30 Days of Mental Illness Awareness Challenge: Day 30 Recovery!

25 Feb

MIA challenge

Day 30: What does recovery mean to you?

This is a loaded question with a lot of people.  I just read an article in the NAMI Advocate about the medical model of recovery and the recovery model of recovery.  Essentially the medical model defines recovery as curing or reducing symptoms where the recovery model focuses on improving health and wellness.  My opinion is that both need to be integrated.  Specific to my mental illnesses (schizoaffective disorder and borderline personality disorder) I need reduced symptoms to help improve health and wellness.  Without therapy, counseling, and medication I could not do the things that keep me well like school for structure and accountability, socializing for support, distraction, and fun, and just maintaining a somewhat normal life.

With voices, suicidal thoughts, self harm scars to hide and be ashamed of, no energy, emptiness, no motivation, and mistrust (all symptoms of the two disorders) it is impossible to live a recovered happy life.  Will all my symptoms ever go away, will I ever be cured? Probably not.  But I know I have lived periods of my life where my symptoms were so out of control I had no quality of life.  I couldn’t attend school or work or any structured activity.  I wasn’t stable.  All I thought about was suicide and was constantly self harming.  Life was pointless and empty and I was not going to engage with it.

Luckily I’m not there anymore and I know I will still have my days .

I have written a post about a year ago on Recovery and how do you know what it is.  I have been ill most all my life and most people think of recovery as “before;” before the illness, before the drinking, before the impairment- how you functioned, felt, thought before whatever it is that has you off kilter.  There is no “before” for me, which in a way is nice because there is nothing to be expected but in the same way it’s a little fearful because I don’t know what a recovered life will look for like me.

There is also a post on Recovery and what it means to me in terms of my Borderline Personality Disorder it was written based on an article in a NAMI newsletter in 2012.

For me recovery is:  Me being able to function consistently.  Being able to maintain a regular schedule with personal fulfillment whether through employment, volunteering, or education.  Have socially supportive relationships and be able to reciprocate. Having fun!  Feeling like I have some purpose to my life, and putting to use my past to help others.  Being in a romantic relationship.  Having a pet kid and maybe helping raise a real child whether through family or foster/adoption.  Being able to accept the bad days, the symptoms, the illness and know that it will come and go and I can always come back to recovery. Recovery will be a process not a destination.

Wise words from a fellow blogger

Because recovery does not mean that you will never become unwell. Recovery means you are better prepared for life, more able to cope with it’s ups and downs. Recovery means an understanding of what it is to fall… And what it is to fight your way back up.

I decided to start this challenge first of all to help my readers learn more things specifically related to my mental illnesses.  My fellow bloggers are welcome to participate in any or all of the challenge prompts.  You can also start at anytime.  I hope this will raise some awareness and give you insight to mental illness. The master list of prompts is here.

8 Responses to “30 Days of Mental Illness Awareness Challenge: Day 30 Recovery!”

  1. PurplesShade February 27, 2014 at 1:40 AM #

    I really quite like this. Recovery is a much more complicated concept than it is regularly given credit for, especially for those of us who don’t really have any “before”.

    This makes me think about a question my psychiatrist asked.
    Perhaps you will relate…
    My current psychiatrist asked me “What changed?” I didn’t understand the question, so she tried to clarify “You sought treatment, obviously something changed. Was it that you started experiencing the anxiety?” I told her no, that I had been suffering with the anxiety for years, she cut in “Well what did you do before you sought treatment then?” My response “I’ve sought help before, many times, just only for the depression and OCD. My other anxiety has always been there. It’s simply that I was suffering untreated.”

    And that’s just it. If you don’t have something already as an example then you have to first figure out what you want to aspire to, and then try to reach for it. You don’t have a built in goal, but you can make one, you just have to figure out what the things you want are and then how the conditions impact you achieving those. 🙂

    • mm172001 February 27, 2014 at 6:12 PM #

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, I was diappointed my readers didn’t like it and comment on it as much as I’s hoped. Yeah realistically looking at things like limitations and accomplishments, I did a post on there some where about creating a life worth living

      • PurplesShade February 27, 2014 at 9:33 PM #

        Perhaps they might later, if you link to it again sometimes?
        The bridging winter months seem to be a time where lots of people feel drained and so even commenting can be ‘effort’. Give it two months, people will be abound again. 🙂

        Yes! Exactly so. Realistic goals and knowledge of self are probably some of the most important parts about trying to be more stable and well. Of course with limitations, but the caveat is we have to try to stretch them those limitations to see if some of them are malleable; pushing boundaries and such, sicne many limitations are fluid. 🙂

        I’ll have a look for that post. 😀

  2. mm172001 June 20, 2015 at 2:22 PM #

    Reblogged this on Marci, Mental Health, & More and commented:

    What does recovery mean to me?


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