Put Your Mental Health Recovery First

The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of putting my mental health recovery first? "Just Do It!" Yes, that horrible Nike campaign.

What Does Putting Your Recovery First Mean?

First, let's get the sort-of-maybe-boring-but-important part out of the way. The things I must mention out of obligation. Because they are, yesss, important!

Take your damn medication. Yes, please, just take it! It can make your life possible. It can lift the darkness and help you get out of bed; it can slow down a racing mind and speeding heart. It can save your life.

Please sleep 'normally' Or try. Trying is often all we can do. I suffered a bout of insomnia this week. The clock slowly moved to three, four, five a.m. But I slept fine last night. Try not to stress out if you have a bad night or two...but three or four? Check in with your doctor. It can't hurt.

Eat. Simple, right? Not for all of us. I'm not trying to be a narcissist here, but using examples from my own life are sort of important. Having said that, I struggled with disordered eating for many years. Even now, it is still tough. But I eat. And you should too. Medication cannot work as well as it should when we are not nourished.

Stay in touch with your mental health team. Easy enough. Check in even when you feel good. Check in when you feel bad. Just keep the line of communication open.

And now, let's complicate mental health recovery...

To Put Your Recovery First, You Must Avoid Negative Influences

This one was tough for me. Recovering from addiction, I had a slew of negative friends. (Picture: People who hardly sleep and drink tequila for breakfast). Soon, I had no friends. Zero. Surely, I thought, this was better than having 'bad' friends? Yes, yes it is. I put my recovery first. That is why I am writing these words.

Let's use some examples--what kind of outside influences am I alluding to? I like examples almost as much as I like coffee and chocolate. A lot.

So, here we go with possible negative influences to your recovery:

People who drink OK. Don't jump down my throat here. Often, when you take medication you cannot drink. If you have a tough time saying no, well, you might need to find some new social connections. When you stop drinking the first thing you realize is how many people drink (and how much it sort of sucks you cannot).

People who do not support your recovery Honestly, just tell them how it makes you feel--probably pretty damn bad-- and move on. You need people who support you; you need people you can support.

Empathy is a gift. It is a trait learned through adversity.

Fighting with yourself Yes, yourself! I have a feeling many of you know what I mean. When first diagnosed you probably struggle with the news. You wonder, 'who am I?' and you'll find out. Recovery is a journey and it isn't ever easy, but give yourself a break. You deserve it.

The list could span pages, fill a book or two or three, but I only have so many words. I have to put my mental health recovery first too, and that involves balancing work with life.

How do you put your recovery first?

APA Reference
Jeanne, N. (2012, May 24). Put Your Mental Health Recovery First, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 20 from

Author: Natalie Jeanne Champagne

June, 10 2012 at 9:24 pm

The arousal theory made a lot of sense to me that there were either higher or lower levels of sensation seekers. It also made sense that the people who score higher in sensation are the ones who smoke, drink, gamble, and overall take higher risks in today's society. However, it did surprise me that a more exciting lifestyle was not just about thrill and adventure, but also, it was about experience, disinhibition, and boredom susceptibility. It was also surprising to find out that due to different levels of dopamine in our brain, humans have different levels of sensation. If someone has a lower level of dopamine, who has always lived a more relaxed lifestyle, and then gets divorced, why do they end up scoring higher on the sensation scale than those who are single or married? It must not all be biological.

May, 24 2012 at 7:08 am

I try to take my meds 12 hours apart,not always successful though. Also, I try to keep a sense of humor. I have a collection of songs that deal with insanity; (They're coming to take me away;crazy train; am i going insane;). I named them "I'm Nuts 1 & 2".

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