Sunday, October 28, 2012

Confidence in Recovery

When you feel that heated blast of air, or run into a brick wall while trying run a race, adrenaline is the recommendation to overcome those hurdles which beset you or slow you down causing you to wane in your abilities to succeed. Yet, it is confidence which carries you over the hurdles you must cross and a great part of confidence which exist in Mental Health is Recovery, crossing the boundaries of mental illness.
Recovery is an idea in Mental Health which began as research in 1987. Doctors and researchers other than the doctor who initiated the idea of Recovery, believed mental illness to be chronic and all that a mentally ill patient could hope for or expect is long term stability in their illness. Eventually it was uncovered that there existed outcomes associated with mental illness and many people did in fact progress beyond just stability. In 1993, Recovery was identified as a “deeply personal, unique process of changing a person’s attitude, values, feelings, goals, skills and roles. Recovery is a way of living a satisfying, hopeful and contributing life even with limitations caused by an illness. It involves the development of new meaning and purpose in one’s life as they grow beyond the catastrophic effects of mental illness”.
 Though I had been a part of the mental health system since 1985, I didn’t begin to accept my treatment until 1996, I had been through psychiatric treatment in three hospitals for drug addiction and alcoholic dependence, yet I didn’t begin to open my mind until I saw myself as I really had been. In 1996, I knew I was weak, without any strength, no home to call my own and very little self-esteem; this is confidence also, and I had none at all. I began to get serious about the groups I was attending; hope was strong within not only me, yet others whom have given me guidance and words of wisdom to walk away from the addictions I was suffering from. I began to understand my desire to want to live and I realized everyone has hope and I will become one with what I desire, freedom from my addictions and the mental illness I had accrued. I began to understand words such as Empowerment and what it meant, having control and power over my life and over my mental illness.
Confidence is having the mental and physical strength to oversee one’s life and to cross the boundaries that exist before you. Since I started working though, I noticed my strength waning and my hope becoming a distant reality. I realized it became not a matter of the medications which kept me built up nor the lack of belief in what I had learned to overcome my problems, it was becoming a part of the system itself and living a new role which I had in the past not accepted and that is as an employee; not knowing what’s expected of me. Going through this passage, I found that we regain our confidence and self esteem and are regaining a new identity; free of the stigma’s that we once lived with and are gaining a newer sense of life and priorities as well.
Written by Donald S.

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