Monday, March 03, 2014


I have read many definitions of recovery.  The truth I wish people understood is that another person no matter how well trained in mental health cannot define my recovery.  There are no set of benchmarks or goals that I should have to attain in order for me to say I have recovered.  Recovery should be so personal that only the person decides the direction. When the destination has been reached, if it ever is reached, should be proclaimed by the person not by the mental health system because the time limit for the person’s funding has run out.  The amount and kind of help the person gets should be solely up to the person because any force or coercion only impedes the progress to regaining full personhood.

You may think you know of many situations were intervening is a good idea, but unless a person has committed a crime the state and other people should wait until the person asks for their help.  By crime I mean an act that is considered a crime by anyone’s standards.  I don’t mean made-up crimes just to be able to lock people away that others think are crazy.  We should by now be way past that stage in our development as a society.  We should have learned better ways of dealing with those of us that society has labeled as mentally ill.  It says more about our society that we still think abusing hurting people is morally right than it says about the people we call sick.  In fact, it takes a sick society to do such a thing.

From the time I came in contact with the mental health system in 1964 until the present, the system’s dominant response to me has been coercive.  I have been locked away against my wishes on a number of occasions and when I go to my psychiatrist I cannot answer her questions honestly because of the threat of being locked away again.  I personally don’t believe the mentally health system in this country will ever be person-centered or oriented towards personal recovery.  It will remain driven by funding considerations, public perceptions of persons with psychiatric labels, and a bias towards bio-medical psychiatry.

© Ed Cooper, March 3, 2014, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
    All Rights Reserved

This article is worth a careful reading. It defines what it calls abuses of recovery and then offers some suggestions.

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