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Mental Health

Why We Shouldn’t Compare Our Mental Health

Mental health issues are a tricky thing. It’s something that nearly everyone in the world will have to deal with at some point in their lives. Whether it’s depression, anxiety, OCD, eating disorders, PTSD or any number of other conditions, the amount of things that could potentially go wrong inside our brains seems pretty much endless. 

We know from our research that nearly half of all young people in the UK have battled issues around anxiety, and that 1 in 4 have had or are currently dealing with depression. 

We aren’t saying this to scare you. 

One of the most common things you will probably deal with if you are struggling with your mental health is people in your life having something to say about it. Even more so, they will probably say something like “I’ve had *insert mental health issue here* before”, before launching into a story about themselves and their issues. 

Even though this is often well-meaning, probably because on some level they don’t want you to feel alone, it is actually not the best thing for you. Here’s why;

Comparing your mental health journey is not going to make you any better

It’s nice to not feel alone, especially when you are struggling with your mental health. Getting support from those around you will be key to any recovery from a mental health difficulty, but it is important this support comes in the right way. If you or someone you care about continually compares the separate journeys of you both, it’s best to try to edit this behaviour. 

No two people and no two journeys are the same 

The reason why you shouldn’t try to compare yourself to someone else (or the other way around) is because no two journeys are the same. Just because someone got over their depression or anxiety quickly, or with a specific medication or therapist, does not mean that will be the case for you. All of our brains, bodies and lives are so different, as unique and individual as a fingerprint, and so trying to copy a ‘cure’ from someone else might end up making things worse. 

It is making the whole conversation and issue about them 

Also, it is important not to miss the fundamental reason why many people want to compare your journey to theirs. It is because it makes the conversation about them. Whether they are doing this consciously or not, it still moves the conversation away from the most important issues, which are about getting you the help you need.

So what can you do to stop comparing your mental health to others? 

The thing that most mental health issues have in common is the general feeling that everyone else around you is having a better time than you. And when we feel like the world is doing better than we are, it is a natural reaction to compare ourselves to others. But, as we said, this isn’t always the healthiest idea. So here’s what you can do to stop comparing yourself;

  1. Avoid those who would compare your journey to theirs, or make the conversation about themselves
  2. Take some social media breaks – looking at other people’s highlights and activities might make you feel temporarily worse
  3. Find a good counsellor, they will help you map out the recovery journey that works for YOU and nobody else 
  4. Ensure you have a solid support community around you that care about you improving your mental health. 

You can find more support resources on our dedicated mental health hub here.

If you feel at any time you need additional support, go to our community now. 

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