What do we want?

Hi to all. I have a lived experience of mental health for over 20 years. A couple of years ago I decided that the medical model was not for me, so I embarked on a voyage of self discovery to find the real me. I am free from meds for the past two years ( labeled bi polar), and while it has been very tough at times I never gave up hope.

While in the medical model I was told all the tome what was wrong with me and how I would get better if I did all I was told to do and took all the meds. It never happened 😁. It took about 2 years for me to finally meet the right person to work with, and it has taken almost a year for me to trust this person enought to start opening up in a little way. As I begin to feel human again I have begun talking to other people who are just starting out on their journey of recovery and I was very struck by the one thing that we all agreed on.

Everyone of us discussed the struggle we have with answering one simple question

" what do you want/ what do you want us to do to help you".

When I was medicated I didn't know who I was let alone what I wanted and to a certain extent I still feel a little of that uncertainty today. But I wrote something in my reflections of a very intense session a couple of months ago and it seemed to answer that question for me.

" I want to be SEEN, HEARD and UNDERSTOOD"

It seems such a simple request but most of us never get a chance to even heard. I am training as a peer support worker and as such I have become involved in the mental health recovery movement and for the first time in my life I am connecting with others who have made the same journey as me. I would love to get other peoples thoughts on this question as it is the question that comes up the most. If we cannot tell people what we need then how can they provide the support we need?

In my case I needed to find someone who I can work with on a long term basis, a person I can related to as an equal ( and we had many a battle as she is not used to working in the style I wanted) I don't want to have to tell all my story as it's to traumatising for me, but I do need to be able to understand what happened and how I am still feeling the effects of that childhood trauma today. By educating myself I am slowly starting to understand how I get triggered and why I disassociate.

For the first time in many years I am working with someone who treats me as a human being not just a person with a label who has to be kept topped up with meds to live a half life as a zombie.

7 Replies

  • Wow, what a great post. When I read what your needs were, I immediately understood. I think I have always wanted these things as well and am only just learning how to get them.

    You are so courageous to have stood up for yourself the way you have and it opens a door for others to do the same. Thank you.

    I would have to say that in addition to the aforementioned needs, I would add RESPECT to the list. I mentioned this to my therapist yesterday and I've identified it as very important. Without respect I feel my needs and desires and ideas will not truly be heard and I will not be taken seriously.

    I have also learned that getting these needs met starts inside me. Because I was so devalued as a child I learned to devalue my own voice and that only others could answer my needs. I now know I have the power to change this horrible cycle by making my voice an important one to me. I listen very hard every day and do my best to respond.

    Thanks for the thought provoking post!

  • Thanks for adding respect! Yessss!

  • Ah peer support is close to my own heart. What do I want? I want to live the rest of my life not afraid of myself and my ability to do things to this body. Bad things I mean. I want a friend who will not be shocked if they see me cry. I want to be able to cry with a friend. I need to cry about the bad stuff but don't need to tell it either as I find it re traumatises me. I'm keen to hear what's worked for others in terms of getting a handle on PTSD, dissociative identity disorder. I want a friend who won't freak out if one of my parts comes out. Knee of the reasons I've steered clear of friendships is I never know if I'm going to rob triggered and another part come out to take over. I want a friend I can be authentic with.

  • " I want to be SEEN, HEARD and UNDERSTOOD"

    Simple and profound. Thank you.

    And I like you have that in the somatic experiencing therapist I have been seeing for the past year or so.

    Really the only time in my life I have felt I am making progress on my real issues.

    By the way, I am living on her promise on her business card:

    Heal things for the last time.

  • like this...

    I think my biggest issue is finding enough reason to get better....not sure if its Im depressed so I dont see a good reason or I dont see a good reason so Im depressed?

  • Perfect4, thank you for your wonderful post, dear! I can relate, have followed the same path, was not bipolar but was on the awful meds. "What do you want?" is the perfect question and "I want to be seen, heard and understood" is the perfect answer. I can only be seen, heard and understood by the right kind of people. The right people are definitely NOT psychiatrists and absolutely NOT relatives!

    I feel that psychiatry is almost a pseudo-science, probably 95% pseudo. I think it may help a few unfortunates but I believe that for the most part it ruins lives all the time. Labeling people dehumanizes them and makes them feel permanently broken. We were never permanently broken, though, were we?

    I believe my psychiatrist was insane, medicating me for mania when I was NEVER manic or even 'hypomanic,' medicating me constantly for whatever she could come up with. She had no idea who I was, even. She did not believe anything I told her and she treated me as if I were hopelessly ill and retarded! I hope that in her last moments, she goes through the agony of getting off of Xanax, going through what I suffered through and still remember. I hope I can forget it all and that my memories will turn to lovely and beautiful things and life experiences.

    I had an exchange with my very immature baby sister who thought I was terrible for being assertive and saying what I wanted. She thought it was rude. I explained that you have to SAY what you want or you will never GET what you want. I explained the difference between being passive, being assertive and being aggressive. I hope she understood. She was about 65 years old when I explained this to her. But I believe that the poor dear thinks that I am nuts. Such an elementary piece of knowledge. If I had not taken a different path in life, I would be her right now.

  • Thanks to all for your thoughts on my post. It's an interesting question that I am still working on.

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