Here at Vantage Point, we do what we can to focus on what’s most important here: your treatment. But despite the hard work we put into teaching our patients how to thrive in their circumstances and make the best of their diagnosis, the big lesson we repeat over again is that, ultimately, it’s on you to improve – it’s on you to get better.
That’s why personal empowerment is a significant part of our treatment philosophy here at Vantage Point. We’re big proponents of utilizing empowerment to fight back against the symptoms of mental disease.
Empowerment as a Means of Prevention
Studies on empowerment as a treatment option for mental health cases call it an emerging technology in the late 80s, and since then it’s become well-understood that the relationship between self-esteem and issues like anxiety and depression – some of the most common mental health diagnoses here in the United States – is a very powerful and closely-knit relationship.
As we stated earlier, the erosion of self and the erosion of a mental health condition are related – and empowerment can be the tool necessary to stave off the negativity that can, in certain cases, turn a case of bad mood into an actual clinical depression.
Not everyone needs empowerment to prevent a mental illness, but in cases where individuals are more susceptible to symptoms and diagnoses, like acute clinical depression or panic attacks, seeking out methods of empowerment to reduce the impact of negative events on your psyche is a valid option.
Empowerment isn’t just about making you feel more comfortable and secure in who you are. It’s about opening your eyes to the breadth of choice you have in life and the fact that you have the power, the capacity and the means to choose and act how you please – to choose and act in your own best self-interest, despite the consequences of your mental illness. Empowerment is getting to that point where you can actively say no to the debilitation that a condition like schizophrenia or depression or trauma places on you, and continue to say no. It’s not just a moment in time or a goal, but rather, an important step in a continuous journey towards living with, and overcoming the effects of your own diagnosis.
Sources of Personal Empowerment
Personal empowerment can come from many places, and we don’t put too much of an effort on trying to define those places. That’s not on us. We aren’t here to come into your life and tell you what will make you feel better. You must find that out on your own: you must extend yourself, stretch outwards and discover – both in the realms of what you’re comfortable with and outside your comfort zone – what makes you feel happy and empowered.
That’s not an easy place to get to in the first place, and we understand that. That is why we at Vantage Point start things off slow, giving you the tools and support you need to begin that exploration into how to get better and empower yourself to eventually ignore your condition.
Here are a couple ways personal empowerment can be developed: through a hobby or activity, through social interaction, through physical exercise, through a rewarding job, through a place of importance and significance in a family, and through the love, commitment and support of those around you, affirming the fact that you are worth loving, and worth cherishing.
Through community, through support, through our therapy options, treatment plans, and aftercare resources, there is a myriad of ways we can help you individually get to that point where your condition and future lie in your very own hands – in a way that doesn’t make you feel scared or overwhelmed, but confident.
APPLIED POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY
Mental illnesses are broad and cover a large variety of effects and symptoms. But by and large, being mentally ill is an erosion of who you identify as. Your personality is compromised, either by a behavioral disorder, or by a mood disorder, by depression or anxiety, or a life-controlling phobia.
Who you are becomes trapped, chained and held hostage by a mental condition that tries to redefine you with fear and uncertainty. At a certain point, you begin to doubt that you’ll ever get better. You doubt that there’s a way out, that you can even find a way without the disease. You doubt that you deserve that way if there was one.
There are many ways in which mental diseases are treated, not the least of which is through extensive therapy. But at the end of the day, that therapy is meant to help you realize – in your own way, with your own words and logic – that there is a way out, and you can take that way right then and there.
Through positive psychology, we at Vantage Point try to undo some of the uncertainty and damage that living with a serious mental condition can impose upon you. There are many sides to the pain of being mentally ill, not the least of which has to do with the stigma associated with most mental illnesses. But being empowered and secure in your ability to make your own choices, overpower the limitations of your disease, and ultimately live life in a way you want to live it, means being able to flat out oppose your disorder and weaken the very foundations on which it stands to affect your life.
Positive psychology is the study of enabling people to feel confident and secure in their role in life. That could mean giving people a sense of purpose, or self-fulfillment through their habits and behavior in a community. Mental illnesses are diseases of the mind, and just like how they erode your sense of self, you can erode the disease itself with time, commitment and help. Positivity is a huge part of that.
We should note that life doesn’t automatically get better because you simply choose to be happy all the time. Being happy all the time isn’t an ideal state – or even a true state. It’s a lie. And we’re not about lying or forced positivity. We here at Vantage Point want you to be honest with yourself – but we also want to extend that honesty onto your perception of yourself and the world around you. In many cases, being mentally ill can automatically take us into negative places in our mind – even in cases of mania. Negativity doesn’t just become an aspect of life like it is for most – it becomes life.
Through positive psychology, we try and help remind you that you have a place in life, and reason for living. Life has its ups and downs, but we ride the ups and weather the downs, and we do it all for ourselves and, more importantly, the people we love. By embracing all of life – all of the ugly and the beautiful, and not just the darkness – we can help you once again enjoy living, working, playing, and being who you are, whoever that might be.