• Quote of the Day
    "Don't let what you can't do interfere with what you can do."
    John Wooden, posted by David Baxter

David Baxter

Mar 26, 2004
What is recovery?
by Jennifer Forbes
Friday, May 25, 2007

The National Network For Mental Health (NNMH) included these definitions of recovery in its latest newsletter. They are taken from ReStorying Psychiatric Disability: Learning From First Person Accounts of Recovery (P. Ridgeway, 2001).

  • Recovery is the reawakening of hope after despair.
  • Recovery is breaking through denial and achieving understanding and acceptance.
  • Recovery is moving from withdrawal to engagement and active participation in life.
  • Recovery is active coping rather than passive adjustment.
  • Recovery means no longer viewing oneself primarily as a mental patient and reclaiming a positive sense of self.
  • Recovery is a journey from alienation to purpose.
  • Recovery is a complex journey.
  • Recovery is not accomplished alone-it involves support and partnership.
My favourite description above is that of recovery as a complex journey. Illness and recovery are not black and white phenomena. One can follow the other. But, they can be cyclical as well. Also, a person can be both recovering and experiencing illness simultaneously.

While professional intervention can be helpful in determining one's stage in the recovery process, a person should evaluate his/her intrinsic state. Only then, can one determine his/her place in the journey of recovery. In other words, I think professionals provide benchmarks and those in recovery have to look within themselves to more appropriately gauge their progress.

Clearly, recovery is a subjective and personal experience.

How do you define recovery? How does it relate to your personal experiences, mental health-related or others?

Comments on Jennifer's Blog here
Jun 11, 2006
this is an enlightening post, with its various definitions of recovery. thank you for posting it.
Oct 14, 2004
Recovery means no longer viewing oneself primarily as a mental patient and reclaiming a positive sense of self.

Recovery is a journey from alienation to purpose.

I like these two. I like thinking of it as a journey from something not so good to something better. I've always kind of felt like an "alien" in the world, like I don't fit or belong so there's a whole process of learning to be a human and allowing myself to have emotions and thoughts and opinions. It's very hard, but hopefully worthwhile in the process.


Jul 19, 2005
I actually find this post both encouraging and sad at the same time.

Encouraging that yes there is recovery for many however sad for me on a personal level because I feel nowhere near any of those things listed.

I guess this is where hope comes into play.


Account Closed
Jul 7, 2007
Last year as I was starting my own recovery journey, I had extremely high expectations of myself, job and/or school was among my plans. So was volunteering and other endevours.

My outlook on life has changed completely, my recovery and mental/emotional health take centre stage; work and school are in distant 3rd or 4th place. Of course I have the luxary at the moment as I am on long term disability. I haven't given up on those dreams, but since I have gotten out of the depression cycle and have a bit of a new lease of life I would like to enjoy it for a bit.

There is too, the nagging thought in the back of my head, "What if it happens again?" That is what I am presently working on, how to enjoy life despite the "what if's".

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