Voices of patients


FEBRUARY 11, 2015 AT 6:26 PM
Thank you for this article; it has further opened my eyes to something that I have felt distantly for some time but was unwilling to accept as even possible until last night, when I read about the suicide of Shirley Jansen. Here is a link to that article from the DM:


I am currently somewhat stuck in the 12-step “recovery” world of south Florida currently, and have never felt more trapped and hopeless. I received treatments for depression before, when I was 17-18 and self injuring. I feel like that helped me quite a bit. Everything changes though, with the “addict” label. I sought help in the summer of 2013 believing naively that I could be treated for depression, figuring it would reduce my need to daily self-medicate with alcohol. Instead it became a cycle going on two years now during which my depression has gotten progressively worse, I feel.

The argument I sometimes hear is that “the addiction must be treated before anything else”. What this seems to mean is that I can no longer be treated at all like a “normal” mentally ill patient: I am just an “addict” and depression and suicidal inclination is proof I am not working a through, “honest” program. Which, admittedly, I am not. I do not feel free to honestly express how I am feeling, most of the time, to these addiction-focused therapists and counselors.

The harshest part of the whole little world down here is the halfway-house aspect. The fear of being kicked out on the street at a moments notice on the whim of some manager is intensely frightening.

The regular 12-step community, the meetings and the “fellowships” proper, increasingly also feel like nothing but large echo-chambers… or as we say on “web 2.0″, circle-jerks. I feel it is worse in this area than it was in NJ due, in part, to the influence of having so many drug-treatment facilities and outpatient programs down here.

I do think the 12-Step programs do work for some people: I do see evidence of it. But the theme of “shared experience” is grossly overemphasized. Some people can honestly say “My worst day clean is better than my best day using”… But I wont say that.

Anyway, again, thank you for opening my mind up a bit.

3 thoughts on “Voices of patients

  1. Everyone’s problems are just that…their problems. They cannot be placed into a category and treated in the same manner as someone else’s mental health concern. Individuals need to be treated individually and have to be met where they are…regardless of how long it takes. There is no one size fits all. I really dislike when mental health professionals overlook the root cause of the problem in order to treat a few symptoms. In the end, some are doing more harm than good. Just my thoughts…

    Liked by 1 person

      • Exactly. In New York, they’ve resorted to trying to treat and discharge people with a turnaround as quickly as 2-3 days. According to the doctors, they see a remarkable improvement in the person’s disposition. Well, ummm…the person is going display some type of difference in their behavior if they are heavily medicated. Oftentimes, they are medicated and discharged without actually seeing whether the medication levels are working for the person. Their logic is…if they have to come back, just send them back. Less than a week later, the person ends up back in the unit again to be used as a guinea pig for these doctors who have no idea about what they are doing. The government tells them they want to see reduced hospital stays…in the end, the person is shortchanged and never really helped. Please excuse my rambling…I’ve worked in this field for several years and it really bothers me with how the people who are suffering from these mental health conditions are treated.

        Liked by 1 person

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