Taking Responsibility for Your Mental Illness
Mental illness is never our fault, but we need to take responsibility for our mental illness. The cause of mental illness is still debated among scientific communities, with the general consensus being that it is some combination of genetics, environment, and biology. We are not at fault for the type of parenting we grew up with or our family's medical history. We are not at fault for being born into poverty or developing certain personality traits. But none of these things excuse us from taking responsibility for our mental illness.
Why We Should Take Responsibility for Our Mental Illness
In most cases, mental illness is not a physically visible ailment. This means that it can go undetected not only by others but also by us. Mental illness does not always have the advantage of being conspicuously debilitating, which allows it to develop and grow without intervention.
The first line of defense against mental illness, then, is us. We should know our family history of mental illness, learn how to detect the early signs, and have the conviction and self-awareness to seek help as soon as we can. Early intervention is the best way to keep mental illness from taking too strong a hold, but it is a decision only we can make for ourselves.
If it's the case that those close to us are expressing concern, it is likely that our perception has been warped by mental illness to the point where we are not seeing ourselves clearly. In this case, again, it is our responsibility to have the conviction and self-awareness to believe those closest to us and seek help.
How We Can Take Responsibility for Our Mental Illness
As mentioned, being aware of our personal risks and triggers and responding promptly to early symptoms of mental illness is the first act of responsibility we can make. But that is not where our job ends.
Mental illness is a lifelong responsibility to bear. For many of us, it will require daily assessment and management of symptoms. It helps to break it down the responsibilities in day-to-day increments. For instance, we can commit to making and attending sessions with any therapists, psychologists, or psychiatrists overseeing our care. We can also commit to taking and monitoring the effects of any medications we are prescribed and report back truthfully to our treatment team.
Beyond these more administrative tasks, we can make personal commitments such as talking to a loved one when we are struggling instead of withdrawing into ourselves. We can experiment with different healthy coping mechanisms and use our favorite ones in times of distress. Taking concrete steps to combat the symptoms and making them part of our routine is the most effective and sustainable way to live with mental illness.
In a broader sense, we can take responsibility for our mental illness not letting it take over our lives. We take responsibility by not letting it keep us from our goals, from happy memories, from meaningful relationships. No one can live that responsibility for us. It is ours and ours alone.
Chang, K. (2019, October 10). Taking Responsibility for Your Mental Illness, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, October 30 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/copingwithdepression/2019/10/taking-responsibility-for-your-mental-illness
Author: Kayla Chang
I am not responsible for having these illnesses. But I an responsible for learning to make my best life with it.