A 12-Step Guide To Escaping A Mental Health Crisis

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Feeling overwhelmed, lost, and trapped in a mental health crisis can be an isolating and terrifying experience. You’re not alone—many people face these challenges daily, and there is a way out. In this post, we offer a compassionate and practical 12-step guide designed to help you regain control, find hope, and start your journey toward healing.

Imagine Sarah, a young professional who found herself engulfed in anxiety and depression after a series of personal and professional setbacks. She felt like she was drowning, unable to see a way forward. Sarah’s story is not unique. Many people like her struggle silently, feeling as if they are stuck in a dark tunnel with no light at the end. But what if there was a map to guide you out of that tunnel?

At Nevermore Lane, we understand the depths of mental health crises because we’ve been there too. 

Are you ready to take the first step towards reclaiming your life? Our 12-step guide is designed to be a practical and supportive companion on your journey. From recognizing the signs of a crisis to building a robust support network, each step is thoughtfully crafted to address your unique challenges.

At Nevermore Lane, we believe in the power of small, manageable actions that lead to significant, lasting change. Our guide is accessible, easy to follow, and includes actionable advice, exercises, and resources. Whether you’re in the depths of a crisis or just beginning to feel the strain, our guide is here to support you every step of the way.

We hope you take the first step towards a brighter, more hopeful future. You don’t have to face this alone. Together, we can navigate the path to mental wellness.

#1. Accept What’s Happening

Often when you try to fight against mental health conditions, they have a habit of getting worse. The pressure you put on yourself to “be well,” can be a burden. 

Therefore, concentrate on accepting what’s happening and how it feels. While it might not be pleasant, there’s usually a logic to it, even if it’s medical. 

Once you become comfortable with the situation, you can accept that you’re not alone in the experience. Regardless of the condition or emotion, numerous people have likely been through something similar. And just as they got through it, so will you. 

#2. Be Compassionate Toward Yourself

Next, you’ll want to be compassionate toward yourself. Understanding that you’re frail and that things will sometimes go wrong is okay. It’s just another part of life, like being happy sometimes. 

If you find it hard to show yourself compassion, imagine that you’re another person comforting you. Think of yourself as your own best friend, knowing what to say to feel better. Avoid channeling the energies of people who’ve hurt you in the past. Don’t allow them into your heart. Get out of the habit of repeating their inner voices. 

Photo by Ümit Bulut on Unsplash

#3 Find Someone Who Can Help You

At the same time, you want to find someone who can help. Having people on standby when things get tough gives you the support you need to thrive. 

Think about your situation and who would be most suited to help you. Sometimes, it could be a family member – someone who knows you well and has managed similar situations. Other times, it might be a mental health profession (though you may need to pay for this). 

If the problem has to do with an addiction, then drug and alcohol treatment might be necessary. Withdrawal symptoms can be severe, so it is always better to seek professional assistance. 

Once you have someone on your team, you feel less alone. Someone on your team is ready and waiting to help you. Everything becomes less of a burden. 

#4. Take Tiny Steps

Making big changes to your life immediately can feel overwhelming when you’re going through a mental health problem. Even small things, like leaving the bedroom, are often too much. 

That’s why most professionals suggest taking small steps at first. Creating realistic goals for yourself every day keeps you focused and helps you work toward something you can achieve. 

Don’t worry if the steps themselves seem too small. That’s okay. Ultimately, you’re aiming to make progress. You’re not looking to be perfect or sort everything out in one fell swoop. 

When taking small steps, look at the path ahead. Show yourself where you’ll be in a couple of weeks or months if you keep up the progress. 

#5. Get Into Healthier Habits

When you’re trying to clamber out of the darkness of a mental health problem, it also helps to get into healthier habits. The more you look after your body, the more supported you’ll feel to be at your best. 

You’ll want to get into healthier habits from day one. Things like eating natural foods and going out for exercise and sunlight can be a boon. You may discover that you feel more like your old self faster when you take this approach. 

Healthy habits can also include things that are better for your mind. For example, avoiding comparing yourself (and your life) to others can be beneficial. Often, it makes you feel better about what you’re doing and your progress. 

#6. Start A Mindfulness Program

If intrusive or unpleasant thoughts are affecting you, starting a mindfulness program can be helpful. These programs teach you to become more of an observer of your thoughts instead of someone constantly at their mercy. 

You can begin meditating at home or wherever you happen to be. Concentrating on something can clear your mind of thoughts and stop it from generating unwanted activity. 

You can also download apps with guided meditations and other forms of assistance. These are great when you want someone to do some heavy lifting for you. 

If panic affects you more, deep breathing can help. Breathing in this way can reduce anxiety and make the world seem like a friendlier place by calming an overactive nervous system. 

Deep breathing is something used in India for millennia. Today, you can find teachers across the globe willing to share their insights and skills, or you can just watch instructional videos online and breathe along. 

Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash

#7. Spend More Time In Nature

Another approach is spending more time in nature – something mental health professionals now recommend as standard. Getting out of the city and away from technology can be exceptionally healing. 

Spending more time in nature can be as simple as going camping at the weekend or visiting a local park. That can be even better if you have other people around you that you trust. 

Try to get a few days with you and the natural world. Because we evolved with it, it tends to change how we perceive everything. 

More sunlight can also help. Being in the sun literally lifts the darkness and elevates the mood. 

#8. Acknowledge A Bumpy Recovery Trajectory

You’ll want to acknowledge that the recovery process is inherently non-linear during this process. You won’t recover from where you are now in a straight line to the best version of yourself. There will always be hurdles along the way. 

Knowing this ahead of time can help you when the bad times arrive. Even if you feel yourself going back down again, you can recognize that this sort of thing is fairly normal and that overall progress is what matters. 

#9. Do Something Creative

While this is happening, try to be creative and find things that occupy your mind. Discovering new music, art, or writing can be a great way to express your emotions. Having an outlet almost lets you get them out of your mind and put them into something else. 

For some, the best way out is painting. For others, it’s music. You’ll need to experiment to discover what works best for you. 

You may find that writing is among the most helpful tools. That’s because it’s a “whole brain activity.” It recruits all your neurons (so they can’t misbehave and do something else). 

#10. Be Thankful

During recovery, it can also help to be thankful for the wins and things that are going right in your life. While it might not be perfect, that’s okay: as long as you have a sense of gratitude about yourself. 

Being thankful can take various forms, but daily meditation is the best way to approach it. If you can focus on something good in your life, you’ll become more likely to reduce negative ruminations and unwanted thoughts that get in the way of a positive mood. The more you practice saying thank you, the more naturally it may come to you, turning it into a more powerful tool. 

#11. Help Other People

Finally, helping other people with their mental health challenges can be a powerful way to get through the bad days. Despite feeling down, supporting others gives you a shared purpose and an external focus. 

How you help other people depends on you. It can be formal, like working with a counseling organization, or informal, such as assisting a friend. 

Whatever it is, making it a regular part of your activities can transform your inner life. Teaching others what to do in challenging situations can illuminate things for you. Furthermore, you may also see others making mistakes you can avoid when dealing with personal issues. 

#12. Everyone Heals Differently

Clambering out of the darkness is never straightforward when mental health issues are affecting you. While it is entirely possible, it requires the right approach. Everyone heals differently so please do not compare your journey to someone else. 

Having read this guide, you should be in a better position to deal with mental health problems as they come along. You should also feel more confident about avoiding triggers or situations that could make things worse for you. 

It’s ultimately all about finding out what works best for you. Keep trying the above ideas, using them in your life where necessary. 

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