Even if you've had years of experience dealing with a mental illness, it can still be difficult to manage — especially when you feel alone.
In an effort to help others feel less alone and to destigmatize the conversation about mental health, Amanda Stafford, who goes by @ShutUpAmanda on Twitter, started the hashtag #MyTipsForMentalHealth on Sunday night for Twitter users to share their own advice for coping with mental health problems. Overnight, the hashtag began to trend as people sent in their tips.
As many brought up, one of the first steps to dealing with a mental health problem is to acknowledge it as a real illness, and to not be ashamed for struggling.
It's also important to find someone who you can talk to. Ideally, we'd all be able to have access to a therapist with whom we get along right away, but the process can be a lot more complicated than that — and that's okay. Just be sure to have someone you can talk to in the meantime.
Beyond that, however, there are also ways to cope when your mental health may be affecting daily life. Twitter user @ChapinShadow said that sticking to a routine, even if it's just brushing your teeth at the same time every day, can be a helpful method of self-care.
It's also important to remember to be patient with yourself, to be kind to yourself, and to always keep going. It's okay if a method of coping doesn't work right away.
"I struggled alone in my depression for 30 years," she says. "Now that I'm better, I feel like it's my responsibility to share my story and help others to feel less alone."
Though a bunch of tips from strangers aren't the be-all, end-all of your mental health treatment, if you're dealing with a problem, it's reassuring to know that you aren't alone — and to hear how other people made it through.
"If it helps just one person to ask for help, or feel a little bit less alone, then I'll be happy," Stafford says about the hashtag.
If you are experiencing depression and need support, please call the National Depressive/Manic-Depressive Association Hotline at 1-800-826-3632 or the Crisis Call Center’s 24-hour hotline at 1-775-784-8090.
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