What recovery looks like – A person with a mental or emotional disorder who is in “recovery” lives a normal life and aren’t affected by their disorder. They look and act normal. At the least, they have stable relationships, a steady job, a place to live, a regular diet, cleanliness, and regular mental health check-ins. Recovery is maintained when the person pays attention to themselves to notice if the symptoms are starting, and then takes action to stop the symptoms.
Recovery is like the alcoholic who stops drinking–they still have an addiction, but they stop using.
What your child will need to sustain recovery as an adult:
INSIGHT + STABILITY + RESILIENCE
Insight allows a child to recognize they have a problem, and choose to act to avoid the problem. If insight is not possible, they need a toolbox of options that help them to respond appropriately, instead of reacting to chaotic messages in their brain. Knowing and admitting they have a problem, or knowing techniques for avoiding problems, are very powerful skills they need as adults.
Your child is like a boat that’s easier to tip over than most other boats; any little wave will capsize them, and everyday life is full of waves, big and small. Your job is to notice when the troubled child is starting to capsize and show them how to right the boat, or if that doesn’t work, how to use the lifesaver. Eventually, your child will learn how to sense when trouble is coming on, avoid the thing that causes problems, and ask others for help. Sense it. Avoid it. Ask for Help.
Troubled children have a much harder time bouncing back from problems. They have extreme responses to simple disappointments like breaking a toy, or poor grades, or something as serious as the parents’ divorce. Some even fall apart in joyous times because the emotional energy is too much! You must be acutely aware of this–they will not get back on track by themselves. Don’t worry that helping them will spoil them or “enable” them. Eventually they will learn from you how you do it.
“…We are all born with an innate capacity for resilience, by which we are able to develop social competence, problem-solving skills, a critical consciousness, autonomy, and a sense of purpose.”
“Several research studies followed individuals over the course of a lifespan and consistently documented that between half and two-thirds of children growing up in families with mentally ill, alcoholic, abusive, or criminally involved parents, or in poverty-stricken or war-torn communities, do overcome the odds and turn a life trajectory of risk into one that manifests “resilience,” the term used to describe a set of qualities that foster a process of successful adaptation and transformation despite risk and adversity…” http://www.athealth.com