because alcohol isn’t the only main form of self-medicating, but it is a very common one. Seeking your own solution without professional help will only complicate issues and cause more pain.
- I knew a woman, colleague from an old job, she couldn’t stop shopping. We would go out together for lunch dates, but the only thing she really took pleasure in was shopping. She could spend all day in thrift shops, electronic stores, super markets, antiquing. Her house was filled with miscellaneous, useless items she didn’t need. In a rare heart to heart moment, she shared with me that she had a desperately poor childhood. This woman is a successful RN nurse, she has a stable career, she doesn’t drink or overeat or do drugs, but she self-medicates with shopping.
- Self-medicating individuals: 1) Guy/ Woman addicted to porn 2) Influencer who buys another designer item, but is drowning in credit card debt 3) Stress eating housewife who has gained 80 pounds 4) Middle-aged man ‘living’ in a 2,000 square foot house but can’t fully enjoy it because it’s filled with pets and hundreds of boxes filled with junk/trash 5) Mother who gives birth to eight children, because she felt unloved by her parents as a child 6) Aging beauty queen who injects her face full of botox and fillers to the point she’s unrecognizable 7) Introvert who takes four shots of vodka before a social function.
Seek professional help. Self-medicating is masking the problem, but not fixing it. You need to let your doctor know what you are experiencing. Get a referral to a support group. Communicate, don’t suffer in silence.
- Seek out healthy coping strategies
- Don’t get caught on a wheel of self-medication
- Professional help can direct you towards: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Applied Relaxation Therapy
- Self-help resources through apps, workbooks, books, online cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive analytic therapy
- Don’t let your anxiety keep you from seeking help
Don’t isolate yourself. If you are feeling overwhelmed and you just can’t handle socializing, take a break, but just a break. Don’t drop out of existence for weeks or months at a time, your family and friends will take it personally. Also, symptoms can worsen if you’re left entirely alone with your own negative perceptions and worries. It’s very hard to dismantle negative thoughts if you’re all alone. More than ever this is the time when you need to fight to become an active participant in life.
- Don’t let anxiety/depression isolate you
- Seek professional help
- Isolation can aggravate the disordered experience of anxiety
- Connect with like minded individuals through online support groups
- Work towards becoming an active participant in life
Reach out to family and friends. Don’t isolate yourself with your own negative thoughts when you’re experiencing anxiety/depression. This type of behavior can worsen symptoms, intensify loneliness, and even make you more anxious. Surround yourself around positive people in your social circle so that they can help you keep things in perspective. Remember you are not alone. Consider volunteering for issues that you are passionate about. Help an elderly neighbor with chores, like mowing the lawn. Tutor young kids to read. You are a capable and talented individual, share your capability with others in your community.
- There are many positive advantages of connecting with others
- Seek compassionate attention from trusted individuals
- Go to church. Join a book club. Enroll in a class at a community college to learn a new skill. Go to the gym. Participate in clubs and organizations
- Volunteer for a cause: food bank, animal shelter, homeless shelter, hospitals, etc.,
Don’t Self-harm. There are many forms of self-harming: starving yourself, purging after eating, abusing alcohol, cutting yourself, using drugs, overeating, neglecting your hygiene, ignoring your health, burning your skin, engaging in reckless sexual behavior, succumbing to your suicidal thoughts, etc. These are all unhealthy coping strategies that absolutely must be avoided during this crucial period. Now more than ever is when you should be handling yourself with white-glove service, don’t physically terrorize your body on top of the anxiety/depression your currently experiencing.
- Handle yourself with white-glove service
- Don’t terrorize your body with physical pain so you can temporarily distract yourself from emotional/mental turmoil
- Avoid unhealthy coping strategies
- Self-harm puts you at risk of infection
- Can cause long term health damage
Do practice self-love. Self-love takes practice, consistently practicing self-love will eventually turn it into a habit. You want to work towards making it a habit to love yourself, rather than bully yourself. Eventually, you learn to depend on healthy coping mechanisms instead of the unhealthy ones listed above.
