Living with mental illness can be a personal battle between seeking help and maintaining mental health. While medical diagnosis is important, self diagnosis is an on-going process of evaluating current symptoms. The best tips for living with mental illness are based on this on-going self diagnosis and may include seeking help, accepting help, and learning more about mental illness.
Seeking help may be perceived as giving up for some people living with mental illness. The term help does not have to refer to medical intervention and prescription medications, however. People living with mental illness can find help through a variety of avenues, including, therapists, support groups, and Internet support websites. Accepting help when offered is just as important as seeking help.
Giving up control over care is sometimes hard for people suffering from mental illness. Friends and family members may see changes in mood that spark concern. It is important to understand that accepting the help of others, regardless of whether that help is through a personal or professional relationship, does not equate to giving up control. In some cases, accepting help means exploring medical intervention to mute symptoms so therapy is more effective.
The Internet is a good source of information on living with mental illness. Look for websites that are trusted for providing accurate information, such as government websites, educational websites, and medical websites. The url or web address to the website will often display .gov for government, .edu for educational, and .org for hospitals and other medical institutions.
When using self diagnosis to gauge current symptoms, people living with mental illness often find it helpful to keep a journal of mood changes and physical symptoms. Triggers can cause an outbreak of symptoms, so it is important to write down any current events that could be linked to mood changes. Common triggers include change of plans, unexpected life changes, and financial problems. Avoidance can be used to help keep mood changes and symptoms at bay once triggers are noted.
Symptoms of mental illness can come, go, and change. Adaptation is an essential living tip when suffering from a mental illness. Breathing and relaxation exercises may be helpful when symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and panic begin. Some experts recommend thinking back to the potential trigger and changing something in the current moment to avoid elevating stressful emotions. This change can be as simple as taking a walk or calling a friend for a brief conversation about a happy moment in life.