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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Comments

Great Article

I find this article so exciting - I worked in mental health in the 1990's when recovery was not a word following diagnosis especially not psychosis or schizophrenia for instance - it is only by people sharing their stories that those who are first experiencing mental ill health know their is hope, because without hope what have we got x

PTSD

I am a tube driver on the London Underground. My first episode of PTSD occurred after a person under my train incident (young man threw himself in front of my train) suicide, and even after returning to work the incident continued to overwhelm my thoughts, causing severe anxiety at completely random times when I wasn't able to identify a trigger, I have undergone trauma counselling many times and it hasn't helped. My aim at this present time is to continue with my medication to stabalise my brain chemistry and follow my therapists advice regarding starting to do what was my usual activities with friends overcoming my subsequent disassociation and help myself become reconnected to the world today, this isn't easy and forcing myself to do these things is exhausting, one day I can do it and feel fine if a little disconnected from my surroundings, but another day I can become so overwhelmed by my feelings that it takes me days to recover. I am still undergoing extensive trauma desensitising and therapy to ascertain the root cause, so the right treatment can be tailored for me and this never happens again. I thought I was alone with this condition until listening to a sport radio show where ex footballer Stan Collymore reflected on his own mental health issues and highlighted 'Time To Change'. Through this the realisation you are not alone and reading others struggles and experiences is a huge help with my own personal battles

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