by Jim Althoff / Mental Health Association of Morris County, Inc.
Monday August 17, 2009, 2:58 PM
Jim Althoff is a Community Life Coach at the Mental Health Association of Morris County where he helps recipients of supportive housing services on their road to recovery. Jim believes that these "Keys to Success" can help those with mental illness achieve independence and reintegrate into the community:
1. Take meds as prescribed
People that I have talked with are afraid of taking prescribed meds because of side effects. All medicine has side effects. Vitamin C and aspirin have side effects. If you are having side effects notify your doctor immediately. Your doctor will decide to either lower your dose or change you meds. If you want to remain stable take your meds as prescribed and work with your doctor.
2. Be honest and truthful to yourself
Know how you are feeling and what you are thinking. If you are making up stories about yourself or others you are not helping yourself get better. Your goal is to get better and stay healthy.
3. Set goals for yourself
Start out by setting goals that you can accomplish in about six months (like increasing your bowling score by ten pins). Start out small and then make the goals more long range and difficult, like getting an associates degree.
4. Be determined to be successfu
Set your goals to be successful. Keep your sights on success. You have got to want it in your heart, mind, and soul. Having only one or two of these things will not make you a success. You need all three. Tell yourself and only yourself that you want to succeed and then become one.
5. You will have setbacks
Most setbacks are minor, some are major. Setbacks do happen. The fewer the major setbacks you have the better. It takes a lot of time to get back to where you were before you became ill again.
6. Keep busy
Volunteering will provide you with a skill set and help you develop skills that can get you started working towards a possible full-time position. Take courses to develop interests that you have. You will be keeping your brain active and healthy.
Be patient with yourself. The road to recovery can be lengthy and is a continuing and ongoing process. In most cases you did not develop a mental illness overnight. There were signals along the way, whether you and others were aware of them or not. It takes time to recover.
8. Work, effort, and stamina
It requires a lot of work, effort and stamina on your part to lead a healthy life. Recovery does not happen over night. It is a continuing process. You must be determined that you are going to overcome this disability.