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Voices for Recovery

Oryx Cohen (05/18/2012)

In the fall of 1999, at age 26, I had my first of two major spiritual and emotional life crises. I had just moved 3,000 miles from my familiar life in Oregon to attend graduate school in Massachusetts and reinvent myself. One week later, after little sleep and several strange experiences, I totally lost grip on physical reality. I even convinced myself that I could fly my car, leading to a near-fatal car crash where I was air-lifted to the nearest trauma unit.

Soon afterwards, I was thrust into a system that didn’t see me as a whole person with a story to tell. Instead I was a collection of symptoms, a diagnosis. For me, this just piled additional trauma onto the traumatic experiences I was already having.

The major pieces of my recovery have been peer and family support, sleep, reading literature about recovery, exercise, holistic alternatives, diet, and having meaningful work helping others. Recovery is a very individual process, and some strategies work for some but not others. I found it was helpful to try different alternatives like yoga, acupuncture, Reiki, and meditation to see what worked best.

Because of strong family support, I was able to leave the hospital system fairly quickly and begin slowly rebuilding my life. I returned to graduate school and earned my master’s degree in public administration. After graduating, I co-founded the Freedom Center and currently work with the National Empowerment Center. Now, I’m married, a homeowner, have two young children, and have been fully recovered for 10 years.

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