Upward mobility: Steering recovery in the right direction

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Think of a car, and it is the engine.


The engine moves the car along from point A to point B. However, depending on the driver’s course and direction, the vehicle’s journey can have several outcomes. The car can safely get to point B and experience movement towards its goal. The vehicle can crash on its way to point B and not make it to its destination. This is the stagnation, holding pattern, and deferred progress I was referring to, all of which depend on the knowledge, skills, wisdom, preparedness, and things that push back against relapse.

 

As drivers in our recovery or captains of the ship, if you prefer that metaphor, we all need to steer apparent pitfalls. More importantly, we need to truly understand how far and how much we can push, continue moving forward in our recovery without burning out our engine, or worse, getting injured along the way. I have experienced many injuries and mishaps along the way to my path to health and healing. However, no harm so devastating that I could not keep moving forward. Why? Because I got to know my weak points very well.

 

When I am collapsing, I learned to sit down and take a seat before hitting the hard-cold pavement of relapse and heartache: (a) learn your limits; (b) plan for the worst at all times; (c) know your weak points and nurture your strengths; (d) tally your victories and each marker or indicator you are making progress; (e) when you succeed, prepare to lose ground unless you get to know the mobility and momentum required to keep moving forward

 

Learning limits is a constant reminder of how far you can psychologically and physiologically push your body before accumulating negative feedback or outcomes. Honestly, know that not being mindful of this can lead to the worst of relapses. Keeping in mind a great stretch is this awareness of your limits can be limitlessly fruitful in avoiding potentially harmful and challenging problems in your health path.

Charting your victories, however small, is motivating but clinically helpful in raising your own awareness of what works and what does not move the momentum of healing along.

About the Author

J. Peters

J. Peters is the Editor-in-Chief of Mental Health Affairs.

Award-winning book author and Bold 10 Under ten award recipient J. Peters, LCSW. Through his work as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Mental health therapist and disability rights advocate Mr. Peters fights for those without a voice in various care systems, such as the New York City Department of Social Services, the New York State Office of Mental Health, or the city's Department of Corrections.

Mr. Peter's battle with Schizophrenia began at New London University in his last semester of college. Discharged from Greater Liberty State Hospital Center in July 2008, Jacque's recovery was swift but not painless and indeed brutal after spending six months there.

He has published several journal articles on recovery and mental health and three books: University on Watch, Small Fingernails, and Wales High School. He is also a board member of the newspaper City Voices. Mr. Peters currently sits on the CAB committee (Consumer Advisory Board) for the Department of Mental Health and Hygiene in NYC and the Office of Mental Health (OMH) as a peer advocate.

Owner of Recovery Now in New York, a private psychotherapy practice, Mr. Peter's approach is rooted in a foundation of evidence-based practices (EBP). Jacques earned a master's degree in Social Work from Binghamton University and worked as a field instructor for master's and bachelor's level students in NYC.

He is blogging daily on his site mentalhealthaffairs.blog, Mr. Peters regularly writes articles relating to his lived experience with a mental health diagnosis.

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