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What recovery means for me

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.


  1. Omg honey I know this feeling so well. I have bipolar type two and borderline personality disorder. Have you incorporated meditation into your daily routine? It helps a lot I think. At least it does with me. Good luck! Where are you doing your peer specialist ? In my area of Pa its through northern teir and the main link.

  2. I suffered from Post natal depression after my first was born, and boy was that shock to system. I had someone tell me that it was “all in my head” and that it wasn’t even a real form of mental illness – no wonder people are so afraid to seek help when there are people like that keeping the stigma alive! I am glad that your recovery is allowing you help others at the same time, and keep on smiling as I think you have a wonderful smile :)

  3. I’m so glad that you were able to seek help for it and that you are doing much better. Struggling with that alone as a child must have been hard but I’m glad you were able to get this under control.

    Very happy to hear you are being healthier. It feels good to lose weight. I need to take a lesson from you and begin to get back to my healthy habits.

  4. I have to say I’m extremely proud of you for making this post. I know it wasn’t easy, but people need to know that there are thousands of others in recovery and that we can all overcome the odds if we seek different alternatives that help us during that process.

    It’s an honor to be alongside you during this journey, and I hope this isn’t the last recovery post I see on your blog!!

  5. I’m very glad you wrote this post. With having a boyfriend with various mental illnesses, I’ve been looking for signs that let me know that somewhere it gets better without drugs. We’ve been trying to implement a holistic lifestyle and it’s been difficult for him. So you have gave me hope. Thank u!

    1. I’m so glad this post could help, Karim. Mental illnesses are difficult, it will always be a process, but I’m sure your support would mean so much to him. I hope things get better for your boyfriend!

  6. What a beautiful post! I personally think that both maturity and education empower you in ways that enable you to…well, live a more holistic life. :) Even though I don’t suffer from anything that’s classified as a mental problem, I do feel that sense of connection. Your inspiring words keep a people strong and resilient, and that’s a good thing. Thank you for writing this beautiful post and stay strong. :)

  7. Wow! What a brave and admirable thing to post, Nicole! :) It sounds as if you’ve really learned a lot more about yourself and mental illness and I’m so inspired by your determination to “recover” and use that personal experience and knowledge to help others the way you already have and the way you are just with this post!

    And I’m proud of you for the positive changes you have made/are making so that you can be the best that you can be! Good for you and keep at it. You are a beautiful person inside and out! :)

    1. Thank you so much Angie! I’ve definitely learned so much about myself during the past few years and I’m trying my best to apply as many positive changes as I can to my life.

  8. It sounds like you’re really making all the positive changes that you need in your life. It’s a very brave thing to do, and even more so to blog about!

    I like reading stories like this because it gives me hope for myself. I have come a LONG way in the past two years, but I still have even further to go before I’m going to be able to be happy with the person I am (because my problems turned me into someone that I don’t want to be). But it’s up to me to make that happen now.

    1. Thank you Whitney. It’s hard to share these kind of details, but it’s very freeing to do so at the same time. I’ve realized over time that we are the only ones that can make the decision to change or be better, so it’s all up to you in terms of WHEN to start. Believe me, it will probably be one of the best decisions you can make.

  9. Nichole this is so powerful! Thank you for sharing your story, there is definitely a big stigma to mental health issues and adding your voice adds its little ripple of change. Good for you getting help and making gradual improvements in your life, I wish you the best of luck in your continued journey <3

    1. Thank you so much. It can be difficult to share my struggles, but after I write about it, it makes me feel free. And you never know who I may help just my sharing my story.

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