Choices in Recovery - Summary of Past Submissions

Robin Cunningham Health Guide

    My mini-series of blogs focusing on Choices in Recovery was set aside temporarily when I was asked to write a series of blogs on the unusual Coping Skills that my first psychiatrist taught me some forty plus years ago.  The series of blogs on coping skills began with "Ad hoc Blog on Coping Skills" posted on 30 December 2007 and was completed with "Recovery and Functionality" posted on 6 July 2008.


    Recently I was asked by readers of my blogs to pick up where I'd left off with Choices in Recovery.  I soon found that it was difficult for me to determine where and how to resume the mini-series.  So, for my own benefit, I created a summary of issues and ideas covered in all the SharePosts on Choices in Recovery that I had previously submitted; along with the date that each was posted.  Having done this, I decided it might be helpful for my readers to see this summary.

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    Here is the summary, beginning with the introductory SharePost #0:


    #0        9/23/2007        An Introduction

    Choices that the consumer and their advocate(s) must face / Choices that they are often denied on their Journey of Recovery - The Point of Departure for the Journey of Recovery: Acceptance; and Milestones along the way: Functionality; Wellness; Fulfillment


    #1        9/23/2007        Acceptance - Getting to the point of Departure

    Summarizes my story; how Dr. Levy, my first psychiatrist, secured my cooperation by extending Unconditional Acceptance


    #2        9/30/2007        Unconditional Acceptance by Others

    Dr. Levy was the only one to extend Unconditional Acceptance, the only one that did not challenge my belief system, did not pass judgment on me, and did not make demands upon me.  For this reason, I agreed to take the medications he proscribed.


    #3        10/7/207          Belief Systems

    More of my story; I was actively psychotic for ten years; Relates how I discovered the inconsistencies and contradictions in my belief system.


    #4        10/14/2007      Rational Behavior, Belief Systems & Functionality

    We are judged by society on the basis of our behavior and what we say about our beliefs; stigma discourages consumers from seeking treatment; other cultures think those with odd thoughts and actions were blessed with special gifts; how awakening each morning and not finding myself on back ward of a state mental hospital is a good day.


    #5        10/21/2007      A Clarification and Additional Aspect of Belief Systems

    When using the term "Belief Systems," I am NOT referring to religious beliefs, but one's perceptions of reality; most people never really evaluate their belief system; brain rewiring at 5 to 8, 12 to 14 and 18-21 years of age; schizophrenia typically develops during one of these periods; my religious belief systems crumbled - were carried out to their logical absurdities; I launched a search for the real "truth"


    #6        10/28/2007      There is Hope, even Promise

  • Functionality for us is what we want it to be; society defines our functionality in terms of what it wants from us:  there are many groups and many expectations; our beliefs determine the group(s) with which we want to associate; prior to medications those with schizophrenia lived on the fringes of society; with medications this is no longer true; we can become functional and contribute to society.  We have not only hope, but promise.

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    #7        11/4/2007        Acceptance and Functionality

    Starting point for our Journey of Recovery is Acceptance of our illness, our first objective is functionality; knowing we need help, and seeking it out, is true Acceptance.  Unfortunately some of us don't realize we need help; given my family background true acceptance came hard; acceptance for me came when my psychiatrist convinced me that recovery was possible


    #8        11/11/2007      Functionality and Functionality

    We evaluate our functionality in relation to our capacity for functionality, i.e., on the curve; society evaluates functionality in terms of what we can or cannot do, i.e., on a fixed scale (which varies from group to group); 20% of society is affected by mental illness , i.e., we're not the 800 lb. gorilla in the room, so how can these two be reconciled; get the general public involved and speak out whenever appropriate, i.e., we must tell the truth about our own experiences


    #9        11/16/2007      Medications, Therapy and Functionality

    The relationship between medications and therapy; medications determine our potential for functionality, therapy affects our ability to realize our potential


    #10      11/25/2007      Functionality and Society

    We must increase our own functionality to meet society's standards; four levels:  1) Actively Psychotic & Dysfunctional, 2) Basic Stability, Dependent, Basic Social Skills, 3) Reliability, Decision Maker, Social and Job Skills, 4) Self Starter, Creativity, Social Skills and Education


    #11      12/2/2007        Stigma & Ignorance

    Described my experience in trying to find a psychiatrist when my family and I relocated; despite what they say, many providers don't believe that recovery is possible


    #12      1/20/2008        Stigma and Fear

    Describes what happened when it first became known in our neighborhood that I have schizophrenia; mothers would take their children inside whenever I appeared outside; but once our neighbors became used to me the situation has changed dramatically and for the better


    This summary is a good reminder (for me at least) of what we have already addressed in this mini-series.  I hope this background will be helpful to you too, especially if you'll be joining other readers of the Choices in Recovery series for the first time with the blog I'll be posting next Sunday.

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    Please remember, this writing reflects my own experience and opinions.  If you, or a loved one, are experiencing the symptoms of schizophrenia, or any other mental illness, you should seek professional assistance.


Published On: October 05, 2008