I had a job as the Health Guide for HealthCentral’s schizophrenia website for nine years.
What I wrote for HealthCentral was in the vanguard of mental health reporting. What I wrote was always five years ahead of what other people and organizations were writing about recovery.
Years ago at HealthCentral I would write a series called Family Members Forum. In one of those news article I gave ideas as to how to help a loved one.
Point blank I wrote this: “Ask your loved one: “What do you need me to do right now to help you?”
In this way everyone in society needs to “get with the program” as the expression goes in how they interact with people living with and impacted by a mental illness.
I always wanted people to see me not my pain. Jodi Picoult is quoted: “People are more than the sum total of their disability.”
The producer Mark. R. Weber understands that maybe we can’t end homelessness and we can’t always give a homeless person money. Yet we can stop for a moment to talk to them to ask their name and show we care about them as a human being.
In this way too people need to start breaking bread with those of us who have some kind of mental health challenge. It’s a Catch-22 because a lot of us don’t go around telling people “Hi, I’m so-and-so and I was diagnosed with ______________.”
So a lot of times no one else knows what we’re going through unless we tell them.
What is the solution? Brene Brown wrote about this in her classic book Daring Greatly. We should tell only the people who have earned our trust.
I understand what it’s like to not trust mental health providers.
I had to quite seeing a doctor immediately because of his unprofessional behavior. This is revealed in a humorous scene in my memoir. I fled his office one night and didn’t ever return.
This lack of trust has extended to mental health service providers like state employment agencies for individuals with disabilities.
For at least five years now I’ve realized there was a need in the marketplace for my second book–a one-of-its-kind self-help book.
In September I will start to talk about this book and about a new business I hope to provide to peers linked to this pressing need that has historically gone unfilled.
I ask you: when has any other person asked you: “What would YOU like to do with your life and how can I help you do that?” Instead of telling us: “This is what you should do and there’s no other option only the one I deem appropriate.”
VESID in New York City would send people who were deaf to a printmaking program long after jobs in that field became obsolete. Peers were disillusioned with this state employment services agency for years.
There’s a better way. In this regard I want to start my own peer-owned business to fill this need that has gone unmet. Stay tuned in September for more news about this.