• Welcome! It’s great to see you. Our forum members are people, maybe like yourself, who experience mental health difficulties or who have had them at some point in their life.

    If you'd like to talk with people who know what it's like

Introducing....

oneday

oneday

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Hi, I'm new to the site. I have worked in the mental health field for the past twenty five-plus years and have experienced (what psychiatry would call) major depression and psychosis, including a period of hospitalisation in my early adulthood. I recovered without using psychiatric drugs and without adopting the idea that I "had an illness", and I would ask for my right, and others' rights, to so choose to be respected.

Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in


Leornard Cohen, Anthem
 
keepsafe

keepsafe

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:welcome: to the forum, I hope you find it useful, can i ask how you recovered, or what you did different? I am very interested

KS
 
A

Apotheosis

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Hi, I'm new to the site. I have worked in the mental health field for the past twenty five-plus years and have experienced (what psychiatry would call) major depression and psychosis, including a period of hospitalisation in my early adulthood. I recovered without using psychiatric drugs and without adopting the idea that I "had an illness", and I would ask for my right, and others' rights, to so choose to be respected.

Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in


Leornard Cohen, Anthem
Hello & Welcome to the Site - I am genuinely uplifted whenever I hear of a story such as you own; that proves - People can & do recover med free from even extreme mental health experiences.

This is what I have wanted for myself. Sadly opportunity has been lacking, although I have valiantly tried. I am dependant on a low dose of one drug/med - forced on me. Hopefully one day I'll successfully get off it.

I hope that you find this site a welcoming, friendly & accepting place to share your views, opinions & experiences.:)
 
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oneday

oneday

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Hi. er... Cheers!

I did a presentation about recovery at a conference some years back with a bit of my story... I'll try and find it on my computer and copy it and post here, but as I said in that presentation, I don't think I've got some unique insight into what can get people through!

Later.
 
honeyquince

honeyquince

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Hi guys,

Interesting topic!

But... could I just remind everyone that we each have the right to our own beliefs and opinions and that this must be respected even where they appear antithetical to ones own beliefs. Discussion is great but only remains so where it is engaged in with common courtesy, so be nice to each other!

Can I just congratulate oneday for not only joining the forum but also for posting a second post! It's good to have you here and I hope that you keep posting - it will be great to learn more about your experiences.

Take care everyone and thankyou,
Honey, :hug:
 
oneday

oneday

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Messages
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Hi, I'm new to the site. I have worked in the mental health field for the past twenty five-plus years and have experienced (what psychiatry would call) major depression and psychosis, including a period of hospitalisation in my early adulthood. I recovered without using psychiatric drugs and without adopting the idea that I "had an illness", and I would ask for my right, and others' rights, to so choose to be respected.
Hello again everyone

I joined the forum about three weeks ago now with the words above. A bit a row ensued in postings from other members, about the merits and demerits of the medical model basically (as I remember or saw), most of which got removed by the moderators, so the thread above is a bit disjointed now.

Anyway, as I said in a posting above, some years back now, I took part in a presentation at a conference. I said I would look out what I said then and post it here. So here it is.

The conference itself was on the theme of recovery, and my presentation was on the theme of “Recovery from Psychosis”, along with two other speakers, J and H.

Our talk was based on research H had carried out. H is a psychologist (with her own experience of psychosis as a teenager) who interviewed a number of people in the previous year about the experience of going through such things as hearing voices, paranoia, unusual/disturbing beliefs and behaviour – what gets called ‘psychosis’. J and me told our stories for this research, and H invited us to present the talk with her. J’s story was quite different from mine, she took psychiatric drugs, for instance; and J now worked within psychiatric services. What works or makes sense for each of us is unique, I think.

The conference was seven years ago now, so I might think and write some things differently these days, but, here it is, mostly as I said it, though I’ve kept some identifying details to myself. Please feel free to comment, question and disagree about stuff. But please keep it respectful of each other (especially me?!). Here goes:


“To begin with, I want to say that I’m here talking because I answered H’s original advert for people to talk to her about recovery. I’m not here, I don’t think, because I’ve got some unique insight into what gets people through.

