One in every five adults in the U.S. will experience a mental health condition in any given year. If you are experiencing symptoms of a mental illness for the first time, have a diagnosis of a mental illness, or are recovering from a mental illness, you are not alone. Mental illnesses are treatable and help is available. Many people recover from mental illnesses and live full and meaningful lives.
What is recovery?
Recovery means something different for each person who has experienced living with a mental health condition. For some people, recovery means that their symptoms have disappeared, while for others, it means that they are able to effectively manage their symptoms using different strategies, skills, supports, coping mechanisms, or medications.
SAMHSA (The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) defines recovery as “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.” SAMSHA has determined four guiding principles that support a life in recovery: Health, Home, Community, and Purpose. Read more about SAMHSA’s guiding principles of recovery.
Want to see what recovery looks like in action? Read and watch these inspiring stories of recovery shared by people who have experienced living with a mental illness:
“I have genuinely felt like there was nothing to come of life. Two years later, after starting my whole mental health journey, I fully can say it gets better.” Watch here
“Mental health is a part of our overall health as a person and we really need to make sure we’re addressing that.” Watch here
“Be grateful for everything that you have. I can’t stress that enough. It makes a difference.” Watch here
“So what I did that’s helped is become diligent about my well-being.” Watch here
“I’ve accepted that all of my feelings are a normal part of the human experience. There are no good feelings and there are no bad feelings.” Watch here
“Relax, you got this.” Watch here
“You’re not alone in this – there are people that care about you.” Watch here
“Look for the positive if you can. Grieve if you need to. Get angry, get mad, if you need to, but don’t stay there.” Watch here
Mary Grace’s Story
“Just take small steps, make the day go by, and work at it.” Watch here
“I would like to see a lot more loving compassion for one another.” Watch here
“I am looking for what is next in life right now.” Read more here
“I hope that in some small way this has helped someone.” Read more here
“I’m leading a fulfilled life right now.” Read more here
“I never knew I could choose the course of my life. This opened up new doors for me.” Read more here
“I feel I am a role model in America.” Read more here
“I am truly trying to pursue my place… With the rest of the human race.” Read more here
“Because when a human being shows compassion, the feeling of love and understanding will melt away depression.” Read more here
“If I can overcome the obstacles in my life, anyone can.” Read more here
“Recovery to me is about setting goals and pursuing dreams, even if they seem impossible or out of reach.” Read more here
K. Hope’s Story
“I love myself. I accept myself. There is nothing I can’t do.” Read more here
“I have learned that life is a true test of character, and if I work to reach my dreams, life gets easier and becomes very rewarding.” Read more here
“Anything that would enhance your life and desire to live would be considered recovering.” Read more here
“What does recovery mean to me? Well, to be honest, first and most important, it means that I am alive.” Read more here
“Understanding and accepting my illness was the first step toward my recovery.” Read more here
“If you take steps toward your own recovery, you have the chance to be a survivor.” Read more here
“I believe my experience could help others, especially men understand that mental health issues could be happening to them, and seeking out help is okay.” Read more here
Anonymous (1) Story
“Acceptance is not passive, it is a bold and intentional act.” Read more here
“I feel more even and motivated. I am now chasing my dream of being an actor, I’ve started to get into voiceover, and I’m starting up a production company.” Read more here
“I needed to wake the hell up and get in control of my life.” Read more here
“My recipe to living a successful life with a mental illness; therapy, medication, exercise, God.” Read more here
“Your mind and body are so fascinating! To think I am able to create a life within me is astounding! But sometimes, there are things out of our control. The good thing is that there are people who want to help.” Read more here
“My hope for the future is that I am of service to as many people as I’m able to reach, to inspire them with my story, and share the many tools I’ve learned over the years to stay mentally healthy.” Read more here
“We all want to heal. And it’s possible.
It’s your story; your recovery. And you can’t recovery wrong.
That’s not a thing.” Read more here
“I know what it’s like to live with and without anxiety. I know you can too.” Read more here
“I am going to make a difference, someway and somehow. I have a fire burning in my soul and it can’t be contained.” Read more here
“I now openly acknowledge that my mental illness is simply a part of who I am. I accept it, but will no longer define myself by it.” Read more here
“Life is like poker, nobody chooses the cards we are dealt but the way we play the hand is our choice.” Read more here
“My hope for the future is to keep on growing, to keep on bettering myself and to never stop, to never give up on myself.” Read more here
“But I believe I’ve been through the worst and am on the other side. I survived. And now I’ve had a taste of what it’s like to live a happy life, and I wouldn’t give that up for anything.” Read more here
“Mental illness will always be a part of me that I have to manage, but it’s my choice if I let it define me.” Read more here
“I used to think I was too messed up to help others. I realize now that my life experiences make me well prepared to understand others and support them through their struggles.” Read more here
“Most importantly, I have come to believe in the phrase “it gets better”. I used to hate when people said that to me, as I am sure a lot of people who struggle do. But I now realize why people say that.” Read more here
“I am a fighter now and my story won’t ever be over.” Read more here
“My mental illness is the very reason why I am about to graduate with a 4 year degree, can now say I live independently without any assistance or services, and I am happy with who I am.” Read more here
“My words of testimony are: Never Lose Hope; Never Quit Caring; and Believe In Yourself.” Read more here
Interested in sharing your own story of recovery?
Visit our Share Your Story page to learn more.