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Recovery and Mental Illness: Analysis and Personal Reflections
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My strong desire to enter the helping profession has been fueled by my experiences as a consumer-survivor of the mental health system who is recovered and is symptom-free. And yet, driven by concomitant hopes of changing the system under which I found my care and the care of those around me to be flawed at best, and in order to relate to both consumers and practitioners the need for a recovery paradigm and for empowerment and hope, I found that in the academic world, I “passed.” For fear of discrimination, tokenization, and the discreditation of my ideas, I took on the role of practitioner-in-training, never disclosing my identity as a consumer-survivor, no matter how much I felt this unique perspective could contribute to a discussion. I was torn. Had I not entered this field in order to bring about change and instill hope based on my story? Feeling hypocritical, I nonetheless decided that it would be best to delay self-disclosure until I achieved professional status. (Author)
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A program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services