Reflections on Neesa’s Blog article: How My Schizoaffective Disorder Helps Me Help Others

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So, I was just reading an article by Neesa Suncheuri called: How My Schizoaffective Disorder Helps Me Help Others

In this article, the author likens the side effects (no pun intended) of not working and responding to the impact of paralyzing mental health symptoms as a strength. This is a bit strange to me and slightly problematic. Now, resilience is a strength. However, negative outcomes from lousy life circumstances are just that. In my opinion, they are not good and are not welcome (by me) to say the very least.

The realities of my day to day life and your life (constructed socially) or not, still shouldn’t be unpleasant to go through and if things can be avoided to save heartache, pain, grief and trauma, I say go for it.

Understanding limitations (yes, serious mental health conditions can cause them) is just as empowering as an honest and open discussion around a person’s (see, I still think of people I work with/for) have great and limitless potential for meeting their goals. However, a person successfully meeting their goals in a manner that Is healthy and lasting hinges upon great savvy and insight into another’s person’s situation. I fully believe, in no uncertain terms, that misguided peer work can and will result in relapse. Any misguided or misapplied work can result in relapse. So, passing off a distorted version of a peer’s likelihood to regain control in their life or feel better means doing the right thing and having a frank discussion around sustainable recovery.

As peers, or mental health professionals, we should be modeling recovery, in all situations. Even when healing is just healing, and not reclaiming lost functional ability. As a person modeling recovery, setting the bar at a place that doesn’t set people up for failure is so critical. I want to be clear. This isn’t setting a prognosis or saying someone can’t get to where they want to be. Instead, this means being honest and authentic about how to model recovery. This is just if not more important than the status of the world we live in and lessons in social constructivism. Your lesson might set someone up for premature readiness to commit to a lasting recovery plan or something along these lines in which they cannot sustain the steps they are taking in the recovery, and fall back into the system.

I truly applaud your positive outlook, but negative experiences and things to get over aren’t what makes me strong or anyone else strong. This is my ability, yes able-ity to overcome or avoid distressing stuff and keep moving until next shoe drops.

Listen, a lasting full recovery is different than regaining what was lost or reducing the impact of symptoms and their interference with your life. However, full recovery is doing all that you can do to restore what was damaged, heal and move in your life and goals.

Systemic and comprehensiveness (not certain what you are referring to here) means very little in the wake of gaps in the provision of treatment or the limits of care for your particular issue.

In the end, I’m glad you found hope. But this article sends mixed and problematic messages to the reader. Keep connecting with others, but take a minute to think about what’s being put out there lest someone get hurt.

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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