Monday, August 29, 2011

Changing with my Recovery

It is amazing how much my recovery has changed. I can remember a time in my recovery where my goal was to socialize with someone because I felt distant from peers and my community. Now, I talk to a lot of peers and other members of the community. Its great to see how my recovery matures and my goals continue to change.

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).


Anonymous said...

It means getting along with people. It means having God in my life.

Jacob Bowen said...

I've been diagnosed for about 11-12 years now. The diagnosis was incorrect at first, but the label was still there.
I've had a rough year taking on alcoholism where I've been sober for 8 months now, and I just quit smoking 2 weeks ago today.
I'm a lot like you are in that I'm pretty functional, although I haven't worked in quite some time. I'm taking it slow and finally getting my life in order at the age of 32.
Recovery is as progressive as the "thoughts" (I try not to use delusions) themselves. I have to adapt as my symptoms do. I'm doing better with age. I liked your blog very much.

JT said...

Recovery seems to take many forms. Part of it is experiencing a relapse and then bouncing back from that. I made a film recently about three artists diagnosed with schizophrenia and how they use their art to help them cope. For them recovery is not a destination but a constant day-to-day journey with its ups and downs. If you'd like to find out more go to

Jen said...

Hi Ashley! I really enjoyed your blog! I am also recovering and managing a mental illness. I was diagnosed in 2002 with schizoaffective disorder, and suffer many similar symptoms. I've found my greatest tool in my recovery is my blog. I only started in a month ago, but it's been a great experience to start writing! Thanks for the info and encouragement! My blog is

Amy Karon said...

Hi Ashley,

I love your blog's emphasis on patient advocacy, the need for patients to have a say in their recovery and care. This is a central theme in my writing as a health journalist. I first began learning about schizophrenia by reading Elyn Saks, the expert on mental health law who herself has schizophrenia and advocates for patients being treated with dignity. I've searched widely for other writers with schizophrenia who are also advocates, and was so pleased to have found your blog. I included it in a post that lists several blogs on living with mental illness, the link is here:

Keep up the outstanding work!


Schizoaffective said...

Hey Ashley,
I just wanted to welcome you to my blog at

helenasmole said...

Of course I am willing to change! That's the whole point!

And, yes, congratulations Ashley for becoming a CPS and for having a home, where you are your own boss. I am very happy for you!

I would like to send you a copy of my book. Please write, if you are interested:

Anonymous said...

Recovery is extremely beautiful. I have found many benefits of correctly practicing healthy beliefs.

While SZ in my case is developmental; my find is that though I have a less developed neurological capacity I can use and transform what I have.

Neurologically we have the physical components of brain chemistry. In my case I choose to look at the half full glass. This is my humanity and my suffering.

Where learning disabilities have occurred I have found that there must be ease to the process in order recover.

My healthy beliefs outline my recovery. Jesus quotes: Come to me and rest; learn of me (his wisdom) for my yoke is easy and my burden light.

If it is not easy and light I am not in recovery but experiencing the diagnosis.

It's a choice on a universal level to choose law or prescriptive solutions. Law states a standard and create awareness of defects and diagnoses a problem.

Prescription is a different focus all together and creates a different realm of thinking.

Since my major focus is understanding belief systems, I technically study the most disputed beliefs system in the world and that of Christianity.

I find in Christianity a Law, a perfect law, that indeed is impossible to keep. It's only end is to diagnose a problem in humanity - sin.

With Christ changing agreements between man and God he was and is the prescription. A cure to the diagnosis. Forgiveness on one level which effects many levels. This prescription is aimed and replaces the paranoia, disorganized thinking, and any other diagnosis, from law, with the effects of love coming from the most supreme power.

When many, including myself, become away of the defects of a fallen world, we become interested in a God and typically we are afraid of his power being supreme. This can lead to many delusional experiences in trying to define reality including separating oneself from reality.

When looking at belief systems; the Law of Moses known in some places as the 10 commandments, is the highest spiritual, moral, and physical law. It is quite interesting that scholars and teachers have noted that this law produces anger - because of it's impossibility to keep in an imperfect world.

So the answer? Accept the law or standard of your beliefs to be a tool to acknowledge any spiritual, moral or physical set back - but don't stay there. In fact let the assessment die and the standard be replaced with prescription.

Embrace the cure. Jesus said in his blood was a cure. This is everlasting forgiveness between creator and man. Pure love. When we aim at acknowledging that God is love and his expression towards the smallest or greatest failure is forgiveness and healing, then we can in turn internalize that process to freeing ourselves of our setbacks. When we do this or outward affection becomes that of love for others and bringing the cure to a hurting world.

Anonymous said...

--- more from my last post ---

If I having had SZ and died to it, I now live in recovery can share my beliefs. I hope in part that I can give to you, years of study and internal practice to help you overcome the disease yourself.

While I maintain victory over the illness - am still in recovery. I understand at the core of mental illness is spiritual, mental and physical disabilities that impact our overall experience. But with the renewal of the mind in healthy equipping of oneself with the prescription of love and it's wisdom - a person can live free from external symptoms and internal symptoms with relative ease.

I am thankful for the opportunity to share a like minded discovery that is universal to every person.

Love is the answer. My greatest find was Jesus Christ. The natural way to supernaturally overcoming illness.

There is a reason Christianity is disputed with such uproar world wide. It it the most extreme example of what works and what does not. It is the most misunderstood belief and the most widely useful beliefs. It defines healthy living and reality with ease.

To share more about this topic I anticipate that those of you interested in the cure will take up a personal journey to learn the highest and most disputed wisdom by starting with the simplest place. Consider the lilies and the ease and Grace found in nature. If you can connect with God there, you can connect with him anywhere including heaven.

Wisdom starts with simple things. And that has been my recovery.

Don't look so stunned. I am not the author.

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