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6 Tips for Conquering Anxiety at School


Being in high school and having anxiety is one of the hardest things about having anxiety. When you’re in a class and everything seems perfectly fine, then boom. It hits you. Your heart starts racing, you feel like the room is closing in on you, you start getting shaky and you feel like you can’t catch your breath. Yes, you are having an anxiety attack. The last thing you want are your peers knowing you are freaking out. You go to walk around, take a breather, but then you get even more anxious thinking about if you are gone too long. What will the teacher say? Will they even notice? What if you go back and you are still having the attack? What if you can’t stop it? What if you classmates see? What if (fill in the blank)?

Believe me, I understand.

These are some things I have found that help:

1. If possible, try to catch an attack before it happens.

Now I 100 percent know this isn’t always possible. Sometimes, at least for me, I get very anxious an hour before it turns into a full on attack. This happens maybe 30 to 45 percent of the time. When this happens, and I realize it, I work to try and calm down. Just going to the bathroom, eating or drinking water will help a lot more than you think.

2; Remember to breathe.

Anxiety attacks can happen for so long that you start to feel dizzy because you can’t catch your breath. It’s helpful to think “in” and count to 7, then “out” and count to 7. If you focus your mind on breathing, it can help you come out of the anxiety rush and back into a calmer mindset. There are apps out there that can also help. If you just search “breathing” or “anxiety” in the app store, there are some very helpful ones. Just sit down somewhere and completely focus on breathing.

3. Get out of the classroom.

This is a huge one, at least for me. Especially if the room feels like it’s closing in on you. If you can get to your own space, your classmates will not see and it’s a lot easier to calm down if you aren’t confined to just one seat or spot. If your school doesn’t have hall monitors, or staff that goes in the hallways often, walk around! One time, I walked around my school for 30 minutes. When my friends text me asking, “Why are you gone for so long?” I either do not respond, respond with, “I’m fine, just walking off stress,” or depending on the person, tell them I’m having an anxiety attack. “Walking it off” helps so much. Another option is going to the bathroom and just sitting down. I have found sitting on the cold floor of the bathroom can help a lot. And if someone is in there, you can just lock yourself in one of the stalls and calm down.

4. Find a teacher you can trust.

This has been one of the best things that has happened to me. I have two teachers who know I get anxiety attacks and it has been so beneficial. I went half of this school year without them knowing, but I got an anxiety attack that was so bad I felt like I couldn’t stop it. So I went to a teacher who I trusted (it was actually a student teacher for the class I was in) and she helped so much. I told a different teacher when I was having an attack again who really helped me. Actually, just today, I was having an anxiety attack and I went to one of these teachers. Even though they had a class, they told me just to go into their office and sit down and they would come in when they can. It helps so much just knowing someone at school who is a teacher is looking out for you. I was in that room for 30 minutes and they even talked to the teacher that I had during that time so I wouldn’t have to worry about that. Telling those two teachers has been the most beneficial thing I have done for my anxiety. I have felt like I was annoying them. I have said this so many times to a teacher and she always says, “You will never annoy me over something you can’t control.”

5. Try to identify triggers.

Anyone who says triggers don’t exist must be kidding because they most definitely are real. It helps to identify a certain class, test or anything that may set an attack off so you can prepare yourself if you know that situation may come up. I, personally, know some things that trigger me, but also anxiety can be totally (or feel totally) random and out of control. It’s OK! Being able to alleviate some things can help so much though. I promise.

6. Remember it’s OK and you are not dying.

Sometimes during an anxiety attack you feel as if you are going to die right then and there. In these moments, remember you are not going to die. That it will pass. It may 100 percent not feel like it is ever going to end, but just remember it will eventually pass. It may be over in two minutes, 10 minutes or even 45 minutes, but it will end. It’s OK that you are having an anxiety attack. There are probably other people in your school (or even teachers) who are going through the same thing. Everything will be OK. It may also be helpful to think of small goals. Don’t set a goal like, “Have no anxiety attacks and be done with anxiety in a month,” because that is probably an unrealistic goal. Think of goals like, “Try and cut my anxiety attacks from 15 minute down to five or 10.” 

And lastly, remember that just because you have anxiety, doesn’t mean you’re a “bad” student. It doesn’t make you any less human and it doesn’t make you a failure. Anxiety doesn’t define you, it just is a part of your life. And remember, you did not ask to have anxiety. It is something that you can’t always control, and that’s OK. 

