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How To Deal With Mental Illness Successfully

Aug 11, 2008
The most difficult thing to deal with when you have been diagnosed with mental illness may be the stigma attached to it. Learning how to cope and deal with other people's perceptions of you, may make you feel like hiding your problems. This can make life even more stressful than it already is because of your illness.

The first thing to realize that will help you cope with your problem is that it is, in fact, an illness. It is not something you made up. It is not something you can control, or choose. It is not, and probably the most common misconception others may have surrounding mental illness, a matter of you feeling sorry for yourself.

You have an illness. The good news is it is a treatable illness. Once you yourself come to grips with the truths surrounding your mental illness, truths regarding the misconceptions that you also have had ingrained from birth by society, you will be able to face others with the self confidence and assurance that will give them pause to realize you are not defined by an illness.

Treat your illness as something that is a matter of fact, when talking about it with others. Hiding it won't make it go away, and will only make you seem evasive and untrustworthy. Not making a huge issue of it, and yet accepting and explaining the realities of it calmly allow it to be simply a statement of your physical well being rather than a scary unknown emotional instability.

The realities of mental illness are things you can help to control along with medications that soothe the physical triggers of mental illness. You know what triggers your own bouts of mental illness whether it's manic or depression, or any of the other mental illnesses. Everyone has different triggers so knowing what works for you may not work for the guy next to you even if he has exactly the same illness.
Some things tend to go along with all forms of mental illness. The need for stability in routine is a very common factor in patients with mental illness.

Feeling overwhelmed often accompanies something as simple as a task that is too large or broad to be easily defined so it is easy to get too scattered in your approach to it, and it leaves you feeling like you can't do it.

Order your days and any situations you face in small groups of things to do in order to accomplish each goal. That will help you feel a sense of accomplishment while also giving you the assurance that you are in control of the situation, and it is not too big to handle.

Give yourself credit for being human. While a lot of issues you face are compounded by your illness, the fact is most of those things that are so highlighted by your disease that they seem out of proportion, or make you feel singled out, are really things that happen to everybody and not something to get upset over.

Keep yourself busy. Staying active and involved in both social activities and hobbies goes a long way to helping those with mental illnesses cope on a daily basis. There is a tendency to draw back from others because you may feel insecure about how they will react to you. Give them a chance and you may be surprised at how open your friends and others will treat you. If people drawback, then shrug it off. It is there loss. That happens to anybody not just you, and you can't help how someone else is going to react.

Keep yourself healthy. Regular exercise is a great way to keep yourself feeling good both physically and mentally. Regulate your alcohol consumption as it can aggravate mental illnesses and make things worse.
Above all else, enjoy your life and have a positive attitude. You can live a healthy, happy life while learning to control your mental illness.
About the Author
Ronen David is the chairman of "Malam" (an Israeli organization supporting and representing those dealing with mental disabilities). He is the author of the "How to Cope With Psychosis & Schizophrenia Self Help Handbook".
Visit his web site and learn Dealing With Schizophrenia
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