Best of Our Blogs: January 11, 2013

Ever have days when you think you got it all figured out? You’ve learned to communicate better, be more patient, and feel self-confident, imperfections and all. Then you get slammed by a day that makes you question everything.

That’s the type of day I had. Late for a doctor’s appointment. Late for a meeting. Suddenly, not so confident I can take on the world when I can’t seem to take control of my life. This comes after months of meditating, tai chi and yoga. Surprisingly, it did little to abate incessant and unnecessary insecurities and anxieties I felt over something so unimportant. I guess I assumed life would be easier. But I realized that taking responsibility for your life and being mindful of each moment made things more challenging. It was up to me to choose whether I was going to beat myself up for being out of control or learn to let it all go (the former being a lot easier than the latter).

It’s a question you may have also asked yourself recently. If so, know that it’s okay to get riled up sometimes. It’s okay if you have a bad day and make a mistake. There’s always tomorrow to right what we’ve wronged yesterday.

This week our bloggers are helping you to stop getting caught up in failure so you can choose to accept what is and let go. So whether you’re having trouble sticking with your 2013 resolutions or just want to communicate better, you’ll find it all here minus the judgment and the perfectionism.

8 Tips to Improve Your Communication
(Parenting Tips) – Think you’re a good communicator? Find out how what you say can hurt, not help your relationships. Then read these 8 things you can do about it.

3 Steps to Making Intentions Stick in the New Year
(Mindfulness & Psychotherapy) – Having trouble keeping to those New Year’s resolutions? Don’t be so hard on yourself! Find out why imperfection and failure are part of the process.

Love: The Healthy Addiction?
(Sex & Intimacy in the Digital Age) – Can love be as destructive as an addiction? Here’s how to know if you’re love is healthy or an emotionally unhealthy addiction.

Beware the Trap of Perfectionism: An ADHD Lesson
(ADHD from A to Zoë) – Perfectionism can get the best of us. Zoë shares how having ADHD can make it particularly insidious.

Developing Creativity: Notable Research and Books in 2012
(The Creative Mind) – An interesting new topic in neuroscience is cognitive flexibility. It delves into both creativity and intelligence and how they are intertwined.

Responsibility for Treatment Compliance

Responsibility for Treatment ComplianceOne of the most difficult challenges to overcome when dealing with a mental illness is the temptation of the excuse.

With a psychiatric diagnosis comes an excuse for everything. Any bad behavior, lack of motivation, or failure can be passed off as a symptom or the result of an episode. The excuse is always available. Don’t take it.

No one’s asking you to take responsibility for having a mental illness. That’s not your fault.

But you have to take responsibility for your actions and for your recovery. Sure, unexpected things happen as a result of serious mental illness, but most of our behavior is within our control, or at least our influence. And the behavior that most influences our wellness is treatment compliance.

If you have a treatment regimen that works, stick with it. If you had one and left it, get back on it.

While many of us bemoan the fact that we’ll never be well, treatment success rates for mental illness are very high. The National Institute of Mental Health has shown success rate of treatment for schizophrenia of 60 percent, depression, 70 to 80 percent, and panic disorder, 70 to 90 percent.

Compare this to treatment success rates for heart disease of only 45 to 50 percent. But treatment only works if the patient complies with the doctor’s orders. So take your medicine as directed, stay away from non-prescribed drugs and alcohol, exercise, sleep, and eat well. Manage stress. Chances are you will get better. But you’ll lose your excuse. Then you’ll have to start taking responsibility for your actions.

Responsibility brings a sense of control. This is important because one who feels he has control over key aspects of his life is most destined for success and well-being. If all things that happen to me, or if my very own behavior, is beyond my control, why should I bother?

But if prescribed treatment brings me a measure of control over events and my behavior, then I can positively influence what happens to me and those I love. I’ll have to get out of bed, get off the disability insurance, go to work, and suffer the challenges that everyone faces. Life may even be a bit more boring. But I can contribute, connect with others, and work toward dreams I may have long ago abandoned. Yes, this can be very hard. I may have to deal with side effects and limitations. I may have to say no when I want to say yes. And compliance can be costly. But wellness is possible.

Unfortunately, access to treatment is not available to everyone. Finding a correct diagnosis and a successful treatment regimen can take years.

But if you have access to treatment, you have a responsibility to work with doctors, counselors, social workers, and any family and friends available to help you to find a successful treatment regimen. And then you have a responsibility to stick with it. Health can be more challenging than illness, but the life that results is always more satisfying.

 

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