- Learn healthy coping mechanism through a continuous practice of self-love
- Begin each day with positive affirmations
- Nurture your body with healthy food (avoid junk/fast food)
- Enjoy a relaxing bath
- Write your thoughts in a journal
- Read a self-help book
- Stay on top of your hygiene: Floss & brush your teeth twice a day, shower daily, wash your face
- Be mindful of what you think
- Focus on your breathing
- Work to keep a clean & sanitary home
- Give yourself a manicure or pedicure
Don’t focus on negativity. When I find myself in the anxiety/depression zone I can’t handle politics. I love politics, I watch the news every day, and I read news articles all the time, just not when I’m in an anxious mood. I can’t tolerate all the news outlets, and personal opinion commentators, it’s like the world is going to end tomorrow. Some of the nastiest things I’ve ever read have been in the comments section of a political news article online. All the rhetoric is divisive, alienating, and negative.
Also, I completely cancelled my personal Facebook account about two years ago – “300 of my closest friends and family sharing their drama on my FB feed daily” thank u, next. I keep in touch with people that matter to me the good old fashion way. I don’t feel the need to connect with anyone on FB at all, and I’ve been so much happier.
- Don’t dwell on negative politics
- Stay away from toxic/angry individuals
- Disconnect from negative forms of social media
Do practice therapeutic humor when experiencing anxiety/depression. How? Simple. I love watching episodes of The Big Bang Theory, Two Broke Girls, Cheers, Frasier and The Golden Girls. Yup, anything that can make me laugh. I watch funny pet videos on Instagram, they make me feel better instantly. Humor is an effective and great coping mechanism it can lessen the effects of tension and stress.
- Watch funny tv shows and movies
- Enjoy silly pet videos on IG
- Read a funny book/ laugh at funny memes
- Watch funny, light hearted people on Youtube
- Engage in anything that can make you laugh or smile
- Humor helps relieve anxiety
Don’t overthink/obsess. Unfortunately many individuals experience overthinking tendencies when going through anxiety/depression. During this fragile period your brain is hyper vigilant and anxious and it’s an exhausting experience. Become aware of this, and try your very best to work through it. I know it’s easier said than done, but once you become aware that your brain is anxious, at least you’ll know that you’re not going crazy and this is a normal reaction to anxiety.
- Don’t beat yourself up over a simple mistake
- Try not to stress about tomorrow
- Escape your head and negative thoughts by exercise, socializing with family and friends, hobbies, reading, charity work, etc.,
- Don’t rehash the past, just let it go
- Admit that you’re an overthinker
- Become aware of the problem
- Acknowledge that your thoughts aren’t productive
Do challenge your thoughts. Challenge the negative, inner monologue in your head so you can weaken the destructive thought patterns that leave you in a constant state of anguish and shame. Learn from your mistakes, and take time to reflect.
- Don’t allow overthinking to keep you from productivity
- Realize that we’re all human – we all live with shortcomings, mistakes, and problems
- Consistent practice of challenging your thoughts will slowly eliminate negative thinking patterns
- Don’t replay negative or embarrassing events in your mind over and over
- Recognize the negativity and replace it with positivity
- Reflect on your inner strength
- The here and now is all that matters, don’t obsess about yesterday, and don’t overthink about tomorrow
Don’t live in denial. You can’t keep pushing yourself every day as if nothing is wrong when you’re experiencing anxiety/depression, because something inside of you will malfunction. Some wire in your brain will disconnect, or, you’ll emotionally explode at the most inopportune time. Also, don’t fake a more successful version of yourself in life and on social media to deceive others. Acknowledging and recognizing your current mental health during a stressful period in your life is a responsible and mature act.
