During WRAP training yesterday (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) I brought up during the round-table discussion that my Mother was hospitalized for treatment for what was then named Manic Depression in the late 1960’s and early 70’s. One of these treatments my Mother endured was Electroshock Therapy. I personally don’t remember any of this, as I was born in 1968, but was subsequently informed by my Father later in life. It always brings up One Flew Over the Cookoo’s Nest images in my mind. From the 1980’s onward my Mother began a genuine road of recovery, succeeding as a loving mother, a friend and charting a successful career. Late in our relationship she opened up about battling with depression, how mindfulness eventually seeded the wisdom to help erase the most disabling demons of her condition. My Mother’s story echoed the written narrative of a woman who had been institutionalized for Manic Depression in the mid 1950’s. The staff informed her family and friends that she would never recover and not to visit, so they didn’t. There she remained for 10 years, until her symptoms eventually eased and was released. She went on to live a long, happy and healthy life. The point of this subject, obvious enough, is that (A) recovery is possible, (B) the mental health field, in all its multi-facets has taken great strides from its dark ages. The Peer Specialist Movement, which I am grateful to be a part of, continues to mature from its 1970’s genesis. We are becoming more authentically respected, being recognized as a necessary piece of the global health field’s puzzle with each passing year. Ongoing integrations into the mental health, social and justice systems are starting to expand exponentially, albeit slowly; a long way there still remains to go. Every voice that spreads awareness matters.
01/15/20 – Businessman’s Falls – Ithaca, NY