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Thinkstock photo via janniswerner

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24 Travel Tips for Going on Vacation With Anxiety


As children, we wait in anticipation for summer vacation — a break from the days and weeks we spend confined to the four walls of our school. As adults, the warmer weather signals it’s time to take a vacation and break from the monotony of our daily lives.

New surroundings, new food, new people, and new places can be exciting. But for those who struggle with anxiety, newness and change can often cause symptoms to worsen. That is why we asked our mental health community to share some tips for alleviating anxiety for anyone who is nervous about going on vacation this summer.

 

Here is what they had to say:

1. “Take a comfort item! I know my comfort item would be one of my dad’s t-shirts. It’s something so simple but reminds me of home, where I feel most safe and secure. So if I have an anxiety attack I can hold on to the shirt or smell it and it calms me down.” — Elizabeth C.

2. “Find local parks or walking trails before hand so you can take a “nature break,” if you become overwhelmed. I leave with enough time to take frequent breaks if the driving becomes too much.” — Caley K.

3. “Seeing there’s so much more in this world than the fears you face! Schedule time to get away and be by yourself. It can get overwhelming if you are with a group, but don’t be ashamed to get alone time if you need it.” — Samantha S.

4. “Google and research. What I do before going somewhere new for vacation is look up the things I’m going to want to do, then MapQuest it to look at satellite images of the area to get a feel for things before I even leave home. I’ll go as far as looking up the layout of a place.” — Charne S.

5. “I’m working through SAD that occurs during the summer, and what I do is think about ‘why?’ Why do I need to push through? I think about how my anxiety can prevent me from so many experiences with my three children. Why would I want to take that time away from them? My kids help me work through the summer time sadness so we can go on vacation.” — Christina P.

6. “Let the people you’re going with know you’re going to be dealing with anxiety so they can better support you when it does happen and you won’t have the additional concern of what they are thinking when those feelings do come up. Also to just know that you always have the right to say no to anything that makes you uncomfortable and there is no obligation to be a certain way or do certain things just because you’re on holiday. The vacation should be about what’s going to make you happiest and most comfortable” — Taysia S.

7. “What I would do is plan out my whole trip from day one to the last day, and everything in between. From sun up to sun down. As much as you possibly can. This way you are in total control of everything. This can easily lower stress and anxiety. I get anxiety when I feel like I’m not in control of the situation, but if you plan everything out, you’re in much more control and it might let you have a better vacation.” — Crystal D.

8. “My tips to someone who’s nervous about vacation is to make a list of all the things you’re excited for on your trip. This can help you stay positive and free your mind. Also, do not let anxiety dictate your decisions, [which can sometimes be] much easier said than done. Push yourself out of your comfort zone a little bit.” — Kayla G.

9. “If you’re flying, talk to the people at the gate before boarding. If you explain your anxiety to them, they’ll often let you board the plane in the very first group before the plane gets overly crowded.” — Amanda R.

10. “Start small. Don’t worry if you can’t do all the things. Just get started. If you find yourself panicking in a strange place, focus on something until you feel better, even pretending you are messaging on your phone can help.” — Sheila P.

11. “Take your iPod; music helps calm your heightened senses. [Take] a book; get lost in someone else’s head for a while. [Bring] a comfort from home; a teddy or blanket that has the smell of home on it. If things get too much, take yourself away from people or things, go somewhere quiet, like your hotel room or something and just take a little time out for yourself to regain your senses.” — Becky U.

12. “Breathe. If you’re worried about security, breathe yourself through. Once you’re done with that, sit for a minute and tackle the next thing. Find your gate and ground yourself until you’re ready to board. Once on the plane, make yourself comfortable with music, books, or puzzle games. If you aren’t flying somewhere, still breathe. Tap the steering wheel if your driving, it’s something you can feel. Open a window if the weather is nice, it’s something you can smell. Look at landmarks around you, it’s something you can see. And it’s OK to rest, wherever your vacation is! Don’t overwhelm yourself with trying to do everything, it’s OK to have limits.” — Tasha T

 

13. “I have travel anxiety and the best thing I’ve done is pushed myself to keep going even when I’ve wanted to turn around. I’ve never once regretted pushing through. It helps for me to bring my pillow from home — something that has a familiar smell that way I can at least sleep through my anxiousness.” — Rachel M.

