There is still so much stigma around mental health and it can make living with depression and anxiety even more difficult. I didn’t realize how much stigma I had internalized until I decided to go back on medication recently and had a lot of feelings of failure come up for me. I felt like after all this time I should be able to manage my depression on my own. A lot of women I follow online were advocating for managing depression naturally and I was disappointed that those methods weren’t working for me as effectively as being on anti-depressants. I ultimately decided to reject the stigma around medication and to go back on my anti-depressants because that is what works best for me. This is my journey and that might not be the case for you but the point is we all need to be empowered enough to do what is best for us. The stigma around mental illness can make it difficult to do what you need to do to improve your mental health and live your best life. Maybe you have similar feelings around going to therapy or asking for help. Everyone’s journey is different but we need to challenge the negative stigma we have around using services, medication and resources to help manage our mental health. Here are some tips for overcoming mental health stigma.
Follow Your Gut
There are a thousand different strategies and techniques you can use to manage your mental health. People use everything from horseback riding to climbing mountains as forms of therapy. There are unlimited options out there and none of them are better or worse than any others. Trust your heart to lead you and try the things that are calling to you. If you’ve been wanting to try kickboxing or pole dancing now is the time to do the damn thing. Don’t let stigma dictate to you what therapy should look like or what counts as self-care. Make feeling good your number one priority and always listen to your heart over what other people say or think.
Bad Days Are OK
The idea that we should all just be happy and thankful all the time has created a stigma around having bad days.
I often fall into the trap of comparing myself to where I was or where I think I should be. One of the most difficult things about my mental health journey has been how much my functioning fluctuates on a weekly or even daily basis. Some days I totally slay and can get so much done. I eat healthily, create tons of content for my blog and get tons accomplished throughout the day. However, I also have days or even weeks where my anxiety and depression get in the way and make everyday tasks are more difficult. I’ve had to just learn to accept myself for where I am and how I am feeling and not beat myself up if I’m having a bad day. I know that getting down on myself for having an off day will just make getting back to a higher level of functioning even more difficult.
Don’t Compare Yourself
Everyone’s journey is different and honestly comparing yourself to other people is a big fat waste of your time. I have really struggled with this in the past because I love following successful people on YouTube and Instagram. I would see all these amazing women who were in killer shape, running successful online businesses and traveling the world and it made me feel like a failure. The truth is what they are doing doesn’t have anything to do with me and comparing myself just makes me own journey more difficult.
Our culture loves to glorify quick fixes and overnight success but for a lot of us our mental health journey is long. You might feel pressure or stigma around your journey taking a long time but everyone’s journey is different and there’s nothing wrong with you if you don’t get “better” right away. Once I started looking at managing my mental health as a long-term goal it was easier for me to be patient and accept the ups and downs. When I am feeling down or going through a hard time I remember this is only one small part of my story. Accepting that managing my depression and anxiety takes time has helped me become more patient and accept myself for where I am.
I am not a licensed therapist or mental health professional. If you are suffering from a major disorder and need treatment please seek the help of a professional. If you need help finding a mental health care provider call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit BetterHelp to talk to a certified therapist online at an affordable price. You can download a free printable list of hotlines here and join the free mental health support group on Facebook here. This post contains affiliate links, you can read my full disclosure policy here.
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