With age comes wisdom you likely wish you had when you were younger. And as you continue to learn and grow, there are probably a few things you'd like to go back and say to your younger self. It's not too late. Step Up and Cheaper by the Dozen actor Alyson Stoner recently shared what she'd want to tell her younger self about mental health as part of the Child Mind Institute's #MyYoungerSelf social media campaign. Stoner, who lives with anxiety, depression, and alexithymia, made a video giving her younger self some inspiring advice about ending the stigma around medication.
"Here are some tips and tricks that I've learned," Stoner says in the video. "Talk to someone that you can trust. Write; you're going to love writing. You're going to write every day actually, so better start now. Take medication if you need to. There's nothing wrong with it, and be your own ally. Be gentle with yourself the same way that you are with other people who ask for your help."
During Mental Health Awareness Month, celebrities are making inspiring cellphone videos that offer compassion and advice to their younger selves as part of the #MyYoungerSelf campaign. Every day in May, a new celebrity cellphone video will be posted in which a celeb gives advice to their younger self. Because, even if it feels like you're the only one, you are far from alone. In fact, 10% of children experience learning difficulties, and one-in-four people will deal with a mental health issue at some point in their lives. And, yes, that includes unicorn-type famous people. Even though you're a grown-ass woman, you can still comfort your inner child by participating in the #MyYoungerSelf campaign to help end the stigma attached to mental health and learning disorders.
When you see that someone you admire living with the same issues that you do, it can definitely make you feel less alone. And the #MyYoungerSelf videos are designed to inspire you to be more gentle with your younger self.
"These celebrities are influencers in the best sense of the word — by sharing their personal struggles and demonstrating that young people can overcome challenges that sometime seem overwhelming, they are sending a powerful message of hope and resilience," Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz, founding president and medical director of the Child Mind Institute, said in a press release. "The #MyYoungerSelf campaign is about moving beyond the stigma and helping kids get the help they need to thrive."
Children and teenagers often lack the language to verbalize what they're experiencing, which can make mental illness and learning challenges even more isolating. No matter how alone you feel, there are millions of people just like you who not only survive, but thrive.
X-Files and The Fall actor Gillan Anderson told her younger self: "Just because you have anxiety or you have panic attacks doesn’t mean your life has to get any smaller…you can live a very full, beautiful, and even peaceful life regardless of the anxiety."
What would you tell your younger self? As a lifelong mental health warrior, I'd like to tell my inner child: Give yourself a break. Even when it feels like you're in the middle of a dark tunnel, there is light on both sides. You will eventually get to the light. And you deserve kindness. Start by being kind to yourself. You're doing better than you think.
If you want to join in, make your own video and use the hashtag #MyYoungerSelf when you post it on social media. If you're not comfortable sharing your video, you can like and share other videos during the campaign to show your support for mental health awareness. Because your differences are an asset, even if it doesn't always feel that way. Watch these videos, then tell your younger self to embrace your own unique gifts. After all, you're pretty damn special.
If you or someone you know is seeking help for mental health concerns, visit the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) website, or call 1-800-950-NAMI(6264). For confidential treatment referrals, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website, or call the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP(4357). In an emergency, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255), or call 911.