Recovery is a word I’ve picked up over time from the mental health community. In the last few months I have attended the Southdown Mental Health Recovery College in Brighton which teaches people skills to help them stay well. I found the Resilience course I completed extremely helpful in giving me some practical tips to work on my self esteem which is an issue I really struggle with.
No doctor has ever told me I’m in recovery though. This seems to be because services seem to be really stretched and from my five years experience medical professionals are not involved with my care unless I am what they call, ‘emotionally unstable’ or ‘in crisis’. No one monitors my progress, my medication is decided by one professional and prescribed by another, I have had three different sets of therapy less than ten weeks long and have only just found a therapist in a low income clinic who will provide ongoing treatment.
The mental health system is not set up to support people from diagnosis to full health. This leads me to believe that if things stay the way that they are, so called ‘recovery’ is the time when people with a mental health condition need their friends, family and community to support them the most. To help them get out of bed and do their mundane chores on days when they aren’t feeling as well. To encourage them to seek help at the first sign that things are going downhill. To learn the resilience skills with them and put them into practice together. It’s a boring, hard slog but it’s the real hurdle to getting better and it’s easier if you don’t do it alone.