Mental health is an inside job

MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS: I will forever be grateful for being committed (without consent) to Sterkfontein a decade ago after 12 consensual hospitalisations.

 Spending time in a government psych hospital that’s more prison than hospital, with criminals, schizophrenics and people with serious mental illness who spent their lives in and out of institutions gave me the kick up the ass I needed. 

The stay and the care did not help me at all. What helped me was the realisation of the very real threat of being imprisoned for my mental illness and that I did not want to be imprisoned by my mental illness, my own jailor; that I never wanted to be there again, and had to fight to get better, that I would never be ‘saved’ and that that fight would only come from me, with the help of medication and therapy. 

Recovery is an inside job. Life is hard and hanging onto the idea that it shouldn’t be or that I got the short end of the stick compared to others just kept me sick. 

Choosing to live life on my terms, not dictated by my mental health, but by the realisation that I needed to adjust my perception of ‘real life’ while living with mental illness, saved my life. 

Recovery means living with mental illness and flourishing, not being cured and trying to live the life of someone who is neurotypical.

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