Responding To Change With Mental Illness

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George Bernard Shaw once said, “Progress is impossible without change,and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” Change is inevitable. In fact, as it is philosophically said, change is the only constant we have in life. Sometimes it can feel like life is constantly changing. The truth is, we only get a glimpse of some of the smallest changes. For example, the earth is constantly rotating and making incremental adjustments to its tilt on the axis. Cells are constantly regenerating, right before your very eyes. Things are changing all the time that we can’t see and certainly beyond what we can control. Yet it is the changes which make themselves obvious to us which are the most difficult to cope with, especially living with a mental illness.

Unpredictable or unchangeable moods, childhood experiences rooted in trauma, fears of abandonment and rejection- all of these things can create an uneasy relationship to change. For many people, change was a constant which was right in their face. Living in an unstable environment which might have come with abuse can make coping with change hard. Most people will experience traumatic events in their life which can make it hard to feel like there is any security in the world. Since change is unending, that means we have to learn to live with it and cope effectively.

It Isn’t About What Happens But How You React To It

The serenity prayer reads as follows: “Grant me the serenity to accept the things i cannot change, the courage to change the things i can and the wisdom to know the difference’. We can’t always be in control of what happens to us or around us. What we can be in control of is how we react to it. More importantly, we want to learn how to respond rather than react. The easiest and most impactful way to change our reactions to responses is to breathe. When something happens that we feel is out of our control, it is our first instinct to react. Instead, we want to respond. Take a moment to breathe, even if the moment is immediate and urgent. It takes courage, as the serenity prayer reads, to focus on the wisdom. Before you try to control what you can’t, you’ll have time to recognize what needs to be assessed in the situation.

Avalon By The Sea is one of California’s only mental health treatment facilities certified to provide care for mental illness as a primary diagnosis. Our beautiful dual diagnosis facility serves clients looking for a peaceful transition into a new way of life. For a confidential assessment and more information on our programs, call 1 888-958-7511.

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