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Painted Brain | The Importance Of Doable Goals And Reasonable Expectations For Symptom Management
We're bridging communities and changing the conversation about mental illness using arts and media.
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  • admin
  • November 21, 2015

The importance of doable goals and reasonable expectations for symptom management

Having doable goals for myself as well as reasonable expectations has been an integral component for myself in terms of personal recovery from Aspergers, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, and diabetes. All of that is definitely a lot to cope with. I try to focus on what I am able to do that is realistic rather than aspiring to advice that I hear from either family members, counselors, friends, support group leaders, peers, therapists, doctors, and psychiatrists.

Fortunately, I have always been good about taking medicine as directed and I used to like to have one drink on a weekly basis, usually about half a glass of white or red wine or occasionally a light beer but I don’t drink because of the diabetes and the Depakote. I am currently a smoker and I love diet soda and sugar-free instant café mocha or the Iced Blended Vanilla at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.

I used to have a really hard time in terms of eating properly for diabetes. At one point I loved Ferrero Rocher chocolates and bags of Lay’s potato chips so much and my favorite places to order food from were Papa John’s Pizza which I did once a week and Fromins Deli and I would order a hamburger and fries about twice a week. My grandmother and my uncle have such different eating habits that they just don’t even understand it and it’s really emotionally unhealthy to get into arguments about food. I think that if a person feels the need to eat what they want, they should be able to and meanwhile take medicine for it.

One thing that I don’t understand is that there are certain mental health professionals who believe that patients have to exercise. I feel that saying that someone has to exercise isn’t appropriate. Fortunately this didn’t happen with me but my uncle and my family therapist had a conversation in which I think my uncle or the therapist mentioned that there are psychiatrists who don’t prescribe medications to people who don’t work out. Personally I think that is a very bad decision and I think that people should choose the type of exercise they want to and how much.

Here are the types of exercises that I do and I honestly feel that I do a good workout once I do them. I use a Swiffer Sweeper to dust my floor about twice a week. I have tried to use a vacuum but it is too heavy and I feel very dizzy and have even seen stars so that’s not practical. I have a mesh laundry basket which is lightweight but my laundry is outside and I take the laundry and soap and the dryer is high up so I have to reach for it which is definitely a form of exercise. I walk from my apartment to the cab. I walk from a cab to an office building or the bank. Only because my therapist’s office doesn’t have an elevator do I take the stairs. I walk inside the pharmacy, and the bank. I live in walking distance to a hair salon, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, and New York Bagel Shop that I like and I take walks of three-to-five blocks. I want to save money so I only go to the hair salon when I need a haircut about every three months.

One thing that I realize is important but may not be so practical is that I have heard that it’s extremely important for individuals in recovery to attend as many support groups as possible and do a lot of things to socialize with others. I am happy that nowadays I am involved in writing and I feel very social that way. I also feel I am a very social person because I care about people and I know I should listen more but I am a really talkative person in groups of people.

Dawn writes about symptom management for Painted Brain News

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