10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My Mental Health Journey

It’s amazing how much mental health has changed in the last decade. The stigma of seeking therapy has significantly decreased, and there are now apps that allow you to manage your mental health daily. As someone who’s struggled with anxiety and depression, I couldn’t be happier with the progress we’ve made in this area. But it wasn’t always like this, and there are still people out there who need help but can’t afford it or don’t know where to start.


10 Things You Should Know When You Start Mental Health Journey

Mental health journey

There are some things you should know when you start your mental health journey. A lot of people think that depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder is a weakness. In reality, it’s a medical illness with different forms and symptoms. The stigma surrounding mental illness can be horrible as well as harmful to those who suffer from it. Unfortunately, there is also a lack of understanding about mental health which makes it hard for many to cope with everyday situations. To make your life easier, here are 10 things I wish someone had told me when I started my mental health journey:


Realize It Will Take Time


There is no easy way around it, but you will have to give yourself some time to heal. If you want to be truly happy with your life and everything in it, including your mental health, then you need to start making changes now—and that means taking things one day at a time. That doesn’t mean waiting until tomorrow or next week. It means setting realistic goals for yourself and sticking with them. You don’t have to make huge improvements each day.

All you need is small steps in order to get where you want to go. The process might seem long sometimes. But it will lead you exactly where you want to be if you are patient enough to see it through. Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.

~Buddha ~~~

If there is anything that we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves. ~C.G. Jung ~~~Realize That

You Are Not Alone


You might be surprised by how many people are also struggling with their mental health. In fact, 1 in 5 Americans experiences mental illness in a given year. The isolation you’re feeling is partially due to the negative stigma around mental illness. It’s easy to feel like you’re weird or that something is wrong with you for struggling, but remember that what you’re experiencing isn’t unique. It happens to lots of people every day. The more we talk about mental health and combat stigma, the easier it will be for everyone who struggles with their own journey. Your life can get better if you let it.

If you are looking for resources on how to get started, try searching online or asking friends or family if they have any recommendations. It’s never too late to start your journey. Remember: no one has ever solved their problems without talking about them first! With your network as support, you’ll make your way through whatever roadblocks or detours come up as you go. Be sure to talk with your doctor as well. They may even know of services that could help you directly through your work insurance provider.


Realize Nothing Will Be Easy


If you think coming out with a mental illness will be easy, you’re wrong. It’s not. You may have panic attacks and feel like you don’t know what to do or where to go or who to talk to and how in the world are you going to go back to work when it’s clear that your mind isn’t in a stable place? That sucks! But here is my advice: remember that even when things get tough, they always get better.

You may think your life is over or that there is no way out, but there is always a way out, especially when it comes to mental health. Give yourself time to adjust to your new mindset, find people who support you even if they aren’t close by. Start exercising more regularly because making physical activity part of your routine can help with depressive symptoms), practice healthy coping mechanisms daily, eat more fruits and vegetables (because eating healthy foods can make you feel less anxious), sleep more often (because sleeping regularly decreases stress), etc. Every day just keeps on trying. Sooner than later things will start getting easier for you. They really will.


Realize That People Will Have Good Days and Bad Days


If you’re dealing with depression, anxiety, or another mental health issue, there will be some days when you won’t feel like getting out of bed. And that’s okay! The key is to not let these days define your entire mental health journey. One bad day does not mean you are doomed forever. It just means that today wasn’t your day. Remember that all people have good days and bad days; it may take a while to learn how to get through them, but practice makes perfect.

You can do it! Once you realize that everyone has off days, it becomes much easier to cope with feeling down—you understand that other people experience what you’re going through as well. Believe me: Your life is still worth living even if one particular day isn’t great. You might need someone else’s help moving forward from that moment, but all human beings need support from others at some point in their lives. Feeling bad doesn’t make you weak, nor does feeling lost make you incompetent. Feeling inadequate doesn’t make anyone less capable of making important decisions–quite the opposite. Feelings tell us what we think about things, which means feelings can help inform our decisions if we pay attention to them and don’t try to ignore them away.


Realize That There Are Times You Will Feel Better


It took me a while to realize that life doesn’t have to be so hard. In fact, there are even times when things can get better! It can be scary to imagine feeling happy, especially if you have been unhappy for so long. But it’s important to know that no matter how bad you feel, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and sometimes it isn’t just a train coming at you.

