A little over a year ago, I started writing for HealthyPlace. During my time contributing to the website, I learned a lot about myself and how I can better manage my mental health. I also learned about others, how they cope, how they communicate about mental health, and how we can help each other strive for wellness. Writing for HealthyPlace has given more awareness of when depression starts to hit and when to seek help. Read on to learn more about my first year writing for HealthyPlace.
Recovery - Tough Times
Facing the possible side effects of changing antidepressant medication can make trying a different one really scary. You read the list of the medication's side effects and hear all of the horror stories that other people have told. You try to remind yourself that these are their stories and not your own. So you gather up the courage to actually try it. I recently started a psychiatric medicine and have learned many things about how to cope with the side effects of changing antidepressant medication.
The mental health lessons I've learned while writing for HealthyPlace will serve me well as my life changes. I am not a stranger to major life changes. I've undergone quite a few in the last few years, and there are about to be a few more. For this reason, I have to say goodbye to HealthyPlace this week, but not before sharing my mental health lessons and asking you for yours.
One of the most important things I've learned is that depression gets better, but recovering from mental illness is also a work in progress. I'm constantly getting better and then moving backward. It may be a cliche, but there is truth to the idea that mental illness recovery is a journey rather than a race. But in that journey, depression can get better.
While for some, spring helps depression, sometimes there is a worsening of depression in spring. The snow melts, the flowers bloom, and the sun stays out longer. After spending several miserable months indoors, people are more willing (and even excited) to step outside, smell the roses, and enjoy the sunshine. Yet, for others, the warmer weather and longer days are not always enough to counteract depression (Seasonal Affective Disorder [SAD] Symptoms – Who’s at Risk). In this article, I talk about depression worsening in spring and ways that I have learned to cope.
Finding the right therapist in tough times can be challenging. Making the decision to go to therapy is often one of the first steps people take on the road to recovery from mental illness. Mental health therapy offers a wealth of helpful resources that can help you cope with depression, anxiety, or even situational issues like grief. Understanding what to look for in a therapist with these three tips will help you find the right therapist for you.
A mental illness relapse tricked me into thinking I was a fraud. As the author of the blog entitled Getting Through Tough Times, I am required -- by the very delineation of the phrase -- to speak about my own tough times. It’s my job to share obstacles I have overcome and urge other people to do the same (Mental Health 101: Developing Coping Strategies). But recently I’ve felt like a fake, a fraud. I’ve sat in front of a computer screen with my fingers poised above the keys, ready to type a stream of words that sound fancy and wise, and I’ve stood in front of a camera with a bunch of rehearsed clichés, prepared to spout them out robotically. But I could never go through with it because I was struggling with my own form of mental illness relapse. And for those with a history of mental illness, that is what struggling so frequently means (Anatomy Of A Mental Illness Relapse).
The definition of mental illness recovery is a “return to a normal state of health, mind or strength. To regain possession or control of something stolen or lost.” For me, and for others suffering with a mental illness, the loosely named "recovery" is the ultimate goal. To integrate back into normality, to regain the possession of broken faculties, to retrieve the logical mind that has somehow been lost. That is mental illness recovery.
Time after time I told myself I was going to change. Today was the day. All I had to do was make different choices. Choose to be normal. Choose to fit in. Choose to be strong. It was as simple and easy as making the right choice. But I couldn’t do it. Did having a mental illness make me weak?
One of the most memorable mental health therapy sessions I have ever had focused almost entirely on the question “what does your anorexia do for you?" That was it, just those few words, lost on the vast, white surface of the display board. There were no hidden meanings, no underlying hints of the rhetorical. I was simply faced with the one question I had never been seriously asked before: does mental illness serve a purpose? And my mind exploded, shifting perspectives in a rare and colossal flash of clarity.