What is Mental Health Recovery?
I can’t really answer that because it is so individual. I get cross when people use it as a buzz word “oh yes we work to the recovery model” No No No… Recovery is not a model it is a personal journey. Academics seem to have hijacked the word recovery but they do not own the term, the service user always owns that term because they own their own recovery. Actually though depending upon how you define recovery for you it can be possible but this blog post is just about my experiences.
I prefer to think about mental well being than recovery though. I have a life long condition which isn’t going away anytime soon so for me recovery is about achieving equilibrium and living well day to day, week to week.
For me recovery is about taking the medication which helps keep me well regularly, it is about not letting myself become too busy and too exhausted, it is about engaging with my care team, it is about noticing the small things and adopting an attitude of thankfulness, it is about avoiding excess stress, it is about listening to friends and family when they express concerns even if I disagree and for me personally it is about regulating my sleep pattern so for example I left ward nursing because night shift made me unwell.
It doesn’t take a huge amount to knock me sideways but it takes phenomenal amounts of effort to pull it back. Most of those I know, even loved ones would never see the energy I expel just to stay well or even just to appear well on a day to day basis.
Am I well today? I’m ok ish I guess. On a scale of 0 -10 where 0 is the most depressed I have ever been and 10 is the most manic I have ever been I am probably 6, maybe 6.5. Now this is where it gets complicated not 6.5 in that I feel amazing, although I do feel pretty good but 6.5 because I have the muscle twitches, fidgeting and speedy thinking which are all indicative of me not being fully myself. I know why though and that is half of the battle; I am in the process of changing medication and this has impacted my sleep which has in turn like mental health domino’s kept knocking down the next thing. I’m not worried about it, I have some short term medication which is helping me in the short term until my body gets used to the changes. You can read about the side effects in last nights blog post on medication.
Does this mean relapse though? Not as far as I am concerned it is part of my day to day mental well being. I lost so many years and hindered my own recovery by seeking out a return to the person I was prior to illness instead of embracing the life I was and am able to have.
I hope one day to feel able to embrace my illness, to fully accept that the experiences with it enhance the person I am, but like I said at the start of this post recovery is a journey of mental well being and I have my boots laced up ready to crack on with the journey and as long as I keep taking my meds and listen to my body.