The Northeast Recovery Learning Community (NERLC), completely staffed by peers, is in its fifth year of providing peer-run support on many levels to people with mental health issues throughout the Merrimack Valley and North Shore of Massachusetts.The NERLC offers recovery-oriented, trauma-informed, culturally sensitive peer support, mostly in group settings. Other core activities we provide are information and referral, peer advocacy, and skills training. We also offer a multitude of self-help activities, training opportunities, and support to all peers working in traditional and non-traditional mental health settings. Our supports help persons with psychiatric issues strengthen their support networks, gain new skills, direct their own recovery, and ultimately maximize their resiliency and wellness.
We are all on a common journey, choosing our own path for dignity, freedom, healing and joy. Together, our peer community generates the hope that helps us chart our own paths to recovery.
A Recovery Story
Vida’s Recovery Story
I grew up in a small town in rural Minnesota. I have three daughters who are adults now and my life was pretty average until after the birth of my youngest daughter. By the time she was 3 months old, I was so depressed I couldn’t get out of bed. Now we call that a post partum depression, but 27 years ago no one knew exactly what was wrong with me.
This was a huge problem for my husband with a sick wife and three little children. My illness finally led to our divorce. As the months dragged on, I was tried on many different medications without getting much better. There was very little hope in my life and I had a lot of fear and anxiety. Being depressed felt like there was mud in my head and I just couldn’t think clearly. Finally, a medication was found to keep my mood stable. The health care professionals in my life said I wouldn’t recover but if I kept taking my medication I could have a fairly stable life. There would be side effects like weight gain and a tremor that I have all the time.
My life continued on in this way for many years until about 6 years ago when I became aware of my peers. I attended peer trainings and meetings and wrote my first WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan)plan. At that time I had a wonderful therapist and many new friends who were my peers. For the first time I took personal responsibility for my own health care. Instead of being fed medications and being told not to have any stress in my life, I began to educate myself about all the many ways I could bring wellness and recovery into my own life. Instead of hiding at home in bed, I reach out for support which comes from family, friends and professionals. My life is much happier, because I have not been hospitalized for five years. I also have a great job at NILP NE RLC where I am able to give back by helping others like myself.