Right Here Right Now

An attendee stated that in Australia 85 percent of individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia recover.

That country also if memory serves was where Mental Health First Aid was first created and used by the public to help identify people with emotional illnesses and try to help them right away. This did make a difference.

Easily five years ago at HealthCentral I wrote in detail about Mental Health First Aid. This is nothing new. People can get trained in this service in the U.S. too.

I’m not a parrot in a suit. More likely I’m not “crowing” about how only 15 percent of the people with schizophrenia in the U.S. recover. Those so-called experts who regurgitate this myth pick and choose the research that proves their point. Long-term studies have indicated that upwards of 60 to 75 percent of individuals recover.

The topic of the educational conference was “Redefining Recovery.” It’s time right here right now to “act as if” a person can recover instead of perpetuating the myth that no one can recover.

In this way I stand out in my contention that giving people in recovery dignity is where it’s at.

I urge mothers and fathers to get a pen and paper and try to write down at least 20 things that are positive about your son or daughter. Sometimes getting out of bed is a victory–and this was talked about at HealthCentral easily five or six years ago too.

I was in the vanguard in what I wrote and talked about at HealthCentral. I will continue in this vein here because I believe in my vision that people can recover.

Continuing to think that recovery is one-size-fits-all is a mistake. Continuing to think that no one can recover is a mistake. Continuing to judge others as not having recovered because their recovery doesn’t look like mine or yours or another person’s is a mistake.

I’m confident when I tell you that what I valued at the educational conference was the takeaway that there is hope and healing for individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia bipolar and other mental illnesses.

Today recovery is not a distant dream. For more people than ever if we get individualized treatment immediately we can and do recover.

Recovery then not only is possible it becomes probable.

The naysayers have a lot invested in maintaining the status quo because that is what they base their “expert” status on.

I’d rather not be considered an expert in this regard. I consider myself to be a peer who is a mental health activist because I champion recovery for everyone and I think recovery is possible.

This is The Way I See It. And you can put this on a Starbucks cup: recovery is possible.

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Right Aid

The educational Chair told everyone at the lunch on Friday: “Accept recovery for what it is. If your loved one has a part-time job that’s their recovery. Another person might have a different recovery.”

Our mothers and fathers too are in recovery from the shock of having kids that developed a mental illness.

Whatever we’re in recovery from–everyone has in common that we’re in recovery from something.

The educational Chair picked up on what I’ve long been saying in this blog: all hail the cashiers in Rite Aid.

This is not inconsistent. Setting your sights higher can often be shifting the needle to the left of the dial by getting a job in Rite Aid. So for that person it’s an achievement in recovery to be a cashier. For another person recovery is defined as CEO.

What I find unhelpful is all the judging that goes on in society. I find it unconscionable that the bar hasn’t been set or that it’s set too high for what constitutes “recovery.”

“Experts agree that 15 percent of individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia recover” is not something I’m willing to parrot. I don’t think it’s true. We need more optimists like the educational Chair who speak the truth to the power of the entrenched naysayers.

Telling people they won’t recover is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Acting as if people can recover will encourage them to think they can recover.

I know which side I’m on:

The side of redefining recovery.

Redefining Recovery

Where: Albany

When: November 13-15, 2015

What: NAMI-New York State Educational Conference

Who: Beautiful people.

How: Car, bus, train.

I’m going to write about the conference in the blog in the coming days and weeks.

First I want to give a disclaimer:

I talk now as a family member of a loved one with a severe illness. Thus I’m biased towards achieving functional outcomes as a determinant of quality of life. This is how I differ from “consumers” in the so-called recovery movement.

I’ve seen how individuals are unable to function without getting the right treatment. For a lot of us to function treatment must be comprised of medication and therapy.

I respect that other people have different beliefs. I’m able to listen to them and understand them without attacking them. Although I usually get attacked even when I do this.

Yes: I align with the mothers and fathers of adult kids with chronic schizophrenia. I align with family members even though I recovered past tense and their kids have not yet recovered.

My life got better after I was diagnosed with schizophrenia; and yet I don’t side with “consumers.” I align myself with family members. You got that right. I’m not a fan of the “let it all hang out, don’t take your meds, and be psychotic” approach that advocates advise clients to adopt.

I’m also biased because I’ve been in remission over 23 years. And being in remission certainly makes it easier for you to live your life without the rampant hell of revolving in and out of hospitals every year for decades.

You see where I stand.

The topic of the educational conference was “Redefining Recovery.”

It’s a topic I’m passionate about so stay tuned tomorrow and in the coming days for reportage on the conference.

Redefining recovery: all I’m for it.