Addressing Symptoms

Chronic Mental Illness: Living with Unresolved Symptoms in spite of Full Adherence to Medication and Psychotherapy

We all have our struggles with mental health problems. Some of us are more minor than others, but nobody’s mental health is perfect. Everyone will have a different way of coping with their diagnosis despite the severity and chronicity of their symptoms. This means that minor symptoms can significantly interfere in a person’s life if he or she has inadequate coping or limited insight into how the symptom disrupts their life.

With more chronic diagnoses and severe symptomology, a good prognosis will mean genuinely knowing how to manage everyday disruptions and ongoing breakthrough symptoms that complicate life moment-by-moment for months without relief. Continued progress towards recovery will mean understanding every setback as a learning moment to improve your reconstitution rate and return to baseline because the disruptions will be recurring indefinitely.

This means learning to live a life of constant reflection to improve insight and more profound, more complex coping skills to reduce the impact of disruptions spilling over to other parts of your life and becoming too overwhelming to manage independently without psychiatric hospitalization to re-group and stabilize.

Unfortunately, full adherence to medication and psychotherapy for severe mental health diagnoses does not guarantee to live symptom-free. It only means living life with the least risk of symptom disruption. Radical acceptance that there will always be some symptom management will help maintain the momentum required in living with an illness you will carry for a lifetime.

Pace yourself, and worry less about what’s wrong and more about what can go well with continued hope and hard work. The payoff is knowing you’ve done everything possible to live your fullest despite what’s been thrown in your way of success and well-being.

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