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Words on Wellness

What is ‘wellness’? It is a new standard, a new paradigm, or way of thinking that aims at overcoming and even ‘thriving’ in spite of one’s mental health challenges. While ‘cure’ is still not possible today, the idea that one can ‘recover’ to a new best possible state of being, offers hope. Wellness means more than simply achieving ‘stability’. It means moving forward, lifelong learning and growing, to achieve all that is possible.

In the search for every improvement on the idea of ‘illness’, we must choose the new paradigm that permits, endorses and adapts to changing concepts of brain chemistry, ‘normality’ and the continuum of health and happiness. Part of the change comes from the purposeful self-advocacy movement of the consumer (no longer known as the ‘ill person’) from a person upon which to exert influence to becoming a whole human being; someone who is in the process of becoming a full partner in and definer of their personal journey to wellness.

Everything begins with Hope. In hope is the desire and contemplation for a better life. Without hope, no effort is made. Steps toward life stop before change has any chance. Genuine hope is not wishful thinking but a confident expectation of the possibilities of what can exist in the real world.

For the expectation of change, there is the need for a self started series of actions. The actions will not happen if there is a sense that the person who has to create the change cannot initiate changes of their own will. Empowerment is the control over ones’ own life in which one can feel confidence at having a directing influence. The consumer is much more likely to be ‘on board’ if the goal is of their own choosing. Empowerment comes from a place of assurance that small steps will result in change. It must also include the knowledge that the consequences of one’s own actions may involve relapse or setbacks and that these are not ‘failure’. Rather, more is learned. There will be the opportunity to get up and try again, still empowered.

Support and Self-Help are essential partners to assist in taking the actions that create change. A partnership is created that supports positive moves. Self-help means that the efforts have meaning for the consumer as they come from within and for their own purposes. They will own both the success and the learning that comes with any setbacks. Support brings encouragement, outside recognition of success (however small) and the little bits and pieces that fill in where the consumer just cannot quite manage.

In time comes Meaningful Activity that is at the core of anyone’s life; we are after all “human doings” more than human beings. We gather a sense of purpose and value from what we do and what effect it has on the outside world. Self respect arises out of a realization that one has done good work and that the work is recognized.

All recoveries leading to wellness are Individual. Wellness is dependent upon a combination of the interplay between what the consumer wants, what they are capable of and the support system they find themselves within. Wellness is whatever is the best that can happen for a person who is working to make it happen.

Family (anyone who cares for or has concern about a loved one) is a key component to achieving wellness. May you find and accept the care and support of your ‘family’. We wish you well.


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