Treating mental illness is complicated and these 20 tips are just an overview of what worked for me when recovering from a manic and depressive episode. It’s not for everyone. Use what works for you and let go of the rest. And more important discover even better ways!
- Believe that recovery is possible and that you deserve to have a life that you enjoy.
- Get health insurance or Medicaid.
- Take time to find a doctor who is right for you.
- Be open to the idea of a treatment plan that may include medication.
- Don’t be afraid to ask family and friends for help, or to tell them how they can best help you. Contact organizations for no-cost or low-cost support and for information on resources.
- Stick with your treatment plan and do not go off your medication. Give the meds enough time to fully work. Talk to your doctor if you want to try others.
- Give yourself as much time as possible to recover.
- Accept the responsibility of your illness, and commit fully to its treatment.
- Know that you are not your illness. Your illness is something you treat.
- Keep focusing on the kind of life you want to have, not what you don’t have.
- Find or develop a hobby or activity in your life that brings you joy and gives you something to live for (art, dancing, gardening, acting. Stand-up comedy, bungee-jumping, power-knitting, robot-building, whatever).
- Get creative with your treatment. Try music and journaling to get through the tough times.
- Work at quieting your mind. Meditate daily if you can, and practice gratitude.
- Learn about nutrition and eat healthily. Consider incorporating some nutritional supplements into your diet, as appropriate.
- Exercise regularly, even if it is just walking.
- See your experience with mental illness as a journey and not a destination.
- Don’t give up. No matter how hard things get, know that they will get better.
- I mean it, don’t give up.
- Did I mention not to give up?
- In case you thought I was kidding about giving up, I’m not. So don’t do it.
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