Taking An Active Role in Self-Management

by Mary Beth Evans, CPSS, Northern Lakes CMH Recovery Coordinator

A major part of becoming a self-manager of your chronic illness is knowing when you need help and how to find help. Poor communication is the biggest factor in poor relationships, whether they are between spouses, other family members or friends, coworkers, or doctors and patients. Even in casual relationships, poor communication can cause endless frustration. Even body language can play a factor in good communication. Effective communication comes from within. Thinking before you speak is a huge factor in good communication skills. If you are mad and talk in frustration, you might regret what you say later and lose a support person you need. It’s important to care about your supporters, even when you are upset, because they are the ones who will help you through your rough spots in life.

Even with help from others, you are the only one who can move towards wellness as a self-manager of your illness. Your active involvement in your own wellness can make or break the difference between walking the path towards recovery or standing still. Always remember that if you get off course, get help, get up, and start over again. Everyone makes mistakes. That’s called life and it happens. It does not mean you are not good enough to complete a goal or start over again. It means learn from what went wrong and never quit quitting.

When I find myself “slacking” and not motivated to take on my own life but rather wanting others to do things for me, I tend to take a step back, start working on some goals, and reach out for support. Like I said above, that can be a hard thing to do, but if you start with small goals, you will find it is easier to find the supports you need to endure larger ones later on.

Everyone has the power to be their own self-manager and leader. The time is now to start! Put a smile on your face and start thinking about what you want in life; then slowly create a plan how to get there!

Good luck!