You probably don’t have the word recovery in your vocabulary. It’s probably not a word that you say to your friends or even your family. But if you consider the meaning of recovery, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with the term, especially if you’ve been in the mental health field.
Recovery that is used to describe the positive changes that tend to take place after you’ve experienced a series of symptoms from mental illness. Once you undergo treatment and you start to feel better, then you’re in recovery. Mental health expert Priscilla Ridgway describes recovery in the following ways:
- Recovery is an ongoing journey of self-healing and transformation.
- Recovery is re-claiming a positive sense of self, despite the challenge of psychiatric symptoms or experiences.
- Recovery is actively self-managing one’s life and mental health, in order to control psychiatric symptoms, create a positive lifestyle and achieve higher levels of wellness.
- Recovery is reclaiming roles and a life beyond being a person receiving services in the mental health field.
If you’re a teen who has or who is experiencing symptoms of a psychiatric illness, you might want to know that it’s possible to recover. However, we tend to get in our own way. Or we allow the ideas of society to get in our way, such as the stigma that comes with mental illness. Perhaps you know that you want to get treatment in order to recover but you’re afraid of what others might say. Perhaps you know that it’s your own fear of making change that’s keeping you from recovery. Below is a self-assessment to see where you are currently on the journey of recovery.
- I have never thought about recovery from my symptoms of depression or anxiety.
- I don’t feel that I need to recover.
- I have so much going on right now that I can’t think about recovery right now.
- I’m thinking about recovery but have not begun to act on recovery.
- I was on a journey of recovery but am having a setback right now.
- I am actively involved in recovering from my experiences.
- I feel that I am fully recovered and now I have to maintain the progress I’ve made.
A significant part of recovery is learning about yourself and discovering what makes you unique and different from everyone else. In fact, discovery can facilitate with easing some of the mental health symptoms. Discovery means finding out about yourself. It means learning from your own experiences and adapting so that your life works for you. It means being curious, open, and finding ways to move forward. Discovery is what most children and teens do naturally. They explore, find out more, and have fun in trying new things. But you don’t have to be a child to enjoy the thrill of discovery; you can take that into your adulthood. The nature of being an explorer, artist, scientist, or detective is precisely being one who discovers.
Even if you’re not someone who wants to undergo self-discovery, you should know that recovery is possible simply when you put your attention to it. If you refuse to get treatment, then it may be difficult to recover. If you say to yourself that you can get through having symptoms with a little alcohol or marijuana, then you’re only ignoring the problem. However, when you make the choice to recover you will.
In fact, one half to two-thirds of all people who experience psychiatric symptoms recover even when they are told that they can’t recover or when they are given very little help or when there is no help available. Even when there are many barriers to encounter on the journey, you can still recover, but you must make the decision to do so first. Ignoring psychiatric symptoms will only make them worse.
If you’re experiencing depression or anxiety, talk to a parent, teacher, or school counselor in order get the help you need. Once you do and you’re able to find help, you’ll be on the road to recovery.