Last Saturday I had the privilege of beginning a free course offered by my local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). The 8-week program is entitled the, “Peer-to-Peer Education Recovery Course” and runs for two hours each Saturday.
This week there was a lot of information about the brain and mental illness.
We also had this chart we started filling in. The purpose is to begin a process of self-awareness that we will be building upon each class. It is the beginning of a personalized relapse prevention plan.
This week our instructor had us –
♦ Choose three items from the “What Happened/Event” column. These help us identify with things outside the brain, which make our mental condition worse. We will be tracking these three items until the end of the course. I chose (mental) Health, Finances, and Relationship with Others.
♦ Concentrate on the “Thoughts” and “Feelings” columns. You can see my comments on the sheet below.
If you are confused about your mental condition, I would say this is a great place to start as a way to gain some clarity about what you are feeling. You may uncover things you forgot about and in turn, start your road to recovery, or at the least, healing.
Our “conditions” (or “illnesses” as they are so often called) may be with us for the rest of our lives. My depression will be here for the rest of my life, I’ve accepted that. But there are things we can do to manage our conditions and to live productively with them. I don’t need to deal with guilt, shame, and suicidal thoughts as the norm. I used to. Self discovery not only helped with those things, but made me realize I’m not crazy. Don’t let ANYONE. EVER. TELL. YOU. THAT.
May peace come to you in your valley, my friend.