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National Alliance on Mental Illness
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My Experience with NAMI's Peer-to-Peer Recovery Education Course

by Donna R.

I have been in recovery for the last 4 years, living well with my illness, and accepting the limitations of Bi-polar Disorder.  I had discovered ways to cope and encourage my family to help with the accommodations I required: i.e. quiet time; reduced stress; etc.

When I began my relapse prevention plan during Peer-to-Peer, I didn't believe that I could benefit from this exercise. However, as I started to think back to events leading up to my last relapse, I found that I wasn't accepting responsibility for my own care.  I realized that I needed to be more vigilant watching for signs of relapse.  Only I can control the amount of rest and exercise that I get.  I'm the only one who knows if I get dressed or leave the house during the week.

I have learned to make time for going out, even if I have to go out alone. I can go to the grocery store and not let everyone else do it for me.  I have learned to call a friend to go for a walk, my family can't always be there to entertain me.  I found that internet communications are no substitute for human voices.  I have learned that only I can make me happy and sometimes happy is what I already am.

For more information visit NAMI's Peer-to-Peer Recovery Education Course page, or email Sarah O'Brien or Kerry McCullough.

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