Turn on the TV and it feels like bad news is everywhere. This is one of the reasons I do not have cable. New shootings are happening in the country, neighboring nations are at war, and the people in power are not living up to standards. Being strong nowadays is HARD.
Alone, this cycle of bad news would be enough to send the strongest minds spiraling into depression.
Add this to the fact that people have their own things to deal with and the world can be a difficult place. One single piece of information can ruin your day in a matter of seconds.
But it does NOT have to.
Anyone who suffers from mental health issues will find this dynamic harder than most. If the brain is vulnerable in the first place, news of a personal, national or international catastrophe can send it into depression.
No matter how you live your life. Even if you choose not to have cable like me. At some point, you’re going to hear about these things.
So, what are the men and women who deal with mental health supposed to do? How are you supposed to handle it all?
Lock the door and switch off the electricity? Pretend like you are not home? No, this will only escalate the situation. You have to find a way to cope, and below are the mechanisms which should help you to stay strong.
Ask Yourself, “Is This A Trigger?”
Shutting yourself off from the outside world is never a good option because isolation is lonely. And, loneliness is a leading cause of mental health issues such as depression and bipolar disorder.
However, there is no need to be brave and watch something that you know will trigger certain thoughts and feelings. Battling back is essential but please don’t fight wars which are unnecessary. They will only make the everything harder.
Instead, understand that it exists and there isn’t much that can go on right now and accept the fact. Then, change the channel, open a new tab or put down the newspaper. Some people see this as avoiding the issue, and it is in many respects.
Still, this isn’t a bad thing because it means you have an understanding of the triggers and how to limit their damage to your health.
You have to ask yourself this question and give an honest answer. Remember that if you lie or hold back, you’re only cheating yourself.
Decide If You’re Doing Well
As the saying goes, you have to get back on the horse and fight your fears. Therefore, disengaging won’t appeal to everyone. In fact, it may be the exact opposite of how you want to solve the problem.
As commendable as this attitude is, there’s one thing everyone should know: how are you doing?
It’s a simple question. One that seems easy to answer.
In a flash, the majority of people will say, “I’m fine”. Yet they won’t give it much thought. Their response is pretty much habitual. We all want to prove to others that there is nothing wrong. We want to look our best.
However, when you analyze your thoughts and feelings closely you may find that things have been a little tough lately. Mood swings are a classic example. At times, everyone suffers from being grumpy, but is it happening to you more often than not?
Are you thinking about stuff that you normally contemplate at your lowest points? If so, the mind may not be well enough to stand and fight. If you’re in a good place then addressing the issue head-on is a potentially positive option.
Believe You’re A Good Person
Selfless people let the pain of others impact them as much as personal news. This is very common in people that suffer from mental health diseases. We worry about strangers. We are empathic. A lot of times, to a fault.
From the migrant crisis in North Africa and Europe to nuclear war in North Korea, there is a lot to ponder. The odds are that you feel the consequences deeply, more so than the average Joe on the street.
This isn’t a problem as long as you don’t let it consume your life. All too often, mental health can deteriorate as a result of feelings of inadequacy.
You of my favorite sayings is, “you can only control what you can control.” Sit and really think about that for a while. Is what you are worrying about something that you can help?
You can’t help all the people in need. You can only do what you can to make lives better outside of your bubble better. You are only one person. Never stop trying to make the world a better place but do remember that there is only so much one person can do.
And, not saving every life isn’t a black mark on your record. You are a good person. Facilitating change is about making a difference in a small way and encouraging others to do the same. As long as you keep this in mind, it should help you find a balance, which protects your mental health.
See A Therapist
Walking this journey alone is an incredibly hard thing to do without breaking down. Think of your brain as a well-oiled machine. As soon as it loses the fuel to continue, it will begin to falter.
Whatever happens, be aware that there are people who can keep the motor running. They are the car-sharers of the mental health world and they go by the name of therapists.
Consider finding a balance for a moment. Do you think it’s as easy as going “well, I’ve done my part and that makes me happy”? The answer is no because the journey is long. To start to make progress, you have to get to the nitty-gritty of the topic. It will start to reveal answers you never knew existed.
Shrinks are the people with the keys to the locked doors that you want to walk through. By unlocking the mind, they should be able to give a different perspective on life, one that soothes the psyche.
Of course, booking an appointment is never easy because of the stigma. But you should know that millions of people are in therapy. Millions. Neighbors, friends and family members all need help. Hopefully, this revelation will make it easier to seek help.
One of the best ways I have found to ease yourself into therapy is remaining anonymous. This day in age, we have the wonderful world of the interwebs. There are many ways to seek help without having to reveal yourself. Take a look at the options that Online-Therapy.com has to offer. Use my referral link and receive 20% off your first month.
Focus On The Positives
Every cloud has a silver lining. I promise! Finding the silver lining in all the things I have gone through has actually been one of my biggest saving graces. I learned to laugh through random ailments, like waking up with a half-paralyzed face. Or having bacterial almost eat my eye to blindness.
Dealing with mental health is a daily battle. Your mind will try to lie to you at every turn. Don’t listen to it. Find the good in everything. And there IS good in all things.
This skill is very powerful. At some point in life, there is going to be a bombshell that rocks your world. Not to be pessimistic but this is the case for 99% of people on the planet. Even those who don’t suffer from mental health diseases find it difficult to bounce back from the death of a loved one or a health diagnosis.
So, there’s a chance that it may act as a catalyst and send you into depression. The tips above can help, especially seeing a therapist and not blaming yourself for the actions of others. But, probably the main tool at your disposal is to concentrate on the positives.
The words asbestos cancer makes it seem as if there is a death sentence on your head. The “C word” is one of the worst things anyone can hear come out of a doctor’s mouth. However, there are numerous cases of patients beating and surviving the disease.
One man, Paul Kraus, has lived with the illness for 20 years and has even written a book about his battle. Try and find the small mercies and use them as fuel to continue to fight.
Use An Outlet
The first thing to make sure you have is an outlet. Nowadays, most people are aware of the benefits of exercising to relieve tension and rid stress. It’s one of many coping mechanisms.
For instance, you may prefer to have a massage instead or sit in the steam room. Others like to paint, watch movies, or go for a walk and get away from the stuffiness of life. Pick one and keep it in your back pocket in case the bad times return. Shot, make a running list of things you can turn to in a pinch.
Think about hearing something which makes you feel sad – what do you normally do? If the answer is to block it out then this may be the cause of your depression. I went numb and lived on autopilot for many years.
Instead, the best option is to ease the pressure and stop it from building up in your body and mind. The next time you are feeling as if a piece of news is going to hurt, you should slip away and paint, hit the gym, garden, or meditate. Using an outlet in the worst moments is a positive way to tackle depressing news. Take a look at Meditation 101 to learn all the basics.
Surround Yourself With Good People
Last but not least, everyone needs friends and family who are going to be there when things get bad. Even if you only have one person in your life. That one person could be your therapist. Not everyone will be able to drop everything on a whim but they will be able to respond when things begin to escalate.
Being able to find other ways to cope is essential yet being surrounded by great people is a perfect backup plan. For one thing, they are the ultimate distraction when times are tough. Talking to them about nothing, in particular, is a fantastic way to forget about life for a couple of hours.
On the flip side, you can confide in them and vent and relieve the tension in your body. Never underestimate the benefit of talking through issues with a BFF over a cup of coffee.
When you hear bad news, how do you stay strong and maintain a healthy balance? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear about it!
Start a Howl!