Mental health recovery is viewed differently, depending on who you talk to. If you have just begun your journey to recovery, consider how you would describe the word “recovery”. What does it mean to you? Would you use a metaphor, such as describing it like “a rollercoaster” or would you state it as simply using healthier coping mechanisms to deal with life’s problems? One of the best parts about describing your own mental health story and your own definition of what recovery means to you is that no answer is wrong. However, the viewpoint you take on recovery says a great deal about how you move forward through recovery. Think of it as a foundation for your beliefs, values, and attitudes.
Your view on recovery may change over time; in fact, this is completely normal as you slowly uncover more and more pieces of yourself and your view on life. A 2016 study conducted by researchers from Oregon sought to explore this very thing by conducting 177 semi-structured interviews with participants who were diagnosed with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, or affective psychosis. Since mental health recovery is complex and dynamic, the researchers kept an open mind and analyzed the interviews, breaking them down into three main themes:
- “Getting by”: Participants in this theme described recovery as a way for them to fulfill basic needs such as eating and sleeping; ultimately, individuals who contributed to this theme had low expectations for recovery.
- “Getting back”: For these participants, recovery meant that they were not only able to fulfill basic needs but were able to engage in healthy coping strategies and self-care activities towards bettering their health and well-being. Participants mentioned gaining an awareness of their mental disorder and its effects and identifying valuable strategies that contributed to a meaningful life.
- “Getting on”: Many participants described feeling satisfied with where they were at and felt that their significant others could see a major improvement in their coping strategies. Stability and freedom were common phrases mentioned, as these participants felt empowered to move forward with their life.
As you can see, there are three varying levels here describing the perspectives of recovery that these participants had. None of them are wrong, however, because recovery is meant to be a form of self-discovery. It is quite possible that while in recovery, you could move back and forth between these stages. What’s most important is that you don’t give up, you stay open to learning, and you keep using the tools you learn as part of your treatment program.
Therapy is a primary component of treatment for rehabilitation from a substance use disorder and/or mental health disorder. Attending treatment with certified clinicians and counselors is critical for a full recovery. At one of New Vista Behavioral Health’s treatment providers, you are receiving exceptional care, held to a higher standard. Our programs result in better outcomes, ensuring a better recovery. For information call us today: 888-316-3665.