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Purpose and Meaning

"I also do advocacy work, I have learned to help others when I can, mostly through phone support and a ministry. I started at church whose aim is to educate and give purpose and meaning to the hopeless, and to provide friendship to those feeling isolated and alone." —Christina Walko Read the rest of the story...

Christina Walko


cwalkoDuring your mental health care, have you often felt hopeful about your chance of getting better?


Yes. Not much due to mental health care,but due to pastoral counseling and believing God can heal and talking to others who have healed and are now off of medication and working, functioning excellently in society.


During your mental health care, have you often felt hopeless about your chance of getting better?


Yes. When I believed in mental disorders and was feeling off balance by the drugs, which were court ordered, I felt hopeless. I need to go outside of the mental health system to feel hopeful.


Has a mental health provider ever told you that you could reach a personal goal despite your psychiatric diagnosis (for example, education, career, independent housing, relationship, children, etc.)?


Yes. Had just a few within the mental health system who said diagnosis can change and encouraged me continue teaching yoga, looking for a job and writing, painting. and using my God given skills and talents. However most of this was with agencies such as OVR who are not really mental health providers.


Has a mental health provider ever told you that you could not reach a personal goal because of your psychiatric diagnosis (for example, education, career, independent housing, relationship, children, etc.)?


Yes. General consensus is that I should count myself well if I could shower and go to the store myself. I was told it would be near impossible to have children which makes me depressed, therefore iatrogenic symptoms.


If you overcame hopelessness that you could get better from a mental health or emotional problem, was there a turning point for you?


About 6 months ago when I came to believe that I was normal, only oppressed by the system and poverty. I came to believe this through being less isolated and seeing that my problems were normal problems shared by many people and that no one is perfect and by biblical knowledge that God heals the mind and emotions as well as the physical body.


Tell us what recovery means to you. How would you define recovery from mental health or emotional problems in your own words?


Inclusion in community and society, being treated with dignity and equality, not defining myself according to any labels and forming normal health relationships, with normal and healthy people, being able to see what is healthy and what is abusive in relationships and moving forward in healthy and equal relationships with others.

 

If you could send a brief message to someone receiving mental health care today who is feeling hopeless about getting better, what would you say?


To focus on their positive attributes, skills interests and abilities. I would encourage them to exercise and eat right and if they are court ordered to take meds to keep pushing toward getting off of them and to not let the medicines scare them. I would direct them away from pharmaceuticals and medical model groups and toward consumer run and recovery modeled groups and would tell them to join a good church and stay active in it. I would also encourage them in ways to handle anger and trauma and to explore bible based solutions to problems and not run to the mental health system but to run toward positive and encouraging and sound minded people in society. I would encourage much socializing among the non mental health world so they could see they are not so abnormal and steer them away from any abusive relationships.

 

Can you give examples showing you have gotten better from a mental or emotional problem, such as how you are doing well or accomplishing goals you have chosen?


I am court ordered treatment and have a criminal record from having an episode where my body was no longer tolerating medicines and was traumatized and sick. In that episode I was passing out while smoking and started a small fire and [after] that was institutionalized and made to plead guilty to arson. This has been a huge hindrance to finding appropriate work and recovery otherwise I would have been better long ago. Nevertheless I work writing for a community paper, delivering papers and am working toward teaching exercise classes again. I also do advocacy work, I have learned to help others when I can, mostly through phone support and a ministry. I started at church whose aim is to educate and give purpose and meaning to the hopeless, and to provide friendship to those feeling isolated and alone.


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I Got Better is a project of MindFreedom International    Domain generously contributed by United by Humanity.