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A lot of people talk about recovering from mental illness and the association that you then become completely recovered and can never get ill again.
For me recovery from mental illness works very differently. It can obviously depend on your illness, how long you’ve had it and what treatment you have and how soon you are given advice.
I do though think there isn’t a point where I will suddenly recover from my mental illnesses.
Recovery isn’t about being off all medication and out of therapy, for me it is about being stable and being able to life a live.
Being on psychiatric medication for life and seeing some sort of mental health professional on and off for life isn’t a bad thing, not at all.
Recovery doesn’t have to mean cured and gone. Yes maybe for some who experience an episode of moderate depression and it is treated with CBT relatively quickly then maybe they will be cured and it’s gone, but for many mentally ill people it is far more complex.
How would I see myself on this whole recovery thing at the moment?
I’d see myself as a very long way from recovery, as a very long way from any sort of stability which I think comes before recovery.
Also remember if someone is in recovery that doesn’t mean that they can’t suddenly become unwell either on a short term basis or a longer term basis.
Think about someone who has type I diabetes they take their medication everyday and will do for life to keep them self stable, but one day they could still suddenly become unwell for any number of reasons, this unwellness could be a short term thing or a long term thing may which require treatment in hospital.
Mental illness is similar. I get rather angry when people expect recovery from me, as in to be completely better, cured and off all medication and all other forms of support.
If I became completely stable within 10 years and then after that never had a relapsed episode ever I would still be a mentally ill person. Just as the diabetic above would still be diabetic. But their diabetes in under control and at a safe level, and someone’s mental illness can be under control and at a safe level.