Thursday, October 1, 2009


The first post to my blog...This blog will share my thoughts and experiences with recovery as well as what I have learned about mental illness recovery from peers. Recovery IS possible. In my blog I will share how I used SAMHSA's twelve recovery principles (on their wheel of recovery) and how YOU can apply them to your recovery. Now, a little bit about my recovery journey.

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in March 2004, after my son Nicholas was born. Looking back, I can identify symptoms that began when I was 19 during my college years, but I wasn't "officially" diagnosed until March of 2004 when my symptoms became so severe that I was hospitalized (multiple times). For two years we struggled with finding the right medication, establishing coping skills and trying to figure out exactly what was going on. It was a scary time and I had many dark days where it was a struggle just to live. I had lost all hope and felt completely helpless. I had multiple ECT treatments which did make a difference but have had a significant impact on my short and long term memory. Things changed when I found peer support through NAMI. I realized I wasn't alone and I found recovery "role models" who were living well with their illness. I realized recovery IS possible and learned how others had made life worth living.

I began to find new coping skills - started exercising, eating better (I lost 80 pounds in 2 years), practicing yoga, cooking, finding a spiritual center and most importantly taking responsibility for my recovery. I was willing to do whatever it took to learn to live well with my illness. My mom said that if someone told me to eat a couch and it would make me feel better, I would have eaten a couch (and really, I think that's pretty much true). I began to feel better and things changed, I found new hope. As my recovery progressed, I was able to return to work and started to give back to others to help them in their recovery journey.

And here I am today, involved in the mental illness recovery movement. I'm taking a Consumers as Providers course through NAMI and UW-Oshkosh. At the end of the course I will do and internship and can be certified to be a peer specialist - a provider who models recovery.

In this blog I hope to share how recovery is possible for EVERYONE with mental illness and how SAMHSA's twelve principles were applied to my recovery and can be applied to your recovery.

Be well.


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