It is rocket science

The phrase “It ain’t rocket science” tries to make out that rocket science is hard – and for everyone who isn’t a rocket scientist it is. Rocket scientist don’t find rocket science hard. For those who find recovery easy, they don’t call it recovery, they call it getting on with life, while those who find it hard are clearly struggling to overcome something. It is very easy for someone who finds life easy to belittle someone who is struggling.

If you are finding life hard, consider what your obstacle is – it may be someone, a lack of some kind of resource, ignorance about how to solve a thing, something you fear or many other possibilities. Until you can identify what your obstacle is, you can’t solve it or find a way around it.

Your struggle is real. Those who try to shrug it off as nothing clearly are not experiencing what you are experiencing.

Moving through Recovery

In Mental Health, Recovery is the concept of reclaiming your life through an empowered journey  of self discovery and redefinition. Often with mental illness or distress, we can lose the active say in what happens to us and where we end up. Recovery helps us identify a set of goal posts on our way to our future self that guides our journey.

All people are on a life journey as all people grow and develop. People who have experienced mental ill health have usually stalled in the agency, the self decision, of their life journey. Instead of the life journey being a “choose your own adventure”, it has turned into a movie you are only watching and can’t stop.

It is time to choose a path, the default destiny or your own future. Recovery.
It is time to choose a path, the default destiny or your own future

The purpose of the Recovery concept is to bring that journey back into your own control. It is about moving on with your life. And for it to be *your* life, your actions toward recovery must be *your* actions, *your* plan, *your* recovery. That doesn’t mean you can’t get help along the way, but it does mean that other people can’t carry you.

It is commonly said that “the journey is more important than the destination”, and there certainly is an element of truth to this. The destination is a place that you would like to be at some point in your future, where place is not a geographical location, but rather a state of being. This being is made up of feelings, social contacts and safety.

It is easy to become lost the destination being the end. At what point in someone’s life do they become them? When they are born? When they become an adult? When buy their first house? People don’t actually reach a final point – they just keep growing and evolving. In a similar way, the “goal” that your recovery journey is heading to is not the end – it is just somewhere you’d like to get to in your life journey. It is the motivator for the changes you are about to do now.

Recovery focuses on where you are now, compares that to where you would like to be at some point in the future and how you are going to get there.

Last time we had a brief look at Risk Management. A decent journey includes risk. That doesn’t mean we should add danger to give the journey more meaning, it means that some dangers are going to exist regardless and we have to be aware and realistic about them. That shouldn’t immediately stop us from trying the journey, it just means we should factor managing those risks as part of our journey.

Recovery is not being stagnant. It is about making changes, it is about embracing those changes to move your life towards your goal. Recovery is about moving towards your goal.

For more, Wikipedia has a good introduction about the Recovery Approach.

Recovery includes going “backwards”

When attempting to recover your life, all your decisions should be based on “how will this improve my situation?” This can include a backwards step that helps leads to progress. Recovery includes going backwards.

Consider parking your car. If you come in wide, and can only go forwards, you will do your car harm.

Sometimes you have to go backwards and take another shot at it to safely go forwards.

Sometimes you need to think of trying another car park.

A good Recovery Plan includes Risk Management

A well planned recovery path includes risk management.

Mouse trap with cheese and "free cheese" sign - how will you manage risk? Risk management.
Goals and risk

First pick your goal. What does that outcome feel like? Do you like it? Is it really what you want? How far away is it? Check out more on Recovery [Link] to learn about choosing goals.

Once you have worked out your goal, it is time to identify the risks involved. While it is tempting to try to list every possibility, it is important not to get too bogged down on tiny details.

In risk management there are three important considerations.

  1. How likely is it to happen?
  2. How bad is the consequence?
  3. Is there something reasonable I can do about it?

The high the likelihood and the higher the consequence, the greater the risk needs managing. However it is important to identify risks that can actually be managed.

For example, a plane landing on the building I am in is possible, but very unlikely. The consequences would be very high – catastrophic would be a good description. There is nothing I can do about it.

How will you manage these risks to get your goal? We can affect the above questions in the following way:

  1. How likely is it to happen?
    What can I do to reduce the likelihood if this is high?
  2. How bad is the consequence?
    What can I do to reduce the severity of the consequence if it is high?
  3. Is there something reasonable I can do about it?
    What resources are needed to shift the likelihood and the consequence, and do I have them?

By having an identified goal we can begin to identify the risks involved in achieving this goal. By breaking down those risks into categories and into methods of management, we shift the focus from “it is too risky” to “how will I get what I want?”

This is a brief introduction to the concepts of risk management. For a more complete run down, check out the Wikipedia entry.

Doing is not being – Who am I

We humans wish to control or influence our environment to increase our safety and maximise our comfort. When we can’t do this, we feel incapable, question our ability and have issues with our identity and ego. In short, we feel powerless, anxious and depressed. We lose ourselves in our mad scrambling of doing and forget who we are. Who am I?

Remember that we are Human Beings, not human doings.

Our “being” is not defined by _what_ we do, but rather by _why_ we do. When we get back to this “why”, we get a closer glimpse of what drives us, about what kind of person we are and if we like that person. It informs what we do, why we do it and how we do it.

So first of all, work out who you are as a being – what is the you that informs your life?

Often we do things because we “should”, or someone tells us to. What are we telling ourselves? Find this core you and you find why you are doing what you doing, and that leads to greater contentment with your life.