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They should encourage patients to find their own repertory of techniques to manage their symptoms and aim for a quality of life as they define it.
An approach that looks for individual strengths, in addition to considering symptoms, could help dispel the pessimism surrounding mental illness.
One of the most frequently mentioned techniques that helped our research participants manage their symptoms was work.
“Work has been an important part of who I am,” said an educator in our group.
I eat comfort food (for me, cereal) and listen to quiet music. Usually these techniques, combined with more medication and therapy, will make the symptoms pass.
But the work piece — using my mind — is my best defense. My mind, I have come to say, is both my worst enemy and my best friend.
For some, this meant keeping their living space simple (bare walls, no TV, only quiet music), while for others, it meant distracting music.