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Ask HN: How do you manage your mental health?
107 points by gmemstr on June 12, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 89 comments

Disappointed to see that "See a doctor or mental health professional" has not yet been mentioned. So I'll recommend that. My anxiety had started manifesting physically as panic attacks. After verifying my situation wasn't an emergency, he said my diagnosis was a no-brainer and prescribed Sertraline. It's helped a lot, and I've had no ill side-effects.

Please, please see a doctor or mental health professional if you suspect you have anxiety or depression. It doesn't necessarily mean you'll need medication if you're not keen on that. At the very least they will help you establish a baseline.

I'm sure that works for many. A mental health professional helped me a lot.

I saw an LCSW not a Psychiatrist. First thing he suggested, supplementing B vitamins and magnesium, along with exercise and diet. He said our other work would have limited effect otherwise. The healing therapies we engaged included directed breathing exercises, meditation, inventorying love relationships, and just talking through my limiting beliefs and my assumptions/misconceptions about myself and others. Most of the limiting beliefs were manifestations of survival skills developed in response to childhood trauma. Seeing it that way made it simple (not easy) to leave all that shit in the past and write a new future for myself.

That said, when it comes to medication, it's kind of like Russian Roulette. The documented side effects of SSRI-based antidepressants of suicide and homicide are catastrophic when the subject has a co-morbid disorder or perhaps genetic distinctiveness making them susceptible those side effects. There's no way to screen if a subject is prone to those effects, and basically there is no screening at all (similar to your own experience -- it was a "No Brainer") to determine if someone is clinically depressed. Such a diagnosis is achieved through non-invasive, casual observation, and is far from perfect.

I see a therapist in the same way that I see a dentist – even if there's no immediate crisis, preventative care is generally much easier than waiting until there is some sort of major issue.

If we have someone check our teeth and gums a couple times a year just to clean out the gunk and make sure everything is ok, why wouldn't we do the same for our (arguably) most important organ?

I'm not sure if it really makes sense to see a nephrologist every 6 months to clean the gunk out of your kidneys, but I may be mistaken.

That's what you meant, right? The most important organ, the kidney?


One argument against is cost - weekly CBT in NYC is going to run about 150 a session which will work out to ~7800 a year.

In many states insurance covers these costs. On my insurance the cost is the same as a doctor appt, $40, and that includes both the subscriber and the dependents. Psychologists and psychiatrists. It can be hard to find doctors who are accepting new patients but its not impossible.

I know at my previous job the Aetna payment towards my therapist ended up being $10 per session. (I believe I paid $50 and insurance paid $10).

For this reason, the vast majority of "good' therapists, in this market anyhow, choose to not accept below-market rates.

Every mental health professional I have seen has suggested some sort of medication. And when I say suggested I mean pushed. It's like dude, how many times do I have to tell you NO.

Psychiatrists usually do, but I've never had an actual Ph.D. Psychologist do. They're usually all for cogantive/talk therapy/stress release techniques, etc. (At least in my and my family/friends experiences). Are you dealing instead with maybe mental health professionals without advanced degrees?

> I've never had an actual Ph.D. Psychologist [prescribe drugs]

That may be because they aren't allowed to.

Did you drink coffee?

So I agree with everyone who says if you are having an issue, or a struggle, you should see a mental health professional. First and foremost, get the help you need to get your life stable.

But as a secondary aside, there has been an awful lot of talk about mental health on this forum as of late. I hear about it daily in articles. You see increasing rates of suicide. People I talk to are generally miserable. Some more than others, but the trend seems to be a general dissatisfaction with life.

Does anyone else think about this? It has been on my mind for sometime. I have a feeling that there is something about the way our society, culture, technology is changing that does not jive with our biology. Maybe the level of interconnectedness that is causing our competitive nature to make us feel like perpetual failures. Maybe its the technological isolation or lack of social interaction and contact with other people. Maybe its the economy, lack of faith in our future economic wellbeing. What do you guys think?

Personally I feel a constant tension, being constantly pinged by my devices "so and so just got a house"... "so and so is on vacation"... "see what so and so is doing, thats more interesting than what you are doing".... "so and so just got promoted to a more prestigious title than you"... and then you want to say screw that, I'm unplugging, but everyone else is plugged in, and stuck, so when are you ever going to interact with them otherwise?

