I have many goals, short-term and long-term that I occasionally update and revise. One of my short term goals was to complete the Certified Peer Specialist training program, and after three years I can finally check off that goal on my list, thank you!
Another one of my goals was to live independently. As I mentioned in another blog entry recently, I entered into a housing program with the county and moved into a group home to feel in control of my housing and life. This decision alone empowered me. And now, I live on my own. I live alone in the community of my choice and I love having this opportunity. In fact, I hope peers will have similar experiences of self-empowerment and goal-fulfillment.
I believe it is important to lead one's own recovery. Self-direction is critical to my recovery and I can imagine it being important in a peer's life as well. Recovery has various meanings to different individuals. To me recovery is being able to do what I want and need to do to add fulfillment to my well-being.
Despite the diagnosis I believe we should all have the opportunity and privilege to make decisions on our behalf, to advocate for ourselves. Schizophrenia can seem like a scary illness to manage but it is doable, I am proof!
I am interested to learn what recovery means to you? For the individual living with a mental health diagnosis: Are you willing to change along with your recovery? For family members and caregivers: are you willing to allow your loved one to make their own decisions in recovery? Why or why not.
To learn more about schizophrenia visit Embracing My Mind, Inc., the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Choices in Recovery, Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia (Canada).