I, along with most other people, suffer from mental illness.
It’s hard. It’s tough. It can keep you from doing the things you love.
It’s especially difficult as a young professional. You’re constantly dealing with the hustle while hurting on the inside. For me, it feels like my internal organs, from my heart to my stomach, fold into themselves. I pride myself in being mentally strong. When the depression, anxiety, and self-doubt get to me, I feel betrayed by my own body. The depression tires you out, making you want to sleep all day, but the anxiety keeps your eyes wide open. Wondering. Thinking. Hurting. A low point in my journey was being on a business call and suddenly bursting into tears, but trying to maintain a normal speaking voice while on the line.
Thankfully, the conversation about mental illness is very much alive and the stigma around it is diminishing. With the conversation gaining speed, people are finding more and more innovative ways to help treat the ailing. Therapy and self-care methods have become more accessible.
In an effort to help myself out, I tried and am currently trying several methods of self-care and therapy. I’m going to test these out until I find one that works for me. Two methods that I’ve recently tried combine old school methods with one of my obsessions: technology.
I tried betterhelp, an online counselling service, for a week. Based on a simple questionnaire including your preferences in a counsellor, you get paired with someone the website believes would be a good match for you. You can write your counsellor messages or have live online sessions. I didn’t use the live sessions as I was content with reading and answering messages from my counsellor on my own time.
It’s like a normal session with a counsellor meets pen pals. I particularly enjoyed this format because I think best when I write. I was matched with an amazing counsellor who ultimately helped me think over a very important decision in my life. Another great thing is that because it’s written, I have a transcript of what I said and what my counsellor said. I can easily read back her advice, and I won’t have to rely on memory.
Ideally, I’d like to stay with the service, but their pricing just isn’t very affordable. Once I scrounge up the funds, I definitely think I’ll be back.
Currently, I am on my 30-day trial of Kindle Unlimited. I borrowed a bunch of books, one of them being Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It by Kamal Ravikant. It’s a really short read. I managed to get through half of it in 30 minutes. However, the fundamental message was said instantly: repeat “I love myself” over and over to yourself until you actually do.
For Ravikant, faking it until he made it helped him get through a particularly difficult time in his life. In fact, it even helped make great things happen for him. He called this “magic.”
Although I do take this advice with a grain of salt (I still don’t believe in the universe manifesting things for you just because you will it), I do enjoy the fundamental message and reasoning behind chanting this mantra. It’s all about perspective.
Depression can feel like being in a pitch black room and it’s bright outside. Your mission becomes going to a window and wiping away all the soot and dirt covering your window. With each “I love myself,” you take another wipe. With each “I love myself,” a little bit more light filters into your once dark room.
He gives another example: when you remember a previous relationship, if you’re in a bad mood, you tend to remember solely the horrible moments. If you’re in a good mood, you’ll remember a bit more of the good times. Positivity begets positivity; negativity begets negativity.
Hopefully, any of you suffering right now might be able to use the tools above to help you out. Just remember, you never have to go through anything alone. There are plenty of resources out there.
As of now, I continue my chant and my meditation. I look for more reasons why I love myself. I seek out help as opposed to bottling it all up. I keep perspective. And I hustle on.