Rejecting the medical model

Okay… I’m going to be a bit of an awkward bugger to begin with – so apologies to H, and to how this whole conference bills itself in fact, but I’ve got some real doubts about the meaningfulness of the term “psychosis” and even about the notion of “recovery”!

What I mean, is that for me, part and parcel of my own journeys through and out of the extremes of mental and emotional turmoil that psychiatry labels “psychosis” has been a rejection of the medical way of responding to these experiences.

I’ve never found the usual medical way of talking about, thinking about, and responding to, the kind of experiences I’ve been through at all useful: the medical paraphernalia of diagnosis, drugs, the medicalising language generally, the language of “illness”, “mental illness”, “treatment”, and so on, even, dare I say it, the notion of “mental health”.

I suppose that it boils down to the fact that back when I found myself in a psychiatric ward, I rejected the idea of taking psychiatric drugs to subdue my experiences, and somehow – somehow – I was allowed to do this. So I went through what I went through without drugs. Also, no one tried to tell me I was “mentally ill”, or had a “psychotic illness”; that I had “bipolar disorder” or “schizophrenia” or “schizoaffective disorder”, a “borderline personality disorder” or whatever…. That I had some kind of life-long “illness”, that I’d have to be drugged for the rest of my days. And for that I’m eternally grateful.

On the ‘tea and sympathy’ versus ‘beating up’ scale (that H talks about in the research report) I think did quite well, I mean got off quite lightly, compared to, well, I have to say, everyone I know of who has found themselves in a similar state and in the hands of psychiatry.*

[*This is a reference to not being coerced, let alone forced into taking drugs that I didn’t want to take.]

Opportunity for growth

Like a lot of people, my first experience of going through what the mental health system calls psychosis happened in my early years of adulthood. I was 21/22. I was struggling to find my way in what felt like a very big, wide world. As I told H, I lost my footing, lost where I was going. I too was “struggling with a great many human problems” as the report quotes another participant as saying.

Just to say: I suppose one of my problems with the notion of “recovery”, apart from its medical slant, is that “recovery” suggests to me “going back to where you were”, covering things over perhaps, which is what medication often does, I think. Whereas I would see (what gets called) psychosis as an opportunity for growth, for new insights, new understandings.

I’ve been reading and re-reading a booklet called ‘Psychosis – Mental Illness or Psychological Crisis?’ which I got from Mind publications. Anton Boisen, an American psychologist, is quoted in it. I’ll paraphrase a bit: he says that many of the more serious psychoses are essentially problem-solving experiences, that they are nature’s dramatic attempts to free a person from attitudes, beliefs or situations that are blocking their development.

As he says, “To the individual the effect is overwhelming… it shatters the foundation of your mental structure. It sweeps you away from your moorings out in to uncharted seas… you are no longer concerned with the merely individual, but about the cosmic and the universal”, you commonly think of yourself as the central character in the cosmic drama. As he says, such experiences are as old as the Human Race itself, and, (importantly) “their effects are by no means always destructive – they are essentially attempts at reorganisation in which the entire personality is aroused and its forces marshalled to meet some serious obstacle to growth.”

Making sense

In a debate on the main stage [the day before], on whether psychiatric services aid people’s recovery or not, Dr Mike Shooter of the Royal College of Psychiatrists stated his belief in something I don’t recognise – I’m quoting him, he talked about (what he calls) mental illness as “something free-floating and independent of people’s life experiences”. To me that makes no sense. By contrast, Dr Phil Thomas talked about the importance of “meaning in context”. I see my experience of so-called psychosis as meaningful, my distress and confusion as things that make sense I the context of my life experiences, my struggles, my sensibilities, and so on.


What helped?

Okay, I want to think a bit about what did help at that time:

A place of respite – First, I think it was important for me to have somewhere to go where I could get away from the situation I was in – a ‘place of safety’ as the jargon goes, a place of ‘asylum’ in its truest sense, a place of sanctuary. I was finding the outside world too crazy a place to be, and the outside world – my family and so on – was finding me too crazy to be with too. But this didn’t have to be a hospital. (And best if it wasn’t, I think. I believe we need human-scale, non-medical places, safe houses).

Not having medication, or any other kind of ‘treatment’ forced on me.