I think humans have a natural desire to be connected. I think "FOMO" is driving people to be over-connected to the wrong things. I dated a girl whom often had 100s of news notifications on her phone's lock screen. That was overwhelming for me to see out of the corner of my eye.

Additionally, we are always "feeding". We are getting sick from over-indulging.

My friend group is starting to coordinate board game nights. Also good old fashion gatherings, and just making a point to be present as much as possible.

I find myself using a phone as a digital communication device as much as possible, where I think for a lot of people it's become a digital consumption device.

The trick to news and social media seems to be to adopt a pull instead of push model. Turn off all badges and notifications and deliberately check the sources you care about at opportune times. It helps to get rid of the feeling of being overwhelmed without requiring a complete disconnect.

Personally a big difference was only consuming proper newspapers in the morning instead of tv and news sites during the day. The quality of the information is greater and I don’t experience fomo as much.

I think about it a lot. The term is eco-psychology. You should look into it, it's really interesting!

You're right to say that we have evolved alongside nature, and it is really only since the industrial revolution that we have fully diverged from the natural world. We live, eat, breath, sleep, and dream completely man-made everything. Things like Google can exist, because of our collective imagination and effort to sustain it.

What that means for us is that we are ignoring our biology and the habitat we have evolved to thrive in. We think we are all geniuses because we've created this artificial landscape, but we still have barely scratched the surface of our own bodies and how they work and why.

Addictions love to trick you into thinking you can't live without them. Also those interactions are like food without nutrients. You think you are getting sustenance but it's void and stuff stops working properly after a while.

Also, In general society has lied to us about what makes humans content. So there's weird thing happening where I'm doing everything the TV/Movies/Inst/FB told me would make me happy and I'm not. It's very confusing and depressing and can make you feel hopeless and empty.

If you take an animal and put it in the wrong habitat, even if it has what it needs to survive, it will become depressed sooner or later. Why? because it has instincts which are not compatible, if it can't satisfy instincts, the brain goes "wtf". Same with humans who evolved hunting together - running through the wild chasing danger - who now sit idle with screens and then wonder why things feel off.

The thing is, I don't think we need some crazy transformation, the world that respects our biology and instincts doesn't look very different. It works mostly the same except that people are generally happier and outside more and talking to eachother face to face. Not because facetime isn't cool too, but facetime isn't the same

Re social media:

Learn the platform, then arrange to engage with it in a way that works for you. The kinds of things you choose to post or respond to influence the kinds of information/followers/etc you attract.

Pick and choose your notifications. Learn to block, mute, unfollow, etc judiciously.

Be mindful that what you post will shape how other people engage you. If you don't like the kinds of interactions you are getting, look to your own behavior first. Experiment with posting different things and then invest more in the kinds of behaviors that get results you like.

I've found some of the stoic teachings to be really helpful (A Guide to the Good Life is awesome). Good to realize that I'd be fine if my company cratered, I'm just thankful to be on the journey, building awesome shit, and learning as much as I can. As some others have mentioned here, I've been fortunate to experience psilocybin as well which really impacted the way I look at the world and gave me a much deeper appreciation for everything good in my life.

I also picked up photography and love being humbled by how great some people are at it, and it relaxes me knowing that it's something I can improve on yet never really care about being exceptional at.

Finally, I spend a lot of time observing "successful" people (since I realized a lot of my mental health is affected by ambition), and when you actually dig into the lives of the people so many of us look up to, there's a lot of things in their lives that are either undesirable, or not any more figured out than most of us have it. Some of them are downright awful people. So, that helps in a weird way.

It's a daily effort to stay mentally healthy, one that I doubt will go away, so it's something I try to work on. I know I have it easy though since I don't have major depression or other challenges.

Primarily with preventative measures:

- Exercise: weightlifting 4x per week

- Meditation: 15 minutes daily in the AM

- Diet: Paleo-ish, I initially did the "4 Hour Body" diet to lose some weight and noticed I felt better all-around not eating bread/heavy carbs. On the other hand, bread is delicious. Mostly, I just try to avoid tons of sugar/insulin spikes.

Being disciplined about these things is pretty critical for me.

I follow almost an identical routine and works for me. I also find important to try to reduce the amount of time I am "thinking" about work.

Totally agree. I go the work with my bike, it's good for mental and physic health. When I go back to my home - and if I don't have extra-urgent work, then I shutdown my laptop, my mobile phone, and enjoy the evening with my wife or with some quiet reading as story (not too technical stuffs to have good nights). Yes, of course, take breath and sleep as much as possible.

If you want to cut to the root, you have to get rid of the "I." There's no suffering without an I who suffers.

My grandma used to say "stop starring at your own belly button." There are many saints, sages, gurus (alive and dead) that guide you to shed identity with your person, but Mooji is especially compelling to me. Here's his YouTube channel:


I think that especially difficult because for most, managing mental health is a means to improving life satisfaction, relationships with friends and family, and achieving goals.

There's a lot of 'I' in all of those things. I don't know much about getting rid of the 'I' but they _appear_ incompatible? I wonder if there's some middle ground?

Probably the largest help for me personally, getting clean. My reality was, nearly every bout with depression was preceded by using some mood altering chemical. The bouts came on a daily basis. Downers like alcohol, weed, various pills actually induce depression. Weed was really hard to give up because it kept my ADHD in check. The uppers and psychedelics had the knock on effect of coming down afterward.

Twenty two years later, (about 8 years in the middle of that with a good therapist) and I'm not depressed any more. I feel a wide variety of emotions, compared to the two I had before getting clean, "Good" and "Bad". It was the hardest thing I've ever done, and the absolute best thing I've ever done.

I recognize and respect there are numerous ways to get clean and seek recovery. For myself, I still regularly attend a 12-step fellowship and work steps and sponsor other men in the program. I do this openly as an Atheist to boot. I fully acknowledge the low success rate of this program. I attribute my success to committing to a regular practice of connecting with recovery in a supportive environment of individuals seeking the same.

A few things that help keep me sane:

- Exercising (doesn't have to be strenuous, can just be a walk around your neighborhood)

- Writing my thoughts down when I am overwhelmed

- Never trying to keep too much information in my head at once

- Talking with a family member or close friend on the phone

- Avoiding social media and comparing myself to others

- Reading (about anything)

And most importantly is not being hard on myself. As a perfectionist, I have to take a step back sometimes and force myself to gain a different perspective. It's easier said than done but it's important for me to realize this.

1. I'm in a happy marriage to my best friend.

2. I play with my kids, read to them, spend time with them, etc.

3. I workout ever day.

4. I enjoy my job and my coworkers. I have a great boss.

5. I go to church each week and have a community of friends there.

6. I get 7-8 hours of sleep each night.

7. I eat well. I almost never go out to eat but mainly eat homemade meals.

8. I have many hobbies: woodworking, remodeling, gardening, hiking/camping, reading, studying ancient afro-asiatic languages, baking, board games, programming, etc.

9. I look for ways to serve and help other people.

10. I avoid reading the news.

Currently having a mild panic attack trying figure out how I could possibly fit all of that into my weekly schedule.

(Props for #10 especially, though. I've recently sworn off the news, which was a toxic force in my life.)

Username checks out.

+100 this sums up a lot of what I was going to mention I do as well.

I've been working as a cofounder of a startup and fullstack engineer the last 4 years and have tried a lot of different things to manage mental health.

One important comment I want to make is that even well managed, life is a journey with peaks and valleys. Its part of being human to struggle with this (and occasionally conquer it).

Current habits / beliefs:

1. I've been practicing MBSR (mindfulness meditation) for 40 - 60 minutes 5 days a week for almost 2 years. I cannot stress how powerful I believe the impact of this practice has been for me, nor how challenging it is to develop this habit. The investment is absolutely worth it.

2. I cycle in and out of a ketogenic diet (2 - 3 months on , 2 -3 months off). I lost 40 pounds and got to a very healthy weight in the very first cycle, haven't needed to lose weight since but I believe the diet + the weight have a profound impact on my mood stability and self perception respectively.

3. Connect with people. I'm not sure if its because I enjoy writing software so much or have any natural tendencies toward introversion, but I've gone through periods where I don't do this and there's a good correlation there with my mental health. I'll prioritize activities with friends and families at the same "strict" level as meditation. They can add perspective and meaning to life in ways nothing else can.

Edit: Also in the worst of times I'll turn to "Feeling Good" by David Burns, and finally the plug for if things are really rough professional help is the way to go.

I was a cofounder of a struggling startup for 3 years and probably one of the things that helped the most was a commitment that once a week, I meet with my band and we practice music. I play guitar and sing. It's mostly a non-negotiable commitment, so I'm leaving work on time that day of the week no matter what. I know it's not everyone's hobby, but singing does wonders to make you happy. Being around friends while doing so also helps.

