Hey all, just in case no one notices, time is passing by extremely quickly. Much too fast for my liking. There it is – before it is too late – can someone catch time? No, silly. Remember though, there are only 24 hours in a day – flying by, 23 hours – rushing by, 22 hours – again speeding by, 21, etc. Time went whooshing by each moment. Did we observe time as it was speeding through? It did! Yes, it did! It really did! Yes, it did! We are not supposed to witness the time speeding by.
Peer specialists, like myself, are hopeful. What is hope and why is it important? Well, it is an important part of recovery, but it must be sustained daily to ensure complete success. While we are at it, let’s have some faith, too. Having hope assists in forming visions of what someone’s recovery actually might look like. While faith is the belief that dreams can and will ultimately happen. What hope is then, is only an idea than life as a whole can get better. Then, faith is an ability to focus on positive adjustments in one’s life that are realistically transpiring.
But of course, time is not without many variations of choices for all of us to ponder. Recently, when the time was speeding by, many disabilities including mental health were considered ‘a life sentence.’ There were no possibilities nor any expectations. Rock group, Hot Chocolate began their 1975 song with: ‘I believe in miracles.’ No miracles, small or otherwise, chances of living a comfortable existence were all a person with a type of mental illness could hope. Sad, but true. However, we are a resilient bunch. Recorded by many artists: ‘It’s Impossible’ was what was told to many of us.
During the last three decades, certain people have tried to instil some hope within us at various points in our life. These individuals most likely had faith in our recovery that we were not able to envision ourselves. Naturally, we were not able to have this for our own personal benefit and use. What we did have is hope and faith that one day this would be different.
Back in 1988, Dr Pat Deegan, psychologist, disability rights advocate, and researcher, had a new and exciting way to bring us the term and the concept of ‘Recovery.’ More importantly, she gave ‘Recovery’ to the mental health field, where it described hope in a unique and personal fashion. Dr Keegan said: ‘For those of us diagnosed with a mental illness, hope is not just a nice-sounding euphemism. It is a matter of life and death.’ Now with a little bit of faith and by being slightly resilient, there is an inkling of hope. Recovery is not only possible but probable.
Does this resonate with anyone? Recently around the world, peer specialists have broken the cycle of negativity and shown us a good way to feel optimistic. Some of us have even achieved greatness. Not that greatness is the only factor in being a successful peer specialist. Yes, we can become a peer specialist, if this is what we want. This can be obtained by staying resilient and attempting a never give up attitude. See what can occur when one keeps the faith.
Although he was not diagnosed with any form of mental illness, former basketball coach at North Carolina State, on 4th March 1993, Jim Valvano was given the Courage and Humanitarian Award. Despite his ongoing battle with cancer, he delivered an energetic speech which included these words: ‘Don’t give up, don’t ever give up.’ In a very practical way of thinking, miracles do not occur. Also, no one lives forever. Unfortunately, on 28th April of that year, cancer won the battle and Jim Valvano died.
Death is never easy and it is an inevitable occurrence that is going to happen to everyone because we as humans are not immortal. From the lyrics written by Rogers and Hammerstein in their musical Carousel that concludes with: ‘With hope in your heart, you’ll never walk alone.’ Also, keep the faith and stay resilient. Another comment by former Baseball Hall of Fame catcher and manager, Yogi Berra said: ‘It ain’t over till it’s over.’ How true, indeed. As far as I can ascertain, this article on Hope, Faith and Resiliency is now over! I hope so.
Howard Diamond is a certified peer specialist in New York.