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I had this discussion with a friend today. It’s been on my heart to write this post because there is so much noise on the Internet:

“This is what recovery is..”

“This is what recover is not….”

The last thing I want to do or be is someone who gives a step by step or “how to” description about recovering from a mental illness. But It needs to be addressed. It’s heavy on my heart because of all the crap I’ve read, and how so often I have been made to feel bad because my recovery process has looked so different than what someone said it should look like. So take it or leave it, but below you will find my recovery philosophy. 
Recovery truth number 1: Recovery is personal and different for every single human alive.

Every human experience is different. We’re all made as individuals and in the recovery process we’re going to have unique needs. While some days will be hard for me, it could be easy for the next person. I struggle with individual things, just as you will have your own triggers, temptations, memories and ideas that need to be addressed during the recovery process. Something else that is really important for everyone to know that recovery, while it changes over time; it never ends. Coming from a girl who has read just about every eating disorder/addiction/healing book I could find in Barns and Noble I can tell you, there is no magic answer, no key to make it stop or go away, recovery is about learning to live with the illness, adapt to make your environment work for you, and learn new healthy ways of coping and living your life.

Recovery truth number 2: Recovery is holistic, you cannot heal one part of the person and leave the rest.

For the first two years of serious treatment the main focus was my eating disorder behaviors. The abuse in my past and my mood disorder  were not addressed. That is one example as how only treating part of the person or situation doesn’t solve the problem. During those two years we made very little progress with my eating disorder because those behaviors were tied both the abuse and my mood.

Recovery truth number 3: Recovery is impossible without faith.

All goodness, light and beauty in the world is from God. Recovery while it can be painful and tiring and a lot of work is beautiful. It is true that God heals. It is true that God can do anything that he wants he is all powerful and all knowing. But at the same time I do not want any person to believe that a prayer absolutely, instantaneously will take away a mental illness. Faith in God and in an eternal life is how we get through the hard days. Knowing and loving God helps us to accept where we have come from and more forward. Faith fosters forgiveness. Without my relationship with Jesus I would not be here today, and in reality having God be the source of all life, none of us would. Faith is essential to recovery. It’s hard enough to have your mind work against you. We need all the light, all the beauty, all the good there is.

Recovery truth number 4: Recovery is a life-long process.

Recovery is an everyday thing. Recovery happens in the decisions we make every day. Recovery happens in being vulnerable with people. Recovery happens in the moments processing by yourself. Recovery happens in relapse. Recovery happens in reaching out for support. Recovery happens in learning to accept yourself. Recovery happens in making changes (big and small). Recovery happens in treatment. Recovery happens at home. Recovery happens at day 1 and Recovery happens at day 10000000000.

Recovery truth number 5: Recovery is a full time job

I cannot even begin to describe to anyone how much energy, time, and commitment recovery takes. It’s not a decision that is made one time. It’s a decision that is made time and time again. A decision to do what is hard but healthy. It learning a new ways of doing things and often times a new way of thinking. Recovery can be exhausting, hard, scary, and seemingly everlasting. At the same time though, as I have written before, recovery is beautiful and it changes and morphs with time. I give so much credit to people in treatment, people in recovery people who are willing to “go there.”

Recovery truth number 6: Recovery is Beautiful

I’ve never known a more beautiful person as the one who took off their mask, got on their knees, and asked for help. It’s okay to not be okay. You are beautiful. You are worthy.