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.
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.