Recently, Richard Dreyfuss spoke up about his battles with bipolar disorder. He has become one of many celebrities as of late to step “out of the closet” to show that yes.. You can experience the roller coaster of ups and downs, yet still be highly successful with the proper care.
I’ll use this as an example to give you my perspective on recovery as an introduction, while I’m filling in for the fabulous Alicia Sparks.
This is the type of recovery story where you can really see how the general media can be misleading about the process of recovery itself. I have seen differing viewpoints about this type of reporting.
1. Wow that’s inspirational!
2. What meds does he take so I can try them too?
3. He recovered, but he needed the best care possible to do it.
4. (And finally,) He is creating more stigma by using his illness as an excuse for bad behavior.
I’ll try to address each of these viewpoints from my own perspective and point of view as way to give you a looking glass for my future postings. (I’m trying really hard not to lose any of Alicia’s fans while I’m sitting in, so, help me out here.)
1. Yes. It is inspirational on many levels. It proves to those that have been struggling with this process, (both the individual and their loved ones) that it can be done. It gives some the will to stay in the battle, rather than just giving in to the despair. That’s the type of story that has a two-edged sword for me. When I have spoken in public, I am always elated that I have been able to inspire people, yet sad that they have been struggling through these difficult times without any real hope of recovery.
2. Naming specific meds that have been a positive or negative experience along the way can imply endorsement, or turn people away from something that might actually aid them in their own journey through this maze of uncertainty. It also opens up personal liability if someone has a bad experience on meds that have been “endorsed” without the manufacturer’s legal consent.
3. Yes, maybe they did have the best possible care. Everyone deserves that and should be motivated by this example enough to put the hard work into their own journey. By that I mean being proactive rather than reactive in the process. It means building your own support team that will give you the necessary tools to reach your goals. This means finding the right doctor who you trust to have your best interests at heart. It means building your resources to be used outside of the doctor’s office. The most important thing it shows is that you have to educate yourself and those on your team of what your expectations are and lead the way in making that happen. That may mean having to lean on those that you have brought on board during the most difficult times. In the end only you can be the judge of where you want to be, how far along you are, and what your future expectations continue to be. That can be a very fluid concept for some; others may stay focused towards one goal. Arming yourself with an array of tools to use as aids through future rough spots is also “a must” in my opinion. The road to recovery is a difficult one. It’s not always linear and there can be plenty of potholes along the way. Take the time to find out who you are; identify things that drive and inspire you to get through this rough patch; recognize the things that give you the relief needed to stay there. Then you’ve got a great start to putting things back on track.
4. Ok… Who really thinks in today’s atmosphere that someone would benefit by using mental illness as an excuse? I haven’t seen enough acceptance of these issues to think that having a mental illness is a truly successful platform to run on politically or professionally. It gives me hope that there are those out there willing to lead the way to gain that trust in time. I also think we as a society have a long way to go before mental illness would equate into a generally accepted “excuse” for bad behavior.
I look forward to blogging here and pray for Alicia in these tough times. It is quite an honor to know that she has entrusted me to hold down the fort here at Celeb Psych while she and her family does the best they can to understand and get beyond this roadblock in their lives.
So until next time friends, same bat time, same bat channel..
Language is the key to world peace. If we all spoke each other’s tongues, perhaps the scourge of war would be ended forever – Bruce Wayne (Batman television series)