March 24, 2014

nicolaRecovery is a big word. It’s personal for everyone and everyone has a different idea of what it means. For me recovery means not letting my illness hold me back from my potential, being happy without needing medication to do it for me, accepting myself for who I am and helping others do the same.

The presence of my friends and family was comforting

When I was at my lowest moments, I had friends and family that helped a lot, even if I couldn’t talk, they would just stay with me, and their presence was comforting. However I couldn’t help but feel they didn’t understand. They wanted to, but they just couldn’t. I was struggling with issues that no one spoke about; voices, visions, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, and scary diagnoses. And I didn’t know anyone that had been able to recover.

Learning that recovery was possible

A key part to my recovery was learning that recovery was possible. When I was in hospital, I met other people that were going through similar experiences, and although it was horrible to see their distress, it was good to know I wasn’t alone.

Demi Lovato became my role model and gave me hope

Demi Lovato was also important to my recovery, she is a celebrity that overcame many issues, and was very open about them, and when I heard, she instantly became my role model. She spoke about her experiences and how she overcame them, which gave me hope.

Now that I'm at a good stage in recovery I can help other people

Things have really changed for me, my illness is no longer in control of me, I have taken control. I am now very open about my experiences because no one should ever be ashamed. On Time to Talk Day, I had 348 conversations, which was a massive turning point for me. There was a time I would never speak about mental health, but now I’ve realised how common, and human it is. Now that I’m at a good stage in recovery, I can help other people; allow them to speak about mental health without fear of being judged. The biggest thing I’ve tried to tell people, is that hearing voices is a human characteristic, like being left handed. And it’s a message I still want to get across.

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