Tthis session begin with a personal story of recovery. Read the following personal story, as featured on the National Alliance on Mental Illness website:
“When I was 26 years old, my symptoms of mental illness caused many problems for me. I started to have emotional problems for the first time and was hospitalized in Texas. One of my darkest moments was when I was having a lot of fear and feeling angry about life. In addition, not getting along with family and friends was causing problems for me in my life. I was not able to hold a job and was having dealings with the police. I felt as if I had a void in my life and nowhere to go. Not being able to function in society was a problem for me. These are some of the feelings I was experiencing at my first hospitalization.
Having acceptance of my mental illness means taking charge of my life and moving forward. This has played a big part in my recovery. I started to have acceptance of my mental illness after giving myself credit for my strengths and weaknesses and accepting my limitations. Also, believing that I have something to offer in society and doing positive, healthy things in my life. Not giving up in life has been a positive thing for me. It has helped me to make a lot of progress in my life. In my journey as a Peer Support Specialist and being involved with NAMI has helped me with acceptance. Also, having family, friends, and being a student has very much helped me to accept my mental illness. Staying in treatment and taking my medications has also helped me with acceptance.
It is very important for me to use coping skills that can help me get through a tough day. Having good coping skills for me, means I have a plan in managing my mental illness. There are several coping skills that I use. You can take a hot shower, listen to music, watch television, and keep a balance with your schedule during the week. Medication is also important to me and my treatment. Also, take plenty of breaks when you are doing your school assignments and do not procrastinate in getting your homework done. It’s a good idea to have a good support system to help manage your symptoms and people who can help you with moral support. Also, I make sure to get enough sleep and eat healthy, plus exercise. I want to make sure to keep a balance in my life and have activities to do during the week. It’s been beneficial for me to be attend my support group meetings at NAMI, which has been a big part of my support system. I like facilitating groups and making friends. Basically, pull something out of your toolbox to help you cope better. This helps you cope better when you are having a bad day.
Knowing that hope is the “cornerstone of recovery,” and believing you can have success with your life is critical. Your successes and dreams take on many different directions to arrive at your destination. Success means to me means building upon my strengths and moving forward in my life. Hope means that you believe in yourself and feeling positive never accepting defeat.”
After reading this story, write down some of your thoughts – you might like to consider the following questions as a starting point:
- How did it feel to read this recovery story?
- What does does hearing other people’s recovery stories have on me?
- Why are personal stories so powerful?