Stages of Healing Process in Recovery of Mental Illness

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    Qualification : BA PSYCHOLOGY

    Wednesday July 25 2018 11:49 AM Comments 0

    More often than not, mental illness attacks the sense of self in an individual. Other than affecting the mind and body, it also affects our identity.

    “Who am I when I have a mental illness?”

    A mental illness diagnosis can destroy our sense of confidence in how we maneuver the world. When I was diagnosed, I worry about how I was going to handle challenges that come with life. I didn’t have the confidence to live life and all I thought about was my illness. The stigma around mental illness worsen my psyche and this self-stigmatization was the biggest barrier I had to overcome.

    There is not right or wrong in the recovery process, recovery looks different for everybody. The common thread between recovery of individuals is that recovery is not a straight road and we should not be disheartened or discourage if we have a setback. Recovery also goes through these stages which seems linear but is actually like a “woven tapestry”, “when one part of the tapestry is restored, all aspects of the piece shifts and improves.”

    The stages are

    1. Denial: The first stage after a mental health diagnosis i usually denial. We deny the existence of the illness, we think that we are find and that we are not sick. However, once the symptoms get so serious that it impacts every aspect of our life, it will dawn on us that things have to change, that something really is wrong.
    2. Acceptance: Once we accept the fact that we have a mental illness, healing can begin. This step, is the one of the hardest steps to take in recovery. Acceptance will take time, once we accept then we are willing to get the help
    3. Insight: When we accept our illness, even if it is a very small acceptance, we allow ourselves to have insight of what is going on with our body and mind. We can monitor our symptoms and detect early warning signs. We will know what our triggers are and we would try to avoid these triggers. We would be able to understand our behaviors and try to change those behaviors that harm us
    4. Action: When we gain insight into our illness we would be able to take action to alter our behaviors and decrease our symptoms. For example, if we know that staying up late would affect our mood the next day, we plan to sleep early and have a healthy sleep routine
    5. Self-esteem: The positive changes we make in our behaviors lead to positive self-esteem. We feel good about changing our lives for the better. The decisions we make would increase our competency and our ability to reintegrate back into society and thus this boost our self-esteem and self-efficacy
    6. Healing: Healing comes naturally once we accept our illness and work towards recovery but it will take time. Healing can mean remission of symptoms, lesser stay in the hospital or going back to the functioning level pre-illness. But ultimately, healing brings about the revival of “sense of meaning, purpose, sense of self and quality of life” despite our battle with mental illnessMeaning: Through the process of healing, we become whole and we are both filled with past experiences and new choices to be made. When we heal, we are able to discover more about ourselves and find meaning through our illness. Different illness brings about different meaning for various people. The journey of self-discovery can lead us to enlightenment and we find meaning in that enlightenment


    These stages of recovery like mentioned is not a sequential process and this process will take time. If we accept and embrace our illness, and we explore the workings of the illness, we can derive positive things out of our darkest moments. We acknowledge the pain, struggles and honor them. “Remember, facing what is, is an act of bravery.”


    The handout of myths of mental illness is in the link below. There are many myths of mental illness and we will learn about the facts and dispel the myths during RWS session 3. 280814 Facts and Myths of Mental Illness.doc?dl=0 270814 Overview of Mental Illness.pdf?dl=0 3.pptx?dl=0



    The opinions expressed in Healthy Mind Online “Specialist Opinion” are solely those of the named Specialist, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. some articles have been abridged from the mentioned sources The content offered herein are provided to educate consumers on health care and medical and psychiatric issues that may affect their daily lives. Nothing in the content should be considered, or used as a substitute for medical advice, psychiatric advice, diagnosis or treatment. This site and its services do not constitute the practice of any medical, psychiatric nursing or other professional health care advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always talk to your health care provider for diagnosis and treatment, including your specific medical needs. We advise users to always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions regarding personal health, medical or psychiatric conditions.

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