Book Ends: "Art of Recovery" by Simon Heyes and edited by Stephen Tate
A Column by Kurt Sass
Use the Tips that Work for You
Art of Recovery is a 58-page chapbook out of England from South Somerset Mind www.southsomersetmind.co.uk. It is a combination of a guide to recovering from a mental breakdown, case studies and quotes from individuals ranging from Nelson Mandela to Albert Schweitzer to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Mr. Heyes is a former patient at the Summerlands Hospital and has laid out his theory for a successful recovery.
Mr. Heyes believes there are two steps needed to begin the recovery process. The first is to believe that recovery is possible and the second is to be realistic and to realize that there are no quick fixes.
One very strong and powerful point he makes is that recovery is not returning to how things used to be, but finding a better, healthier and more sustainable life that recognizes the past, accepts the limitations of the present and is full of hope for the future. In other words, we should not be looking to just return to our lives before our psychiatric breakdown occurred, but to a better more fulfilling life.
Mr. Heyes separates recovery into three stages: Inactive, Reactive and Creative.
I have written a brief description of each stage and listed the tips given for that stage:
Inactive: Broken down-No longer functioning
• Value the pleasures;
• Trust in you;
• Take care of yourself;
• Find positive role models;
• Don't push the limit or set unrealistic goals;
• One step at a time;
• Recognize change;
• Beware of false friends;
• Live in the present;
• Hope is eternal.
Reactive: Beginning to look for ways to reengage with life
• Be comfortable with the uncomfortable;
• Pause to think;
• Find your off switch;
• Don't have negative agendas;
• Find your funny bone.
Creative: Taking charge of your life
• Find community- Don't isolate;
• Rise like a phoenix;
• Slow down;
• Get absorbed in activity.
I did not list all the tips, nor the descriptive details for each. I think the chapbook is a valuable resource for anyone, whether in recovery or not, looking to improve upon their happiness. My suggestion is to read it and use the tips you feel are best for you.
Pullout: “…we should not be looking to just return to our lives before our psychiatric breakdown occurred, but to a better more fulfilling life.”