Have you been newly diagnosed with a mental health issue? It can be overwhelming, to say the least. Through the years of finding the path to living well in spite of having a mental health diagnosis, I’ve come up with a list of a few things to do when newly diagnosed.
So, here are what I would consider key initial steps to living well when you’ve been recently diagnosed:
- The sooner you come to terms with your diagnosis and work your treatment plan, the sooner you are on the road to getting back your life
- Get enough sleep and watch your stress level
- Be honest with your doctor- the more he/she knows, the more helpful they can be. If you don’t trust your doctor or believe they are the best at what they do, find another doctor
- Find a positive and encouraging peer support group to attend.
- Take your medicine. Push past the side effects. And if the side effects are too much, talk to your doctor. Don’t make decisions regarding your medicine without your doctor’s input and approval.
- Don’t do street drugs. They interfere with the prescribed medicine. Yes, even marijuana does. You certainly won’t get better because of them and they will most likely only impede your recovery.
- Know the difference between emotional issues versus the symptoms of what you have been diagnosed with.
- Choose to believe that you can live a rich life in spite of this disorder or you can become the victim of it. You get to decide.
- Know that you are not alone.
Of course, the single most important thing is to remember, know and hold to- that the Lord is with you. He has not left you. He won’t leave you. He won’t give up on you. He is for you. And He will take what you are going through right now and work it together for your good. Listen to or read His word. If you can’t read the Bible, listen to it or listen to Scripture songs. It will feed your soul and bring inner peace.
These are some things that I have found true for myself in the recovery process since I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder some 23 years ago now. What have you found? What would you tell someone who has been newly diagnosed?