Mental illness: making decisions, heads or tails

Mental illness: making decisions - heads or tails

Having a mental illness can make the basic skill of decision making insurmountable.  One of the first decisions you make towards successful mental health is signing up for therapy.  Click on this link, Signing up for therapy for more information to help you make one of the most important decisions for your mental health.


If you have difficulty making decisions, you are in the right place.  When you attempt to make a decision, you may have butterflies in your stomach, a faster heart beat, your cheeks glow a bright read or you may feel nothing at all.  The last thing you want to do is make a decision without thinking it over..

mental illness

making decisions

Suffering from indecisiveness

With my bipolar disorder, I have suffered through many years of indecisiveness.  If I cannot come up with a decision, I take the easy way out and do nothing.  I may appear selfish, lazy, dumb or rude.  Just as my mood ebbs and flows with the chemicals in my brain, making  decisions is nearly impossible.  I will go back and forth about any one thing and my head is beating like a big bass drum.  It is exhausting, embarrassing and paralyzing.

Mental Illness triggers inability with making decisions

We know that having a mental illness makes simple life task such as making decisions almost impossible.  Scientists have discovered why making decisions are so difficult for these individuals in our society.

1. anxiety disengages the part of the brain that is imperative to decision making.

2. “Schizophrenia patients with prominent positive symptoms were unable to integrate cognitive and emotional components of decision making which may contribute to their inability to generate adaptive behaviors in social and individual environments.”

3.  And we must not forget, bipolar disorder.  With the various and numerous mood swings, they make it is extremely difficult to nail down a decision.  This is especially the case during manic episodes.

Symptoms of the inability to make a decision

  • Paralyzed;
  • Unable to conjure up basic problem solving skills;
  • The world does not turn to black and white. Everything is a muted gray;
  • Your brain is sawed in half;
  • Your brain is asleep;
  • Stressed;
  • Feel wrong making any decision or no decision;
  • Overwhelmed;
  • A heavy weight on you;
  • Cannot function;
  • Distracted;
  • Annoyed; and
  • Emotional.

How to overcome indicisions

  1. Make a list – When I need to make a big decision, I get out a piece of paper and fill that paper with pros and cons.  This exercise will help you see positive and negative parts of the decision.
  2. Sleep on it – You probably heard someone say to “sleep on it”. This means before making a decision, you sleep on the possible answers.  When you wake up the next day, you should have a clearer picture of the decision.
  3. Take your time – Some decisions can take a couple minutes, hours or days to make. If you have the time, take every second.  Make your list, sleep on it.  It will help you make a clearer choice.
  4. Talk it out – Find someone in your life whom you trust and has a history of making good decisions. Go talk to them. Take your pros and cons list. Remember, their answer does not have to agree with yours in the end.  You concern is with the process.

Call to Action

Share this information with a friend or family member who you know needs help making decisions.

mental illness

making decisions


Tell me how you make your decisions in the comments below.  Or you may email me at


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