Thanks for asking! I think this is an important topic that not enough people talk about.

First and foremost I know myself. I've spent a long time figuring out who I am and why. This allows me to set myself up for success. I've lived around the world, and I've had lots of different experiences and friends. Ultimately that led me to understand where I want to be and who I want to share my life with.

I avoid toxic people in my life. I know who will just make me angry and bring me down, and I choose to avoid spending too much time with them, even if they are close family.

My dad took his own life last year, and that led to me seeking help. Know when to seek help. You don't have to go through anything alone. Therapy and support groups have been amazing for my mental health.

Finally, mindfulness. I allow my emotions to move through me freely, but I don't let them take over if I can. I acknowledge them and their purpose, and I know they will pass. Even the darkest, scariest feelings or visions eventually pass (in my case anyway).

I haven't seen anyone else suggest this book yet [1] but I found it incredibly helpful. It's about Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) which has been clinically proven to be at least as effective as drugs and is supported by the NHS [2]. The book was recommended to me by a couple of GP's I know and I use the techniques I've learned from it on a weekly basis to either just relax or to slow down my thought processes.

1. Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world by Prof. Mark Williams

2. https://www.nhs.uk/news/mental-health/mindfulness-as-good-as...

Learning a CBT(cognitive behavioural therapy) tool, and make using it a habit.

For me it was "the work", by Byron Katie, which beyond all the mumbo jumbo, is just a very simple(great for habit formation) and very effective such tool and supposedly has some similar effect to meditation , learning to discern truth from all the stories our mind invents.

It may seem odd, but I took up flying. It's just been one of those hobbies that has made everything else in my life (the problems/complaints/etc.) seem so ridiculous and trivial. I spend the week thinking: "I got into a plane... and fucking took off and flew it.... by myself." It's been over a year and hasn't gotten old yet. It has just helped me put a lot of other things in life in perspective, mostly by making me realize that my life can't be all that bad if this is what I get to do for fun and with the support of friends and family.

Lately, when I'm otherwise in a good place mentally, I keep the pattern going with:

1. 20 minutes minimum of cardio exercise per day. I avoid doing too much, as being physically exhausted has a negative effect on my next-day energy levels. Physical exhaustion can be useful as a mental reset though if I'm feeling overwhelmed.

2. Lots of fruits and vegetables. I think I'm happier when my gut bacteria are happy.

3. Proper sleep. Being well rested decreases my overall anxiety level. For me this means limiting alcohol, no caffeine past 2pm, and blackout curtains. I take melatonin when I feel like I need it.

Running. Every time, without fail, about 20 minutes after the run i feel absolutely amazing. Like I can accomplish anything.

Whether I run a mile or three, doesn't matter. Feeling is the same.

I decided to leave a PhD program a few years ago, which left me feeling some existential angst. Leaving a PhD program was a little like leaving a job, friends, and a higher calling all at the same time.

I restarted doing a martial art about the same time, which gave me regular socialization, exercise, and something to get good at that wasn’t coupled to my career / work identity. It was kind of a package deal.

I am not religious, though I’m familiar with church from childhood. I’m reminded that there are some practical downsides of not being religious. In some ways, martial art is my secular church.

Humans, even introverts like myself need some level of socialization to stay healthy. I’d advise anyone to find their “church” even if it’s not religious or spiritual. Some characteristics that I think make for good groups:

- Things happen at specific times. You don't have to plan something unless you want to. If you don’t show up, someone wonders where you are and maybe asks about you.

- Everyone isn’t like you. You interact with people who work different jobs, make different money, come from different cultures, and are of a different generation.

- It’s a regular place that can become familiar, and that you have some interest in its care

- The unifying task isn’t too utilitarian. It’s good to have something that improves you, but isn’t itself that important.

I think as a society we’ve lost the notion of personal social health in favor of a completely individualistic notion of mental health. My suspicion is that many of our mental health issues are the result of / are exacerbated by bad social health.

I exercise about daily. This sounds like common advice, but I love having a daily ritual with no electronics that is not mentally straining. I feel like a novice among experts, which reminds me to be humble and keep learning - plus, nobody is talking about work. It makes me get out of bed at a specific time, even though I work remotely. Mentally, it increases my tolerance of discomfort and pain - which translates to many aspects of life.

