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6 Mental Health 'Permission Slips' for Anyone Struggling Right Now

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Mental health permission slips are a brilliant form of validation that I’ve recently discovered through Instagram.

Basically, mental health permission slips are designed to give you permission to feel or think or do something that your brain is otherwise telling you is “wrong.” It helps if these permission slips come from an authority, like a therapist or someone going through the same thing you are.

I’m not a therapist, but I do experience depression and anxiety, I’m healing from childhood trauma, and I’m a highly sensitive person (HSP). So I thought I would make a few mental health permission slips related to those topics.

If you’re not sure if these slips apply to you, that’s a sign that they absolutely do apply to you. If you’re doubting yourself, these slips are for you. If you’re sure you’re exaggerating, these slips are for you. If you’re struggling right now, these slips are for you.

1. You have permission to be angry.

Whether you’re angry at people from your past, people from your present, your current situation or even yourself, you have permission to be angry. Suppressing that anger won’t help you at all. Allow yourself to feel angry. It’s OK. You are not bad or wrong or unlovable for being angry. Anger is a normal, healthy emotion. You are not an exception to this.

2. You have permission to give up.

Look, all this stuff about motivation and perseverance through hard times is good, but sometimes it’s just not the answer. Sometimes your gut is telling you what you really need is to cut your losses and give up. Giving up is not shameful, not if it’s what you need right now. Plus, giving up doesn’t have to be permanent. Try giving up for now and coming back to it later. Or, if you want, turn your back on shit that isn’t serving you and never look back. Giving up is OK. You are OK.

3. You have permission to hope for better.

This is a really scary one for me. My life is built on holding patterns, on “good enough.” I have always been afraid to hope for what I actually want, so much so that a lot of the time, I don’t even know what I want because I won’t let myself go there. But it’s OK to hope. I am giving us both permission to hope.

4. You have permission to tell the truth.

You are allowed to tell the truth, even when you (or someone else) wishes the truth were different. Wishing something could be different is OK too, but it’s important to remember that wishing doesn’t actually change reality. Many people who have experienced gaslighting (like me) find themselves trying to rewrite reality because they grew up having their own reality rewritten by gaslighters. Well, this is me, giving you permission to stand in your truth, regardless of what anyone else has to say about it.

5. You have permission to lie.

The truth is well and good, but lies have their place in the world too. It’s important for you to know your truth, but that doesn’t mean you’re obligated to always share that truth with others. You have permission to protect your truth, even if that protection comes in the form of a lie.

6. You have permission to be inconvenient.

For years now, I have prioritized my convenience over anything else. My happiness, my truth, my everything. My main goal in life was to be as convenient as possible, even though I didn’t understand that’s what I was doing. All I knew is that I felt stuck and unfulfilled and vaguely angry. I still feel that way because I still find myself subconsciously making myself convenient for others. But here is a permission slip for both you and me to be who we are, convenience be damned.

If you’d like to print out these mental health permission slips to remind yourself that you are allowed to feel and be however you are, I’ve created a printable version.

A version of this article was previously published on the author’s blog, Healing Unscripted.

Photo by Tanisha Meier/Max Felner on Unsplash

Originally published: November 28, 2020
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