I was diagnosed with my first mental health disorder at the age of 18. I was in my first year of university. It was a long, challenging, and dark journey. At times it even felt unbearable. I remember wondering when this was all going to end. Before that, I was a bubbly, happy girl who loved life. Where did she go? I didn’t feel like myself anymore. I felt lost and hopeless.
Dealing with a mental illness is no different than dealing with a physical illness. To me, the scariest part is that you start to lose yourself. Things you used to love no longer hold much meaning to you.
It’s tiring, but I want you to know that it does get better with time. That’s coming from someone who genuinely thought the pain would never end. I’ve learned to accept that my mental illnesses will always be a part of my life, and there’s really no stopping that. But, on the bright side, there are ways that we can grow throughout our journey. Trust me when I say that time can heal almost anything.
Here are five mental health tips I wish I knew sooner.
1. Remember you’re not the only one.
While on your mental health journey, you may feel alone. Trust me, plenty of people are fighting the same battle. One thing I found is that group therapy can be really beneficial. It’s good to listen to your peers’ stories. It’s even better when you can relate to them. Group therapy is great because you can take tips from others and experiment with them during your journey. Before, I couldn’t help but feel like I was alone. I wish I had known sooner that there were other people I could reach out to. Plus, I have made it a priority to be an advocate and help others facing their first battle. It’s a priority because I know how it feels and how scary it can be.
2. Medication can be super tricky.
I’m probably not the first person to tell you that medication can be frustrating as well as a little bit daunting. I have probably been on five or six different types of medication by now. My journey made me realize that it’s all about trial and error. The first round of meds may not work, and that’s okay. Give it some time. Personally, it took me about three years of experimenting to find the meds that work for me. Meds really do work, and I have great faith that you will find what works for you!
3. Prioritize self-care
It wasn’t until I turned 20 that I started to prioritize self-care. It’s incredibly important, even if it’s something small. Here’s a list of some of my self-care tips:
- Going on a nighttime walk with friends has really been helping with my mental health. It’s nice to get out, get some fresh air, and chat with your loved ones.
- I’ve made my skincare routine a priority. It’s good to take some time to throw on a face mask and pamper yourself!
- Reading has been another one of my go-to’s. My favorite books are mental health and wellness-related novels because they’re relatable.
- My last tip would be to maintain relationships with your peers. When you’re facing a mental illness, it’s really easy to shut out your loved ones. I find that talking to friends and family cures everything. Sometimes they know you better than you know yourself — It can feel like free therapy. If it weren’t for my family and friends, I wouldn’t be in the state I am today. I’m so incredibly grateful for them.
4. Remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
I know that it might be hard to believe, but trust me, it’s true. It may feel like it’s impossible to get over this rough patch. But as I said in the beginning, time heals almost everything. Take it day by day. Dealing with a mental health illness is most definitely a journey. But, with proper help, it’s easier to heal, which brings me to my final point.
5. Accept the help!
I can’t stress this tip enough! I have been lucky enough to chat with multiple therapists, be involved in group therapy, and have a crazy amount of support from friends and family during my journey. Never feel ashamed about what you’re going through. We’ve all faced obstacles. It is NORMAL!
If I could turn back time, I wish I were more aware of these tips. I probably wouldn’t have learned these things if I didn’t go through the things I did. Because of that, I’ve been able to grow as an individual after fighting my demons and be a better advocate for people who may be facing scary obstacles. I hope that this can help at least one person. Remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Never give up!
Featured image via author