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Recovery is Possible

By Diane Boulais

Hello, I’m Diane Boulais and I’d like to talk about recovery. It was only a short time ago, 50 years or less, that if you were diagnosed with a mental illness you could be committed to a mental hospital for life. Not so likely today. Recovery is happening everywhere! I am now living in recovery from mental illness!

I struggled for years with chronic depression, post traumatic stress syndrome, and other mental illnesses. Many types of treatment had been tried. I then arrived at West Michigan Community Mental Health where the Recovery Model is used and I was assigned to a group called DBT. It was then that I began the long hard climb out of the pit that had been my life. I wish I could say that I got better right away but it took a few years.

There were good days and bad. I always wanted my life to be a flat line. I didn’t want any bumps in my road to recovery. Now, I understand that recovery is like an EKG pattern. A flat line means you’re dead. A healthy heart beats and the line is a nice up and down. That is life. Life has its ups and downs. That is the beat of living and RECOVERY. Once I learned that, and stopped fighting it, the down days didn’t seem so bad, and what’s most important, I did get better.

I now live a life where I feel EMPOWERED to do what is needed to stay well and to be an active member of society giving back so much of what has been given to me. I am able to accept that I have a RESPONSIBILITY FOR MYSELF. I have a passion for life that I want to share. I no longer open my eyes in the morning and say RATS!!! I now open them and say a prayer of thanks for another day.

One of my favorite quotes that I stumbled across in my youth has become the theme of my recovery. The quote is by Albert Camus, a French philosopher, who said “In the depth of winter, I finally found that within me there lay an invincible summer.”

I believe that in each one of us, no matter how long and difficult our winter may be, no matter how hard we struggle with our mental illness, deep down inside we have a part of us that nothing can stop. We have that invincible summer that cannot be beaten. We have that sun that is going to shine again. I often picture a crocus that pushes up and grows through snow and ice, determined to bloom. One would think that little flower isn’t strong enough to push its way through. HA!! Just watch it.

Yes there is recovery in mental illness and I have found it!