Recovery is a deeply personal, unique process of changing one’s attitudes, values, feelings,goals, skills and roles. It is a way of living a satisfying, hopeful and contributing life, even with the limitations caused by illness. Recovery involves the development of new meaning and purpose in one’s life as one grows beyond the catastrophic effects of mental illness.
Recovery involves living as well as possible.
South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust
Those leading the recovery movement are clear that it is neither about an unrealistic hope of magical transformation, nor about the impossible prospect of returning to whatever preceded illness. Instead, it is an open-ended and cautiously optimistic process of sketching out a path forward and developing hope for a more satisfactory life alongside whatever remains of the illness.
Glenn Roberts and Paul Wolfson, The rediscovery of recovery: open to all.
Recovery is not about finding a miracle cure or returning to how things used to be. It’s about finding a happier, healthier, more sustainable life that recognises the past, accepts the limitations of the present and is full of hope for the future.
Recovery challenges the established order and as such, is a ‘great idea’ along with the ideas of evolution or a ‘round earth’; turning all our thinking upside down.
‘Recovery’ is an idea whose time has come. At its heart is a set of values about a person’s right to build a meaningful life for themselves, with or without the continuing presence of mental health symptoms.
Geoff Shepherd, Jed Boardman & Mike Slade, Making Recovery a Reality
One of the great things about recovery is hope. Another foundation stone of recovery is self determination for the person who is labelled with a mental illness. Also involved in recovery is the idea that we’re full citizens; the nice term that is often used by governments is ‘social inclusion’.
I believe in recovery, and as a role model I have the responsibility to let young people know that you can make a mistake and come back from it.
The concept of recovery is rooted in the simple yet profound realization that people who have been diagnosed with mental illness are human beings.
Patricia E. Deegan, Recovery as a Journey of the Heart
There will be no more ‘them and us’, only us, sharing struggles and challenges as part of being human.
Is there not just one simple principle (to guide our efforts in serving people with severe mental illnesses), a superordinate principle from which all other principles emanate? I think there is, and it is the principle of personhood. The personhood principle is defined simply as, “people with severe mental illnesses are people.
Bill Anthony, The Principle of Personhood: The Field’s Transcendent Principle
We share in the certainty that people labeled with mental illness are first and above all, human beings. Our lives are precious and are of infinite value.
Patricia E. Deegan, Recovery and the Conspiracy of Hope
The goal of recovery is not to become normal. The goal is to embrace the human vocation of becoming more deeply, more fully human.
Patrica E. Deegan, Recovery as a Journey of the Heart
We are a conspiracy of hope and we are pressing back against the strong tide of oppression which for centuries has been the legacy of those of us who are labelled with mental illness. We are refusing to reduce human beings to illnesses.
Patricia E. Deegan, Recovery and the Conspiracy of Hope
Recovery challenges everything we ‘knew to be true’.
On Being a Person
I want people to know there is hope. You can look forward to good things happening, even if you have gone through some dramatic experiences. There is help out there to get people on a good life cycle.
People need to have ‘the dignity of risk’ and ‘the right to fail’.
Patricia E. Deegan
Avoidance of illness is a clinical preoccupation and has a short-term horizon. Development of well-being is a long-term process, and involves different tasks.
People with mental illness are fundamentally similar to people without mental illness in their need for life to be pleasant, engaged, meaningful and achieving.
It is also our job to confront social control of difference and expose ridiculous notions of perfection. We must declare and demonstrate that experiencing mental illness, in whatever form, is not something to be ashamed of. Indeed, that dealing with mental illness is something to be proud of, because it gives people a gift of insight. It can give people greater strength of character, capacity for compassion, a stronger sense of self.
Thoughts on Madness
Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.
For some people their experience is most helpfully understood in terms of a mental illness. For others, it is not.
We should also be clear that being imperfect is one of the hallmarks of being human and lead the way by saying that illness teaches us about being well, vulnerability teaches us about being strong, loss teaches us about finding.
You must not be frightened if a sadness rises up before you larger than any you have ever seen; if a restiveness, like light and cloud-shadows, passes over your hands and over all you do. You must think that something is happening with you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand; it will not let you fall. Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any miseries, or any depressions? For after all, you do not know what work these conditions are doing inside you.
Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
I compare myself with my former self, not with others. Not only that, I tend to compare my current self with the best I have been, which is when I have been mildy manic. When I am my present ‘normal’ self, I am far removed from when I have been my liveliest, most productive, most intense, most outgoing and effervescent. In short, for myself, I am a hard act to follow.
Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness