Can You Cure Mental Illness?
Curing mental illness is simply not possible--despite limited controversy. That's the cold and hard truth. On the flip side, we can become well and experience very little, or no symptoms at all. That is the goal. How can we pursue it?
To Cure Mental Illness, Strive for Recovery
Define Your Diagnosis
I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, among other lovely diagnoses such as addiction and disordered eating, anxiety, and alcoholism. Fun stuff. We all define our illnesses separately because they affect our lives in different ways.
In my life, mental illness is a broad term. It means I need to actively work to recover from more than one illness. We all have to treat our illnesses individually. We exhibit different symptoms, take different medications, have different support systems and, above all, we are unique in and of ourselves.
Being diagnosed with a mental illness is not the end of the road but the beginning. You have to get to know the illness, and understand that it is part of you but not all of you. You have to define it in your life. What do I mean by this? Quite simply, work to understand how it affects your life and how you can effectively recover from it.
Accept Recovery vs Cure for Mental Illness
Cure is a lovely word, truly. It means that those who suffer with an illness walk out unscathed. They might have some bad memories, a broken leg hurts, but life goes on. Recovery---now that's a different word. A different life. But they share elements: to be in recovery is to be well, to be stable, balanced, and with little symptoms. You may feel cured When you do not feel sick, when you are stable, and it's best not to focus on the time in which you were not. And that is, naturally, easier said than done.
Use Symptom-Free Recovery to Your Advantage
When you live with a chronic mental illness, a period of stability is wonderful. It can span months, years, some people never exhibit symptoms again. But that does not mean you are cured and it's important to remember this. Often, those with a mental illness, if they have been well for an extended period of time, decide they are no longer sick. Most of the time, having gone off their medications, they lapse into a serious episode.
Remind yourself that stability is fantastic, do not focus on the fear of relapse, and that stability is not a cure but a time in which we can flourish.
You can never guarantee you will not relapse but you can focus on the future. Just because mental illness cannot be cured does not mean that you cannot live symptom-free.
Jeanne, N. (2011, November 17). Can You Cure Mental Illness?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, March 29 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/recoveringfrommentalillness/2011/11/can-you-cure-mental-illness
Author: Natalie Jeanne Champagne
My therapist disagrees. She assures me that one day I will be cured.
Excellent article, Natalie! Thank you for your insight.
Many Thanks Gigi!