Saturday, August 2, 2008

National Network for Mental Health Réseau national pour la santé mentale

When I was first asked to write this article, I spent
sometime thinking about how I wanted to approach the topic. I decided
to do what I do best and talk about Recovery from my perspective.
Having lived with a diagnosed mental illness for over thirty years and
realizing that I actually have had the illness for closer to fifty
years, I find it interesting and shocking that my first introduction to
the idea of Recovery from a mental illness came only four years ago
while in Georgia training to become a Certified Peer Specialist. So
what does Recovery mean to me? Well, first of all, it means that I
still have the symptoms of depression and the side effects of the
medication. They will probably be with me for the rest of my life. What
Recovery has done, is shown me new ways of dealing with those symptoms
and side effects so that I can still carry on with the life I want. I
have learned many coping skills over the years, including proper rest,
good nutrition, using Mary Ellen Copeland's WRAP every day, building a
strong support network in the community, and the list goes on.

To me Recovery means control. For most of my life, I was controlled
by that Black Dog known as depression. When I finally reached the point
that I was sick and tired of being controlled by my illness and that it
was time for me to control the illness, I felt as if a huge weight had
been lifted from my shoulders.

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