Maybe you learned some helpful tools, and you made some supportive friends. Perhaps you found the right medication for your condition, and you began opening up about some of your feelings in therapy.
Completing treatment is often the first step towards starting a new life in recovery. It provides stabilization and monitoring, and it can be an invaluable experience for people struggling with severe mental illness.
But what does life look like after completing residential mental health treatment? How do you ensure that you're on the right track in your recovery when you're not under 24/7 care?
Staying Connected to Support
Treatment offers a safe and supportive environment for you to work through various mental health stressors. You're surrounded by like-minded peers and compassionate staff trained to understand and treat your condition.
Therefore, it's no surprise that many people feel somewhat scared, sad, confused, or even lonely after completing treatment. You may have walked in not knowing a single person, but you probably left feeling more validated than you have in a long time.
After completing treatment, it's crucial to stay connected with support. If you're working with a therapist who's helping you, keep meeting with them regularly. If you enjoy the time spent with your friends, make routine plans to stay in touch.
Staying connected requires action. You need to be willing to put in the time and effort. But it's always worth it, especially when it comes to improving your mental health.
If you don't feel like you have adequate support, it's time to make that a priority. Start putting yourself out there to meet people. Consider participating in group therapy. Try volunteering or getting a job. Socialization is an essential part of the human experience- we all need to feel connected to others to feel healthy and happy.
Living in a Safe Environment
If your home life feels toxic or unstable, these conditions can undoubtedly affect your mental well-being. We are products of our environments, and unproductive environments can make us feel anxious, depressed, or lonely.
Ideally, your home should:
feel clean and spacious enough for you to feel comfortable.
offer some privacy for you to have alone time.
feel supportive (the people who live with you should embrace your recovery).
require you to engage in some reasonable responsibilities, such as chores.
If your current home doesn't meet these requirements, consider what needs to change. Can you make simple accommodations with your family or current roommates? Or do you need to find a new living environment altogether?
Following Your Treatment Plan
What were you working on while you were in treatment? What were your main goals, and how you were trying to achieve them?
The work doesn't stop when residential treatment ends. In many ways, your process is just beginning! Now that you're more independent, it's more important than ever to implement what you learned into practice.
Your treatment plan may consist of following goals related to:
practicing specific coping skills.
setting boundaries in your relationships.
taking all medication as prescribed in a timely manner.
attending all medical appointments.
seeking more independence via getting a job, starting school, etc.
Remember that perfection isn't the goal. You don't have to achieve everything all at once, and trying to do so can result in burnout or resentment. Realistic mental health goals can include benefits like increased confidence or improved relationship satisfaction.
Managing Real-World Stressors