A long time ago, the word “recovery” meant getting better physically. This was until I noticed some things about myself weren’t the “norm”. I realized that I had mental illness since I was a little girl. I couldn’t express what was happening during that time. Honestly, I didn’t know how to express it and there was a lot of stigma surrounding mental health. Unfortunately, that’s something that hasn’t changed much throughout the years. Yes, it has gotten better, but it isn’t gone.
I’ve been through very hard times, especially during my teenage years. It was even more complicated due to the fact that I have intrusive thoughts and different types of anxiety. I didn’t say anything because I was scared. Scared of people judging me, scared of people saying I was crazy.
It was five years ago that I began to gain more knowledge about mental health and organizations that provide support and resources for people with mental illnesses. This is when I decided to change my life, and slowly get over my fear of expressing myself. I wanted to make every aspect of my life better.
The journey hasn’t been easy, and I’ve had many obstacles along the way, but I refuse to give up.
Today, I dedicate myself to leading a holistic life, integrating different activities and methods that can help me physically and emotionally. I have been eating better and exercising regularly, and have been losing weight. This helps tremendously, I have more energy and I feel better after each exercise session. Also, I’ve made it a goal to know more about mental health and take part in different trainings and workshops. I received a certification as a Peer Specialist and have participated in several workshops like the Wraparound Academy and attended (for the first time) the International OCD Convention this year. This, along with several psychology courses I’ve taken, have given me more tools and experience about mental health, and health in general. Also, I’ve been working voluntarily for a mental health non-profit since 2011 and it has given me a wonderful experience and something that has helped me as a person. More importantly, it has given me the ability to help others.
I still have a long way to go, but I feel proud to say that I have become an example of recovery. Recovery is possible, no matter how difficult your situation may be. I think stories about recovery are very important. It’s a great way to reduce stigma and create a world where people stop being afraid of sharing the fact that they have a mental illness or substance abuse problem. There is help out there, there is support. We have to create a society where support is an essential part of our lives. Sometimes, a hug can really make a difference in somebody’s life.
The struggle is not easy, but knowing that you’re not alone means that half the battle is already won.
Recovery has helped me help myself, but the best thing of all, I have been able to help others and not expect anything in return. Recovery is to fight, recovery is wanting to make your life and surroundings better, but it’s something that only YOU can decide and pursue.
Pursuing recovery is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I can smile now and truly mean it.