When author and mental health advocate Matt Haig took to Twitter to ask his followers to share the best mental health advice they’d ever received, he was met by an unprecedented response. Here’s a few of the best lessons we learnt from the thread.
When it comes to mental health, no one experience is the same. Just as we all have different levels of physical health – depending on our fitness, nutrition and genetics, for example – so too do we all have different experiences of mental health.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t lessons we can all take from sharing our experiences, especially when it comes to the advice others have given us to get us through our hardest times. From the techniques we’ve learnt during therapy to the simple self-care hacks to make those hard days a little bit easier, the internet has shown time and time again that sharing really is caring.
That’s why, when author and mental health advocate Matt Haig took to Twitter to ask his followers about the best mental health advice they’d ever received, we knew we were in for some powerful responses.
From tips on dealing with anxiety to lessons on the meaning of life, here are some of the best responses that came from this surprisingly simple question. No matter your experience of mental health, or how you’re feeling at the moment, there’s something all of us can take from this menagerie of advice.
1. Learn to sit with yourself
“To build your view of yourself and your life with more than one pillar, so that when that one thing falls out of place, you don’t perish under the mortar,” writes Sheranda Kelley.
“My best friend and I used to talk about ‘learning to sit with yourself’. Meaning to love the real you without the fluff.”
2. You are not responsible for other people’s behaviour
“People are responsible for their own behaviour,” one response begins. “You are NOT responsible for their behaviour and reactions. I always felt my ex’s actions were all my fault because I had depression and anxiety. Nope, he was just a jerk.
“You can’t feel for two people.”
3. Don’t wait for closure
“There is no such thing as closure,” says Sarah Leach. “You will never get nice, tidy answers about why things happen or why people do things that may hurt you.”
She continues: “You have to move forward without waiting for answers, explanation or karma.”
4. Comparison is never the answer
“To not compare my issues to others,” another response read. “I’m allowed to feel badly about something. Just because someone else has it worse doesn’t take away my own hurt. If you do this to yourself, you end up feeling worse.”
5. Never assume you know what other people are thinking
“Never make assumptions about what anyone is thinking, feeling or about to do,” adds another. “Ask them. Train yourself to be genuinely curious about what is going on in other people’s heads. It’s not rude to ask someone how they feel about something.”
6. Small steps mean everything
“One foot in front of the other,” writes @sonnenschein77. “Small steps (no matter how infinitesimal) are better than nothing. This may breakdown to just brushing your teeth for the day when in a deep depression.
“You’re moving in the right direction and that is the key thing to remember.”
7. And finally…
Short, sweet and incredibly powerful, this advice from Rachel Hawkins is the perfect lesson to take away from the thread.
“Thoughts are not facts,” she wrote.