Mental Health Recovery - What does it mean?
When you look at mental health RECOVERY there are so many aspects and concepts involved. Of course no one is the same so in this post I'm talking about what can help with recovery and what it means to people
When you live with mental health day in day out recovery is sometimes always at the front of the mind. It's something that your always thinking about and trying to work out the best way to get there. Recovery is a journey, it's something that isn't an end but a new way of life. When I first got diagnosed with OCD and cPTSD I thought recovery was both of these disorders being gone and I wouldn't think the way I think ever again. Of course once treatment started I was educated that they will always be there and I will have to keep working hard for the rest of my life. I guess at that moment I was scared of recovery. Not because I didn't want to be better in many ways but because I knew I had to keep fighting. I think it's such a daunting prospect when you first are diagnosed and having treatment but as time goes on it becomes something inspiring and worth fighting for everyday.
No matter the mental health battle you face recovery is possible. There are so many things that will contribute to your recovery and with support, hard work and being gentle on yourself it's not so far away. Recovery is not about being how you used to be, it's about being someone new. It's a brand new and different way of life which consists of management. You might have to take medication for the foreseeable future or check in with a therapist once a month for advice and help - just because you are still having help doesn't mean you are not in recovery!
Getting to the point of recovery is slow. It's not fast and even just getting to the point of thinking about recovery is a hard thing. Of course there are so many things that you can do to help yourself along the way:
1. Accept your disorders
This point might sound strange because no one wants to suffer with their mental health but what else can you do? You need to accept the fact you have the issues you do and know they are apart of you. Denial or bitterness isn't going to get you on the road to recovery. I'm not at all saying here that you are your illness (never ever) but you need to accept it's there.
2. get professional help
This could be a trip to the GP and asking for a referral for talking therapy or going private. One of the first steps within recovery is to get some professional help. In a safe, non-judgemental environment you can talk abut your issues and create a plan. Most of the time professional help is needed as you need advice from someone who understands your issues on a much deeper level.
3. Self Help Techniques
In therapy you learn many self management techniques to help you along the road to recovery. You can also learn a lot of self help techniques from books, apps and podcasts. Mindfulness is something that you are taught within CBT and you can carry this on (or learn) at home. Continuing all the things you have been taught in therapy is so important, even if you feel better! These techniques are there to help you at the time and as life carries on. It's good mental health management, just like looking after your teeth.
4. Get support from friends and family
When your on the road of recovery let your friends and family know what is going on. This is such a great idea for those days when your not feeling your best. They can remind you of all your achievements and give you some support when you need it. The truth is you can't do it all alone and having extra support from others is a great help when you are on your journey! Even people online such as twitter, forums and groups are extra love and support and I promise you, they are amazing!
5. Don't give up
When you feel like you are on the road to recovery or are in recovery keep going. Keep working, fighting and still doing all the above. Like I said, just because you feel better it doesn't mean you don't need to keep fighting! Recovery is a new way of life and it's about changing things a little to make sure you stay in the best head-space possible. Keeping a diary of moods, medication and other factors is great because if you feel you are slipping you can look back and see if something triggered it off. The road of recovery will be bumpy and you will have set backs but that is all part of it. Don't beat yourself up or be mean to yourself - you are doing the best you can!
What recovery means to others
Stacey Barber (me)
Recovery for me is being able to live a life to the fullest without letting my OCD and cPTSD holding me back. I want to be able to go to work and not be filled with panic. I want to be able to trust myself and live in the now - not the past and future.
Recovery to me symbolises IMPROVEMENTS. I don't need a cure, but to be able to box off my OCD like I did before, not stopping me doing anything like it is now in some cases. Recovery to me means I'M A WORK IN PROGRESS!
The one thing I want most is consistency. I want to stop changing so much from day to day!
Recovery for me is management and ‘normality’. I want to be able to choose my food without my ED’s voice first. I want to be able to hop on a train without my anxiety or emet chipping in first. for me, recovery is being able to hear myself think and trust it’s me not my disorder
Just to remember how it feels to be relaxed or remotely content again would be a good start!
Recovery? I live with my Bipolar and recovery is part of it all.
For me recovery is about living life again without anorexia dictating it! I still have that stupid mean anorexic voice in my head at times but I can now manage it and shut it up!
For me, recovery is about progress, and experiencing a certain level of freedom. I would love to be a bit more spontaneous, and lose the need to over think everything!
I want to be how I was before it started and took over my life!
Recovery to me means; being able to let go of the past, stop looking into the future and live more In the present. Being able to see thoughts as just thoughts and nothing else would mean that I'm well and truly in recovery.
It's a cliche I suppose but I'd just like to be happy or at least comfortable with myself.
Recovery isn't an award you earn and live happily ever after. Recovery is a verb in present continuous tense. I'm always damaged, but I'm also always in recovery, learning to live with the damage. Very little is fixed, only managed, mourned and accepted.
I want to lose the idea that it is possible to be 100% free of mh issues, that once recovered you will never have bad day. That is so unhelpful and destabilising because it's utterly unrealistic. The reality is you can get better, you can build resilience and you can be ok. But you will have crappy days, days when you struggle and need help and you will always be a little more vulnerable to stress than maybe someone who hasn't had a mh issue but the difference between someone "recovered" and someone not. They believe they will be ok come what may.
Recovery means something different to everyone, of course it does though, no one is the same! If you are fighting to be in recovery I'm proud of you. I know it's going to be highs and lows but you are in no rush. Take your time, work hard and don't ever give up! If you feel you need more help check out my resources page here - I have contact details for charities and orgnizations that can help you on your journey.