Don’t Do This!

(Originally posted Feb. 3, 2018)

When you first start to experience a Mental Illness it may be hard to know what to do. Whatever you do though, don’t do these three things! These were the three worst things I did when I first had depression.

1. Don’t Blame Yourself
Or anyone actually. And this goes for everything in life. Putting the blame on someone doesn’t fix anything. Ultimately, it’s just a waste of time.
When I first experienced severe depression on my church mission, the first thing I did was blame myself. Maybe I wasn’t mature enough to move away from home. Maybe I wasn’t worthy to be out serving the Lord. Maybe I wasn’t smart enough to answer questions that were thrown at me. Maybe I just wasn’t good enough. These and a million more came into my mind, and all it did was make me feel like a worthless broken human being.

2. Compare Yourself to Others
This is another thing that we shouldn’t do in life anyway, but especially if you aren’t in a great place mentally.
Again, while I was on my mission I would compare myself to other missionaries. I would say to myself that they were going through the same circumstances and they’re just fine. Some missionaries even had more difficult circumstances, but they were experiencing success. So why couldn’t I be happy? Why couldn’t I feel love for what I doing and the people I was serving?
I would read success stories of missionaries, and all it did was make me feel useless.
What is easy for some, may be difficult for others. We can all handle different amounts of stress and that’s okay. Additionally, if you’re cruising social media and comparing other people’s successes or beauty or whatever, it’s important to note that people can only be posting the highlights of their life. Don’t compare yourself to other’s highlights, you don’t often see all the out takes. Don’t compare your lowest points to everyone’s highest.

3. Nothing at all
Whether that be bottling up your emotions or pretending that nothing is wrong at all. This may seem harmless but ultimately it was the worst thing I did for myself.
Talking to someone was the best thing I ever did for myself. Even if you’re not ready to talk to someone, take steps to take care of yourself. Don’t add more stress to your life, it is perfectly okay to admit that you need a day to relax.
When you bottle it up, it will only explode later on.
Pretending nothing is wrong, only intensifies it.
So just don’t do it.

These were my top three things, they may be different for you.

Much love and support,
​Maria Jo Stephens

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