Volunteering for the Human Library Chicago is important to me because it gives me the opportunity to share my experience with the hope that it will help reduce the stigma surrounding mental illnesses. One of the most effective ways to reduce stigma is by having contact with a person living with a mental illness. It is my hope that by sharing my recovery story, others can see that recovery is real, possible, and probable.
I feel that the title of my ‘book’ is just that- a title, not a label. I would like to share my recovery story to represent what recovery means to me. Recovery is different for all individuals embarking in this journey. Recovery requires effort, personal responsibility, and support. It means developing strategies, wellness tools, and a support network that will respond in a moment of experience symptoms of the illness. Yes, although I am in recovery, I still experience episodes of depression and struggles with the illness.
I don’t regret experiencing what I have because it has made me the person that I am today. I feel prepared to face the challenges and rewards that recovery bring in to my life.
I hope to communicate a message of hope and reduce the stigma associated with mental illnesses. We can live good productive and fulfilling lives in spite of having a mental illness.