”It is an important, meaningful, entirely valid experience to feel grief and despair at the thought of all we lose to being labeled “mentally ill” and put on psychotropic drugs. In fact, feeling these feelings – including anger and rage – is crucial to reclaiming our lives. So much gets taken by those who’ve claimed to be “helping” us – our physical health, our sexuality, our creativity, our cognitive capacities, our families, our jobs, our relationships, our ability to connect with others, our identities, our hopes for the future, our humanity – that it can seem nearly impossible to wrap one’s mind around the fact that these experiences never had to happen. It seems utterly baffling to think that the promises we sought in psychiatry and the “Mental Health” industry would take us so far from ourselves and lead us so deep into darkness and despair.
But the beauty in all the pain is this: to be human is to be given the unending opportunity for profound transformation, especially in the wake of great oppression. If you’re out there and you’re convinced your life has been wasted because of psychiatric drugs and a “mentally ill” identity, or that you’ve been robbed of the chance to be fully part of the human race, or that you’re a victim of psychiatry, hang in there, and don’t give up hope. What you’re feeling is healthy and valid and meaningful, and if you keep moving forward, one foot in front of the other, day after day, hour after hour, minute after minute, life will open itself up to you once again as you heal from “mental health treatment”. ”
Thanks, Laura. The writer sees this much as you do. At this service, we work with many people traumatized and/or unhelped by the ‘mental health’ system/ways of seeing, in this country. Our purpose is to support each person in making sense of their life experience, in healing and growing which arises inwardly – and cannot be offered, much less imposed, from outside. Our experience tells us this purpose is served through the connecting power of a human relationship characterized by presence, love, empathy and authenticity – so we look for therapists we think have it within themselves to offer that, rather than self-identifying as ‘mental health professionals’. This seems to be a minority perspective in our current cultural climate – and so part of the purpose of this blog is to make connections with others who share it, so that we can support each other in the work we do.
Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter