The Long & Winding Recovery Road

A place for support, intelligence, resources and recovery

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“Comparison is the thief of joy”
-Theodore Roosevelt

Recovery is a tricky word. A definition from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration says recovery is:

“A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.”

I like this one because it’s focused on the individual reaching personal potential. When we compare one person’s recovery to another we are not seeing things as they really are. We are robbing ourselves and our loved ones of joy. 

Let’s suppose I broke my leg. I would seek treatment immediately, get an x-ray, get casted, follow my Dr.s follow-up instructions and very likely I would be as good as new in 6-8 weeks. As long as I had no complications it would be straightforward, like many other healthy adults, I would fully recover from this acute injury.

And yet many health issues are chronic like multiple sclerosis or diabetes. Often it’s a bumpy long and winding road fraught with many “flare ups” or active symptoms and hospitalizations in order to re-stabilize and “recover”. It’s time to see mental health disorders in this way. These illnesses are also chronic, often lifelong, incurable health problems. They are treatable, manageable and people can and do remain symptom free for many years. Leading productive very successful lives just like MS or diabetes.

When we expect a chronic incurable illness to be a straight linear road to recovery we will often be disappointed, we can harshly judge ourselves or others too. All because we lack the knowledge of what recovery means and how to achieve recovery.

For mental health diagnoses rather that a straight road to recovery, we may see many on and off ramps, u-turns, rest stops, fender benders and wrong turns before we see a smooth ride. The most important thing is to keep trying to find the route to your recovery.

Never stop trying to find your way,

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Try Being Curious Rather Than Judgmental

A place for support, intelligence, resources and recovery

It’s the easiest thing in the world to be a critic, a judge, moderator and authority over our neighbors. We all do it and we are all guilty of getting trapped by our self-righteous attitudes. I read this story recently and it has a great lesson for us all.

One day a family moved into a new house in a new neighborhood. The next morning as they ate breakfast, they see their neighbor hanging laundry out on the line to dry. The woman looking out the window says to her family, “her laundry isn't very clean, she must not know how to wash her family’s clothes correctly. I think she needs better laundry soap.”

Her husband and children continue eating their breakfast and chatting among themselves.

For the next several weeks every time her neighbor hung her laundry out to dry, the woman made similar comments to her family.  About a month goes by and she was surprised to see nice and clean laundry hanging on the line outside in the neighbor's yard. She gleefully chirps to her family: “Look! She has finally figured out how to wash her clothes and get them clean! Do you think someone taught her how or she got new laundry soap? I wonder…….”

Her husband replied to her, “No I don’t think that’s what happened, you see the kids and I got up very early this morning and washed our windows.”

And so it is with life, what we see when we judge others depends on the clarity of the window through which we look. Are your windows clean?

If you find yourself judging another, you can stop yourself and instead just assume everybody is doing the best they can. It’s smart and helpful to share when you’ve judged someone unfairly too; it can spark great conversations for all of us to stop and think before we judge.

A Look at Self Worth

A Look at Self Worth

I think many people struggle with self-worth because of things they’ve been through, things said or done to them. Even things they’ve done to others.  When children are young and still innocent self-worth is usually not an issue. Then the good, the bad, the painful the joyful happen, all of it gives shape to our concept of self.

Your Future Self Will Thank You

A place for support, intelligence, resources and recovery

“ The best way to predict the future is to create it”  - Abraham Lincoln

Where were you ten years ago? Think about May 2017? It doesn't seem like so long ago. Well it wasn't! And ten years from now isn’t as far away as we’d like to all think it is.

Have you learned anything?? How about you’ll regret more of the things you didn’t do than the things that you did do. It’s all of the relationships we wanted to have, but were too afraid of chasing, it’s the opportunities we missed out on because we held back. The trip we didn’t take because we didn’t have time. 

Don’t look back on life ten years from now wishing you had done things differently. Do something today your future self will thank you for.  

Hint: you have to do this yourself!

Why don’t you let you just be you?

It’s fun to do the things that your friends and family members like to do, but it’s important to also to do the things that you love. Do you love the movies? Hiking, biking, bluegrass music? The first step is figuring out exactly what it is that you love and do those things. What do you like to talk about, what makes you excited? BE YOU! Don’t be defined by the things other people like to do.

Waking up each day with purpose.

Waiting for life to happen to you is no way to live...and nothing really meaningful is likely to happen.  Recognize that the world does not owe you anything and start achieving for yourself. You can make the world better by being the best you can be! When you are enthusiastic and fulfilled you are an inspiration to others. Have a plan and go in the direction of your plan.  Follow through with your commitments to yourself. 

