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Recovering from Mental Illness

Addiction relapse prevention includes playing that tape to the end. Drug addiction is a difficult thing to live with; our brains often want to relapse. We have a tape in our heads that remembers the "fun" we had in active addiction--the rush of the substance, the camaraderie we felt with other users, and so forth (The Allure Of The Addiction Culture And Lifestyle). In my Alcoholics Anonymous group, we have a saying--play that tape to the end. his is how it works.
Should alcoholics and addicts take medication for addiction? When I was on the dual diagnosis unit at a state hospital, an outside therapy group often joked that it was ironic that we took medication for addiction (Drug Addiction Treatment and Drug Recovery). Staff did not see the humor in the statement and warned them to stop saying that. But it raises a valid question: Should alcoholics and addicts take medication for addictions?
There are three myths about depression. When I was first diagnosed, I faced a lot of criticism from the people I expected the most understanding--people at church. I was told "If you just had enough faith and truly wanted to get better, you would," "I think you need to go off your medications and trust God for your healing," and "Depression is straight from the Pit of Hell." I realize now, years later, that the church people believed three myths about depression.
How does one go about finding safe people for mental illness recovery? Recently I wrote about developing a safe place for mental illness recovery. A safe place is enhanced by safe people, either real or fictional. Safe people are vital to recovery from trauma and in therapy. So here are three safe people one should find for mental illness recovery.
One thing that constantly frustrates mental health professionals who deal with domestic violence is why people stay. As a domestic violence survivor, I have some insight into why people stay in domestic violence situations. There are three major religious reasons why people in a domestic violence situation stay: the belief that marriage must be preserved, the belief that men are supposed to be dominant and women are supposed to be submissive, and the belief that women are basically evil.
Mental illness stigma and Halloween go together like hand and glove--we've all seen the "haunted asylums" and the "mental patient" costumes. Rather than trying to censor this mental illness stigmatization at Halloween, we should use it as a teachable moment. We should educate people that psychiatric patients are no more violent than the general population and that we're more likely to be the victims of violent crime than the perpetrators. While there is mental illness stigma around Halloween, we can use it to educate others.
You can create your safe place in your mind, visualized and brought to life by your imagination. The recent post I wrote tells you how to develop an imaginary space for mental illness recovery. But sometimes you may be unable to get to your safe place due to some kind of mental barrier. In this video, I explain how to fight these barriers and get to your safe place.
There are many myths about posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Due to the stigma of mental illnesses such as PTSD, myths are common. The best way to address a myth is by educating people with the truth. So here are three myths about PTSD.
Is sexual abuse an epidemic? Recently, I was in my church's library and I found a copy of Sexual Abuse In Christian Homes and Churches by Carolyn Holderread Heggen, a Christian counselor specializing in sexual abuse recovery (Books on Sexual Abuse, etc.) She claims that sexual abuse is an epidemic.
What is your reason to stay sober? Recently I went to southern Missouri for a family reunion. We're Scot-Irish, and we drink like fish. As an alcoholic, relapse was tempting, especially when they broke out the hard root beer, but I stayed sober. As one of my relatives observed, you have to have a reason to stay sober. What is your reason to stay sober?