Recovery: 4 reminders when feeling hopeless

MHA Admin

Thu, 11/03/2022 – 11:25

by Genevieve DeRose

If you asked 10 strangers the first thing they thought of when they heard the word “recovery,” you’d probably get 10 different answers. When it comes to mental health conditions and addiction, everyone has their own definition of recovery. While definitions may vary, most people would probably agree recovery is anything but easy.

Four mental health professionals with lived experience tackled the topic of recovery in a recent MHA webinar. They spoke about the challenges, how to find healthy social support, and what has been most helpful to them in their own recovery journeys.

Whether you’re just starting recovery, have been struggling with it for a while, or are curious how you can support a loved one with theirs, here are four things to remember when recovery gets hard.

1. “Trust that things will be okay.”

Luis Cornejo, licensed marriage and family therapist, founder of PsychoSocial Media, and cofounder of and service provider at PsychoSocial Therapy, which specializes in LGBTQ+ and BIPOC mental health

Growing up in a community that didn’t talk about mental health, Cornejo encouraged those struggling in recovery to remember that time is not stagnant. There’s hope because time provides an opportunity for change, and it never stops moving.

Many with lived experience have a love/hate relationship with hearing “things are going to be OK” when struggling It’s difficult to believe life could be better when depression and suicidal thoughts, for example, linger for years or worsen. But, finding the right mix of support makes it possible to find hope, even if you don’t believe that right now.

2. “If you don’t connect with a certain therapist, it’s OK to try another.”

Keegan Wick, national advocacy and outreach manager at Faces & Voices of Recovery

Unfortunately, terrible experiences with therapy happen, and some swear it off, convinced it won’t help. All the panelists agreed you have to find what works for you.

Not every treatment, provider, or modality will be the right fit, and that’s okay. It can feel defeating to use what little energy you have on something that doesn’t end up helping, but it’s worth finding what works. The right person or treatment will make recovery a smoother process in the long run.

3. “There is a gift in recovery.”

Lisa Radzak, executive director of WithAll, a nonprofit preventing and supporting those recovering from eating disorders

If you read that and rolled your eyes, that’s okay – many in recovery would do the same. Radzak talked about how recovery comes when you reach a point where you have no choice but to be honest. She described recovery as a gift because there’s a sort of rebirth when faced with having to build your own path forward, which some never experience.

You may not see progress for a long time, despite being “in recovery.” But even through setbacks, you are still learning, growing, and gaining skills – all of which are invaluable to becoming mentally healthy.

4. “As an adult, I get to protect me, I get to show up for me.”

Lori Poland, licensed professional counselor, CEO and co-founder of the National Foundation to End Child Abuse and Neglect

As a survivor of childhood trauma, Poland talked about the freedom she found as an adult in recovery. She gets to be the person for herself that she didn’t have as a child.

Despite trauma or unhealthy behaviors, anything learned can be unlearned. Poland said she had to teach her body not to expect trauma and challenges repeatedly. Everyon can rewrite their stories and learn to live from a place of freedom instead of imprisonment.

At the end of the day, while each person’s recovery is specific to them, you are not alone. There are people who understand. There are people who have felt how you feel and made it out. You will find your people. In the meantime, thank you for choosing to fight.

Watch the full webinar replay.

Genevieve DeRose is the executive office coordinator at MHA, holds a B.A. in psychology.


The Capital City Emergency “Level II” Trauma & Wellness Center will house a “state of the art” Outreach Community Resource Center, that will provide case management, mental health community advocacy, and oversight from the M.I. Mother’s Keeper mental health advocates. 
The Capital City Emergency “Level II” Trauma & Wellness Center will offer patrons access to immediate coverage by general surgeons as well as coverage by the specialties of orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, radiology and critical care.
Our goal is to help people in the best way possible in an effort to preserve and to save more lives in the Nation’s Capital and beyond.

