Mental illness knows no borders and crosses all divides. Mental illness is no respecter of persons. Mental illness affects the crude and the cultured; the employed and the unemployed; the educated and the uneducated. Mental illness affects young and old; the rich and the poor; the religious and the irreligious.
Mental illness is torment – as every sufferer knows. Mental illness is a cruel form of pain that not only disables the sufferer but puts great strain on family, friends, carers, loved ones, resources, etc.
And mental illness isolates. Loneliness can be an unwelcome effect of suffering from mental ill health.
What do service users need in order to arm ourselves in the constant battle to better manage mental illness? Medication is usually essential; as are doctors; social workers; nurses; occupational therapists; support workers; other professionals; family and friends, etc. Service users must think and reflect on our feelings and thoughts about why we are ill, in addition to taking prescribed medication. Also, we need to express our thoughts and feelings in a safe environment. But what use is a voice if no-one seems to be listening? To be listened to is to be valued. Those who give time to listen provide an invaluable service – be they a trusted friend; a family member; G.P. or psychiatric professional, etc.
Thus, recovery is very much linked to service users having a voice and as stated above, our voice needs to be heard. On-going recovery is therefore a partnership and a process. One might never be fully well; (I have been taking psychiatric medication for 29 years but am able to work, socialise, study, enjoy holidays and hobbies, etc). Recovery, I suggest, is about managing your symptoms to the best of your ability with as much or as little support that you need to achieve your goal/s.
Be encouraged! There is hope! I never thought I could drive a car; enjoy friendships or do many of the things others (might) take for granted.
My hope for you is that you might stop and think and reflect on your own personal situation/plight. Talk to someone you can trust. Make of today an opportunity for change. The road ahead will most certainly be challenging but with the right help you can meet each difficulty and move on.
Remember: you are not a mentally ill person – you are a person who has a mental illness.
I wish you well in your on-going recovery. Asking for help may be a good place to start…