Generativity and Recovery! Part Three: Dismantling Industry Constructs to Make Generativity Possible

When I think back to my twenty-two-year career working with other providers, my mid-career first-break, and the things that helped me recover, like my dog, I know for sure that the standard of care needs is a disservice to those who experience madness.

Many people who have breaks from reality get that permanent housing trajectory in their heads and rant and rail against it. They may still believe that there is such a thing as schizophrenia and be disinterested in the lives of their peers who are clearly schizophrenics. Those who have breaks, like me, are extremely diverse with distinctive cultural backgrounds, different access to resources and differing levels of buy into to the concept that they are permanently ill with something that will never go away. Those without a history of privilege become very susceptible for decline into permanent warehousing conditions that make healing very challenging.

Clearly, dismantling industry constructs for things like schizophrenia and poor prognosis is an important component of recovery. I have a hunch that to plan for generativity, schizophrenic constructs, other disorder constructs that block the formation of counterculture, and constructs from developmental psychology need to be challenged.

 

 

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Continue reading “Generativity and Recovery! Part Three: Dismantling Industry Constructs to Make Generativity Possible”

Generativity and Recovery! Part Two: Generativity in My Own Recovery

My three-month psychiatric incarceration seemed to be aimed at discrediting me after I had leaked newspaper stories. On my way to Canada to seek asylum, I was stopped by police. I evaded them for three days through rural towns and surrendered one midnight, from a ditch on a mountain pass.

It was hard for me to accept the way I was treated. Confined to a ward for two weeks, I walked in circles. I barked on the payphone testing many of my supports. They all just said I was delusional.

I really did learn a lot from a mob boss’s daughter. There are a lot to the rules that govern those of us who get trafficked in this land of the free. Still, I did what I could to disrespect the mob especially because my counselor told me not to. And so, I endured a month of chronic warehousing conditions. I had to wear other peoples’ clothes to brave the ice-cold of the barely heated ward.

Continue reading “Generativity and Recovery! Part Two: Generativity in My Own Recovery”

Generativity and Recovery! Part One: The Need to Plan for Generativity from the First Break

 

In the United States, when a person has what is often referred to as a first break, the courses of action that get taken against them may end up being a crime against their humanity.

While there can be very diverse responses from family and friends, there is the unfortunate tendency to turn to the mental health industry for support and direction. Many providers in the industry only know the standard of care which is to refer the person to a hospital and psychiatric medications.

Few providers take an interest in understanding and exploring the important experiences that lead to the break. I call these experiences special messages. Finding a provider who is curious about these experiences, skilled at understanding them, and who knows better than to try to suppress them can be rare.

Many providers fail to acknowledge the trauma involved in the lives of the people who have first breaks and that the trauma that gets worsened as the standard of care—forced medication, social security, revolving hospital doors, and warehousing—get implemented. Many presume this is a necessary process.

Continue reading “Generativity and Recovery! Part One: The Need to Plan for Generativity from the First Break”

Living with Learning Disabilities as a Psychotherapist, Writer, and Mental Health Consumer

Never saw my hometown until I stayed away too long

I never heard the melody until I needed the song . . .

. . . I never I spoke “I love you” till I cursed you in vain

Never felt my heart strings until I nearly went insane

                                                           

–Tom Waites, San Diego Serenade

 

It is funny how sometimes one cannot really see themselves until they get a glimpse of a harsh paradoxical reality. Perhaps doing so gives one that alternate perspective that is so necessary to really see oneself and gain wisdom. I think that’s what Tom Waites is getting at in the excerpts of his song I posted above. That is why the ability to relate to others is such a powerful teacher and healer that is so needed in a therapeutic endeavor. Other people’s struggles help us stop and see ourselves better. Even if it is painful, growth is likely.

And, just as the song goes, I never really saw myself as a learning-disabled person until I just recently had the opportunity to sit with an individual while she was receiving a mid-life diagnosis. It was a diagnosis that I thought might be helpful. Little did I know that before this sitting, I rarely considered the full effect of how a learning disorder affects me as a writer, therapist and mental health consumer.

 

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Continue reading “Living with Learning Disabilities as a Psychotherapist, Writer, and Mental Health Consumer”

A Need for Providers who Specialize in “Psychosis.”

I was hired straight out of college into work in the counseling field. I started to work with an adult mental health population at my second professional job at the age of twenty-three. Since that time I have been increasingly focused on how to make therapeutic engagement meaningful when working with people in “psychosis.” In the field there are many who will say or imply this is not possible. They may argue that the mental health system is the best we can do. This story is for the providers who think more can be done to help individuals who have anomalous experiences.

