Studies of recovery identify 'acceptance' as a significant factor in the recovery process.


Most of us start by rejecting the possibly we could have a mental illness and so not seek help, not want medication and not want to change.


Often it is the acceptance of the diagnosis that triggers recovery in that it becomes clearer what it is that we can recover from.


Sometimes acceptance can hold us back. What if we accept the wrong diagnosis or inappropriate medication? E.g. Schizophrenia when really you are more bipolar.


Acceptance can also work against us if we are believing that the doctor always knows best. In fact doctors rarely know best when it comes to bipolar disorder. The reality is that each of us is the expert on our own mental health and so we need to work with doctors to find the best medications and appropriate dosages. As we recover dosages will almost certainly need to change. At other times we might go through difficult patches and need extra medication to avoid worsening warning signs.


When did you last talk to your doctor about alternative mediations or changing dosage according to mood?


What holds us back?

The other day I met the husband of a bipolar person who told me, "There is no recovery from bipolar disorder. The best hope is to manage the condition."


Some people in our health service are still giving a message of, 'do not think about recovery just try to get by'.


In some ways managing and recovery are not so different. The MDF Self Management Training has the word management in its title and even the greatest fans of mental health recovery admit that you have to work on recovery every day to minimise the risk of relapse.


The difference though, comes in the way the words are used. When we say, 'Self Management' this is an empowering phrase. Similarly, 'Journey of Recovery' is empowering as most journeys involve the traveler making choices and using their own strengths in some way in order to progress.


What difference does the exact language have on the newly diagnosed? From my own experience hearing anything that implies 'no recovery' takes away hope and destabilises my mood. Hearing people talking about recovery, however slight, and however hard won, gives me hope and stabilises my mood.


Yes, some may say I am dreamer, but I would rather be a dreamer and live with more stable moods and hope of continuing recovery than live in a nightmare devoid of hope.