Only we know what we have felt in our lives. No amount of words, or phrases, or sentences can completely relate exactly what you went through. We must talk about our experiences in recovery but we can never truly get the exact feeling across to someone. You just can’t completely describe an emotion to someone because emotions are so complex and completely unique to us. They are our emotions and they don’t have any tangible body to exist in, therefore the ability to understand them from an outside perspective is impossible. It’s just the nature of the situation and one that we have to navigate as we continue our lives after recovery. It is because of this that we can develop an almost ownership of our mental illnesses. Our experiences become something that we hold on to so closely, and even though they are ultimately incredibly difficult to go through, we still grow attached to them because they are a defining part of our lives. They are the experiences that really cause us to find ourselves; they really make us turn the mirror around and examine who we are. They brought us to a place of knowing what we are capable of doing and so we hold onto them, at least for a bit. We know what happened and it is our experience to understand. No one else can change that, nor should they try to talk about it as if they know.

They Don’t Know

This can create difficulty when engaging with someone who hasn’t experienced anything like we have and yet, they have studied these kinds of things. They have pursued a career in trying to help those like us, trying to help us get on the path to recovery. They have gone through years and countless hours of school and education to reach a point of expertise. Yet, at the end of the day, they haven’t endured what we have, and that can cause us to feel mistrusting of what they have to say. For something that caused such a significant shift in us, we can’t just easily let someone else tell us what to think about it. It becomes an issue of us versus them; we feel like they can’t speak on the subject better than we can, which can be a dangerous mindset because what happens when you decide this professional can’t help you? What happens when you decide to forego the very process which helped you get better?

There is no right side in this situation; both sides are right. Therapists, doctors, professionals who have not gone through a mental illness can still speak to what happens when struggling with them. There is a science behind it, and there are common symptoms that can shed light on certain things. But this doesn’t mean their word is the only word. We have value in our own story and the words we use to share it. We have important things to say and advice to give. We are experts on ourselves, but that doesn’t mean we are experts on the subject. We know a lot about it – that is without question – but there is still so much that we don’t know. We can’t let our experiences cause us to think of ourselves as better than professionals. They are just as valid in their studies as we are in our experiences. As we said, there is no right and there is no wrong; there is just a dual-sided system to it. 

We don’t mean to say that your attachment to your experience is wrong or negative; we think there is value in having that relationship with it. But when it starts to cloud our perception and judgment on other people and the help they can provide, that’s when it gets dangerous. At the end of the day, we want you to remain open-minded about how you let your experience affect you. We want you to see the validity in all sides, save for those that are purposefully damaging to our world. It’s okay to be told what to do by someone who hasn’t experienced what we have, and it’s okay to tell them you disagree with something. Both sides need to work together, give and take from one another, in order for the best results to shine through. In working together, we can create a better and more efficient system of recovery. If either side is pushing back on the other without reason, then there will be no efficiency. Allow the other side to work with you without giving up your core values, and you can see that there is so much that you can accomplish. We are stronger together and want you to feel like we are a team. It’s not your fight to fight, alone. We are here in your corner with you. We always will be. 

If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with anxiety or mental illness, do not hesitate to contact the team here at True Recovery. Our facility is located in Newport Beach, California, with our supportive housing located close to our campus in Costa Mesa. Take advantage of the local beaches, nature preserves, and Orange County community while we fight for you. Contact us at (866) 399-6528 or [email protected]