Mental illnesses are vast and complicated. Though there are patterns, there is no defined set of symptoms to follow. Someone might be the textbook example of an eating disorder; others might not be. Understanding the nuances of mental health and the symptoms of a variety of disorders is key to helping yourself and others get the professional treatment they need before they hit rock bottom.
Overcoming mental illness is not always possible. Sometimes the goal just has to be managing it, and that’s okay. There is no right or wrong way to deal with a mental illness like an eating disorder or mood disorder, but there is a right way to treat your health and prioritise your future.
1. Diagnosis is Key to Understanding and Treatment
If researching is an important step for you, then, by all means, become familiar with the many types and subsets of mental illnesses. Far too often people assume that what they are going through is something no one else can understand because they have simply never heard of anyone going through it before, but that is rarely the case.
Eating disorders are not always anorexia. They do not require you to purge your food after eating. Similarly, you don’t have to be underweight or overweight to have an eating disorder. If there is a compulsion, and it is making you unhealthy, or your mental health is tied to your behaviour, then seeking out a formal diagnosis is important.
Reading online is great to help you understand that disorders come in a variety of ways, but professional diagnosis can help you understand yourself on an intimate level.
2. You Don’t Need to be “Sick Enough” Before Going to Therapy
You don’t ever need to be at rock bottom before getting therapy. You don’t have to wait at all. Seeking out professional help after being diagnosed is a smart move no matter what stage you are or how severe your disorder is.
Those with mood disorders should seek out a therapist that specialises in their unique illness. Those with complex eating disorders should seek out Eden Treatment, especially if diagnosed with anorexia, which has a 20% mortality rate amongst untreated victims.
3. Not Every Therapy or Medication Will Work
Another tip to keep in mind is that not every therapy will work for you. Not every medication will do the trick. That is all fine. Be open and honest about the effects, but also remember to be patient with yourself and to trust the professionals. Be honest, be patient, and be willing to keep trying new therapies until you find the right treatment plan for you.
4. You Need to Complete Your Therapy
Undergo the entire therapy regimen. This is critical if you require inpatient treatment, like those with eating disorders often do. If you do not complete your treatment regimen, you are far more likely to relapse. Completing the treatment is critical to leaving either cured, or better able to manage your disorder so that you may live a fulfilling life.
5. Practice Self-Help Techniques on the Go
Find and practice self-help techniques to help keep you calm and manage symptoms on the go. This will give you more independence and the ability to cope on your own throughout your busy life.