Carol Kivler, the author of The ABC's Of Recovery from Mental Illness, says avoiding stress is essential to recovery from mental illness.

"Unfortunately for people that have a mental health disorder stress is a trigger to start an episode or down slide.  It's not surprising that chronic stressful life situations can increase the risk of developing depression if you're not coping with the stress well.  Just using such things as acupuncture for my anxiety can be beneficial.  I wanted to share these techniques with others.  Mental illness like most illnesses is very individualized.  Yes---there are some commonalities.  There are things to do such as exercise that can add to the medical treatments that we're given."

Although it's difficult, Carol urges people suffering from mental illness to get help.  "The first step is the most important step.  You don't have to struggle alone. You have nothing to be embarrassed about.  Because of the stigma around mental illness, people struggle way to long than they need to.  There is help out there.  With the right treatment options, there is a brighter tomorrow.  The hopelessness that you feel today is temporary.  It's not permanent."

Carol Kivler is my guest this week on KXRB's I Love Life.  The program airs daily at 12:50 p.m.