It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Fun*Run Time

It's ALREADY that time of year again: The ADAPT Fun*Run for Disability Rights is April 22nd 2012. Maryland's fundraising goal is $8,000 this year. Yes, that's right, $8,000

Donate $1! Donate $10! Donate $100! Donate $1,000! JUST DONATE so we can FREE OUR PEOPLE! I thank you very much for your support!

Friday, April 9, 2010

On Recovery

If you haven't noticed by now, I spend a lot of time thinking about words and what they mean and how they are used. On Our On operates Wellness & Recovery centers. I HATE those words, to me they bring forth an image of illness. But I've had nothing better for recovery. I make a point of saying I have "psyc issues," a "psychiatric disability," or a "psychiatric diagnosis," depending on the day and what I feel like, and stay far away from mental health/illness. I won't call CP a developmental disability (DD), not because I am offended by the term, but because I just feel it's too vague of a term to have any purposeful meaning. I like the label of consumer, although a lot of my friends despise it. I grapple with knowing when I am in a setting where I could get myself in trouble for not using people first language and when I can be comfortable and free to slip into "crip" and "spaz." I generally prefer shrink to therapist, although I am ok with psychiatrist--social worker sounds awkward and how many people know off hand what LCSW means?

The thing is, I like the concept of recovery, fully embrace the general meaning, and feel like I could be on the path to achieving it. It's just that I don't like being associated with the substance abuse world. I don't use DD because I feel the need to differentiate, same thing here. This lack of alternative terminology has left me feeling awkward.


I've been spending a lot of time over the last 2 months or so thinking about my mom's cancer. She's approaching 10 years post-diagnosis, and well, had cancer for some time before diagnosis, so it's been 10+ years. She has had cancer every single day for 10+ years. Who has cancer for OVER A DECADE? People deal with cancer for long periods of time, but they go in and out of remission. Or they don't. They die. After a lot sooner then a decade. She's never had a remission.

Which brings me to the topic of remission vs recovery. People don't generally recover from or are cured of cancer. Doctors are very hesitant to use those words because of the high probability of a relapse or an occurrence of a secondary cancer stemming from the side effects of the chemo or what not that got you into remission from the primary cancer in the first place. They wait years and are very cautious.

So I've decided I'd like to say one day (whenever that is) that my bipolar is in remission*. It acknowledges the very real fact that my symptoms will come back, but that I am/have been symptom free for a significant period of time. Unlike cerebral palsy, I do believe that it is possible to manage bipolar to the point where my symptoms become dormant (I hope that when they do come back they don't reappear with the force of a volcano). It's something to strive for, to hope for, to confidently reach for. A challenging but attainable goal.

*I realize I'm contradicting myself when I say I'm trying to differentiate by not using DD or recovery, and then gravitate towards another word already associated with something else. But I still feel it's a clearer definition. Oh, and I'm still undecided on how I feel about the term "symptomatic."


Adelaide Dupont said...

Um, some people might have trouble with the LC part of the definition.

Licenced Clinical?

Adelaide Dupont said...

And when people say their bipolar is in remission, do you think this means the same as them being stable? Or is stability a much bigger or smaller thing?

Cheryl said...

I would say remission is the same thing as being stable. I would say recovery is the same thing as being stable

Adelaide Dupont said...

Thank you, Cheryl.

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