I eat well - zero carbs, normally only two meals per day, at least Sunday through Friday. It might just seem disconnected from mental health, but it creates discipline and focus in day-to-day life. I cut coffee out of my diet last year, but I've been having it in moderation this year.

I prioritize my lifestyle above my work. I decided to travel full-time a year ago, and I'm making my company match my needs.

Lately, I've been decreasing how much I work on the weekends. I take at least one day off per week without answering emails or talking about work.

Managing mental health for me consists of

- Spending time with loved ones and invest in those relationships. These types of relationships provide a comfy safety harness for my mental health. I know that no matter how bad things go in my day to day life, they are always there and will always provide help, guidance, and love. You have to put effort in here though and can't just reap all of the rewards.

- Strenuous exercise. Great for my self confidence and sense of accomplishment. It's a nice feeling to look at yourself in the mirror after consistently working out for months/years. The discipline it takes to workout every other day will leak into other parts of your life.

- Hobbies. Playing a video game instantly turns a bad mood around. Finishing a multi weekend wood working project gives me an incredible sense of accomplishment. In both cases I am improving skills which also makes me feel accomplished/important, exercises my mind and allows me to be creative.

My biggest challenge to my mental heath was an undiagnosed personality disorder (BPD), sex addiction, and coming to terms with childhood trauma I was largely in denial about. All the exercise and diet and medication in the world will not help you if you have buried trauma (which many of us do). I couldn't even accomplish those external things on a regular basis because my internal emotional system was so blocked up.

Be brave and do the healing work. Whether that is through spirituality, religion or mental health professional. Our society is badly in need of healing and it starts with each individual. It's a long (seemingly never-ending) process but it's worth it and you get quality of life improvements all along the way.

When I'm feeling the most down, I find getting outside helps more than anything else. More than talking to someone, more than drinking/smoking or any other substance. Also, stay away from social media or even watching youtube videos.

Same for me.

I wonder how much mental health would be improved if people lived and worked close to nature.

Apart from "generally trying to stay healthy", I have trained myself to go through this process if I "Feel bad and don't know why":

Did you eat well? Sleep well? Exercise properly? Have a meaningful conversation today? Articulate and share an emotion? Listen to someone you care about? Do something intrinsically satisfying today? Enjoy yourself today?

If you can't answer yes to all of the above (add your own prompts), then blame that rather than Random Problem X and come back when you can answer yes and if you still feel bad and don't know why then tell someone, possibly a professional.

Usually once I can answer yes to the above I'm fine.

My approach in life is optimizing for happiness which includes looking after my health, fostering great relationships and working on something I love.

I wrote about happiness here: https://wiki.nikitavoloboev.xyz/life/happiness.html

I also wrote down a set of rules of my own to follow: https://wiki.nikitavoloboev.xyz/focusing/rules.html

The rules get updated as I learn new things in life.

Your wiki looks good and inspiring! :)

There is no way to give a good answer to this question. Depends on the person. For some people therapist works very well for others it might be Buddhism/Stoicism philosophy. There are people that need to have faith in something or maybe just take psychedelics/drugs from time to time. Exercise make wonders for some people.

For me, introspection worked very well. I think people are rushing to try the solution for their mental problems without first understanding themselves.

I'm a mental health professional (PhD) who works with founders and tech folks.

There's a lot of good content here already.

Strategies to prevent mental health struggles: regular exercise, prioritizing sleep, time with friends, a pet, reasonable nutrition, a life philosophy that includes self compassion, breaks from work as well as time to deep-dive into meaningful work, self-reflective practices (like journaling), having a relationship with a "wise" person (therapist, clergy member, mentor, etc), volunteering or finding a way to make meaningful contributions to other people. Many of the other things people have mentioned.

Strategies to cope with mental health challenges include extra doses of all of the above plus a mental health professional who "gets" you. Who doesn't have an agenda beyond understanding you and supporting you. I admit it can be hard to find the right therapist or physician but it is worth the effort. Most problems do not require medication (bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are notable exceptions- they are almost always treated with medication)

Most HN readers will do well with someone who is tech savvy and has experience working with folks in the tech industry.

Everything I wanted to mention has been mentioned in one comment or another. No need to repeat.

My advice is don't be scared to jump in and start trying some of these items that seem appropriate to you.

