The readers of Mental Health Affairs should all know and be fully aware that I have a mental health disorder. My identity has been something I’ve played with on this site figuratively, literally and through my behaviors offline. These are the behaviors and literary devices I actively seek to raise from the text and very web of life just to recollect. Only to report back here on this site for the reader to consume.
So, who am I? J. Peters is a prosumer, advocate, therapist, friend, and colleague. I am all of these things, and more. I have also discovered, that I am none of these aspects I claim with such high regard for the self and my so-called recovery and lived experience. Few people can or are even willing to dispute these aspects of my identity to my face, behind closed doors, or care enough to understand the details of my journey. For my identity is my own. I create, recast, and reclaim it almost every time I traverse the pages of Mental Health Affairs. After all, that is exactly what we do here.
Why, then am I elaborating on the underpinnings of identity and its intersections. Perhaps this is because I have spent so much time being self-involved with my writing. I have spent so much time recasting, recreating, and redefining, that I have evolved in my recovery and healing without spending enough time attending to my environment and status of the peers in my life. For some time now, my writing has been self-focused, because it needed to be. That was where I was at in my healing. I needed to get my language up to speed as fast as possible so I could re connect with the outer world in a meaningful way.
Until recently, I was unhappy with the level of language I had restored from psychosis. Given the recent connections I have made in the mental health community as well as collaterals across my life and interpersonal landscape. I have been advised and informed that my quest to restore pre-psychosis heights of rhetoric and meaning making has reached its apex and successful conclusion. People say I’ve healed. People claim, my language is back. My friends cast me as advanced in my insight, adept in my judgement, and altogether different than the destruction brought upon by psychosis years ago. I should listen to these people and pay attention to their message. Because underneath its direct meaning, is the self-involvement I gestured to before, as it sits upon a veneer of neglect for the general status of where the world is really at and people are in their health, recovery, and character.
My victory was in language, speech, rhetoric, all of these aspects of communication that have reached a new threshold during the tenure of my recovery. At the very height of my newfound ability to make meaning, and my persistence to interpret and insert myself into language, is a newfound loneliness. Like I said, it’s been a necessary self-driven and self-focused decade of returning to my once great intellect. But, upon arrival, I have discovered that the healed Peer, and the recovered patient is status that few possess, or are able to achieve given the constraints of illness and unresolved, ongoing, psychosis. Few people are similar to me in their healing, recovery. Whether it be their fortitude, or lack thereof, or any number of factors keeping them from the progress I continue to experience, I am in a more isolated space than I was during the activation of my illness years ago.
My drive to get here. To this special non inclusive psychosocial destination has launched me into the great abyss of isolation and distrust from others, perhaps even jealousy and anger if I am to be truly honest about human nature in its most real and brutal form. My great departure from madness, into the distrustful shadows of healing, was achieved with a sadistic and scornful fulcrum for advancement. In doing so, I have traveled further than I ever thought I could across the skies above madness, around disorder, and into the very pit of fear manifest only from difference from others, my peers. My will to overcome my own disorder has landed me in a more difficult space than madness on its own terms.
Why? Because in my disorder, there was too much chaos to be truly lonely. Isolated, absolutely, disillusioned, maybe, but fearful and agitated is the very space I ran from years ago so desperately and with such rigor. And yet, I have become the very social enigma that evokes fear amongst his own peers and creates a threat to others by his very presence and newfound identity he held so closely and with such high regard for life and healing.