Mental illness can feel like a mountain. Depression can make getting out of bed in itself a challenge. Anxiety can make seemingly simple tasks such as going to the store feel like climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. No matter which mental health condition you’re lost in, there are high chances you have to climb at least a few mental wellness mountains every day.
The fact is that as much as mental health is like a mountain, recovery is a pretty arduous task, too. If it helps, think of your mental health as a series of mountains rather than one prominent peak. The largest, central mountain, is your mental illness as a whole. And in order to get out of that rocky patch you need to first start climbing the mountains from either side. This often brings challenges of its own.
Does that mean that you shouldn’t try to get better? Of course not. But, it’s definitely worth bearing in mind the mental health mountains you’re going to need to climb before you can achieve recovery.
Here are the mental health “mountains” you need to know in order to keep climbing.
Seeking professional help
Directly to the side of your mental illness mountain is the mountain of seeking professional help. Following this path can be so tough that some people choose to suffer in silence. While every day can be a challenge when living with mental illness, many would say that reaching out to a professional is even tougher.
The important part to remember here is that this is a short-term struggle for a long-term gain. Medical professionals can do everything from prescribing medication to referring you for therapies. And when mental illness problems become severe, sometimes this is one of the only ways to get your wellness back.
When you embark on climbing this mountain, the trick is to keep your eye on the top. Think of the help you receive as the view you’ll see when you reach the peak. It’s not easy to get there, but finally arriving will make the struggles worthwhile. Consider what mental illness is doing to your life. Then, look into how much better things could be if you went down the path of therapy or medical treatment.
With those benefits fresh in your mind, make the appointment that you’ve already been putting off for far too long. The ten minutes of pain could bring you a lifetime of improvement.
Talking about your problems
Professional advice isn’t the only help which those suffering from mental illness need. Many also find that reaching out to friends and family aids recovery and takes the pressure off when things get tough. When friends and family know what’s happening, after all, they can support you rather than make you feel worse. But similar to many cases, talking to the people we care about is a lot harder than speaking with a doctor.
That’s because these are people who are invested in our lives. Many of us feel either embarrassed or bad about opening up in these ways. Again, this is a mountain which you need to climb for your recovery. And, this time, it’s an even steeper mountain to tackle.
Talking about your problems is best done in stages. First, you might find it useful to head to anonymous support platforms like Supportiv. This gives you a chance to talk about your problems to strangers online and is fantastic practice for finding the right words and hearing how other people overcame the same hurdles.
Then, you might choose to tell one or two close family members. If that goes well, you could bring your friends together to talk to them about what’s going on. Before you know it you’ll be right at the top of that mountain and you’ll also have all your loved ones right there with you.
Facing your fears
Even once you’re past those first two major mountains, you still have to climb the mountain of facing your fears. For those that suffer anxiety, there’s especially no way for them to overcome those overwhelming fears without facing them head on. Whether it involves going to the shop or returning to work, these can feel like substantial mountains indeed.
Lucky for you, overcoming these often involves using both the steps mentioned above. For one, keeping your eye on the goal is always essential for ensuring that you’re able to face fears fully. In this case, “the goal” is that feeling of strength and power you’ll get from working through whatever’s holding you back. This also involves taking back control of a life which you haven’t had hold of for a while now.
It also helps to take this mountain in steps, as you did when telling friends and family. Instead of embarking on a full week at work, for instance, it’s worth talking to your boss and arranging half days. By breaking your fears into chunks, you’ll be better able to manage them. And, as you adjust to the bitesize fears, you’ll get ever closer to the fearless peak of mental wellness.
Taking care of your mental wellness in the midst of a busy life isn’t an easy balance to achieve. While we’ve used mountains as metaphors here, some days really will feel like a tougher climb than others. That’s especially the case throughout recovery, but if you stick with it you will most definitely reach flat ground. And, when you do, you’ll be able to look back at the size of those mountains and feel proud of everything you’ve achieved.