Mental Health Recovery Starts With Acceptance and Staying on Course

Reviewed Oct 13, 2016

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Summary

Learn more about:

  • Professional support
  • Spiritual support

Like many physical conditions, it takes time to accept that you have a mental illness. At first, most people feel confused, angry, and afraid. This is a normal response. Don’t let it stop you from getting the help you need. Some people actually feel a sense of relief to find out why they feel the way they do. The truth is that mental illnesses are real sicknesses. Just as real as diabetes or cancer. They have well-known causes and many treatment choices. With proper health care most people with mental illnesses get better. On the other hand, without proper care people can get worse.

Recovery tips

Here are tips to help you get on the road to recovery.

1. Learn about your illness. Ask your doctor to make it clear to you in plain language. Ask about books, websites, and other resources so you can learn about your illness. The more you know, the less scary it will be.

2. Never let your illness define who you are. Your mental illness can change how you think and feel. But you are still the worthwhile person you were born as. Having an illness does not change all the good things about you.

3. Get rid of shame. It just gets in the way. Nobody wants or deserves a mental illness any more than they would want or deserve to have the flu. Illness happens to everyone. Having a mental illness can be a journey in isolation unless you reach out to others. This is easier said than done. When we feel overwhelmed and unsure we tend to pull away from others.

There are two main reasons for this. First, many people don’t know how to talk about their illnesses. Second, many feel they would be burdening friends or family members with it. You can get rid of the shame and get on the road to recovery by telling those people who you are close to. When your family and close friends answer with love and support it’s easier to accept yourself and your illness.

4. Find support from others with the same illness. Your doctor may know of support groups in your area. There are support groups in almost every community in North America. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (www.nami.org) has good information about mental illnesses and area support groups. Talking with others with a similar illness can really help. Learning how others cope with their illnesses will remind you that you are not alone. The wisdom and support found in these support groups is priceless.

Professional support

There are times when having any illness becomes too much to bear. Even with good support. This is why professional counseling is so worthy. Talking with someone who is well trained can help you better learn how to take charge of your life and cope with your illness.

Another option to consider is talking with a recovery support specialist. These professionals may also be called peer support specialists. They are people who have also had mental illnesses, are now in recovery, and are professionally trained to support other people with mental illnesses. They can work with you to help you determine what you want to do to get well and stay well. Most mental health agencies now have recovery support specialists on staff.

Spiritual support

Life can be hard. Some of our questions just cannot be answered by doctors or counselors. But faith and religious groups offer a wide range of spiritual support and direction for people and families. Belonging to a church, synagogue, or mosque means belonging to a fellowship of people seeking a higher power while caring for each other. For some, just talking to a clergy person or lay minister gives peace and comfort.

Accepting your diagnosis is hard. It is the first step on the road to recovery.

By Drew Edwards, MS, EdD
Reviewed by Ravi Doshi, Peer & Family Support Specialist, Beacon Health Options

Summary

Learn more about:

  • Professional support
  • Spiritual support

Like many physical conditions, it takes time to accept that you have a mental illness. At first, most people feel confused, angry, and afraid. This is a normal response. Don’t let it stop you from getting the help you need. Some people actually feel a sense of relief to find out why they feel the way they do. The truth is that mental illnesses are real sicknesses. Just as real as diabetes or cancer. They have well-known causes and many treatment choices. With proper health care most people with mental illnesses get better. On the other hand, without proper care people can get worse.

Recovery tips

Here are tips to help you get on the road to recovery.

1. Learn about your illness. Ask your doctor to make it clear to you in plain language. Ask about books, websites, and other resources so you can learn about your illness. The more you know, the less scary it will be.

2. Never let your illness define who you are. Your mental illness can change how you think and feel. But you are still the worthwhile person you were born as. Having an illness does not change all the good things about you.

3. Get rid of shame. It just gets in the way. Nobody wants or deserves a mental illness any more than they would want or deserve to have the flu. Illness happens to everyone. Having a mental illness can be a journey in isolation unless you reach out to others. This is easier said than done. When we feel overwhelmed and unsure we tend to pull away from others.

There are two main reasons for this. First, many people don’t know how to talk about their illnesses. Second, many feel they would be burdening friends or family members with it. You can get rid of the shame and get on the road to recovery by telling those people who you are close to. When your family and close friends answer with love and support it’s easier to accept yourself and your illness.

