Alive and Kicking: A column on mental health that’s funny, heartfelt, and maybe even helpful

Nobody wants advice on depression from someone who’s never been depressed. Nobody wants to be talked through a panic attack by the emotional equivalent of an underground parking lot. Nobody wants to be lectured on the importance of gratitude from someone who’s never had to remind themselves to drink water. It would be like asking a 12-year-old to fix a marriage.

We, the unstable, tend to be a little unreasonable at times. It’s why we never think to go outside when we’re depressed or exercise when we’re anxious. We’re unreasonable because of a deeply held—albeit mistaken—conviction that the obvious is either impossible or otherwise ungrounded.

So even if your grandmother’s breakup advice is helpful and well-intentioned, there’s always a part of you that’s somewhat skeptical that she understands what you’re going through—and if she doesn’t, well how could her advice to “sleep with their best friend” be worth following?

Now, for the argument’s sake, let me poke a hole in this precariously propped up logic. Obviously, you wouldn’t ask a skateboarder to set your broken bone just because they have “experience with this sort of thing.” So, life doesn’t make for the most practical education, but let’s just ignore that for now.

Instead, let’s talk about mental health.

Copy Editor (Volume 49) | —Aidan is completing a major in Professional Writing and Communications at the University of Toronto Mississauga. He previously worked as the Associate Editor for the Arts and Entertainment section of The Medium, and currently works as the Copy Editor for The Medium. When he’s not catching up on course work or thumbing through style guides, Aidan spends his free time exercising (begrudgingly), singing (unmelodically), and trying (helplessly) to read David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. The latter of which has taken 3 years to reach the 16th page. You can connect with Aidan at


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