A Checklist For Getting Better
A Checklist For Getting Better
So you’ve noticed some things are off. Maybe you’ve gone through seasons of depression previously - and you can feel it starting up again. Maybe you are noticing recurring symptoms and feel like you may have a certain illness.
It’s hard to know where to start or what to do.
I’ve walked the road before and want to share what process I went through in hopes to help you spend less time on webmd and online forums. (those get scary)
Here’s a totally non-comprehensive list of suggestions if you don’t know what to do first but suspect you may have a mental illness!
Please note - this is from personal experience just hoping to help you navigate the mental health journey. Everyone is different! I am not a mental health professional and not explicitly giving directions - just suggestions!
Start recording symptoms
grab a journal and date & log symptoms
why? It unfortunately can be difficult to convince doctors something is wrong. You will have to advocate for yourself - and it’s good to have your facts straight and evidence built up. (I know that sounds a little scary - but do not be afraid! You can be fully confident and prepared to take care of you!)
I actually made a digital mental health journal to help you log how you are feeling, and it can be used on any iOS device. Click here if you think it may be helpful! (I based it off of my own experience logging symptoms)
Form a support community
while you are logging symptoms, reach out to one or two people you trust and let them know how you are really feeling
ask if they could support you while you are not feeling well. Ask if it’s okay to text them updates and check in often. Return the favor if you feel like you can handle their feelings right now too.
Call a professional
This is the time for the people who really understand mental health to shine! But who to call?
When to consider calling a counselor:
If you feel like you can point to circumstantial factors that are having negative impacts on you (a break up, a big transition, family issues, etc.)
If you feel like you really need someone to talk to
If you feel like a slow fade is happening & you feel less like yourself
When you really really want to feel better
When you suspect something may be wrong - but you aren’t sure what it is
(note: counselors will often refer you to psychiatrists if they see it fit. So counseling is always a great place to start!)
When to consider calling a psychiatrist:
* all of the factors under counselor *
AND feeling like there is a chemical component to your symptoms - meaning symptoms feel uncontrollable often
If you feel physical manifestations of your symptoms - like losing sleep, vivid nightmares, body pain, hallucinations, hearing voices, etc.
You have been going to a counselor for a while, and it feels like you aren’t able to apply what you are learning because your body is out of sorts
Things don’t seem to be getting better
When to consider calling a help line:
You feel like you may hurt yourself
You feel like life is not worth living
Things seem SO BAD you can not see around them and feel afraid
You feel like you are immediately in danger
When to call the hospital:
laws in psychiatric units of hospitals vary from state to state
essentially, if you feel like you are in danger of harming yourself or someone else, you are able to go to the hospital to be evaluated and kept safe
this is a great option if you feel like you need to be protected from yourself
you should be able to walk into the emergency room and request help
If you have contacted a professional, and are now working through getting a diagnosis and getting more answers - here are some things you can consider that may help you start feeling better
Sleep - aim for a consistent 8 hours a night
Movement - moving your body consistently
Routine - consistent routines help reduce anxiety
Time with friends - work in time to be around others and in community
Distraction - be sure to implement space for the things you just like to do - read books, a favorite show, a long bubble bath, game nights, walking the dog, etc.