4. Find support from others with the same illness. Your doctor may know of support groups in your area. There are support groups in almost every community in North America. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (www.nami.org) has good information about mental illnesses and area support groups. Talking with others with a similar illness can really help. Learning how others cope with their illnesses will remind you that you are not alone. The wisdom and support found in these support groups is priceless.

Professional support

There are times when having any illness becomes too much to bear. Even with good support. This is why professional counseling is so worthy. Talking with someone who is well trained can help you better learn how to take charge of your life and cope with your illness.

Another option to consider is talking with a recovery support specialist. These professionals may also be called peer support specialists. They are people who have also had mental illnesses, are now in recovery, and are professionally trained to support other people with mental illnesses. They can work with you to help you determine what you want to do to get well and stay well. Most mental health agencies now have recovery support specialists on staff.

Spiritual support

Life can be hard. Some of our questions just cannot be answered by doctors or counselors. But faith and religious groups offer a wide range of spiritual support and direction for people and families. Belonging to a church, synagogue, or mosque means belonging to a fellowship of people seeking a higher power while caring for each other. For some, just talking to a clergy person or lay minister gives peace and comfort.

Accepting your diagnosis is hard. It is the first step on the road to recovery.

By Drew Edwards, MS, EdD
Reviewed by Ravi Doshi, Peer & Family Support Specialist, Beacon Health Options

Summary

Learn more about:

  • Professional support
  • Spiritual support

Like many physical conditions, it takes time to accept that you have a mental illness. At first, most people feel confused, angry, and afraid. This is a normal response. Don’t let it stop you from getting the help you need. Some people actually feel a sense of relief to find out why they feel the way they do. The truth is that mental illnesses are real sicknesses. Just as real as diabetes or cancer. They have well-known causes and many treatment choices. With proper health care most people with mental illnesses get better. On the other hand, without proper care people can get worse.

Recovery tips

Here are tips to help you get on the road to recovery.

1. Learn about your illness. Ask your doctor to make it clear to you in plain language. Ask about books, websites, and other resources so you can learn about your illness. The more you know, the less scary it will be.

2. Never let your illness define who you are. Your mental illness can change how you think and feel. But you are still the worthwhile person you were born as. Having an illness does not change all the good things about you.

3. Get rid of shame. It just gets in the way. Nobody wants or deserves a mental illness any more than they would want or deserve to have the flu. Illness happens to everyone. Having a mental illness can be a journey in isolation unless you reach out to others. This is easier said than done. When we feel overwhelmed and unsure we tend to pull away from others.

There are two main reasons for this. First, many people don’t know how to talk about their illnesses. Second, many feel they would be burdening friends or family members with it. You can get rid of the shame and get on the road to recovery by telling those people who you are close to. When your family and close friends answer with love and support it’s easier to accept yourself and your illness.

4. Find support from others with the same illness. Your doctor may know of support groups in your area. There are support groups in almost every community in North America. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (www.nami.org) has good information about mental illnesses and area support groups. Talking with others with a similar illness can really help. Learning how others cope with their illnesses will remind you that you are not alone. The wisdom and support found in these support groups is priceless.

Professional support

There are times when having any illness becomes too much to bear. Even with good support. This is why professional counseling is so worthy. Talking with someone who is well trained can help you better learn how to take charge of your life and cope with your illness.

Another option to consider is talking with a recovery support specialist. These professionals may also be called peer support specialists. They are people who have also had mental illnesses, are now in recovery, and are professionally trained to support other people with mental illnesses. They can work with you to help you determine what you want to do to get well and stay well. Most mental health agencies now have recovery support specialists on staff.

Spiritual support

Life can be hard. Some of our questions just cannot be answered by doctors or counselors. But faith and religious groups offer a wide range of spiritual support and direction for people and families. Belonging to a church, synagogue, or mosque means belonging to a fellowship of people seeking a higher power while caring for each other. For some, just talking to a clergy person or lay minister gives peace and comfort.

Accepting your diagnosis is hard. It is the first step on the road to recovery.

By Drew Edwards, MS, EdD
Reviewed by Ravi Doshi, Peer & Family Support Specialist, Beacon Health Options

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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