Learn about mental health and mental disorders
Path to recovery from a mental disorder
Definition of recovery
People experience recovery each in their own way. It is a process through which they strive to lead satisfying and fulfilling lives despite their mental disorder and possible symptoms.
Recovery is not necessarily a linear process. On the path to recovery, people may take some successful steps, but may also experience setbacks and even need to take a few steps backward.
Several strategies can help you on your path to recovery:
- Remembering that adversity is also an opportunity for change
- Maintaining hope in your plans and belief that your situation will improve
- Knowing your limits
- Recognizing and building upon your strengths
- Developing new abilities and skills
- Finding solutions that work for you, making decisions and putting them into motion
- Feeling appreciated, respected and heard
- Leading an active life and contributing to society and your community
- Developing a positive self-image
- Learning to live with your mental disorder despite your symptoms
Tips for recovery
You can learn to cope better with your mental disorder. Here are a few tips that could help you.
Maintain or resume a daily routine that suits your abilities and needs
Re-establishing or maintaining balance in the different aspects of your life can make it easier to recover from a mental disorder. Eating well, getting enough sleep while keeping a regular sleep schedule, being physically active every day, and talking to your family and friends are the cornerstones upon which recovery can be built. You can also see the page Maintaining good mental health.
Several resources can support you through this process. Tools such as Getting Better My Way can help you take control over your daily life. A mental health practitioner can also lead and guide you in this process if needed.
Adopt positive self-care practices
Taking care of yourself can be quite challenging when coping with the symptoms of a mental disorder. This means being kind, understanding and compassionate toward yourself, instead of blaming yourself. Adopting positive strategies can help you build self-respect and do things that are good for you and help you feel better.
Taking care of yourself through positive practices also means limiting your alcohol or drug use. Surrounding yourself with positive people helps you go forward. Respecting your limits and giving yourself the chance to learn new ways to improve your well-being are other positive strategies to adopt.
Stay committed to your dreams and life plans
Recovery is a process that includes taking steps forward and backward. It is sometimes difficult to keep your hope alive. Yet, living with a mental disorder does not mean giving up your plans, just the opposite!
Don’t lose sight of your dreams. Identify one of your plans and take the first steps toward achieving it. Remember your past successes and the resources you used, and picture yourself succeeding again. Talk about your plans with your loved ones, and get professional help if needed.
Get involved: learn about your condition and the therapeutic methods and resources that are right for you and fit your needs
Knowing and understanding your condition and the different therapies available to support your recovery can help you in several ways. It can help you recognize your symptoms more easily, make better decisions that suit your daily life, and identify the most appropriate therapeutic treatments or methods for you.
Discover the community resources that can support you in your recovery. Identify which of them offer services in crisis situations.
If you are well informed, you will be able to act more quickly and use the appropriate resources when you need them.
Get informed about your rights and remedies regarding therapeutic interventions and treatments
Health and social services professionals must provide you with all the information you need to make free and informed decisions in choosing the right type of therapeutic methods and treatments for you. They must provide you with complete information in language that you understand.
If you need assistance or support to understand your rights or to make sure they are respected, you can obtain free services. To find out more, contact the mental health rights advocacy group in your area. To find contact information for the group in your area, visit the Association des groupes d’intervention en défense des droits en santé mentale du Québec website (in French only).
Be well prepared for appointments with your mental health professional and have someone go with you if necessary
Being well prepared for your appointments with your mental health professional allow you to get the most out of these meetings. For example, to make sure you don’t forget anything, write down any questions you would like to ask, along with about the symptoms that you would like to discuss with them.
It may help if you go to your appointments with someone you trust, especially at the beginning of your recovery. During your appointment with the mental health professional, this person can help you describe your situation and your condition better. After the appointment, they can help you remember the information you were given and talk with you about what the professional told you. They can also offer you their support if you need it.
Talk to people facing the same challenge
Join forces with people who are or have been in the same situations as you. Meeting these people and talking with them can help you in various ways. It can foster hope, help you find solutions, improve your quality of life and help fight the stigma surrounding mental disorders.
To find out about the support groups offered in your area, contact Info-Social 811.
Encourage your loved ones to seek help if necessary
The people close to someone with a mental disorder may need information or support to deal with the situation. The recovery process is better when you and your loved ones receive help. There are many resources available for the loved ones of people with mental health issues. Encourage your family and friends to use these resources so that they can gain the necessary tools to stay fully involved with you. To find out more, see the page Living with a person with a mental disorder.
Help and resources
To find resources offering information and support or to obtain care or services for yourself or a loved one, see the page Mental health help and support resources.
Last update: November 17, 2022