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@FioraAeterna's World Mental Health Day list

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Oct 10th, 2019
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  1. 1. there are far more ways to consciously access and modify your way of thinking and being than you — or any single person — knows of.
  3. 2. the ways past your problems almost always involve lateral thinking and approaches you're not used to taking, because if they involved things you're already familiar with, you would have already done them, the fact that your problems still exist are not your failure.
  5. 3. there is no such thing as a path that "works", but you're "not good enough to do it", if it isn't working it isn't working, and beating your head against a wall will not make it work better, you will have far better luck looking in directions you haven't looked before than trying repeatedly to apply things that have not.
  7. 4. be wary of the assumption that other people have a similar conscious experience to yours, you are your own person, and often the root of our problems lie in the things we take for granted — the most seemingly obvious things in the universe — because we never thought to question them.
  9. 5. the process of coming up with a solution to your problem is often more meaningful and powerful than the solution itself.
  11. 6. you do not need to justify your pain, the severity of past trauma is often not correlated with the amount that people are hurt by it (there are many complicating factors), it is possible to have severe symptoms of emotional trauma without even being able to pinpoint a single traumatic event, and it is possible to be very emotionally healthy despite having gone through severe trauma, "that person had it worse than me and they're fine" means nothing; if you have a pain, you have a pain, there's little else to it.
  13. 7. you may have grown up surrounded by adults who primarily used negative reinforcement to teach you, e.g. chiding you for failures, this taught you to do it to yourself, sometimes even without realizing it. find ways in which you are doing this to yourself and reframe them, for example, instead of saying to yourself "ugh, don't think about thing X, i need to focus on Y right now!" try saying "hey, don't worry about it: thing X will still be there later, object permanence, you know?"
  15. 8. you probably grew up being forced to do a lot of things by authority, this may have trained you to do the same thing to yourself; to make things into duties, to force yourself using adrenaline rather than finding ways to do things out of earnest love, it is difficult to love everything in your life, but the more of it you can love, the more energy you will have for the parts that you can't.
  17. 9. if you're kind to your future self, your past self will eventually become your friend.
  19. 10. "ugh fields" are the things that repel us from tasks we don't want to look at. there are always reasons they exist; your brain is trying to protect you from something, even if its reasoning seems unhelpful, understanding them is the first step to breaking them down.
  21. 11. supressing emotions never goes anywhere good, the feelings we reject will accumulate in the back of our mind and build into a monster that eats at us. often the first step to resolving a feeling you don't like is to allow youself to feel it and process it. you can feel an emotion without agreeing with every thought surrounding it. thoughts and beliefs are different things.
  23. 12. your memories are stories that you tell yourself, they are all at least a little bit dishonest; our brains rarely tell us the entire truth and are often very biased (quite often against us!), tell yourself a new, less painful story about a painful memory, heck, tell yourself a dozen of them, when you think of a painful memory, instead of cringing at it, reply to yourself with a new story that views it in a more positive light.
  25. 13. literally nothing in the universe can replace a good night's sleep, finding ways to get better-quality, more consistent sleep will often pay off faster than anything else in terms of overall mental and physical well-being.
  27. 14. don't stop meds cold-turkey, taper them, stopping any antidepressant without tapering will usually make you feel like shit, even if you are no longer depressed.
  29. 15. be wary of pathologizing yourself too hard; it tends to be self-limiting, use diagnoses as tools to understand yourself, but don't keep yourself down with them.
  31. 16. depression, anxiety, (c)ptsd, adhd, autism, bipolar, bpd, and even schizophrenia (among others) are often facets of the same overall shape, which is why it is very common for people to have multiple diagnoses, you are a whole person; trying to cordon off your mental health issues into separate gardens is rarely useful.
  33. 17. all psychiatric drugs are a tool: nothing more, nothing less, there is no shame in using them, but there's also no shame in not using them, subscribing to an all-or-nothing view of medication can be very self-limiting, for example, the "chemical imbalance" theory of depression is a pop-culture fabrication with almost no scientific basis, it often serves to convince people that their depression is some permanent unchangeable thing, but you don't need that story to justify using an antidepressant, that antidepressant is still a valid tool that you are allowed to use, just as you are allowed to use a therapy technique or a good night's sleep, it is also its own tool; it is not equivalent to anything else, nor does it serve to replace anything else, you can combine it with other things.
  35. 18. with the right set, setting, and dosage, a good psychedelic drug and/or entactogen can often be worth more than years of therapy, this doesn't mean the therapy isn't useful — you can do both! don't limit yourself (bonus points: at the same time, yes, that's a thing, highly recommended if you can get the opportunity), do your research first, check out rollsafe, tripsafe, and MAPS.
