Coping with a mental illness or generally improving your mental health can take some time and effort. If you are unsure about your recovery, here are a few signs that your mental health is improving and you’re going back to your normal self.
Living with a mental illness is challenging
Struggling with mental health issues can not only affect our thoughts, emotions, mood, and behavior, it can also affect our ability to function in our daily life, study, work, maintain relationships and care for ourselves. When left unaddressed, psychological conditions can seriously affect our lives in the long run.
Research shows that good mental health allows us to experience a range of human emotions, identify our abilities, deal with daily stressors, work productively and contribute to our community. It is also characterized by “the absence of mental disease,” explains a 2015 study. However, mental illness can alter our thinking, feelings & behaviors and cause distress and difficulty in functioning.
Unfortunately, almost all of us struggle with some mental health issues on a daily basis. There are different types of psychiatric disorders, like depression, anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and others, and some of these are mild, while some are severe. “Individuals who have a mental illness don’t necessarily look like they are sick, especially if their illness is mild. Other individuals may show more explicit symptoms such as confusion, agitation, or withdrawal,” explains a research paper. Regardless, therapy and self-help strategies can not only help you overcome mental illness, it can also help you improve your psychological well-being in general.
Is your mental health getting better?
Whether you are coping with stress, anxiety, depression or any other mental illness or simply trying to be in a better and more positive mental space, it can take some time and effort to heal and recover. However, as there is no specific way to measure how much you are healing, it can often be confusing and make you feel further stressed and anxious unnecessarily. This can also affect the outcome of your treatment, self-care efforts and recovery progression. So how can you know if you are actually recovering mentally and emotionally?
Although it can be difficult to accurately understand if you are recovering from mental illness without professional diagnosis, there are some signs that can help you realize if your mental health is generally improving. Here are some common yet understated signs that indicate recovery, healing and good mental health –
1. Less anger and irritability
Studies reveal that “Mood instability is common, and an important feature of several psychiatric disorders.” Coping with excessive stress, anxiety or depression can often lead to chronic bouts of irritability, mood swings and angry outbursts. Being mentally unhealthy can make us emotionally unstable leading to unnecessary and extreme reactions, which can affect our social and personal relationships. Moreover, mood swings associated with stress and depression can hinder our ability to think clearly, assess situations properly and respond appropriately.
However, if you find yourself in better control of your emotions, feel less irritable or angry, then it is surely a prominent sign of recovery. As you heal from your mental issues, you develop more patience, empathy and compassion and feel less triggered due to external factors. You are more likely to respond rationally than to react aggressively. Now you feel more in control of your moods and feel more reasonable, welcoming & positive.
2. Feeling more interested in activities
When we are dealing with mental health issues, we often lack interest in different activities, whether it’s our professional work, household chores or fun activities, which we used to like earlier. It makes it difficult for us to enjoy pleasurable activities as we are influenced by depressive moods and thoughts. But once the recovery process begins, you start to enjoy everyday activities more. You find your job more meaningful, you love spending time with your family more, you love going on walks more often, you start to enjoy food again, you even enjoy chatting with neighbors while grocery shopping. Finding activities, hobbies and passions is a sign of a positive mindset and an indication of recovery from mental illness.