If you are emerging from a period of mental distress, or not able to cope up with work, or feel emotionally tired despite of being physically okay, the most important thing to remember is that you are the only one who is responsible for your mental health and well being.
Although other people can give you advice, encouragement, recommendations and even love, the ultimate person in charge of helping you get better is YOU. There are practical, doable, affordable steps you can take to work on your recovery. By regularly following these steps, you can regain stability and get on with life.
1) Remind Yourself that you are not alone
At some point in their lives, people realize that they have symptoms of mental illness. That’s one-in-five people! Sometimes life hands out more stress than a person can bear. Sometimes a person’s coping skills aren’t up to the task of coping. And sometimes mental health issues seem to descend out of the blue. Whatever the case, mental illness is not something to be ashamed of. Yes, there may be some people in your life who won’t understand or who will blame you, or who will say things that are insensitive or unhelpful. But most people will only want to help.
2) Pay attention to your body as well as your mind
What looks like mental illness isn’t always in a person’s head. If you are feeling uncomfortable in your own skin; if you are feeling emotionally down; if you are experiencing or re-experiencing symptoms of what you know could be a serious mental illness – consult your doctor first. Thyroid disorders, heart problems, even vitamin deficiencies can create symptoms that resemble mental illness. Make sure you are physically healthy before you decide you have a psychological problem. If you find out you are medically fine but you still feel distressed, then it’s time to talk to a mental health professional.
3) Take extra care of your body
Some people say they will take care of themselves once they feel better. It really doesn’t work that way. You will begin to feel better if you pay attention to self-care. Your mind needs a healthy body if you are to recover. Eat regular healthy meals. Limit caffeine and sugar. Get enough sleep and listen to some good relaxing songs while you relax. Go for walks or exercise in whatever way you are comfortable. Take a shower and get dressed in clean clothes every day even if it feels like a lot of useless effort. If you treat yourself as if you are someone worth treating well, you will increase your self worth and be happy with your own skin.
4) Talk to a Therapist
The treatment of choice for most disorders is a combination of medication and conversational therapy. A therapist will provide you support and encouragement. Regular participation in your therapy will help you figure out how you can help yourself better but only if you take it seriously. A therapist is not a mind reader. You need to speak out to him to narrate your life story. A therapist only helps you for the problems you specify though some of them are really good mind readers. For therapy to be effective, you need to dig in and share your thoughts and feelings and to be willing to think carefully about ideas and suggestions your therapist makes.
If you don’t think the therapy is helping you or you don’t like your therapist’s approach, don’t just quit. Talk about it. These are the discussions that often lead to the most important self discovery about what is happening or how best to help.
5) Reach out to Friends and Peers for Help
Isolating (not talking to or spending time with others) may be tempting but it won’t help you. People do need friends who can be around and listen. Call a supportive friend or family member just to talk now and then. You can also join an online forum or support group. Once you are little balanced or recovered you can join some community. Doing things with others for others is the best way to build your own self-esteem.
Recovery from mental illness sometimes does happen like magic, with symptoms disappearing as mysteriously as they arrived. But that’s really, really rare. Most of the time, recovery takes little time. But your professional helpers can be there for assisting you. By committing yourself to self-help, you can regain your stability and your happiness much more quickly and efficiently.