Recovering from Mental Illness

For the past 10 years, mental illness medications have been an integral part of my recovery from schizoaffective disorder. Finding the right psychiatric medications and dosage was difficult at first. My medications now are very effective, but still occasionally need adjustment. I know the life I live now would never be possible without mental illness medications.
Sharing your struggle with mental illness is personal, so being open and transparent about mental illness can be extremely difficult. So much of the time there is a lot of shame, embarrassment, and guilt surrounding the struggle with mental illness that many who suffer keep it to themselves. But explaining to others what you are going through allows you to no longer have to hide and wear a mask and it gives you a support system that will help you feel as if you are not alone. I believe that sharing your story of struggle with mental illness can be such a powerful step forward and bring you closer to recovering from mental illness.
Creative outlets enhance your recovery from mental illness and can have a remarkable effect on our emotional wellbeing, whether one has a mental illness or not. Art played an integral part early in my recovery from bulimia and schizoaffective disorder, and it remains a very important part of my life today. Art is my medicine, but any creative pursuit can enhance your recovery from mental illness.
How much alone time is healthy for me? I used to ask that question multiple times a day when I was recovering from mental illness. Sometimes I felt like I was spending too much time alone and other times I felt like I wasn’t spending enough time alone. People who aren’t suffering from a mental illness may ask themselves this too, but in the case of mental illness recovery, I feel it is more of a tricky one: Isolation and loneliness harms mental health recovery, but taking no time for yourself isn't good for you either. How much alone time is healthy when in recovery from mental illness? A black-and-white answer doesn’t exist.
A certified peer support specialist is a person in mental health or addiction recovery that uses his or her personal experiences to connect with and help others. I work for a community mental health agency where I provide emotional support and knowledge of resources to others in recovery. Being a certified peer support specialist allows me to give back to my community.
I have been struggling for a while, but asking for help with my anxiety hasn't really been important to me. But when I look back at my life and the things that I’ve done, I notice my anxiety symptoms become progressively worse year after year. My husband has been encouraging me to ask for help for the anxiety, and I finally brought it up to my therapist and psychiatrist.
Recovering from mental illness can feel impossible. It seems like an uphill battle, leaving you feeling stuck and overwhelmed. Finding a place to start when recovering from mental illness is a daunting task. I’m here to tell you that by finding and reading this blog you are well on your way toward an "impossible" recovery from mental illness.
Volunteering aided my recovery from mental illness when I was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and bulimia in my early 20s. I volunteered for my local National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) chapter, and it soon became a great opportunity that helped me take back my life and even lead to an internship. Here are five ways that volunteering can aid mental illness recovery that I discovered during my time at NAMI.
Suffering a mental illness when you're young is extremely difficult and debilitating. When you’re young there is an immense amount of pressure to fit in as well as to act and to look a certain way. Judgment and stigma from peers can run high and be openly expressed. Many times, those who suffer from mental illness when they're young believe that something is wrong with them and don’t know how to “snap out of it.” As difficult as it can be to live with a mental illness when you're young, it is also hopeful to know that the suffering doesn’t have to last forever.
I started antipsychotic medication in my 20s as in my late teens and early 20s, my life was consumed by psychotic symptoms; it was isolating and scary. I suffered from auditory and visual hallucinations. I didn’t even know I was sick, but when I was eventually diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, it came as a relief. Knowing it was an illness made it less frightening, and taking medication was life-changing. I was free and ready to pursue my dreams. Here’s a look at my life before and after starting antipsychotic medication.