This is a truly excellent explanation of the recovery process!
Originally posted on ...But She's Crazy:
Among the many things I enjoy about my Peer Support Specialist training — and there’s so much — I most appreciate the opportunity to learn more about this idea of recovery and how I can enhance my own experience of it.
Recovery is a relatively new notion for me. Of course I’ve always sought to “get better” and I understood I had to do some work to get there, but in many ways I approached it as something that would happen to me, instead of something I would create for myself. “Getting better” was a passive achievement; “recovery” is an intentional series of actions and mindsets, the success of which hinges on my conscious awareness of myself and my condition. In recovery, I’m in charge. I determine what recovery looks like to me, how to get there, and how to maintain wellness. Recovery, as I’ve learned more explicitly in PSS training, is about personal choice and responsibility. It’s about taking back control of whatever areas of your life you’re capable of managing, and refusing to passively let life and illness act upon you anymore. In recovery, I make the choice to no longer be a victim and, instead, exert my own power over the direction in which my life is going. That doesn’t mean there aren’t setbacks or relapses, but accept them as part of the process of recovery and learn from them as I continue to progress. I set and honor my boundaries. I decide my best and most effective way of living. I direct the pacing and quality of my personal progress.
What resounds with me most pleasingly about this act of recovery in which I’m becoming more well-versed in PSS training is that the first and most vital step is isolating and focusing on an individual’s strengths, rather than their limitations. I can speak confidently of only my personal experience of living with a mental health condition, and I know I’ve wasted years and years dwelling on the things I’ve perceived myself unable to do or achieve because of the particular pathology of my illness. If an area of my life crumbled or became fraught, I blamed the bipolar — and that may have been a fair assessment, but the failure and sense of being somehow mentally and emotionally handicapped were all I saw. I rarely, if ever, gave much attention to my strengths. I wasn’t even sure I had any at all. And I suffered all the more because of it. Such an outlook becomes a prison, a life sentence. As such, I often felt stuck. Nowhere to turn. No way out.