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Take Control of My Life

"I decided that the mental health system was not working for me and that I had to take responsibility for my well-being. Once I decided to take control of my life, my life started to get better." —Jen Banathy Read the rest of the story...

Jen Banathy


In what ways have you found psychiatric medication(s) harmful, if any?


Horrible side effects; turned me into a "zombie;" numbed my feelings so that I could not learn to deal with my emotions and process life events; created other illnesses (migraine headaches, hypothyroidism, sensitive stomach); created a dependency on medications; led me to believe that medications are just about the only form of treatment; took years from my life. Now that I have been off of medications for nearly three years, I finally feel alive.

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

Yes. I was convinced that a combination of medications, ECT and hospitalizations would "cure" me, which never happened, even after a decade of being in the mental health system. I lost hope because I wasn't getting better by following the suggested forms of treatment.

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. I worked with an excellent therapist who assisted in my reaching personal goals.

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. Numerous doctors, therapists, mental health care providers told me that I could not reach personal goals.

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

I decided that the mental health system was not working for me and that I had to take responsibility for my well-being. Once I decided to take control of my life, my life started to get better.

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

Recovery is a moving towards, a finding meaning and happiness in my life and living a satisfying life.

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?

Don't give up. Believe in yourself and trust your internal guidance. Educate yourself about your illness and don't take other people's words for what is best for you. Only you know what is best for you and your wellness.

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?

Stress and anxiety reduction are helping me to hold down a job and maintain relationships. I am learning to accept and express my emotions so that I don't stuff them and avoid them, which is increasing my wellness.

 

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