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I am a person who has been hospitlized against my will many times,and also hospitalized many times when I saw it as the "only way". I have been on psychiatric medication for years. I would prefer to go withour medication because of the bad, unescapable side-effects. I have been on nearly all the antipsyshotic medications. in the US. Yet, I take medication because it largely helps me do many of the things I want to do in life.
Now, for the first time in my life, I am able to work full time in the peer delivered services field. If I could do this without medication, be certain that I would. However, I have found certain limits and I know that at this time, I need to take medication, and do my best to minimize the side-effects .
Having a job is terrific!I know that many people with mental health issues who would love a chance to work, but believe it is out of the range of possiblity to be paid for anything that we might do. We need to realize that all of us have something we can contribute. The times when I have been treated with discrimination and prejudice have been too frquent and very difficult to handle. I was told many times that I could not work, and that it was out of reach to have a job.
In my work, I try to convey that we have much power and responsiblity for our personal outcome. I call this empowerment, and hope that I convey to folks that we derserve respect and freedom to make our own choices. Still, even when we are empowered and exercising of our self-determination, we need a culture around us that supports our recovery, that respects us,and affirms our human and civil rights.
I believe that as a culture we must find better alternatives to locking people away. We do need more options, like robust peer delivered services and supports that help people before our situations end in crisis. Right now, jail, or the state hospital is too often the "solution"--and this is unacceptable.
Let us have compassion for all the persons on all sides of this discussion. And then we must act to change our culture into a place where those of us with mental health issues are embraced and supported on our recovery paths, rather than incarcerated and put out of sight. Our belief in our abilty to be well is a starting point, and we need the means to realize this belief and goal.
posted 2 years, 12 months ago
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