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the therapist who is a mental health survivor

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the therapist who is a mental health survivor

Postby ariaQuin » Fri Jul 06, 2018 8:18 pm

Hello,

Are there psychologists/psychiatrists here who are survivors of severe mental health conditions?
If yes, when did you speak up about your condition/s? Did you experience any discrimination or were you judged to be inadequate (as a mental health professional) because of it?

For others, what's your perception on mental health professionals who had or have (but are successfully managed) psychological disorders?

I'm currently taking my masters in clinical psychology. More than a decade ago, I was also diagnosed with BPD comorbid with MDD, among other things. I've had a lot of struggles and relapsed so many times. I'm still learning and continuously working on/with myself. However, with the guidance of my mentors and therapists, I sincerely believe that I'm at the right track and am now in a much better place than where I used to be.

I live in a poor, developing country in Asia where mental health disorders are still highly stigmatized and treatments for some 'complicated' disorders, such as mine, are not readily (if any) available. I'm building up my courage so I can speak up and decide to pursue further studies. I hope to study, train overseas, and then go back to my country. Hoping that by doing so, I'll be able to help those who are like me.

I know that it won't be easy and I'm ready to face the challenges. However, it will be nice to hear the stories of those who are able to overcome/manage/embrace/live with/transcend their conditions and are now using their voices to give back to the community.
ariaQuin
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Re: the therapist who is a mental health survivor

Postby shock_the_monkey » Sat Jul 07, 2018 1:40 pm

if i were you, i'd keep this firmly under wraps. you might be very unpleasantly surprised at just how many people would use such a disclosure against you, especially within your own profession.

i know of one psychologist that complained a colleague was writing up notes on their patients before seeing them. this psychologist, the one that complained, had their workload reduced to nothing and was then let go, even though their complain had been valid. the moral of this story is that if you want to get on in life, you just have to keep your head down and not notice all the wrongdoing going on around you. as such, you certainly don't want to be giving people things to hold against you.
something knocked me out' the trees
now i'm on my knees
... don't you know you're gonna shock the monkey

there is one thing you must be sure of
i can't take any more
... don't you know you're gonna shock the monkey

don't like it but i guess i'm learning

... shock the monkey to life
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Re: the therapist who is a mental health survivor

Postby Wally58 » Sat Jul 07, 2018 1:48 pm

I don't know if you will get any professionals to comment on this as we are a peer-support group. My personal experience has been that any counselor, social worker or peer that has been through what you are going through and came through it successfully, will be of benefit to you.
I went through chemical dependency detox, rehab, inpatient, outpatient and aftercare treatment. The people who helped me the most were those who struggled with alcohol and drug addictions themselves. They knew what it was like. They knew the ins and outs. They were aware.
Comparatively, a counselor who never had never struggled with the actual problem, but learned by the book and classroom wasn't of much help to me. They couldn't understand why people would be addicted to something that would hurt them?
Some of our best teachers are those that learned it by living it.
Best of luck to you. :D
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Re: the therapist who is a mental health survivor

Postby shock_the_monkey » Sat Jul 07, 2018 2:04 pm

i won't disagree with what Wally58 has said here. however, the perceptions of patients and mental health professionals are different things. i know from my own personal experience that one psychiatrist wouldn't challenge the diagnosis of another more senior psychiatrist because of how that might have affected their career. it's not all about openness and honesty.
something knocked me out' the trees
now i'm on my knees
... don't you know you're gonna shock the monkey

there is one thing you must be sure of
i can't take any more
... don't you know you're gonna shock the monkey

don't like it but i guess i'm learning

... shock the monkey to life
shock_the_monkey
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Re: the therapist who is a mental health survivor

Postby ariaQuin » Sat Jul 07, 2018 3:16 pm

Thank you shock_the_monkey for your advice. It is really appreciated!

Honestly, part of my fear re being judged as a professional by my co-professionals is based on a previous experience. As an undergrad, I took BS Biology and then BS Psychology. All was going well when I was taking the latter until I had a relapse after a close friend of mine died from suicide (she had Bipolar). I was able to survive that period. However, a year later, when I was about to take my OJT, my professor for that subject refused to let me enter the guidance/clinical counselling program. I was already in the middle of the training (and in good working relationship with the program head) and she told me to get out of it. She also gave me a final grade of 75 for the OJT/practicum for the three settings. However, when I went back to consult with the places where I worked at, they all gave me an A. Upon consultation with the said prof, she told me that I'll never be qualified to be a clinical psych...

Although I kept on and enrolled in graduate studies in a top university in our country, that experience haunted me. I was traumatized for years...

I graduated in 2013, and even though I'm performing well at Univ, have even been training (clinically) for the past few years. It was only in 2016 when I finally shared me story to my mentor. Although, my mentor and superiors (who are the premier psychologists and National Social Scientists in our country) are understanding and are willing to stand by me, I still have some fears re being accepted in the field. Hence, this post.
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Re: the therapist who is a mental health survivor

Postby ariaQuin » Sat Jul 07, 2018 3:52 pm

Hello Wally58, I can certainly relate to your experience for that was what I went through too!

Although I was diagnosed with BPD in 2007, prior to that, I've been in limbo for years. During that time, I've been diagnosed with different disorders, underwent various treatments but made no progress and even got worse. I blamed myself further for not being able to respond "well" to interventions being given to me especially when I was trying my best to be a good patient. That's why I initially planned to pursue biology so I can become a doctor and then study the genes and brain. I thought that if I can will myself to hold on and survive that long, then maybe I can study and finally understand what's wrong with me (lol).

It was only when I met a therapist who was able to see me through a different eyes, when I was able to start my recovery. Years later, when we parted ways for she had to retire and leave our country, she then told me that she's a PTSD and MDD survivor.

Thank you for your kind words. It really means a lot!
ariaQuin
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