26 Pieces of Advice That Have Actually Helped People With Mental Illness

With that expert’s list of ways to manage anxiety, the latest trendy mental health app and that “magical cure for depression” your aunt heard about on TV, it seems like everyone’s full of mental health advice these days.

So, we asked our mental health community to share pieces of advice they’ve actually found helpful. These little nuggets of wisdom aren’t FDA-approved, but when used correctly side effects may include: self-care, acceptance and a little more patience with yourself.

Here’s some advice that’s actually helped people with mental illness:

1. “On a particularly difficult day, I was trying to fight through an anxiety attack and finish all the child-related tasks I needed to complete. My husband kept offering help, and I kept refusing. He pulled me aside in the laundry room as I was frantically folding another load and said, “Just let me help you.” It doesn’t immediately make the anxiety go away, but it’s helped me learn to let go.” — Maria Heldreth

A quote from Maria Heldreth that says, "Just let me help you."

2.Don’t wait. See a doctor. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be embarrassed. Chances are, someone knows exactly what you’re going through.” — Kristin Salber

3. “I have depression and anxiety (as well as other chronic medical conditions), and after the worst week I’ve had in a while, my doctor  said, “Find something you enjoy, and if you can’t find that, find the joy in something.” This really had an impact on me and still reminds me to look for a silver lining.” — Faith Merryn

4. “I have generalized anxiety disorder, and I made friends with someone who’s extremely similar to me. She told me to always be myself and the people who truly care will stick around. It truly did help.” — Julia Ann Lange

5.Words can hurt to say, but they need to come out. Write all those words down on paper.” — Melissa Cote

Quote from Melissa Cote that says, "Words can hurt to say, but they need to come out. Write all those words down on paper."

6. “A friend recently told me that no matter if I get a job one day or not, your life matters as long as you can make people smile. When I think of it that way, it’s easier to see my life as something of worth.” — Emma Wozny

7. “A great therapist I had told me to focus on ‘harm-reduction, not perfection.’ I felt like I was expected to magically ‘get better,’ and she helped me learn that starting with baby steps was totally OK.” — Jen Decker

8. “Someone said, ‘I’ve been here, I know a way out, I’m here to show you too.’ And, ‘It gets better, it may not leave, but it gets better. And it has.” — Tom Everman

9. “I have anxiety and major depressive disorder. This is going to sound ridiculous, but my best friend once told me, “When you’re sad, watch ‘The Simpsons.’” It actually works when I’m panicking, too. It gets my mind off whatever I’m obsessing about, and I usually end up laughing.” — Dawn Czarnecki Seshadri

10. “It wasn’t long after my diagnosis that I was told pretty bluntly: ‘This illness is has no cure. You’re going to carry this illness for the rest of your life. So you can either wallow in the weight of that, or you can fight for your only life and make it a good story.’” — Lyss Trayers

Quote from Lyss Trayers that says, "You're going to carry this illness for the rest of your life. So you can either wallow in the weight of that, or you can fight for your only life and make it a good story."

11. “My depression and anxiety stem from a traumatic childhood. Just hearing ‘it wasn’t your fault‘ from my psychologist was incredibly helpful.” — Kathrine Elise

12.Don’t always believe what your brain is telling you.” — Kerri Lewis Brock

13.It’s OK to feel sad. You don’t need to pretend.” — Allyson White

14.The best advice: Treat yourself as if you were a good friend.” — Julie Jeatran

Quote from Julie Jeatran that says, "Treat yourself as if you were a good friend."

15.Celebrate every accomplishment, no matter how small, instead of dwelling on all the things we perceive as failures.” — Jennifer Northrup

16. “I have post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder. When I was in intensive outpatient therapy, the counselor looked at us and said, ‘It’s over. That moment is over. It isn’t going to happen again.’ For some reason, that resonated with me.” — Nicole Hanes

17. “They told me this: ‘You are not broken; you are a whole person. You are just human. A human who is living, learning and growing. And learning, living and growing comes with bumps in the road. Remember that this is just a bump.‘” — Kallie Kieffer

18.Your worst days will only be 24 hours. — Arielle Smith

Quote from Arielle Smith that says, "Your worst days will only be 24 hours."

19.You wouldn’t skip a dialysis or chemotherapy appointment. Your therapy appointments are just as important. No excuses.” — Jennifer Davis

20. “‘I think you need to give therapy a try.‘ Thanks to that, I started therapy and I’m now on the path to recovery.”  — Julianne Leow

21.Your struggles are your accomplishments in disguise.” — Katherine J Palmer

22.Remember: Depression lies. Don’t believe it.” — Beth Brogan

Quote from Beth Brogan that says, "Remember: Depression lies. Don't believe it."

23.Always ask for help. There is never any shame in asking for help.” — Meghan Shultz

24.Take life 5 minutes at a time.” — Stephanie Lynn

25.You can’t give everyone else everything you have. You absolutely have to save a little of yourself for yourself.” — Shawn Henfling

26.I am a human being. Not a human doing. I just have to be.” — Michelle Balck

Quote from Michelle Balck that says, "I am a human being. Not a human doing. I just have to be."

Answers have been edited and shortened. 


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