Some Reminders For Anyone Who's Struggling With Their Mental Health💐

'You are not the anxiety spiral that keeps you up at night.'

Welcome to the Collective World X Thought Catalog Newsletter. Collective World is a one-of-a-kind creative network powered by the minds and voices behind The Thought & Expression Company. We’re so glad you’re here.

Here’s the thing about mental health: It’s a constantly fluctuating thing.

Some days you’ll feel balanced, healthy, and peaceful. Other days you’ll feel anxious, exhausted, and depressed. There will be weeks, months, even years where you’ll feel one more than the other. And despite what anyone tells you, know this: That’s completely okay.

We’re told that to be “normal” we have to feel “okay,” as if our default setting is, if not happiness, then at least contentment. And the older we get, the stricter the definition of “normal” becomes—we believe we’re supposed to go to bed by a certain time, wake up before a specific hour, eat three full meals a day (but rarely ever dessert), seamlessly juggle work with friends and family. We’re supposed to love our job but not enough that it takes precedence over everything else; we’re supposed to put ourselves first, but also make time for anyone who needs us. We should effortlessly move through life, but not on autopilot. And most of all, we’re supposed to be grateful for it all.

If you feel that way, that’s wonderful. But there’s also nothing wrong with not loving your life exactly as it is. It’s okay if you’re tired most days, or if you struggle to respond to friends’ messages, or if you feel like you’re always a few steps behind. That doesn’t make you abnormal. It doesn’t make you a failure. Ultimately, it just makes you human.

It’s so easy to say our life is supposed to look one way or another, when usually it looks a little bit like everything. And by denying the messy parts—the enraging parts, and the chaotic parts, and the devastating parts—we’re not only denying a crucial aspect of life, but we’re convincing millions of people that something is somehow wrong with them for feeling the way they do. And once we’re convinced there’s only one right way of being, we might waste our time chasing after something that doesn’t even exist, only to end up disappointed.

Of course we should aim for happiness. There’s nothing wrong with that. But understand that happiness isn’t a constant state of being. In life, there is no happily ever after, because that would imply that once you’re happy, you always will be, and that’s an impossible thing to ask from yourself. As Cecilia Santis so thoughtfully put it, “The times in my life when I still believed that happiness was the be-all and end-all was when I, ironically, became the most depressed. That sort of toxic positivity made me feel like a shell of my former self."

So if you’re struggling with your mental health right now, remember this: You aren’t those thoughts and feelings. You are not the anxiety spiral that keeps you up at night. You are not the sadness that grips you in your darkest hours. In truth, you are not even the happiness that fills you with light. You are just a person experiencing these emotions, who is in the process of figuring out how to navigate these experiences, but they are not you. And they don’t get to decide how worthy you are.

In the world we live in now, mental wellness is more of a struggle than ever. But find peace in these words by Kelly Douglas: “Your mental health may have been a struggle, but you’re still here, living and breathing — so take as much pride in surviving this year as I have.”

What We’re Reading This Week 📖💛

  • “The older I’ve gotten, the better I am at understanding what it is that I want, but time has also provided perspective. I understand that part of being human means learning (and relearning) how to be a part of the world." Kristen Arnett

  • “When I write about other people’s lives, I try to base them in the moment between us, in the context I have access to, and the information they hand over. I need as much of their reality as I can get to tell a story that feels human and true even as the details seem fantastical.”Ashley C. Ford

  • “A therapist once told me that flexibility without structure isn’t flexibility at all; it’s just chaos. That’s how a lot of young people’s lives have been feeling." Amanda Montell

  • “I think about all the time I waste trying to make this guy want me. Composing texts on the notes app. Putting up Stories when I’m in bars I know are near his house. And I realise now there’s nothing I can do to change his mind, other than being someone else.” Annie Lord

  • “Destiny could also be a choice, she realized. To believe or not, to be vulnerable or not, to go all in or not." Christina Lauren

  • “I want you to do well in the world. I don’t know exactly what that means. I want you to love and be loved, to feel like you are contributing something every day, to be authentic. To make a living. To make a difference." Carrie Kaufman

  • “My heart breaks for those whose names we will forget or never even know, whose cries for help will go unanswered." Malala Yousafzai

  • “when they say / america has come / a long way they really mean / the american people have / walked another inch” M.G. Hughes

For more reading recommendations follow Quote Catalog where we find and file the best things to read every single day.

Let us leave you with this:

Remember: You are not alone. You may feel frustrated, broken, and damaged, but you are not those thoughts and feelings.” — Kelsey Darragh

Be kind to yourself. You are just a human who is struggling right now—and that’s completely okay. ❤️