How to Make Decisions when Mental Illness Makes It Difficult

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Mental illness symptoms can make decision-making super challenging. Try these tips for making decisions when mental illness blocks you.

How to Make Decisions when Mental Illness Makes It Difficult

Decision-making can be a difficult process for anyone, but for those multiple millions of people living with any type of mental illness, making decisions big or small can be daunting. Racing thoughts and overthinking can prevent a clear path to a conclusion. Worries, “what-ifs” and imagined worst-case scenarios add significant stress to the decision-making process.

Other effects of mental illness interfere with decision-making, too. When someone’s thinking is slowed, deciding upon anything is nearly impossible. Delusional beliefs create confusion. Obsessions, compulsions, or both can slow down or stop the decision-making process.

You don’t have to get stuck, no matter how difficult it is to decide something. Try these tips for making decisions when mental illness blocks you:

  • Clear your mind by taking slow, deep breaths. Go for a short walk to refresh before decision-making.
  • Think about someone you admire. What would they do?
  • List possible choices. Assign each choice a number and roll dice to choose.
  • When you start imagining horrible consequences, let them go. Picture them floating down a river or away on a cloud. Then, return to the present moment to think about your choices right now.
  • Write down one pro and one con for each choice you have. What is most meaningful to you?

Be patient with yourself. It’s one of the best decisions you’ll ever make.

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Your Thoughts

Today's Question: In what ways do your mental illness symptoms make it difficult to make decisions? We invite you to participate by sharing your thoughts, experiences, and knowledge on the HealthyPlace Facebook page.

From the HealthyPlace Mental Health Blogs

On all our blogs, your comments and observations are welcomed.

Feel free to share your thoughts and comments at the bottom of any blog post. And visit the mental health blogs homepage for the latest posts.


From HealthyPlace YouTube Channel

I'm Hannah. I Have Bipolar 2

Bipolar and Anxiety: How It Feels, How to Cope

Living with bipolar disorder AND anxiety can be really tough to deal with. I have been living in uncertainty for a long time, and know what it feels like. However, over the last couple of months, I have learned some ways of thinking that have helped me cope with anxiety and manage bipolar. So I’m sharing what bipolar disorder and anxiety feels like and check out my tips for how to cope. (Watch Hannah and subscribe to the HealthyPlace YouTube channel for more great mental health videos.)


Most Popular HealthyPlace Articles Shared by Facebook Fans

Here are the top 3 mental health articles HealthyPlace Facebook fans are recommending you read:

  1. Is a Minor Illness Making Your Depression Worse?
  2. How Alcohol Abuse Affects Women
  3. Get Help for Schizoaffective Disorder: Running vs Walking

If you're not already, I hope you'll join us/like us on Facebook too. There are a lot of wonderful, supportive people there.


Mental Health Quote

"What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, more unashamed conversation about illnesses that affect not only individuals, but their families as well."

Read more mental health quotes.


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APA Reference
Peterson, T. (2019, March 19). How to Make Decisions when Mental Illness Makes It Difficult, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 14 from

Last Updated: March 21, 2019

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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