It's Life with Christina┃ Motherhood + Mental Health

Diagnosed With a Mental Health Illness:  Now What?

Hi mama, are you recently diagnosed with a mental health illness and feeling lost?

First of all, I want to tell you that it will be okay. I know that it doesn’t feel like it right now. You are overwhelmed, worried, confused and most likely questioning everything. 

But please have faith that you are strong enough to get through this. 

I know that I had a very tough time, after a major depressive episode. I didn’t want to hear that something was wrong with me. I felt overwhelmed, lost and alone. I felt helpless. 

But I had to get myself better, I had to pick myself up and move forward because I have a family, I have people who love me and I also needed to do it for myself. 

And so do you. 

Here are some things to do when you are first diagnosed with a mental health illness:

1. Breath- seriously. Take a couple of deep breaths in and out. I know this feels like a thousand-pound weight has dropped on you- suffocating you. But you will get through this.

2. Book an appointment with a psychiatrist– again. This will be to talk about the next steps and get a game plan together so that you can get yourself better.

3. Make a decision of whether or not you want to try medication. (Although I typically do not go for medication first I needed help as quickly as I could and believe it or not this was one of the biggest helps for me. But do what you feel comfortable doing and what you believe works best for you.)

4. Research. Research medications to try, make a note of the ones you don’t want to try. Look into your mental health illness. Ask Google every question you can think of.

5. Journal. Write down everything that you are feeling, thinking, your questions.

6. Read. Read everything you can about your illness, make notes. Get books from the library or purchase them to gather as much information as you can.

7. Accept the truth. This is hard. When we hear something so devastating we want to avoid it, we want to pretend like this isn’t our life. But this isn’t helpful and it won’t get you far. Believe me, I’ve been there. 

8. Open up to those closest to you. This is so important. It’s something that’s hard to do but if you can open up to people closest to you it builds your support circle, it creates a safe place and those people can help you. And they want to. 

9. Ask for help. It’s hard to ask for help, I know this. But we need it. We cannot get ourselves better while raising kiddos and doing everything that we have to do in motherhood on our own. Period. Ask for help and accept it. 

10. Be patient with the process. It takes time to try out different medications, different routines etc. This is not something that will happen quickly and that’s okay. 

11. Monitor your moods and symptoms. This is helpful for you to have when you go to your appointments but also when you are tracking these things you can easily look back and start to see trends. 

12. Figure out your triggers/stresses so you can avoid those as best as you can. This is something that is super important. You want to figure these things out so you can avoid them. I suggest writing about these in your journal.

13. Join support groups. Not something that’s easy to do but being around people who are struggling as well will really help you move forward. 

14. Get outside at least once a day. Sunshine and just fresh air will work wonders for your mood!

15. Look into mindful techniques and start practicing them.

16. Book a doctor’s appointment.

17. Pay close attention to your sleep schedule. Sleep is so important and most likely you are not getting enough of it or it’s getting interrupted. You can work with your doctor on this or do your own research and try out different things. 

18. Prioritize self-care. This! Again we get stuck on focusing on everything else that we rarely take care of ourselves. 

19. Cut out the caffeine. 

20. While you are at it leave the alcohol behind.

21. Come up with a mental health plan.

22. Set up an appointment for talk therapy.

23. Review your health insurance, reach out if you have any questions or any issues along the way. 

24. Set boundaries with people where needed. 

25. Lastly, be sure not to isolate yourself. A lot of times this is something we don’t even know we are doing. Remember the people that love you only want to help you. And you need them. You need a strong, supportive circle.

Did I miss something that worked for you? Please leave a comment and let me know.

Wishing you the absolute best on your journey forward!

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The Comments

  • Roselne Beusch
    July 6, 2022

    Thanks so much for sharing, I suffered mental issues some years back,it`s been awhile since i passed that bad phase but years down the line, I still listen to by body and mind very closely.Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Karen Kasberg
    July 6, 2022

    Thanks for sharing so many great tips for dealing with mental health issues. It is so important to remember you are not alone and there is help and hope. I’ve dealt with mental health issues for more than half my life, however I live a happy and fulfilled life thanks to therapy and medication.