9 People On How They Manage When They Can't Go To Therapy

photographed by Megan Madden.
In an ideal world, everyone who needed it or wanted it would be able to afford and have access to a great therapist. But, as wonderful as therapy is (for anyone, not only people who suffer from mental health issues), it's not always possible for everyone. For one thing, it can be expensive, even if your insurance covers it (and not all insurance plans do). And, even if you can afford it, it can still be hard to find a therapist you're comfortable sharing all your thoughts and feelings with — and that can be especially true if you're a minority.
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If, for any reason, you can't go to therapy, you still deserve ways manage when you're struggling with your mental health. While there's absolutely no substitute for a therapist, we all have to get through somehow. Ahead, nine people discuss how they cope when therapy just isn't an option.
If you are experiencing depression or anxiety 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.
1 of 9
illustrated by Tristan Offit.
"Right now, I'm taking my meds, but when I'm not on them or something like that, I try to play or talk with my cats or my mom, [boyfriend], or a friend to distract me from the anxiety, but mostly when I have panic attacks, I cry myself to sleep.

"But depression is harder, so sometimes I tend to drown in some of my bad habits, like eating too much food even if I'm full, binge-watching TV shows for hours straight, sleeping for more then 15 hours a day and avoiding contact with people... I know it's messed up, but it helps when I'm feeling overwhelmed by the nothingness of this illness." — Anonymous
2 of 9
illustrated by Tristan Offit.
"When I have the time, I like to go on hikes. Being in nature is a relatively cost-effective form of self-care. It doesn’t fix everything, but it helps." — Meg, 19
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
"My friends taking care of me and listening to me, and finding tips on mental health websites." — Lena, 24
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
"Exercise, smoking weed, venting to friends/family/partners, eating healthy food, eating junk food, taking deep breaths and telling myself over and over, You're okay, it's okay, nothing invaluable will be ruined forever." — Anonymous
5 of 9
illustrated by Tristan Offit.
"It sounds crazy, but when I feel super anxious and out of control, I need to control what I can in my life, which means lots of deep breathing and organizing my room or just making a list of things I need to do and when I am going to do them.

"Planning always helps me regain control of my life. When doing that, I always like to talk things through with a person, asking them 'does this make sense' from a logical standpoint or just to have someone listen and validate me.

"Other times I like to journal all my thoughts. It doesn’t have to be specific to the anxiety. I start with writing about what is happening in my life and how I feel about it, and I let myself go on as many tangents as possible, and I write down everything that is cluttering my brain and giving me stress.

"Keeping a journal helps me to relieve the weight on my shoulders from keeping everything in and to sort out my thoughts. If that doesn’t work, then I reach out to friends who have been in similar situations or I read articles from people who have gone through similar experiences or doctors' opinions on how to handle things. I like when I have facts and guidelines to live my life by. It is most important that I use my friends for support but never as a therapist." — Caroline, 18
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
"I journal, sometimes talk to friends, read articles on mental health and wellbeing to get advice on how to handle challenging situations. I also sometimes distract myself by watching The Office." — Sarah, 27
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
"I search the web for advice, talk to friends often, practice meditation, write about my feelings, and I try not to be alone." — Neli, 31
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
"Basically talk/pray to God for help. Then talk to someone you trust." — Zee, 25
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
"Take walks. Read books. Even if I can't buy them, I'll go to a bookstore and absorb the info that's relevant to me and where I am in my life/circumstance." — Mel, 37
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