- Acknowledge and recognize your anxiety/depression during a stressful period in your life
- The anxiety/depression will build up the longer you neglect its presence in your life
- Your bound to explode during some inopportune time in your life if you don’t focus on treating your current mental health issues
- Don’t fake a better version of yourself on social media to mask the fact that you’re a genuinely struggling in real life
- We all have broken pieces rattling around inside of us. We’ve all made terrible choices. We’re all human. None of us is perfect
Do embrace your own reality. Remember, you are entirely capable of succeeding in your own reality. Focus on you. Don’t compare yourself to others, in real life or on social media. Currently you are experiencing anxiety/depression, ok, work on yourself. Don’t dream about the future, or cry about the past. Ten years ago you didn’t really suffer with mental health issues, but you are now, focus on the now. The sooner you embrace your own reality, the quicker you’ll start regaining stronger mental health.
- Work on yourself
- Have patience with the effort you’re putting into yourself
- Focus on the now
- You are entirely capable of succeeding in your own reality
- To be at ease in your own reality, work on fixing negative issues that are currently dragging you down: pay your bills, stop excessive shopping, get a better job, socialize with family and friends, be more productive at work, show more compassion and love towards your significant other, etc.,
Don’t become resentful. Resenting the fact that you are living with mental health issues, and many others around you are not, is not going to benefit your situation. Don’t resent the fact that family members and friends may not know how to properly support you during your anxiety/depression. Don’t be bitter because those in your inner social circle don’t know how to talk to you about your struggles, that’s why you should seek professional help or support groups. Don’t resent your husband/wife because they can’t fix you, you have to fix and work on yourself.
It may seem like everyone else’s life is so much better, it’s because you only can see what’s on the surface, you haven’t seen all the crumbs underneath the cushion, so to speak.
- Don’t carry your resentment around
- Resentment can weigh you down, it sucks up a lot of your energy
- Resentment takes on a corrosive effect
- Accept ‘what is’
- Don’t resent the people closest to you because they can’t fix you
- You are entitled to all your emotions, even resentment, but don’t cling on to it forever
Do love. Spend more time with your aging family members or parents, because once they are gone, they’re gone. Adopt a shelter animal, and show them a lot of love. Or, cuddle with your current pet and spend less time on Instagram. Visit the elderly in a retirement home. Become a hospice volunteer. Volunteer to clean up a park or beach. Love your spouse a little extra. Hug your kids longer and harder. You don’t have to take your kids on shopping sprees to show them love, spend quality time with them. Make a photo album for your friend, put your whole heart into it. Lastly, love yourself. LOVE YOURSELF. Be forgiving, patient and loving towards yourself like you would for anyone else you loved.
- Focus on giving and receiving LOVE
- Spend more quality time with family members and friends
- Be extra loving to your pets
- Love yourself
Don’t ever give up. Seriously, don’t EVER give up! In the middle of an anxiety/depression attack, emotionally you’re a wreck, and emotions are like rollercoasters – you go up and down and up and down. Whatever you’re feeling now it will not last forever. So never make a permanent decision on a temporary feeling. Life knocks you down, get back up. Always get back up. Every day is a new opportunity for you to become a more improved person, if you give up now you’ll never know what you’re fully capable of on this journey we call life.
- Never make a permanent decision on a temporary feeling
- Don’t ever give up
- Don’t succumb to suicidal thoughts
- Fight for the person you want to be
- You belong on this earth just as much as anyone else
Do look forward to the future. Try to visualize what you want and who you want to be in this life. Desire change and keep an open mind to all avenues of support and treatment. Believe and have faith that you are a work in progress. Learn and practice healthy coping mechanisms so you can survive adversity in the future. Remember, just because you are struggling now doesn’t mean you are failing.
- Be proud of how hard you are trying
- Pace yourself, take tiny little steps of progress every single day
- Make time for getting well
- You are capable of a major comeback
- We’re all a little beautifully broken
- It’s never too late for you
- Just because you’re struggling doesn’t mean you’re failing
Have you been living with anxiety/depression? Wanna share your thoughts on this topic? Leave them in the comments section below.
Thanks so much!
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