Unconditional love

I’m reprinting this extract of Grainne Humphreys own story of renewal which was posted today at Beyond Meds. I urge you to read the post in its entirety because it shows you how recovery without drugs looks. Recovery without drugs looks very weird, but if more people were aware of the breakdown and renewal process, perhaps there would be more understanding that this is something that people have to go through, and they can do it without unnecessary recourse to the heavy duty artillery of drugs and doctors.

That being said, Grainne writes about how difficult it was for her family to be round-the-clock crisis managers. I can identify whole-heartedly with this, because I was emotionally and physically exhausted from being on call 24/7. Had the decision been mine alone, Chris would never have been placed back on medication. In this respect, it appeared easier for Grainne to have a drug free recovery, since her mother seemed to be the sole decision maker here. No messy arguments with a spouse over medication, no ultimatums.

Grainne attributes her healing to unconditional and unwavering love . I would like to stop here and reflect on that. Let’s assume that it is normal for a mother to love her child even if that love is imperfectly carried out. It is the conditions that we place on others that cause them and us stress. I think family members can bring about the kind of healing that mental trauma needs if we simply stop judging the other person and have the confidence to let them get on with their own growth and rebuilding in their own time in a controlled setting.

The things that healed my mental distress were the unconditional and unwavering love of my mother, my family and friends and the community I lived in. I was kept safe by this body of people. I am blessed with a tolerant and very loving family and a tolerant and loving community, something which to this day I do not take for granted. I now recognise this as a privileged position to be in. My mother and my step-father, Sue King, Carol James and Giana Ferguson being a few of my hands-on 24/7 team, taking it in shifts to be responsible for me, keeping me housed and fed and, if possible, occupied. My mother wanted to keep me out of hospital and off medication. The reality of this is her home became an acute crisis centre and I was a major disruption to the quiet routine of their lives. Obviously, this is not an ideal situation and it would be wonderful if there were places people could go that did not force medication on you if you didn’t want to take it to prevent the medicalisation of what is essentially a human experience. In the beginning I needed round-the-clock attention as is the case with anyone in an acute crisis and when this experience is not blocked or suppressed with drugs it is an enormous work-load for those involved. Saying that, my short time in hospital further down the line was not a bad experience – I was admitted after a suicide attempt – however, I later discovered that I could have been discharged but I was kept in to give my mother a break. In effect, for her mental health. This gives you some indication of the strain she was going through. No doubt, I was lucky that the psychiatrist who worked at my local hospital at the time I was admitted was progressive and humane. I escaped labelling and drugging, though I know this was down to luck and circumstance and who took care of me during my crisis.

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