Film Project

Recovery and well-being film project

recovery illustration

copyright Daniel Saul 2010

Funded currently by Making Waves and Nottinghamshire Health Care Trust

Making Waves is supporting the early stages of developing a film project and web resource looking at the themes of recovery and well-being. Already early discussions and consultation have quickly shown that people feel that 'recovery' can be quite a loaded concept and has different meanings for different people.

We felt that this was rich territory to explore and an issue worth unpicking.

Our discussions began to centre on the idea of change and whether it is possible to identify mechanisms that enable people to change.

We generated some themes around recovery and factors of change which we are developing with artists at Making Waves to form some short filmed pieces to inform the discussion.

Responses welcome

We have identified four questions that we want to explore and throw open for responses.

  • What does recovery mean?
  • What makes change possible?
  • Is diagnosis useful?
  • Is madness normal?

We welcome your responses to these questions, in a short sentence or paragraph or in the form of a brief story of something that has happened to you or someone you know. We also welcome creative responses to the questions such a short poem, drawing or photograph.

Through a web based platform, we plan to use some of the responses as a basis for an introductory filmed piece to inspire discussion and debate.

Please contact Penny by email:  penny[at]makingwaves[dot]org


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  • Since recovery is not a word I would use in considering continuing or vestigial ill health, I embarked upon considering the topic from the perspectives of thwarted 'recovery', and the life-long sentence of the diagnoses and its implications for ideas around stigma that serve to prolong the agony... hence this film 'Threads in the web' :

    Posted by Rodney Yates, 29/05/2012 10:24pm (5 years ago)

  • Recovery for me is a very complex idea. There are several things that are involved in recovery, and broadly speaking, I reckon they can be put under 5 headings:

    1. Identifying and recognising what in your life is causing distress and suffering.
    2. Identifying what in your life causes you to feel alive and to feel valuable as a person.
    3. Looking at ways in which you can minimise Number One and maximise Number Two.
    4. Developing a sense of self-esteem that allows you to be creative with your recovery... to try new things and to not be fearful of becoming "ill".
    5. Developing your own means of "praxis" - in other words developing your own way of putting your thoughts and ideas into actions.

    The last point is particularly important and is what is missing from the current literature on recovery. Academics, medical staff and even self help groups are very adept at telling people what recovery is and what someone needs to do to recover, but it is very hard to find good valuable advice on "how" to do these things (i.e. how to get out of a rut and go swimming once a week, or how to get out of bed before midday, or how to develop the confidence to to try new activities and develop new interests).

    Getting advice on how to recover comes in the form of people talking openly and honestly about what has worked for others, so it stands to reason that this kind of advice most likely comes in a peer-to-peer format... but that does not necessarily have to be the case. What I would say is essential about talking about "how to recover" is that using medical language stops this process in its tracks. Recovery is really just a service user euphemism for "living life to the full". That's why recovery is such a difficult concept to pin down, because some people do live life to the full, whereas some people try and don't succeed, or have problems that prevent them from living the life they want to. Whichever way you look at it, recovery (or living life to the fullest) has got nothing to do with whether a persons symptoms subside, but more to do with how they are managed. If recovery is not, then, a medical procedure, it seems to me to be counter productive to dress it up in medicalised language.

    The most important thing in my recovery has been being around people who have a degree of wisdom about life and shared experiences of the mental health system and who genuinely care about and empathise with others. The problem with the mental health system is that not everyone in it fits this description, and as long as there is significant input into a persons recovery from someone who lacks insight, wisdom and empathy, then recovery is not possible. Recovery requires freedom from this, and it is easy to see that recovery is not simply a set of choices, but also a set of circumstances. Just like life.

    Posted by David Gow, 12/04/2011 11:21pm (7 years ago)

  • I have had a remarkable recovery instigated by myself but supported by a safe environment, a day centre, a good key worker and you won't like this by a good psychiatrist. I am familiar with the 'recovery' theory and perceive it as useful. I don't think that wellness recovery plans are very helpful for those classed as mentally ill and would never touch one myself. I am not familiar how 'recovery' is put into practice or teaching on the wards or in the community either by ward staff or peer support workers. So your statements intrigue me. Unfortunately I cannot make the meeting.
    'Recovery' I believe is a personal issue to be thought about by the individual and acting as they feel is good and right for themselves. Any forcing of ideas and practice, I don't agree with. I would abhor the use of medication used in the recovery scheme. However I do support medication as a therapuetic aid to dealing with a condition but the more temporary the better. I take medication to keep me on an even keell and would not stop it.
    A mere explanation of the concept of helping yourself to improve your life gradually and coming to terms with yourself and living with your condition is all I feel is needed. Support in achieving this is useful as long as it sticks to help and not induction. Best Wishes

    Posted by Michael Osborne, 03/02/2011 5:41pm (7 years ago)

  • Recovery means going back to the "normal" everyday life. In my opinion I believe there are different levels of recovery. Someone dear to me was under the medical terms a "schizophrenic". In my experience I noticed that 80% of the time, she lead a "normal" life. Recovery depends on the love and support and surroundings and of course if necessary medication. Every case is individual and unique and no "two recovery" are the same.

    Changes are made possible by first "Listening" to the individuals needs. People need to be more aware of "mental health" and not be frightened or put off.

    Right diagnoses is very useful because it helps to direct the individual to the right help and support that the individual needs to make a "recovery".

    Posted by Ruby Patel, 24/01/2011 2:23pm (7 years ago)

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