One in four people experience a mental health condition each year. And just like periods of poor physical health, these periods of poor mental health can happen to anyone. Except with mental health, it’s not always as easy to detect, diagnose or understand.
Periods of poor mental health can be difficult to cope with, from the depths of the illness all the way through to the recovery process. And while not everyone will choose to seek external help or get a diagnosis, for those who do, that’s another journey in itself that takes time and energy to go through. It can be daunting to make the call and visit the GP or access counselling services. But these services can guide the way to a path of improved mental health.
For those who do reach out for help and receive a diagnosis for a mental health condition, this diagnosis can bring up a range of emotions that vary from person to person. Remember to be patient with yourself and know that there’s no right or wrong way to feel. This time can be challenging, so we’ve put together some advice for life beyond the diagnosis below.
Making sense of the diagnosis
Just like a diagnosis for a physical health condition, a diagnosis for a mental health condition takes time to process. Some people find that a diagnosis helps them make sense of confusing thoughts and emotions. You might feel relieved that you’ll get the treatment you need and positive that others might now understand how you feel.
In the same breath, a diagnosis can also trigger worries about how this will affect your life, work or relationships. You may be concerned about how others will react to the news or unhappy about the diagnosis outcome. You might not even feel affected by the diagnosis at all, or maybe you find yourself drifting between all three points of view.
However you feel about the diagnosis, know that there’s no right or wrong way to process the news. Take one step at a time and allow yourself to go through the motions with the steps below.
Take your time – don’t put any pressure on yourself to figure things out. With time—comes perspective.
Talk to people you trust – talking about how you feel can help you gain perspective on your thoughts and emotions.
Write it down – Putting pen to paper can act as an outlet to help you process difficult emotions. Let the words flow and see where it takes you.
Now more than ever, it’s important to take care of yourself. Self-care will look different for everyone. It could be a daily walk, reading a book or a hot bath. Sneak in soothing time for yourself where you can.
It’s also key to take care of the basics right now. Make sure you stay hydrated, get enough sleep, and eat a balanced diet. Good physical health goes a long way toward good mental health too.
Remember that you are more than your diagnosis
Having a mental health condition can feel consuming, confusing, and overwhelming. But remember that you are more than your diagnosis. While times are hard now, they won't last forever. Recovery from mental illness is possible with the right care, support and a little time.
That said, this doesn’t take away from how you’re feeling right now. Navigating the ups and downs of a mental health condition can be emotionally and physically demanding. During these difficult times, it can be helpful to read up on other people’s experiences of mental health, learn more about self-care techniques and find helplines to support you should you ever need it. So we’ve put together some useful links below to help you make sense of what's going on right now.
Mind. The mental health charity Mind has an excellent collection of information, real-life stories and support avenues.
Samaritans. The Samaritans offer different ways to access confidential support with someone you can trust. You can talk to someone on the phone, by email, write a letter or download the self-help app.
NHS. The NHS have a comprehensive mental health hub that provides information, guidance, and self help support tips.
Health Assured are here to help
Remember, if you have access to the Employee Assistance Programme with Health Assured, we are here 24/7, 365 days a year. You can get in touch with us via the app or helpline to access counselling support in an instant. From here, our team will help you access the support you need to make it through these difficult times. We’re only a phone call away.
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