In my studies I have found that many people who experience psychiatric symptoms or have had traumatic things happen to them feel that they have no power or control over their own lives. Control of your life may have been taken over when your symptoms were severe and you were in a very vulnerable position. Family members, friends and health care professionals may have made decisions and taken action in your behalf because your symptoms were so intrusive you couldn’t make decisions for yourself, they thought you wouldn’t make good decisions or they didn’t like the decisions you made. Even when you are doing much better, others may continue making decisions in your behalf. Often, the decisions that are made for you and the resulting action are not those you would have chosen.
Taking back control of your life by making your own decisions and your own choices is essential to recovery. It will help you to feel better about yourself and may even help you to relieve some of the symptoms that have been troubling to you.
There are several things you can do to begin this process. You can do these things in whatever way feels right to you. You may want use a journal to list or write your thoughts and ideas as a way to stay focused on what it is you want, to motivate yourself and to record your progress.
- go back to school and study something of special interest to you?
- enhance your talents in some way?
- to do a certain kind of work?
- have a different home space or to own your home?
- move to the country or the city?
- have an intimate partner?
- have children?
- work with an alternative health care provider on wellness strategies?
- make your own decisions about treatment?
- stop putting up with disabling side effects?
- become more physically active?
- lose or gain weight?
You can probably think of many more ideas. Write them all down. You may want to keep them in a journal.. You can resolve these problems slowly or quickly. You can take small steps or big steps — whatever feels right and is possible for you. But you must do it if you want to take back control of your life.