“A smile from a stranger, tell my story, share my passions, we all got struggles, we all need patching, don’t give me a permanent label for my temporary problems, tell me truth about my emotions, and hold me in your sanity until the morning breaks.”
"The most important thing to recognize is that emotional suffering is a completely normal and human experience. When people have gone through trauma or when people are having very difficult situations in their lives, emotional distress is a completely appropriate reaction."
Corinna, West “The Disability Industrial Complex”, Creative Director, Wellness Wordworks
I came across this very interesting discussion on a website about mental health, the use of diagnosis in labelling people, stigmas around mental illness and thoughts about recovery. I thought it was very well thought out and found it really helpful so here are a few excerpts from the article:-
One of the most important messages that I try to share is that all people can recover from a mental health diagnosis. Often the most disabling part of the experience is becoming labelled and losing hope. People have many ideas about psychiatric labels based on media exposure and their past experiences, and much of what is currently out there is not positive. Stigma is a word that has been used in the past to describe this kind of discrimination and prejudice. Stigma reduction is not about making mental illness good, but about making discrimination and prejudice bad. I advocate for a social inclusion and recovery focused approach to improving outcomes for people receiving mental health services. Emotional distress manifests differently in different cultural situations, and different cultures have useful methods of handling emotional struggles. I advocate for using human and non-clinical terms to describe emotional distress - a wellness approach where people learn personalized strategies for handling difficulties. This might include exercise, mindfulness, gardening, volunteering, building a community, possibly minimal and/or temporary use of medication, or any other source of personal power.
People can recover according to many definitions. The Appalachian Consulting Group’s Certified Peer Specialist Training says that recovery is taking back control of one’s life on the other side of a diagnosis. The National Empowerment Center says that there are seven criteria that define recovery. Other people think of recovery as working full time, not taking medications, and having no symptoms. Some people meet this definition of recovery and these kind of people can exit the mental health system and never return. Others say recovery is a continuing process of emotional growth that never ends. Each person should choose a definition of recovery that motivates them to work hard towards creating their own new life.When I was in the depths of my pit of despair, I truly suffered. I truly struggled with many issues, and some of the patterns corresponded to psychiatric labels. However, I believe that I recovered with the help of people who acknowledged my suffering and helped me solve my basic needs for connection and contribution. The labels I was given did nothing to address the root cause, and often hampered my ability to build friendships and a meaningful employment situation.I am starting to conclude that emotional suffering is extremely real but making it fit within mainstream labels delays solving the actual problems. The labels are so scary that often they make people lose hope.To truly help someone in distress, ask them what they are feeling without using any clinical language at all. Try describing lowered feeling instead of depression or spiritual ecstasy or disconnection from reality instead of psychosis. Try talking about trauma experiences instead of the suffering that they are causing. Try talking about human suffering in human language.
The entire article can be read at -