I was chatting with my good friend Bill. He said, “Amy, did you tell me you were cured of bipolar disorder?” To which I responded, ” Unfortunately no. I’m on a lifelong recovery journey. Sometimes I have set-backs, but I keep on moving.” He smiled and said, ” we are all on that journey.”
If I’ve learned anything about recovery I’ve learned you can never give up. Sure, there will be set-backs. In fact there are just times when I just don’t feel good as a mortal human being. But people around me not understanding how bipolar works think, “Oh my gosh, is she depressed? Manic? Irritable? Must be an episode.”
That’s all part of recovery too. Learning to validate your feelings even when those around you want to blame your reality or emotions on a mental illness. You see those of us with mental illness don’t get a lot of latitude when it comes to emotions. You learn this the more you recover.
Recovery is for sure not a destination. If it were a highway or road it would be the highest mountainous dirt road you could find overlooking the ocean cliffs. There are bends in the road and you must make the turns. Eventually you get off the mountain for a while and the highway gets monotonous and flat. The challenge can sometimes be to enjoy those times.
I learned about a mental health advocate who was a psychologist who had schizophrenia. He survived being institutionalized under horrendous circumstances for over ten years. The medical outlook for him was bleak. Yet Dr. Frese escaped from the hospital, eventually put himself through college and turned around and helped hundreds of people who were in institutions just like him.
He recovered from those circumstances. I’m still amazed by his story and very sorry I never had the chance to meet him. He passed away a couple of years ago. May you Rest In Peace Fred Frese.
Wherever you are in your own mental health journey or perhaps a loved ones, know that recovery is real.
Never give up hope. Never give up on a person’s journey to recover.