Wellness Stragegy

Chess Game

In case your wondering exactly what a "wellness strategy" entails, it's no secret, but hard to do alone. After spending years dealing with mental illness personally, as well as, spending time with others affected, here are some of the things that help encourage stability:

1. Seek professional help: This includes regular visits with a psychiatrist and therapist. It's important to find doctors you can trust and share everything with. Therapy is invaluable.

2. Medication: If you and your doctor decide to use medication as part of treatment, follow the regime precisely and share everything you feel including any side effects with your doctor. Realistically, many times it requires a combination of medication (e.g. Antidepressants, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, etc) to effectively treat bipolar disorder and an average of 6 months (my experience) to determine the most therapeutic combination. Also, tweaks usually are required over time.

3. Interaction with others affected: Whether you attend support groups, participate in out patient therapy, or simply meet regularly one on one, it's extremely important to spend time with others who share your illness. These are the people that truly get you. They understand exactly what you're going through and I my opinion, are the best source of compassion, empathy, and overall connection.

4. Coping skills: This is the ammunition you need on a day to day basis to push through. The most effective are also the simplest. Some examples include taking a walk, listening to calming music, contacting a friend/sponsor, reading a book, using a light box, playing with a pet, or anything else that effectively draws your attention in a positive direction.

5. Knowing your limits: Don't push too hard and learn to say no. That's it.

I want to stress that living with mental illness is much bigger than the few tips I've discussed here. These things help you cope, but by no means solve anything. These are simply methods to help you live a happier and more productive life.

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