There is NO DOUBT IN MY MIND that people who are mentally ill, can get better and lead good productive lives. It is within reach, that is an undeniable fact. Why people feel incapable of achieving healthy status is a different matter altogether. It can be done, and it HAS been done many, many times. The only way to achieve a life that makes you feel proud and stable, is to address ALL 3 parts of the mental illness equation:
1. Your neurochemestry MUST be balanced and maintained. This requires REGULAR PSYCHIATRIC CARE. You must see your doctor; you must get treatment at intervals appropriate to the severity of your illness. A doctor, and you, can address new symptoms, change your dosing intervals, and change your medications altogether. If you do not believe meds are necessary, you may be right. For some mentally ill people, you truly may only need meds for a short time, or at all. MOST people will need medications, just like you need glasses or a cast when your arm is broken… It’s no different. My brain does not make enough neurochemical transmitters, specifically Serotonin and Norepinephrine, which help happy good feelings get transferred across neural gaps between transmitters, in my brain. The chemicals, on their own, get taken away and not replaced when my brain transmits a certain kind of signal. With no neurotransmitter there, I have impaired brain function. NO different than your eye being oddly curved, and unable to receive photons correctly into the optic nerve. You need your organs working right, so, make them work right. My meds prevent the Serotonin and Norepinephrine from being USED in the transfer of electric signals across neural gaps. The meds block the REUPTAKE of those neurochemicals, so I always have the right amount of them between neurons. Hence, the physical disability, the literal lack of a chemical in my head, has been addressed. This completes step 1.
2. The brain is, obviously, pretty complex. SO much so that we only kinda understand how it works. Psychopharmacology is primarily experimentation and guesswork. Go read a thing or two about it if you disagree. Go look back as early as the 1950s when they were “asylum-ing” people who had signs of mental illness. We all are the lab-rats of experimental science. Point of this being, that the brain can’t be “fixed” with a chemical supplement alone. You really do need to train your brain to behave, as well. If you want .50 Desert Eagles on each bicep, you should probably pump some serious fucking weight and do it! If you want to have a mind that you can control (for the most part) and good mental awareness (so we can know when symptoms are happening and get help), then you should encourage healthy thinking behaviors regularly. I accomplish this with weekly therapy, and routines and structure that help ME in MY PERSONAL CUSTOMIZED WAY complete the responsibilities of my life, and establish worth / identity. Regular therapy helps me be self-aware, and conscious of my thinking processes. This is good, because I ALREADY KNOW MY BRAIN IS NOT WORKING 100% RIGHT, SO I SHOULD REALLY BE ON TOP OF ANYTHING GOING ON FROM THAT WHOLE AREA. I can build good thinking habits, reinforce positive behaviors, and have a better life, in conjunction with step 1, and finally…
3. You can do 1, and 2, and still fail BECAUSE 3 was never looked at. As a mentally ill person, I can be impressionable and trusting. I don’t know if this is true of anyone else, but I am more vulnerable BECAUSE of my illness. Just wired that way, I guess. I use a dough-and-cookie-cutter metaphor, because it happens to work and makes some sense: my environment, and the people that make up my social network, are things that help define who I am. If I am in a deep depression, and environmental factors contribute to my condition (whether I am aware or not), I will and should find a way to change it. Because, I feel like I am a blob uncooked, emotional, romantic, and susceptible to impression… uh, dough. I’m pliable, easy to change, and I will fit into cookie-cutter molds. My environment is a mold, a mold that I begin to “fill in” to as I spread to the edges of my cookie-cutter boundary. My environment helps shape my reality. IF THAT REALITY IS DEPRESSION and I NEED to get better, steps 1 and 2 will not be enough, unless the negative shape my life had before changes as well. It MUST be a different shaped cookie cutter. MUST! Or, I will return to the same ingredients to the same problems I had when I went into crisis. My life will reinforce negative, rut-like behaviors that are impossible to break free from. A MASSIVE change of environment is required for some, like a hospitalization. I know, that’s what it took for me, to have that mold blown apart, and slowly, replaced with something healthier. Something that would help me establish better boundaries and have a healthy environment that enforces positive behaviors. Drug addicts who try to get clean relapse, because they go back to their friends once they get clean, and all their friends still do drugs, so they go back too. They re-fill the same old mold, because the mold never changed. For this thing to work, you must change your environment.
That’s it. If you can get a handle on that, YOU WILL BE OK. I totally swear. This is foolproof. Totally hard to achieve, mind you, and might be a goal worked at throughout life. All my life I have tried to achieve all 3 of these. I have tried, failed, and STILL KEEP TRYING. My life is worth having. My mind is special, though burdened with great disability. I am amazing and a great, good, moral and loving person. I will not surrender, and NEITHER SHOULD YOU!!! I am willing to be here as a guide, for myself and others. I just want us all to be healthy and happy people. We deserve it, after what we have suffered with, often alone. We deserve better. Let’s go get it?