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|Support / Trust -by James Rist, Bipolar Support Group|
|Written by JR1|
|28 February 2007|
I have both diseases. From the very outset of my treatment and my journey to recovery, I have suspected (call it an inspiration) that the etiology (origin) of these diseases is something other than chemical in nature. These days most professionals tend to believe in addition that the "etiology" of bipolar disease and of addiction (including alcoholism) is genetic. Well the jury is still out.
No one knows what EXACTLY these diseases are, underscoring, if nothing else, the possibility that there is another dimension to the diseased mind--something more (or less) than pathological. Doesn't that statement compel you to think!? In thinking about the possibilies, you will realize that you are speculating--you're playing "what if...?"
The phrase "what if?" always tends to go with uncertainty. Everything about these diseases presents uncertainty, doesn't it? And that leads me to "my opinion"--the treatment for these diseases is a process of "what if", trial and error--heuristic is the right word.
I think, when we face uncertainty, we look for answers, we look for comfort, we look for direction, and we look for support. That's why this support group exists.
You will find some essential knowledge at the following sites:
http://spiritualrecoveries.blogspot.com/2006/05/dr-terry-lynch-why-psychiatrists.html (Essay on the role beliefs play among medical professionals)
http://www.abc.net.au/rn/talks/8.30/helthrpt/stories/s164.htm (Dialogue centered on the role of patient beliefs in choosing treatment)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mental_health (Navigating terms and definitions in mental health)
In a recent post on MD Junction, someone asked, "Am I bipolar?" Her friends had all hinted that she might be bipolar; so..., why did she come to MD Junction to ask that question?
Here is a little story....
I have a friend whose disease causes coordination problems. My friend constantly fell and hurt herself, so I suggested that she might benefit from using a walker.
"I don't NEED a walker!" she said; and, after a hundred such denials, I quit making the suggestion.
Subsequently, my friend's doctor prescribed a walker, so my friend obtained a walker; but she still refused to use it. "I don't NEED one!" she said, as she continued to fall and hurt herself.
Finally, my friend applied for disability, and in her medical assessment the government physician had recommended a walker for her. The government adjudicator also recommended that my friend should start using her walker at all times.
While the disability claim was still pending, my friend started using her walker.
I asked why she had suddenly decided to use the walker, and my friend replied, "I NEED it, so they will approve my disability claim!"
The government did approve my friend's disability claim, and afterward I asked, "Now that your claim is approved, why do you still use the walker!?"
My friend gritted and said, "I NEED it, you know..., to keep from falling!"
Why did my friend ignore my suggestion and the doctor's advice, while, in obvious contrast, she followed the recommendation of the government? Nothing had changed about my friend's condition, but her perception of need had changed. Why?
You probably have heard of the story of Bill W.
Bill W. had heard everyone's opinion about his alcoholism, and he had learned everything about the disease as well as what he needed to do to recover. Armed with all that knowledge and advice, he could not employ it to remain sober.
One day Bill W. sat at the kitchen table with his friend, Ebby. Ebby had used all the tools that had been suggested to Bill W. and Ebby was sober. Bill was amazed, and, from that day forward he remained sober. Ebby had presented Bill W. with nothing new--nothing Bill hadn't already known. What about Ebby's experience had made a difference for Bill W?
There is a common thread in these three examples, and that thread is "trust."
Trust makes a support group work for its members.
The woman who asked, "Am I bipolar?" is looking for someone (perhaps an expert) whom she can trust to resolve her uncertainty.
My friend needed more. My friend needed someone in authority to force her to use her walker. Her continued reliance on the walker is evidence that she finally acknowledged and trusted her need for it.
In the case of Bill W., he needed an example he could trust; and that example came in the form of a friend who had been through the same experience as Bill himself.
In each case, people have looked for direction they can trust from a source they can trust. Their examples demonstrate three most often trusted resources:
1) expertise--knowledge, observation, concensus, exploration, theory.
2) authority--appled power, responsible action, rule of law, ultimate reason.
3) experience--results generated by applying expertise; by enforcing authority; and by reacting to people, places and things.
Truth, the intersection of all three areas of trust, may be defined as a reliable and unchangeable relationship--a very small region indeed.
The most common example of truth is history.
The gray region of the circles illustrates that truth may exist in all three areas of trust.
Now, to save you from a lecture, I'll leave you with a thought to consider.
All recovery must seek to discover and apply the truth. In order to discover the truth I must employ trust. Since it's not in my nature to trust others, I need to find a basis for trusting.
Expertise changes constantly. Authority seeks the general good, therefore authority may not be reliable for my personal needs. Experience does not change; experience is history and, therefore, truth by definition; and there are as many sources of experience to draw from as there are people. Therefore, experience appears to be the best source for trust.
Without making more of an argument, I will say "Trust experience. You are bound to find someone who has experienced what you have experienced. Bring your experience to this forum. By sharing YOUR experience, you will automatically have our trust, and we will all have a greater foundation from which to explore the truth. That foundation IS our support!"
© 2006 www.cerebral-storm.com
article by James Rist--member of Bipolar and Addiction Support Groups
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