Lessons From A Year Well-Lived - OC87 Recovery Diaries

Lessons From A Year Well-Lived


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Hello 2015! We at OC87 Recovery Diaries warmly embrace a new year full of new ideas, new stories and new opportunities for growth and recovery.

But before we move on too quickly, we thought it would be interesting to look back at some of the top posts from 2014 that resonated the most with our readers. Here are the five most popular posts from the past year followed by a reflection on what worked in 2014 for each OC87 Recovery Diaries team member.



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Bud Clayman’s interview with singer/songwriter Chelsea Rae Phillips about her musical career goals and her journey with OCD.

Read Bud’s interview and hear Chelsea’s music ➞



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Tim Connor’s video portrait of his life with hearing voices, which was part of the WHYY/OC87 Recovery Diaries video workshop collaboration.

Watch Hearing Voices and a behind the scenes video interview with Tim ➞



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Bud Clayman writes about his life with Asperger’s Syndrome, his efforts to become fully present with others, and breakthroughs on his ability to connect with people.

Read Bud’s essay on social empathy, mindfulness, and mental health ➞



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Leah Alexandra Goldstein writes and illustrates her decision to travel from anxiety and depression to hope and life.

See Leah’s drawings of her recovery journey and read her accompanying essay ➞



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Personal essay by Bud Clayman about a journey to Los Angeles that triggered trauma and self-reflection.

Read about Bud’s experience with Exposure Response Therapy and the 2014 OCD Conference ➞



New Year’s resolutions are often tricky things. Kind of like booby traps we set for ourselves. So, again, in the spirit of reflection, OC87 Recovery Diaries contributors wanted to share some things from our personal journeys in 2014 that may or may not have been resolutions a year ago, but helped us along throughout the year.


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OC87 Recovery Diaries Editor In Chief & Executive Producer

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Every day I listened to a tape entitled “Loving Kindness” by Dr. Tara Brach. This guided meditation teaches self-compassion. I’ve always had trouble liking myself, because we’re taught that others should like us first. But this need can lead us down a dangerous road where we’re constantly seeking out other people’s approval. This was a problem for me in 2014, because I had to make many difficult decisions that were right for me but not necessarily right for others. The tape lessened my guilt about these choices.

Oh, by the way, it doesn’t hurt to show up consistently at therapy!

Read all OC87 Recovery Diaries entries by Bud ➞


OC87 Recovery Diaries Designer & Site Manager

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I thought a lot in 2014 about this concept presented by Donald Neale Walsch: “You keep forgetting, but life is not for getting, life is for giving.” It gets me every time. Whenever I forget and wonder what I can get from another person or situation, I’m missing the point and I end up feeling terrible. When I remember to focus on what I can contribute to the experience at hand, I feel so plugged in. Also — forgiveness — the alchemy of beginning to forgive others and myself this past year has been transformative!

Read all OC87 Recovery Diaries entries by Leah Alexandra ➞


OC87 Recovery Diaries Producer & Content Director

oc87 recovery diaries

One of the most remarkable treats from the past year was discovering the relationship between my physical self and my emotional self. I am a kinetic soul, and am happiest when I’m bouncing around the city, days filled with work opportunities to be creative in addition to family responsibilities. I thrive on a full agenda. I have also beefed up my personal exercise routine, and have found much happiness in long runs in the morning. It’s amazing and mysterious to me that my mind can be so filled with ideas and clutter before a run, but afterwards, everything feels in order, and my stress levels are mightily reduced.

That said, a brief, quiet moment with my family each night (we call it my Favorite Part of The Day — FPTD, for short) is actually a kind of gratitude meditation, and I find it a wonderful way to wrap up the busy days.

Motion and stillness. I welcome more of you in the New Year!

Read all OC87 Recovery Diaries entries by Glenn ➞


OC87 Recovery Diaries Communications Director

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For me, 2014 was a year of saying “Yes” to new opportunities and exploring new avenues that in the past I would not have pursued. However, saying “Yes” too often can leave you feeling overwhelmed. Learning to say “Yes” to only those invitations that will enhance your being and feed your soul is important. I said “Yes” to personal development courses, travel invitations, love from my family and of course to joining the OC87 Recovery Diaries team. All excellent experiences that enriched my heart.


OC87 Recovery Diaries Contributor

oc87 recovery diaries

What worked for me in 2014 was slowing down and taking the time to notice things. Often I’d go for long walks and spot things I hadn’t before recognized. Another thing that worked for me in 2014 was listening to my body and mind and not pushing myself to do too much. This also relates to the theme of slowing down and noticing.

Read all OC87 Recovery Diaries entries by Laura ➞


OC87 Recovery Diaries Intern

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I started diversifying my routine and making space for more spontaneity in 2014. It could be anything as small as taking a new route on the walk to work or trying new food (I learned that seafood isn’t so bad). I even made last minute plans to travel the country alone. The key is to let go of familiarity and comfort and allow yourself to try something different. I’ve found that making the effort to switch things up adds a healthy dose of perspective and opens up new opportunities for growth.

OC87 Recovery Diaries is an interactive website that features stories of mental health, empowerment and change, created by and for those whose journeys of recovery speak to audiences from all walks of life. This project hopes to touch as many lives as possible and bring light to the lived experiences of recovery from mental illness: what matters, what helps, what’s hard, what might be next? OC87 Recovery Diaries exists to tell stories about how people with mental health challenges have created paths to meaningful lives. We feature stories that inspire and empower, stories that generate discussion and awareness. OC87 Recovery Diaries presents a range of experiences—personal perspectives, recovery innovations, examples of empowerment, strengths and gaps in the mental health system, and efforts to dismantle stigma—all told by people moving through their own recovery journeys.