Posts Tagged recovery

The seeds of my recovery: A new community and a little Scotswoman

The seeds of my recovery: A new community and a little Scotswoman

‘I am not sure when it happened.
 
But at some time between naming the dream, and starting to work towards it, in a myriad of tiny little ways, the dream began to take hold of my heart. It transformed from a joke into a deep motivation.
 
I wanted to do this. Kaz would help me to do this. I could do this.’
 
How the seeds of my recovery began to take hold after I went to a community-managed mental health service.

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Speaking unspeakable shame

Speaking unspeakable shame

The night I put myself on trial and began to see my madness and shame in a whole different way.
 
Childhood trauma gave me shame, and shame sent me mad, growing over time like a mad monster.
 
How unravelling my shame in a ‘mock trial’ helped me to heal.
 
Trigger warning: This post talks in detail about the emotional impacts of rape.

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I am the person of whom you speak

I am the person of whom you speak

One of the most difficult challenges I’ve had as a mental health consumer advocate is when people deny our lived experience. It drives me nuts. So-called recovered consumers. Last year I came across a person who used the term ‘so-called recovered consumers’. Worryingly, this person had influence in national mental health policy and she directly challenged the credibility and relevance of consumer advocates. She believed that no-one could really recover from ‘serious mental illness’, because that had been the experience of her family members. And so, her logic went, if people with ‘serious mental illness’ can’t really recover, then consumer […]

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Living with the magnetism of madness

Living with the magnetism of madness

I am on intimate terms with my madness. Together we have been seducers and lovers, escapees and bad asses, competitors, companions and mortal enemies. These days we are more like constructive collaborators. Well, that’s a bit of a fib. It’s like that most of the time, but some days my madness and I still have a bit of a barney. The important thing is that I am the one who retains control. Mostly. It wasn’t always like this. For most of my life my madness was an unknown. An invasive other self and alien other world. And sometimes, awful as […]

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When I went down the rabbit hole: My beginnings of madness

When I went down the rabbit hole: My beginnings of madness

A first admission to a psychiatric ward is a startling experience. I am not sure that anyone ever expects to end up in the ‘looney bin’. Certainly I didn’t. This is a place reserved for other people, for properly crazy people.
 
As it turned out, most of my fellow patients were far removed from stereotypical nutters themselves. We crazy folks have many experiences and talents, but none of them sufficient to keep us out of the ward. I was to meet mathematicians, artists, musicians, an admiral, and several versions of Jesus. Mostly people were disappointingly and comfortingly normal.
 
Read this reflection on some of my first experiences of madness, and my first stay in a psychiatric hospital.

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Forget the can of worms. Safe first steps for trauma recovery (Part 1 of 2).

Forget the can of worms. Safe first steps for trauma recovery (Part 1 of 2).

Are you thinking about addressing past trauma?

 
Trauma work can be profoundly healing. But it can also be painful and distressing, so it can be helpful to think carefully about trauma work before you start.
 
This is the first of two articles that shares strategies for how to start thinking about trauma in ways that are gentle and safer. Topics in this article include:
 
1. How to be safe, now.
2. How to pick the right time.
3. How to go slow and start small.
4. How to master coping skills, and why they matter.
5. Options about medication.
6. How to plan for your emotional responses.

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Talking about trauma can feel really, really hard. But it can get easier.

Talking about trauma can feel really, really hard. But it can get easier.

The ordinary response to atrocities is to banish them from consciousness. Certain violations of the social compact are too terrible to utter aloud: this is the meaning of the word unspeakable. – Judith Herman, 1992 Over my years of working in mental health services to promote trauma informed practice, many professionals have expressed surprise – sometimes even disbelief – about the exceptionally high rates of trauma prevalence amongst people diagnosed with mental health conditions. They tell me that hardly any of their clients ever talk about trauma. Some tell me that they already ask their clients about trauma, but people […]

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The blog that shouldn’t be written. And why I’m writing it.

The blog that shouldn’t be written. And why I’m writing it.

I was a consumer of mental health services off and on for nine years. Diagnosed with depression, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder and many more labels. I experienced involuntary hospitalisation, massive doses of medication, and electro-convulsive therapy. I was told I would always have this ‘brain disease’. I was told that I would probably never recover or work again. During this time my identity went from being a successful, creative, attractive, strong woman, to a hopeless, fat, unemployed mad woman with no future. Today I am a general manager at a major mental health organisation, a board director, an adjunct research […]

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