Walking the Road of Recovery
Walking the Road of Recovery
Sometimes a day can seem like a week or a month while living with mental health problems, or perhaps better to say, “challenges”. It seems nothing changes (for the better anyway). Walking the road of recovery can seem so difficult to know even where to start. The misery stares at us in the face. This also includes carers and other people supporting those living with mental health battles. Walking the road of recovery, or getting on the road of recovery may take a long time. Whether we are battling depression, a psychotic illness, an anxiety disorder, an eating disorder or any form of mental health issue, this can seem a common theme.
Walking the road of recovery. What can we do? Can things ever improve? We might think there is no hope, none what-so-ever. I remember attending a GROW meeting in the earlier stages of my diagnosis with a clinically severe anxiety disorder. I was so convinced, and I mean totally one-hundred percent convinced that I was too far gone. I recall saying to the group “you simply don’t understand me, how hard it is. I am a ‘loon’. There is no hope. I am too far gone. You say there is hope for a better future and you mean well, but you just don’t realise how bad I am. I am so far gone, I’m beyond help and any hope”.
How wrong I was! But, it took years of therapy, much trial and error in finding the right medication and other important factors that all went together in walking the road to recovery. This does not mean to talk about being cured, but referring to learning strategies and adopting them effectively to actually help to control mental health problems.
There are usually several or numerous factors involved in the path to improvement or recovery, and for each individual person these factors will vary and/or actually be somewhat different for each individual. Many people have asked me “what did you do to get better?” or “how did you overcome it?” (mental health issues), or similar questions. This is not an easy question to answer. For me as with so many others, there were several factors involved and basically for me I could describe it as following:
* A lot of intensive therapy (with counselling incorporated).
* Medications (a lot of trial-and error though).
* A spiritual belief/connection.
* Understanding/supportive doctors and psychologists (a sprecial thank you to Lyndal Jones).
* Back-up help from crisis workers (professionals) such as mental health hospital crisis teams.
* Telephone assistance such as Lifeline, The Salvation Army and others.
* Some social support and/or involvement including support and acceptance from particular family members.
* Sheer determination and a will to succeed.
(I also received ECT [Electro-Convulsive Therapy], but I’m not sure how effective this actually was). Another point at a later stage for me was that I feel I benefited from my studies in counselling. Other factors for myself came into my overall ‘healing’ such as learning to have an open-mind, becoming more self-aware, and learning to stop being so hard on myself. None of these things are easy, certainly when it comes to dealing with severe or full-blown diagnostic conditions. Let’s face it, it is difficult, BUT difficulties in life can be an opportunity for growth.
It is hard to see often, especially when or if we are in complete darkness and have a loss of hope. Just speaking from personal perspectives from someone who’s “been there” and lucky to be alive (like so many others), I genuinely believe that any adversity in life can eventually present opportunities for growth or personal development . Through struggles or crisis, or things we ‘interpret’ as bad, too difficult or hopeless, with effective ‘tools’ and appropriate help, it can indeed somehow, sometime actually ignite a little spark of hope, faith and things we see as ‘good’ coming from these intense struggles in life. Struggles such as family break-up and so-forth can be so difficult to deal with, but we really are capable of positive moves forward in time, and with help.
Any ‘typical’ day in a life of someone battling mental health problems for that individual is difficult. No two people will experience the same things exactly, or at least interpret these battles exactly the same in our minds. So, is there a typical day? Well, maybe for each individual there may be. For me, typical thoughts included: I’m hopeless, I’m useless, I’m a burden, I’m bad, I’m a complete loon, and literally an entire massive list of other thoughts and feelings. Behaviours too will manifest from thoughts and feelings (although different theorists have different beliefs) and these can be quite destructive to ourselves. I have experienced this through self-harming and many other problems such as alcohol misuse. This is generally referred to as ‘maladaptive behaviours’.
Self-harm along with so many other issues or topics can be very misunderstood by the general community. There are still many myths floating around general society about general and specific mental health issues. However, mental health issues are real, they are by no means uncommon, but regardless of whether there is a cure, one thing is for certain, there is hope for an improved life!
If you would like to share some of your story of walking the road of recovery, or what a typical day is or was for you, and what you have done or did to even just manage in the moment or in a longer time-frame, then you are welcome to leave a message or write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Through years of battling multiple disorders myself including severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which I describe as far worse overall than major depressive disorder (severe degree) that I experienced, my typical day somewhat changed as I went through various phases or as I went through battling different disorders as they became prominent. Through my months of Major Depressive Disorder, my OCD seemed to quieten down by a large degree. Through my depression, my typical day was to just sit on my front veranda and smoke cigarettes; nothing else much at all. I would get up at about 12 to 2 pm, do nothing, and lay there at night not being able to sleep. Things were very different through my years of battling with dreaded OCD which I compare to being so much more difficult to manage than a Major Depressive Disorder. I compare severe OCD as being a dog bite compared to a mosquito bite from depression, even as difficult as depression is. Of course, depression is very serious, and I’m only speaking from my own personal experience.
However, we certainly all experience mental health disorders, illness or problems that are truly unique to ourselves. Through my living torment of OCD, my typical day involved a never-ending, unremitting siege of obsessions and in turn that resulted in several hours each and every day of performing anxiety-stricken compulsive behavioural and mental acts. It was very complicated, and far too much to describe here.
So, again, if you would like to share some of your experiences of walking the road of recovery, and if you think you have some ideas which others may benefit from, please send a message. You may have noticed a page titled ‘Recovery Stories’ towards the top of this post, and that is obviously intended for others to have an opportunity to post some of their stories. It may be amazing that any little ‘thing’, an idea, a statement, or maybe something else may somehow benefit another person. Any little thing may seem trivial for some, but for others it may hold a ray of hope, help or even understanding which ca help a person even just to feel heard or acknowledged. So, if you have a story, an idea, any insights or a testimonial, please send them. Thank you for reading ‘walking the road of recovery’.
Best wishes to you and I look forward to publishing many, many more posts……..and maybe YOU can contribute.