The Importance of Acknowledging Mental Health Recovery Progress

February 18, 2011 Kate White

It may seem obvious: that one should recognize any progress made in terms of mental health recovery but if I don't stop and look, it's all too easy to (dis)miss; The things that have changed in terms of treating anxiety and PTSD recovery are never the things I would've expected when I started all this.

I also have the baggage that usually goes along with anxiety disorders: great expectations. I'll bend over backwards trying to achieve the very things I think will help me, simultaneously imagining that they're impossible for me.

Anxious Thoughts Block Acknowledging Mental Health Progress

The thing I'm learning is that I can probably do it another way, if it really is too hard. And that maybe not everything about recovery is truly as difficult as my anxiety disorder tells me it's going to be.

I think like that because low self-esteem, self-sabotage, and a tendency to hesitate as soon as I start to feel like things are more than I can handle, are part of the anxiety package. I underestimate what I'm capable of, in the department of being human, feeling things and tolerating them, whilst simultaneously achieving the odd goal here and there.

It can happen.

The bar isn't set so high it's impossible to reach, and I can help myself there by recognizing that, on occasion, I do meet and even exceed my expectations.

Mental Health Progress: What Does Getting Better Mean?

Getting 'better' is less and less about 'fixing' what I perceive as broken and useless and stressful, more and more about realizing who I am, what that means.

The journey's terrifying. It can lock me up so tight I can hardly take a step, forward or back. Only I haven't given up because I'm feeling more.

Not 'better', nor 'worse'. More.

It's hard to get beyond the anxiety, or depression but it happens. In small doses. It may not always feel great (that's another thing) but I don't feel as depressed, and I can cope with anxiety better. There's less doubt, less generally amorphous blob-like 'nargggh help, i'm melting' sort of thing.

Knowing that I'm not going to fall off the cliff because nobody's here to push me anymore is a good start. That's a post traumatic stress thing, and someday I'll know it in my core, less intellectually. Meanwhile, it's sinking in.

Mostly when things sink in it's dread but I don't dread the moments of clarity that come between all the work behind mental health recovery.

It is work, and I'm always on-call and if I don't do the work it stacks high the walls until all I see is what there is to do, instead of what I've done. So yeah, it's better if part of the job description is crossing things off the list: it's satisfying.

Mental Health Recovery And Acknowledging Your Progress

It changes things when quietly, to myself, I voice the opinion that I am on the right track; That the steps to anxiety relief, to letting go of trauma, depression and all the rest, are being taken.

The fact that I can see how and when I'm doing this; Why I keep trying to be more and more part of the process of knowing what I might want, if I dare to think about it. And the idea that I might just have way more control over what happens in the future than the PTSD will ever tell me.

These are the things that I have to see, and that in seeing help me feel well. And if not well, then it's a much more comfortable 'sitting with' than I've ever had before.

APA Reference
White, K. (2011, February 18). The Importance of Acknowledging Mental Health Recovery Progress, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 13 from

Author: Kate White

Kate White
February, 18 2011 at 5:46 am

@Phil - Thank you. That's lovely of you to say. :)
@Paula - You are entirely welcome. I'm glad it hit a meaningful note!

February, 18 2011 at 4:35 am

Thanks for this post. Sincerely, I needed to read this, I need to know it and understand it because it's easy to over protect and forget to encourage the small (to me - huge to them) progress people are making.
It's encouraging to hear someone tell me that progress, however slowly can not only be made, but felt. How sad if people don't notice, or dismiss it as too small to be of note.
Thank you so much for sharing.

Phil Groom
February, 17 2011 at 11:05 pm

... and you are, Kate: on the right track. On the basis of what I've seen, no doubt about it :)

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