10 Songs to Help on 'Bad' Mental Health Days

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Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

We all have those “bad days” — days where the protection of sheets and blankets seems like the safest place to be, like nothing bad can happen if I remain ensconced among the soft cotton and feather quilt.

They are days where my neck and shoulders ache from tension and I feel like my jaw is going to explode right off the sides of my face. Days when every face seems like judgment day and every whisper sounds like an accusation, a guilty verdict. Days when every noise sounds like impending doom and destruction. Days when nothing seems to go right and I have to concentrate on breathing and taking it slow. One step at a time. One foot in front of the next.

On days like these, I find comfort and release in music … sometimes. When nothing else is there for me, these songs help pull me through.

1. “Break On Me” by Keith Urban

This song is an actual emotional release, perfectly describing “those days.” It feels like a hug.

2. “How Not To” by Dan + Shay


This song is about recovery and endurance through strength and love. It helps me to know all is not lost and better days are ahead.

3. “Keep Your Head Up” by Andy Grammer

This is a happy beat — just a small reminder to “keep your head up” through the tough days.

4. “Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw


Just a reminder there a good people in the world.

5. “Why” by Rascal Flatts


This is a very emotional one and very close to my heart. Rascal Flatts sing about the tragedy of suicide and the terrible aftermath.

6. “Let It Hurt” by Rascal Flatts


Here is another emotional release. Take all that pain and “let it hurt, let it bleed.” I’ve cried through this song countless times and felt better afterward. Essentially about bullying but can really take on any meaning.

7. “Stand By You” by Rachel Platten


This one is a reminder you have your “people” and they won’t leave you. The music is uplifting and the words are inspiring.

8. “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten


This song is empowering. Keep fighting!

9. “Gravity” by Sarah Bareille


I like this song because it can be interpreted in countless ways. It’s about whatever is pulling you into a negative gravity. The music is enchanting and I find it to be eye-opening and uplifting.

10. “Here Comes Goodbye” by Rascal Flatts


This last one is one of my favorites. It does have a bit of a morbid twist, but at the same time, it shows love and afterlife. There are sadness and comfort in the lyrics. The music is poignant and flows over you.

Music like this has saved me many times. I am not alone. Neither are you.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Unsplash photo via Sai Kiran Anagani

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How You Can Help Me Turn Darkness Into Light for Friends During Times of Need

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I’m currently in my seventh week in a hospital where I’m trying to fix both my body and mind, which have been somewhat cruelly abused by anorexia and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It can feel quite a lonely place, both physically and mentally, but one of the things I have found that can always lift the fog a little is when the postman comes calling with a handwritten card from someone I care about. 

The power of even the simplest of handwritten messages to penetrate the darkness a little got me to thinking about how great it would be if we could mobilize people to reach out to their friends at difficult times — whether that’s due to mental or physical illness, bereavement or any other issue. Often at these times, as friends, we really want to support but we just don’t know what to say.

And so “Together we can: Cards to Send to Friends Facing Hard Times” was born.

Myself and my friend Caro (the creative genius!) launched it as a Kickstarter campaign with the aim of raising enough money to produce and distribute 3,000 cards that pledgers could send to their loved ones. Each pack of cards will also be supplied with simple suggestions about how to support a friend through difficult times.

And the response has been tremendous! We are hoping to raise £5k in 30 days, which looks hopeful as we hit the £2k mark in under 24 hours. Many people’s pledges are simple and are essentially advance purchases of the cards, whilst others have made a pledge that will enable them to co-create a card with us, have their pet featured or be a VIP at our launch party. We hope that you’d like to support our campaign too and help us reach our £5k target. The cards will ship all over the world, lighting darkness with smiles wherever they go.

We’ve aimed for a mixture of kind, supportive and funny cards so there should be something to suit everyone. If the project continues to capture imaginations, then I hope we will grow the range in response to our network’s suggestions and keep it as an ongoing endeavor and continual fund raiser for the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust children and young people’s mental health program (which funds things like our webinar series designed for anyone working with or caring for a young person with a mental health issue) and our weekly mental health podcast.