14. “Find what calms you on the way to wherever you’re going. Music is what helps me. Make a playlist, visualize yourself having fun at your destination. Let yourself get carried away in the lyrics and remember that you deserve to be happy and care free.” — Kelcie J.

15. “Don’t force fun. No matter what happens, enjoy every moment of the trip! If I felt anxious on a trip I would take time to enjoy the moment; counting the things in that moment that are priceless, enjoyable, or relaxing. It’s kind of like a grounding exercise.” — Brooke H,

16. “Make sure you have everything you will need, and double check before you leave. Pack a small bag that is easy to get to and keep things that will help you when you get anxious in that bag; it could be some gum, or a stuffed animal or a fidget cube.” — Wendy J.

17. “Make your self little goals. Something like; I want to try every cake at every restaurant we go to, or I want to collect 20 shells of this color for a Pinterest project, or I want to take pictures of every steeple or animal I see. Little fun things that will trick your anxieties into thinking you are in control of the whole thing.” — Brittany H.

18. “One thing that helped me was creating safe places. Wherever we went, I would create a safe place where, if I felt overwhelmed by people or my surroundings, I could get away for five minutes. It helped tremendously.” — Ashley G.

19. “I was taught in therapy to ‘act as if,’ meaning act as you want to feel. So, I kind of fake it and tell myself I’m cool, calm and collected. Then I start to feel it. I have to use a lot of strength to turn off the work mind!”— Tanya S.

20. “Go with the flow. I had to leave our first camp trip early because of my anxiety. Make sure you’re warm and well fed.” — Kayla C.

21. “I don’t plan, I just go, because planning makes my anxiety worse and when I’m in the car I make sure I have bottled water, a pillow from home, a good playlist of songs and I make sure phone is fully charged. And no ‘junk food,’ just fruits and water.” — Mandy A.

22. “Ask yourself why you’re going. If the reasons are important to you, they will fuel your determination to cope with stressors as you move forward.” — Sarah M.

23. “Email the airport. I have Asperger’s and social anxiety disorder and I emailed the airport explaining my problems about going to the airport and going through security and they let me go through the faster business security lane so I would be less anxious and worried.” — Carina M.

24. “Go with someone you love and trust who really knows you and is prepared to be patient and will help with anxieties.” — Lou W.

What would you add? Let us know in the comments below.

Thinkstock image via Pixland.

24 Travel Tips for Going on Vacation With Anxiety
a woman whose face has been replaced with a cloud

It's Not You, It's My Anxiety


I might glare at you. I might pretend that nothing you say interests me. I might stare off into the distance while you are talking to me. I might disappear into the bathroom for 10 minutes and return with reddened eyes. But don’t worry, it’s not you.

It’s me, or rather, my anxiety.

When most people have a bad day, it is because they are tired or they are fighting with someone they love or they have too much work to do and not enough time. And while some of my bad days are caused by events, most of the time it’s my anxiety that gives me a run for my money.

It might seem to you like everything is perfect. And everything might be perfect. I might have gotten great grades on all my tests and homework and I could be hanging out with friends and having fun, but I’m also terrified of the future. I could be so happy that I can’t stop smiling, but that doesn’t mean my mind isn’t overflowing with fear and worries.

Sure, I can be anxious and have a good day. Sure, I can not be anxious and have a bad day. Just because my head is chock full of worries doesn’t mean that I can’t act like a “normal” human being. And just because you can’t tell I’m drowning in my own thoughts doesn’t mean I am by any means OK.

Don’t ever assume that I am perfectly fine. Don’t ever assume that I am completely in control of the creature in my head called my anxiety. And please don’t ever think that my silence, my glaring or my lack of interest are anything to do with you. Because sometimes, my anxiety ruins my day and there is nothing I can do about it.

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6 Tips for Managing Anxiety During Family Gatherings


Every few years, my dad and stepmom get all of their family together for Thanksgiving. For our first gathering, we stayed in Tahoe. I remember taking a really long and wonderful walk with my stepmom and sitting in the hot tub under the stars with my niece. The second time, we went to Santa Barbara. It was warm and beautiful, even though one of my stepmom’s sons and his family couldn’t be there. It was also my first holiday season dealing with anxiety. This past year, we visited Ojai. We stayed in a big, old mansion that was built in the 1920s. Everyone was there. I got to see two of my friends and go on a beautiful hike with my partner, niece and nephew. I even got spit on by a miniature alpaca.

