The other day I was pondering on what has made this year feel good and what could make next year even better. Because I live with a chronic illness, bipolar disorder, I measure my days very often by how I feel. It struck me that living in recovery really boils down to the simple phrase from the movie Eat, Pray, Love.
This past year I have been able to do all those things and enjoy many good days in a large part because this is what I have chosen to focus on. Doesn’t mean I did not or still won’t have bad days, heck we all have bad days, but it gives me the strength to pick myself back up and face the next day with a renewed spirit.
To me, the whole essence of recovery is learning how to live again. How to be engaged from a social standpoint. How to enjoy the little things in life, like a meal with friends and family. How to reengage with God, by attending church and praying. How to get back up and open the emotions that were once numbed by pain. How to love again. How to let passion drive your purpose.
I really made it a point last year to re-build my life again. If you have never had to start over, you might not have an understanding of what that takes. But I can tell you that more often that not, an untreated mental illness can wreck havoc in one’s life. I have written about the loss, pain and suffering I have personally experienced and I am familiar with many other stories of similar struggles. So, focusing on re-building a life is not only important it is a necessity. It is part of the recovery process.
What I take from my own experiences is that sometimes when we get beat up, we start to focus on all the things that have negatively impacted us. We forget the positive things and the blessings we have collected.
I have also learned that to continue to highlight only the negative will drag you down in a heart beat and keep you down for an eternity. If you struggle with depression, it is even more difficult to find hope than it is to find hell. But hope is imperative to recovery and belief in a better way to live gets you there.
For me, I stay inspired and motivated by thinking about the ways I can make my life better. As the new year approaches, I want to continue to keep my recovery journey as simple as possible. I have learned when I focus on something, a goal, a dream, a vision, I have the ability to make it happen.
This formula has worked well for me and I hope by sharing it with you, it might help you in your own recovery journey. Keep it simple. Enjoy the journey. Focus on the positive. You are more than an illness, a label, or a diagnosis. Recovery is possible. Celebrate the victories!
In short, Eat, Pray, Love!