Someone to talk to when I was ready – Some particular conversations stick in my mind: with a nurse, with a medical student, with kindly fellow patients.

Painting, writing things, listening to music, singing – I remember singing a lot!

Art therapy – There was a weekly art therapy group. This, to me, was another place of sanctuary.

Allowing my madness the space and time to “burn itself out”.

Someone to stand up to the professionals – Having articulate family members (my sisters, love 'em) sticking up for me, advocating for me (for example with regards to my decision to avoid psychiatric drugs).
 
oneday

oneday

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My recovery from psychosis continued

Finding my own way

I ended up being thrown out of hospital in the end, after about two months – being asked to leave. I’d become very loud and disruptive when I had to share a room with someone. I refused to go at first, claimed squatter’s rights to stay on the grounds – a long story – and they sent for the police and everything, who agreed that they couldn’t move me on [this was before the 1983 Mental Health Act was introduced, so the law’s probably different now, not to mention your rights regarding squatting]. But when the heat died down, and I was left alone outside in the grounds, and twilight came, I upped and left of my own accord. I walked back home to my flat.

I admit that I think it was a peculiar gamble to chuck me out like that… But what I’ve seen happen to people since would be sectioning, restraint, forced drugging instead.

Anyway, this was a turning point for me. I walked back some miles to where I lived, and somehow, somewhere, on the way, I let go of ever being quite that mad again. I described to H an awareness that I was ‘playing with fire’, that if I kept on like this I was going to get into real trouble. And somehow I was able to take responsibility for myself and my actions in a way that I hadn’t been able to before.


What’s helped since?

After that time I withdrew into myself. I might not have been quite so mad again, but I spent years feeling depressed, withdrawn, anxious, ‘paranoid’. So what helped me through this? [And remember that all this was over a period of about fifteen years.]

Love and support. Particularly from my partner of the time, who stuck by me through it all - being loved and supported.

Talking therapies. Later I went through all sorts of counselling and therapy. I’ve got a motto: “don’t give up until you’ve tried everything”. (And, of course, you never will, so you never give up.) There was person-centred counselling, Gestalt therapy, co-counselling, integrative psychotherapy, psychoanalytic psychotherapy, bioenergetics, cognitive behavioural therapy (I think it was - talking to an NHS psychologist anyway), art therapy (phew!...).

Learning relaxation, a martial art, meditation. I took up Aikido (a Japanese martial art), and through that learnt relaxation and meditation, particularly Buddhist meditation practices of various kinds, yoga.

Alternative therapies. Trying various kinds of alternative therapies, including homeopathy, acupuncture, Alexander teaching, Feldenkrais.

Reading has been crucial to me: self-help books at first, then various psychologists, psychotherapists, radical and critical psychiatry texts, writings by mental health system survivors…

Looking after myself, basically: exercise, eating healthily, getting enough sleep…

Talking to friends…

Training, work… Doing something I love and I’m committed to… I spent several years studying counselling and psychotherapy and eventually qualified in one of the psychological therapy disciplines, and did my training within psychiatric settings. But I don’t work in this discipline now – I work for a user/survivor run organisation in London. I found that I couldn’t bear to work in mainstream mental health services; I didn’t agree with too much of the way they understood things and practiced, and too often, as far as I could see, they did people more harm than good.


‘Treatment’ needs to be about how we treat one another


I’ll end now. I talked to H about learning to live with difficult feelings and experiences – even quite ‘mad’ feelings and times since – “learning to inhabit those spaces” without the world falling apart like before.

I’ve got another motto: “‘Treatment’ needs to be about how we treat one another”*, that is, how we treat each other close up, in our families, friendships, in the workplace, in mental health services, in therapy, and so on; as well as how we treat each other in society generally, in the wider world, politically.

I talked to H about the importance for me of someone – whether as a professional, or a loved one or friend – someone who can stick by you, just be there, give you love and acceptance despite all the craziness. And perhaps help you understand it all, make some sense of things.”

*Something psychiatrist and psychoanalyst RD Laing was fond of saying.
 
A

Apotheosis

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I’ve got another motto: “‘Treatment’ needs to be about how we treat one another”*, that is, how we treat each other close up, in our families, friendships, in the workplace, in mental health services, in therapy, and so on; as well as how we treat each other in society generally, in the wider world, politically.