Please take a look and consider joining those who have already pledged to help turn this dream into a reality and help turn darkness into light for friends during times of need. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

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Thinkstock photo via Melpomenem

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How Can You Help Someone With a Mental Health Issue?

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Depression comes at us with a one-two punch from every angle in life, whether it’s affecting someone we know or we’re experiencing it ourselves.

With an estimated 54 million Americans struggling with some form of mental disorder in a given year, we can’t just throw a pillow over our heads and hide. No one chooses depression. No one wants to be considered ill. No one wants to be stigmatized by society — a society which is ironically filled with depressed people.

Depression’s symptoms can last for days, weeks and months, and include feelings of hopelessness, rejection, poor concentration, sleep problems, lack of energy and sometimes suicidal thoughts. The good news is it’s treatable and life does get better with the correct tools, effort, support and many times medication.

Part of the problem is a lot of families are not prepared to deal with the effects of depression in a loved one. It may be emotionally exhausting to deal with. The onus is ultimately on the person with depression to get help, but having a good support system is widely undervalued.

In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, what are some ways you can you support a loved one with mental health problems?

Recognize warning signs

People with depression don’t typically want to admit they are having problems, so they tend to isolate as much as possible. Sometimes the clues are subtle and take time to reveal themselves. Other times, the warning signs are right in front of our noses.

They may not want to socialize or partake in their usual activities because the thought of it is exhausting. The growing inability to cope with life’s daily activities and problems becomes evident when the person can’t seem to bring themselves to do simple tasks. They tend to worry excessively, or may be overly angry. Substance abuse, including smoking, drinking and prescription drugs, is another sign of depression. A substance abuse counselor may be necessary at this point.

In some cases, people with mental illness hear voices, see things, or have strange thoughts or delusions. Suicidal thoughts are another obvious sign of depression.

In the past, when I’ve been depressed, I couldn’t find the energy to take my dog out for his morning walk. It’s really depressing when you can’t muster enough strength to tend to the needs of the one living creature who depends on you most.

Offer help

If you think or know your loved one is struggling with depression, ask them what you can do to support without sounding “preachy,” or like you have the best answer. Encourage them to get help, even if that help is rejected.

You may not know what the best answer is, and you may give advice that the person doesn’t take. You shouldn’t have to feel like you’re walking on eggshells around that person. Keep it simple: Just be there and ask what you can do.

Be compassionate

No one wants to feel like they are going through life alone. Be there to hold their hand when they cry or tell them they are loved and needed in this world of ours. It’s easy to get impatient and frustrated with someone struggling with depression.

Being there in person without trying to fix anything goes a long way in showing someone you care. So does listening without judgment. Keep in mind that depression is extremely painful to go through and talk about. It will probably take multiple conversations because the needs of a depressed person will shift as time goes on. There’s not a straight line of recovery.

Take good care of yourself. You are not your loved one’s therapist. Set boundaries for yourself, don’t let resentment build and keep communication open. Maybe you need to join your own support group or see a counselor. Shouldering someone else’s problems can be tough. Focus on your own emotions and feelings.

Suicide risk

Seek immediate assistance if you think a family member or friend is in danger of harming themselves. Call a crisis line, like the National Suicide Prevention line at 1 800-273-TALK, or 911.

One of the groups most at risk for suicide is the mentally ill. The relationship between those struggling with mental illness or mood disorders and suicide is intertwined. There’s an extremely fine line between thinking suicidal thoughts and acting upon them. Someone who is entertaining thoughts of ending their life or how they can kill themselves or how the world would be a better place without them in it – even if they aren’t verbalizing it – need immediate help. If you think a friend or family member is in need of community mental health services you can find help in your area.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.

