Hospital Post-Release Patient Testimonials
The following are actual accounts from people who were hospitalized for their conditions and used Recovery International and its self-help groups upon release to maintain their mental health and lead peaceful, productive lives.
How Joe Used Recovery International to Stay Out of the Hospital
Out of the Hospital for Good
One time, I was admitted to a clinic for ten days. Upon leaving the clinic, I was told to seek a support group by my social worker. At first, I tried to rely only on friends for support. This wasn't too successful, since they didn't understand the needs of a recuperating mental patient.
It wasn't but a few months later that I re-entered the same hospital because of a chemical imbalance caused by my medications. I left the hospital after one week. This time I looked for a 12-Step group and other mental health recovery programs.
My wife found an article in the newspaper about Recovery International I went to my first meeting in January 1995. I have found this to be the best and most effective help for my mental rehabilitation. Low's self-help approach really provides you with tools to prevent re-entry into the hospital and avoid chronicity in nervous disorders.
After one year in Recovery International, the psychiatrist told me there would be no more need for future in-patient care. As of last year, I was appointed assistant leader of our group in Bakersfield. I first attended a Recovery International meeting shortly before my last suicide attempt four years ago. I suffered from depression and had been unable to function for any length of time for most of my adult life, and I had been hospitalized eight or nine times for depression and suicide attempts. At one point, I was so desperate, I consented to have electro convulsive therapy, but after this last time I felt pretty hopeless. I remember sitting on the hospital bed thinking that if I didn't try something new, I might eventually succeed in killing myself.
Then I remembered the Recovery meeting I had attended just a few weeks before. I saw how Recovery International was helping my friend with anger and fear and decided to go to a meeting again. After that first meeting, I felt hope, something I thought had died within me long ago. For a long time, I went to several meetings a week (I still attend at least two meetings a week now, and three or four a week when I'm in a setback).
Within three months of my first meeting, I decided to go back to school part time. With the help of my Recovery training, I finished a second college degree, and last fall I began graduate school. Because of Recovery International, I've learned to curb the self-destructive habits that my low self-esteem, fears and depression often fed. I'm learning to like myself and see myself as a person with good average mental health.
Functioning Outside the Hospital
Nothing sounded more frightening to me than the thought of trying to function outside of the hospital. Upon arriving home I didn't know what to do: I had no one to advise me, no schedule, no counseling. Even the thought of simple household chores sounded ominous. I was truly terrified.
The structure hospital life provided for me was something I thought I could not provide for myself. That is because of something I have since learned, called paralysis of the will, combined with the need for the perfect performance.
All of the things I was afraid of were not truly dangerous, and even though I knew this intellectually, I was still afraid to function.
Now that I have Recovery, I have been able to function outside the hospital for over six years. I am now able to care for my two small children, my husband and my home.
Sometimes I start thinking in extremes, have reactions and develop an attitude that everything and everyone is stacked against me. Then I am liable to develop mental illness that requires professional help and even hospitalization.
Recovery International helps me to maintain my mental health. Its techniques enable me to have better control over my thinking, reactions and attitudes.
My Fourth, and Last, Hospitalization Thanks to Recovery
After being released from my fourth hospitalization, I went to live in a psychiatric rehabilitation facility. I benefited from the program there but still had lots of fears regarding greater participation in the outside world.
Since I joined Recovery International I have been able to graduate from the program at that facility, make the transition to living on my own again and also work. First I was a part-time volunteer, but eventually I progressed to a responsible full-time position. Recently, I became engaged and will be getting married later this year.
Recovery International has shown me how to face my fears of the world and become a real participant in life. For the first time, I feel like a normal person.