How to embrace change when facing a mental illness

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Change can be a very scary and awkward thing, especially if you have a mental illness.  I find I have a harder time adjusting to change than most people because my emotions are so heightened. Even if the change is good it still takes time for me to transition and get my bearings.  The only way I get through it though, is by fully embracing it.

In the span of two weeks I have started a new job, enrolled in a writing class and started volunteering! Talk about a triple whammy! I’ll admit, each change has been terrifying, especially because they are major social changes and new social events cause me to have anxiety. Why did I do this all at once you ask? Because it was time for me to come out of hiding and renter the world. The past few years I have barely done any activities or tried something knew and it was causing me to regress.

I was resistant to starting a new job because I was scared of the unknown and unfamiliarity that comes with a new job. I felt the best thing was to stay put and endure my workplace the best I could. But by doing so I was very unhappy.

I was resistant to joining a class, activity or volunteer organization because I was shy and felt lazy. As a result, I gained 40 pounds and was very bored and lonely!

I was not my usual self at all. It was as if I’d given up.
One day I just snapped out of it and thought “what the heck was wrong with me?” I was not following my mono-mantra at all!

I was so disappointed in myself at first but then I decided to be kind as I am after all human, and ups and downs are a part of life. Even though I write this blog, I do NOT have my life and mental health all figured out. This blog is just as much for my readers as it is for me. I like to go back and read my posts when I’m feeling glum and remind myself that I have the power within me to fight and make a difference for myself and my life.

After my personal intervention, I took a chance and decided to make changes.

I was very overwhelmed initially. So what I did was write down what was stressing me about the changes. When I saw it written down on paper it made me feel better and allowed me to develop a plan to limit my stress as much as possible with these new upcoming changes.

Before I accepted my new position I made a pros and cons list to ease my mind and talked about them with my family. It was great clarity and having family input and support was validating.
When I started my new job I decided to be proactive and make it the best experience I could. So far, it’s been great and I am very happy I took the plunge. New jobs aren’t easy but they are worth it and can open up many opportunities.

In terms of activities, I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do in my spare time that would help me grow. I decided to enroll in a writing class because writing is my passion and I wanted to develop more skills. So far my class has been amazing and I finally get to hang out with people who share the same passion.

My volunteer experience with my church has been wonderful and I get to work with my mom which is really nice! Supporting local community charities has been rewarding, and it makes me grateful for what I have.

So if you are stuck in a rut and unhappy with your life, think about and embrace change.

  1. Decide what you want/need to change in your life.
  2. Identify any barriers that will make you resistant to change
  3. Find solutions and coping mechanisms to help you embrace the change and allow you to distress.
  4. Discuss your thoughts and concerns with someone you trust.
  5. Decide what is best for you.
  6. Make the transition as easy as possible.
  7. Have an open mind and see the end goal.
  8. Eat right, exercise and do things you enjoy so you can relax.

Change is so difficult but it is part of our everyday lives. I know I won’t get far in life if I don’t try new things and explore new opportunities. Life is short, we have to make the most of it!

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2 thoughts on “How to embrace change when facing a mental illness

  1. Atta girl, Megan! Love reading your honest writing and glad to see you are taking a class in it…am envious…tell me more about it. And congratulations on pushing yourself to get a new job. That can be VERY stressful but also rewarding. Most transitions in life are like that….so kudos to you all round.

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