Mental illness is a thief. It robbed me of time, personal connections, and the simple joys of everyday life. I was so afraid of what terrible thing might happen next. Just leaving the house was a formidable task — my mind’s attempts to shield me from trauma distorted my experience of the world.
Eight years have passed since I began my journey of recovery. After much treatment, lots of support, and persistence, I am much better. Looking back, I have made good friends and had experiences that I wouldn’t have if I were not on this path. This experience has also allowed me to learn invaluable lessons I might not have otherwise. They have changed my life, and I would like to share them with you.
- True self-care is critical. Before mental illness, I thought of self-care as getting a mani-pedi. Now I know that true self-care involves surrounding yourself with beauty and joy, whatever that means to you. For my part, I need to see the sunrise, go to poetry readings, listen to jazz, and enjoy a drink with friends. The important thing is that the act of self-care feeds your soul. That is true self-care.
- The people in your life set the tone. Although I had smart, loving friends and excellent family support, my life partner became extremely hostile. He began to focus his life on empty pursuits and quick money-making schemes that never panned out. I spent too much time and energy, trying to live in a toxic environment. My ex-husband has many good qualities, and I care about him very much. Living with him, though, was detrimental to my overall health. Surround yourself with positive people who enhance your joy and fulfillment in life.
- Your outlook on life affects everything. Mental illness made me afraid to be in the world, and that hasn’t changed much. What has changed is where I put my focus. Take action on what needs to be changed in the world and focus on solutions. See possibilities! Our outlook determines our thinking and how we view the world. We have to live with ourselves every day. Let’s make it fabulous!
I hope you will try these three techniques in your life. They are transformative.