9 Thoughts on Recovery

1) Fighting for recovery…

Fighting my way to recovery has been a battle I refused to lose.  I think it’s hard for the average person to understand how someone who lives with a mental illness has to learn how to get her life back.  It is not easy and some people will not be able to ever recover from it.  But many people do and they do it by fighting.

2) Analogy…

Imagine if you are going along and “doing life” and all the sudden everything you knew changed.  Your friends were gone, you lost your job, and you were faced with dealing with the consequences of matters you didn’t bring upon yourself, but your illness caused everything around you to go up in smoke.  Worse than a rug being pulled out from under you and more like a dam bursting with rushing water heading right toward you–that’s the essence of describing what it takes to survive.

3) Returning to life…

In the past year I started quietly asserting myself as a Mental Health Advocate.  As the year has gone by my voice has gotten stronger and louder.  Self-esteem, dignity, respect and confidence gently worked their way back into my persona.  I have become a different person.  The very thing that caused me pain, bipolar disorder-has also given me insights, knowledge and compassion like I have never felt before.

The one thing I have learned is that faith and hope and belief in recovery are critical to have in the journey.  When you get to a stage 4 of mental illness, recovery is bleak and perhaps not expected.  But I refused to become a statistic.  I kind of like defying the odds, I always have been that way.  

4) You gotta know it to beat it…

I will say that the amount of time I spent studying bipolar disorder and mental illness in general, was far greater than the energy I spent working toward a Master’s degree and the stamina it took to become an Olympian.  I consider learning about my illness as one of the key success factors.  I highly recommend becoming a student to those who suffer.

5) Respect it..don’t fear it.

I love the ocean.  It is fierce and constant and sometimes calm, but you better be careful of the riptides.  I am not afraid of it, but I respect it.  This is similar to how I view bipolar disorder.  There was a time when it scared the hell out of me.  But that fear paralyzed me from living.  I had to learn to swim with the ups and downs and not fight the diagnosis, but accept it.  Respect what my brain was going through. Learn to let the current carry me to safe waters.  

6) Stick to the vision…

I have a vision for how I want my life to look.  It may be a little foggy some days but I still know what I want.  I have a vision to become a national speaker on Mental Health Recovery.  I want to write a book about it in the hopes of helping other people.  I want to shed light, a big bright light that even people who get to stage 4 can still recover.  

A vision is not the same thing as having goals or objectives.  The vision is like a dream but with much more direction.  Setting goals and objectives that lead you to your vision keeps you on track.  

7) Move in the direction of your dream…

It would be great to have everything we needed all at once, but it does not happen that way.  Big dreamers make their dreams a reality by moving in that direction.  The dream may take different forms and even change a little.  But you’ll be more likely to make that dream a reality if you accept you will have to collect what you need a long the way.  

Sometimes things will fall into place easily and other times it will be a struggle.  But reaching the dream depends on continuing to move.  My dreams I keep private until I achieve them, so I will keep you posted.

8) You gotta walk not run…

You don’t sprint if you are running a marathon.  Recovery is a long distance race and it requires pacing yourself.  Some days I get frustrated that my pace is not faster.  I have to remind myself that I am in this for the long haul.  

9) Celebrate the wins…

I have learned how to be proud of me.  There is no one who knows how much I have been through except myself (and God).  I can smile by telling you you will have to trust me on that one.  I will say this, I don’t get my insights by reading alone.  I have many experiences to draw upon.  I celebrate where I am and where I am going.  I make a habit of it.

Hope I have given you a few things to think about.  I hope you have a greater understanding of how hard it is to recover from a mental illness.  I also hope you know it is possible.

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7 thoughts on “9 Thoughts on Recovery

  1. One tajes small steps, fir even a little step us a step forward, and all little ones make a big one , plus with illnessess , there never realy going to “GET IT ,” unless they have indeed walked in ones shoes is my feeling .. Take care be strong ….

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    1. Yes I love it…small steps. They may never “get it,” but if they want to they can better understand and have more compassion. Just like I have never had cancer, and I don’t know what that is like…I do have compassion for those who have struggled with it.

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  2. Amy,
    Your blog is one of the few reblog on my page. Every time I read your blog, it is as if I could be writing the same words. I love the way you express your journey and share hope with so many that are hurting. I began my journey with Bipolar in 1992. I work hard at being healthy every day. You have to want to be healthy more than anything else in the world. I am blessed to be a Certified Fitness Trainer and Life Coach. Your light shines bright and your writing does make a difference. I hope some day to meet you and get to visit.

    Marsha

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    1. Marsha,
      I can’t tell you how much your comment means to me. Sometimes when you put yourself out there and become a little vulnerable you never know if what you are doing makes a difference, so to hear that gives me so much inspiration. I hope we have a chance to meet as well. If you want to get in contact with me my email is amygamble64@gmail.com
      I am so thrilled for you that you have a meaningful career. Good for you! I hope to hear from you sometime!

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