The Secret to Recovery

Recovering from a mental illness is excruciatingly hard, but it is possible, and it is easier than living with a mental illness. You can throw expensive doctors, stays in hospital and self-help books at the problem but unless you want to, you can’t get better. To recover you need to be willing; you need to want it and you need determination.

RECOVER – to return to a normal state of mind, health or strength

When you are living with a mental illness, surviving day-to-day is difficult and you may need therapy and hospital stays to keep going. These treatments will be invaluable in allowing you to push past your illness, so you can make it through the day, once you are through that stage you can start to heal. 

The severity of my condition definitely decreased before I fully threw myself into getting better,  but it didn’t completely disappear – which is the goal of recovery. Some people may settle for living with mild anxiety or depression, but I wasn’t going to. I read this book years ago and its’ teachings have still stuck with me. Learning the benefits of positivity and how to get what you want in life is a priceless lesson. If you are going to read any self help book, make it be this one.

Related: The Recovery Process

The difference between recovering and living with the disease?

A good example of not fully recovering from a mental illness is anorexia, since you can see with your own eyes that someone is still unhealthy. If they are still controlled by their disease this will be evident if they are not a healthy weight (a minimum weight is there for a reason) or if they do not behave healthily. Sure, a person may get treatment and return to their life as “recovered”; maybe they gained just enough weight to be released, but they aren’t cured of their disorder. It will take just one bad day to send them spiralling into their disordered eating. In this case, the person will be living with their eating disorder but they aren’t recovering from it – there is a massive difference. In order to get healthy, the sacrifice of gaining weight permanently would have to be made and if you aren’t motivated to recover you won’t face up to that challenge.

When I started recovering

For me, I had a turning point in my life that made me decide to heal, which was when I was hospitalised. I thought that I had already started my recovery process, and I had to some extent, but I wasn’t fully committed. I needed to take care of my body as well as my mind – and whilst I was making great progress with my anxiety, I didn’t take care of my physical health. I still wasn’t eating properly, drinking enough water and I generally acted in a self-destructive way which is not consistent with recovery. However, I didn’t even realise that I couldn’t be unhealthy in some aspects in my life; you have to be healthy in all aspects of your life since it is all interlinked.

Choosing Recovery

To recover you need to make sacrifices. I didn’t want to gain weight but it was essential if I wanted to be healthy. I didn’t want to eat breakfast and drink plenty of water but my recovery required that. I didn’t want to do graded exposure therapy but to get back to normal I had to. You have to be all in. I did all these things that I didn’t want to because I was determined to get back to normal.

If you are suffering, decide to recover – decide to take back your life. It’s not easy but it’s worth it and you have already proved that you are strong enough. Live a life completely free from symptoms; don’t just manage your symptoms. Get inspired, become positive and find the strength inside yourself to choose life.


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