Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Tag: complete mental health recovery

Awakening: Shedding the “Mentally Ill” Identity and Reclaiming My Life

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If I had not crumbled, brought to my knees beneath the weight of the misdiagnoses and sordid side-effects of the medications, I would not have had the opportunity to rise up and gain such a strong sense of self—something for which many spend their whole life searching.

Learning From Each Other As Psychiatric Survivors

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I'm drained by talking to people who might be first discovering basic truths about the mental health system that I've been aware of for over 15 years. But my excitement comes alive when I consult with people recently off of psychiatric meds who are interested in doing work similar to me, mentoring others about coming off of psych drugs.

A Healing Journey: Leaving Psychiatry Behind

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The world calls what was "wrong" with me "bipolar." I prefer the notion that I went through a birth process to become the healer that I am today. I can't be silent because I know there are people like I was who are trapped and may not realize it yet. When they begin to see the prison bars that surround them, I want to be there for them as others were for me.

More on the Power of Diversity: The “Hidden Recovered”

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If we look at stigma as arising from the fear of things perceived as unfamiliar and judged abnormal, then we must think of challenging stigma by making the characteristics associated with stigma more familiar and thus less fearful. For me, central to stigma is discrimination and exclusion. The antidote: working with someone as a colleague, knowing such a person as a neighbor and friend.

My Journey of Recovery

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I was never anti-recovery. I will admit, however, that when the recovery movement first came to my attention in the 1990s, I was not drawn in. In recent years, this is another area in which I have needed to re-examine my assumptions.

Recovery: Compromise or Liberation?

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The 90s were labeled - rather optimistically - as the ‘decade of recovery.’ More recently, recovery has been placed slap bang central in mental health policy. Is supporting recovery pretty much good common sense? Or is the term being misused to pressure those suffering to behave in certain ways?

The Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE) Study: Notes from...

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I was a psychiatrist who participated in the Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode Early Treatment Program (RAISE ETP). Although I welcomed the positive headlines that heralded the study's results, the reports left me with mixed feelings. What happened to render the notion that talking to people about their experiences and helping them find jobs or go back to school is something novel?

40,000 Suicides Annually and America Still Shrugs

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In my last two posts, Back in the Dark House Again: The Recurrent Nature of Clinical Depression and Am I Having a Breakdown or Breakthrough? Further Reflections on a Depressive Relapse, I have shared my recent relapse into depression. Although it has been tough, when I wake up each morning I am grateful for one thing — I am not suicidal. Others are not as fortunate.

9 Ways to Stop the Next Village Shalom Shooting

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If you haven't heard about the Village Shalom shooting yet, it happened. This time it's my own community. So I when I list these 9 ways to stop the next Village Shalom shooting know that I speak with full love and compassion. The main thing I want to share is the real story about mental health. Emotional distress can be temporary and transformative. Recovery can mean, "All this goes away."

Six Ways You Can Really Help Prevent Suicide

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The first time I tried to kill myself, I was 14. I won’t go into the indignity of being involuntarily locked up, time after time, until I satisfactorily convinced the staff that I wouldn’t harm myself or attempt suicide again. (I was lying.) The system taught me to lie, to hide my suicidal feelings in order to escape yet another round of dehumanizing lock-ups and “treatments.”

Setting the Intention to Heal: The Starting Point of Mental Health...

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In my work facilitating depression support groups, I have discovered three essential factors to healing from depression, which I call ”the three pillars of mental health recovery.”  In my earlier blogs for Mad in America I wrote about two of these pillars --connecting with community and using a holistic approach to treat symptoms. Now I would like to present the first and MOST IMPORTANT pillar — Setting the Intention to Heal.

Opening the Dialogue: Can Families and Survivors Heal Together?

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If we believe that emotional problems are primarily disorders of the brain, then perhaps taking a “fill-in-the-blank” medical history is sufficient. However, if we believe that emotional crises and dis-ease are problems that exist between people, in our sticky or not-so-sticky web of relationships, then whether families, survivors and those in crisis can heal together is a much more relevant, if still complicated, question. Perhaps the most honest answer to this question is: “It depends..."

Snail’s Pace Race

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I live a slow paced life. I meditate every morning, refuse to get a smart phone (yet), and it takes me generous amounts of time to do things. This isn't because I am “stupid” or slow to get things. Sometimes I wonder how others get so much done each day - yet the quality and vibration of what I do is unique. It needs time. How does this relate with psychiatric drugs? Psych drugs are rooted in impatience, urgency, emergency.

Spiritual Emergency Round 2: Smashing Warped Philosophies

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My goal now is to focus on solutions for emotional distress, not talking about medical harm. We all know about the problems with medical harm, but not all people are clear about solutions. I'm not that clear, either, but I'm working on it. I'm not talking about revolution any longer, just trying to make my piece of the pie work.

Backsliding in the Bay State

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The drumbeat for more "Risk Management" just gets louder. And nowhere is this so alarmingly evident as a new policy proposed by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH) in November 2012.

Defining Recovery

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Yesterday, Dr. Daniel Fisher emailed and asked my thoughts with regard to “recovery”. Even before I walked away from prescription-pad-only psychiatric work, others asked me about this. Other treatment providers, designated patients and family members asked what I thought they could expect to happen next and what they should do to make things better. I told them that chemical interventions are not the only, or even the essential, tool for recovery.

Three Reviews of Mental Health First Aid

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I wasn't sure how to judge mental health first aid. I kept asking friends taking the course but it's hard to get a good assessment if they don't understand the risks of labels and medication. People need to understand that in order to hear how sometimes things that are intended to help can actually harm.

Entrepreneurs as Mental Health Advocates

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I want to keep urging people to move toward the entrepreneurial approaches, because I think they are very powerful and not well understood or trusted in our community. I have chosen to build a business because I think it's one of the best ways I can impact on our world. After looking at the results of different types of advocacy work, this is the pressure point I've found most likely to make a difference.

Common Sense, Deferred: Lessons From the “Fresh Air” Fight, Part Two

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How and why the right to fresh air is continuously blocked by money, politics and ignorance. Plus, personal reflections on how nature heals.

What Are We Recovering From? Making a Case for Recovery

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Is “recovery” a useful concept or is it overused, co-opted or simply not an accurate way to describe the process of learning to work with and through madness and life’s challenges. Mother Bear Community Action Network explores these arguments and makes a case for recovery.

Common Sense, Deferred: Lessons From the “Fresh Air” Fight, Part One

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How does a straightforward, common-sense idea - guaranteeing the elemental pleasures of fresh air and access to nature to those in inpatient and residential psychiatric/mental health facilities – repeatedly fail on a policy level?

What To Do With Advocates Who Refuse To Learn About Drug...

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I get a lot of ideas from other advocates from online forums like the Alternatives Facebook discussion group,  where we have a gathering of about...

The Biochemical Basis for “Mental Illness” – Finally Solved!

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I wanted to explain to you the biochemical and genetic and epigentic basis for all "mental illness." I want you to know that I...

Our Recovery Community is One of the Richest in Our Country

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I built my entire community in the last eight years.  Eight years ago I was recently divorced, unemployed, on six psych meds, and homeless....

Risk Management vs. Dignity of Risk

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What does “risk” really mean? Is it something to be afraid of and avoided at all costs, or something to be embraced?