Leaving the System – Is it for you?

Most likely, what I am saying is relevant more to US readers more than it is relevant to readers outside the US, however, I think readers anywhere may find value in reading about my experience.  Or maybe not.

I can’t assume what your reasons are for considering leaving the System, but first of all, allow me to clarify that I am speaking of the Mental Health System and not Western medicine on a whole. There are some who make a full exit from Western practices and only see alternative healers.  This was something I seriously considered.  However, I decided against the idea.  I won’t get into the whole debate right now or any kind of discussion of the faults of Western medicine.  We all know there are many. The world is a flawed, shaky place.

I have heard the argument that if you stay healthy, you won’t need healers at all.  I don’t buy it.  Show me a perfect body.  Show me a bike tire that never goes flat. Be realistic, folks.  We break easily.  They say we humans are quite biodegradable.  That’s why many of us get buried when we die.

But I decided to can mental health care entirely, that is, all types of psychiatric care and anything that resembles traditional mental health counseling with a professional caregiver.  I won’t go to “group therapy” and I shun most types of “support groups.”  If the leader is a “mental health professional” and that person is not a participant in the group, I will surely not participate.  I also choose not to attend “12-step” meetings or any type of meeting in which it is assumed that the participants are mentally defective and are there for the purpose of improving upon themselves.  I choose not to attend “relaxation” meetings where it is assumed that the participants are flawed because they are “anxious.”

I stay away from many types of self-help groups that assume helplessness, but I enjoy educational classes that empower and strengthen. There’s a marked difference between a writing class, cooking class, knitting circle, or public speaking class  and a “support group” where people the object is to make each other “feel better” but there’s no end product, such as a crafts sale, public reading, or tasty meal with leftovers at the end.  I enjoy learning new skills if they have practical use or attending interesting lectures or going to museums or entertainment or humor to have a good laugh or to gather together to celebrate or pray or honor or mourn or eat or walk or run or party or drink coffee or have a doggy meeting or just hang out.

All these things sound like so much more fun than “mental health” activities.  Where have I been all these years?  I was stuck in programs and halfway houses, in therapists’ offices, and locked up in hospitals.  What a world. This, sadly, was the center of my life and I choose to make this no longer be the case.

Feedback and comments welcome!