The field of mental health care is seeing a new surge in self directed care over the past decade. Where once it was not a consideration, today recovery from mental illness is not just a thought, but a possibility. Through out the nation more organizations are working to assist those with a mental illness in becoming self-sufficient and learn how to live with their illness. Many have their own homes, attend to their basic needs like cooking and cleaning, even participate in the treatment options available to them.
It is no longer a dream to live with mental illness and participate in society as a functioning member. Treatment has come a long way from the days of sending one home with medication and no other options. Individuals with mental illness, disorders are given the opportunity to develop skills that help them to recognize and manage their symptoms, thus allowing them to hold a job and care for self.
Mental health recovery begins with self, the willingness and desire to learn, take the time to understand, and attend to training self with the necessary skills to function and cope with the day to day life challenges. It is not easy, the road is definitely one less traveled. There are many days that getting out of bed is a challenge, however, the support of a community makes it easier to rise, attend to the basic needs and greet the day no matter what.
This is your opportunity to develop the knowledge for your own recovery or someone you share life with. As a partner, caretaker, friend, or what ever your role knowing about the process of recovery, symptom management and what to do for the one you love is as important as the person who is recovering. It is a learning experience, you will learn as much about you as you will about the one you are sharing your life with. Maybe more about you than you ever wanted to know.
Recovery is not about just the person afflicted, but the family, friends, co-workers, employers, doctors, and anyone else involved. There are terrific days and there are horrible days. Perhaps horrible seems to harsh or terrifying, it is not, the person in the middle of a panic attack or stuck in depression does not think it can be any less than horrible at times. Of course I speak in generalities and from all accounts working with others. Even as one who is living with someone afflicted this may seem an apt word.
The opportunity to share your life with someone is always an honor, it should be one of growth together. Not alone, not ridiculed, made to feel shame or guilt. Yet far too often the words tumble out and there is no way to take them back. When we speak harshly, angrily, out of frustration or other emotional places it is important to consider the words you are going to say. If you cannot be constructive, honest, without being hurtful it is best to not speak at all. Take a time out, walk, garden, write, read, watch television, do something else for at least 30 minutes, in some cases longer may be needed. The revisit the conversation. There are many ways to use “I statements.” “I felt hurt and angry when you said or did….” Of course you will fill in the words said or actions and then your feelings.
Mental illness is the culprit, not the person. Mental illness has its causes, not all solutions are easily chosen. However, the skills are available, the teacher is ready, if the student is. All you need to do is ask for the resources and go in search. The best resources for recovery of your mental health maybe found through SAMHSA (http://www.samhsa.gov/) and National Mental Health Institute (http://www.nimh.nih.gov).