Take responsibility for where you’re at in life and strive to be better. Help others by setting this example.

Putting down the smartphone and living presently.

Have you ever gone somewhere and not remembered how you got there or whether or not you enjoyed yourself. Living presently is more simple than we think it is, but it’s easy to go off track. Focus on your life as it is happening right now, this moment, and appreciate it for what it is. These are the good old days!

Working less to spend more time with the ones you love

Time is our most valuable asset, it is more valuable than gold! Working hard is never undervalued. There’s a lot to be said about making time for your loved ones, enjoy precious invaluable time with the important people in your life. No amount of money will every buy moments you’ve missed with the ones you love.

Saying goodbye to toxic people

Having toxic people in your life is draining, both physically and emotionally. You don’t have to keep anyone in your life that doesn’t respect you, so never be afraid to cut toxic people out of it. The best way to gain respect from others is by first respecting yourself.  

Nobody said it would be easy, but it will be worth it!!

Risky Business - Mental Health Month

Risky Business - Mental Health Month

Mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable. But people experience symptoms of mental illnesses differently—and some engage in potentially dangerous or risky behaviors to avoid or cover up symptoms of a potential mental health problem.

The Time Is NOW

A place for support, intelligence, resources and recovery

“DO IT NOW, SOMETIMES LATER BECOMES NEVER”

The problem is we think we have time. For some people time runs out and it’s too late to do what we might have done to save a life.

Did you know the onset of the signs and symptoms of 50% of the most common mental illnesses is age 14? By age 24, 75% of the signs and symptoms appear. Millions of American’s youth are living with a mental health disorder; according to the Centers for Disease Control, a shocking 1 in 5! Everyone experiences struggles and emotional pain, for young adults and teens these times often become unmanageable. 

Some turn to drugs and alcohol to self medicate, some live in quiet desperation, some behave like everything is fine. You have to look closer.

Because of the illusion of perfection and the plague of stigma, most do not get professional help or support for 6-8 years after the onset of symptoms!

https://youtu.be/zt4sOjWwV3M   ← Watch this

to see what struggling looks like.

Pain and struggle isn't always obvious, but knowing the signs that someone is in trouble can be learned. Just like you can learn CPR to save a life, you can learn how to intervene in a mental health crisis to save a life.

Research tells us about half of teens who are thinking about suicide tell a friend. Less than 25% of those friends tell an adult. Suicide doesn't happen in a vacuum. There is rarely just one “reason” a person decides to end their life. But a cascade of intense negative emotions combined with hopelessness, helplessness and the utter deconstruction of the self can cause suicidal thinking and behavior.

Most people most of the time would never consider killing themselves. For those who suffer from a mental health disorder these high level inhibiting factors can fall away, the desperate need to end pain and suffering defeats the intrinsic will to live. This time of desperation is usually not permanent. It can pass much like any other health crisis, with immediate and proper intervention. 

If you are worried about someone who may be thinking about suicide saying things like this helps:

●    I’ve noticed you’ve mentioned feeling hopeless a lot lately….. Are you thinking about suicide?[1]

●    Are you thinking about ending your life?[2]

●    Do you have any weapons or prescriptions medications in the house?

●    Who can you call if you think you may act on your thoughts of suicide?

●    Promise me you will not use drugs or alcohol until we can get help.

●    Promise me you will not harm yourself or act on these thoughts until you can meet with a professional to talk about it.

Saying things like this hurts:

●    You're not going to do anything stupid are you?

●    I know how you feel

●    Have you tried…….. ( fill in the blank)

●    I promise I won’t tell anyone what you tell me

●    Let me take care of the problem for you… it ‘s not

      about the problem -it’s about feelings.

●    You have so much to live for, what are you thinking?

●    Suicide is wrong…..Don’t judge or act shocked.

●    What about your family?

If you are in need of immediate help, please call 911.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

The Crisis Text Line can be accessed by texting BRAVE to 741-741.

National Resources

●     National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

●     Mental Health America (MHA)

●     Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)

●     International Bipolar Foundation (IBF)

●     American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)

●     Campaign to Change Direction

●     MentalHealth.gov

●     Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

●     Postpartum Support International (PSI)

●     Addiction Center

The time to save a life is now….right now.

[1] If the answer is yes, it is vital not to underestimate the danger, ask about when, how, where, if there is a plan the risk is very high. Act Now!!

[2] Yes? Act Now!

What Can You Do About Anxiety?

What Can You Do About Anxiety?

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