Monday, June 28, 2010

Claiming A New Paradigm For Myself-Part 3 (conclusion)

In the first segment of this series "Claiming A New Paradigm For Myself" I discussed how I became empowered to find my own answers when I let go of "illness" and began to embrace "wellness".

In Part 2 I shared some of the information that has influenced how I view the paradigm of "mental illness" and how I began to make that mind-shift from accepting “illness” as my focus to claiming this new paradigm of "wellness" for myself.

And today, in Part 3, I wanted to bring this series to an end with looking at tying this train of thought together and suggest that we can make room for a new paradigm, a different view - a view of "wellness" that we can add to our “toolbox”.

Claiming A New Paradigm For Myself – Part 3 (conclusion)

The issue for me as I have traveled this journey is that while I was accepting “illness” as my “paradigm” - and the offered solutions as the only solutions available - is that I felt helpless to change anything about my life because I felt hopeless that there was anything more that I could have outside of “illness”.

And what I’ve realized is that this “paradigm” of “illness” required me to be dependent on someone or something outside of myself…

And that I felt very dis-empowered.

And that there are other options.

“Mental illness” is often compared to things like diabetes or heart disease.

And in this paradigm of “illness” we as a society have learned to view these “diseases” as unavoidable, “genetic”….and scary.

A lack of knowledge had led us to believe that the only solution was the pills and surgeries that would “manage” these issues; but there was no “cure”. We were destined by “genetics” to be “sick” and dependent on people, places and things outside of ourselves for our solutions.

We believed that there was nothing we could do to change this; that we were "powerless" over "genetics".

Yet today, there has been a “paradigm shift” as we have come to understand through new knowledge that both diabetes and heart disease are often related to an unhealthy lifestyle and are very manageable…

And can even be overcome and turned around with lifestyle changes such as how we cope with stress, by eating fewer processed foods and consuming more whole foods, by getting off the couch and incorporating activity into our daily lives and so on…

So as I began to look at this “paradigm” or accepted way of viewing the issues of cognitive and emotional distress and its relationship and influence on how I “coped”…

I realized that Psychology had already given us much to work with and that I could learn to live differently.

That I could use labels like “diagnosis” and “symptoms” as a guide to show me the path to living in a state of “wellness”.

And although I didn’t set out to do this - what I ended up with is my own paradigm that took me from “illness” to “wellness”.

A path that helped me to find my way “through the darkness to get to the light” at the end of the tunnel - but I hadn’t yet seen as I’d been stuck on managing “illness” and blind to the idea that there was a light that truly existed.

This mind-shift – letting go of “illness” - empowered me to learn to live in a state of “well being” instead of medicating “symptoms”, managing a “disease” and existing day to day, surviving – but never “living”.

Part of making this mind-shift was realizing that by hanging onto the labels of “mental illness”, disease, disorder…I felt “powerless”. There was nothing I could do about an “illness” that I had accepted as “genetic” and therefore “unchangeable”.

It was when I chose “wellness” that I truly understood that I held the power to change my life within my own being.

~

Thank you for reading along as I dissected the process that I followed in my discovery that there truly were more options available to overcoming the emotional and cognitive distress that we have come to call “mental illness”.

Just as I learned to begin to ask the questions that empowered me to make that mind-shift from “illness” and instead choose my own paradigm of “wellness” – I hope you will begin to ask your own questions, search out your own answers and find the freedom to create and live your own “best life” – and that very simply, is the life that you choose for yourself each day.

I'd like to invite you to join me on the first Thursday of each month on Blog Talk Radio as I host the Heal My PTSD program “Empowering Solutions” where our goal is to offer you information, tools and resources that will empower you to create - and live - your own “best life”.

~ Susan

Q: What are your thoughts? How can you claim a new story for yourself?

5 comments:

Kristin said...

A change in mindset is usually not so uncharted as the one you stepped into. You have made a courageous move. And, the exciting part is that you succeeded, Susan. You broke free of the old paradigm that told you how to think and created a new, happier, healthier life for yourself.
You are an inspiration.
xx kris

Susan said...

Thank you Kristin:)

This type of change is what I have seen others have used as well who have escaped the nightmare of cognitive and emotional distress...the issue for me I is that the current "MH" system does not include this kind of internal work as an option and instead tells us that we are "genetically" and "biologically" broken - no "cure", no "solution", we'll need "meds" for "life".

I found my way in spite of the "providers" telling me I could not do this. I taught myself to fish and learned to become my own best resources over the current paradigm of dependence on "providers" and "meds" to cope and make it to the next appointment with the "therapist" or to try the next "script" from the physician. I was surviving and coping...but not living the life I deserved.

My passion is to take this message to those who are still at the mercy of a system that is telling them there is no hope.

Thank you for walking with me today on my path Kristin:)

Hyacinth Charles said...

There is a . . . plot . . . to get people to believe in the genetic deficiency theory. At the age of 55 my family doctor tried to convince me that my high blood sugar was inherited. He saw the trend over the period of months and said nothing. Does he truly believes that an inherited trait of diabetes would wait for me to be 55 to show up? I doubt that. Thank GOD I saw through the 'plot' to get me on medication. I simply stopped eating the box (six servings) of raisins I was snacking on throughout the days while at my desk. Changed my eating habits and taste, started vigorous exercise and intentionally got my sugar levels back to normal. A Nutritionist was consulted who also told me to drink lots of water to dilute the blood sugar!!

Imagine,if I did not have the information and could not assert myself. I would have accepted the diagnosis of diabetes, been given medication and contributed to a boom in his practice . . . see the p l o t . . .

Susan said...

I do see what you are saying, Hyacinth. And I see it as a business model throughout the economy in other areas too, not just health care. The problem is that health care issues affect both our quality and quantity of life as the model of "quick fix" via the "magic bullet" of taking a drug instead of doing the hard work you described of changing your eating habits and lifestyle.

Kudos for you being able to be your own best resource and advocate!

Thank you for taking the time to comment and join the conversation today, Hyacinth;)

Hyacinth Charles said...

Advocates for health care reform understand that this is a long battle.

Our health is not a commodity to sell to the highest bidder. There has to be a better way . . .