Chronic mental illness, as regarded by health professionals, is a medical diagnosis wherein a patient is suffering from the debilitating symptoms of a mental disorder that hamper their normal way of living for an extended period. Mental illnesses materialize in different forms, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. Further, experts agree that chronic mental illness, when left unchecked and improperly diagnosed, can adversely impact an individual’s optimum health and quality of life.
Properly diagnosing chronic mental illness is very important and is said to be the first step to one’s recovery. It’s important to highlight that it requires a licensed specialist to run tests and conclude whether a person is suffering from a chronic mental illness, as this shouldn’t be confused with general feelings of sadness. In some cases, chronic mental illnesses require medication to help manage their symptoms. Self-diagnosis and self-medication are a big no-no when it comes to appropriately dealing with chronic mental disorders.
Have you been diagnosed with a chronic mental illness or do you happen to know somebody dealing with the same ordeal? Fortunately, doctors conclude that living a healthy and fulfilling life is possible despite the diagnosis of a chronic mental illness. Along with a sound treatment plan, different self-help techniques are available as well to help you or your loved ones smartly manage the symptoms of chronic mental illness to experience life at its fullest every waking day.
The following are eight self-help tactics you or your special someone can utilize. Continue reading to learn more.
Table of Contents
1. Seek Professional Help
Seeking professional help means engaging with licensed therapists such as those in Jackson House to help you navigate mental illness and not let it negatively affect your daily life. Some of the advantages of seeking professional help include being able to select from multiple treatment options to help you become better. They include:
- Talk Therapy
Unfortunately, in a society where stigma is attached to mental illness, you may find it difficult to open up about your experiences with the illness. You may fear being judged and misunderstood, especially if people think you don’t have anything to complain about regarding how comfortable your lifestyle may be.
When discussing mental illness, there are many misunderstandings, so talk therapy in a wellness center may help you offload and sort out your thoughts and feelings in a non-judgmental space.
Talk therapy is when the licensed therapists guide conversations with you where you can understand the entire dynamic of the mental illness by speaking about it. This may require you to discuss your childhood traumas and adult experiences that may have influenced your current mental situations.
Having uncovered such dynamics, therapists help you accept and try to move on from the occurrences professionally. Left to your discretion, you may only feel more confused and overwhelmed by emotion.
You may learn techniques that help express yourself when you attend therapy, such as journaling. There are different methods of journaling that all aim to help you sort out your thoughts, feelings, goals, and self-discoveries on paper. The belief is that putting these elements in writing helps clear your mind, and you can then plan forward more efficiently.
- Physical Activities
The therapist may explore various physical activities that may help you cope daily with the ill physiological effects of chronic mental disorders. You can do a myriad of physical activities, such as jogging, dancing, or walking; however, what suits one person might not necessarily work for you. A therapist can determine the activities that you may enjoy best by exploring with you during your time in therapy then you can apply these to your daily life.
When you’re unwell, your body reacts in different ways, and one of the ways is that you may tense up and shallow breathe. During therapy, your counselors may guide you through becoming aware of the parts of your body where you hold the most tension and how to ease it.
Breathwork is taking in deep breaths that fill up your lungs and exhaling so efficiently that you let out the tension your body may be retaining. If the tension in your body isn’t released, you may suffer from physical ailments such as blood clots and heart attacks because of oxygen and blood flow restriction.
- Diet Plan
When in therapy, you may have licensed dieticians who can develop a diet plan that suits your condition best. You’ll be equipped with knowledge about the different brain foods that you can enjoy at particular times of the day, depending on your schedule. It’s best to take such information from experts than the vast body of information online, for example, as many are opinions rather than facts.
2. Let Outdoor Light In
Having harnessed the skills learned in therapy, when at home, one of the first activities in the morning you should consider is to let light in. Allowing outdoor light inside means opening the blinds, curtains, and windows all around the house. It’s believed that natural light helps you release the feel-good hormone known as dopamine, which boosts your mood. The morning breeze will also help you feel awake and somewhat ready to tackle the day that awaits you.
If you still feel like going back into bed, you can do so, as with chronic mental illness comes fatigue in some instances. However, sleeping with the natural light and breeze in your room helps to uplift your mood compared to continuously sleeping in a dark, air-stuffed room.
3. Tidy Up
When you experience bursts of energy, consider tidying up your space. The tidier your space is, the more your mindset is positive. A cluttered area may only bring your mood down more as at the back of your mind; you may be constantly reminded of house chores. Consider hiring cleaning help if tidying up is unbearable at the time.
4. Dress Well
After getting your space in order, you can try to take a refreshing shower or bath and put on your favorite clothing items. Try to brush your hair and teeth and spray one of your go-to fragrances, even if you aren’t leaving the house. When you dress well, you may find that you boost your self-esteem and feel good about yourself. You may then find that you have the energy to tackle the chores and responsibilities you need to; or even spend the entire day outdoors, which may otherwise be physically and mentally draining.
5. Listen To Music
You can listen to a music playlist that uplifts your mood as you dress up for the day. You can search online for ‘feel-good-music’ and have the playlist ready to sound when you wake up. Music is also regarded to be helpful in releasing endorphins, thereby relieving your stress levels. You may find yourself moving along to the beat and singing along, meaning your day is off to a good start.
With the day’s momentum going from waking up to natural light, tidying up and dressing while listening to upbeat music, you may wish to socialize. Chronic mental illness, in some cases, leads to isolation where you hardly take part in outgoing activities as you used to. Your friends hardly get to see you because you’re always at home.
Should you feel up for socializing, you can reach out to a few trusted friends and family members. You don’t necessarily have to throw yourself into many people with loud music playing, as loud sounds may be overwhelming when facing a chronic mental illness. You can enjoy a coffee or a walk in the park with your trusted few, and you may find yourself going out more often after that.
7. Join A Support Group
Joining a support group means finding people in the same mental situation as you are. When facing a chronic mental illness, it’s easy to feel as if you’re the only one going through it, which makes you question whether there is an element that’s wrong with you. Support groups show you that such illnesses are more common than believed, and it’s just that people hardly talk about it.
Consider researching whether there are mental wellness support groups in your community. These may look like fortnightly picnics, dance collectives, or online groups. Together you can share your struggles knowing that you won’t be judged. Plus, you get to learn about how others go about with their mental health struggles.
8. Start A Hobby
A hobby is an activity that you participate in simply because it makes you feel good. It’s also a positive way to pass the time than indulging in escape strategies such as binge drinking and drugs. Perhaps you used to have a hobby; you can consider picking it up again and enjoy rediscovering why you used to love doing it. You can also learn a new hobby by watching tutorial videos that enhance your current skills.
There are many techniques that you can try out to discover the ones that work best for you. Indicated above are some of them. Keep in mind to be gentle, patient, and proud of yourself. You being able to go through an entire day without any hitches while experiencing a mental illness speaks volumes of your determination, courage, and strength. Lastly, don’t discount the help mental health professionals and their expertise, as well as your loved ones and friends, can bring to the table when it comes to your mental wellbeing.
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