Learn from your mistakes: What do we learn from our mistakes? We learn not to repeat them! However, in addition to learning from your mistakes, it’s also important not to beat yourself up about them. The only way you will ever succeed is if you try and fall short sometimes. If you’re lucky enough to achieve success, make sure you revel in your accomplishments but don’t let those successes go to your head. Focus on putting out quality work and remaining humble; it will serve you well as time goes on. Surround yourself with positive people: One of my biggest regrets is choosing my ex-boyfriend as a friend. While he may not have been evil or violent or anything like that, he had an extremely negative effect on my mental health.


Realize That Other People’s Opinions Do Not Matter


As someone with mental health issues, you may be used to feeling like everyone else is right. It’s important to realize that no one else will ever get you as you get yourself. You are unique and your issues are unique. People can’t relate to what you’re going through if they haven’t experienced it themselves, but that doesn’t mean their opinions don’t matter. It just means that their opinions aren’t always accurate.

The only thing that should matter is your opinion of yourself. If you don’t love who you are then work on changing that; there isn’t anything wrong with working on improving yourself for your own sake because self-improvement can lead to fulfillment in life. For example, learning new skills or trying new things can give your life direction and bring out a more enthusiastic side of you than exists currently. Learning about different types of people and experiences helps increase empathy—which we all need anyway! Overall, getting rid of others’ opinions about yourself allows you to focus on how you want other people to view/view you: positively! Others cannot make us feel inadequate unless we let them.


Realize There Is Life after Medication


While medication can be effective in treating symptoms of mental illness, it isn’t a cure and must be taken every day to maintain effectiveness. Recognize that mental health is as much about managing emotions as it is about using the medicine. And remember, too, that different medications affect different people differently—and those effects might change over time. If your initial prescription isn’t working as well as you like or has side affects you can’t handle, don’t give up! Talk to your doctor and see if there are other options for treatment; medications can be altered significantly to make them more tolerable and effective for your unique condition. And know that finding an antidepressant that works for you doesn’t mean you have to stay on it forever—they typically need to be taken daily, but adjustments can occur after several months.


Realize It Is Ok To Talk About Mental Health


The biggest mental health hurdle to overcome is finding it acceptable to talk about one’s mental health. Whether it’s with friends or family, or even professionals such as therapists and psychiatrists, speaking up about your feelings and acknowledging your struggles will prove invaluable down the road. No one can read your mind.

If you tell someone what you’re going through, they will be more able to help you and support you. Taking that first step toward seeking help and support is perhaps one of the toughest mental health hurdles we face — but it also holds massive benefits in terms of our overall happiness and wellbeing. It’s OK not to feel OK sometimes. You have a right to seek treatment if that makes you happy. If it doesn’t, at least you tried everything possible before giving up on yourself. Take care of yourself!


Realize That If You Need Help, Ask For It


Many people experience mental health challenges, but not everyone feels comfortable discussing them. Sometimes, even if we feel like we want to seek help, it can be hard to do so because of what others may think or say about us seeking out therapy or medication. So remember that you’re not alone and it’s OK to ask for help if you need it. And there are many resources available. It’s also vital to find a therapist who supports your lifestyle choices. You shouldn’t feel judged or shamed for seeking out therapy. Instead, you should feel supported and encouraged by your practitioner as you work through issues in your life.

Find someone who will listen with empathy and compassion—someone who will genuinely try to understand where you’re coming from. If you have difficulty finding someone like that, consider consulting with more than one therapist before making a commitment to treatment. While some practitioners focus on medication, most therapists use cognitive behavioral therapy techniques during sessions designed to bring relief from symptoms rather than eliminate any particular diagnosis. This type of approach tends to result in longer-lasting changes while fostering insight into causes of problems that exist outside any one person’s influence. As part of CBT, therapists ask clients to identify dysfunctional thoughts and beliefs behind their depressive symptoms.


Realize There Is No Cure


If you’re suffering from an anxiety disorder, depression, or any other form of mental illness, you may feel like your best days are behind you. You might worry that whatever has put you in such a bad place is permanent and untreatable. The good news is that there’s no cure for mental illness—but there are many treatments. Don’t be discouraged by what that means; instead, use it as motivation to seek out treatment that can help alleviate your symptoms. And remember: An illness is not who you are—it’s just something you have.

Find strength in knowing that if it affects how you feel today, it doesn’t have to affect how you live tomorrow. While most people will probably tell you they wish they had known how difficult recovery would be when they first started their journey with mental health issues, my biggest regret was thinking recovery would happen at all. Everyone hopes to magically wake up one day with fewer negative thoughts coursing through their heads, but the fact is that being mentally healthy takes hard work. Recognizing that truth can save you time trying ineffective cures and feelings of despair should your first efforts not pay off.



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