As the title reads, today was my last day at the program, and if I am to be honest, it is a bitter sweet moment. I got so much valuable information from the program’s educator and licensed clinical social worker. The program provided a necessary and smooth transition from being inpatient for mental health relapse to being at home without the sudden and abrupt change. The program provided a nice intermediate step in my mental health journey and allowed me to get on an additional medication to really help make it easier to manage the depression and anxiety.
The program emphasized the importance of learning to manage versus attempting to control one’s own mental illness. It is impossible to control mental illness but entirely possible to manage it effectively, making leading a productive life realistic. Unlike previous times in group therapy, I really received the message this time. I received the messages of the value of routine, self care, and self praise. Another strong takeaway from the program was learning to identify facts versus beliefs. Within the community, there is an emphasis on feelings when feelings provide unreliable data while in the depths of mental illness. While in recovery, it is almost always better to analyze a situation from the facts.
I am gradually learning to define myself not by my mental illness but my strengths of personality and character and where my talents lie. The program taught me to accept (but not define) myself by Autism, Major Depressive Disorder, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. The program’s educator further spoke about, taking our symptoms of mental illness along with us. This is to say know that they are there but manage them and accept them.
It is my aim to destigmatize mental illness by being as open a book as possible about my personal struggles with depression and anxiety. Mental illness is nothing to be hated or feared. Mental illness, like diabetes, is an illness and is very treatable. Just like someone with diabetes might need to take medications or use insulin, somebody with a mental illness needs medication and therapies. It is possible to lead productive, healthy lives with the right regimens put into place and the right medications to help balance the disorder.