There are a lot of things about getting together with my family that are awesome. This year, some of us volunteered to paint at Habitat for Humanity, and I got to spend time wearing a pair of coveralls that made me feel like I was about to land on the moon. But there are also some things that are hard. It can be difficult to realize what you need before something happens when you’re struggling with anxiety, and it can also be a scary or difficult conversation to voice those needs to loved ones.

Part of why mental health is so stigmatized is that it’s treated as though the person who is dealing with symptoms is doing so purposefully, and thus, their bad mood, sleeping in late or struggle to enjoy themselves is taken personally. For those of you who have experienced it, you may know the fear of judgment that comes when you have to talk about your mental health. It can be so hard to speak up when you need to.

One of the things that is particularly hard for me is creating opportunities for myself to be alone and articulating what I need. I struggle to have conversations with my family about how the physical environment, or the feeling that I need to be present with everyone at all times, has a severe impact on my mental health. I also struggle with thinking things out ahead of time. In retrospect, if I had spent some time preparing myself and thinking about what it could, or would be like, during each part of the trip, I could have done certain things differently or not done them at all. I love being with my family, but this past family gathering, I wish that I had been more proactive both before and during the trip.

I learned a lot of lessons during that trip about what does and does not work for me, why it’s so important to think ahead, and the ways anxiety influences me even when I’m not conscious of it. Sometimes the combination of anxiety and my natural tendencies leads me to make what I consider to be bad choices, or to be a not-so-great partner, sister or daughter. After those moments, I realize I have to learn from, and think about, the little ways in which anxiety works within me so that I can continue to grow in all of the roles I fill. Managing anxiety is a part of how I take responsibility for my own actions, good or bad, because it’s not the anxiety itself that leads to a choice, it’s the way I react to those feelings of anxiety and my thought processes around it.

The next time I have a big gathering, I plan to use the following six tips as a guide to make sure that I don’t end up in tears, feel overwhelmed or miss sleep because of anxiety.

1. Be proactive and think ahead.

Set aside some time beforehand to really think about all aspects of a gathering or a trip.

What things have the potential to make you feel anxious?

What’s the best case response to that feeling of anxiety?

What do you think is your most likely response?

How can you arrange things to minimize triggers?

What strategies can you use to help feel less anxious both before and during the gathering?

As I mentioned before, I wish I had been proactive and thought ahead during my last trip, not only because it would have been a better experience for me, but for my partner and my family as well.

2. Schedule quiet time.

If you’re a person like me who is sensitive to light and sound, 15 people at the same dinner table or in the same living room as you is overwhelming. I can handle the chaos once, but not multiple times a day for three to four days in a row. The cumulative effect of constant overstimulation is difficult. During my last trip, I became so overwhelmed by the volume and amount of conversations, I spent the whole week taking a steady stream of Advil to manage the headache. I should have purposefully set aside some quiet time for myself, not just a minute here and there whenever I could find it, because that didn’t seem to cut it. So, in the future, I’m going to make sure I carve out time for myself each day to be in a quiet space and away from others.

3. Remember to practice your positive coping strategies.

I didn’t bring my yoga gear this past trip because I had no idea what my schedule would be like, and I really regretted it. We went for a hike, which was awesome and gave me a boost of endorphins, but I was basically sedentary for the next four days. Not only was I physically feeling the lack of movement, but my emotional shields became depleted by the time we left because I hadn’t had much time to myself to recharge and work through the things that were bothering me and causing anxiety. And in the future, when I remember to bring my yoga gear but I’m not able to practice, I want to remember to meditate in order to have more consistency and provide myself with an intentional, quiet space every day.

4. Plan an escape route.

I’m not advocating suddenly leaving or cutting your trip short, although there is nothing wrong with that if that is what you need. Since it is hard for me to tell my family in the moment that I need space, next time I plan on setting aside some time before the trip to talk to them about my needs and make a plan for some breathing room so that we can all have the expectation of not being together at all times.

5. Speak up.

A lesson I am continually learning is how important it is to communicate and set expectations with others. In overwhelming moments, I wish I could say something, but I normally end up waiting until things are pretty bad, like crying in our bedroom each afternoon “bad,” before I say anything — and my crying starts speaking for me at that point. But even then, this past trip, I didn’t say anything to my family. The only ones who really knew what was going on were my partner and my sister. I talk to both of them a lot about how it’s easier, better and less stressful to speak up before you’re at your breaking point; and every time, they’re right. So I’m working on it.

