People with mental illness do recover

I was sitting at the NAMI Ohio Conference today listening to several speakers share their story of living with a mental illness. Two people who had schizophrenia and one person with anxiety and depression. You may have heard of Wil Wheaton. I’m a little embarrassed to say I didn’t really know who he was. Turns out he’s pretty famous.

Anyhow, what struck a nerve was how fluidly the speaker’s discussed their mental health issues. How they each described in intimate detail how their illnesses effected their lives. And yet there they were on stage in front of hundreds of people appearing perfectly “normal.”

One man is an actor performing six shows a week. He works full time, has a fiancé and lives a full life. Doesn’t mean he doesn’t have his struggles with schizophrenia, but he has a good life.

People recover.

I thought of myself speaking to audiences young and old. I rattle any number of stories about my manic highs and psychotic episodes. And then I talk about having found my purpose as an advocate and speaker. Other than my extremely broad shoulders (lol) I look “normal.” Because contrary to what some people think those of us with mental illness can and do recover.

I never went back to my old life. In fact if I’m honest there was no old life to return. I literally had to start all over. And that’s not such a bad thing. But it’s difficult.

If you’ve landed on my blog tonight looking for encouraging words, I want to tell you you can get better. You can recover. You can live the life you dream about. It might be difficult to get there, but it’s possible.

No matter what circumstance you found yourself in because of your mental illness, you can overcome it. Don’t give up the fight.

People do recover.

10 thoughts on “People with mental illness do recover

  1. Thank you Amy! As you know, I started my blog back up. Previously, my blog focused on substance abuse, and the need for faith to overcome chemical addiction.
    Now, I’m attempting to write about how my relationship with God has helped me to accept, and overcome my brain injury, and the mental illness associated with it, but the words just haven’t been coming to me easily. I realize that the main reason the words aren’t coming to me is to due the fact that I still fight accepting my mental illness. My resistance to telling people about it in a public forum most certainly inhibits my ability to speak about it much less write about it.
    Reading your blog helps me immensely. Someday, I hope God will give me the strength, wisdom, and courage to speak publicly about my journey with mental illness as you are doing. Thank you!

    1. Hi Kevin…glad the big is making a difference for you. You know, it’s really hard to accept having a mental illness. No one wants to be discriminated against, treated differently or shunned by others. It was a process for me to come to terms with my life before bipolar disorder and my life after. I came to accept all of me. All of my experiences. I tried to treat myself like I would a family member or friend. Once I was okay with me, I began to speak out. I share what I comfortable sharing and surprisingly people have been super supportive. Be patient with yourself. Try not to allow yourself to have too many pity parties—it doesn’t help to stay stuck in the past. One step day at a time and you’ll get to where you want to go. Let your faith be your anchor. I’m hear to talk if you ever need a friend who understands what you may be going through.

  2. Yes WE do and you are so right …. Its difficult and life will be different than it was but it is possible…. You have and so have I…. With all the incredible losses and gains that go with it.. That is life. Thank you for sharing as always very honest and real… I think I am almost ready to look at speaking about this in public… I think sharing our stories empowers us and the people that hear them and gives us all hope.

    1. Yay! So glad you’re thinking about sharing in public. It’s very empowering and a two way gift-a gift to ourselves and a gift to the audience. Good luck on your journey. Amy

  3. Recovery is a journey. It takes time, commitment, courage and effort but it is doable working one day at a time. It’s so worth it. I admire you for going public and speaking out.

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