Humor Is the Best Medicine
Mark A. Davis; Philadelphia, PA
During your mental health care, have you often felt hopeless about your chance of getting better?
Yes, back in the late 70s and early 80s
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.)?
Office of Vocational Rehab in early 80s. Got MAD as hell and proved them wrong… [I] have had a career of a lifetime since 1985.
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… Again, back in the 80s.
What disturbs me is that today’s MH [mental health] system believes they discovered recovery, and basically I believe what they changed to “recovery transformation programming” is like changing the deck chairs on the Titanic. No matter what they call it, they are leap years away from knowing how to help people, many are stuck in their systems, they are not community integrated — and this leads to people with a mental illness dying 25 years too young.
They think they invented it [recovery] after decades of consumer/survivors trying to make that happen.
If you overcame hopelessness that you could get better from a mental health or emotional problem, was there a turning point for you? Please describe:
Soon after testing HIV-positive in 1988 I was in a RiteAid in front of the Q-Tips deciding on a box of 50 or 300. Being cheap, I didn’t want to buy what I would not live to use.
I have forever since bought in bulk.
Being hired in 1985 to work in what seemed an unknown movement – certainly pioneers before me had laid foundation – and happily I got MAD as hell and discovered I could work, even with the bumps and joys ever since.
Tell us what recovery means to you. How would you define recovery from mental health or emotional problems in your own words?
Art is recovery. Freedom is recovery. Choice is recovery. Cleaning a MAD MESSS is recovery. Peer support is recovery. Merging “crazy” and “queer” duality is recovery. Working is recovery. Recovery is unique to each person and infinity of choices.
How recovered do you consider yourself from any mental health or emotional problems on a 10-point scale with 10 being “fully recovered”? Please use your own definition of recovered.
I am living with bipolar II, (the sequel); recovering from addictions to drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, sodas; living with HIV, a suicide attempt and loss survivor, profoundly deaf with distorted hearing (right ear deaf, left distorted, thus right is Republican and left is Democrat with MAUDE between), prostate cancer survivor and other co-occurring conditions.
Oh, did I say FABUOUSLY GAY with an enduring “Drag with a Tag” character named “Miss Altered States”? I’m blessed to share stories because humor is the best medicine because there is no co-pay.
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?
Hearing “this too shall pass” sucks when in darkness, but it does pass. You are not alone and with help there is hope.