Fall has always been my favorite time of year. From the crisp air to the cozy blankets that envelop me—and the delicious excuse to bake apple pies—I am in heaven. I feel comforted and safe.

But this year's different. As autumn moves in and leaves begin to turn, I can't help but think: what the hell happened to summer? In fact, what happened to this entire year? 

The 2020 thing

If you've scrolled through any social media feed (really, pick any) in the past nine months, you've seen all kinds of tragically comical memes hinting that 2020 hasn’t exactly been a model year...

From a deadly pandemic to climate change and civil rights, we've been overwhelmed by the sheer chaos this year has caused. It’s as if the world has suddenly decided to collapse upon itself like a failed, pitiful soufflé. And we are all left deflated, gasping for air.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly 450 million people globally have—or are currently dealing with—a mental health illness. Conditions like anxiety or depression don't discriminate. They don't care who you are, what you do for a living, your ethnicity or your gender. They surprise you like an uninvited guest, sit down beside you, and chew away at your peace of mind. 

So, how do we ensure we're staying emotionally healthy and continue to bring our best in all areas of our lives? 

Leaning in and letting go

Here at Typeform, we take the wellbeing of our colleagues seriously. Values like start with empathy, win together, and bring joy to the journey aren’t just words we throw around because they sound nice. They're values ingrained into all we do and how we treat one another. 

So, some of us here at Typeform have gathered our voices for Mental Health Awareness Day in a show of solidarity. In part, to feel understood in our own suffering, but more importantly, to ease the stigma of mental health illnesses as well as outlying the importance in taking care of our mental health.

We asked people questions like: 

  1. What’s been keeping you up at night?

  2. Do you have any favorite techniques or practices for looking after your own mental health?

  3. What advice would you give someone else who's struggling with their mental health?

We hope their answers are helpful to you as well. Please note, we’re no experts. And our intent isn’t to school you on how to deal with your suffering. It's to join you on your journey, shine a light and simply say: we see you. Scratch that. We are you.

Here's what some of our brave Typeformers say keeps them up at night, along with some sound advice for those that can relate:

 

You might wonder, as I so often have, when was that instant when it all became too much? When was that exact moment when you crossed the line from "this is fixable" to "I'm too far gone"?

Here are some of our personal experiences and suggestions for beating the 2020 blues:

Get it off your chest

"Talk. I'm a firm believer in therapy. If you take a pill when you have a headache, know that therapy is exactly the same. It’s a pill for a different ache."
"Don't try to fix yourself alone. Seeking help is a good thing."
"Don't be scared or ashamed to start psychotherapy. It can be really helpful and help you grow as a person. More people than you think are doing it!"
"Talking and trying to rationalize my concerns is helpful. Some mindfulness and grounding exercises and techniques help me as well."
"Give yourself time to heal. Take into account that recovering might be a long process, so don't hesitate to ask for help if you feel like you need it."

It’s okay, and it’s not just you

"It's normal to not feel OK. Your feelings are completely valid, regardless of what other people might tell you."
"Please don’t pretend the problem does not exist. Show vulnerability, it’s okay."
"More people are dealing with this than you think. Try to prioritize your life’s main values, and invest more time and effort on that. Those are the things that will make you happier in the long run."

Look again, from a different perspective

"I try to keep perspective, remind myself how lucky I am with what I have, and remind myself I do a good job. Also, I find little things to laugh at. And try to make others laugh."
"I find that walking away from something that's bothersome helps. Go make a cup of tea, pat a stranger’s dog or look in the mirror and say: holy moley, I look fine today! Remove yourself from a stressful moment and return later. You'll have a new perspective and it will help."

Like the superheroes we all are on a molecular level, we've managed to protect ourselves from a lot of the detrimental effects of 2020. But even with all of our superpowers, it's always good to keep a friend, or professional consultant, close at hand. You are not alone.

The soufflé at the end of 2020

Full disclosure: even though I love to bake, I've never actually attempted to make a soufflé. Partly because I've seen enough movie scenes of deflated chocolate disasters to muster the motivation. But if I'm being honest, I don't want others to see me as imperfect in an area of my life that I am so passionate about and have invested so much time in.

Lingering negative feelings can be stressful. They can also lead to panic-stricken instances that pave their way into bad days. Bad days can manifest into not-so-great weeks and those, into painful months.

Maybe it's persistent, or maybe it's just been a 2020 thing. The point is, let’s not let our fears and anxieties get the best of us. Let’s fight back—punch 2020 in the face—by taking care of ourselves and our loved ones.

How you ask is everything.

Start creating