I saw an article on a blog about spirituality about how “bipolar illness” can be a blessing. I would think so, too, if I believed that emotional distress was actually a permanent illness. However, I don’t. I’ve explained that many times in the disease vs. distress discussions at my business blog.
Of the 55 comments on this article about “bipolar illness,” none were from psychiatric survivors, the mental health civil rights movement. People seemed not to have heard of us. I posted the following comment to try to make an introduction.
I used to have bipolar illness and 11 other mental health labels. It went away. I got sucked into the mental health system during a spiritual emergency. My life situations weren’t addressed, like poor job fit, my spiritual crisis, drug use (pot), or a nonfunctioning marriage. I was told I had bipolar and put on lots of meds. I lost hope of my role in society and made suicide attempts and got shock treatments.
Eventually I found The National Empowerment Center which connected me to other people who had fully recovered. I learned how people get pulled into mental health care due to trauma, problems with social roles, grief, spiritual crises, lack of exercise, nutrition problems, etc. All these are temporary situations that can be resolved with more or less effort.
But once someone with a temporary situation is told they have a permanent illness (which has never been proved), then often they lose hope and stop working on resolving underlying life problems. The medications can often cause more problems than they solve, get this info on the Mad In America website. I’m not posting links because they often don’t get through spam filters but you can Google this stuff.
What I’ve found is that my “bipolar illness” was often a reaction to my trauma issues being reactivated. Or not taking care of my sleep schedule or not exercising or not finding my personal power through art. Other people have different core causes and different personal power resolutions, including spirituality for many.
There are over 30,000 people out in the US that have completely recovered from mental health labels. We call ourselves psychiatric survivors. We didn’t survive the illness, we survived the treatment. Our national conference is called Alternatives. You can Google my name or Spiritual Emergency, too, to see how I came through my latest spiritual crisis without needing mental health care. I knew better this time around. Honest mental health information is out there but it’s unfortunately way too tough to find. I think God has called me to free our people like Moses by creating a national conduit to get this information out. I, too struggle with feeling like I’m not being humble to admit I’ve been given this big of a task. But “prophet” just means someone with a calling, and we all have some kind of calling. God promised to be with his prophets, to give us words as long as we have strength and courage.
Thanks for the courage to share your words, Evelyn and everyone else who shared their stories. Keep faith and remember “Our tools are not for marketing and manipulation, but for smashing warped philosophies. For breaking down barriers erected against the truth of God.” 2 Cor 10:3-5. MSG