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Where Are You Now? – A Guide To The Mentally Ill

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  George Santayana

“In order to use a map one must be able to locate themselves on it.” FeatherLeaf

Where are you now? If you can’t look at your life and make an honest evaluation then the prospects for the future are bleak. 

Map photoFor the mentally ill the first step in recovery and a prosperous life is coming to terms with our mental illness. We must accept that there is in fact something wrong. That the chemicals in our brain are out of whack. As a result we need to take our medicine and be in the care of a psychiatrist. This is a hard thing to do as it compromises are ego, but it is reality. I’ve seen it far too many times, people stopping their medicine to wind up in the psychiatric ward. It happened to me several times.

The second thing we must do is to come to terms with the past. For the most part mental illness is accompanied with some unpleasant or abusive past. Mentally ill people are often the victims of abuse or bullying. Once the wrongs of the past are recognized they can be processed. From there we must have the power to forgive those that did us wrong. Only in forgiveness will you be free of the past. If somebody looks backward and holds on to resentment and hate they are poisoning themselves. A terrible life does not need to break you, you can take your experiences and apply the survival tactics to today. Your past can make you strong and a better person.

The third thing is to set some long term goal. It doesn’t need to be exact. It could be to get a job or to return to college. It could be as fundamental as staying out of the hospital. This goal depends upon where you are in the process of dealing with mental illness and is very personal. As such it is very personal and unique to the individual. It should be noted that it is a long term goal, something to accomplish in time periods of years and not days. A long term goal should, of course, meet the needs of the person.

Once a goal is set a person must create small tangible goals. These goals are something that somebody could work on in a day by day basis. For example a goal might be as simple as getting out of bed everyday and taking a shower. Or perhaps if somebody desires to return to college they could being by taking a single class, or even trying to read a book on a schedule. Exercising several times a week is something else. Overall these small goals should be something that serves to meet the long term goal and improves the person’s life.

One must always return to the map and look to see where they are. After time has passed one must assess where they are and where they are going. Perhaps instead of college one would be happier with trade school, or returning to the work force. When evaluations are made one can recognize the progress that one has made. This should be positive and encouraging. Achieving goals is difficult in general, for those with mental illness well the hills become mountains. As a general rule, if you’re doing something to improve your life, you’re on the right track.

In life we really never reach a final destination. There is always some aspect of our personality that needs improvement. We must learn to be critical of ourselves but in the process not tear us down. Still perfection is always beyond the horizon. Yet we must learn to be content in what we are.

The key to this whole process is trying with effort. Life is something that we must invest in. You only go through life once, I suggest that you give it your all.

Please check out my poetry book “Murmurings Of A Mad Man” poetry from the mentally ill.

Photos by DraXus,

Where Are You Now? – A Guide To The Mentally Ill

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APA Reference
Kaniecki, J. (2018). Where Are You Now? – A Guide To The Mentally Ill. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 16, 2019, from


Last updated: 30 Mar 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Mar 2018
Published on All rights reserved.