Mental illness can negatively impact all aspects of your life, regardless of its severity. Even the ones regarded as ordinary or not severe can influence the way you function, your career, and your relationships. That is why treatment of mental illness is crucial. Now, what would a treatment mean in this context? It would be all the different ways in which a person with a mental illness can get help to minimize the effects of the illness and promote recovery. It can involve psychological therapy, medication, and various supports in the community, as well as people with mental illness helping themselves.

However, treatment would sometimes require you to put away a significant chunk of time to fully dedicate to your recovery, especially in severe mental illness cases. When considering this, the most common questions you might ask yourself are probably – How should I go about it? and What should be my priority? – and we are here to help you find an answer to them.

Most Common Mental Health Issues

First of all, let us establish that you are not alone. In these unprecedented times of the Covid 19 outbreak, there are many mental health challenges for all people. Physical distancing and social isolation, even though they serve as tools to combat the spread of the Covid 19 pandemic, can cause serious emotional distress and influence both your mental and physical health – and those two are intertwined more than one might think. Coronavirus anxiety is the most common mental health issue reported in the last year, along with the rise of other mental health challenges due to the stress of this worldwide traumatic event we are living through.

Putting the current circumstances aside, research has shown that anxiety disorder and depression are becoming more prominent in the populace as time passes. Additionally, mental health issues such as eating disorder and bipolar disorder might come hand in hand with other disorders and might even be overshadowed by them, which further highlights the importance of proper treatment.

Types of Mental Health Treatment

There are several types of treatment available for people with mental disorders. They range from non-disruptive, such as developing a self-help plan and psychotherapy, to ones that can interfere with your routine and change your life completely. We will briefly go over different types of treatment before we move onto the main subject – the guide to returning to normal life after mental health treatment.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is a treatment provided by a trained mental health professional. It explores feelings, behaviors, and thoughts, all to improve the patient’s well-being. There are many different kinds of therapy, and it depends on both the patient and their diagnosis which one will be the best for them. Some of the most commonly used methods are cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and exposure therapy.

However, psychotherapy can be a good tool for people who are not diagnosed with any mental illnesses. Having regular sessions with a therapist can help prevent stress buildup and any possible complications in the future. This is especially true in times like these. Social distancing and other measures in place during the Covid 19 pandemic are a significant cause of emotional distress for many people due to great changes imposed on everyday life.

Medication

Medication is a tool used in treating mental illness, as it does not outright cure mental illness, but it aids in managing symptoms. It is most often paired with psychotherapy, which has proven to be one of the most effective ways to promote recovery. Moreover, it is important to keep in mind that medication by itself is nothing but a tool, and the stigma surrounding it is rooted in accusations based on misunderstandings. As long as the medication is taken under the strict supervision of a mental health professional and according to their instructions, it can only help manage the symptoms and further recovery.

Self-help Plan

This is a unique health plan which serves to aid the individual with managing their condition. It often includes strategies that promote wellness and gradual lifestyle changes which would benefit their mental health. Self-help plans may include strategies that address triggers, recovery or the overall wellness of the individual. This may or may not be developed with the help of a professional, as it usually includes heavily personalized plans – and, after a person has been aware of their condition long enough, they may be able to develop strategies for self-improvement and self-help by themselves.

Hospitalization

Sometimes, in a minority of cases, hospitalization may be a necessary step in mental health treatment. It is often the best route to take if the individual needs to be closely monitored, accurately diagnosed, or have medications adjusted due to a temporary deterioration of their mental health. It is also the most disruptive, as it would impose a temporary break in their everyday life until the issue causing this situation is properly addressed and resolved.

Planning Your Return to Normal Life After Mental Health Treatment

Regardless of how you chose to treat your mental illness, you will need to find a way to include it in your daily life. Hence, planning a way to return to your normal rhythm of living after this choice is a must. Your mental health condition is a priority, however, and for that reason, you need to take into consideration several factors that need to be incorporated into your everyday life after the treatment.

Long-term Care

The very first step would be accepting that this is now a part of your life. Acceptance will help you take concrete steps when looking at your life through new lenses, and long-term care is one of the crucial ones. Like you would keep monitoring and receiving treatment for chronic physical conditions, you should do the same for mental illness.

