WHAT DOES RECOVERING FROM CHRONIC MENTAL ILLNESS MEAN?
Recovering from a mental illness is different than recovering from physical injuries. First, it is an invisible disease. It’s not easy to explain to people that you are sick if you do not look sick; even though you are in pain and working to be free of it. Sometimes, you lose people who had previously been a vital part of your life. Surely, the best people will hang on for the ride.
The definition of recovery, the very roots of the word, mean to be healed or to be cured. People are not cured of mental illness but we do heal, and we do recover. It’s important to understand what the word recovered means when tied to mental illness. Recovering is the process you take to find wellness and stability. It is the months, the years, you work to find the right medication and balance in your life. Recovering is hard work. It is the hardest thing I have ever done and something I work to maintain on a daily basis. Unlike a self-limiting physical injury, recovery is defined on a consistent basis. It is the medication you take when you should, the appointments with doctors or therapists, and the support network you nurture.
ACHIEVING A STATE OF RECOVERY FROM MENTAL ILLNESS
Recovering is exhausting, but achieving a state of hard-earned wellness is liberating. Mental illness is a chronic disease, and so the word recovered implies remission. An abating or elimination of symptoms for a duration of time. A life that is not defined by the illness and instead the ability to move forward. It’s important to plan for relapse but equally important to plan to for success.
Having a mental illness is not a life sentence. If the glass is is half full, and let’s believe that it is, we might think of it as an opportunity to grow and to become stronger than we were. To live in the present moment and move on from the past: to work to recover and rejoice once we have. (NATALIE JEANNE CHAMPAGNE)