Journey to Recovery

I am currently a consumer with a mental health disorder. For over ten years I have dealt with the ups and downs of dealing with the mental health disorder. I often refer to another lesson and story in life when telling my own story and how I overcame these obstacles. There is a phrase that says, “I think I can; I think I can,” from the Little Engine That Could. I believe this lesson would best describe what I felt during those moments, yet I knew I could overcome. Faced with derailment or hospitalization and relapse, I came to the conclusion that I had to remain strong even at a low point in life. With life being a journey and change being a part of that journey, I felt the need to remain positive and develop a mind of positive thinking. This would allow me to adapt to the changes I faced.

I developed a strong recovery team by first of all accepting my disability as only one chapter that was written and the will to overcome as another. I am aware now that I play a very important roll in the ongoing recovery process. Also, by sticking to the regiment of taking medications and being in compliance with treatment; the treatment team that consists of a psychiatrist, nurses, therapist, family, my pastor, friends, and, again, me, I was well on my way. One positive thought that allowed me to change the thinking process remains with me from a therapist who said, “Don’t worry, focus on the solution not the problem.” One of my worries was would I be able to work again. So I began to focus on the solution to find a job that fits me and affords me the opportunity to help someone just as I have been helped. Since then, I have become a peer specialist to support other consumers just like me.

I am a self-taught artist who went further to develop the skills in art by taking art in middle school, high school, and college level. I embrace all the art forms including performing and liberal arts. However, painting has helped me give an image and expression of the lessons I have learned when dealing with the mental health disorder. One piece of my work shows how the recovery team stood behind me and helped me bring about that change. I use a word from the Greek for the title, “Metamorphoo = Change.” Being diagnosed with a mental health disorder was a tremendous change in my life, and recovery is a continual process. A butterfly does not start off a butterfly. It goes through a stage called metamorphosis and turns out to be a new creature.