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Mental Health Improvement is a Process

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Big projects can be overwhelming. So overwhelming, in fact, that it can be hard to even get started. And when that big project is, say, improving your mental health, it might seem as though the goal is so far in the distance that you will never get there. 

But you absolutely can get there. The key is to remember that you can’t do the whole project all at once. What you can do is make steady progress toward your goal.

Imagine you live in a house with an unfinished basement. Maybe you have lived there awhile, and you have been using that basement as a storage space. Over time, whatever organizational strategy you had been using has succumbed to general clutter. Stuff is piled haphazardly, boxes are unlabeled, the holiday decorations are all jumbled together, and to top things off, you can’t remember when you last changed the filter in your furnace. It’s pretty overwhelming.

Now let’s imagine that what you would really like to do is transform the basement into a usable space. A game room. A craft room. A music studio. A place to exercise. A space of your own to relax.

The journey from cluttered, unfinished space to pleasant, usable space probably seems pretty long, right? But that doesn’t mean it is impossible to get there.

The same is true if you are struggling with a mental health disorder. The journey to better mental health probably seems pretty long. But that certainly doesn’t mean it is impossible to get there.

You Can’t Start at the End, So Start at the Beginning

In a magical world, we could imagine our end goal and make it a reality with a snap of our fingers. But we live in a world in which most any goal worth pursuing is going to take some work—maybe a lot of work.

Again, getting started can feel overwhelming. But getting started—from the beginning—is the only way to proceed. 

Take our basement example. There is no magic shortcut to cleaning up the mess. But it will never get cleaned up if you don’t start somewhere. You might start by changing that furnace filter. After all, it is a positive step forward, and it might give you just enough of a sense of accomplishment to encourage you to go through that first unlabeled box. 

So what is an equivalent first step when it comes to improving your mental health? Maybe it is scheduling an appointment with your doctor to talk about your concerns about your mental health. Or maybe it is simply telling a friend or partner that you are struggling and could use their support. As with the basement project, you might find that taking that first step makes it seem more possible to take the second.

The Path to Your Goal Might Not Be a Straight Line

Let’s say you have been working steadily on sorting through the boxes in the basement. You have thrown away, recycled, or donated things you no longer need. You have cleared most of the floor space and untangled the holiday lights. You have been changing your furnace filter regularly. Everything seems to be headed in the right direction.

Now imagine that something goes wrong. A big storm leaves you with water in the basement. You move a box and discover evidence of a mouse (or mice!) making themselves at home. Heck, maybe that furnace of yours gives up the ghost and needs to be replaced.

Those are all setbacks, to be sure. And they might dampen your enthusiasm for the overall project. But if you remind yourself of all of the progress you have made, odds are good that you can work your way through the new situation and get back on track toward your overall goal.

The journey toward better mental health sometimes encounters detours and setbacks, too. And that can be discouraging—especially if you have been working steadily and feeling good about your progress. But challenges are bound to arise in one form or another, so your best move is to work through those challenges while staying focused on your primary goal of improved mental wellbeing. 

Johnstown Heights Behavioral Health Can be Your Project Partner

The basement remodeling project would be a lot easier if you had someone helping you do the work, right? The same is true when you are working to “remodel” your mental health. It is easier if you do not try to do all the work on your own.

At our Colorado facility, we provide personalized mental health care, working with you to achieve your wellness goals. Our work is grounded in evidence, expertise, experience, and empathy—and that means we can help you start your journey, give you tools for ongoing success, and help you manage setbacks. If you are struggling with depression, anxiety, the lingering impact of trauma, or other mental health challenges, we can be your project partner as you work toward your goal of a better future.

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