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After spending a month in the psychiatric ward, I’ve decided I never want to go back again.
Not only was the experience horrifying from the inside, but it took me another month in the outside world to feel fully recovered. As someone who’s been through it, this is my take on the best steps for improving our overall well-being whether or not we’ve been hospitalized.
1. If you and your doctor choose that medication, then it is the best for you.
Honestly, taking medicine was weird for me at first, but I knew it needed to happen. Although I miss my life before my mental breakdown, late nights and even later mornings, I’d rather work with my psychiatrist on finding the right medication and doses that work for me than risk going back into psychosis.
If we quit our antipsychotics abruptly, then our previous symptoms may return within three to six months. It’s best to keep showing up and letting our doctor know if we feel any side effects and telling them if the medication is working.
2. Keep a regular eating schedule.
When all I could do was handle vegging out on the couch, my meal times became super important because they were something I would look forward to. As someone who wasn’t eating regularly, this was a huge improvement and has helped me gain necessary weight as well as prevent myself from eating too late at night. Having a regular eating schedule can also help our brain to rest and prevent depression.
3. Have a regular sleep schedule.
If we’re not sleeping, then we’re probably not getting the rest we need to heal our brain. I like taking afternoon naps when I can because even though napping feels unproductive, it’s great for our memory. Sleep was something I struggled with, but now I have a regular bedtime schedule, after taking my nightly medication. I wake up refreshed and energized unlike before.
4. Go for walks.
Some of my walks had to be supervised by my older sister at first, but walking outside always felt nice in my early recovery stage. If outdoors isn’t an option, hitting the treadmills at the gym can be just as good. I aim for at least 30 minutes as recommended by health experts, but some is always better than none.
5. Have a support system.
Without my family by my side, I wouldn’t have recovered as well as I did. I needed people to lean on and take care of me and I don’t know what I would have done without them. It’s important to have good people looking out for us and helping us with recovery. Although it may feel strange, it is a huge motivator to have people who love lift us up in the ways that they can. I know I struggled with feeling weak, but in the end their support made me stronger.
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