Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Compassion in Mental Health Recovery

In order to find a recovery from Mental illness, we must face the challenges of our experience, of all things that have made us afraid. Fear comes from many different places and these fears make it hard to accept ourselves, our friends, family and our own challenges. We cannot progress in our recovery if we cannot accept our selves, and this takes compassion in order to encompass the obstacles that stand before us.
While in recovery, I became employed as a data entry clerk. With little experience I worked to the best of my abilities, yet even so, I was afraid I was not good enough and the old patterns of fears began to set within my mind. I wanted to quit, and return to living on Social Security because I couldn’t handle the stress of what I had to learn in order to maintain employability. These fears slowly passed, yet I understood they had at one time bound me and their impact upon me struck deep within my mind. I saw that these fears were deep within my heart as well and were like wounds within the flesh. I had no compassion and could not grow earnestly.
Abraham Maslow said in 1968, “that emotional maturity requires a mind that does not judge, is forgiving and includes a loving acceptance of self.” How do we become strong in the light of self compassion? We suffer and recognize our suffering and allow ourselves to understand our illness. We have taken the time to train ourselves through our experiences and we know that the guilt and condemnation we suffer from will destroy our sense of worth.
Compassion is deeper than self esteem and it is self compassion that will help us accept the way things are and give us light to change in the future. Self esteem is how you feel about yourself; this could be low self esteem, depression or another mental illness or you may feel just right, having good feelings about yourself. Self compassion is relating to one’s own self, it is self kindness and understanding of the self and seeing one’s own experience as a part of the greater human experience, rather than isolating and keeping painful thoughts in awareness. It is the awareness of compassion which gives us good feelings and perception of the nature of our experience.

Written by Donald Sammons

1 comment:

  1. Thank you very much for posting this. I am presently going to college and, after many years, getting close to graduating. Instaed of being excited, I am very afraid. Though I have worked in the past and have never been on disability, it was very very difficult. It has now been almost three years since I have worked full time and I am not sure if I will ever be able to again. Your post was an encouraging word at the right time. Thank you!