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Coping with Mental Illness Takes a Multi-Faceted Approach

Updated: Aug 12, 2023

When you have a mental illness, all you want is healing. This can often seem far out of reach. It feels like nothing you do is going to help you get better. There is a dark cloud that hovers over your life refusing to go away.

I have had a mental illness for many years, and to cope, I use multiple strategies.

Yesterday I saw a post on Twitter about coping with Anxiety, and it said,

If one more person tells me to try yoga, I'm going to scream.

This struck me, because yoga is one of the things that I use personally to cope with my anxiety. But the thing is, that isn't my only coping mechanism. I also go to therapy, take medication, make time for self-care, take CBD, and make sure my life is predictable and routine.

If you are just using one coping strategy, there are times when it is going to fail.

That is why you have to use more than one strategy. It is like a toolbox. If all you had was a hammer, sometimes that isn't going to be your solution. You also need to have a screwdriver, wrench and pliers. Otherwise, you won't be prepared for every situation.

It's the same with mental health. You need to have more than one strategy in your mental health toolbox, because the same one isn't going to work all the time.

Coping with a mental illness is all about learning how to regulate your nervous system. And that can be complicated in the best of times, never mind when you are struggling.

You won't always be happy

I think we have this expectation that if we are healing, we are going to be happy all the time. Unfortunately, this isn't a realistic expectation. No one is happy all the time, whether they have a mental illness or not. Things happen in life that can momentarily destroy our happiness, or take it away for a long time.

Having a mental illness makes things harder, but even 'normal' people have their ups and downs. It isn't reasonable to expect that if you recover, you are going to be happy all the time. Humans are meant to feel a mix of emotions.

Just because you don't always feel happy, it doesn't mean that you aren't healing. I think that a lot of us have this fear. We feel this social expectation of being happy all the time, but that just isn't reasonable. It isn't life.

The sooner we accept that we are still going to experience a wide range of emotions, the better off we are going to be in the long run.


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