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"Recovering" from Mental Illness

Drapeaux

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Do you think it's possible to recover from mental illness? I sometimes hear people say they've recovered, and it strikes me as an interesting choice of words, as usually the consensus medically tends to be that people manage mental illness with things like therapy and medication.
 

prplchknz

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Maybe some but I'm guessing you're refering to things like bipolar, schizophrenia, ect and those i think the best you can hopeful is manage them sure you might have a good med regiment and not have an episode for years or even the rest of your life but there's always the possibility.
 

Drapeaux

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Maybe some but I'm guessing you're refering to things like bipolar, schizophrenia, ect and those i think the best you can hopeful is manage them sure you might have a good med regiment and not have an episode for years or even the rest of your life but there's always the possibility.

Yeah, I think the danger of language like "recovery" is that it makes people think they're recovered and can stop treatment when in reality it's the treatment that is managing the illness, and without it, there'd be no feeling of recovery.
 

cascadeco

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Maybe using that phrase is due more to a misunderstanding of what a diagnosed mental illness actually is or means? It could be what's being used by 'everyone else' when they're speaking of more situational events or situational depression, etc. Or perhaps for some if they feel cognitive therapy alone 'heals' them or removes all previous stumbling blocks then they have recovered? I suppose too it's a term commonly associated with addiction and 'recovering' from that, even though my understanding is it's a daily/lifelong commitment for those with addiction.
 

prplchknz

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Yeah, I think the danger of language like "recovery" is that it makes people think they're recovered and can stop treatment when in reality it's the treatment that is managing the illness, and without it, there'd be no feeling of recovery.

yeah i usually think oh i don't have it all and quit treatment.

but yeah i can see that being an issue
 

Forest Nymph

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This is a really complicated subject. I was talking to/seeing a guy for a few months who wants to go to grad school to further his studies in psych, and his undergrad was in transcultural psychology, which is psych applied without a Western bias to as much degree possible.

Well.

One of the reasons why I felt so drawn to him was because his view of mental illness was so intelligent and open minded. His view was that a lot of things that are termed "mental illness" are just "inability to cope within the present oppressive structure" and that such people would be just fine in a different environment, say living in a Medieval agricultural society, or in a tribal situation. One of the reasons why gender-fluid is now accepted is because of the idea of transcultural psychology, and the acknowledgment that in some earlier societies, such people were honored as wise special and spiritual rather than shunned and abused.

There's a strong trend for people who are bipolar to be very successful people, even extremely bipolar people are often famous actors, artists, dancers, or writers who simply must live a more creative and less structured life. Some severe cases die young, but what they leave society is so amazing that it's like they lived 150 years. The examples are literally too numerous to name. AND interestingly, people who have a milder form of Bipolar, I think it's Bipolar II, never actually become manic, they only become hypomanic, so can be extremely productive in spurts, and do things like create or run businesses.

My friend even challenged my ideas of schizophrenia and autism, he basically said, as long as they're happy as they are what does it matter. Then I decided I agreed with him, because what makes mental illness so hellish is the suffering of being depressed, anxious, confused, lethargic, rejected, etc. So if someone is differently abled but they are content and functional in their own way then who cares?

So we should probably take this perspective on mental illness, that you can recover from the suffering, whether it's depression or an eating disorder, but maybe you shouldn't have to "recover" from being who you fucking are.
 

Mole

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Mental illness is usually not caused by a lesion or an infection, so there is nothing to recover from.

We medicalised mental illness to remove the mentally ill from jail. And so began the fiction we can cure mental illness, and we now have a fashionable industry called Recovery.
 

Frosty

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Depends on the illness. Some people, with therapy and medication, can expect to recover from certain illnessesamostly ones on the depression and anxiety spectrums. Some people can recover WITHOUT either of those things. Some people can be in therapy and on medication for the rest of their lives- with no hope of total recovery but with SOME hope of managing and minimizing symptoms for an improved quality of life aka some can expect to reach a level of maintenance where they can live lives WITH an illness but without the illness fully dominanting.

I dont think the idea of “recovery” is dangerous as long as its not placed upon everyone with a mental illness as a blanket expectation. Because everyone is different and some people just dont get to experience “recovery” no matter what they do- and often that is through no fault of their own.

I think communication is one of the most important things. If you have an illness that you can recover from, GREAT- Im glad for you- and hope that all those helping you are helping you grab at that hope of “recovery”. If your illness is not something you can expect to totally recover from- I hope those helping are being honest in that regard to so that you arent being fed false hope- but that they are also trying to help you find alternative ways of coping so that you can have hope of something ‘better’- even if it doesnt mean a full ‘recovery’.

Its all about helping each individual find how to live the best lives they can with the hands they are dealt. Everyones got different cards- pretending different is silly- but no one is entirely hopeless. I honestly believe that. It is what keeps me going- even if I cant, personally, fully “recover”
 

Drapeaux

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This is a really complicated subject. I was talking to/seeing a guy for a few months who wants to go to grad school to further his studies in psych, and his undergrad was in transcultural psychology, which is psych applied without a Western bias to as much degree possible.

Well.

One of the reasons why I felt so drawn to him was because his view of mental illness was so intelligent and open minded. His view was that a lot of things that are termed "mental illness" are just "inability to cope within the present oppressive structure" and that such people would be just fine in a different environment, say living in a Medieval agricultural society, or in a tribal situation. One of the reasons why gender-fluid is now accepted is because of the idea of transcultural psychology, and the acknowledgment that in some earlier societies, such people were honored as wise special and spiritual rather than shunned and abused.

There's a strong trend for people who are bipolar to be very successful people, even extremely bipolar people are often famous actors, artists, dancers, or writers who simply must live a more creative and less structured life. Some severe cases die young, but what they leave society is so amazing that it's like they lived 150 years. The examples are literally too numerous to name. AND interestingly, people who have a milder form of Bipolar, I think it's Bipolar II, never actually become manic, they only become hypomanic, so can be extremely productive in spurts, and do things like create or run businesses.

My friend even challenged my ideas of schizophrenia and autism, he basically said, as long as they're happy as they are what does it matter. Then I decided I agreed with him, because what makes mental illness so hellish is the suffering of being depressed, anxious, confused, lethargic, rejected, etc. So if someone is differently abled but they are content and functional in their own way then who cares?

So we should probably take this perspective on mental illness, that you can recover from the suffering, whether it's depression or an eating disorder, but maybe you shouldn't have to "recover" from being who you fucking are.

I think that, for a lot of the more serious illnesses, people can believe they're healthy and happy and that they aren't affected negatively when they actually are. The nature of some mental illnesses is lack of insight and self awareness. I don't think people should just be left to hurt themselves or potentially sometimes even others without interference, even if they believe they're okay. It's cruel. I do respect your friend's undergrad and think that approach is an important aspect of the field of psychology, but it shouldn't be taken to extremes.
 

Drapeaux

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Mental illness is usually not caused by a lesion or an infection, so there is nothing to recover from.

We medicalised mental illness to remove the mentally ill from jail. And so began the fiction we can cure mental illness, and we now have a fashionable industry called Recovery.

Are you saying you'd rather mentally ill people be in jail? The medical consensus is that mental illness is caused by chemical imbalance in the brain, so there often is something to recover from, technically.
 

Forest Nymph

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I think that, for a lot of the more serious illnesses, people can believe they're healthy and happy and that they aren't affected negatively when they actually are. The nature of some mental illnesses is lack of insight and self awareness. I don't think people should just be left to hurt themselves or potentially sometimes even others without interference, even if they believe they're okay. It's cruel. I do respect your friend's undergrad and think that approach is an important aspect of the field of psychology, but it shouldn't be taken to extremes.

Well....his older has severe autism, so he has experience to think. He grew up in a normal small town family so didn't think advance to retreat.

I trust him to make the right decisions. I have been concerned with schizophrenia since high school. I have bipolar disorder, I have long lived with stigma, both real and imagined, though I have very high grades academically. I relate a lot to people with autism because of my intellect versus my lower emotional quotient.

My mother once told me I was too smart to be mentally ill, and one of my sisters still treats me this way. I can't figure out if it more disabling to be overprotected like one of my three sisters (one is extremely mentally ill) or to be rejected as too smart to be given consideration.

My schizoaffective sister has been coddled her entire life for being childlike with her Virgin Mary statues, psychic visions and redneck husband and child. I'm handled much differently for being speculative, scientific, big city, spinster, non-mother, I've constantly been questioned like "YOU ARE SO SMART" and honestly that is unhelpful too.
 

Mole

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Are you saying you'd rather mentally ill people be in jail? The medical consensus is that mental illness is caused by chemical imbalance in the brain, so there often is something to recover from, technically.

Here we have abolished capital punishment, and we have closed the mental asylums, and we have abolished guns.

But still it remains that mental illness is usually not caused by a lesion or an infection.
 

Tilt

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I think you can recover, but not necessarily be completely free of it.
 

Legion

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Are you saying you'd rather mentally ill people be in jail? The medical consensus is that mental illness is caused by chemical imbalance in the brain, so there often is something to recover from, technically.

I thought the "chemical imbalance" model was just used as a cop out to say "we don't know"?

It's like... say you hit someone, and they got angry at you for it. Then you said: you weren't angry because I hit you, you were angry because of a chemical imbalance in your brain. Because emotions have a correlate in terms of brain chemistry. Not a very useful approach.
 

Drapeaux

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I thought the "chemical imbalance" model was just used as a cop out to say "we don't know"?

It's like... say you hit someone, and they got angry at you for it. Then you said: you weren't angry because I hit you, you were angry because of a chemical imbalance in your brain. Because emotions have a correlate in terms of brain chemistry. Not a very useful approach.

Well, there's a difference between a cause and effect emotion sequence like being angry because someone hit you and mental illness. Feeling anger appropriately actually shows chemical balance. Feeling it inappropriately can be because of chemical imbalance. Obviously the feeling in both circumstances is caused by chemicals. So it's important to differentiate.
 

Legion

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Well, there's a difference between a cause and effect emotion sequence like being angry because someone hit you and mental illness. Feeling anger appropriately actually shows chemical balance. Feeling it inappropriately can be because of chemical imbalance. Obviously the feeling in both circumstances is caused by chemicals. So it's important to differentiate.

Many "mental illnesses" are then a balanced reaction to circumstance.

This is just another example of social control.

"You're mentally ill."
"No, I'm reacting to my circumstances."
"Your reaction is not appropriate."
"Why not?"
"Because that is what we have decided."
 

Legion

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I think that, for a lot of the more serious illnesses, people can believe they're healthy and happy and that they aren't affected negatively when they actually are. The nature of some mental illnesses is lack of insight and self awareness. I don't think people should just be left to hurt themselves or potentially sometimes even others without interference, even if they believe they're okay. It's cruel. I do respect your friend's undergrad and think that approach is an important aspect of the field of psychology, but it shouldn't be taken to extremes.

"You're mentally ill."
"No I'm not."
"Yes you are, you just don't know it because you lack insight."
"Well if I am, it doesn't affect me or anyone else negatively."
"Yes it does, you just don't know it because you lack insight."
"Prove it! Show me the evidence!"
"I have 10 years of training. I am an expert."

(at that point, anyone can be claimed to be mentally ill)
 

Drapeaux

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Many "mental illnesses" are then a balanced reaction to circumstance.

This is just another example of social control.

"You're mentally ill."
"No, I'm reacting to my circumstances."
"Your reaction is not appropriate."
"Why not?"
"Because that is what we have decided."

"You're mentally ill."
"No I'm not."
"Yes you are, you just don't know it because you lack insight."
"Well if I am, it doesn't affect me or anyone else negatively."
"Yes it does, you just don't know it because you lack insight."
"Prove it! Show me the evidence!"
"I have 10 years of training. I am an expert."

(at that point, anyone can be claimed to be mentally ill)

There exists an objective metric of what reactions fall into the category of inappropriate. That's what the DSM is for. It's akin to a surgeon who finds with an X-ray that their patient's bowel is perforated or something. Obviously the surgeon has the skill and training to say that's a problem and fix it, even if the patient doesn't think it is. There are conditions a surgeon might need to fix that the patient may not even be aware of, but that doesn't mean it's not a problem, and you would naturally give more consideration to the surgeon's take on the matter. Not because the surgeon is more important, but because he or she has an understanding of medicine and views the patient as important enough to help. Brain scans show a difference in the brains of people with things like bipolar and schizophrenia and that of the general population.
 

Legion

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There exists an objective metric of what reactions fall into the category of inappropriate. That's what the DSM is for. It's akin to a surgeon who finds with an X-ray that their patient's bowel is perforated or something. Obviously the surgeon has the skill and training to say that's a problem and fix it, even if the patient doesn't think it is. There are conditions a surgeon might need to fix that the patient may not even be aware of, but that doesn't mean it's not a problem, and you would naturally give more consideration to the surgeon's take on the matter. Not because the surgeon is more important, but because he or she has an understanding of medicine and views the patient as important enough to help. Brain scans show a difference in the brains of people with things like bipolar and schizophrenia and that of the general population.

Psychiatry does not have the level of evidence associated with it that medicine does. Honestly, you seem to just be buying into the narrative that the mental health system is propagating without really thinking critically about it.

I've heard it said that there are no objective tests that can be conducted to determine if a patient does in fact suffer (or "suffer") from schizophrenia or not.

So, suppose that schizophrenia is a real thing that a person either has or does not have. Now, suppose that a person has been diagnosed as a schizophrenic, but it was a misdiagnosis. Suppose that what the psychiatrist thought of as schizophrenia was in fact an appropriate reaction to circumstance and there was no chemical imbalance.

In that situation, the imagined conversations that I just posted could easily approximate the actual conversations between the psychiatrist and patient.

Patient: "I'm not schizophrenic." (correct)
Psychiatrist: "Yes you are, but you don't know it because you lack insight." (incorrect)
Patient: "Well, prove that I have schizophrenia then."
Psychiatrist: "There are no objective tests to prove it, but I am a medically trained professional, I know."
Patient: "Ok fine, maybe I'm schizophrenic then, but so what, just let me live my life!"
Psychiatrist: "No, you must be medicated with anti-psychotics for the rest of your life. You can either accept this willingly, or unwillingly."


Surely you must recognise that even if psychiatric diagnosis is valid a lot of the time, it is also invalid a lot of the time. Try reading about anti-psychiatry, or alternate paradigms related to psychosis like spiritual emergency.
 
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