Thanks to John Ardern for contributing to this page!
Our mentors and page authors are not necessarily psychologists or therapists. Even when they are, this page is not medical or psychological advice and they are not creating a doctor/therapist-client relationship. You should consult a professional if possible and they can tell you whether this advice applies to your situation. If this is an emergency, you should call your national emergency number, like 911, or a mental health hotline, like 1-800-950-6264.
This page is if you don’t know where to start on our website. It’s sort of a first-aid/emergency kit for mental health issues.
It’s okay not to know where to start. We recommend Diagnosing Yourself and then reading the intro to cognitive behavioral therapy, when you have some time. If you’re stressed, try our Stress page first. But for now, accept that something is or feels wrong or different. Accept that you’re ill or maybe ill and need help. This is nothing to be ashamed of. Many of us are in the same situation or have been in it ourselves.
Tell someone else that you know, love, or trust. It’s okay to skip reading these pages and just reach out to a Dweebs and Dogs mentor who will give you tips on where to start and just listen to you vent. A shoulder to cry on is sometimes the most valuable thing. Talk to your family: your romantic partner, your family, and your friends. If they’re not supportive, that’s on them, not on you. And we at least will always be here to listen.
Eat well today. Make yourself a healthy meal you enjoy. Don’t eat junk food or fats. Avoid too much alcohol and caffeine. Drink more water.
Sleep well tonight. Give yourself an extra hour of sleep. Wake up early and watch the sunrise. Relax and meditate before sleeping.
Exercise. Even light, moderate exercise helps. Brisk walking, jogging, or swimming if you can are great options. No need to hit the gym too hard.
Get sunshine and fresh air. Get outside and enjoy nature. Don’t hide away indoors. Try walking on the grass with your shoes and socks off. Hug a tree. This will ground you to a real connection with the natural world.
Get time and space. Give yourself time to think. Smiling Mind has a great emergency mindfulness session. Basically, go to a quiet place, clear your thoughts and just focus on your breath and the sounds around you. There is nothing to do in this moment but breathe and take time. Set simple happy goals for today and do them.
Know you can go to see your doctor, GP, or nurse practitioner. Obviously, we exist because not everyone has access to these resources or the ability to afford them. There is often a gap in access. But if you can, mental health should be treated as seriously as physical health. They can give you questionnaires to assess your condition and a diagnosis that can help with treatment or with medication if needed. If necessary, they can refer you to psychoanalysts or therapists who specialize your condition. If you don’t feel they understand you or are listening to you–or if you feel they are jumping to medication without listening to you or offering alternatives–insist you want to see someone else. And if therapists can’t help you enough, know that it is still not your fault!