Baby Steps are the Way to Feel Better
Kathleen Hartman; Alexandria, VA
During your mental health care, have you often felt hopeful about your chance of getting better?
Yes. When I am taking extremely good care of myself, accomplishing goals, and things are going well with my husband, I feel that I can recover completely.
If you overcame hopelessness that you could get better from a mental health or emotional problem, was there a turning point for you? Please describe:
I started very small, setting tiny goals like “take a shower every day.” I started doing 15 minutes a day of cleaning my house. Within a few weeks, I began to see real changes in my environment and my attitude. I began to join the outside world again. The Internet was invaluable for me as I could connect with others without having to expend the energy to set up a get-together in person. Also, when my sleep patterns were irregular, I could relate to people who were online.
Tell us what recovery means to you. How would you define recovery from mental health or emotional problems in your own words?
Recovery to me means being a healthy, strong, happy, effective human being who has good relationships with others.
How recovered do you consider yourself from any mental health or emotional problems? Please use your own definition of recovered. Indicate your level of recovery using a 10-point scale with 1 being “not recovered at all” and 10 being “fully recovered.”
Can you give examples showing you have gotten better from a mental or emotional problem, such as how you are doing well or accomplishing goals you have chosen?
Just a few months ago, I was lying on the couch all day watching TV. I started cleaning my house 15 minutes at a time and taking small steps to get more involved in our family business. I work from home so I don’t have to punch a time clock. I can take a nap in the afternoon, and then work some more in the evening. It works for me. Just talking to business people on the phone and sending professional emails made me feel a sense of confidence again. I have been able to take two business trips in the past two months where I could network with other business people and learn more about our industry. I realized that many of them face challenges in getting their work done, too. It gave me the desire to learn, grow and improve the company.
If you could send a brief message to someone receiving mental health care today who is feeling hopeless about getting better, what would you say?
You can get better. I know it doesn’t feel that way, but you can. I have been where you are now. Baby steps are the way to feel better.