Steps Toward Recovery
Presented to inpatients at Abington Memorial Hospital, Abington, PA and Horsham Clinic (Ambler, PA) at New Directions’ monthly “Inspirational Talks.”
Your mind is the most important thing you own: Your ability to think, to reason, to feel, to love, to relate, to work. Let nothing stop you from preserving or developing the fine qualities of your mind. Recovery from mental illness is indeed possible, even in the smallest steps. By recovery, we mean that we acknowledge we have a mental illness, a condition that never goes away. Yet every day of our lives we use every available tool to maintain a healthy mind. This is the job of your life. It takes nothing less than your full attention and all of your effort. In time, it will become second nature.
Each and every one of these keys is vital to your recovery. Most important is the knowledge that Recovery from Mental Illness is Possible. By this we mean that mood swings, for which there is no cure, can be stabilized through medication and lifestyle changes. And that a good quality of life is truly possible.
Each and every one of these steps is vital to your recovery.
- Find the very best psychiatrist you can. Pay out of pocket if necessary.
- Take the right medication.
- Get talk therapy.
- Educate yourself about your illness and your medication. Use the Internet, if desired.
- Develop and assiduously follow a daily routine, a daily schedule, or a “To Do” list. This is vital, particularly if you are not working.
- Leave home at least once a day. Rely on scheduling “external events.” This means an appointment outside the home with a set time, such as a doctor’s appointment, a lunch appointment, an adult evening class, a book discussion group, to make sure you get out of the house. Our house can be our “worst enemy.
- Develop a strong support network. Include family and friends whom you trust. Join a support group and talk to other like-minded people.
- Make a list of people you can phone to “cheer you up” in times of need.
- Learn to manage stress and anger.
- Stay active and involved at work, in volunteer jobs or in other meaningful pursuits. Don’t be a stay-at-home. Your health is contingent upon how important you feel as a human being. Do things that make you feel important. Small things count, like watering your flowers, taking care of your dog or babysitting your grandchildren.
- Make a practice of spending time with people who make you feel good about yourself. It is extremely important to limit the time you spend with people who put you down and give out negative energy.
- Practice a healthy lifestyle: Regular sleep – regular medication times – – eat nutritious foods – exercise regularly.
- Seek spirituality. “Nature” or “art” or “literature” are examples of spirituality.
- Sublimate (creating good things out of adversity): Write poetry, do art, keep a journal, dance, sew, garden.
- Reach out to help others. People who have a mental illness have an extraordinary ability to help other people. This is one of the best ways to help yourself. Make a practice of doing “Good Deeds.” They will make you feel good about yourself. You will also feel important that you have helped someone else.
- Develop strong Faith and Belief in your ability to recover.
- Realize you are more than just a person with a mood disorder. You are a whole person, whose love and gifts help make the world move forward. Don’t let the illness get the best of you!
- Pursue the Wonderful!