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Working my way through graduate school, I can still remember struggling to get my dumb-ass footings as a professional counselor. I remember thinking about how ironic it is that they start you out with the most sophisticated of problems.

“Oh, you’re good,” said this vagabond homeless man who sticks out in my memory.

“What do you mean?” I asked perplexed by how he could affirm me with such confidence.

“Well, I can tell because you just asked me what was going on with my schizophrenia, like you really wanted to understand it.” Continue reading “A Need for Providers who Specialize in “Psychosis.””

Special Messages Excerpt: Self-Exploration through Causation2

Following up from my last post that featured political causation ideas, this post features examples of some spiritual causation ideas that I frequently use to understand some of my current message experiences. These  last two posts are from my second to last chapter which documents psychological, trauma, and scientific causation explanations in addition to the political and spiritual explanations I am including. I assert in the chapter my belief that the more causation understandings that a message receiver has at their disposal, the more they are able to establish or maintain the flexibility that is required to break out of a message crisis or “psychosis” episode. As I describe below, key to being able to break out of an episode is a willingness to leave causation up to god, and choose the causation explanation that enables you to function with the least amount of distress.

Ultimately there are more causation arguments than I could possibly identify and the more we listen and learn to new explanations for unique individuals, I’d argue the better off we will be.

 

Detailed Spiritual Causation Examples: Continue reading “Special Messages Excerpt: Self-Exploration through Causation2”

Ode to Self-Discovery

To hell with the insipid emptiness

That keeps good people ineptly drowned!

Gaze into the perplexed distress and bless

The self that is so often shackle bound!

This is my pledge to the introspection

That so often is betrayed or unknown

Or left to rot in the gutter of dread

And then scavenged for the insurrection.

Together we starve and wither alone

Our thirst being a statement left unsaid.

 

There is numbness that grasps the bone

Which is surrounded by layer upon layer

Of prickle that persistently drones

Out experiences that do conjure

Recurrent traumas of spirits within.

Like swollen flesh, nothingness throbs

Throughout enduring routine of day

Expanding its reign under your skin

Until your inner turmoil sobs

Containing misery you cannot delay.

 

Continue reading “Ode to Self-Discovery”

Special Messages Excerpt: Self-Exploration through Causation

This excerpt is going to operate with the contention that there are five causes of “psychosis”: political, psychological, scientific, trauma, and spiritual. In the chapter I have written, I extensively review differing types of causal arguments that can arise within each causation style. Clearly in the chapter, there is some cross over as science mixes with trauma and politics etcetera. In the chapter, I post ideas that I clearly disagree with and that are not for me. I do so because I have nine years of experience listening to the causal arguments of other people and I respect that other causal arguments may be true for other people. Indeed help comes in different forms for different people. In the chapter, the intention is that as the reader reads through these causation examples, they may relate to some new causal explanation they haven’t thought of. I believe that increasing the number of causal arguments that you have gives you more power to be resilient and flexible when you face threatening or distressing messages as you go through life.

But here, in the excerpt below, I am just going to share three political causation ideas I have heard over the years. This is the theory style that I was most stuck on when I was in crisis. Though thinking this way was toxic for me at the time, in recovery I can reflect on ways that some of my special messages were in fact political in nature. I personally was able to dig myself out of crisis when I shifted to the spiritual causation theory style, a style that causes some to get stuck and marginalized. In the chapter, I legitimize these two causation theories in addition to thoroughly exploring the other legitimate theory styles, psychological, trauma, and scientific.

 

Detailed Political Causation Examples: Continue reading “Special Messages Excerpt: Self-Exploration through Causation”

How to keep “Psychosis” Focus Groups Inclusive:

I fervently believe that having survivor-led group therapy that redefines “psychosis” is missing in the system.

Over the last nine years, I’ve been leading what I call special message groups in multicultural settings. I have found that such groups can be run safely and have the power to transform lives. However, I do admit that when it comes to kicking people out of group to maintain group equilibrium and safety that I believe there are a few things to consider first.

Firstly, I believe that a group leader needs to be prepared for the fact that mad people show up in very different ways. Group facilitators need to be familiar with and recognize a wide variety of presentations or manifestations. Perhaps group members may feel like they are being mocked by others in the group via illusionary ideas of reference or even controlled by them. They may code up their language for protection. They may treat the facilitator as if the facilitator can hear the same voices they hear. They may not believe, in spite of stories shared, that the facilitator has experienced what they have.

Continue reading “How to keep “Psychosis” Focus Groups Inclusive:”