If you or a loved one is affected by addiction and need help, you can call SAMHSA’s hotline at 1-800-662-4357.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Unsplash photo via Korney Violin

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How I Define 'Hope' as Someone With a Mental Illness

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Hope – hōp/ – noun

1) Hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

2) Hope is the act of trusting in something.

Hope – hōp/ – verb

1) Hope is wanting something to happen.

Many 20-year-olds are hoping to finish college. They hope their major is the right one. They hope to buy a nice house and marry their love. To get promotions and have a happy family.

That’s what most people want, isn’t it? To be happy and have everything just fall into place. But it doesn’t really work like that, does it? We put faith in this simple word: hope. Hoping things will work out the way we expected.

Hope seems to have a different meaning for people like me. See, for some of us, hope is hoping we will make it to see our futures pan out. We just hope one day our pain will be gone or that we won’t feel so numb. See, we simply want to be happy. I mean sure, we want mostly the same things, but we hope to feel alive the most. To feel alive and not just feel pain and emptiness.

We hope to …

Get stuck in rain storms. To feel the cold rain run down our faces. To experience the way it smells after a huge rain storm. To look around and see the beauty in nature. To be able to feel sorry for the ones who are running late for work and missing the beautiful views.

To look in the mirror without seeing flaws. To be able to feel comfortable in our own skin.

To be able to walk across the graduation stage. Thinking: Hey, look! All those nights crying and pushing myself actually worked out.

To find a good job. One that isn’t all about the money. The one you wake up to smiling because you can’t wait to start your day.

To buy a nice house. Not just a fairytale house, just one to raise a happy family in. One to you can see yourself building yourself in.

To marry someone you love. Not just to marry someone with looks and success. To fall in love with someone else’s soul. To be open with them and someone who supports you on your worst days.

Making a happy family. To teach members of your family not only how to be good hardworking people, but to teach them about mental illness. Being able to express to them what it means to struggle.

I use to believe “hope” was just this simple word. One made to remind us things can change. It’s sort of like the word “faith.” They are just simple words, with deep meanings. I used to not believe in these simple words. Not thinking my life could change, but it can.

Hope: the act in trusting in something. I hope you trust in yourself. Realizing there are many things to place hope into. Have faith and remain patient. Don’t just hope for big things, remember the little things in life. I hope you smile today.

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Image via Thinkstock

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Answering 'So What Are You Doing Now?' When Mental Illness Keeps You From Working

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The dreaded question that apparently everybody feels compelled to ask when they haven’t seen you in a while:

“So what are you doing now?”

Such a loaded question, full of pressure and expectation. “You’re in your 20s, recently graduated, surely you must be doing something?”

I’m unable to work at the moment. Each day is a struggle, a gargantuan effort to simply survive — getting out of bed, remembering to feed and bathe myself is already pushing me towards my limits, yet I feel so inadequate when I simply reply “I’m living.”

The average person doesn’t understand that to be living, to be enduring my mental and physical pain day in, day out is such an achievement.

I am still here, still fighting, still living.

I think people think I lounge around all day, having fun doing nothing. I’m never not doing something — that’s the reality.

If I’m in bed, I’m willing myself to get up or desperately hoping that today my pain will allow me to bathe. When I’m stuck inside watching television my brain is distracted, full of guilt, thinking I should be doing more, or I’ll be sitting, sorting through correspondence but in actuality I’m sorting through my very own brain fog.

To wake up each day and choose to carry on, to not give in — that’s what I’m doing.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Photo by Aidan Meyer, via Unsplash

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Illustration of pigeons and a woman's face with the text "It's OK to ask for help."

11 Instagram Accounts You Should Be Following During Mental Health Month

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As part of Mental Health Awareness Month, Instagram is rolling out a new campaign, #HereForYou, to highlight how supportive the mental health community can be.

“Every day, people use Instagram to share their mental health journeys and connect with communities of support,” Instagram wrote in a blog post. “From dedicated accounts tackling real issues, to hashtags of support and kind comments, Instagram has become an important community of support. We are inspired by these voices.”

