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Visions Journal

A reminder that this article from our magazine Visions was published more than 1 year ago. It is here for reference only. Some information in it may no longer be current. It also represents the point of the view of the author only. See the author box at the bottom of the article for more about the contributor.

Sarah Hamid-Balma

Reprinted from the "Recovery" issue of Visions Journal, 2013, 9 (1), p. 4

This is the first time Visions has looked at the topic of Recovery in more than a decade. And now it’s one of our entrenched eight themes. It’s both a fascinating topic and a profound one—for both people and systems. There’s a lot of overlap with our Wellness theme earlier this year. But there are some differences.

For one, the word ‘recover’ means to get back. To reclaim. As one of our guest editors notes, there is loss. Even with all the debate around the best words and definitions, it’s hard to deny that when someone experiences a mental health or substance use problem or disorder and starts on a journey—and boy, journey is the right word here—to feel better, there is loss that happened along the way. From a clinical point of view, there’s loss of functioning and loss of health. But bigger than that, there is often loss of identity, self-worth and confidence, social connections, meaningful roles and activities. I remember when I was ill as a young adult, the words from a song by the band Radiohead always gave me goosebumps. The words were “For a minute there, I lost myself. I lost myself.” Because that’s how it felt (but for longer than a minute!). I lost myself for awhile. My job, with help, was to get me back. And hopefully a better me.

But this issue isn’t really about loss. It’s about gain.

I think it’s among the most inspirational Visions you’ll read. If you don’t read an issue cover to cover, you may want to start now. We have personal stories in every section this time. And even though the authors have such diverse backgrounds and opinions on recovery, there are common themes. Hope. Persistence. Helping others. A focus on ‘can do’ not ‘can’t do.’ Creativity. Activity. Social support. Meaning. Journey. Beyond symptoms and treatments. A whole person.

I welcome your thoughts on recovery in a letter to the editor. Let’s keep the conversation going.

About the author
Sarah is Visions Editor and Director of Mental Health Promotion at the Canadian Mental Health Association’s BC Division

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