In that regard, it would be easier for you if you were aware of the benefits of long-term treatment. For example, it is a key part of making lasting positive behavioral changes after receiving your diagnosis or experiencing a mental health crisis. Without this step in your long-term plan, you may risk your recovery, eventually ending up in the same place and state of mind that you were in at the beginning.

This is especially important for people who were hospitalized due to a mental health crisis or for another reason, as inpatient care for mental illness after the initial stabilization period is one of the best choices you make for your recovery. It provides a safe space where you can focus on getting better, making behavioral changes, and learning how to take your life back into your own hands. Furthermore, if you have a dual diagnosis of a mental illness and substance use disorder, being in a monitored and safe space can provide much better results.

However, it is important to note that hospitalization is not the only way to plan long-term care for your mental health. Ensuring you are visiting your therapist regularly, for example, also constitutes as long-term care for your mental wellness.

Support of Your Peers

Mental health problems can strongly affect relationships with people close to us. For example, you may lose touch with your friends or family or lack the energy and confidence for social interactions when you experience a mental health problem. In cases like these, your long-term plans for returning to normal life should include informing your loved ones and other people close to you of the issues you are facing to ensure you are receiving the social support you might need when the issues arise again. Additionally, if you have already fallen out of touch with people, you should feel free to:

  • Take your time and slowly reintegrate social interactions in your life;
  • Ensure you have time to recover from social interactions; and
  • Learn how to lean on your close ones, especially those you feel express more empathy for your situation.

Additionally, it is important to note that face to face is not the only form of contact. Especially in these times, you can and should consider some of the alternatives, such as:

  • Online communication: social media, forums, and messaging applications can make contact easier and less stressful for some people.
  • Telephone communication: either calls or messages can be beneficial to both your mental health and your relationships.
  • Letters: whether they be electronic or physical, letters can also be a way of communication – although it may seem a bit old-fashioned, it allows for a certain degree of control which may be of aid if you are having issues with social situations.

However, you should keep in mind that you are not obliged to talk about your issues unless you want to. Even the plainest of conversations can have a positive impact, as humans are social beings, and even the simplest contact with others can help them feel less alone.

Additionally, keeping a close eye on your relationships as you are reengaging in them can help you realize if some of them may have been less than ideal for your mental health. Keeping a mood diary may help you with identifying people who are having a negative effect on you. For example, this may be a good step to include in your self-help plan.

Return to Routine and Gradual Lifestyle Changes

Realizing you have a mental disorder and that you need to adjust your life according to it might make a return to routine seem impossible. However, by introducing gradual lifestyle changes, you should be able to not return to the routine you had before but create a new one that will fit better the circumstances you are in now. Here are a few things that you should incorporate into your long-term routine:

  • Taking care of your body: Ever since ancient Rome, there has been a saying “a healthy mind in a healthy body,” and for a good reason. Maintaining good sleep hygiene, ensuring you eat properly and are hydrated enough, along with exercise, will help your body feel better. That will, in turn, help your mind feel better.
  • Ensuring you have quality rest: Rest is as important as work. For example, if you feel something is becoming tiring, take a break or try to do some other activities before returning to the task you need to finish.
  • Connecting with others: As we already mentioned above, keeping in touch with other people and having a safety net for when things get rough is very important.

Another important piece of information you should keep in mind when planning your return to normal life is that your journey will be easier if you accept your illness and its effects on your life. You may not be able to do some things anymore, but your focus should be on goals you can still achieve. Keeping that in mind, here are some reminders for the recovery process:

  • It is okay to not feel okay. Seeking support when you feel you need it, is both okay and encouraged.
  • The process is not linear and will look different from person to person. You should be patient with yourself during this process.
  • Routine is helpful, but you should keep in mind that you can and should be flexible, as you are in new circumstances.
  • Setting boundaries is a key part of the process. Whether it is with your close ones or, for example, coworkers, you should ensure that you are feeling comfortable with what you are doing.

Ensure That You Have Access to the Right Services

Finally, ensure that you have access to services that are helpful with your recovery. Seeing a mental health professional and receiving therapy is, for example, a good way to implement this in your new routine. If you are recovering from substance abuse, you might need specialized mental health resources. Beginning a recovery and returning your life to normal does not need to be difficult, as you can have support systems other than people close to you. For example, the Right Way Recovery Services provide support for many mental health issues, including drug and substance abuse. All you would need to do is contact them, and the path towards recovery will be easier than you might’ve thought!