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Talking about recovery

Photography © Elena Figoli

When we talk about recovery… what are we exactly talking about? About healing? About not having symptoms? Because I’m not recovered up to this point. But if we talk about recovery, assuming that even if we have symptoms, relapses and not feeling completely well, we can have a life with quality social relationships, activities that fulfill us and that are beneficial to us, then … then I could talk about a certain recovery.

I believe it is essential, at least in my case, to rest well and follow a routine that includes medication, activities, belonging to an association, participating in volunteering, interacting with other people, etc.

There is an increasing interest in a concept of recovery in psychiatry that states that “recovery does not refer to mere clinical recovery, which would be synonymous of healing or returning to the pre-disease situation. […] It is oriented toward the idea that the person increase his ability to live a satisfactory life, according to his interests, goals, objectives and possibilities, even if the symptoms of his disease persist”.

I used to feel a lot more confident about myself, and now I keep asking my closest people if I do things right, if I should do them differently. I also used to read many books before and now I have to make a great effort to read because my concentration fails. Sometimes, I leave the reading for a while and then I resume it. I struggle to keep both concentration, attention and motivation in the things I do. I would like very much, if only it were, to return to the previous situation in which there were periods of time in which I chained a book with another, but it is not so. This is not possible now.

There are many things that are not possible now. Since some years ago, I have symptoms very often that are usually incapacitating, despite continued pharmacological and therapeutic treatment. And it is difficult to coexist with a discomfort to which we never get used. On the one hand, I think we should be in a bit of mourning, because your life, and often your environment, will probably never be what they once were. But on the other hand, I think it is good not to get used, to a certain extent, to this discomfort because it is the way to avoid giving up, to continue looking for ways to get better, or with new activities that make me feel useful, making an effort to open myself to others or trying to learn to better manage my emotions and thoughts.

However, reality often does not correspond to our desire that things go better. But we must keep trying.

Mònica Civill


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