Hopeful Reminders for Someone Beginning a Mental Health Recovery Journey
What is mental health recovery and what does it entail? A true-to-life mental health recovery definition will cover not just getting back to the point of being able to function, but will include more of helping you achieve your best, most-satisfying life. You might have already questioned whether or not you can make the journey at all.
The recovery journey back to health has no ideal to strive for. Everyone’s looks different, custom-made for the traveler, if you will. Most people who have traveled the mental health journey will tell you that their path was rarely, if ever, a straight and steady one—more like a roller coaster or traveling over rolling hills, with plenty of hits and misses, plenty of ups and downs, with setbacks, insights, positive changes, and epiphanies along the way. Recovering your mental health in full will be a gradual process that takes time, and positive changes will happen so subtly, you won’t notice them other than in retrospect.
You may have already noticed that your mental health has had significant impact on your life in several ways regarding such aspects as normal and every day activities, once-familiar friendships, intimate relationships, and your ability to maintain employment and financial security, to name a few. To make matters worse, the more losses you incur, the more you will feel overwhelmed, like you are losing your grip on things.
What can you do to help yourself bounce back? Above all, remember that mental illness is manageable, no matter how bad it may seem at times. Here are some ways to manage your expectations.
- You don’t have to do it ALL. There is no end of advice that you will receive from well-meaning friends and family, and it will likely all sound cliché’ish, like “fortune cookie wisdom.” And it can nudge you toward feeling hopeless and helpless. But you don’t have to do everything you’re told. Do what appeals to you, and what you think you might like, and ignore the rest. It is yourjourney, after all.
- Adjust and adapt. You may find that some approach or other that you’ve found to you cope well, like a certain medication, is beginning to lose its effectiveness. You may find this frustrating. Don’t worry about it. You are the one supplying your own arsenal of tools, so if one stops working, or you can’t keep up with it, just let it go. You’ll find another to replace it.
- This is going to drain you a bit. Managing your mental health can be demanding mentally, emotionally, and even physically, especially for the first few months. Changing negative beliefs and self-defeating talk takes quite a bit of effort, so don’t be surprised. Don’t feel guilty about asking a friend or family member to run an errand for you because you’re just feeling overwhelmed, or about taking a nap if you need to, or about going to bed early on a weekend. Moving in the right direction will take a lot out of you, and that’s OK.
- Your “new normal” is normal.Roll with it. Whether it means regular medication, therapy, rehab, finding a more low-stress job, just roll with it. Your journey isn’t “supposed to look” any particular way. It just looks the way it does. Not better or worse than anyone else’s, because it’s uniquely yours.
- Don’t ever give up on trying to solve the puzzle. If your mental illness ever felt overwhelming, trying to figure out how to manage it can feel even more so, like a puzzle or an equation that you just don’t get at times. Your medication may not be working like you think it should, your therapy sessions and/or rehab may not seem to be getting you anywhere, but don’t ever quit. You will figure the puzzle out eventually, so just learn to enjoy the process.
No matter how many stumbles and discouragements, it is one of those journeys where you will not see how far you’ve gone, until you stop for a rest and look back. As you go along the path of your mental health recovery journey, you will find slowly find pieces of yourself that you may feel you’ve lost. There will be times when you feel like you’re returning to the “you” you’ve come to know.
You got this. Enjoy the ride, and remember that you’re not alone, and that you are worth it.
How are you doing? How is your journey going so far? We’d love to hear from you, even just to talk! If you or someone you love need to talk to someone about mental illness or feelings of being overwhelmed, we want to help. Consider reaching out to our expert team at Solara Mental Health at 844-600-9747.
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