I talked to H about the importance for me of someone – whether as a professional, or a loved one or friend – someone who can stick by you, just be there, give you love and acceptance despite all the craziness. And perhaps help you understand it all, make some sense of things.”

*Something psychiatrist and psychoanalyst RD Laing was fond of saying.
Thank you for sharing all of that One Day.

I'd very largely agree with it all. My issues, as I'm sure that your aware, is as much as I would have loved such approaches to my own life & experiences - that has not been the case.

Sadly I upped the med I'm on last year; & I am wondering whether to up it again?

I would have loved to have been given opportunity for a method of healing such as you have followed. I've tried my best.

It would appear that there seems to be 3 types of experience here (in very general terms). Those such as yourself that appear to have one major experience of this type & largely deal with it to then live a relatively complete life having largely resolved such issues, & having found ways of healthily dealing with them. Those at the other end of the scale who never really come out of such experiences, & those in the middle like me - who have a whole series of such episodes.

You give me hope & inspiration that people can grow; heal, & as John Weir Perry would say - 'Come through the far side of madness Weller than well'/saner than sane..

It is good to have you posting here; & I'll look forward to reading more of your material.
 
oneday

oneday

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Thanks for reading and for the appreciative words, Apo'. I want to say a bit more following on from what you said, but it's taking a bit of time and I'm tired, so I'll do that later.

Just now, I've been imagining a soundtrack to my story above - thinking of music that was around or that meant something to me at the time I ended up in hospital.

I've already posted this under the 'Romantic songs' thread in the Chill-out Cafe. I loved this song in my youth. As I said there, Reminds me of dancing in a smokey club, young and in love… on weekend leave from the psyche hospital… (Don’t know if to this exactly at that time, but if it wasn’t, it should have been!)

Gregory Isaacs, Night Nurse
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARc7FW84lK0&feature=related

I don't wanna see no doc
I need attendance from my mine that’s around the clock
'Cause there's no prescription for me
She's the one, the only remedy…

Or check out this spacey 1997 mix….
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlB5QhHNVBY&feature=related

Oh gosh oh the pain it's getting worse (I’m hurt my love)…
 
A

Apotheosis

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[YOUTUBE]<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/YNlDczS4YK4&hl=en_GB&fs=1&"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/YNlDczS4YK4&hl=en_GB&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>[/YOUTUBE]​
 
J

jckson

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Feb 3, 2010
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Hi Everyone!!
I am New person who is just join this community.I am very happy to be here and have all other members.I hope that we will have frankly discussion and current information sharing regarding to related topics.I hope for a nice time in future.
I hope somebody would welcome me and Just say HI !!
Thanks,
 
oneday

oneday

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Hi jckson :)

Welcome! Thanks for dropping in. Will look out for you for chat and banter. Hope you enjoy your stay - I've only been here 3 weeks myself...

:clap: jckson and everyone, I just opened a journal under the 'Journals' section - Oneday (My Scrap book) - feel free to drop in any time and add to the mix. Everyone welcome....!!

hoola hoola hoola

oneday (someday....)
 
C

CrashtestMummy

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:clap::clap::clap:WoW Oneday thats really inspiring your story,

I can understand your feelings about meds I have been given several which contain and maintain me but have never really addressed the underlying issues, and i would love the time and space to do that you had.

Its great to hear your story thank you for the "light"
 
oneday

oneday

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Hi, Crashtestmummy :)

Thanks for what you said. I've found it scary posting all that to the world so i appreciate your appreciation! So have you never been offered or had the opportunity to 'address the underlying issues,'? When I looked back on what i said/wrote I worried it looks like really manic overload all those therapies - but it was over the space of 15 years or so, and I only saw one therapist at a time (like 'serial monogamy'!), once a week mostly, so really wasn't that hectic. In fact I reckon it's really important to take things at a steady pace, the space your mind and body can cope with. and it's so important to have a therapist who you can relate to and trust.

Anyway. Keep in touch. As I said above somewhere, do drop in to my 'Journal' thread, my scrap book - it's my new thing! Weird but exciting to do....

Take care :)
 
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