It is not a perfectly linear
process. At times our course is erratic and we falter, slide back, regroup and
start again. The need is to meet the challenge of the disability and to
re-establish a new and valued sense of integrity and purpose within and beyond
the limits of the disability; the aspiration is to live, work, and love in a
community in which one makes a significant contribution.
Recovery is an ongoing dynamic interactional process
that occurs between a person’s strengths, vulnerabilities, resources and the
environment. It involves a personal
journey of actively self-managing psychiatric disorder while reclaiming,
gaining and maintaining a positive sense of self, roles and life beyond the
mental health system, in spite of the challenge of psychiatric disability. Recovery involves learning to approach each
day’s challenges, to overcome disabilities, to live independently and to contribute
to society. Recovery is supported by a
foundation based on hope, belief, personal power, respect, connections, and finding
self-identity. Finding one’s self-identity is the most important part of
Identity is not just what you know; it is also how
you know. People are not born with an identity. Rather, identity is something
that evolves over time. Young children have simple identities and see things in
an overly simple, generally self-serving manner. As people grow older and
wiser, they identify themselves with other people, places and things in
increasingly sophisticated ways and start to grow out of this initial
People’s identity is rooted in their
identifications; in what they associated themselves with. What a person
associates him or herself with is ultimately who that person is, for all
identity is ultimately in relationship to something else. An American person
identifies himself or herself as “American”, for example, and that
becomes part of that American person’s identity.
Our identity changes often over the years from childhood through the teenage
years, then we identify with our career orientation, then we go into
relationships, maybe parenthood, then on through those busy years toward
midlife and then the empty nest, forward to our senior years.
Mostly people identify themselves with outward expressions of themselves, careers,
families, looks, clothes, home, possessions, and education. All of these things
reveal some aspects of our identity to a certain extent. Often it is only when
there is a crisis of change that we begin to ask if we are being true to
Supporting personal recovery involves moving away from a focus on treating
illness and towards promoting well-being. This will involve transformation, in
which professional models become part of a larger understanding of the person.
This understanding can be guided by the Personal Recovery Framework which is
based on the four domains of recovery that emerge from accounts of people who
have lived with mental illness.
Self-identity is the center of recovery. One has to personally know who they
are before they can change anything about themselves.