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.