Main content

‘What helps me’…In her previous two blogs Mila writes about how she became psychotic, was prescribed medication, and eventually managed to wean herself off it. This blog is devoted to what helps her keep to stay mentally stable. “Now I am doing well again.”

To get straight to the point: From the start, I have never been willing to accept I have a mental illness called schizophrenia. I am convinced I lost my sanity due to lack of sleep, and that there is nothing, at least nothing unusual, wrong with my brain.

And on top of that, I’m against putting labels on people anyway. It’s stigmatising. For example, if you tell someone you have ADHD, or any other personality disorder, quite often that person will immediately judge you. It also makes the people who are given the label believe they can’t do certain things because they have a mental illness. And that they have to accept the fact they will carry this label for the rest of their lives. I just don’t think this approach is helpful if you show symptoms of a mental illness. You should be made to believe that something can be done about it, and that your situation is not hopeless.

I also noticed that everybody has some issues. I understand that one’s issues are more serious than another’s, but why should we ignore one person who has problems, and stick a label on another person just because it complies with some random rules.

What helps me

Fortunately, I am doing alright again. Of course I have bad days, just like any other person. But now I know what I can do about it, and how I can keep myself mentally stable. In fact, it is mostly lifestyle choices that help me the most.

My number one priority is always getting enough sleep. Every night, I go to bed on time, and I always get up around the same time in the morning. Rest, cleanliness, and regularity are so important to me. For me, this means not having too much screen time late at night, so ideally no computer or mobile phone after nine PM. If I have too much screen time at night, it often makes me lie awake much longer. I prefer to read for an hour, or go for a walk before I go to bed. This helps me to fall asleep.

It’s also important for me to regularly walk in nature, and to exercise. I go for a run twice a week and go to the gym once or twice. Yoga or meditation is not my cup of tea, because it focuses too much on the inner self. What works best for me is to focus my attention on things that are happening around me. It prevents me from brooding, which will make me feel stressed, which will then result in me feeling down again. And that’s why doing active sports works for me. And in any case, exercise will make you feel healthier physically, and that will have a positive influence on your mental well-being.

Another key factor for me is staying productive. Being busy with work also helps me to stay extravert and rational. I am very fortunate to work in the health care sector, which is very rewarding. It is really very important to me to have a goal that makes me happy. As well as that I make sure that I eat healthily (without going too crazy, because there’s nothing wrong with having a nice piece of cake when it is someone’s birthday) and that I use certain food supplements in addition to my food.

I swear by the omega 3 fats EPA and DHA. These are so important to, among other things, our brain function, and a lot of people don’t get enough of this. I use a high dose (1500-2000 milligrams of EPA/DHA per day) because studies have shown that for a lot of symptoms lower doses aren’t effective enough. Besides that, I make sure my vitamin D is always at the right level by taking vitamin D3 throughout the year (around 50 micrograms per day). As well as that, I take a multivitamin each day, and I make sure I have an adequate intake of magnesium (around 100-200 milligrams).

Be your own advisor

The last piece of advice I can give you is, that is really helped me to be ‘my own advisor’. Of course you are going to need the help of a professional from time to time, but they don’t necessarily have all the answers. You know what is best for you, and you know the most about the situation you are in. And at the end of the day, you have to do it for yourself. It is your life, that you can shape yourself. Playing the role of a victim (which I did for a while) will merely delay the recovery process. It made me hold on to certain bad experiences and hold other people responsible for them.

The truth is, by doing this you are only hurting yourself, because you get yourself stuck in the past. What helped me the most, was to take responsibility for my own situation, let go of the past, and focus on the future. I do lots of fun things as well. I enjoy spending time with my loved ones and take enough time for myself. Every weekend I try to make sure I don’t have any commitments on one of the two days, so I can use that day for doing things I feel like doing (whether that is going for a run, or watching a good series on Netflix).

Some advice for the GGZ (sector of specialist mental health and addiction care provider in the Netherlands)

In my opinion, advice about lifestyle should become part of treatment plans, for physical as well as mental health. I am convinced that we, as a society, would be better off in several areas, if people would maintain a healthier lifestyle.

In the next blog, which is also the last, I will take you with me on my ‘journey’ through Psychosenet (a Dutch, online platform about psychosis, mood problems, and recovery). As I mentioned before, this online platform has been very useful to me. I would like to share with you all the things I’ve learned whilst trying to handle my psychosis.


Mila (46) blogs (writes a blog series) about her recovery for PsychoseNet. She hopes that visitors to the site will benefit from this. Since completing her medical studies, she has enjoyed working in the health sector for more than 20 years. Now with renewed energy and motivation, due to the unforeseen and profound personal experience described.

Did you know that PsychosisNet regularly posts new content?


  1. Goed zo meid, dat je niet het label schizofrenie op laat plakken, schandalige praktijken, wat ze ook wel bij mij geprobeerd hebben
    Het is niet goed te diagnostiseren ten tijde van psychose, laat gezonde jaren daarin leidend zijn voor zover iemand er baat bij heeft een diagnose te hebben

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *