Vibrant, Fierce, and Fully Alive


I guess I have always had a positive outlook on life. I have always had a recognition that when I want to accomplish something I will. Once I had the information that some of my communication and habits were unhealthy and were actually causing me my continued problems, and that I needed to take ownership over my life as an adult and that there was a way out of this dis-ease, it was easy to have faith that this ‘stuff’ works because there are so many stories from other people in recovery…if they can do it of course I can…I guess arrogance/confidence and/or my sense of internal locus of control helped.

If you have ever received a hopeful message that your recovery from a mental health or emotional problem was likely, what was the source of that message?

Mental health provider(s), Non-Profit Organization(s) and colleague(s) [have supported] for me a life-long openness to discovery of self, introspection, paying attention to my behavior and reactions, and seeking and asking for ‘help’ when I can not do it on my own Recovery means for me to be able to be myself without shame of a society that is always inserting the doubt or telling me that ‘my truths’ aren’t valid. What some people call alternative mental health practices have been most helpful in my path to recovery: Meditation and guided imagery and vitamins, herbal, nutritional and orthomolecular therapies, exercise and yoga and gardening and other nature and outdoors [experiences.] Emotional healing and self-help [have come through] classes, learning, reading, and the expressive arts: drawing, music and writing. [I participate in] counseling, group therapy, and peer support services, and [have found that I improve] through advocacy, and activism for social change and mutual peer support.

Tell us what recovery means to you:

[I believe that] a good job and income and a safe and stable place to live are the most important things to maintain my recovery. I think that recovery means owning the problem as my own and not blaming this on anyone else. Recovery for me also means refusing to get caught up in other people’s drama. Recovery means getting in touch with suppressed emotions and feeling through the pain, so that I can be fully human and express myself on a healthy emotional spectrum. Recovery means for me to be vibrant, fierce, and fully alive in my own life.

Recovery means for me to go to the places that scare me and be an observer asking ‘why?’ and realize that my adult self has the capacity to handle this even if my child/adolescent self did not.

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?

If it is not working for you in your current situation, continue to seek out therapeutic and mental health care through different means, even if that means leaving your current therapist to start a new relationship. There are so many therapeutic models, theories and frameworks out there and one of them may work for you, so keep searching until you find what works for you to get better.

But, also take a deep breath before making this decision, and see if it is you who needs to change….Keep working on yourself, realize that you are human (which means we make mistakes…) and be open to recognizing the parts of yourself that may actually be hurtful. That was my turning point when I realized that I was actually not as a good a person as I thought, and allowed myself to actually see that, and be angry with myself and others….that was the start. Start doing things that you enjoy (for YOU) and don’t’ let anyone tell you, you are selfish for taking care of yourself.

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 started more projects and finished them…as opposed to having great ideas and then never doing anything, or starting a project and never finishing it. I have actually started to feel real joy. I have actually cried with tears of appreciation and love—weird but awesome. I can get angry and sad and not feel bad about that, and realize that these emotions will not last forever; just like all emotions, they come and they go. I learned how to not react to other people’s problems with me, and feel much calmer and safer in my own body. I talk more about my experiences and share them in a healthy way. I know how to set healthy boundaries with others…that make me feel safer to be more social. A lot of this stuff felt strange and experimental at first, like watching my body speaking but not realizing that it was actually me…and then noticing the reactions. It just became my way of being and actually feels authentic and not robotic…I just know I feel more serene.