Wednesday, October 31, 2012

never met someone like that

I’ve never actually met someone in recovery, he said…

I’m not sure how one raw statement could capture so much and at the same time embody such haunting emptiness.

Part of me heard. Part of me couldn’t believe. Part of me wanted to weep. Was this hyperbole for emphasis? Hyperbole for blogger’s sake? Some kind of strange juxtaposition to keep me grounded in patient’s reality? I forget too easily. I forget that no one is supposed to get better.  I forget that no one is supposed to be in recovery. I forget that no one is supposed to be cured.

No one in recovery. Oh, yeah. Right.

And yet, it captured the essential brokenness of the system.

No one in recovery.

It took me to the gut wrenching pain of watching an extraordinary boy be told that this diagnosis meant a lifetime of blunted creativity, a lifetime of a nuanced cocktails of Lithium, Seroquel, or some new sexy drug with its very own marketing minions. Walking past the day room parked full of rockers seemingly keeping rhythm with unseen inner worlds. Visiting meant, tolerating scowls from hardened psych nurses thinking that family members might be part of the dysfunction. Visiting meant, suppressed tears held back by hopelessness, seemingly reincarnated as my brother’s mouth ran with drool after the heavy sedations.

No one in recovery.

It captured the plight of so many forced to put up with so much, already.  The diagnosis morphing into strange stares upon returning to college.  The shame and stigma morphing into the court ordered treatments and outrageous removals of human rights hiding behind the hollow legs of patriarchal medicine. The disease that affects your brain must be causing you to not want to take your meds. It can’t be that you want something different because you are an autonomous human being.

No one in recovery.

On so many levels it captured the essence of the case of the mental illness of the system. The failed American mental illness system that parades about destroying hope. Swallow the pill. Do not ever quit your meds. Do not question. You have a serious mental illness.

Certainly, no one cured. No one in recovery. No, I’ve never met someone like that.  

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