If it doesn't work, pivot.

Pivot again if needs be and again until you find what helps you. Use the experimentation as a positive message to yourself that you are helping yourself when you need to the most. Don't let anyone tell you your ways of trying to deal with mental health are wrong.

Also, if you ever find yourself in crisis and questioning your mental health, please see a qualified professional and if you feel you are in real danger call a hotline (U.S Info): https://www.mentalhealth.gov/get-help/immediate-help

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1‑800‑273‑TALK (8255)

SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline, 1‑877‑SAMHSA7 (1‑877‑726‑4727)

I moved to somewhere I didn't understand the news or advertisements, and I could cycle to work everyday.

I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me.

Excessive consumption of video games, TV, takeout/delivery, booze, caffeine, and nicotine. And a decent amount of physical activity.

Although I guess the above is more of an answer to "How do you manage your mental illness?" vs "How do you manage your mental health?"

Mental health is an issue I live with on a day-to-day basis. I struggled for the first 42 years of my life, always finding it difficult. I experienced great short term successes but they never lasted. Finally, two years ago, after losing my wife and family, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder (Type 1) and began treatment. These days I take regular medication, speak with a psychiatrist monthly and a psychologist every two weeks.

Life is easier but it's difficult knowing that I lost everything and it could have been prevented. Now, I have a startup of eight people and it's challenging but I'm doing it for my children. They're also the reason I stay on treatment.

When you say your children are the reason you stay on treatment, would you go off treatment if you didn't have kids? What about treatment makes you want to get off of it?

> They're also the reason I stay on treatment.

Out of curiosity, why would you want to go off?

In order of importance, everyday : - Sleep - Exercize - Breathe - Keep a non work routine (kids, family, etc)

Regularly - Keep a non work hobby (something manual, non digital for me) - Read fiction - Journal - Checkin with my therapist every 6 weeks

* therapy visits when i can get them in

* being on a regular schedule of waking up/going to bed

* at least half an hour of some form of exercise per day, outside preferably.

* * seasonal depression especially can kick your ass hard, so if you live in a northern area like me where you get no sunlight in the wintry months take vitamin d supplements or get a happy lamp.

* a good support system of friends, family, and professionals to support me

and last but not least:

* venlafaxine (effexor) er, 150mg/day.

moral of the story is don't be afraid to take meds or go get help. sometimes you don't even realize just how down in the ditch you are until you get up and out for the first time in a long time.

It's easier to influence your mind by exercise your physics than vice versa.

1-2 per week at the gym.

Get out and workout in nature.

Meditation daily with Calm.

Reading some history books.

I eat healthy and simple food(potatoes, rice, soup, banana).

I plan instead of reacting.

Less materialistic and more spiritual.

Always thinking and finding the cause of my depression and getting rid of it.

Until now, everything seems to be ok.

Next friday will be my last therapy session. I've been doing it for about 1 1/2 years and I can't stress enough how helpful it has been. It helped me to sort myself out, so now I can go on without it. Maybe I'll need it again in the future, but that's okay.

If you're overwhelmed by your thoughts or your emotions or the nothingness inside you, please DO seek help.

F--k the stigma. You are doing it for you and you WILL feel better. It can be difficult and it can be painful but it's also freeing.

This is a great question, unfortunately, there is no yearly physical where they cover the mental health aspects when it's fundamentally the most important thing. It's sad, as a society with no strong connections we are left to our own devices, when it comes to this. I remember, at one time, your friends or family would immediately notice if something was off. It was as simple as that. I believe we've lost that simple connection, to look deeply at someone.

I made the decision to be positive and happy. Previously I let my mood/happiness levels be dictated by external factors. I realized that it was my decision so I started to make it a habit to be more positive.

I have a list of values/sayings which I review every week and I set a reminder on my phone. It keeps me focused on the most important things in life like my health and relationships with friends and family. I also believe in abundance mentality.

My girlfriend had major depression I never thought would be solved.

She wound up going to a cash-based psychiatrist, and they met every week. He was basically available for any appointment time as he was cash-based.

She churned through 8 medicines across 8 weeks before finding the right one. I was shocked. That was years ago.

Weirdly enough, it was almost like devops. Constantly redeploying through the pipeline. Hate saying that, but it did remind me of it.

Hope this one story helps someone.

