Monday, October 13, 2014

Embracing an active, not passive, recovery

Lately I have been reflecting on the concept of leadership in mental health. When we’re anxious, it’s easy to adopt a “woe is me” attitude. We often turn to others for comfort. In my case, I would ask my loved ones the same questions over and over, seeking some sort of relief while irritating those who only wanted to help. I thought medications alone would quickly relieve my symptoms—I was quickly disappointed.

In essence, I was adopting a passive attitude toward my mental health. I was hoping that outside forces, whether they be friends, family members, therapists, or pills, would relieve my symptoms and make life more bearable. 

What I didn’t realize then, but I learned later in Recovery, is that anything meaningful in life takes effort and will power. We celebrate high school and college graduations because it takes hard work to achieve those goals. We don’t wait around for a promotion; to advance, we have to talk to the boss about why we deserve greater pay and responsibility. With something as important as our mental health, we can’t assume that things will simply get better or that others can transform our lives.

The path to sound mental health begins with self-leadership.

On this point, Dr. Low was clear. For our symptoms to abate, we must practice Recovery techniques to improve our lives. I emphasize the word practice because information alone doesn’t lead to meaningful change. You can read about improved mental health all day long, but you will not get well until you practice techniques, deal with uncomfortable feelings and sensations, and learn to control thoughts and impulses. To do this demonstrates self-leadership.

The concept of leadership has been enormously empowering in my Recovery journey. All the tools for wellness are right with me all the time, and I have the power to improve my life. Friends, family members and, in some cases, medications can certainly be important adjuncts to one’s own Recovery practice. Yet to truly embark on an active Recovery, on the path to wellness, one must embrace self-leadership, let go of a passive attitude, and embrace change, despite the road bumps one might encounter along the way.

30 comments:

Shawnn said...

I decided to google anxiety blogs.. to maybe start one myself or to be able to interact with others that are in the same state as I am, to get some comfort and maybe some solutions to help me in my process also. Do you have any suggestions? Or may we chat?

Thank you,
Shawnn

Graduate from Social Anxiety Campaign said...


Cannot agree with this anymore. For years, I had wondered why the techniques I was given didn't work. It was because I wasn't noticing the lack of work I'd put in.

It's important to be constantly vigilant of maladaptive thoughts. Sometimes they come up and you don't even realise. And every time they appear, you HAVE to apply things like thought challenging and other things to calm you down.

Now I actually have a better time moving on from times of perceived failures in social situations (I am overcoming social anxiety).

Graduate from Social Anxiety Campaign said...
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FoMHealth said...

You're so right, we need to take an active part in our recovery. Like school, recovery takes a long time and we continue to learn, recover, take steps, leaps, steps backwards...to continue to recover from our mental illnesses. And while using our friends and family to help us cope is a great technique, it doesn't help us 'recover'. Knowing when to practice and apply those coping and recovery techniques is incredibly important too. Acknowledging the signs, thoughts and actions when they happen and knowing which tools to use and when is imperative!

Anonymous said...
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Bazzee said...

Hello Doug, I have just found your blog and it is great. As a person who has battled with anxiety for most of my life, a lot of what I read was so spot on. I look forward to reading your future posts.

I would love you and your readers to have a look at my blog that focuses on having a laugh at life.

I also have a section about my anxiety and a bit of a funny look at it.

http://bazzee.blogspot.com.au

Wishing you and all your readers all the best and to stay strong.

Best Regards,
Bazzee

Anonymous said...

I have also from social Anxiety.It is hard, really. I have try a lot of systems but few helped me... (One wich helped me I thinks it was the one in http://findsomehelp.net or a similar web )
My suggestions,do not stop, be strengh... fight by your dreams.

Sophie Wakeham said...

I would just like to say I've enjoyed your blog. I like to read other people's perspectives on anxiety as I have it myself and yours is interesting.
Currently on my blog I'm writing the results of some experiments I'm doing of alternative methods to reduce anxiety symptoms and I was thinking this could come of some use to you. Great blog, I'll share you with some friends :)

John Mcbizzlesizzle said...

You can google anxiety forums if you want to talk to people with the same problem. I know the site that helped me the most was dontworryaboutanxiety.com . I believe it was written by a younger adult, but the information on the site is very helpful.

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Vidya G said...
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Vidya G said...
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Robin said...

Thank you for this, I needed to read it today! I will be reading more about the RI program, it seems like just what I've been looking for.

Jack said...
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Hey, It's Okay! said...

I just started a blog myself and I was looking for another similar blog to look up to and I have found it. I so agree with your opinions! Have a look at my blog too!
hey-its-okay.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...
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Doug said...

Thank you all for your comments. I appreciate that you have visited my blog and found it helpful.

Anonymous said...

I definitely encourage blogging as therapy. Sometimes being honest with yourself and others is a huge leap forwArd in fighting against anxiety. Check out www.theanxiousturtle.com

Mahendra Trivedi said...

Thank you for your article, with your time and talent! I am also struggling with anxiety since 3 years and now I am on the recovering stage. I hope I would share my story soon to you guys.

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Mahendra Trivedi said...

There are many forum site where you can share your views and get solutions from others experiences.

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