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Finding Purpose Living with Treatment-Resistant Mental Health Conditions

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Living with a mental health disorder is hard enough. It can seem like a never-ending pursuit to find the right therapist, medication, and ways to cope. The darkness and distress of conditions such as major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder can leave you feeling helpless, struggling to find anything that works. Having a purpose can aid recovery. 

Typically, the mood disturbances, worries, and pains subside with time as individuals learn new skills and find the right medicine in some cases. However, significant numbers of people continue to struggle in an ongoing battle with their symptoms. Those individuals are said to have treatment-resistant mental health disorders.

Following are a small number of techniques I have personally found helpful in improving the quality of my life living with ongoing mental health challenges. These practices take time to implement yet are extremely important in regaining stamina and finding a path and purpose. 

Identify Your Values

A value system is a set of consistent values that guide a person or group’s behavior and actions. Values provide direction in life. Examples include valuing education, family time, sports, or socialization. The list can be quite expansive. Looking at your own values list can provide a framework to start. 

Your therapist can be a great person to help you look at your value system and identify specific traits and qualities you possess, helping narrow down the list. Another way to identify your values is to look at what you spend the most time, money, and energy on. Looking at the negative values in your life, such as envy, greed, or overindulging in certain foods or substances, is equally important. 

Values guide our decision-making, influence positive behavior, and provide direction. Identifying your inherent values is the first step in finding meaning and purpose. When you affirm you value courage, work, or compassion, it directly impacts how you see yourself and appear to others. Identifying that value and proclaiming who you are is highly beneficial for maintaining recovery and finding purpose.

Accomplishing Small Goals

Living with a mental health condition long term can cause an endless cycle of ruminating thoughts and sometimes avoidance. We try to think our way out of it. Sometimes, the only way out for someone struggling is by setting small incremental goals.

It may be hard at first, but once you identify your goal, taking small steps every day will get you there. If the goal is to socialize, you may go to a coffee shop alone one day. Maybe text someone you care about to connect or just go out in public a few times a week. Any step forward is progress. Give yourself massive credit for your courage. 

Goal setting is an essential part of self-growth and developing self-worth. Having goals increases confidence and resilience. I have even made a scoreboard for not letting my disorder win, making it a competition against anxiety. The more points I accumulate against my illness, the stronger I feel. 

Eventually, accomplishing goals, even small ones, will give you a sense of purpose and the chance to integrate positive learning experiences. Showing up for yourself and stating that you can do hard things helps. 

Give Yourself Time

Everyone who is hurt needs time to heal. Recovery is not measured by a diagram or diagnostic manual. You are the most significant project you will ever work on. Give yourself the grace and time you need to regain that inner strength. 

Taking breaks helps the body and mind relax, wind down, and re-energize. Practice self-care, have a routine, and remind yourself that your pain won’t last forever. Every successful person who has pursued any difficult long-term project has had setbacks. Anyone who attempts to live a purposeful life alongside treatment-resistant mental health disorders is strong. 

Ending Thoughts

The biggest takeaway for people living with a treatment-resistant disorder is that it is tough. There are very good days and extremely terrible days. Remember, the person inside you, who carries you through the good and bad times, has value. You are capable of achieving your goals, taking your time, and having acceptance for yourself. You do have a purpose. 

If you or someone you know experiences mental health issues, it is important to seek help from a qualified professional. Our Resource Specialists can help you find expert mental health resources and support in your community. Contact us now for more information on this free service.

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About the Author: Tara Young is an avid reader and writer who hopes to spread awareness on a variety of mental health topics with the intent of providing education through lived experience. She values recovery and hopes to provide a space readers turn to in difficult times.

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

The opinions and views expressed in any guest blog post do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in the article or linked to therein. Guest Authors may have affiliations to products mentioned or linked to in their author bios.

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