We tend to think about mental illness the same way we think about addiction, that these are illnesses that will always be with us and that we will always be working to recover from. Many of us believe that we are always addicts but that we become recovering addicts, and that we are always mentally ill but can be in recovery. Thinking about our mental and emotional health issues in this way helps us to have acceptance for them, and it helps us to replace our feelings of shame, as well as the stigma we feel around our illnesses, with self-love. It helps us to come to terms with issues we’ve been afflicted by for most of our lives. It serves as a reminder that we can’t become complacent, lazy or inconsistent with our recovery work. We have to stay vigilant with ourselves. We have to constantly monitor ourselves, our thoughts, our emotions and our self-talk, as well as our relationships. We have to constantly be assessing ourselves for how we can grow and apply our lessons to our evolution. We have to stay on top of our recovery because our illnesses always have a chance of recurring, and we are always susceptible on some level to relapsing. Many of us suffer from recurring depression, for example, that might be cyclical, seasonal or related to specific unhealed issues within us. If recovery is a lifelong process, can we heal from mental illness?
Many of us choose to believe that we are never fully in remission. We choose to believe that we’re always in recovery and that the healing process is always ongoing. This helps us to stay accountable to ourselves, and to keep doing the work. The good news is that along this healing journey, it is possible to get to a place where we no longer feel controlled or overpowered by our mental illnesses. We no longer feel tormented by our thoughts or haunted by them. We no longer feel that we can’t handle our depression and anxiety and that we can’t function normally. We get to a point where we feel as though we can reclaim our lives and take our power back. We learn that we have more control over our thoughts and feelings than we thought we did. Meditation, breathing exercises and other mindfulness practices help us see firsthand how the direction of our thoughts can impact how we feel and over time how vulnerable we are to depression and other mental illnesses. We discover that our toxic thought patterns and limiting beliefs are directly contributing to our mental health issues. We are causing much of our own sadness and fear. As we’re making these discoveries, we realize that yes, we can in fact heal from mental illness. It might be an ongoing process that we continue to work at for the rest of our lives, but it is possible to feel happy, fulfilled and at peace as we’re doing the work. It is possible to feel healed enough within ourselves to be able to lead lives we’re happy with.
Riverside Recovery is committed to helping you get back the life you love. Our treatment programs include multiple forms of therapy, family workshops and mindfulness-based relapse prevention education. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information.