A Word on Wednesday: Recovery

I decided to wrap up my Mental Health series with the word recovery. The word recovery dates to the mid Fourteenth Century, from the Anglo-French recoverie; it speaks to a “return to health.”

Contemporary usage considers recovery as the act of recovering. This first definition acknowledges recovery is not a destination, but an act, indeed a continual act, of recovering. While it may not always remain conscious; recovery from illness is ongoing. This is true for mental and physical illness. 

Recovery can also refer to a restoration or return to health. Health, we must accept does not mean disease free or all clear. Health looks like living well in the context of the conditions present.

We think about mental illness, from its symptoms, to its diagnosis, to its treatment, and we want to think of an end. We want to think cure. Symptoms come and go, flare up and subside, present and go dormant. Yet, the illness remains; the diagnosis remains true.

We want recovery to mean cure. But it doesn’t. Most mental illnesses are not curable. The hope lies in treatment and prevention. There is no sight of eradication, or even decline of occurrence.  However, one can make a commitment to act on recovering. This repeated action becomes a habit, and this healthy habit then becomes health.

Today marks the last day of May. While, it seems every month is national something or other month. I do feel compelled each year to consider “Mental Health” during “Mental Health Month” in May. I wish there was no need for months of awareness. So this May, I devoted my words to relate to mental health. You can catch up here: AwarenessPatientStigma, and Diagnosis

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