Tuesday, 21 January 2014

A Diagnosis

Accepting a diagnosis of mental ill health, with all of the unknown lifestyle implications is – let me argue – easier to come to terms with if the patient can or could be considered already intelligent and well adjusted. Preserving the strengths of your personality is, Dr Johnson E Sabine might argue, the very essence of the struggle with your mental illness.

Alan was first admitted to psychiatric hospital in 1986 and many years later he continues to pursue work, leisure, and his pursuit of the Lord’s wisdom. He does not deny his needs for extra agency care and support. He is visited by his carer once a week on Sundays for help with maintaining himself and his home – a well appointed and comfortably furnished one bed-room flat, above and adjacent to the full array of locally needed facilities. 

Living only on a means-tested state pension, this still allows Alan the relative luxury of eating in local cafes and the occasional friendly invitation for a home-cooked lunch or dinner. 
 Alan is self-employed and works in an advisory capacity doing consultancy work. Alan is also a well-regarded writer and, himself having been moved to do so many times, often prompts others to tell their life stories as a source of inspiration for others.

Alan advises other mental health service users to carry on regardless. This does test us more than non-mental health patients. We all have our crosses to bear, however, and Alan is not alone in finding advantage in so-called disadvantage. Take the problem-solving route and make use of relevant and wider learning opportunities. 

As a parent, his day-to-day life consists of making an earnest effort to provide for his family and, who knows, one day he may have time to read a good book. Take one day at a time, is his maxim: be thankful and count your blessings in all things. 

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