Working to Recovery
Recovery Stories - Fi: A Life Changing Experience at the Recovery Retreat
Also Check Out Fi's Earlier Reflections
It's Been Nearly 3 years since I left a Truly Life Transforming Trip Click here
Life after the recovery house: One and a half years on Click here
I spent three months doing my ‘recovery journey’ on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland. It was such a beautiful place, the peace and solitude suited what I was trying to achieve.
It was an amazing journey! I have changed so much both mentally and physically...
I have made progress I would have never thought would have been possible. I now wake up every morning with the promise of a future, with anything I want in it. I now have a purpose and want to live life to its fullest.
I am 27 years old and I went over as a scared little girl and came back as a much stronger, confident young woman.
My daily life involved feeding pigs, ducks and geese, among other things. Then Karen bought turkeys. That was terrifying! My Turkey would go for my ankles. It was scary; it took about a week for me to be brave enough to put my back to him. By the time I left he was eating his food out of the scoop in my hand.
Before leaving Australia, I wasn’t one to get dirty. By the end I really couldn’t care less!
While I was there I went to all sorts of events. I went to Heb Fest (CLICK HERE) and saw ‘The Proclaimers’ Live! (Amongst other great bands). I also saw the Olympic Torch go through Stornoway and got to hold it!
With support I have come off a substantial amount of medication. It wasn’t all smooth sailing. I found it easier to come off the mood stabiliser. It was harder to reduce the anti-psychotic. I felt pretty bad for the days around the time I was doing this. I was physically unwell, had flu symptoms and the voices were worse. Thankfully I was fed mashed potatoes and peas – just what I needed! I did not do the reduction all at once, nor was it a snap decision. I wasn’t forced into it, it was my decision. I wanted to see what life was like not being so drugged up all the time, something I hadn’t experienced in a very long time. I took time and a great deal of support to get through it! I was pretty useless for a couple of days here and there!
I am thinking much clearer and faster and have the ability to make decisions quickly and for myself. I have made progress in other ways too. I can do voice dialoguing for myself and I have worked out why my voices are there and that I don’t need them in that manner anymore. I am turning them around so that they are more positive and useful. I don’t want to get rid of them and they know that, it would be too quiet and at this point I’m not ready.
My main voice is giving me positive comments at the moment, he keeps all the others in line so I don’t have to deal with them all the time and he’s there to let me know if things start to slip.
With the reduction in medication I rediscovered emotions. These were foreign to me because I hadn’t really experienced them in the last ten years that I was medicated. To be brutally honest, I hated them. It was so overwhelming and I still find them hard but I’ve decided that there are definite upsides to having feelings and that’s just what everyone else has to deal with.
I have lost a lot of weight, rediscovered a lot of myself and have grown up. I am also fit and healthy. The physical problems I had when I arrived in Scotland are no longer an issue because I have learnt how to work through them. I used to have a really bad back and hyper mobile joints, which led to pain in my knees, ankles and wrists. Doing any exercise at all was a struggle!
The first time I was challenged to get through these problems was probably when Ron and I were painting my bedroom. After about ten minutes I told him I needed to tape my wrist. He simply told me to use the other hand. I was soon aware that excuses were not going to work up there!
By the end I was regularly lifting 20Kg bags of pig food, so I got stronger via that too. I also ended up going horse riding (something I was told with my back that I never do again). It caused no pain and I had an awesome time.
The people that stayed with me on the croft became very special to me too. All those involved played a part in my learning about life.
Since I have grown up somewhat, I have left my child and adolescent psychiatrist. My GP has taken over my medication, which I intend to come off within the next couple of months. I need to settle into life in Australia again, and I’ll limit my services and workers to just my housing worker!
I am keeping myself busy with activities, looking for some part time work and have joined the gym.
It wasn’t a set out program as everyone envisages, there were no set out therapy times or anything like that.
The voices didn’t disappear over there. Issues came up and we dealt with them just as you have to do whatever you are! We still had to make sure the animals were fed twice every day, as well as other such tasks like cooking, cleaning, shopping, working in the veggie garden and making sure we didn’t burn the house down with the rayburn stove (which was harder than expected).
It wasn’t a quick fix and there was no formula to it. It was just a life experience which led me to realise and discover things about myself to help me move on with my life. I think having the responsibly of looking after other living animals also enhanced the experience, as did learning how to live with other people.
Best of all, I have done most of this by myself, of course with assistance, but I was left to make my recovery journey the way I needed it to be done.
I won’t say it was easy! It was hard work but it was most definitely worth it!
I am a new person now, or at least I am me! I am happy to be that way! I learnt so much and I now have a bright and open future.
I want to thank everyone for assisting me to get to Scotland and for the faith you had that recovery is possible! It has changed me life!