Living in Two Worlds: Navigating the Intersections of Health and Healing

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“It was at that very moment I re-discovered the power of defining new words in the context of our histories can, if taken seriously, create entire worlds and a lifetime ahead of self- learning and re-negotiating our histories in more positive terms”

Before I lived in two worlds I lived in a world of persistent illusions, intrigue, paranoia & the seductive pull of my every symptom suggesting my health was compromised. With this said, my world was eclipsed, isolated, seemingly foreign, and unwelcoming to challenges I was facing connecting to the world in a meaningful way. I was experiencing first-episode psychosis, in clinical terms, but the reality of my unrealities was as shocking to experience first hand as it was spiritually awakening in revealing the context of my “break” within the larger implications of my road to health and healing.

I struggled to find my footing for many years. Despite the intensive treatment with psychotherapy, peer support & medications something was missing. Between understanding my new diagnosis, accepting it radically, and beginning to separate my personality from my illness most of my waking hours were consumed by my resolve to heal. It was at that very moment when I realized healing wasn’t just a matter of doing. It wasn’t the lack of positive actions I was taking myself. Discovering that being proactive is not the only catalyst to create healing is one great leap in debunking the greatest myth in recovery. Most of the healing comes from a shift, over time, in a person’s perception of his or her capacity to re-build and re-invent his or her future.

So I did just that & planned for my future. I planed for a lifetime of healing. It was at that very moment I re-discovered the power of defining new words in the context of our histories can, if taken seriously, create entire worlds and a lifetime ahead of self- learning and re-negotiating our histories in more positive terms. So, while I chose to create a world for myself as a social worker I did so because it’s language appealed to me. It called upon my core beliefs in healing for everyone and discovering our inner helpers to be mutual defenders in a partnership that bases integrity on the merits of research, practice, and experience in providing a space for healing to everyone that chooses recovery.

Social work in the strengths-based perspective is a language of healing & a language to evidence a person’s imaginative capacity to see for themselves what they want for the future. The words are laden with the right value to build, plan, and make visible a personal road map through recovery at the intersection it collides with our life & history.

Social work aligns itself with other worlds and allows for people to live between, inside, or in every liminal avenue, a person takes their life journey.
Walking the path of health & healing takes a degree of trust and self- assurance that you are choosing the right direction and right goals.

Staying the course is important to maintain progress and experience progress but what if you need to make a course correction? Will making a pit stop on the recovery road create a space for relapse or will it be the right fit for you given your health and landscape of personal needs.
This is why so much of recovery is based and rooted in perception. What do you see for yourself? Can you find peace and meaning in establishing yourself in other pursuits? The point is that whatever you choose for yourself remember you can’t destroy your history you can only re-purpose your life. Don’t look to leave everything behind, even if the learning moment is over because our histories color the pathways of the invention and our capacity to live beyond our problems.

About the Author

J. Peters

J. Peters is the Editor-in-Chief of Mental Health Affairs.

Award-winning book author and Bold 10 Under ten award recipient J. Peters, LCSW. Through his work as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Mental health therapist and disability rights advocate Mr. Peters fights for those without a voice in various care systems, such as the New York City Department of Social Services, the New York State Office of Mental Health, or the city's Department of Corrections.

Mr. Peter's battle with Schizophrenia began at New London University in his last semester of college. Discharged from Greater Liberty State Hospital Center in July 2008, Jacque's recovery was swift but not painless and indeed brutal after spending six months there.

He has published several journal articles on recovery and mental health and three books: University on Watch, Small Fingernails, and Wales High School. He is also a board member of the newspaper City Voices. Mr. Peters currently sits on the CAB committee (Consumer Advisory Board) for the Department of Mental Health and Hygiene in NYC and the Office of Mental Health (OMH) as a peer advocate.

Owner of Recovery Now in New York, a private psychotherapy practice, Mr. Peter's approach is rooted in a foundation of evidence-based practices (EBP). Jacques earned a master's degree in Social Work from Binghamton University and worked as a field instructor for master's and bachelor's level students in NYC.

He is blogging daily on his site mentalhealthaffairs.blog, Mr. Peters regularly writes articles relating to his lived experience with a mental health diagnosis.

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