There is a man who now heads up a company who publishes several magazines on the topic of mental illness....or perhaps I should say "mental health." His name is Bill MacPhee and he also has a series of video blogs on YouTube...several of which cover the topic of his definition of "recovery."
You see, Bill MacPhee has schizophrenia, was hospitalized 6 times and had attempted suicide....and yet, today he calls himself a "recovered Schizophrenic." But, you say, SZ has no cure. It is a lifetime, degenerative disease....How can one recover?
They can if they re-define recovery.
And that is what Bill has done. Here is his definition of recovery:
"...my definition of recovery is that you wouldn’t want to be anyone else other than who you are."
(taken from http://www.mentalwellnesstoday.com/Community/MentalWellnessBlog/BlogPost/tabid/406/Article/251/share-your-recovery-stories-with-us.aspx)
Today I read an article put out by SparkPeople.com and it made me think about this definition. And I have to warn you, that at this moment I don't know where I'm going with this...I just know that there is something -- some connection or realization I need to find by pursuing this...So I'm inviting you along for the ride. I will show you the quote from the article called, "Moderation in All Things" http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/motivation_articles.asp?id=729 and then we will see where these two quotes combined take us.
At a deeper level, moderation is a commitment to balance and wholeness. It is rooted in the recognition that each person has many different (and often competing) needs, desires, abilities, and goals. Living up to your full potential means finding ways to incorporate all of them into your decision-making processes and choices......Remind yourself that what happens on any one day is not going to make or break your whole effort. This is not a contest or a race, where every little misstep could mean the difference between winning and losing. It’s your life—and you’ll enjoy it a lot more when you can keep the daily ups and downs of your eating and your exercise routine in perspective.
Payoff: By refusing to be a perfectionist, you can take most of the stress out of weight loss. You’ll see small problems as what they are—very small problems, not major calamities that mean you've blown it. You'll be able to find pleasure and satisfaction in the fact you’re learning as you go and doing a little better all the time. No more making things worse because your perfectionism caused you to write off the rest of the day or week after one little slip.
You are probably scratching your head right now, thinking I'm crazy to see a connection between the two...but trust me: it's here. I think that in order to arrive at the point that Bill MacPhee describes...one has to travel by the path the Spark quote describes. In order to be able to describe yourself as "recovered" you must be able to see yourself as a whole being...an accumulation of wants, weaknesses, strengths, and a mash of past personal history....and you have to sort of take the highs and the lows, the strengths and the weaknesses and average them all together and LIKE what you come out with at the end.
This doesn't mean that you will be always perfect ...or like yourself at every moment... It doesn't even mean that you won't be carted off in four point restraints on some occasion. It means that you will have good times and you will have bad times. Times of strength; times of weakness. But on a whole, if you can say...."I'm not the scum of the earth. I'm not a hopeless failure. I'm ME, and I have an illness. But that illness is not the definition or the sum total of me. It does not have the power to destroy me. I will not give it that power. I will go on to do the best that I can at that moment, for each moment of my life." And if I can do that, then that's all anyone could ask of me; including me of myself. And that's okay.
HMmmm. I think that's all I'm gonna say about that.
But I will think about it some more....because I don't know if I'm "there yet"....I tend to be quite a perfectionist and very demanding of myself....and the fact that in the past 4 years I haven't been able to meet my own demands, has left me very dissatisfied and feeling like a large (okay,"extra large") failure. But honestly. If I were to look at the whole picture...I'm not doing all that badly. Maybe it's time to cut myself some slack. I always preach "moderation in all things" (which btw , is a quote from the Bible) and I'm a huge proponent of balance. So what is balance other than an equilibrium between two extremes? That doesn't mean there is NO extremely bad. It just means that for every "bad" there is a "good' or a combination of "goods" that weigh it all out.
And if I can just see that---and begin to believe it--I just might be able to like who I am and not want to exchange my life for someone else's. And then "whoala!" ....RECOVERY.
I do not want to give the impression that a person is judged ultimately by how they balance out. We are all unregenerate sinners....and cannot hope to earn favor with God by being on the whole "not so bad"....I'm not talking about salvation here...or eternal destiny. We need Jesus for that.
I'm talking about how I view myself and think of myself. And if I add to the mix that I'm a unique creation of God's and that he Loves Me infinitely...then who am I to complain about how he made me?