What Does Mental Illness Recovery Look Like?

Being diagnosed with a chronic mental illness can feel like a death sentence. I have Bipolar Disorder and it can often feel like this, no matter what I do, it’s still going to be there in some respect. But recovery is possible.

I don’t think that recovery is the absence of the illness, no, it’s always going to be there. But maybe we learn to control it instead of it controlling us. So what does recovery look like? Is it being able to hold down a job? Is it waking up in the morning without wanting to kill yourself? Is it being able to go to the store without maxing out every credit card you have? Is it having control over your anxiety? How long does it take to happen? Is it all about my meds or do I need therapy too?

I’ve come to the realization that recovery isn’t some magical thing that happens overnight, it’s a process and it can be hard work. And I’m in that process, whether it feels like it or not some days. There’s a lot of things that I do to help in my recovery. I get up before 10 am every day. I take my medication 5 times a day. I go therapy, I see my doctor weekly. These may seem like small things but they make a difference in my life. They help to keep me level. I don’t always want to get out of bed, I don’t always want to take my meds but I do. I can feel like shit at the same time as I’m recovering. I also look at anytime out of hospital as small victories.

If you got out of bed today when you didn’t want to, if you left your house, if you took your meds, then well done to you, you’re recovering. I’ve been recovering for a long time and every time I get knocked down I get right back up because I’m stronger than what my illness has to throw at me. And so are you. Recovery takes time. Recovery is not the absence of your illness. Recovery is a process. But recovery is possible.

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One thought on “What Does Mental Illness Recovery Look Like?

  1. I know your struggle – it’s very brave to write about it. I’ve done the same, and as much as I hoped it would heal me, it only made me more cognizant of my need to maintain my environment in a way that harbors stability. It’s hard stuff. I wish you all the best with your work.