I spoke with two people today about both halves of the title of this blog. So let’s take them in the order they were delivered. Act naturally was the title of a country and western tune by Ringo Starr, who is most noted as the Beatles’ drummer. The person I was talking with was complaining about the fact that a legal hold on her is up for renewal and she felt she did not deserve to be under that hold any longer. I told her that she had made several strides in the few months that I had known her. She will soon be nearby many natural supports including mental health advocacy groups, a library and the downtown clubhouse. Moreover, she could also be pro- active and talk with her doctor about seeking medications that don’t have the disturbing side effects that she complains about. In other words, act naturally.
She will now have the freedom to live on her own which means she will be responsible for keeping her surroundings clean. As people visit you, they can observe how you are handling your responsibilities. Similarly, if you get out and circulate with other people, you can find friends who have had experiences similar to yours. So while the first impulse may be to get angry and declare that you’re simply going to resist, a more reasoned approach may be to act as if you have recovered. And to build a strong foundation for that recovery.
And that provides a nice segue into talking about the second discussion in which I asked a person what was their vision of recovery. The most interesting thing I can tell you is how ordinary her vision was. It was what any of us would want, the ability to make their own decisions and feel in control. A person like that probably does not need a social worker and ultimately would graduate from supportive living into independent living. An apartment of one’s own in the community without peers coming to visit. That does not mean a life without other supports but the ability to pick and choose which ones might be most appropriate.
I also talked with this person about “aha” moments and “hah hah” moments. I explained that the aha’s represented moments of clarity in which one gained insight into one’s behavior and began consciously making a change. The hah hah moments are the times when you feel you have reached your recovery goal or goals. And you thank yourself for having the courage. This is what I do.