3 Tips from the Trenches to Help You Move Forward Toward Mental Wellness
The worst year of Nora McInerny’s life went like this: On October 3, 2014, she lost her second pregnancy. Five days later, her father died from lymphoma. And six weeks later, her husband died from brain cancer.
In the days and weeks and months that followed, people would ask: How are you?
“I was in the middle of some of the deepest pain I’ve ever experienced,” she recalls. But that’s not what she said. Instead, she said: I’m fine. Pretty good. OK.
She thought she had to be — for herself, for her child, and for other people.
But it was a painful — if not uncommon — mistake she has since gone on to help other people learn from through her TED Talk, books, and podcast.
Among her top lessons:
- Do not try to fake it till you make it. It doesn’t work!
“All of this insistence that I was fine was a recipe for loneliness, it was a recipe for depression, it was a recipe for untreated PTSD, it was a recipe for feeling terrible.”
- Be emotionally honest about your experience. It will help you move forward.
“During that first year, I was sleepless. I was unemployed. I was having a hard time functioning in my day-to-day life. And I could not move forward until I acknowledged that. Until I was able to admit to other people, but most importantly to myself, the state that I was in and everything that I had lost.”
- Take responsibility for telling people what you need.
“Because nobody knew how much I was struggling, nobody could help me. Nobody could treat me in the way that I was so desperate to be treated and could not articulate because they didn’t know, and I didn’t know. And I made it impossible for everyone.
“And if you’re thinking, why do I have to do this work? The answer is because it’s your job. It’s the unfortunate truth of being the person who is at the center of whatever S-H-I-T storm that you are at. That you are the captain of this experience, and that the people around you are looking to you to figure out what the next move is, how they can help, what they are supposed to do.”
Nora McInerny, author, podcaster, and TED talk speaker learned how to move forward after surviving the loss of her baby, father, and husband within months. This is based on her 2021 talk at the Pennsylvania Conference for Women.“All of this insistence that I was fine was a recipe for loneliness, it was a recipe for depression, it was a recipe for untreated PTSD, it was a recipe for feeling terrible.”