I Came To a Better Understanding

Marian B. Goldstein

I never doubted I would recover.

I was diagnosed with Schizophrenia, I was told I’d probably never have a “normal” relationship with somebody, wouldn’t be able to tolerate being together with more than 2 or 3 others at a time, and wouldn’t be able to finish university or do other than simple non-stressful work.

I was also told that I very likely would need services, therapy or others, at least periodically for the rest of my life.

However, since I had knowledge — not obtained through the MH system though — that people had recovered fully, I basically never doubted that I would recover.

Reacting to life is not an illness

To me recovery means understanding that, whatever the emotional problem, it’s not an illness, but rather an attempt to heal, a call to change one’s life situation/circumstances, and a challenge — and chance — to grow personally, and taking up that challenge, i.e. taking responsibility in one’s life.

Reacting to life is not an illness. It’s what makes us alive human beings, and learning to understand our reactions to life, our aliveness, and take responsibility for them, isn’t only possible, but actually what I think we’re here on this earth to learn. Also, there is no scientific evidence in support of the medical model and life-long chronic illness, while all long-term studies and the outcomes of alternatives like Open Dialogue and Soteria show that full recovery is possible, and even likely, if crisis isn’t seen as a life-long brain disease.

I’ve learned a lot about life and human nature

I’m 100% self-supporting, working two part-time jobs, one as a counsellor at an acute crisis center, and am doing a lot of activism in my spare time. I don’t have any difficulties with social situations, I do occasionally give talks and workshops on trauma and crisis, and related topics, and I do handle stress very well.

I have a great social network, and, oh yeah, I also do have quite a few (strong) opinions about the MH system/psychiatry, and I’m not afraid to voice them. Nothing wrong with my self-esteem (anymore). My primary goal when I went into therapy was to come to a better understanding of what was happening to me, and why. I didn’t only come to that understanding, I also learned a lot about life and human nature that I think many people, who do not experience crisis, or who do, but get trapped in the system, never get the opportunity to learn.