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  • Writer's pictureRaveena Kay

Saltwater does NOT heal- Breaking the Stigma of Mental Health: 7 tips on how to recover

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I wish.

Unfortunately saltwater DOES NOT heal anything. It will help you float if you are drowning in an ocean. It is relaxing to look at. Yet if you get a cut, it leaves a lasting sting and does nothing to heal you.

Saltwater does not heal the toxic people you encounter in your life, the trauma you've endured, or the expectations of perfection our society has cursed upon this generation.

It does not heal the bullying teens encounter, the feelings of betrayal among young adults, or the pessimism that occurs as you age.

Salt water will not heal the emptiness you feel after a death, the heartache you feel after a breakup, or the resentment you feel towards hurtful people.

It will not heal an illness you might have acquired at birth or later on in life. It will not heal the relapses you will encounter or the recovery you pursue.

What can help you recover based on my background in psychology, occupational therapy, and personal recovery:

  1. Your mentality- I don't like the term "positive thinking" because it makes it seem like you can never have a negative thought. Have a negative thought. It is ok if sometimes you have a thought "I just want to die, nothing matters, life is pointless". The caveat is telling yourself that you know it's just a THOUGHT. You are not your thoughts. Do not give it any attention and do not frighten yourself. Write in a journal, talk to a friend, write about things you're grateful for. Know that you are not any different from a majority of people who also have negative thinking, it is just that social media and parents make you feel like you have to be positive ALL the time.

  2. Establishing a routine- As an occupational therapist, it is so important for our clients to establish a ROUTINE. Even if it is simple (showering, brushing teeth, putting on fresh clothes). Routines will give you a sense of purpose. Once you start to leave the couch/bed you will then be able to eventually: go for a walk, start a blog, watch TV/movies you enjoy, start to participate in hobbies you once enjoyed, find a new hobby, work, go to school, socialize, etc.

  3. Seeing a therapist- Please, if you can afford one, go see one. Even if you're "highly functional" but feel overly anxious and depressed, talking to a stranger will give you perspective. Know that some therapists are NOT a good fit. It took me a few to find the right one. But when you do, it is wonderful. You talk to a stranger who knows nothing about you and will give you unbiased advice. If resources are limited checkout YouTube or call the "warmline".

  4. Knowing it will pass but you have to make changes yourself- The hardest thing to realize is depression is an addiction. Medication can be a WONDERFUL treatment option for a variety of mental illnesses but a lot of the recovery comes from within yourself. For example, I became severely depressed after a fieldwork rotation due to an extreme amount of anxiety that built up to the point that I stopped caring. I was given an anti-depressant (because it was pretty bad) and it took about 6 weeks to take effect...BUT I had to start making changes. Before medication and therapy I was laying in bed all day/laying on the couch. I did not socialize/interact. I was numb. However, when the medication kicked in I began to feel a bit different. I also realized I needed to change my surroundings which helped a TON. I needed to surround myself with positive people. I needed to start doing hobbies I enjoyed. I needed to create a routine and write about my negative thinking/habits. I needed to change. So I did.

  5. Don't feed the "addiction"- The longer you stay in your depression the worse it could be to get out because you begin to "feed the addiction". You feel comfortable with your depression and the feeling of numbness and no emotion because it was better than feeling pain, sadness, panic attacks and anxiety. Once you start to feel a variety of emotions it might become uncomfortable, but life is meant to be felt.

  6. Remind yourself that happiness is a mood not a constant state- We can't always be happy, we are not Teletubbies. We have ups and downs due to life and because "adulting" is hard. Social media makes it seem like we should be happy all the damn time. Forget that. But remember that it is OK to be happy, have fun, and let loose without worrying about the next relapse. If you recovered before, you'll know how to recover in the future-- whenever that will be. If this is your first "episode", the first one is the toughest. You then begin to realize sometimes these things are not in your control, but YOU WILL RECOVER, if you want to recover.

  7. Practice self-care- It's VERY important to monitor yourself, stay on medication, talk to your doctor, seek social support, and practice self-care (sounds like a job, because it is!)

  • Self care habits: painting nails, walking dogs, eating chocolate, just walking, socializing, seeing a movie, playing an instrument, singing, writing, songwriting, drawing, painting, writing a book, coloring, talking to a friend, face-timing a friend, taking a bath, taking a shower, going to a park, playing with children, playing with dogs, sitting in a dog park, going on a trip, driving, eating good food, cooking, cleaning, the list can go on!


Raveena Kay

About the author: Raveena Kay was born and raised in a Chicago-land suburb and currently resides in Chicago. Dog-lover, occupational therapist, entrepreneur, and now novice blogger, she hopes through humor, insight, and research her blogs will foster better relationships between people, improve one’s self, and increase one’s mental strength. She will use her own Punjabi-American upbringing as well as her experiences throughout her child/adulthood to hopefully reach a wide array of people who are dealing with mental health issues, family issues, identity crises, personality hindrances in order to create a more introspective community.


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