Dr. Wesley Sowers led a talk at the educational conference on person-centered treatment.
He viewed health as the capacity to engage in living and having a sense of well being that encompasses the physical, emotional, social, and intellectual.
Dr. Sowers talked about how healing occurs via relationships that guide us across the bridge from illness to health.
In Left of the Dial I credited the support of my family and my private treatment team with enabling me to recover.
One person in that time was instrumental: S.–the art therapist who took us for long walks around the grounds continuing into the early winter.
I’m an artist and doing art therapy was the only thing I liked about my involvement in the mental health system.
S. wore a cowrie-shell necklace and I admired her fashion sense. She was an artist too. Her bold signature mirrored her active approach to life.
The focus traditionally and even today has been on treating illness not on how to stay healthy so that illness doesn’t strike.
Thus I respect Caroline Myss the medical intuitive who wrote the book Archetypes that I talked about in the Left of the Dial blog forum. Expressing who we are through animating our archetypes is a way to heal and to achieve optimal physical, emotional, social, and intellectual health.
Hope is a guidepost. We can ask ourselves: “What do I want to recover?” or we can ask if we want to start fresh on a new version of life.
In 1997 when I was 32 I choose to start fresh and go back to school for a Masters in Library and Information Science 10 years after I was diagnosed. This event took place five years after the second hospital stay that I documented in my memoir.
That was how I started to heal: through education. I followed through with my goal of going back to school even though I was unemployed.
I’ll be the first to echo Dr. Sowers and his focus on how forming positive relationships helps us to heal and to recover.
My contention is that we each of need to reach out even though it might be hard. And that our loved ones should do everything humanly possible to try to reach us when we’re not at that point.
One day a light bulb will go off in our heads. It might not be right after a loved one tries to reach us. It could be five months later or a year later that the light bulb goes on.
I say: sisters brothers mothers fathers wives husbands–whoever you are in our lives even if you’re a treatment provider–always keep trying to reach us and always support us no matter where we are in our recovery.
In coming blog entries I’m going to talk about what I think could help people living in recovery more than anything. It’s what was missing in my early involvement in the failed mental health system.
Today is here and we can shift the needle to get our needs met.
Sowing and reaping healing is possible with individualized treatment, therapy and practical career and housing counseling, and medication for those of us who need it.
It’s a great time to be alive living in recovery.