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An Alphabetical List of Inspirational Quotes That Help Me Cope With Mental Illness

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Life with mental illness can get tough. In fact, most days are spent trying to figure out what the next moment will bring and how to survive it. Sometimes, it is hard to maintain balance and not get knocked over in the process. It can be equally hard to remind ourselves our temporary letdowns don’t define us. Indeed, it is easy to get caught up in overwhelming despair. For those moments, I have created an alphabetical list of motivational quotes to help me get up, put things in perspective, reapply my mascara and face the world.

I have a little notebook where I record any positive affirmations or words of courage I come across. I also keep a mental jar of happy quotes in my head. And for the rough times, you ask? When I don’t even have the strength and focus to access that jar? This is when this list comes in handy. I pinned my list on the bulletin board in my room, so I can refer to it at any given moment. I can always pick one and remind myself:


“A ship is always safe at shore, but that is not what it’s built for.” — Albert Einstein

Ships are meant for sailing the sea, even if that means hitting a storm. Don’t be afraid of taking risks or failure. The biggest failure is to stay put.


“Broken crayons still color.”

No matter what happened today, you’re still worth it. No matter what brings you down, you are unique and still add something special to this universe.


“Collect moments, not things.”

Live in the moment. Don’t think tomorrow or yesterday.


“Don’t promise when you’re happy, don’t reply when you’re angry and don’t decide when you’re sad.” — Ziad K. Abdelnour

Negative emotions don’t last forever. It’s always a good idea to think twice before making an impulsive decision based on anger or depression.


“Every day may not be good… but there is something good in every day.” — Alice Morse Earl

Find the little things. A child’s smile or vanilla ice cream. Just remember there is something good in every day.


“Failure is a great teacher and, if you are open to it, every mistake has a lesson to offer.” — Oprah Winfrey

It’s OK to make a mistake. And to make the same mistake again. And again. Eventually you will figure it out, learn and grow.


“Gardens are not made by sitting in the shade.” — Rudyard Kipling

Yes, today is hard. But good things don’t come easy. Think instant coffee or freshly brewed real coffee.


“Healing takes courage and we all have courage, even if we have to dig a little to find it.” — Tori Amos

Give yourself another day, another chance. You will find your courage eventually. Don’t give up on yourself just yet.


“If you stumble, make it part of the dance.”

Find the beauty at the bottom of the pit. Maybe it’s making a new friend, learning something new or discovering a new hobby.


“Just when the caterpillar thought her life was over, she became a butterfly.” — Barbara Haines Howett

You never know where the uphill path begins. It might just begin right now.


“Keep your love of nature, for that is the true way to understand art more and more.” — Vincent Van Gogh

Take time to relax and appreciate natural beauty. You’ll be surprised what a positive impact nature can have on your well-being, even if it’s just for a few minutes.


“Let bygones be bygones.”

Yesterday happened. And it’s gone now. There’s nothing we can do that will change it. Let it go and think of the here and now.


“Magic is believing in yourself. If you can do that, you can make anything happen.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 

Sometimes this is the hardest thing about mental illness: believing in ourselves. But close your eyes and think of yourself as a magical princess who can conquer anything. Believe in your inner strength and beauty.


“Negative people don’t need to be defeated. They defeat themselves with their negative attitude.”

Sometimes we get caught up in our negative thoughts and dire predictions which end up becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. Slow down and fill your head with positive thoughts.


“Of all things which wisdom provides to make life entirely happy, much the greatest is the possession of friendship.” — Epicurus

Friendship is probably the thing that helps me most in my struggles. It really helps to have someone with whom you can laugh about your struggles and cry about them too. Remember, it is OK to reach out for help.


“Part of courage is simple consistency.” — Peggy Noonan

People say “try and fail,” but never fail to try again. Just keep doing what you’re doing, hang in there. You’re doing the best you can do.


“Rain makes the sun shine brighter.” — Mojoe Boes

Only when we’re low, can we learn to appreciate the precious moments of feeling better. And remember, there is no rainbow without the rain.


“Start writing. No matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” — Louis L’Amour

Writing is an amazing tool that can help sort out difficult emotions. It’s your journal entry, simply write how you feel in the present moment. There is no right or wrong.


“Tough times don’t last, tough people do.” — Robert Schuller

Be the winner. Don’t allow the tough times to win over you. Show them you’re tougher.


“United we stand.”

Reaching out for help is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength. When it gets tough, ask for help.


“Vulnerability is strength.”

It takes a lot of courage and inner strength to admit you need a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on. So when you make yourself vulnerable, give yourself a pat on the back.


“Whatever you do, never run back to what broke you.”

Sometimes, chaos feels normal so we create chaos in our lives, repeatedly. But once we realize there is no benefit in going back, we can move on from what breaks us.


“Yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games.”

Each day is a new battle, yet each day also holds promises of sweet victories.

This list is on the wall in my bedroom and is easily accessible when I need a quick, motivational reminder. I will always find at least one line I can connect to. Keep this list handy in your room, your wallet, your desk — wherever you may need a loving reminder you are not alone and you are strong.

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Thinkstock photo via Ann-ka.

An Alphabetical List of Inspirational Quotes That Help Me Cope With Mental Illness
Originally published: April 3, 2017
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