The Person I’m in the Process of Becoming

Patricia Lindquist; Elgin, IL

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

Yes, I was in the hospital and one day during group they showed the video of Mary Ellen Copeland and I heard the story of Mary Ellen Copeland’s mother Kate. Kate got well after a hospitalization of 8 years. I remember thinking that if Kate could get well after 8 years I could get well after 2-3 years. It actually took me 6 years to get my life back on track.

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

For me, Pat Deegan said it best. Recovery is about taking this experience of life-changing mental illness and incorporating it into the person that I am in the process of becoming. Recovery is being able to rebuild relationships with my family. It’s about being able to work full-time, be active in my community and in my faith community. It’s about being happy to get up in the morning and start my day.

How recovered do you consider yourself from any mental health or emotional problems on a scale from 1 to 10 (with 10 being “fully recovered”)? Please use your own definition of recovery.


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 now work full-time after living on SSDI [Social Security Disability Insurance] for several years. My car is 2 years old now but it was brand new when I bought it. Last year I bought a house and have been able to provide my adult daughter a place to live when she lost her job. I had my ministerial credentials reinstated a couple of years ago.

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?

Don’t ever give up.

Ten years ago, I was 50 years old and living in a nursing home. I had pretty much burned all my bridges with family. Over the years those relationships have continued to heal.

Last summer I got a call at 2 AM from my son asking me to come watch the two oldest children while he took his wife to the hospital to deliver their third child. I know that the birth of a child is always amazing. As I drove to help out, it occurred to me that had I committed suicide, I would have missed all of this. Ten years ago I never dreamed that I would have this experience of family and connectedness. Yes, the baby is awesome of course, but every time I go to my son’s home, I feel wrapped in love.