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Whose Recovery?

Rorschach

Rorschach

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Whose Recovery?

There seems to be an extraordinary amount of literature, talk and general preponderance with the concept of recovery. It is a phenomena that doesn’t always sit well within my consciousness (and one might and pre and sub/unconscious), with me finding it more a source of dissonance than a consonance facilitating my well being and mental health; I accept that for others the reverse is true, but that may be precisely my objection to the whole concept.

So am I recovered? I think many other people might say so. Since my last period as an inpatient over a decade ago I have married, started a family which now comprises of four remarkable indigos, returned to the workplace, and followed studies at undergraduate and postgraduate level. I comply with medication regimes, although admittedly with the maintenance script being written up by my GP rather than a psychiatrist. I have withdrawn my consent to treatment by trickcyclists for micropolitical reasons, and yes that is a euphemism. If only I had keys to the meds cabinet.

However, am I recovered? I’d say no. I’d say this as all my initial interpersonal problems still exist, although they have been reduced to a disease. While many people seem to like to discover that ‘it wasn’t little Johhny, it wasn’t us, it was the illness’ it leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Sure the symptoms have been reduced through medication, but actually so has my ability to demonstrate my feelings toward society; my symptoms were protests which are now silenced by drug induced rationality. While other people may have felt threatened by my psychosis I rather liked it, and I was also quite partial to my identity as a psychotic...[evil laugh]!

So if we take my hypothesised recovery, who does it belong to? Well as you see, I don’t feel it belongs to me, as has been observed mimesis is a form of dispossession of identity and perhaps never so more than when pursuing ideas of normalcy. Which brings me on to this current anti stigma drive with which I have problems on multiple grounds, but will highlight one specific; I quite like some aspects of stigma. Stigma in relation to the exercise of my human rights can be a bit of a drag, but then the place I’ve experienced that most is within the clinic from professionals. I’d argue for transparency, accountability and recourse to the law over changing people’s minds, after all surely they have the right to think as they will? On the whole I’ve found people within the general population quite open to the fact that I have a diagnosis, and actually it’s rather a good way of sifting through the fraction of the 6 billion people who inhabit the planet that I come into contact with; one might say wheat from the chaff. The people who point at me, literally or figuratively, openly or behind a mask, designating such appellations as crazy, mad, loony, schizophrenic, manic, etc actually affirm me, because if they are the measure of normal I’m actually doing rather better than they might imagine. That said I accept the narcissist quality of such cognition, and that being designated as part of an out-group saves me the considerable effort and subsequent accusation of cognitive laziness of defining an in-group. Although I might observe that the difference between ‘them’ and ‘us’ (using the 1st plural rather than singular as rhetoric rather than a claim to speak for anyone else) was apparent to me many many years before it was apparent to anyone else.

So what of the catch phrases of recovery; well; insightful; compliant; doing better; stable; making progress etc. Well to be honest you can take these in your left hand and place them where the sun doesn’t shine. I object to evolutionary models beyond anything other than biological adaptation through time; one might argue that what appears deleterious today may indeed be preadaptive. That my life has moved on in a way that seems to be mutually acceptable is a given. I am of course happy that I’m no longer homeless, that my life is no longer governed by the constraints that dual diagnoses placed upon me, and that I have a family who love me, but this has nothing to do with the psychiatric system (although I must acknowledge a few individuals who gave me of their time); my health and well being is despite the system, not because of it. I recognise the fact that I am maintained in a metropolis of 7.6 million people by neuropharmacology, but having studied neurobiology as part of my undergraduate degree, it is not required that someone be paid £100k to play around with medication. Nor should persons who reduce mental illness to biology (protestations about this reduction of reductionists may be broadly ignored) and obfuscate the political be permitted to play any part in psychosocial rehabilitation; such reduction should be mirrored by what we allow such persons to do and as a result also in their pay. Of course if such people serve a function beyond the obligation of healers, more Ministry of Justice than Department of Health, then the mental health industry is socially and politically contingent; if this is the case they should drop the veil of healer.

But then I suppose ‘recovery’ is exactly what some people might want, recovery from breakdown rather than a Dionysian breaking through to the other side. After all it can become extraordinarily lonely if one steps through the doors of perception, if such a portal was chosen without full receipt of the ‘facts’ or if one was pushed through by circumstance finding nobody else present upon arrival.
 
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Rorschach

Rorschach

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Welcome back Rorschach :)
Thanks Sapphire. I was asked to write something on recovery by my line manager at Rethink, so thought I'd try it out here.
 
S

*Sapphire*

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I think you write well and have considered many points.

I guess I see recovery as a continuum, a line where going 'backwards' can be as life enhancing and enriching as going 'forwards'.
 
