I was reading an article recently about taking responsibility for your treatment compliance. It is a very hard road and it takes determination to achieve stability. And then there is the even harder goal: being truly happy. Happiness seems so elusive. There is always a temptation to find an excuse, blaming your illness for your inability to move forward.
Finding a sense of control over your life can be overwhelming at times. Sometimes you are blind to your symptoms and think you are flying high. Ten years ago, I thought I was fine. I was juggling grad school and a vibrant social life. Except weekend binge drinking was getting in the way of my wellness. My life started spirally out of control and I was unraveling. My mood swings became more evident to others. Except they didn’t ever confront me.
I was taking my medication but I wasn’t seeing a psychiatrist on a regular basis. I didn’t meet with a psychiatrist for almost 2 years. I was literally phoning in my treatment compliance. Getting prescription refills with no accountability (let’s not even get into the fact that my psychiatrist was truly negligent). I thought taking my medicine was enough. Until, I wasn’t okay.
You need to develop a regimen. Medication is just one piece. You need sleep. You need exercise. You need to eat right. You shouldn’t be drinking or abusing other substances (which is really hard when all of your friends seem to be having so much fun…sobriety is a hard pill to swallow). Most importantly, you need a doctor at a minimum. Add a therapist…even better.
Even if you feel like what your health care provider (doctor, therapist, etc.) is saying things you already know. Understanding what you have to do to be well is a lot easier than actually executing their recommendations.
There have been so many times where I have thought I could do my therapist’s job. Then, I find myself not getting out of bed until 2 p.m. because I don’t want to face the day. I don’t want to face my life. Because finding happiness and wellness is difficult. Especially when the obvious excuse is there: I have a mental illness.
Life is a marathon. You need to train every day. When you skip a day, don’t let that be a reason to abandon your goals. Get back on track the next day.