6 Ways to Make Positive Change Before You Hit Rock Bottom

A man approaches the end of a ladder with a large drop beneath him

If you’ve hit rock bottom before, you know how much it sucks…and you probably want to make sure you never get to that point again. Maybe you remember the warning signs you felt the last time, and now you’re sitting here thinking, “Oh crap, I feel a breakdown coming on!” Well, that’s your sign that you gotta protect yourself and prevent that nervous breakdown from actually happening.

Unfortunately, it’s not so effective to just sit around and wish rock bottom away. When we feel ourselves declining, we have to be proactive and take steps to make positive changes and pick ourselves up — before the worst actually happens. Here are 6 ideas to get you moving in the right direction.

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What’s It Like to Lose Someone to Suicide?

A person looks outside a hole in the wall

My adult life could be easily divided into two very distinct segments: BAD (before Adam died) and AAD (after Adam died). To anyone who doesn’t know me or Adam, that may sound a bit dramatic; I was only 24 when he died, which is a very early age to have your life virtually divided in half. But his death had a profound effect on me.

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Can Anxiety Make You Depressed (or Vice Versa)?

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Anxiety and depression are intricately linked, which is why the same types of therapy and the same classes of medications are often used to treat both disorders.

In my practice, I have noticed that many clients that have self-diagnosed as depressed are actually experiencing anxiety. Similarly, many clients who identify as anxious are often depressed. Here, I will explain the connections between anxiety and depression, and why one can lead to the other.

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How a Breast Cancer Diagnosis Affects Your Mental Health

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Everyone affected by breast cancer knows the physical hardship it can bring. What’s less commonly talked about, but also important, is how breast cancer affects patients’ and survivors’ mental health.

A history of mental illness can be exacerbated by a breast cancer diagnosis, and the rigors of treatment — while life-saving — are difficult, leaving many women depressed, anxious, or feeling alone.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time to recognize women affected by breast cancer and raise awareness about breast cancer prevention. Many breast cancer survivors have spoken up about their struggles with mental illness. To honor their voices, here’s what you need to know about breast cancer and mental health.

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4 Vital Tips for Parenting With Depression

A mother holds her baby in a low lit room

If you have children, you know raising kids presents challenges on your best days. Parents with mental illness, however, have it even harder.

In particular, parental depression can wreak havoc on a child’s psyche. What’s worse, when children develop problems related to parental depression, the added stress can make that parent’s depression worse. Thus, parental depression can turn into a long-lasting cycle of negative outcomes for the entire family.

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You Deserve to Live

A man and woman hugging

You Deserve to Live” originally appeared on To Write Love On Her Arms, a nonprofit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide.

This piece discusses the topic of suicide and suicidal thoughts. Please use discretion.

My childhood and adolescence were marked with milestones of self-destruction.

When I was 13 years old, I swallowed a handful of pills; when I was 16, I did the same thing again, but this time an even larger dose, chased down with mouthwash. The first time I was sober; the second time I was drunk. Both of those incidents lead to me being hospitalized, and the latter lead to my spending month of inpatient rehab for substance abuse.

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I’m Worried About My Friend’s Suicide Risk. How Can I Help?

A man sits by a mountainous beach

I don’t know who she was.

It was the early 2000s, the height of the AIM craze, when middle schoolers rushed home at the end of the day to log on and start chatting. These were the early days, where we could hardly distinguish an LOL from a G2G and emojis had yet to replace emoticons (I know, (☉_☉)!).

One day, I was chatting with my friend when I started panicking: She had seen an apparent suicide note on someone else’s AIM profile, and didn’t know what to do. All of 13 years old, we called our respective parents to help save the day. Our parents called the police. But this was the early days of social media, when it was next to impossible to figure out where someone was or how to reach out to them.

To this day, I still wonder if that person is alright.

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Why It’s Healthy To Lower Your High Expectations in College

A woman stands over a balcony with a graduation cap and gown on

A group of us were getting together for the first time since graduation, reminiscing about our earlier selves.

“We were all horrible in college,” my friend said recently over drinks. “We were so status-obsessed and trying to keep up with everyone else who was status-obsessed.”

Another friend, sipping his beer, put it more succinctly: “We were all so depressed in college.”

He meant this literally.

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Why Does Depression Make it Difficult to Function?

A stylish man leans his head against his hand with his eyes closed

Sometimes depression can sneak up on us, seeping into our lives without detection until it hits hard weeks, months, or even years later. Other times it shows up suddenly, like a heavy, wet blanket that has been thrown on top of us.

Either way, one of depression’s hallmark features is our loss of interest in seemingly everything, whether it’s a favorite pastime or the people closest to you — it can make getting out of bed at all nearly impossible. The world, which once seemed round, flattens out. We’re no longer having any fun and sometimes it’s downright hard to function.

The culprit? In the case of clinical depression, usually it’s a symptom referred to as anhedonia.

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What to Say to Someone When They’re Inconsolable

Silhouette of a man comforting a woman at sunset

We have all faced moments in our lives where we felt completely inconsolable. Maybe it was after a loss like the death of a loved one — or perhaps after a devastating breakup, job loss, or any other life-change that seemed out of our control and that we grieved deeply.

At times, though, there is no discernible cause: those of us who suffer from depression or anxiety know that sometimes our feelings overwhelm us so intensely that they become hard to shake — and it feels like nothing can console us in those moments.

But what if you are on the other end of such an experience, not suffering from these feelings yourself, but witnessing an inconsolable loved one?

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