A

Apotheosis

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I guess I see recovery as a continuum, a line where going 'backwards' can be as life enhancing and enriching as going 'forwards'.
Very true. I do think that we need to be as expansive as possible about these things; & as big minded as possible.

I do think that we make progress & recovery at different rates & in different areas. We may progress in one area very well; but maybe not so well in another. One area that I feel that I have neglected is in the areas of exercise & physical health. There are of course cross overs between many areas.
 
Rorschach

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I do think that we make progress & recovery at different rates & in different areas.
Apart from in the objective world where progress is measured in miles from and toward definite points (i.e. a walk), I find the very use of words like 'progress' & 'recovery' patronising and ideological; by whose measure?

Not that I'm likely to allow anyone to do it again if I have any say in the matter, but if they do they'll receive a short and thrift 'fuck off'.
 
A

Apotheosis

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Apart from in the objective world where progress is measured in miles from and toward definite points (i.e. a walk), I find the very use of words like 'progress' & 'recovery' patronising and ideological; by whose measure?
Indeed; by whose measure are such words patronising and ideological?

We can get into semantics & philosophise about meanings of words & the nature of what is up & down - why is the past behind me & the future ahead? Why is the future not behind me & the past in front of me?

To me recovery & progress mean things; for the measure of where I have come from & who I have been. I don't have a personal issue with such words.

I do however understand that if we are looking at such things from non-pathological perspectives; then there may be an issue -recovering from what? Progress from what?

Recovery -

Definition: Restoration from sickness, weakness, faintness, or the like; restoration from a condition of mistortune, of fright, etc.

recuperation

1481, "recovery or regaining of things," from L. recuperationem (nom. recuperatio), from recuperatus, pp. of recuperare "recover," related to recipere (see receive). Meaning "restoration to health or vigor" is from 1865. Recuperate (v.) is attested from 1542, "to bring (something) back, to recover" anything, material or immaterial; meaning "to recover from sickness or loss" is from 1864.

recover

c.1300, "to regain consciousness," from Anglo-Fr. rekeverer (late 13c.), O.Fr. recovrer, from L. recuperare "to recover" (see recuperation). Meaning "to regain health or strength" is from early 14c.; sense of "to get (anything) back" is first attested mid-14c. Recovery is c.1300, in Anglo-Fr., both of health and of legal possession.

recreation

1390, "refreshment or curing of a person, refreshment by eating," from O.Fr. recreacion (13c.), from L. recreationem (nom. recreatio) "recovery from illness," from recreatus, pp. of recreare "to refresh, restore," from re- "again" + creare (see create). Meaning "refresh oneself by some amusement" is first recorded c.1400; abbreviated form rec is attested from 1929. Verb recreate "to refresh by physical influence" is attested from c.1560, but not now used, probably from confusion with re-create (q.v.). Recreational is from 1656.
progress (n.)

early 15c., "a going on, action of walking forward," from O.Fr. progres, from L. progressus (see progression). Figurative sense of "growth, development, advancement to higher stages" is from c.1600. The verb is attested from c.1590 in the lit. sense, c.1600 in the fig. sense.
What is the difficulty that you have with such words to define/describe the process from what is classed as madness to a more sane state? What words should we use?
 
Rorschach

Rorschach

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What is the difficulty that you have with such words to define/describe the process from what is classed as madness to a more sane state? What words should we use?
You've answered the very question you pose. You are free to use any words you wish to describe 'progress', I'll choose to use none. I do however maintain the right to discuss my experiences as a narrative in ways more qualified than the use of single words. Its the power dynamic I find distasteful, having recently been listening to narratives (i.e. transcribing) and having been at some seminars and conferences the whole thing is stained through with power discourses.

I find the introjection of the biomedical narrative and belief it is a person's own sickening.

Of course if it improves people's quality of life, then they should crack on, I'm not going to criticise people's improved well being as they determine it; to be accepted for who they are; to be understood; not to be stigmatised; to adopt the sick role; to do 'the best they can considering'. The question is DO they determine it?

I certainly didn't sign up for that, and rather than being victim to a disease my condition is ALL my own fault. I'd do it all over again exactly the same way, except probably just a bit more viciously; I 'blame' my adoptive parents for softening me up. If they brought out a gene therapy that 'cured' me from 'schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder' I'd tell them where to stick it.
 
A

Apotheosis

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I find the introjection of the biomedical narrative and belief it is a person's own sickening.
I agree with what you say. There are however many different paradigms that use these words. I also do not define, or reduce my 'recovery' to single words.

I am also very sure that my understanding of the word 'Recovery'; & it's definitions; is different to Rethinks; different to psychiatry's, & different to society's.

Recovery is in fact very deeply personal to me.
 