6. Give yourself a break.

My partner is always so good at helping me put anxiety into perspective and to not equate anxiety-driven decision with who I am as a person. I’m really hard on myself, and I often don’t look at the whole picture before I start feeling guilty or having regrets and ruminating on those unhealthy feelings. My partner helps me balance taking ownership of my behavior while giving myself permission to make mistakes and move on. He holds me accountable and gives me the space to reflect and make better choices next time. I’m learning how to do this for myself, but it’s hard work. I just keep thinking about what my sister said to me, “Take all of the compassion you feel for [other anxious people] and turn it toward yourself when you are feeling anxious.” She is totally right. When I’m feeling anxious, I have a tendency to be even harder on myself than normal. While I don’t want to let myself off the hook when I do make a mistake or a bad decision, I want to be able to learn and move forward. I have to remember to give myself a break and that I’m not perfect. I have to allow myself to do whatever I need to feel better, even if that means temporarily disappointing some people, or myself.

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Thinkstock photo via monkeybusinessimages

contributor selfie

What My Instagram Didn't Show About My Struggles With Mental Illness


We live in a time when people tend to think they know almost everything about people. Through constant Snapchats, Instagram posts, tweets, etc., individuals are able to portray themselves however they please. I have fallen victim to this social media trap of portrayal. When posting a selfie, I make sure it’s the best of the best. It has to be the right angle, I ask my friends for approval, think of a suitable caption and then boom. Not that the photo is edited or fake, but I came to the realization that I only post “good” or what I deem as “good” photos of myself.

I am in my first year of university at Ryerson, studying professional communications. When I look at my Instagram, I see an abundance of fun times, posed up pictures, big smiles, bright colors and everything in between. I tried to look at my Instagram as if I didn’t know myself and I thought, “Wow, this girl looks so put together, fun and artsy.” However, I am so far from put together. My first year at university has been an absolute mess. Although I can be fun, upbeat and artsy, I spend a lot of my days struggling to get out of my bed. I felt like I was hiding this whole other part of me from my online presence. I needed to acknowledge my mental illness to free myself and to help free others from the stigma and shame associated with mental illness.

I posted this photo of myself on Instagram with the caption:

contributor selfie

“Amidst all the fun and amazing memories first year has brought me, there has been an equal amount of pain to go with it. I took this photo after staying up all night to finish an assignment. At this time in my life, I was barely eating, I was experiencing multiple panic attacks a day, and I was convinced I wasn’t capable of being in university because I couldn’t function like everyone else. I became so absorbed in my sadness, I felt so lifeless. I didn’t want to be here. On this day, I decided I was so down I couldn’t deal with it on my own and I’m grateful for that decision. And no, I’m not “cured.” I still deal with anxiety, panic attacks and depression, I still stay in bed all day some days, and I still can’t function like everyone else. However, I know I have support. I know I’m not alone. Whenever I need to call someone, I have a list of people who have my back and honestly, I’m so appreciative for all the love from my friends and family. I’m posting this for all the people who have been struggling, who still struggle but continue to try because that’s all you can ever do. Try and keep trying. It’s nothing to be ashamed of — at least I’m not ashamed. It’s just a part of who I am and I thought y’all should know I’m not as put together as I appear on Insta (I don’t think anyone is). It’s really important especially in a society that glorifies perfection, to understand that being a work in progress isn’t anything less. #spreadlove”

As soon as I posted the picture, my heart immediately started racing and I became jittery. I was so nervous and I felt so vulnerable because I wasn’t sure how people would react. After a minute, I caught my breath and realized a weight was lifted off my shoulder. Suddenly, I didn’t even care how people would react. I felt free. Several people commented and/or messaged me on the side telling me how much my post inspired them. A lot of people said they had no idea I was going through all of this and that I hid it so well.

So, no more hiding. My mental illness makes me who I am. Although it makes little tasks much more difficult and makes some days seem impossible to survive, my mental illness makes me strong. I will continue to try, I will continue to battle, for I am invincible. Please don’t feel obligated to post “perfect” pictures all the time. I encourage you to use your social media as your genuine self: use it to reflect, and use it to grow. (And of course use it to post those fire selfies!)

