When you think of life with a mental health disorder, you might wonder how this will affect your daily routine. Each specific mental health diagnosis will have different symptoms that will affect your life in different ways. How you cope with these symptoms helps to determine how life-altering your mental illness may be.
Other expected changes that come to mind might include taking medications or attending regular doctor appointments. While these are all critical components of living with a mental health condition, there are other important aspects you might not have considered. Just because they are not as obvious doesn’t mean they are not important to be aware of.
As with most health conditions, additional maintenance care is often required beyond taking medications and seeing your provider. This will vary depending on your specific mental health condition and individual needs. Your provider or therapist might recommend additional treatments or lifestyle changes. This could include attending support groups, dieting, exercising, or seeing a specialist.
Such maintenance care can require significant time, energy, and money. As a result, you might be reluctant to follow through with these recommendations. However, the cost is usually less than the consequences of allowing your mental health condition to be inadequately managed. Such consequences can include acute care expenses, loss of employment, and drastic declines in mental health.
Understanding Your Condition
You should see a healthcare provider or therapist who understands your condition. However, you will also need to learn about your condition on your own as well. Some mental health conditions can cause symptoms that can be troublesome or dangerous. This is especially true if you are unaware of their existence or how to manage them.
The more you learn about your condition, the better prepared you can be to recognize and handle these situations if they arise. However, learning this information may require a reasonable amount of time and effort. It can be challenging if you are busy or unfamiliar with the subject matter. It’s essential to make time and bring questions to your provider if something doesn’t make sense.
More to Do, Less to Give
One of the most challenging aspects of having a mental health condition is the effect on your workload. A mental health disorder affects how much work you have to do and your capacity to do that work. It might be a simple task, like taking your daily medications, or more complex, like navigating social situations with severe anxiety. Regardless, it is still additional stress and work that you have to deal with every day.
Unfortunately, more baggage doesn’t mean you will have additional energy to carry it. On the contrary, mental health conditions tend to do the opposite. Even if medicated, you might not have as much energy or mental capacity to accomplish everything on your to-do list. You must consider and weigh every task’s importance as you ration out your limited reserves.
Making self-care a priority is essential when you have a mental health condition. It can help get symptoms under control and keep them that way. Despite how important self-care is, it is often the first thing people forget when busy with work, school, or life. This is especially true with the additional work of managing a mental health disorder. It takes a conscious effort to set aside time and prioritize self-care as part of your daily routine.
Before being diagnosed with a mental health condition, you may or may not have been a social person. Mental illness can lead to increased isolation regardless of how extroverted you are. This can be for various reasons, including shame and stigmas surrounding your condition. The resulting isolation can worsen your mental health, creating a devastating cycle.
Therefore, it is more important than ever that you work on developing a support system. Having people in your life that you can lean on when you are struggling can be invaluable. Surrounding yourself with people who care about you can help you work through your feelings of shame about your condition. A support system can drastically improve your mental state and prevent the cycle of isolation from taking hold.
Cause and Effect
Having a mental health condition is always present. Sometimes, it can be so well managed that it feels negligible. However, you must always be aware of its presence in the background. You have to consider how everything you do will affect your mental health. For example, will watching a sad movie worsen your depression?
You also have to consider the reverse. How will your mental health condition affect the things you do? Is a work project going to suffer because you’re too tired and depressed to give it the attention it needs? If unchecked, your mental health condition can affect work, family, friendships, relationships, and all other aspects of your life. You cannot always prevent it, but awareness can help minimize the adverse effects.
Your Mental Health
Living with a mental health disorder isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. It’s a balance between adjusting to the condition and not letting it control your life. It may be some additional work, but with time you can still live a full and productive life.
Living with a mental health disorder is more than dealing with symptoms and taking medication. Learning about your specific diagnosis is essential to know how you can best manage it. In doing so, you can minimize potential detrimental outcomes and live a full, productive life. At Southern California Sunrise Recovery Center, we understand the importance of teaching our clients how best to manage their mental health disorders. We aim for every client who leaves our facility to have the tools they need to manage their condition successfully. If you or a loved one are living with a mental health disorder and struggling, call us at (714) 942-4143 for more information.