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In life we all face barriers to change.

I want to __________ but________

……I still have to

As people we’re constantly deciding to make changes. Some changes are really small, and some are a lot bigger. Some changes are necessary to keep living; to stay alive. A diagnosis of a mental illness means a lot of changes are ahead. In the past two years since I have really started entered into recovery, I have made more changes than I can count. None of them have been easy, but all of them have been worth it.

But it’s not just the people with the diagnosis that have many life changes to make, its also the people in the person’s life. But let’s start with changes in my life. I cannot catalogue each and everyone but I’d be happy to share some of the bigger ones with you.

One of my biggest changes involved changing my idea of beauty, which consisted of my idea of a “perfect body”. I used to fantasize about the day I was beautiful, and that beauty had very specific specifications. It included numbers, clothing sizes, proportions, specific brands I would wear, how I would wear my hear and make up. I poured over magazine after magazine. I bookmarked my favorite clothing websites where I pictured myself wearing their clothes once I was finally “beautiful”. The change came when I had to accept that that definition of beauty was never going to be attained, because it didn’t exist anywhere but in my own head. So many life changes had to follow I had to stop looking at magazines, distance myself from online clothing websites and asking others if I looked “fat”. I also ask people in my life not to talk about my body or make weight or body comments around me.

Another example would be in dealing with my bipolar disorder. When you get the diagnosis of a mental illness, it often times comes with medication management. Well, adding medication to your day can be burdensome, when some of it comes at awkward times, or maybe it’s not in a convenient  location. The most helpful thing I did was buy a pill box, and while yes it made me feel like an old woman, it was incredibly helpful. That way I can sort out all my medication one week and it’s easily accessible. Another thing I did was set medication alarms on my phone, these are reminders to take the medication at the correct time to help me stay healthy.

Those are two of my examples. It’s important to remember that recovery is a lifestyle. Everyday for the rest of my life I’m going to work on recovery, make the recovery changes and build a life of health – whatever that entails (changes non-negotiable).