This might sound a bizarre title for a blog – why would being 100% well or striving for full recovery be somehow less inviting than not feeling 100% or being quite on top? I am though feeling better and am much more stable than I have been for months but I am certainly not feeling 100% nor striving for full recovery.
In the past after a particularly bad episode I have always hoped and pushed myself to feel completely well again. This has been encouraged by many healthcare professionals who have alluded to the fact that if I get everything right I will one day be ‘fully recovered’. This has immediately led to me putting myself under huge pressure and often leads to another period of illness much sooner than might be expected.
So many professionals and even some charities now seem to be tailoring all care for mental health solely towards recovery and for some people this just isn’t possible. I believe that sometimes this can lead to some patients being ignored or sidelined, maybe even having their diagnosis changed in order to fit a particular model if they have recurring episodes and ultimately even when people are very well they end up feeling under so much stress that any good work or progress can be slowly undone.
I am not saying that those with mental health illnesses shouldn’t be trying to get as well as they can and that looking at triggers, putting together a wellness recovery action plan can be very useful tools to help someone to stay stable but it is also important to recognise difficult days, thoughts or feelings and to share these with others.
Sometimes when I had been really well for a week or so I would have a really difficult day but I wouldn’t tell anyone about it for fear of letting people down. Often this would trigger other symptoms and thoughts and over time develop into something much worse.
More recently I have admitted how I feel to people, talked about worries and anxieties and admitted to myself that living with bipolar is a reality that I am coping well with, but one that I might never be fully recovered from.
I often ask myself what feeling 100% well would actually be like …. But does anyone really know?