By: Samantha Karraa
In the midst of dealing with mental illness symptoms it is easy to be confused about how well we’re doing. Our moods may vary, and some days we will feel better than others. As years have gone by I’ve found these three are indicators of how well I am doing. They also give me a vision of how recovery looks like and help me get back on track when I need to. Finally, they help me communicate with my doctor when we assess my recovery process.
When I am standing firm in the recovery process I have noticed that-
1. My hope tank Is full.
My feelings may vary but the source of my hope is in the Lord and what He did for me on the cross. He is the Rock on which I stand. He gave me many promises like the one in Romans 8.28 so that I know that no matter what I am facing, He will use all things together for my good according to His purpose. This promise guarantees a result and it is that anything that happens, even this illness, in God´s hands will be used for my good and for His glory. The hope that the Lord gives is not “wishful thinking” but a certainty. Just like Pastor Brad says, it is like knowing the final score of a match before the match even begins! Hope in Jesus is sure and always steadfast (Heb. 6.19)
2. My identity is not attached to my illness.
I don’t let the illness’s description or symptoms dictate my feelings or behaviors. I don’t see myself wearing a label on my forehead that says “bipolar disorder”. I don´t say “I am bipolar” but “I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder” instead. I don´t let the symptoms define me. My identity is in who the Lord says I am. And He says that I am His child! “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3.1) And He says that I am His friend! “…Instead, I have called you friends…” (John 15.15). I am a wife. A mother. A daughter. A sister and a servant of the Lord.
3. I see myself managing my disorder instead of it ruling me.
The illness is not the center of my life nor does it govern my life. I have a wellness plan in action. I keep my accountability to my recovery team. I don’t hesitate in asking for help when needed. I attend the appointments with my doctors. I take the meds as prescribed. I attend my Fresh Hope Support group. I am not a victim of my illness. I am not helplessly waiting for meds to do magic, instead I am pushing through and taking an active role in my recovery process.
So how about you? How are you doing in these 3 areas? What other parameters do you use when assessing your wellness?