3 Keys for Recovery from Mental Illness
When I reflect on my recovery from mental illness, it comes down to three key factors. This blog will go over these three things. I know how difficult the struggle is with mental illness, so I hope they’re helpful to others.
The First Key to Mental Illness Recovery: Self-Reflection
When I talk about self-reflection, I’m talking primarily about being analytical with your mental health symptoms to notice when they occur, what outside factors were involved, and how they impact you. Paying attention to each of these things can help you identify and assess triggers so you can be more proactive about putting coping techniques in place or even just recognizing when your mental illness symptoms flare up.
Taking time to self-reflect can be done in a number of ways and doesn’t have to be complicated. Whether you want to use some sort of tracker that a therapist or other mental health professional might give you or whether you want to do like I did, which was journaling and writing my feelings out, these can be beneficial to recognizing patterns.
You don’t need to dive in with an analytical perspective at all. You don’t need to start writing, thinking, “What am I going to get out of this?” Just start keeping track and making a note of things, be in the moment, and then go back later to look for patterns and better understand your mental illness.
One other thing I’d like to mention is there may be moments where you see there were no discernable triggers, and that’s okay, too. Sometimes mental illness symptoms flare up without any reason. Even that can be helpful information.
The Second Key to Mental Illness Recovery: Education
Like self-reflection, mental health education can occur in a number of ways, but it’s ultimately about becoming familiar with your mental illnesses, understanding how they impact you, and why. By learning more, you can begin to see the biological and environmental factors, which can also be an asset to your self-reflection. When you know more, you can recognize and understand more, including triggers and symptoms.
You might learn from a mental health professional, from doing your own research, both, or some other combination of ways.
The Third Key to Mental Illness Recovery: Acceptance
Educating myself about my mental illnesses led me to the third key to mental illness recovery: acceptance.
Acceptance of mental illness means taking it for what it is, understanding that it has long-term impacts on my life, and knowing that it may never go away. It potentially sounds bleak, but it’s actually been very freeing for me.
It’s given me the capacity to work with my mental illnesses to find coping strategies and an understanding that’s brought me out of suffering to a state of peace. To me, that’s what recovery truly embodies: no longer suffering from mental illnesses and living a full and good life regardless of their existence.
The Result of Combining My 3 Keys to Mental Illness Recovery
These three concepts—self-reflection, education, and acceptance—have allowed me to truly recognize the biological components of mental illness, helped alleviate self-blame for my struggles, and given me a variety of tools to understand what I have been going through and how to put strategies and tools in place to cope with symptoms.
If these keys to mental illness recovery resonate with you, I’d love to hear about it. Let me know in the comments, or let me know what’s helped you in recovery or taking steps toward recovery if you’re not quite there yet.
Barton, L. (2022, October 17). 3 Keys for Recovery from Mental Illness, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, December 1 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/recoveringfrommentalillness/2022/10/3-keys-for-recovery-from-mental-illness
Author: Laura A. Barton
I don't know if age factors in, but I've suffered for 35 plus years and I just turned 52 and it's been a long struggle. I'm always in recovery.
Sending you virtual hugs, Sharlotte. That's a long time to be in a rough patch, but I'm glad to hear that you're always in recovery. Are there certain steps you take that help you with recovery? (If you're comfortable sharing them, of course!)