Recently in many of my conversations, the topic of transformation vs. recovery has popped up. I think that both words have their place and purpose, but when the word transformation comes into play, it seems like the conversation instantly becomes more positive. I feel the need to share to open up the conversation to others in recovery searching for the light in the endless tunnel, and sometimes perspective changes everything. Just one word opens up an entirely different world of possibilities.
The idea that someone is in recovery isn’t always the most settling. For me the idea that I would recover was scary. What was that supposed to mean? Would I return to the state that I was in before I hit rock bottom? Because to be honest, I really didn’t like that person all that much either. In my experience, the entire concept of recovering to the person that I was didn’t make me feel like there was much hope for me to really grow into the person that I wanted to become.
I wasn’t introduced to the word ‘transformation’ in connection to a mental health journey until mine had already really taken off. I spent a long time in ‘recovery’ mode, trying to stitch and sew myself back into the mismatched doll I had been before, but one conversation made me put down the needle and thread and decide that instead, I wanted to paint myself a new skin.
Transforming looks a lot like recovering, but the latter is often associated with the idea that you are broken and that with some work, you can return to the person you were before you became broken. For me that didn’t resonate. I didn’t remember a time after age 12 where I really was a person that I wanted to be, and in reality, returning to a 12-year-old me wasn’t possible or a desire. When I stopped focusing on recovering to the person I was and instead started to focus on transforming into the new person I knew I could become with all my new tools I’d been equipped with to cope, everything began to move in a completely different and hopeful direction.
I started with identifying all of the things I loved about myself before I was my sickest, and I put those in my ‘transformation bank’. Then I started to look at all the other things, but instead of trying to get rid of things like anxiety I focused on the transformed me just being someone who was equipped to deal with anxiety when it hit. Transformation for me meant I never had to go back – it meant moving forward into the new.
My entire perspective changed towards my journey. I no longer felt stuck in this idea that I was going to be in an endless circle of just being okay and then sick, okay and then sick. I was able to look to the future with the idea that each day I was working on my transformation into the healthiest, happiest me I had ever been. Changing one word opened a whole new world of possibility for me and I hope that in sharing I might be able to transform the journey for someone else feeling hopeless in recovery just like I was.
About Alyssa Frampton
Alyssa Frampton is a public relations student at Humber College, and a mental health and youth advocate. Alyssa works with ACCESS-Youth Mental Health Canada, is the Co-Chair of a national youth advisory the Young Canadians Roundtable on Health, and as a Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada alumni can often be found talking about the importance of removing the stigma around at-risk. As a previously at-risk student who has suffered bouts of depression and manages BPD and anxiety daily, Alyssa is very passionate in working to ensure that other young people feel more supported along their path than she did at the start, and in changing the system to be more inclusive and accessible for all youth. In her free time, she is a serial Netflix watcher, tea drinker, Wonder Woman fanatic and can often be found ranting off about topics from Mental Health – Canadian politics.