Part I – On Recovery

Another season has come to pass in south central Wisconsin. Summer is here; indeed today is July 4th. I feel blessed as I reflect upon the year that has passed. I have good health and I am very thankful.  Oh I work at it, daily, maintaining good mental and physical health. But we know that striving for good health and working towards it, even faithfully, doesn’t promise we will be healthy.

I’m especially thinking of mental health recovery. I am in recovery and have found, to my deep satisfaction, that healing has come to me.  Recovery is complex to talk about. What does it mean, as applied to people with mental illness and psychiatric disorders and why is their recovery is SO important?

Here is a working definition of recovery:  A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.

Further, it is something worked towards and experienced by the person with the mental illness.  Mental health professionals and family cannot “do” recovery to the person. The essential contribution of professionals and family is to support the person in their journey of recovery.  As the recovery journey is individual so the best way to support it will vary person by person.

In reality the support that is needed goes beyond individual providers, friends and family. It extends to accessible community services also.

Note that there is nothing mentioned here about a medical recovery or cure for mental illness. But it is real, and this recovery is a new sense of self and of purpose. As health and wellness is regained, people once again take pride in themselves and ….get a life! But gaining recovery is hard work!

Stay with me; I will be returning to the topic of Recovery within Mental Illness often during the next posts.