Ah the internet, filled with hilarious cat videos, DIY-projects and home remedies that are supposed to solve any ailment. I love trying the tips and tricks I see on Pinterest or my Facebook newsfeed, but here’s the thing: they don’t always work, especially when it comes to mental illness.
I’ve seen more posts than I can count that say walking outside will cure depression or that avocados can alleviate my anxiety. I know people who are so gung-ho that just working out more can eliminate any mental illness. While I do think some of these tips can help with symptoms, not every tip is going to work for every person, and it often takes more than one change to improve mental health.
When these “cures” don’t work, we think that something is wrong with us, which only increases our stress, anxiety, ptsd, etc. I am virtually putting my hands on your shoulders and telling you that you are not broken. Just because twenty minutes of walking outside didn’t reduce your number of daily panic attacks does not mean something is wrong with you. My advice is to approach online tips with an optimistic mentality but also understand that they might not do anything. Everyone’s physical and mental health are different, which means that what worked for one person may not work for you. For example, CBD oil did not reduce my anxiety at all. I was so hopeful because I saw nothing but praise for it online. I did my research and I was sure that it was going to get rid of my anxiety. When it didn’t, I was devastated. Now I know that CBD oil just wasn’t for me. Instead, I exercise daily, I get outside at least once a day, I practice breathing techniques and if I ever need to go back on medication, I know what works for me. I’m still going to try new things, but I’ve accepted the fact that it’s ok if a “cure” doesn’t work for me. I’ve got a serotonin supplement arriving in the mail any day now that I’m excited to try, but I’m not expecting it to work miracles.
Eventually, you will find something or a combination of techniques that help. If you’re not sure where to start, talk to your doctor. The internet is great, but your doctor (especially if they’ve been your physician for a while) knows you and can offer advice suited to your situation. And if you have found something that improves your mental health, acknowledge that it might not work for your friends or family. If they come to you disheartened by the fact that something didn’t work, comfort them rather than judge. We’re in this together!
Mental illness is a struggle and sometimes makes us so desperate that we’ll try anything. If the internet’s magic cure didn’t fix all your problems, remember that help is out there. Be patient and strong. Talk to the people you love, see a doctor, try new things and lean on those around you for support. Living with mental illness is a tough journey, but I know you can do it.
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