The Beginner’s Guide To Recovery From Mental Illness

According to Mind, 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.

I am one of those people.

So if you are at the stage where you have recognised there is a problem, but you’re not sure where to start, I’ve put together a guide based on my personal experiences.


1. Seek professional help

Make an appointment with your GP as soon as possible. They will be able to advise you about a referral to your local mental health team (in some areas, it’s a self-referral system involving filling in a form). It’s important to get this process started as soon as possible because unfortunately, waiting lists can be long, depending on your area.

2. Establish a support system

Have an open and honest discussion with your family and/or friends about your situation. Try to be as truthful as possible and avoid downplaying what you’re going through. It’s important that they know exactly what’s going on so they can best support you. Let them know what you need from them as specifically as you are able to. If you feel unable to have this conversation with a large group of people, either talk to each person individually (however this may be difficult, as you will have to repeat yourself many times) or have the conversation with the person that you trust the most, then ask them to explain your situation to everyone else on your behalf.

3. Slim down your schedule

Seeking help for mental illness is likely to involve treatment, which may include therapy. It’s important that we make time for this, as it will be crucial to your recovery. Now I’m not saying you need to quit work, quit your social groups, and hole up in your house until you’re better. But, it may be a good idea to reduce any overtime that you’re working or take a step back from non-essential commitments in the short term. Put your recovery first and the rest will fall into place.

4. Increase self-care

Mental illness is draining. It’s exhausting. It attacks our energy levels, our motivation, and sometimes our ability to look after ourselves. That’s why it’s so important to use what energy you have to look after yourself. Whether it’s maintaining good personal hygiene, making sure you eat well, or trying to get outside for some fresh air for a few minutes each day (even if it’s just stepping outside your back door).

5. Pick up some books

Since there are often long waiting lists for mental health treatment, it can’t hurt to start doing your own research and looking into self-help options. Of course, this is not to be used in place of professional help, but it’s a positive step forward in the meantime. If you already have your diagnosis, search for books that offer support and information on this diagnosis. However, if you are not yet diagnosed, start with a broader mental health and wellbeing book.


If you are just starting out on your recovery journey, I’m not going to lie, you’ve got a tough road ahead. But it is possible. And I hope that by following this guide you will avoid the issues that I have experienced, and your path to wellness will be slightly less bumpy.

Good luck.

Do you have any advice for those at the beginning of their recovery from mental illness? Let me know in the comments.

The Beginner's Guide To Recovery From Mental Illness (


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  1. I’m a “recovered” mentally ill person. Still some way to go and it’s not that I never experience some feelings and minor step back. But my best advice is :
    Get help! Talk. Talk. Talk
    Exercise… whatever makes you feel comfortable enough.
    Write a diary every day. Put all your emotions down on different colours and see how they change one month at the time.
    “Break up” with toxic people or those who only steal your energy or ask you to suck it up
    Eat well. Change your food ..
    Reward yourself every day.
    And not least ; know it’s ok to not be ok!
    This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
    It sounds easy but it’s not. It takes a lot of effort and it will take years and anger.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you so much for this post. I needed to see this. I’ve been dealing with anxiety for more than a few years now and was so scared to start recovery until recently. And seeing this today made it all the worth while. So thank you, these are great tips.

    Some I have already done such as establishing a good support system (which is limited due to not a lot of people from my faith community not being so understanding) and taking care of myself more lately. I just need to find treatment and go to it. But it is so hard to do so especially when you are from an ethnic minority and faith community that see it as a taboo.

    Thank you so much for this. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey there, thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment! I’m so so pleased for you that you have started your recovery journey. I wish you all the luck in the world with it, and please feel free to keep in touch along the way 🙂💜

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you and I will definitely keep in touch. I have been following you for sometime and ive read some of your workand I love it. So thank you. I am grateful for bloggers like yourself who are willing to share their personal experiences.

        Liked by 1 person

      • You’re too kind, thank you so much. It really does mean a lot to me to know that sharing my experiences helps in however small a way. Best wishes 🙂💜

        Liked by 1 person

      • I should be thanking you. It isnt so easy for me to share out loud my own experiences and i see so many others expressing theirs on twitter and here which are smilar to mine and i only can share through the eyes of others. And not actully share it myself. I only recently started blogging about it since i relocated. Before i never felt comfort in sharing due to my faith and ethnic minority community.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Its okay, not your fault. It is what it is. Not alot of people from my communities can understand and even if they do, they wont fully get the whole story. Especially the older generation that grew up back home.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I love that quote “According to Mind, 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem each year”. As a psychotherapist with 27 years of experience in private practice, I can tell you that very much depends on how you define “mental health problem”. I would suggest it is more along the line of 80 to 90% of the population, particularly during the last year with all the issues that the current pandemic has resulted in. The tips in this article and the comment by LiveNotExist are excellent starting points for exploration of your own particular journey. Some may find the series of articles I wrote on the subject of “self-love” helpful also, they can be found here subject of course to blog moderators approval.

    Liked by 1 person

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