Recovery and self-Determination

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Common Fears and misconceptions

When people carry a mental health diagnosis there is an almost constant fear of relapsing. Whether from a long-standing chronic condition or new diagnosis, the fear of symptoms re-activating or worsening, is a real problem for people who suffer from mental illness.

Debunking Myths

People are in control of their health and healing. People are not a the disposal of their illnesses. Being subject to your diagnosis is a myth. Keep in mind you have complete control over your mental health and do not need to live in the fear of a lifetime of arbitrary and unexplainable turns in your daily health.

Self-Determination

Self-determination means believing in your potential. For people to maintain their mental health, recognizing new symptoms when they activate and working on eliminating the impact of extraneous factors contributing to limited or poor mental health is truly a great place to start self-managing. Additionally, self-determination is the mobility needed to work on ourselves. With enough self-awareness, people will soon realize their strengths, as well as limitations, come from within.

A Lifespan of illness: Chronicity

Never lose sight of the bigger picture. For people in recovery, the road ahead can seem long. Seem long, and belong if your illness is chronic and likely long-term. For young and even middle-aged people a lifetime ahead can seem like nea lot of work or too much effort to sustain long-term across the life span. Maintaining good health will only make a living more manageable and tolerable in the long term. Creating and allowing for more solutions during difficult situations and making everything more manageable, aside from remembering this reasonable explanation for why people lose sight of their recovery plan.

Negative self talk

Self-care during the tenure of a lifelong illness never stops. Sometimes people deem themselves as cured when they have lifelong illnesses. People often encounter a seemingly impossible situation created by their own negative behaviors.

Negative self-messages usually worsen if not disputed. These are seemingly real but at the root of it, thoughts increasingly distant from reality.

Self-CBT

Distortions are maladaptive and frightening, and if we follow these negative thoughts to their horrific conclusion, they are disturbing to most of us from experiencing them.

Self CBT will help to dispute negative messages when they first occur, will go a long way in sustaining your positive behaviors and persisting towards your goals for yourselves and good mental health.

Sustainable healing

People left to their own devices need to set limits. Life can sometimes seem like we are on a ride or just passengers in our lives. Driving your health forward at a rate and speed and course of your choice is the safest bet. I recommend allying with your therapist, treatment team, and close peers with a vested interest in your mental health, establishing a deep trust with those who have close personal contact with you every day.

Insight Buiding

Collaterals see great litmus tests to flag toxic abnormality in your health. Feel safe to take stock in their advice and concern very seriously. Sure, no clinician or friend can get a perfect read on our health. But for those of you without a great deal of self-awareness or drive to look after yourself, there are still options and strategies to stay healthy without relying entirely on your own devices. Indeed, not everyone cares enough about their health to self-monitor all the time.

Self awareness

The priority of the day is the most disruptive. Regardless of diagnosis people need to consider the quality of their own mental status and take charge of their health. Being in tune with your health is the best way to maintain good mental health and reduce the likelihood of relapse.

Plan ‘B”

Have a plan “B”. When your self-care takes a back seat to the priorities of life, working towards good mental health might mean leaning on a friend or family member for help. A second more short-term plan can always be handing out responsibilities or delegating.

Self-management

Autonomy and self management go hand in hand. Managing your mental health and being independent requires having a plan. It also means when plan “a” falls through have a backup plan. Ultimately, whether you have a chronic condition or an acute diagnosis, relapse is only to be feared when you aren’t doing what you need to do to work towards better health and healing.

Relapse

Relapse is awful. But it isn’t the end of the world. Relapsing and experiencing the renewal of old symptoms can still remind you to get back on track with your recovery. Keep going! Don’t stop! When you stop taking care of yourself, be prepared for your worst fears not just to haunt you but become the grim reality you feared so vehemently instead of investing the same mental energy in health and healing.

About the Author

J. Peters

J. Peters is the Editor-in-Chief of Mental Health Affairs.

Award-winning book author and Bold 10 Under ten award recipient J. Peters, LCSW. Through his work as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Mental health therapist and disability rights advocate Mr. Peters fights for those without a voice in various care systems, such as the New York City Department of Social Services, the New York State Office of Mental Health, or the city's Department of Corrections.

Mr. Peter's battle with Schizophrenia began at New London University in his last semester of college. Discharged from Greater Liberty State Hospital Center in July 2008, Jacque's recovery was swift but not painless and indeed brutal after spending six months there.

He has published several journal articles on recovery and mental health and three books: University on Watch, Small Fingernails, and Wales High School. He is also a board member of the newspaper City Voices. Mr. Peters currently sits on the CAB committee (Consumer Advisory Board) for the Department of Mental Health and Hygiene in NYC and the Office of Mental Health (OMH) as a peer advocate.

Owner of Recovery Now in New York, a private psychotherapy practice, Mr. Peter's approach is rooted in a foundation of evidence-based practices (EBP). Jacques earned a master's degree in Social Work from Binghamton University and worked as a field instructor for master's and bachelor's level students in NYC.

He is blogging daily on his site mentalhealthaffairs.blog, Mr. Peters regularly writes articles relating to his lived experience with a mental health diagnosis.

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