Living with mental health issues is hard. At times the issues can overwhelm your life, keeping you isolated and lonely. At other times, it can make risky situations worse causing other problems that need to be managed. In my years as a therapist, I have worked with people struggling with so many mental health issues, from depression and anxiety, to dissociative identity disorder and schizophrenia. I will tell you the same thing I tell all my patients. Mental health issues can be managed with therapy and medication, and they are not something that will end your quality of life. Taking care of yourself becomes important when you have mental health issues, and if you do that, being happy is still the goal.
There are many mental health issues out there, and getting support from a professional is where to start. Let someone help you sort out the issues and develop a plan to manage the issues. For some people, medication can help offset a chemical imbalance, and make a world of difference in your quality of life. Just remember that the medication is long term, not a cure like antibiotics for an infection. Many people seem to think that mental health medication is something you can take for a while, then stop and be cured. It doesn’t work that way. If medication is helping you, stay on it! Going off medication without support can result in multiple issues that put you and people around you at risk. Think of it like medication for cholesterol, or heart disease. You take meds for those to manage the problem. Mental health meds are similar in that if you take them they work. If you don’t take them, they stop working and you can struggle again, and things can become a mess.
You can also let a therapist help you develop long term skills to help you manage, with or without medication. Therapists can help you learn mindfulness, anger management skills, frustration tolerance, and so many more. They can teach relationship skills, how to get in and out of relationships, and how to identify “red flags” that need to be addressed in relationships. There are so many programs out there, and self-help books, and they all have good information, but at times, it’s important to have that extra set of eyes to process information in a way that will work for you.
The most important thing to know is that you are not alone. Being diagnosed with depression or anxiety isn’t the end of the world. Many mental health disorders can be managed with support and an understanding of what needs to be done. When people get diagnosed with diabetes, they learn to manage the issue through different options, from medication to eating right. If you were diagnosed with a mental health condition, learn about your treatment options and develop a plan. You don’t have to be afraid of a mental health diagnosis.
Living with mental health issues is possible. With the right support and treatment plan, you can be successful, engaged in life, and in health relationships. It may take more work, but it’s worth it. Get the support you need, and be happy, for life.