These stories are relatively common on HN so I started collating some of what people said here[0]. Please read the top of the page and seek out a medical professional to discuss how any of the things would work for you. PR welcome

[0] https://github.com/Jimnotgym/Hacking_Depression

I am not the someone who is 100% following it but I try my best to follow these:

- Morning walk.

- Be thankful for what you have. It will help you get out of rat race.

- If you follow a religion then get in habit of praying and shift the credit of your achievements towards God and remain humble.

- Give charity as much as you can and look towards the people who are less fortunate than you.

- Help others.

- If you don't have a family, start it ASAP if you can.

Stay blessed!

> - If you don't have a family, start it ASAP if you can.

I'd be a bit cautious recommending this. Sometimes kids are born out of "trying to make something work" or otherwise using the pregnancy as a fix. 2 of my children were brought into the world this way and I can tell you it didn't help me manage my mental health at all.

Just my .02, only the OP knows if this would really be a good idea for them.

Exercise. Not 'going to the gym' but regular, intense, 60m+ workouts that push you further than you thought possible.

Good apps for this: Keelo, Peloton. I use them both in combination since they are totally different. Insanity is also great but their app blows.

YMMV but really hard exercise has proven invaluable for my mental health.

10K IU of vitamin D, since Michigan winters are kind of harsh. And I don't product a whole lot. After that I added guided meditation with Headspace. Next I will probably add 20 minutes of exercise 3x week.

Its more of an engineering exercise at this point. I just need to keep evaluating new improvements I could make.

For me the main thing is Peer Support. It's basically a service implemented by people who have had also engaged in some mental health treatment. It's really the only treatment I've found that promotes the self-determination of the recipient.

SSRIs to numb the depression and benzos to manage the panic attacks. Coffee to manage insomnia, and alcohol for socializing. Unfortunately despite trying 6 therapists with many techniques including CBT, drugs are the only effective way for me.

- Meditation apps to bring me down after a long day (5-10min)

- Regular exercise 6x a week

- Eating healthier so I don't feel heavy and tired (less carbs, fats, factory sugars)

- Spending time outside in nature

- More time with friends/family

- Writing everyday 3 lines to reflect on my day

Meditation, vegan diet (particularly I've found a diet high in fruits and veggies makes me feel very happy), hiking, sunshine, being kind and generous to others, fulfilling work...

I see a therapist regularly, and starting that habit was the best thing I've ever done for myself. Also, weightlifting and running are both essential to me feeling my best.

Transcendental meditation has been really powerful for me.

Meditation is the best thing for me, and I have tried quite a few things. Nothing else comes close in my experience, and it only gets better with practice.

in all seriousness, how do you know when it's time to go see a mental health professional? at either extremes of mental health, it's pretty obvious whether you need professional help, but i have good days and i have bad days; most of the time I just "man up" and deal with it at the lows until i bounce back.


Take time out for yourself, make sure to remember to have fun, try to surround yourself with good people whose company you enjoy.

I don't :(

This is okay. Sometimes it's all you can manage. Honestly I've been going through a bout of something for about a year.

I'm fully functional 5 days a week at work but not when I am home and not on the weekends. At the moment, my apartment is a mess. I keep saying I'll get to it and at some point I will.

The thing that I had to learn to do was to not punish myself for failing to meet my own expectations. It isn't helpful.

With drugs for the most part.

sometimes me too.

I work 15hr every day but at lunch time i always go on a 1hr bike rike (25km)

exercise weed and drums

compartmentalise everything

Always make time to deal with everything that i shunt away.

play with the kids.



One thing that actually helps me is meditation. So long as I meditate every single day without skipping a day I can go a long time without anxiety and depression. Longest I've lasted was year and a half. If I stop meditating I will gradually revert to my old habit self and then anxiety returns including strong depression once or twice a year.

Maintaining mental health with meditation drags every other aspect of myself into the same basket, I stop eating meat and eat lots of vegetables and fruit, I drink only water and don't consume anything processed, sweats etc. and I exercise 7 days a week.

Then I get better, physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally and I feel like nothing can beat me. Then I skip a day of meditation, then two days and before you know it I'm eating burgers from McDonald's and skipping exercise, drinking Red Bulls and smoking. Then I'll have anxiety/panic attacks before bed, insomnia, depression and after struggling with myself for a year I'd change my lifestyle again.

But then I get well again and forget about the struggle and the cycle repeats. It's a living hell.

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