Therapists and psychiatrists of Reddit, what is the best/most uplifting recovery journey you’ve witnessed?

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Had a client with chronic illnesses. She was often sick or in pain and felt terribly guilty for not being able to care for her family when she had really bad days. On the days when she felt good, she would push herself to her absolute limit by cooking and cleaning and fitting in as much family time as she could before she felt sick again. Inevitably, she would wake up the next day feeling way worse than she did previously because she overextended herself. This became a rather predictable cycle. It took months to convince her to slow down a little on the days she felt good and to take care of herself on those days too so that her good days might last a little longer, and to stop feeling guilty for her bad days. She was able to find a balance and improve her overall quality of life. She did amazingly, and I still think about her from time to time. It’s been 10 years, I hope she’s still killing it. ETA: Thank you everyone for the awards and comments, and thank you to everyone who shared their stories. To everyone who is recovering and doing well, I am so proud of you. To everyone still struggling, take care of yourselves, I’m rooting for you.


One that stands out most was a woman who had used heroin, alcohol, and crack for all of her adult life. She was homeless, had never really held a job, and had multiple legal problems due to her drug use. At 50something, she had decided to get clean and did so for several months, until her child was murdered. She had a brief relapse, but got clean again. In 4 years, she sorted out her legal issues, reconnected with her family, left her abusive partner, obtained her own housing, volunteered regularly, and completed a 4 year degree. I can’t imagine having gone from a complete street lifestyle, enduring the worst tragedy one can imagine newly sober, and then entering and excelling in academia. Honestly, it’s not the huge stories that stand out, it is little things that people accomplish during their recovery. – A person meeting their grandchild for the first time because they’ve gotten clean – A person that always wanted to go to the circus but had never gone because money always went to drugs – A person finishing school or actually keeping a job – A person leaving an abusive relationship and excelling – A person finally reaching out to family and getting an answer back or kind words after years of broken promises


As many other therapists mentioned, we can’t share many things because of confidentiality, but here’s something I can share. Any time a previously depressed, disinterested, apathetic, or suicidal client tells me about a new hobby or passion, I get so excited. Doesn’t matter what it is. Dungeons and Dragons, pet rats, growing herbs, 3D printing, anime, video games, geocaching…I don’t know about any of those things but if my client is excited about it, I’m over the moon and I want to hear all about it. Seeing them find a passion for SOMETHING, no matter if it’s something that I personally find weird or boring – that’s a part of my job that I love and I will sit and listen and cheer them on and I will leave that session feeling so happy.


I am not a psychiatrist or a therapist and I have not been in a recovery journey. However, there was this girl on my class at high school who must have had some kind of trauma, because she almost never spoke. And when she did, it was almost like a whisper. She must have felt really anxious around people because she would always secretly escape during school day trips to go home. My friend and I took her with us (we were a bit of outcasts already), but she could not communicate well, even when we asked her questions about her hobbies etc. Talking made her really uncomfortable. So we just let her hang around, and she did follow us for all high school. Many years later I saw her by chance on the street and she talked to me with a normal voice tone! We had a whole conversation. And she was fashionable, and had a husband who adores her. Later she got pregnant and gave birth to a baby girl. She is the biggest transformation I’ve ever seen and I’m so happy for her.


Almost killed myself in college- taking 23 credits, working two jobs, way over exercising, but mostly profoundly depressed. I had been struggling with eating disorders, self harm in the form of those eating disorders (forcing myself to throw up because I did something bad, even if I hadn’t eaten all day). I really spiraled after the sexual harassment I experienced came to light, and the professor who did it was fired. I felt so so guilty. I had been assaulted before, so it felt like it wasn’t a big deal, but other people who knew about it reported it and he was fired since my testimony proved a pattern. I was lying in bed, trying not to kill myself. I told my friend I just wanted to die, and half joked about the nyquill in my desk drawer. He came to my room and got me, took me to the clinic, and checked me in. I was sent to a hospital and put into a psychiatric clinic. I remember I desperately didn’t want to tell my parents, I was so so ashamed. I called my dad, and he laughed. Not at me, but he said, “we are on the same schedule”. He was checked into a psychiatric ward almost to the day his same year in college. My mom just cried. I started on antidepressants and started going to therapy to deal with my trauma- from my childhood sexual abuse that I really only half remembered, my years long eating disorder, the bullying I experienced in middle and high school, and just my profound emptiness. I can’t even express to you what it felt like to wake up one morning and not want to die. To just be… thankful to be alive. To *want* to do things. It was like hot chocolate, or jumping into a pool, or the first bite of key lime pie. I was walking down to the cafeteria to make a peanut butter jelly, where literally two weeks earlier I had cried for two hours because they were out of peanut butter when I had went. I actually couldn’t remember the last time I didn’t want to die, at least in some way. My grades never suffered, but they got better, and I was better able to handle the stress. I stood up for myself in my next relationships, I became more confident, and I eventually met my husband. We’ve been married for almost six months now. I am off anti depressants, have been for a while. And while I still face setbacks and sadness, I can confidently say that I do not want to die, which is something high school and college me never would’ve imagined