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There are tons of self-help books out there these days, and any of them could help you turn your life around as you struggle to recover from Mental Illness (if you know a few great self-help books, tell others about them here). But odds are, you can't buy and read every single self-help book out there. You don't have the time and you don't have the money.

Since you've stumbled upon my little corner of the internet, I assume that you have heard "There is no cure" for Mental Illness. While that is medically true, the concept that 'there is no cure' is counter-productive and can limit the extent to which we are capable of overcoming our illnesses. Absolutely nothing good can come from resigning yourself to the belief that there is no cure and you're as good as you're ever going to get. If you truly believe that, then yes--there is no cure. The thing is, if you think like that, you're not giving yourself the opportunity to be cured.

The foundation of recovering from a mental illness is finding the right medication and staying on it along with going to see a psychiatrist and psychologist. That's just a start--but there's so much more to recovery than that.

Being cured from Mental Illness is work. Hard work. There's so much that goes into it, and it all starts with yourself--how badly do you want to get better? How badly do you want to go back to being the person you used to be? How are you going to get out of bed and back on your feet again? How badly do you want your confidence, self-esteem and self-respect back? How many times are you willing to jump back on the horse... and I'm not talking about race horses, I'm talking about rodeo horses--you're going to fall off a lot, there's no way around it.

Ultimately, the key to a full recovery from Mental Illness is perspective. If you're like me, there was a point where you lost sight of the things that mattered most to you. You may look back at your past longing for that life, or you might look back at your past and feel sick to your stomach when you think about the person you used to be. Personally, I've been both of those kinds of people at different stages of my recovery.

There are no magic pills or magician doctors who can make fundamental changes to the way you look at the world, your past and yourself. That comes from you, and a willingness to see what you should appreciate, what you should forget and how you see the world as well as your place in it. Those things only come with time and introspection.

I've had more alone time for introspection than I'd care to admit. That's what led to this site.

I thought about just starting a normal blog about recovery from mental illness, but one thing led to another and what began as a 15 page epilogue about recovery turned into this site. This site is meant to be an online community for people with mental illness and those who are close to someone with a mental illness. This isn't all about me. This is all about a collective group of people who I hope will take advantage of all that this site has to offer--and my blogs are just a very small part of what this site has to offer.

There's a lot of things you can do on this website, and you can remain anonymous and say anything here. You can create a user profile, interact and send private message with others, you can find other users who are similar to you and you can create your own blog--which other users can follow and be notified when you post a new blog. And if you look around, you'll see there's a lot more than that.

I chose to create an online community instead of a simple blog with a comments section because I don't know everything there is to know about mental illness--nobody knows everything (including doctors). I've been involved with a real life support group for nearly seven years (and leading it for over two years now) and I still learn new things about mental illness every week. You could say that this site is kind of like Facebook, but just for people with mental illness. I'm sure there are Facebook groups for mental illness, but I figure a lot of people would never consider joining one because that would be telling everyone they're friends with that they have a mental illness or someone close to them does.

All I ask is that you give the site a chance. This site is meant to be an online support group for people who might not feel comfortable trying out a real-life support group. I totally understand why some people are reluctant to give a real-life support group a chance, because I was as reluctant as anyone... I hated the first group I tried, but the second one was a home run, which had an enormous impact on my recovery.

It's unlikely that a lot of the people who are currently struggling with their mental illness most will contribute much to this site and get very involved in all the discussions. But I do believe those people may stumble upon this site and READ it, even if they don't create an account and don't ever post. I say that because my parents started going to a support group long before I gave it a chance--but I did ask them questions about what they learned every week. That's why I think people might not contribute anything but still read through other people's contributions here.

Since this site is new, it needs more content and I've tried to make it as easy as possible for people to find some page of this site that they can add to. So don't let the fact that the site isn't overflowing with contributions from others stop you from contributing--if you found this site, then that means others have as well, but those others might just be surfing the internet looking for information that can help them recover from their mental illness. Help the site because you'll be helping them.

Above, I mentioned that the key to recovering from a mental illness is perspective. That's true in more ways than one. First, I put in the effort to make this site instead of a simple blog because, even though I know a lot about recovery from mental illness and have helped a ton of people in my real life support group, I'm still just one guy with one perspective. As the leader of a real-life support group, my main responsibility is to keep the discussion moving and get everyone involved. My job is to know the stories of everyone in the room and so, when someone needs some help, it's my job to get the person who has been in a similar spot and has the kind of perspective the person looking for help needs. So that's why I made this site--so people who need help get as many different perspectives on mental illness recovery as they can, because eventually that person will read something from someone who has the exact kind of perspective they need most.

A huge part of my recovery was reliant on changing my perspective on myself, my life and my illness. Leading my real life support group gives me even more perspective every week. And writing my blogs has given me new perspectives because, for me, writing is a process of discovery--I find myself coming up with things I hadn't thought of before when I'm kind of in 'the zone' and writing my blogs as fast as I can type. So you may think you have a great perspective on yourself, your life and your illness, but believe me, when you really just let yourself write without thinking much about what you're writing, you'll learn things about yourself you never thought of before. So, if you contribute to the site, you're not just sharing your current perspective that others can benefit from--you're gaining an even better perspective about yourself, your life and your recovery than the one you already have.

If you choose to take a little time to contribute to this site, you're not just helping others--you're helping yourself. I'll say it over and over again on this site: Helping others is one of the most rewarding things you can do for yourself and your own recovery. You might think you're as good as you're going to get, but I can guarantee one thing: nothing will make you consider yourself "cured" more than becoming the kind of person who helps others, when you used to be the one who needed help from others. That's why you should contribute to this site. The more you contribute, the better you will feel about yourself. What you have to say matters, and it can help people who might not post on this site but will get something out of what you have to say.

At the groups I lead, the biggest draw is meeting people with mental illness and hearing their stories. After check-in at the start of group every week at group, I go to the new people in the room and ask them the same thing: to tell us their story. Everyone has a story and everyone benefits from hearing others storeis. More than that, sharing your story does a lot for yourself. It helps you understand who you are more and it makes you feel batter for having told it. So that's why I really urge you to consider going to the testimonials page and just sharing your story.

Sharing your story will do a lot of good for others and for yourself, because the more stories that are up there, the more people can find out that they aren't alone and that there are people like them who have gone through the same things they have. A lot of the hopelessness that we deal with early on in our recovery has to do with the feeling that nobody understands what we're going through, but at group every week, I see that people go through the same things and sometimes that's all somebody needs to start feeling better--that they are not the only one who is going through or has been through what they're going through. So please, start by telling your story and then going to other parts of hte page and cotnributing anything you can, because it all matters and it will all hlep soemone in a big way, and that will make you feel better about yourself. Believe me, I see it every week.






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