Hope and Recovery

Pat Deegan reflects on her own experience an shares about the need for hope in recovery:

He said, I should retire from life and avoid stress. I have come to call my psychiatrist’s pronouncement a “prognosis of doom”. He was condemning me to a life of handicaptivity wherein I was expected to take high dose neuroleptics, avoid stress, retire from life and I was not even 18 years old! My psychiatrist did not understand that boredom is stressful! A life devoid of meaning and purpose is stressful! A vegetative life is stressful. A life in handicaptivity, lived out within the confines of the human services landscape, where the only people who spend time with you, are people who are paid to be with you – that is stressful! Living on disability checks from the government is stressful.

When I was diagnosed I needed hopeful messages and role models. I needed to hear that there were pathways into a better future for me. I needed to connect with others who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and who had recovered lives of meaning and purpose. I needed to find others who had completed college and who had jobs and who got married and had families, and had an apartment and a car.

Why is hope important to recovery? Because hope is the root of life’s energy. In order to recover, I had to turn away from the wish that psychiatrists could fix me. I had to turn away from the myth that psychiatric treatments could cure me. Instead, I had to mobilize all of the energy I had. I had to become an active partner in my recovery. I had to learn to work collaboratively with my treatment team and to draw strength from the wisdom of my peers. I had to begin striving for my goals, not when I was “all better”, but from day one. I had to believe that there was a life for me beyond the confines of the mental health system. That is hope. Hope is the tenacious pursuit of pathways to a better life, despite the odds. Without hope, there is no recovery.

Amen. Please go and read the whole post at her blog and spend some time poking around her posts.

2014’s top posts: #1

A terrible loss for Dawn Farm and the field

(from 3.27.14)

644154_4046299231979_1957479813_nLast night (Wednesday), Pat Gibbons, Dawn Farm’s Medical Director and psychiatrist died suddenly. We’re stunned. He was just at Spera on Tuesday night seeing clients. It’s a terrible loss for Dawn Farm and our community.

Any words I can come up with feel entirely inadequate, but here goes.

He was a model of the power of recovery. He paid his debt forward as much as anyone I’ve ever seen.

  • He was a mentor and source of support for hundreds of recovering men.
  • He volunteered for Dawn Farm in several capacities over the years. His contributions were always quiet, but always important.
  • He provided free and inexpensive medical and psychiatric care to countless clients.
  • He helped establish and disseminate a protocol that helped benzodiazepine and alcohol dependent patients safely detox in non-medical settings.

Gibbons1-300x279Pat established himself as the most respected addiction psychiatrist in the region and served at University of Michigan, the Veterans Administration, Community Support and Treatment Services, the Health Professional Recovery Program, Pain Recovery Solutions and Dawn Farm.

Pat interacted with ALL of his patients in a manner that conveyed hope, many of whom had been discarded and neglected by other systems.

Facebook is being flooded with comments from friends, former patients and colleagues remembering his kindness, intelligence, wisdom, compassion, humility, sense of humor, patience and gratitude. People are giving him credit for their recovery, their careers and much more.

In the midst of all this, he was a proud father of six children.

We are grateful to have had him as part of our family. His death is going to be a terrible loss for the community. I can’t think of anyone who has done as much to improve medical and psychiatric care for our most vulnerable community members. We will miss him terribly. He was a very good man.

gibbons-&-santa

In the doctor’s office

90 day humility by katyhutch
90 day humility by katyhutch

Anna David shares her personal experience with an all-too-common problem. Doctors who don’t understand addiction and do more harm than good:

I continued to see my pinkie-ring psychiatrist for the next year or so, because he told me I had to if he was to keep prescribing me Paxil and Ambien—drugs I was convinced I needed. I thought he was a terrible psychiatrist and a worse person, and found the $250 half-hour sessions a serious financial strain. But he was a professional, and I was desperate and afraid.

