Recovering from Mental Illnesses

This article contains a discussion about depression, anxiety and eating disorders. The opinions and views expressed by the author are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice. Reading discretion is advised.

Mental illness or mental health disorders are an umbrella term used to refer to various forms of mental health conditions. A few examples of mental illnesses are anxiety, depression, eating disorders, schizophrenia and various addictive behaviours such as substance abuse. Mental health issues can occur in anyone and everyone. However, it is when they progress into debilitating illnesses when it gets incredibly concerning. This would equate to the symptoms being constant and causing the person to lose their ability to function in their daily lives.

The most common mental illness that is spoken about would be depression. Depression is a feeling mostly described as living in a black hole or; an emptiness that completely engulfs and takes over the person’s life (International Psychology Centre, 2021). A lot of people associate depression with not getting up, lack of sleep, not eating and sometimes being able to perform regular hygienic duties. Although, in certain instances- particularly in men- they may express their depression through anger, frustration and restless outbursts (International Psychology Centre, 2021). To recover from depression is truly not an easy task and it can vary from person to person. Unlike physical illness or injuries, a doctor cannot give specifics on how to recover from depression. They cannot give a patient an approximate time of recovery either. The person undergoing depression may even have to resort to antidepressants to help them with their rehabilitation. However, that is not a complete guarantee to their recovery either. Recovery from depression is a series of baby steps for the person to feel like how they once were. Furthermore, they should expect a series of relapses (International Psychology Centre, 2021). As long as they deliberately get back up from their falls, they should be well on their way to recovery. The journey to that may not be linear and may have several variations. All in all, it’s worth the effort to see the light after wallowing in darkness.  

Another form of mental illness would be anxiety. Anxiety occurs in everyone, whether nervous for the first day of school or a job interview. It is very much a natural stress response (Healthline, 2020). Nonetheless, anxiety can become a disorder when the severity of the anxious feeling persists way past the trigger point. The symptoms may include nausea and increased blood pressure disrupting the person’s day-to-day activities. In terms of anxiety, recovery is completely possible and starts with managing, befriending and learning to alleviate the anxiety whilst being in control (Better Health Channel, 2021). Recovering from anxiety can also be helped with anti-anxiety medication. There are some physical steps such as meditation, reducing caffeine intake and speaking to trusted ones about their situation. In addition, there are also several exercises a person can learn to relieve the attack such as breathing techniques, relaxation techniques or structured problem-solving. 

Additionally, a very common but underreported mental illness would be eating disorders. A lot of the time people assume eating disorders are a silly thing teenage girls get up to in order to gain attention. However, this is not the case as eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Eating disorders can come in various forms with the one most people are more familiar with being binge eating disorders. This disorder consists of consuming large amounts of food to the point of discomfort even when not hungry as a form of self-punishment (Very Well Mind, 2020). Eating disorders take a lot of time to recover from because it is difficult for the person to break out of the cyclical nature of the disorder. Due to the addictive nature of these eating disorders, the person who suffers from mental illness has to come to terms with their illness as it becomes normalised to them to use their mental illness as a coping mechanism (Healthline, 2019). Nonetheless, when they admit to having their illness it’s just another hurdle that they have gotten over on their road to recovery- with eating disorders, it’s always two steps forward, one step back.

As stated above, recovery from a mental illness is not straightforward. It’s a never-ending road with swerves and bends in all corners. A constant journey where the person suffering from the mental illness always has to be on guard with their recovery. A lot of the time it may be the toughest thing anyone has ever gone through. All in all, to be able to have powered through the pain of it all truly makes the recovery all the more meaningful. 

By: Keerthi

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