Did you know that one in five Americans experienced mental illness in 2019? That might seem like a frightening statistic but put it in context: the vast majority of them managed to get on with their lives despite it, and most have fully recovered. Even with severe mental health problems of the sort that make it impossible to live a normal life, approximately a third of those affected do recover or go into remission every year. As a rule, the sooner the problem can be identified, the more effectively it can be treated.
Although getting outside the home helps make recovering from your mental illness much easier, a lot of it comes down to what other steps you take. The most important step is recognizing that recovery is possible – that you don’t have to surrender. It’s then up to you to fully commit to getting better. It may take time, but it will definitely be worth the effort. This article will help you make the necessary changes in your life to help you recover your mental well-being.
Cutting out the negative
One of the first things you can do to boost your recovery is to cut outnegative influences in your life. That might mean walking away from a job or even a whole career and starting afresh doing something that makes you feel good about yourself. It may mean cutting toxic relationships out of your life, even if you’re called selfish for doing so. It’s okay to put yourself first when you’re struggling like this. Crucially, however, it also means changing your negative habits and self-defeating attitudes. You need to train yourself out of cycles of negative thinking and forbid yourself to indulge in them, even a little bit, even after you start to feel normal again. Cutting out negative physical influences like binge drinking or unhealthy eating can also speed your recovery.
Boosting the positive
Even at our lowest ebb, most of us can identify some things that make us feel good. Maybe it’s time spent with loved ones, or visiting a favorite spot on a sunny day, or listening to particular music, or making time to enjoy a favorite hobby. As long as it’s healthy and won’t negatively impact others, this is something that you should try to do more often. Getting more physically active and eating healthily can make a surprisingly big difference to your mental health. Improving your appearance in little ways, such as getting a new haircut or wearing new clothes, can make you feel better about yourself. It can also help if you make mental lists of things you like about yourself, whether those are achievements, skills, or just little things, like the color of your eyes, for example. This is all part of learning to value yourself.
People are most successful in overcoming mental health problems when they have clear goals in mind. It starts with thinking about what recovery looks like to you. It’s not just about your end goals, but the little ones along the way. If you are suffering from anxiety, for instance, you could focus on being able to go to and from the local store without feeling overwhelmed before you concern yourself with being able to go to a party. Setting realistic goals for yourself over a day can help you to keep track of how much you’re getting done. If it’s impossible to achieve them all, work on achieving a certain number of them and average out your ‘score’ over a week to take account of the fact that you’ll have good and bad days. Week by week, try to get that score a little higher.
Sometimes, it’s impossible to get over a mental health problem without medical help. That is nothing to be ashamed of, and it doesn’t mean that you’re weak. It’s just like using a crutch to help you walk for a few weeks to allow a broken leg to heal. Few people who take mental health medication need to remain on it indefinitely – the aim is to help make you better. Most people who use this kind of treatment find that the first drug they take helps a lot, reducing the sense of stress, pressure, or fatigue and enabling them to function more normally. If that doesn’t happen for you, don’t worry – there are plenty more to try. You will need to take them consistently, following your doctor’s advice. If your illness means that you have trouble remembering things, you can get mobile phone apps to help you with this.
Whether or not you decide to take medication, counseling is an invaluable tool in aiding your recovery. It can help you sort out problems in your life – present or past – which contribute to your poor mental health. It can also help you break with bad habits and dealing with intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, and nightmares. You can take control of troubling memories, ward off panic attacks, and much more with the help of training from your therapist. When visiting a counselor in person is impossible or impractical, online therapy is a great alternative, and it’s easy to find the best online therapy service for your particular problem. This means that you can get the help you need wherever you feel safest. It also makes it easy to access follow-up treatment if your symptoms resurface and you find yourself worried about relapse.
Recovering from mental health problems involves a long journey, and it could be years before you feel safe from them returning. However, for most of this journey, you will feel a lot better than you do at your worst. What’s important is to keep doing the work even when you feel better and to be patient with yourself. It’s okay to take your time. Just as walking on a sprained ankle too soon can make it get worse again, pushing yourself too hard too early on can damage your mental health. Follow the advice of your doctor or counselor. Above all, be kind to yourself. Make sure you extend the same sympathy that you would if it were somebody else going through this. Remember that you’re not a weak person for getting ill – you’re a strong person for surviving it.
When you’re at your lowest, committing to recovery is hard, but as you make more and more progress, you’ll be amazed by how good life can feel.