A few months ago I underwent eye muscle surgery to better align my eyes. This is a problem I have struggled with since birth, so it really gave my confidence a boost to look in the mirror and see straight eyes. The surgery was elective and something I really had to ask for.
It's important to manage expectations in recovery because you don't want to strive for the impossible goal of simply not having a mental illness anymore. The truth is, recovery just doesn't work that way. The vast majority of us can't get rid of our mental illness entirely, but we can find ways to cope with it and reduce its impact on our lives. Recovery is about working with your brain to live the most functional, enjoyable life possible.
I’m Megan Griffith and I’m a new blogger for "Recovering from Mental Illness," a topic I’m finally learning to embrace after five years of running in circles around my mental health struggles. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder type II in 2014, but in the last year, my mental health team and I have decided that diagnosis was incorrect. However, no new diagnosis has been made yet, so for now, I’m learning how to recover on my own terms.
My psychosis story is a huge part of my life. I have experienced hallucinations for as long as I can remember. As a teenager and young adult, finding explanations for what I was seeing and hearing became my quest.
I love being a mental health worker in Toledo, but I see our city named on all sorts of lists: "most stressed-out cities," "high violent crime rates," and even "least-livable cities."
My diagnosis validates my experience and makes my mental illness feel real. Schizoaffective disorder accurately describes my symptoms. I wanted a name and to know it can be treated.
Doctors do not diagnose most mental illness in childhood. I wasn't diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder until my early 20s. While the diagnosis made sense to me, it came as a surprise to many of my loved ones. I believe there were signs growing up that could have indicated that I would develop a mental illness, we just didn’t realize it until I was stable and on medication. There were signs of my mental illness in childhood.
Finding a job with mental illness is more enjoyable when you look for the right job for you. Working can really enhance your recovery from mental illness. A job not only provides income; it also gives you a routine and sense of purpose. Early in my recovery, I worked part-time to get back on my feet. Later, when I was ready, I chose to work full time. For the past 11 years, I’ve had two jobs, both at mental health agencies.
I've been parenting with a mental illness for a while now. My daughter just turned two years old, and people are asking if we’ll have another baby. There are so many stressful things about pregnancy and parenting when you have a mental illness. We have a lot to think about – even the second time around (Should People with Mental Illness Have Children?).
The motivation for recovery from mental illness depends on the individual, so it is important to find reasons in your life to stay motivated. Recovery can be a long and bumpy road, but those reasons will give your journey purpose. Setting goals can give you something to look forward to and keep your life moving forward. Here are some of the reasons I stay motivated in recovery from mental illness.