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Code Red
Gunshot Victim
Life Threatening Wounds
Physical Assault Victim
Severely Injured Auto Accident Victim
Burn Victim
Choking & Breathing Obstructions
and more…


Child Sex Assault Victim
Domestic Violence Victim
Drug Overdose
Rape/Sex Crime Victim
Suicide Watch
Trafficking Victim
Nervous Breakdown
and more…

Mental Health

At Capital City Emergency Trauma & Wellness Center patrons with mental health emergencies that include life threatening situations in which an individual is imminently threatening harm to self or others, severely disoriented or out of touch with reality, has a severe inability to function or is otherwise distraught and out of control, will have access to quality and psychiatric emergency services and referrals.

Physical Health

Whether your life threatening medical emergency involves excessive or uncontrollable bleeding, head injury. difficulty with breathing, severe pain, heart attack, vision impairments, stroke, physically collapsing, or seizure related, rest assured that our professionals will properly assess and evaluate the level of response that will be most needed to help provide stabilized care solutions and minimize complications as well as reduce early mortality.

Holistic Healthcare

We offer healthcare solutions that will support the whole person which includes their physical, psychological, emotional, social, & spiritual wellbeing. Research supports that because your mental state can affect your overall health we support and offer the inclusion of complimentary and alternative medicine(CAM) practitioners and naturopathic doctor recommendations and referrals as a part of our Outreach Community Resource Center’s care regimen and support.


Emergency care can typically result in traumatic injuries for which rehabilitation becomes an essential component of care in trying to achieve the best long-term outcomes for the patient. In addition to speeding up recovery times and helping to prevent further complications, rehabilitative care also helps to support a patient’s self-managed recovery once discharged from our facility. Our Outreach Community Resource Center works closely with our trauma center’s discharge department to assure that patrons requiring these services are linked with qualified professionals who will be accountable to the standard of care required to help the patron be successful in their recovery.

Social Services

Our “state of the art” Outreach Community Resource Center intends to promote “expansive” beneficial community enriching services, programs, case management, & linkage to “approved” partner resources and supports in all of the following intended areas and more:

Social Services

  • Clothing
  • Food Pantry
  • Housing/Shelter
  • I.D. Credentials
  • Senior Wellness Check
  • Toiletries
  • Transportation
  • Etc.

Extended Family Services

  • Child Care
  • Credit Counseling
  • Family Court Services
  • Legal Aide

Career Training

  • Apprenticeship programs
  • Computer/Graphics Training
  • Culinary Program  
  • GED Courses
  • Hospitality Training
  • Job Etiquette & Grooming
  • Resume’ Prep
  • Sales Training
  • Software/Technology workshops
  • Small Business Training

Return Citizen
Program Partner
(Bridging the Gap)

  • Case Management
  • Temporary Boarding/Housing
  • Transitional Program Registration

Prevention/Intervention Outreach,
Workshops, & Programs

  • After-school Behavioral Health Program
  • Civic Engagement / Volunteer Sign-up
  • Fatherhood Rites of Passage
  • Gun Violence Town Hall Forum
  • Life Coaching & Coping Strategies
  • Marriage Counseling Workshops
  • Medicare Informational Workshops
  • Mentorship Training
  • Parental Classes
  • Support Groups
  • Town Hall Discussions
  • Violence De-Escalation Training
  • Voter Registration

Nutritional Outreach

  • Cooking Demonstrations
  • Dietary Programs
  • Exercise Classes
  • Recipe Sharing Workshops
  • Meal Prep

Community Outreach

The Healthy DC & Me Leadership Coalition is partnering with the M.I. Mother’s Keeper Mental Health advocacy organization to provide outreach services on the community level as an aid in reducing the existent health inequities that many District citizens are facing as a direct result of the presence of debilitating social determinants and the lack of culturally appropriate care choices and realities for community members residing in marginalized and lower-income communities.

It is the vision and intentions of the M.I. Mother’s Keeper Mental Health Advocates organization to help improve the quality of living for citizens living in our Nation’s Capital and beyond by overseeing the delicate linkage to services and by maintaining higher standards of care accountability for deserving citizens of the Nation’s Capital.

For more information or to enroll as one of our service providers, please email us at: