I’ve decided to publish an extra blog entry today in response to a news article I read online this morning.
“Work and Love: A Psychotic’s Recipe for Recovery” continues in the long line of sensational titles and stories geared to getting clicks and eyeballs for websites in Internet media.
My memoir Left of the Dial is boldfaced in a different way: it dares suggest that infiltrating the mainstream on your own terms is preferable to identifying yourself by your symptoms. A lot of us learn the hard way that the only power the diagnosis has over you is the power you give it.
To be psychotic is to lose control of your thoughts and your actions. It wouldn’t be trendy to publish the writing of someone who was truly psychotic.
I’m interested in throwing others a life preserver not filming the sinking ship of the mental health system while its passengers are drowning. It’s 2015: too late in the history of recovery to keep reinforcing that it’s OK to be psychotic rather than to manage your chronic illness well so that it’s not the focus of your whole life.
I do have compassion for individuals who have ongoing symptoms. That’s not the point I’m making. The point is that the media refuses to publish stories of a person like me who has been in remission 23 years because she got the right help right away. It hasn’t been OK to dare to tell a different story: that you can live a full and robust life apart from your illness.
I champion acting true to yourself. Who are you? Are you a psychotic? Or a tango tootsie? Or a fabulous foodie?
Conformity is repression. I vowed long ago not to repress my personality to try to be accepted in society by other people. Yet oddly: conforming to the role of a psychotic is an accepted identity in the media and in real life. It is an identity that is reinforced by people who believe in the stereotypes and by the media that perpetrate these stereotypes.
I dream that the day will come when mental illness isn’t the sole focus of the life or the reportage of a person diagnosed with schizophrenia. This revolution won’t be televised when it happens.
Yet I can assure you this revolution is already happening. Individuals with schizophrenia who get the right treatment right away get to the point in their lives where conquering the illness isn’t a full-time job. The hardship in effect is a memory that might resonate yet it’s not ever the core of who we are.
Who are you?
I’m a fierce female fitness buff.