How to Forgive Yourself and
Adopt a Life of Wellness
Mental health, addiction, and even substance abuse are all different and yet correlated. They correlate in the sense that they all take place in the brain, which is the most complex and most unknown organ in the entire body. The brain that dictates who you are and who you will be. When things go wrong, they can go very wrong. You could end up seriously hurting yourself and those around you. Perhaps your addiction caused you to steal from your loved ones. Perhaps your anxiety disorder resulted in you flaking when someone needed you most.
To move on from these dark times, however, there is one thing you must always do first: forgive yourself. Only once you forgive can you give yourself the hope that you can change.
Fault and Circumstance: Knowing the Difference
When you suffer from a mental health disorder like anxiety or borderline personality disorder, even the smallest stressors can feel like the world is coming down on you. Worse yet, you will likely blame yourself for not being able to handle it. However, as The Recovery Village points out in their anxiety disorder guide, most anxiety disorders are absolutely involuntary, and the only way to gain control is to accept that you need help. It is not your fault that you have an anxiety disorder, it is only circumstance. In addition, you can take a GAD-7 anxiety self-test, which provides insight on what generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is, the physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms to watch for, and ways to treat and manage it.
Importance of Forgiving Yourself
Some disorders are more violent than others. PTSD, for example, is an anxiety disorder that can have serious consequences for those around you. War veterans, in particular, can be violent during an episode, but beating yourself up for past mistakes will not help. It will only exacerbate your disorder. You need to forgive yourself first so that you can feel like you are worthy of a second chance.
Making Time for Change
Forgiving yourself and understanding that you are not in control of your mental health disorder, but are in control of how you go about changing your life around, is a great first step. You will want to:
- Lifestyle Changes
Every treatment for mental health disorder will require you to make some sort of lifestyle change. When you have anxiety, it could be to keep your home clean, free of clutter, and to make it cozy so you are as calm and relaxed as possible.
- Finding Support
Find support groups or reach out to friends and family for support. They love you, after all, and even if you have hurt them you can gain their forgiveness by making the necessary steps towards change.
- Gaining Forgiveness
When you do go about gaining forgiveness from people you might have hurt before you started treatment it is important to show your commitment. Show them that you are going to therapy. Show them that you have group support. Show them that you have changed your life around so that you are no longer around the toxic people that exacerbated your disorder or caused you such severe anxiety. Showing you want to change will help heal all wounds, but don’t force it upon them.
Resolving a mental health issue is not a straightforward path, nor is it your fault that you have one. There is no set of steps or guaranteed medicines that will immediately fix you. You need to work continuously to stay well, stay healthy, and do good by the people you love and care about.
NOTE: Be wary of opioids as a solution. According to the Centers for Disease Control, anyone who takes opioids is at risk of developing an addiction. The opioid epidemic affects millions of people across the United States and is responsible for most of America's overdose deaths. More information here: Opioid Addiction & Abuse.
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