To highlight more voices in the mental health community, we’ve rounded up 11 of our favorite mental health related Instagram accounts.

1. The Sad Ghost Club

You got this, ghosties.

A post shared by The Sad Ghost Club (@theofficialsadghostclub) on

Started by Lize Meddings and Laura Cox, The Sad Ghost Club raises mental health awareness through comics and its sad ghost community. The club bills itself as a place for anyone who has ever felt sad, lost or like they don’t fit in.

Follow The Sad Ghost Club.

2. Mental Health America

Mental Health America is a community-based nonprofit organization which works to address the needs of those living with mental illness. Its Instagram features wellness reminders, uplifting quotes and mental illness inspired illustrations and infographics.

Follow Mental Health America.

3. Introvert Doodles

Introvert Doodles features a number of relatable comics about various mental health conditions including anxiety and self-harm. Marzi, the comic’s creator, also shares illustrations about just being shy and introverted in general.

Follow Introvert Doodles.

4. Make Daisy Chains

Please take your medication as prescribed. If you take meds for your mental health and want to reduce or come off please make a plan. Talk to people who support you, whether that’s friends, family, healthcare professionals etc. Let them know and have a plan to monitor how you feel and if you feel worse, what you should do. Never ever just stop medication (unless you have an allergic reaction obviously. ) ???????? ???? #boringselfcare . . . . . . . #edfam #edfamiliy #therapy #mentalhealth #mentalillness #drawing #art #illustration #psychosis #ocd #depression #anxiety #gad #bpd #selfharrm #borderlinepersonalitydisorder #eatingdisorder #anorexia #promarker #art #illustration #chroncillness #spoonie #spoonies #spooniesunite

A post shared by Hannah Daisy ????️‍???? (@makedaisychains) on

Hannah Daisy, a mental health occupational therapist, is changing the conversation around self-care through her series of #BoringSelfCare illustrations. Daisy’s illustrations cover less than luxurious, but incredibly important, self-care tasks like doing the dishes, getting dressed, household chores and other personal items.

Follow Make Daisy Chains.

5. Lil Moon Child

This is my interpretation of generalized anxiety disorder. I often times feel as if a black hand is rising up through my chest and clutching my throat and chest, trying to pull me into an abyss of chaos. I feel like my brain can’t function anymore as it goes into overdrive. I can’t think clearly and feel like I don’t understand what’s happening around me. Dealing with anxiety on a daily basis is also quite exhausting which is why I added the shadow under my eyes. GAD is hard to live with and unfortunately many without mental health issues don’t understand it. I want people to see what anxiety looks like on the outside as a way to deconstruct all the misconceptions around it. Having GAD does NOT mean that I want to be left alone and isolated. It’s hard for me to to go social events but that does NOT mean I don’t want friends. It’s just harder for me but I’m trying my best everyday! May is mental health awareness month. Please join me in raising awareness by participating in the #insideoutchallenge. I challenge you to show the world what your battle with mental illness looks like so others who fight the same battles know they’re not alone, so others will see that mental illness should be treated the same way as physical illness, without any judgment or stigma. ???????????? ________________________________________________ PRODUCTS USED: @kryolanofficial Aqua colours, @nyxcosmetics @nyxcosmetics_canada black liquid liner, vivid halo liquid liner, vivid sapphire liner, @katvondbeauty “Underage Red” everlasting liquid lipstick ________________________________________________ #mentalhealth #mentalhealthmonth #mentalhealthwarrior #mentalhealthmatters #getloud #b4stage4 #mentalillness #anxiety #generalizedanxietydisorder #nyxcanada #nyxcosmetics #bluehair #inspiration #makeup #makeupbyme #makeuplover #makeupartist #makeupaddict #mua #buzzfeed #themighty #mic #bluehair #depression #dontgiveup #wakeupandmakeup

A post shared by YASAMAN GHEIDI (@lilmoonchildd) on

Beauty blogger Yasaman Gheidi shares more than just makeup tutorials on her Instagram page. Gheidi speaks openly about her experience with mental illness and is the creator of the “Inside Out Challenge,” which asks people to use makeup to illustrate their mental illness.

