Hope Heals

Brene Brown in her book The Gifts of Imperfection quotes a leading researcher who defines hope as a strategy not a feeling:

The act of setting a goal, taking steps to achieve it, and revising your plan or changing your goal when the original one doesn’t work out.

In this way: hope heals.

I stand in solidarity with others who were told subtly or directly that there was no hope for them because they had schizophrenia.

After I came out of the hospital, I was shunted into a community mental health system ill-equipped to help me. The very counselors who should’ve helped me stigmatized me.

This is why I’m no fan of the current “consumer recovery movement” as it now exists. I’m a member of the Positive Psychiatry Movement instead. There’s a difference.

The consumer recovery movement parrots opinions as if they were facts. Their denial of anosognosia as a real symptom is an opinion not a fact.

Anosognosia or the lack of insight that you have an illness is documented in over 15 research studies. It is caused by frontal lobe lesions in the brain and upwards of 50 percent of individuals with schizophrenia have it as a symptom.

I stand on the side of science and kindness in treating people living with mental illnesses. The idea that mental illnesses are not real medical conditions is also not a fact. It’s an opinion that can’t be proven either.

The consumers who champion community mental health systems as the best way to get treated are sadly mistaken in my humble view because of my experiences in this kind of center. Years ago on the Internet a staff member of a community mental health system wrote an article in which she claimed no one with schizophrenia could recover or achieve remission.

With staff like that, how are most community mental health systems equipped to help people?

I will report back in here what I think is a better option for a person newly diagnosed with schizophrenia.

It employs hope as the ultimate strategy.

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Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She owns a resume writing and career help business. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and a fitness buff.

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