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Accepting that you are struggling, and feeling ready to seek support is a huge step and one that you should be proud of yourself for. This is often one of the hardest parts of recovery and can take a long time to get to. Recovery is not linear, it is a journey that you are embarking on to improve yourself, and your mental health. With the right kind of support, you will be well on your way to recovery and living a life you can enjoy. This stage can feel daunting, especially when you feel like you need support but are unsure of where you should turn. 

If you are ready to seek help, here are some top tips on the steps you should take to help you get started with your recovery 

#1 Understand what you are feeling

You don’t have to understand fully what is going on, as that will soon be something you explore with a professional. It is, however, important to have a brief understanding, or at least be able to summarise in a few points, what you are feeling and experiencing. This may be difficult to put into words, and challenging to deal with, but is the first step in seeking the relevant support to suit your needs. If it is helpful to do so, you can write this down in a journal or on your phone notes. Often, your feelings may be heightened at some points in the day, and feel less at other times, which can make it difficult to remember. To help you put it into words, here are some of the most common mental health struggles others are experiencing:

  • Increased anxiety and worry 
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs 
  • Low moods 
  • Sadness
  • Depression
  • Loneliness
  • Anger 
  • Pain
  • Stress
  • Self-hatred 
  • Hopelessness

It may also be helpful to think about any causes that could be linked to these feelings, for example, work has been stressful, you have just lost your job, you have broken up with a partner, you have moved house, you have changed something major in your life, a traumatic event, etc. It is important to note that there may not be a cause that you can pin down, and that is also okay. 

#2 Find the right professional support

Depending on what you are going through, will depend on the type of support you need. If you feel like your life is in immediate danger, then you should consider going to your nearest emergency department or calling a crisis line that will be able to provide urgent care and support for you. If you are struggling with anxiety, depression, or another mental health illness and need ongoing support, then you may opt for support via talk therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Alternatively, if you are struggling with substance use, you may consider the option of in-house treatment, such as drug rehab

#3 Follow through

It can be difficult to stick with the support that you seek. More often than not, when times get tough, many people feel like giving up, or that seeking help is pointles or not working. It is important, therefore, to remember how you felt when you asked for help, and to know that no solution is going to be a quick fix. Whichever route you take, you will need to follow through on, including all the steps in between. You will need to continue to show up for yourself, and consistently take steps towards your recovery. 

#4 Find a support system

Whether this is a friend or family member that you can trust, a support group, or a one-to-one therapist, building a solid support system will be key to your recovery. These people in your life will be there for you when the days get tough and you are finding it hard to move forward and will be able to provide you with support and accountability. This is also a major factor in the recovery process, as if you try to go at it alone, you will not have anyone to lean on when the days feel hopeless. It can be hard at first, but the effort will be worthwhile. The right friends and support system will be able to help you, and may even surprise you with their level of understanding. 

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It is a great first step to seek support for your struggles. It is important to know that you are not alone, and there are a plethora of people and resources out there that can help you on your journey to recovery.