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!

  1. Believe that recovery is possible and that you deserve to have a life that you enjoy.
  2. Get health insurance or Medicaid.
  3. Take time to find a doctor who is right for you.
  4. Be open to the idea of a treatment plan that may include medication.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Give yourself as much time as possible to recover.
  8. Accept the responsibility of your illness, and commit fully to its treatment.
  9. Know that you are not your illness. Your illness is something you treat.
  10. Keep focusing on the kind of life you want to have, not what you don’t have.
  11. 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).
  12. Get creative with your treatment. Try music and journaling to get through the tough times.
  13. Work at quieting your mind. Meditate daily if you can, and practice gratitude.
  14. Learn about nutrition and eat healthily. Consider incorporating some nutritional supplements into your diet, as appropriate.
  15. Exercise regularly, even if it is just walking.
  16. See your experience with mental illness as a journey and not a destination.
  17. Don’t give up. No matter how hard things get, know that they will get better.
  18. I mean it, don’t give up.
  19. Did I mention not to give up?
  20. In case you thought I was kidding about giving up, I’m not. So don’t do it.

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Written by Maggie Newcomb
Maggie Newcomb Raine is Speaker, Comedian, Writer, and Mental Health Advocate. She advocates for mental illness acceptance and mental health recovery through her speaking presentations, blog and book, Chocolate Pudding in Heaven (available on Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords).+ Learn more about Maggie