Sick is a warm safe place. I wrote that in 1990 and over thirties years later I still stand by it. Being ill is a habit. For many of us it is a habit of choice. We begin to identify ourselves by our illness. It is a huge decision to want to be well. It is a loss of identity. When we are ill, we get so much attention for being ill.
There is a great sign I saw once, in a class room for third graders. “Catch them being good.” Right from baby hood, our mothers and fathers only pay attention to us when we are being bad, when we are crying. When we behave and settle down, Mom and Dad ignore us. Yes sometimes they play with us, but as a general pattern, they only play with us to stop us being bad.
If being ill is a life choice, then RECOVERY is too. It is a momentous choice to decide to be well. But it is of course the beginning of RECOVERY. You have to decide to be well. You have to want to be well. You have to live each moment with the goal of being well. It is the biggest life choice.
Shakespeare said “There is nothing good or bad, that thinking makes it so.” Absolutely. If you decide things are good – they are. If you decide things are bad – they are. It’s all us to you.
RECOVERY is a journey. Here you are at the beginning. The first step is easy. Decide to be well. We can build all the habits and rituals around that. But if you don’t fundamentally want to be well. Then all the doctors, lawyers, Indian Chiefs and bosses can’t help you.
It sounds easy. To be well, act well. But it is actually the hardest decision to make.
I give great hope that you will make the decision. You bought this book. There is obviously something in you that you want to improve. We can do that. But first you must decide you want to improve.
Being well is actually a lot more fun than being ill. The biggest difference is that when you are well you get most of your support from yourself. Remember others will be jealous, others will ignore you, others will take you for granted. Only a few will cheer you on. Hold them close and precious. But beware the saboteurs. Because when you get well, lots of people around you lose their role. Your carers, your mates that listen, your relatives that pick you up – they lose their meaning in your live. So you deciding to be well affects not only you, but your world.
When you are well, you are full of self-love. And that’s where you get the attention. From yourself. Unfortunately we are hard wired not to be self-obsessed, not to be a braggart, not to sing our greatness from the mountain tops. So true wellness is when you are well, so well – that you don’t have to tell anyone. You just are well.
And don’t worry this will attract new people. Not just new people, but the old people will learn. They may be slow with so much change but they will be there for you in this new guise.
So yes, the first decision to get on the road to RECOVERY is I want to be well.
About the Author – Kate Hull Rodgers is an expert by experience. She has been mentally ill since 1986, more than 30 years. She is diagnosed as bi polar and GAD (generalized anxiety disorder), every day she battles to be in recovery, many days she wins. She speaks in corporate workplaces with her company www.humourus.co.uk. She has spoken in 29 countries. Also she runs Stepping Stone Theatre for Mental Health www.steppingstonetheatre.co.uk with her husband, Bill- and she is still happily married. Mustn’t forget, she is the proud mother of Harvey and Dominic – and the dog, Zebbie.