Follow Lil Moon Child. 

6. Marcela Ilustra

SWIPE FOR MORE INFO ???? So I was watching 13 Reasons Why and I was thrilled with a few things. Leaving aside whether you liked the series or not, it tackles a theme that we need to talk about for sure. I’m very emotional and nervous talking about that – it is heavy, sad and horrible, but it happens all the time. People feel so much pain that they get to the point of taking their own lives. Mental illnesses and especially depression make us distort reality so severely that we feel like nobody cares about us and nothing matters anymore. I know because I had already felt that way. At one point in my life, I felt I had no purpose and that everyone would be better off without me. I felt such a void, an apathy where this idea of ​​vanishing did not frighten me. I was numb, lost and it seems like the only solution sometimes. Luckily, before anything else I managed to see a light in the darkness and I asked for help. I just put it out to my family and assumed that I could no longer handle it alone, I desperately needed guidance and support. And that’s what I got from many people that I’m now so grateful. So please, if you’re feeling like life does not make sense anymore, or are having any kind of suicidal thoughts, please get help right now. Do not isolate yourself, do not think that you should have to solve your problems yourself. You don’t, just breathe. Talk about it, say everything you are feeling, even the darkest thoughts on your mind. We are here to help each other and there is no shame in asking for help. I have been helped in the past to have the ability to help other people today as well. You are so important, so special and there is so much to do. I will leave lifelines numbers here from Brazil and the US, but if you know of any other support organizations, please tell it in the comments. And for those who know a depressive person, just be there. Pay attention, listen, watch them and never give up helping. One word could make all the difference. Be strong, be kind ❤ #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness #youareloved #youarenotalone #life #art #inspiration #illustration

A post shared by Marcela Sabiá ???? (@marcelailustra) on

Marcela Sabiá creates body-positive and self-love illustrations with a special focus on mental illness. In addition to her stunning illustrations, Sabiá often writes about her own experience living with mental illness.

Follow Marcela Ilustra. 

7. Sad Girls Club

The Self-Care checklist is up! Click the link in our bio to print it for yourself or share it with a friend????????????

A post shared by Sad Girls Club (@sadgirlsclubpbg) on

The Sad Girls Club is an online and in-person mental health community for young women of color. The group is also being highlighted this month as part of Instagram’s #HereForYou campaign.

Follow Sad Girls Club. 

8. Chuck Draws Things

meds #pigeons

A post shared by chuck (@chuckdrawsthings) on

How you feel about pigeons may change thanks to Chuck Mullin’s anxious pigeon illustrations. Mullin uses her own experience living with anxiety and depression and turns them into adorable looking pigeons with problems that are easy to relate to.

Follow Chuck Draws Things. 

9. Project HEAL

And can make more of an impact than you know. rg @cleowade #????????????

A post shared by Project HEAL (@projectheal) on

Project HEAL is a nonprofit organization that works towards preventing, treating and supporting those living with an eating disorder. Its Instagram features motivational quotes and inspirational images as well as information about the organization and eating disorders.

Follow Project HEAL.

10. The Latest Kate

#axolotl #mentalhealth #anxiety #encouragement #positive

A post shared by @thelatestkate on

Love cute animals and motivational messages? Look no further than Kate Allan’s Instagram. Taking from her experience living with anxiety and depression, Allan illustrates messages designed to challenge negative thoughts and help others cope.

Follow The Latest Kate. 

11. To Write Love On Her Arms

To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) is a non-profit organization for young people living with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicidal thoughts. Its Instagram account shares relatable quotes, information about the organization and stories from members.

Follow To Write Love On Her Arms.

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