Then one day he calmly explained that he couldn’t continue to see me, and I “must know why.” I theorized it had to do with my constantly telling him I’d gone out of town again and—would you believe it—had left my bottle of Ambien in Houston or Vegas (in reality I was barely leaving my apartment and taking roughly 10 times the amount he’d prescribed me). But I was too ashamed to say anything, so I only nodded.

He told me to find a new shrink, and that he wouldn’t give me any more Paxil; then he handed me a prescription for six months’ worth of Ambien. At no point did he mention AA, rehab, or even the words “addict” or “addiction.” I left his office hysterically crying, scrip in hand, feeling like he hoped I would kill myself.

It’s a big enough problem that we decided to add it to our education series.

2012′s most popular posts #1 – Hope and Recovery

Pat Deegan reflects on her own experience an shares about the need for hope in recovery:

He said, I should retire from life and avoid stress. I have come to call my psychiatrist’s pronouncement a “prognosis of doom”. He was condemning me to a life of handicaptivity wherein I was expected to take high dose neuroleptics, avoid stress, retire from life and I was not even 18 years old! My psychiatrist did not understand that boredom is stressful! A life devoid of meaning and purpose is stressful! A vegetative life is stressful. A life in handicaptivity, lived out within the confines of the human services landscape, where the only people who spend time with you, are people who are paid to be with you – that is stressful! Living on disability checks from the government is stressful.

When I was diagnosed I needed hopeful messages and role models. I needed to hear that there were pathways into a better future for me. I needed to connect with others who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and who had recovered lives of meaning and purpose. I needed to find others who had completed college and who had jobs and who got married and had families, and had an apartment and a car.

Why is hope important to recovery? Because hope is the root of life’s energy. In order to recover, I had to turn away from the wish that psychiatrists could fix me. I had to turn away from the myth that psychiatric treatments could cure me. Instead, I had to mobilize all of the energy I had. I had to become an active partner in my recovery. I had to learn to work collaboratively with my treatment team and to draw strength from the wisdom of my peers. I had to begin striving for my goals, not when I was “all better”, but from day one. I had to believe that there was a life for me beyond the confines of the mental health system. That is hope. Hope is the tenacious pursuit of pathways to a better life, despite the odds. Without hope, there is no recovery.

Amen. Please go and read the whole post at her blog and spend some time poking around her posts.

 

Hope and Recovery

Pat Deegan reflects on her own experience an shares about the need for hope in recovery:

He said, I should retire from life and avoid stress. I have come to call my psychiatrist’s pronouncement a “prognosis of doom”. He was condemning me to a life of handicaptivity wherein I was expected to take high dose neuroleptics, avoid stress, retire from life and I was not even 18 years old! My psychiatrist did not understand that boredom is stressful! A life devoid of meaning and purpose is stressful! A vegetative life is stressful. A life in handicaptivity, lived out within the confines of the human services landscape, where the only people who spend time with you, are people who are paid to be with you – that is stressful! Living on disability checks from the government is stressful.

When I was diagnosed I needed hopeful messages and role models. I needed to hear that there were pathways into a better future for me. I needed to connect with others who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and who had recovered lives of meaning and purpose. I needed to find others who had completed college and who had jobs and who got married and had families, and had an apartment and a car.

Why is hope important to recovery? Because hope is the root of life’s energy. In order to recover, I had to turn away from the wish that psychiatrists could fix me. I had to turn away from the myth that psychiatric treatments could cure me. Instead, I had to mobilize all of the energy I had. I had to become an active partner in my recovery. I had to learn to work collaboratively with my treatment team and to draw strength from the wisdom of my peers. I had to begin striving for my goals, not when I was “all better”, but from day one. I had to believe that there was a life for me beyond the confines of the mental health system. That is hope. Hope is the tenacious pursuit of pathways to a better life, despite the odds. Without hope, there is no recovery.

Amen. Please go and read the whole post at her blog and spend some time poking around her posts.