When you first get diagnosed with a mental health illness of any form, it can seem so daunting and overwhelming. Sometimes it can even be a relief to finally know what’s going on inside your mind and be able to go forward with your recovery now you’re aware of just what it is you’re suffering with. In no way does that mean it is easy (if only it was, huh?). Its complicated and sometimes it can be messy. But it is a learning process and a challenge that brings the greatest personal achievements and growth no matter how big or small they may be. Suffering from a mental illness teaches you so many important things about yourself and the world around you. It’s always good to keep in mind some of these things to help you through even the darkest of times and use your experience and knowledge as a way to help other people. Here are some important things to remember when you with suffer with any mental health illness:
Recovery isn’t a straight line – This is one thing I wish someone would have told me when I first started suffering with mental health and seeked professional help for it. I wish someone would have said you won’t just get better over night or in a few weeks or even months. I wish someone would have told me that it can take time to start seeing changes and results. Because I was made to believe that I would get better quickly and it would all go away. But sadly it doesn’t. Recovery isn’t a straight line of continued ups and ups until you’re free from the illness. Yes, maybe for some this does work and you could even consider it a miracle.
But recovery isn’t a straightforward process. It takes much needed time. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication. It takes a lot of willpower and encouragement to stick to. But it can happen. And it will happen. You will experience setbacks. You’ll have days when you’ll feel on top of the world and like nothing could ever stop you. You’ll have obstacles that try to get in your way and sometimes they will stop you, but that’s ok. Because you get back up again! It will all be ok. It will work out. Just keep on believing in yourself and in recovery. These things do take time and patience. But belief is so important.
Everyone’s journey is different – So many people out there suffer with mental health illnesses of different kinds. It is becoming increasingly more common with 1 in 4 of us suffering. This also means that even though you might suffer with the same type of mental illness as someone else, it doesn’t always necessarily mean you will experience it in the exact same way. Some people can suffer for longer periods than other people find they do. Some experience it on a more difficult level than other people do. Some people are better at managing different symptoms than other people do, whilst others might struggle to deal with the same symptoms. It’s so individual and specific. Everyone will have experienced something so personal to them. They will also handle theirs in a way that is more tolerable for them. This is what makes the journey through the illness so different and specific. So never feel bad if you can’t cope in the same way another can. Don’t feel bad that you can’t overcome something in the same way or in the same time frame someone else has. Your journey is yours. Not anyone elses.
Mental illnesses will try lie to you – I think this is something I’m still trying to get my head around and even try not to believe at times. But mental illnesses continue to exist because they feed you lies about yourself, other people around you, your future, your past, the present, anything and everything it will try to lie to you about. They will try to convince you that things are wrong or that you are wrong. They try to twist your judgement regarding certain things and try to take any hope you have away from you, as well as trying to decrease your self confidence. But that’s the thing about pain. It lies. The more you decide not to to the lies your mental illness tries to tell you, the easier it will be to make your rational and confident side of you speak out louder, going above and beyond the lies!
Time heals – It truly is the biggest healer. Time is sometimes all we really need. We have to be patient and trust time. Because nothing lasts forever. Not even the good stuff. So if you’re going through a really hard time, just remember that it won’t be like this forever. It will pass. Time will heal. It’s all about balance in life. Things always get better. Not matter how long it takes or how difficult it may be, it will and can get better. Mental illnesses are like storms. They end up running out of energy and power, so eventually they will quieten down for sometime. This is times doing it’s part and healing your suffering. Put your faith in time and drive that self belief!
It is smaller than you are – Even though it really may not feel like it, but you are somewhat in control of your mental illness. I know it feels like you’re not and that you never asked for it. Of course you never asked for it. But it is smaller than you are. You are in control of it. You don’t operate within it. You were there before it began and you still continue to exist with or without it. And even after all the suffering you can STILL exist. Don’t ever let your mental illness let you believe that you are smaller or weaker than it is. Because you’re not. You’re so strong and powerful. You’re in control of you. You call the shots!
You’re never alone – Mental health illnesses have the tendency to do that ol’ lying game again when they try to make you feel so very alone and isolated from the world around you. They can convince you that no one cares about you and that you haven’t got any support. But the reality is that you are not alone. As we mentioned, so many people suffer with mental health illnesses. You’re never alone. Because there will be someone else going through similiar as to what you are. You may think that no one cares, but don’t you care about you? See! That’s a start. Someone does care. You care about you. And if you don’t care about yourself, then start doing it now! Care about yourself. You deserve to nourish yourself with care and love. You are worth all of it and more. I’m sure there are also other people in your life who do care. Whether that’s a friend, your partner, your family, your pet, a neighbour, a colleague, a teacher, a therapist, a doctor etc. There are so many people who do care.
There’s always hope – Hope is something we all grab onto through times of hardship and also times of good when we really hope something works out in the way we really want it to. When suffering with mental health, you so desperately hold onto any hope that you have to get through what you’re going through and you even depend on hope to help you see a brighter future. Don’t ever let anyone try to take that hope away from you. Sometimes that’s all someone has. So taking that away from the individual is just harsh and can prevent them from ever moving forward. Hope is what we all cling onto when we need it. Start using hope to drive any beliefs in yourself. Once you can start believing in yourself, you will help limit the lies and aid your recovery.
What important things do you remember when suffering with your mental health illness or through any more challenging moments within your life?