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Rorschach

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I am also very sure that my understanding of the word 'Recovery'; & it's definitions; is different to Rethinks; different to psychiatries, & different to society's.
Oh I'm sure, it's obviously been appropriated from 12 step programmes, and to be honest that's another reason it's quite distasteful.

I guess it can be argued that overcoming ingestion and reliance upon substances that imitate GABA, Serotonin, Dopamine or Endorphins is a fairer use of the word. However recovery from ASC derived from the naturally occurring neurochemicals, I don't buy it.

Even my adoptive mother who found solace in my diagnosis asked me recently 'why do you take the pills?' admittedly when a clinical psychologist I had the misfortune to encounter inferred I didn't have 'real' mental illness.
 
A

Apotheosis

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Oh I'm sure, it's obviously been appropriated from 12 step programmes, and to be honest that's another reason it's quite distasteful.
Not done a meeting close to a year; addiction recovery is however something I am rightly very proud of. The 12 steps are a system of spiritual recovery based on sound spiritual principles. Something that a lot of people could do with practising IMO. Pray tell why the use of the word 'recovery' in the context of a program that has helped Millions recover from severe alcoholism, addiction & many other ailments is distasteful?

Again - the 12 step definition of recovery from active addiction is different to my own personal definitions. My addiction & MH issues are separate issues - despite their being a certain amount of cross over.

However recovery from ASC derived from the naturally occurring neurochemicals, I don't buy it.
From above -

I do however understand that if we are looking at such things from non-pathological perspectives; then there may be an issue -recovering from what? Progress from what?
I'd rather the use of paradigms that describe spiritual emergencies, & Shamanic states ect; paradigms that use depth psychology; the trans-personal & alternatives. Although there is problems again in using such terms. & we are back again at the same issue; the issue of language; what do we use to communicate & describe such things? Apart from the fact that as soon as anything outside of a common framework is used; then hardly anyone knows what on earth you are on about.

Even my adoptive mother who found solace in my diagnosis asked me recently 'why do you take the pills?' admittedly when a clinical psychologist I had the misfortune to encounter inferred I didn't have 'real' mental illness.
Do any of us? What is mental illness? What is mental health for that matter? What is language? What is reality or existence? What is anything at that level? & with that perspective.
 
Rorschach

Rorschach

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The 12 steps are a system of spiritual recovery based on sound spiritual principles. Something that a lot of people could do with practising IMO. Pray tell why the use of the word 'recovery' in the context of a program that has helped Millions recover from severe alcoholism, addiction & many other ailments is distasteful?
You've misunderstood the sentence. Recovery from ingestion of what effectively constitute toxins is a better use of the word, anyone who's been out on a bender on a Saturday night fully understands the micro idea of recovery on a Sunday, and to extend recovery from addiction at a larger scale also makes sense; however to then cross that term over into a MH context is what I find distasteful. It equates addiction with naturally occurring neurobiological function resulting in ASC.
 
R

rasselas

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...

To my mind it's a tricky word to use for psychological phenomena precisely because it's been grafted over from the medical lexicon. I'm not entirely sure what better word there might be to replace it... regained? post-interrupted? grown? changed? existentially resolved? re-acculturated?

Tricky.

Great article, though. Could be slightly more lucid but then I'm often as guilty as that as the next man/woman/animal.

I agree with your point about recovery being largely ordained by others. And it's no co-incidence that a vast part of what was deemed The Illness was also decided by others.

When the guru-seeker gives up on the chanting and buys himself a suit, he's recovered. When the guru-seeker flings the suit into the skip and heads off for the Himalayas, he's relapsed.

Personally, I'd like to see Democracy recover...
 
Rorschach

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Great article, though. Could be slightly more lucid but then I'm often as guilty as that as the next man/woman/animal.
Not really an article, I was just asked by my manager to write down my problems with recovery, as by his own admittance he's very pro it. The request came from me obviously not being pro it. I had the day off work today, so thought I'd give it a crack.

I agree with your point about recovery being largely ordained by others. And it's no co-incidence that a vast part of what was deemed The Illness was also decided by others.
You've summed up my niggle I think...

Random Person: 'Oh Rorschach, you're doing so well!'

Rorschach: 'You, your mom and your grandma!' :evil:
 
A

Apotheosis

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You've misunderstood the sentence.
Have I?

Recovery from ingestion of what effectively constitute toxins is a better use of the word, anyone who's been out on a bender on a Saturday night fully understands the micro idea of recovery on a Sunday, and to extend recovery from addiction at a larger scale also makes sense; however to then cross that term over into a MH context is what I find distasteful. It equates addiction with naturally occurring neurobiological function resulting in ASC.
Are you telling me? Asking me? Or stating your opinion?
 

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