Dual Diagnosis Means Working at Two or More Recoveries

“Change occurs when you become what you are, not when you try to become what you are not…change seems to happen when you have abandoned the chase after what you want to be (or think you should be) and have accepted–and fully experienced-what you are.”                          Janette Rainwater

Dual diagnosis has now become know as co-occurring. The switch in name change was necessary because there may be more than 2 illnesses presenting at the same time. Co-occurring is an unfortunate choice of names but we will use it to be clearer about our overall scope of self-discovery.

Some techniques used to deal with life:

1. From On My Mind: “Me, Dog and My Depression“:

“I had a different dog when I was in my last major depression. A Weimaraner name Bella. When I could not sleep she and I would roam the neighborhood in the middle of the night. She slept beside me and didn’t judge me. She didn’t tell me to pull myself up by my bootstraps or that antidepressants are bad. She didn’t tell me to read this book or that book, write, exercise, eat or call friends. She didn’t tell me I was weak or lame or a loser. She was just there – always.”

“Last year I went to a fancy dinner in Boston honoring actor Glenn Close and her sister Jesse – who is dual diagnosed – for their efforts to fight the stigma of mental illness. The sisters attended a private reception before the dinner. In attendance were some of the world’s top mental health experts on the staff and faculty at Mc Lean Hospital, affiliated with Harvard.”

“I saw a women cradling a small dog under her arm and I thought, Oh Lord, it’s one of those rich women who think that dogs are fashion accessories. Then I saw the little service-dog vest on the pooch and realized what was going on.”

2.  From Reunited Selves: “The Uninvited Guest”:

“Eyes focus steadily forward on another ominous obelisk.
The silhouette of the looming obstruction blocks out everything else.
It impedes perception of past progress.
It makes it hard to imagine the breathtaking future, seen as a reality only moments before.”

“It isn’t falling into old habits.
It isn’t that the finished work was worthless.
It isn’t backsliding.
It isn’t failure.
It’s a whole new hurdle, and now it’s time to get back to work.”

“The uninvited guest… Unwelcome? Not exactly.
This escort… Unwanted? No, that isn’t quite right.
Unsought but so well-known is this companion.
Skin, blood and bone are more easily abandoned.”

“Consider the weight of the load as it shifts to your shoulders
It feels both novel and familiar
Let this unsolicited guest tie the bundle tight
Try to see the ropes that bore into your back as the ribbons of a magnificent gift
And try not to feel discouraged.”

3.  From helpguide.org: “Substance Abuse and Mental Health”:

Self-help for substance abuse and co-occurring disorders

Getting sober is only the beginning. Your continued recovery depends on continuing mental health treatment, learning healthier coping strategies, and making better decisions when dealing with life’s challenges.

Recovery tip 1: Recognize and manage overwhelming stress and emotions

  • Learn how to manage stress. Stress is inevitable, so it’s important to have healthy coping skills so you can deal with stress without turning to alcohol or drugs. Stress management skills go a long way towards preventing relapse and keeping your symptoms at bay.
  • Know your triggers and have an action plan. If you’re coping with a mental disorder as well, it’s especially important to know signs that your illness is flaring up. Common causes include stressful events, big life changes, or unhealthy sleeping or eating. At these times, having a plan in place is essential to preventing drug relapse. Who will you talk to? What do you need to do?

Recovery tip 2: Stay connected

  • Get therapy or stay involved in a support group. Your chances of staying sober improve if you are participating in a social support group like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous or if you are getting therapy.
  • Follow doctor’s orders. Once you are sober and you feel better, you might think you no longer need medication or treatment. But arbitrarily stopping medication or treatment is a common reason for relapse in people with co-occurring disorders. Always talk with your doctor before making any changes to your medication or treatment routine.

Recovery tip 3: Make healthy lifestyle changes

  • Practice relaxation techniques.  When practiced regularly, relaxation techniques such as mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, and deep breathing can reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression, and increase feelings of relaxation and emotional well-being.
  • Adopt healthy eating habits. Start the day right with breakfast, and continue with frequent small meals throughout the day. Going too long without eating leads to low blood sugar, which can make you feel more stressed or anxious.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercise is a natural way to bust stress, relieve anxiety, and improve your mood and outlook. To achieve the maximum benefit, aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise on most days.
  • Get enough sleep. A lack of sleep can exacerbate stress, anxiety, and depression, so try to get 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep a night.

Photo credit.

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One thought on “Dual Diagnosis Means Working at Two or More Recoveries

  1. Pingback: Emotional Sobriety Newsletter 1-12 Sampler – emotionalsobrietynewsletter

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