  37. 19. all your favorite characters have flaws and mess up because a story about heroes who never lose tends to be pretty boring, make sure to love their flaws too, not just their "good parts", if you can love their flaws, you will eventually learn to love your own.
  39. 20. be cautious of the trap of "trying to be useful to others because you don't believe you can be loved", this tends to be a self- fulfilling prophecy.
  41. 21. if you don't feel like you can love yourself, practice loving and appreciating the rest of the world, including all its flaws, especially the flaws that look a lot like you. tell everyone and everything how much you appreciate it. it's good practice and tends to come back around later.
  43. 22. the things we decry most in others are often the things we hate most in ourselves, or regret most from our past, try to identify those things: accepting them in others is the key both to accepting our past flaws and improving our present ones.
  45. 23. every bad thing has good parts and if you get used to looking for them you'll find a lot of clever shit you can use. for example, "my brain is so stupid!" yes maybe it is but can you take advantage of the ways in which your brain is stupid? rotate your way of thinking and you'll find all kinds of cleverness just waiting right outside your window.
  47. 24. the first step to finding a way to be happier tomorrow is working on finding ways to be happier right now. we've been told to do it our entire lives but putting off your own happiness is self-limiting, this isn't about self-indulgence per se, but rather about finding ways to appreciate where we are now and finding the good parts, even in bad things.
  49. 25. if you look entirely outwards for a few dozen minutes, paying maximal attention to the world around you and absolutely none to your own thoughts, you can basically reset your entire mental state, this is why "going for a walk" can work really well if done right, meditation can be used for this effect too.
  51. 26. statistically, if you are reading this, there's a good chance you have had enough trauma in your life that you may find "The Body Keeps The Score", "From Surviving To Thriving", or a book on "IFS Therapy" incredibly useful as a starting point for improving your emotional well-being and happiness.
  53. 27. it's very difficult to learn to do anything well without finding a way to love being bad at it. this is often a trap instilled by our childhood; we remember learning to do things well by being forced by authority, but this is a pretty traumatic approach and works very poorly for self-motivation, so instead of focusing on how nice it would be to learn to draw well, focus on trying to find ways to enjoy and appreciate your current level of skill, paradoxically, this will lead to faster improvement.
  55. 28. all people do things for a reason, every time in your life that you've done something you regretted, you did it to try to satisfy some kind of need you had at the moment, even if you regret what you did, figuring out that need is an important step to understanding and forgiving yourself.
  57. 29. every mistake is a learning experience, this isn't just a pithy aphorism; as you learn to recontextualize past mistakes and accept them, you will often find incredible, even life-changing insights hiding right there in your biggest, most foolish mistakes, this is not a coincidence.
  59. 30. every single thing you've done in your life (even the really big mistakes!) and every single thing you've ever loved is a key through which you can connect with other people, "small talk" and "making friends" come in large part out of having a good key collection and practice using them to connect with others.
  61. 31. if you are anxious or fearful regarding expressing something to someone else, try practicing the reverse role, for example, suppose you are afraid to show your excitement for your favorite TV show because you think others may dislike you for it. so, instead, practice listening to other people talk about their favorite TV show and being really excited about it. this will in turn make you more comfortable sharing your feelings.
  63. 32. the ways in which we love our parents often get in the way of identifying and working through our madalaptations from childhood, it is sometimes difficult to accept that a parent we loved also greatly hurt us, perhaps even without understanding that they did so. through accepting this, it becomes easier to change those parts of ourselves too.
  65. 33. we tend to seek out relationships in others that mimic the relationships we lack or have lacked in our own family lives, for example, if we had an emotionally neglectful mother, we will often (without even realizing) treat others like a bit of a mom. this is not strictly a bad thing, but being conscious of the ways in which we do it can be very helpful and liberating, as well as improve our relationships with others.
  67. 34. accepting and loving other people also means accepting their pasts, even their mistakes and failures, rejecting the pasts of others tends to lead to rejecting our own flawed past, even if someone used to be a hurtful or mean person, that's still part of their story.
  69. 35. if you have difficulty with emotional stability, instead of trying to suppress those oscillations by rejecting the feelings, a very useful technique is to practice keeping track of your thoughts, beliefs, and feelings, be aware of how long you've thought something, or how consistent a feeling is. make mental notes to yourself — or even real notes, non-judgemental awareness of these changes over time will help damp the oscillations much better than trying to force them away.
  71. 36. practice showing your appreciation, both in thought and word, by using your own feelings instead of judgements, so for example, instead of "that movie was really good because...", try "i really loved that movie because it made me feel...", focusing on making absolute judgements of the things in our lives can get in the way of nurturing our own feelings.
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