Why Being in Recovery for Mental Illness Doesn't Mean I'm 'Cured'


One word: so widely used, so widely misunderstood.

To the unknowing, “recovery” can often be confused with the word “cured.” If you’re in recovery you’re all better now, right? Wrong.

Recovery is such a vast unknown, recovery is constant effort, heartache, exhaustion and anxiety from the moment I wake to the moment my body finally lets my eyes close and rest.

Recovery is constantly being placed in situations where I’m forced to face triggers, forced to relive or unearth the very traumas in my life that were the catalyst for the illness I am in “recovery” from.

Recovery is my body split into two, one half hanging on desperately to what has been my security blanket for so very long, and the other half pulling me into what life could be and should be.

Recovery is constantly internalizing the battle, because it’s easier than trying to explain to those around me who simply don’t understand.

Recovery is knowing where I need to be, but there is a mountain between me and that destination.

Recovery is filled with good days and then the bad — and it doesn’t take much for the scales to tip.

Recovery is expectation after expectation — from my friends and family, from my treatment team, even from myself on where I “should” be verses where I actually am.

But at the same time…

Recovery is goals never to let go of.

Recovery is little steps each day.

Recovery is getting back up after those difficult days.

Recovery is a process, an ongoing process.

Recovery is making sure to acknowledge my progress, however little it may feel.

Recovery is strength and perseverance.

Recovery is taking the hard path, but the path with the most beautiful views along that way.

But most of all? Recovery is realizing it is my journey at my pace, and absolutely no one else’s.

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Unsplash photo via Ezra Jeffrey

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