Recovery is the Level of Happiness We Obtain
By Jeffrey V. Perry CPRP, MSM, Program Manager for Baltic Street, AEH, Inc. Peer Bridger Program
The pursuit of happiness is something we must remain vigilant in attaining. It is the central core of any human’s right to be. Recovery, in my estimation, is solely about one’s level of happiness in perspective to a worldview of satisfaction, not the individual short-term peace we could have. I hope my recovery will be long-term and self-sustaining. My life’s happiness, health, and mental stability are only as good as the level of satisfaction I have within, and put in place for, myself. My life goals in recovery are for this quality of life, which I see as what any person with a history of diagnosed or undiagnosed mental illness, substance abuse, medical problem or anyone with a compromised condition, deserves.
One’s awareness of their personal level of satisfaction is the most important factor in understanding if there is a “problem here.” It is often those undiagnosed individuals who have not addressed their situation by getting help, treatment, or services, who feel their sense of satisfaction diminished or who are in a total denial of any problem, and fight an uphill battle; while those diagnosed face other struggles, such as a search for any level of recovery, which is supposed to, by definition, be the down-hill fight. When you find the right combination of treatment for yourself, there is a better chance for recovery. But oftentimes, treatment may not focus on any level of recovery, and instead focus only on symptoms management. This, yet, at the cost of a diminished level of personal happiness and a lackluster recovery that takes time away for one’s regular life pursuits, cloaked in a stigma of social inferiority, particular in today’s I-based “IPod” existence.
We have being fighting against stigma on many fronts in our recovery, yet never did we conceive that it would in fact increase rather than be eliminated. As technology becomes more refined the gap between those looking for real happiness becomes much wider, because we have to wade through every new wave in technology to understand what we need in order to be happy again. Not to mention the high prices that we can never afford while in economic symptom arrest.
While under symptom management, in many instances, when our possessions are taken away for old safety-based reasons, they are never accounted for, or remembered (by the confiscator), or promptly returned. Where others would be furious, we become justifiably upset, yet, we, and our possessions, may be dismissed to causality.
So, we get to understand that life can be cruel, even under the direct care of others who prefer to see us however is most convenient at that particular time (not to single out any institution or individual). It seems to me that it is second nature to take advantage of the disabled, who many look down upon, or simply have low regard for in contrast to their “able” selves, and who believe that the disabled, of course, are naturally less happy, or, at least, they should be. It is indeed a miracle if a disabled person is happy. When will we each admit that we are all disabled or handicapped in some way? Is it not only about personal fulfillment or about accomplishing tasks?
One of the failures of symptom management is that it has not yet helped people rise to the level where they can find the kind of work that fulfills them. Medication cannot motivate a person or inspire them. And it certainly may help us do that which we want not to do, like not thinking clearly, being irritable and bothered by everything, or just not feel well, and possibly even behave in a negative manner. But, all in all, it’s about progress, isn’t it? We must move forward like anyone else. Right?
Note: This essay is from, A Peer on Peer Perspective in Psychiatric Health (In Prose and Poetry) by Jeffrey V. Perry, CPRP available in e-book formats. For more from Mr. Perry, please visit http://www.jeffreyvperry.com