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What is Recovery and Where Do We Find It?

What is Recovery and Where Do We Find It?
National Alliance on Mental Illness—Principles of Support

How we individually and as a group work toward recovery:

We see the individual first and not the illness—We are humans first which defines who we truly are. Our illnesses are just a part of that.

We recognize that mental illnesses are medical illnesses, that may have environmental triggers—Just like diabetes and heart disease, we don’t know why some people develop mental illness and some with the same risk factors don’t

We understand that mental illnesses are traumatic events—The diagnosis of any illness is traumatic, but ones so poorly understood and with a relative unlikelihood of a cure are even more so. With proper treatment most of the mentally ill can be stabilized and symptoms well controlled.

We aim for better coping skills—Like all of us ill or not, there are ways for us to cope with our unique situations and symptoms better.

We find strength in sharing experiences—Sharing with others helps us realize we are not alone. It allows the exchange of ideas to cope and support when we are not feeling well. Sharing can be done through reading, writing or speaking about our experiences.

We reject stigma and do not allow discrimination—We stand up for ourselves and others with mental illness by speaking and writing about the subject and our experiences. We do not accept it when others put us down.

We won’t judge another’s pain as less than our own—pain is an individual feeling and we cannot possibly tell who is in the most pain.

We forgive ourselves and reject guilt—We have all done things we are less than proud of. Forgiveness of ourselves, especially when these actions are a result of our illnesses, goes a long way towards recovery.

We embrace humor as healthy—As it is for all people, humor has many beneficial results and helps us keep from becoming too serious about the difficulties we have.

We accept that we cannot solve all problems—mentally ill or not, we all will develop problems in life. We cope with these as best we can, but may not come to a resolution on all of them.

We expect a better future in a realistic way—We may never be able to accomplish all of our goals due to symptoms of mental illness, but we do strive for a realistic improvement in our futures.

We will never give up hope—Hope allows us to continue to learn both life skills, how to cope with symptoms of our illnesses, and to work toward a more satisfying lives.

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