When a wall is there for anyone, the opportunity comes for anyone

Susan Phipps; Alaska

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

I am a very motivated and assertive person. I advocate for myself and others. I consider myself a recovery educator. I believe people need to hear “recovery is possible” and that being informed helps us be more in control and to have a voice in our care. This goes for all areas of our lives. I have done most of my work on my own…I was problematic due to the fact that I did not fit categories they had funding for so I just HAD to do it on my own. I feel blessed to have had this happen to me.

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

A PA [Physician’s Assistant] in a clinic I go to was the worst ever. She scoffed at my attempts to avoid medicine and repeatedly told me things like “if you had diabetes you would take the medicine…”

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

Several times I had to pick up and keep on going. I am there again right now.

When a wall is there for anyone, the opportunity comes for anyone to do self-reflection, prioritizing and goal setting so we can overcome/move forward…The thing to do is to provide education, comfort and supports so a person can have hope in an otherwise overwhelming situation in life: mental health issues.

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

Understanding the big picture. Many levels, many solutions, problem solving and enjoying life. Being time affluent is necessary. Having supports and giving back. Recovery for me is being able to live life, not just getting my needs met.

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?

Join us. Check it out. Give us your much needed input to make the system better, we need your expert advice…You have a place at the table. I want to hear your voice/opinion on … everything!

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?

Being a trainer, educator and Peer Mentor for others. Sharing skills and caring about others. Bounce back resiliency or making lemonade… Being recognized for my achievements helps but how I feel inside makes it best for me.