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Success with Mental Health


Chapter 2: Living with Mental Health Condition(s)


    There are a lot of people that have mental illness and they're able to live the life they want.  This includes doctors, attorneys, mechanics, business people, cab drivers and celebrities to name a few.  If mental health affects you or your loved one, life can be good but with some extra work it can be even better.  Life will be just different but it'll just take some planning for when depression/anxiety symptoms cause problems.  This is when a treatment plan is necessary.

    Having a plan changes everything.  This works in almost every part of life. There should be a plan of what needs to be done when symptoms occur.  Symptoms can come on suddenly or may be gradual and that's why it's very important to know what to do ahead of time.  It’s very difficult to figure what to do when symptoms make it harder to think so having a plan will be a lifeline to find the right type of help that’s necessary..  If you or a loved one is affected by mental illness the following information is critical to living the best life possible.  There are 4 major parts of controlling mental illness:


  1.   Know yourself or your loved one


   2.   Have a good support system (family, friends, therapist)


   3.   Get the right type of help early on


   4.   Have and follow a treatment plan



Know yourself or learn about a loved one dealing with mental health:

    This is very easily overlooked but an important part of a person or loved one to remember about mental illness.  The person is separate from the condition.  Have a mental illness isn’t very different in living with other types of long-term health issues such as heart disease, lupus, stroke, arthritis among others.


    A lot of times when someone is sick, the condition takes over then it can feel like the person is the condition!   A person that has a mental health condition doesn’t have a choice in being mentally ill.  It’s not their fault they’re having symptoms but sometimes people that don’t deal with mental health don’t think about this at all.   If mental illness is a part of your or your loved one’s life, always remember it’s never your fault.


    There is still a lot of stigma about people who have mental health issues such as that person is acting out, being lazy, irresponsible or not being intelligent.  This thinking could be due to lack of knowledge, ignorance, fear or other issues.  There is still more education and treatment necessary so people with mental health conditions can be more accepted members of society at a greater level.

Anyone can be diagnosed with a mental illness at any time!



Know your Symptoms


Recognizing the Early Signs


   Signs/symptoms can vary a lot from person to person.  Knowing and dealing with symptoms early on goes a long way in dealing with depression/anxiety and other mental health conditions.  This helps in controlling mental disorders to a better degree which is priceless.  It can help prevent some major problems such as more mental stress, possibly more medication(s), missed time off work, feeling tired or being isolated at home most of the time.  Self-awareness when dealing with mental health will save you/loved ones over and over again




Severity of Symptoms


     It’s not always easy to figure out if symptoms are mild, moderate or severe.  It’s harder to know this especially when the type of symptoms can vary but the following is a guideline.  Ask the mental health provider their idea of what is considered mild, moderate and severe.


Mild symptoms: when symptoms don’t or barely interfere with life.  Even though, the mental condition(s) is there, it’s not hard to deal with or manage life.


Moderate symptoms: when symptoms start to interfere with life such as work, school, relationships and responsibilities among other plans.


Severe symptoms: this is when symptoms prevent what is needed to be done most   days of the week, if not every day.  This may include not being able to get out of bed, hygiene problems, not being able to take care of pets/children and not able to go to school/work.



When dealing with mental health conditions over a long time, symptoms will vary from mild, moderate to severe but the main goal is to keep them as mild as possible



Symptoms: 3-to-Treat-1 Rule


    Mental health conditions can come with many types of symptoms.  The symptoms can be psychological, physical or both.  It’s important to start managing these symptoms early so that way you or your loved one can live a life with minimal problems caused by mental health.


One symptom:  3 actions


When there are symptoms and it depends on how bad it affects life, there will possibly be 3 actions needed to control it.  Three things may be needed to treat 1 symptom. For instance, when dealing with depression and a symptom is hopelessness.  There might be several things that need to be done to control this 1 symptom.    This can include the following:  go out to a movie/ trip with family or friends, talk with a therapist/ crisis line and taking a day off school or work.   Or, it could include a combination of other actions.  The actions would change depending on the person and what has worked for that person in the past. 

Another example for the 3-to-1 rule would be having an anxiety attack.  This could be a 3-action solution such as the following: doing deep breathing several times a day, taking a “as needed” medication asap when you feel symptoms are starting to get worse and calling the health care provider for advice and/or an appointment.


It would be a good idea to write down the 3-part actions for certain symptoms and put it where you/loved one can easily have access and follow it.  Put it on a calendar, cell phone, journal or tablet/computer.   This way there is always a plan in place. Doing the 3-for-1 symptom treatment might reduce bigger problems such as worsened symptoms including being admitted into hospital. Fill out or print the following page to see how well it can work!

Blue checkmark.jpg

Symptom Checker



Symptom: _____________________________________________________________


Actions: list 3 or more things you will do to control it

 1.  _______________________________________________________________

 2.  _______________________________________________________________

 3.  _______________________________________________________________

Symptom: _____________________________________________________________


Actions: list 3 or more things you will do to control it

 1.  _______________________________________________________________

 2.  _______________________________________________________________

 3.  _______________________________________________________________

                                           Table of Contents:  138 pages



My Story                                                                                                                    


Living with Mental Illness                                                                                     

Not knowing what is wrong                                                                                

Causes of mental illness                                                                                        

Controllable vs. uncontrollable factors                                                                

Person vs condition                                                                                             

Know yourself                                                                                                      

Ask the right questions                                                                                         

Know the condition                                                                                             

The right diagnosis                                                                                              

Sometimes it’s “not” the condition                                                                                              

Dual diagnoses                                                                                               




Symptoms                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Recognizing the early signs                                                                                                                  Symptoms                                                                                                                                                 One symptom, many interventions                                                                                                                                                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                                    Symptom checker                                                                                            

Mood tracker                                                                                                     

Three types of care                                                                                        

Treatments for Depression/Anxiety                                                      




Rest/ relaxation                                                                                                     

Deep breathing (count to 10)                                                                                


Support system                                                                                                     

Thinking process                                                                                                   

Talk therapy                                                                                                          

Group therapy                                                                                                        


Decrease stress                                                                                                    


Guided imagery                                                                                                      

Making small attempts to be social                                                                       

Healthy diet                                                                                                            

Shock therapy (for depression)                                                                              

Crisis/ Suicide hotlines                                                                                           




Medications: finding the right one(s)                                                                      

What to ask your provider / pharmacist                                                                

Clinical trials                                                                                                          


WRAP Plans                                                                                         


Mental health goals plan                                                                                      

Find early warning signs and action plan                                                             

Daily action plan                                                                                                  

Trigger plan and action plans                                                                               

Crisis plan                                                                                                            

After-crisis plan                                                                                                     


Finding the Best Mental Health Providers                                                      


Asking for help!                                                                                                     

Find the right psychiatrist                                                                                      

What to ask at every psychiatry appointment                                                      

Find the right psychologist                                                                                    


Mental Health and Careers                                                                                                              

Model success                                                                                                      

Making work and school work for you                                                                     


Mental Health and Living Life                                                                                                             


Be proactive always                                                                                              




Medical Mental and Medical Care                                                                    


AHCD (Advance Health Care Directive)                                                             

Medical / health insurance                                                                                   


Substance abuse                                                                                                


Enjoying Life, 30 Minutes a Day                   

Self Confidence and Self-Esteem                           

Benefits of Controlling Mental Health                                                              



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