Living a Life of my Choosing

Christopher Busby; Stoneham, MA

During your mental health care, have you often felt hopeful about your chance of getting better?

Yes. I feel with every day I get stronger and stronger. I do get discouraged regularly with having to deal with the same challenges and set backs but I know I am on the path to getting better.

Generally speaking, which of the following categories of what some people call alternative mental health practices, if any, have been the most helpful in your path to recovery?

Advocacy/activism/social change

Consumer-run/user-run program

Emotional healing/self-help

Entertainment: Film/media/theater


Family/friends/colleagues/social activity

Mutual peer support

Has a mental health provider ever told you that you could reach a personal goal despite your psychiatric diagnosis (for example, education, career, independent housing, relationship, children, etc.)?

Yes. I’ve been lucky in my mental health Providers. They have almost always believed in my ability to grow, heal and recover. They have believed in my ability to have a life of my choice, a life like anyone else’s.

If you overcame hopelessness that you could get better from a mental health or emotional problem, was there a turning point for you?

Peer support and having Providers who believed in me. Work was also important. Finding meaning in my life through work, relationships, and community were invaluable.

Tell us what recovery means to you. How would you define recovery from mental health or emotional problems in your own words?

Recovery is living a life of my choosing, a meaningful life where I continue to heal and grow and live life to my fullest potential.

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?

It gets better. Find people who are compassionate and believe in you. It takes hard work but it is possible to heal and grow. You can get better and have the life you want. There are great tools out there.

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?

I have a job. I’ve been employed for the last seven and a half years. I got off public benefits. I have a girlfriend who thinks the world of me even though I struggle with my mental health from time to time. I have meaning and purpose in my life. I used to have no friends but now I have several circles of friends and several close friends. I have more moments of serenity and calm. I’m continuing to grow as a person.