Monday, January 9, 2017

Recovery Has MANY Roads

The road to recovery is not the same for everyone who travels it. Some may have an smooth journey with getting where they need to go while others seem to spend most of their life on this road, hitting every possible pothole in sight. Which way is the right way you ask? The answer is both of them- just as long as you keep moving. It doesn't matter if you move forward or backwards because each step in your journey is a learning experience that you can build on as you go. How you walk out your own recovery should be uniquely tailored your needs and desires. What you may find helpful and healing in your journey may not have the same effect on the next person to come along. We have our own unique quirks of what works and what doesn't but you yourself find this out as you go if you have not already done so yet. Its a learning process that may take weeks to years to find out what you need to add or take out in order to best suit your life.

So, in saying this- what one person may find to be oversimplified is just what the next person on the journey needs to hear. I emphasis self care greatly in my peer support role because it is a key foundation to where people need to begin. If you cannot look after yourself and your needs first and foremost then how do you expect to look after the harder things that are going through your brain full speed ahead? Proper sleep, a hygiene routine, and  healthy eating benefit your mental well being more then some people realize. If you eat crap, then eventually you are going to feel like crap- after all, you are what you eat. Having a shower and getting dressed can make all the difference some days. The same goes for sleep- if you do not get enough rest then your defenses are down and not only your patience may be lower but your immune system is more susceptible to any bugs going around. If you look after yourself then you feel better in the long run and recovery seems a bit more possible. These may seem like easy tasks but when someone is in the depths of depression, these things are the things that are the most hardest to accomplish with the little energy you can muster up and find.

There are others who may find this too easy and they are at another stage of their journey. They may be ready to deal with their feelings and emotions that are going on inside. They have the self care down pat and are ready for the next step. There are some who are able to work out their thoughts and feelings alone but for the most part it is very helpful to include someone in this process stage. We learn from each other and someone may have better suggestions then what we had thought about before. Often times, this is the hardest stage because it takes so long for some people to be ready to open up and share. Then there is the push pull of the inside voices trying to learn a new way of thinking and doing from what habits you might of had prior to starting this journey. This is the stage where there will be many set backs and frustrations because how long it takes to feel better. This can be tiring for people who want things to change over night. But in this process, you learn so much about yourself and the world around you. This is where you will not only find healing but you learn to become an expert at you!

Recovery looks different for everyone. Some may have an easier time to walk out their healing while others seem to be flailing around for years wandering aimlessly in the woods. Whatever the case may be, there is no such thing as right or wrong way.  Most cases, the mental health concerns did not occur over night- it took time to develop and it will take time to heal. Some people may have added traumatic events in which they have had to deal with along the way which compounds and complexes the time it takes to heal. But that is OK because it is worth it in the end to walk out the healing process.

If I could give you one word of advice in all of this, it would be to never give up hope that things can change and get better. Often times many will experience frustration on the road to recovery and think that it takes too much effort and work to heal. Working on yourself is the best thing you can invest in because it will pay off and you will come out the other side a different person than your struggles. Yes, it will be one of the hardest things you have ever done but what have you got to lose? There are people out there willing to listen to your struggles and help you but you have to be open to ask for this which is one of the hardest steps to take. I believe you can do it- I believe you are stronger then you think and I believe you have more to offer the world then you realize. You have so much potential- don't let the illness win. Choose to walk out your recovery no matter how bumpy your road may be- you will be glad that you did.

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