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Photo via contributor. 

Robot

To the Person With Anxiety Who Wants to Be a Robot


I know what you want. I want it, too. Every morning is an opportunity to achieve it. Every Sunday is a chance to test your dutifully crafted routine. Because this will be the week you nail it. This will be the week you get it right. This week, your New Year’s Eve prayers will be answered. If only you could get through that check list. If only one day could go according to plan.

Then, you would be perfect.

Then, you could finally be happy.

But before you can complete that perfect day, an inconvenient need inevitably arises. Maybe you sleep in, so there goes your morning ritual. Maybe you eat a little more than you “should.” You can’t focus and won’t get enough done at work, so you might as well crawl into bed and admit defeat now. You’ve failed today, and you will be nobody if you don’t do better tomorrow.

You want to reach out to someone, so you text that person one more time. It feels good in the moment, but almost immediately the repercussions are harsh. Pathetic. Weak. Needy. Why can’t you deal with this on your own? 

By now you’re feeling so “off,” nothing you do feels right. The inadequacy freezes you. Because if you can’t do anything perfectly, you might as well do nothing at all. You might as well be dead.

That’s how critical these “screw ups” feel. It’s not just about making a mistake (or your version of a mistake). It’s a deviation from the master plan — that’s what feels worth dying for. If you’re not going to wake up on time and you’re not going to be efficient at work, and if you’re not going to supplement that work with a perfect balance of exercise, social time and entertainment, then what is the point of living? You’ve figured it out (the secret of life), but your inconvenient humanness keeps getting in the way. 

So you practice your version of self-sabotage: watching TV and being “lazy” but not in a restful, joyful way. No, you do this because you’ve fucked up, and you can’t try again until tomorrow. You have to wait out the rest of the day for that coveted fresh start. Only when you wake up early enough to do that morning routine can you redeem yourself. Then you can finally get it right.

But beautiful, here’s the problem — you think what you’re doing is called “living.” You think this is how people manage their time — minutes that alarmingly pass before your eyes every time you do nothing, every time you pause. You think this is just regular self-improvement, something every magazine cover and inspirational commencement speaker told you to strive for. You’re just being the best version of yourself. You’re just shooting for the moon. This is you giving it all you’ve got.

Here’s the real secret: You’ve been tricked. Your mission is impossible. Your anxiety set you up. Because the truth is, you’re not trying to become a better person. You’re trying to become a robot. A robot who can execute a plan perfectly and call that living. A robot without needs. A robot who can dodge the emotions that clutter your path to perfection.

The truth (and you know this already, don’t you?) is that you will keep failing to live up to your standards, week after week, month after month, not because you’re not good enough, not because you’re not disciplined enough, but because this isn’t what you were meant to do. This is not living. This is not the secret of life. Your anxiety is wrong.

I want you to know something: The humanness that makes you want to die is the same humanness that makes you love so much. The same humanness that learns from each beautiful mistake you make. Your need to be better makes you a better person — not because there is an end goal of perfection, but because it makes you care so much. Instead of using your greatest strength as a gift, you’ve been treating it like a weapon, as if hurting yourself is the only way to make you better. As if depriving yourself is a noble cause.

Please know your needs are not weaknesses. Please listen to your poor, perfect body that gets hungry and tired and cranky and vulnerable. Don’t punish it for wanting to spend a few more extra minutes in bed. Don’t punish your soul for being lonely — send that extra text. Don’t punish your mind for daydreaming when it should be working. By tiptoeing on a floor scattered with shattered pieces of “shoulds,” you haven’t been walking freely. The irony is that while you’re so obsessed with doing, you’ve been sabotaging your ability to run. 

I want to give you permission to get off the merry-go-round. To let go of obsessing over fresh starts. To value personhood over perfection. To understand it’s not your mistakes you should be trying to avoid but the quicksand of self-hate you step in every time one crosses your path. Make a plan, don’t follow through with it, and see how you survive anyway. Watch the plasticity of your brain stretch and relax with every mistake you live through, every checklist that goes uncompleted. Watch in awe as you survive through moments that made you want to die. Throw out your master plan. You don’t have to “fix” yourself before you do everything you want to do.

And no, you don’t want to wait until Monday to start. You can start now.

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. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

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Thinkstock photo via davincidig

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