If you conceptualise mental health and recovery as things that are inexorably linked- assuming, straight off the bat, that recovery is a universally achievable goal for people with mental health issues, you have a problem. The problem is this: recovery for some people is never going to happen. Some people are never going to not suffer the symptoms of mental illness. And that’s ok.
That is ok because the end goal isn’t recovery, it’s living a life that is satisfying, or challenging, or safe. The goal is fulfillment, in whatever way that means to you.
A measure of how fulfilled your life is is not how well you fit into a specific mould of NOT ILL. It’s how well you feel you are doing at the things that matter to you, and how you work towards doing these things. Each person’s life, each person’s needs, desires, wants, fleeting fancies, are different. What fulfills me one day (doing homework, talking to friends, doing my nails) may not be so great the next day, when I have a different focus (for example, seeing my friends is always great, but if I’ve been wanting to see my family or need to do some work then even though it’s fun, I should probably see my friends another day.)
The final goal is also not happiness. Happiness isn’t a goal, it cannot be a goal, because it is an emotion. It will always go away, and come back, and generally be very flighty and unreliable. The goal is to be in a place where unhappiness isn’t devastating. Where unhappiness is surmountable, dealable.
The final goal is not health. Health as a goal is unachievable; it is a state that you work towards, not a final checkpoint. Everybody’s health is different, and everybody has different ways of relating to and dealing with their own health.
Getting to a place where you can manage your own mental health is hard, yes. It requires work, it requires commitment, it requires facing up to things it would be far easier to ignore.
But understanding your own mental health is the first step. It is the difference between not leaving your room even though you want to do things outside but can’t, and not leaving your room because you’re doing things inside today that are totally awesome.
Recovery is not the end goal, because mentally ill people are not a monolith. What toyou may be stagnation, stalling, stuntedness, may and will be for others the most fulfilling, enriched way they can exist, working towards developing the best them that they can imagine.
And that is not a problem.