Organizing Dialogue, Experience and Knowledge for Complex Problem-Solving

nice things and hard ones

December 16th, 2004

Yesterday was a mixed day. The highlight was a breakthrough for a mental health patient who’s treatment sessions I’ve been interpreting for over five years. WOW! The department party was enjoyable, but severely tainted by my memories of last year, when I was accompanied by my family. Alas.

Maybe it was the juxtaposition that was so intense? A spillover effect from the incredible joy of witnessing improvement in someone with chronic mental illness (which doesn’t happen too often, that’s why the disease is described as chronic), and the long road of patience required just to even hope for “improvement” in the family’s transition process? Indeed, there was a major shift in that I actually was able to see my daughter for the first time in….two months or so. It was awkward, but went well overall and (I hope) bodes well for a shift in energies that will make it increasingly easier for us to spend time together.


Categories: group dynamics, Interpreting, oh...just me
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2 Responses to “nice things and hard ones”

  1. Denise says:

    Did I hear the magic words “mental illness?” I guess I’m really in a very small minority–I don’t immediately know what is meant by the term “mental illness.” I understand behavior and human actions, but I really wrestle with the words “mental illness” and concepts about it. Is that mental illness? I suppose there are people who behave in trying, strange, disturbing, and what appear to be irrational ways. Could someone tell me what is meant by mental illness and why people around the mentally ill always feel so drained. Could mental illness possibly be a metaphor for how the mentally well feel around people who make life more difficult in ways and for reasons that are hard to understand?

  2. steph says:

    I’m with your concern about the term being bandied about too loosely. For instance, I’ve been dealing with grief, not an “adjustment disorder.” Dealing with endings and relational transitions is hard, but its not sick! Grief and grieving is a normal life process.
    And, I think there is a boundary, subjective no doubt, when something “goes to far”. i felt it a few weeks ago when I started to shift from passive thoughts of dying in an accident to actively considering ways to off myself. I’m not there now, but I didn’t ever expect to be “there” to begin with. Not fun. I got through it, but if that happened over and over and over again? I think I’d be wanting someone to tell me medication might help.
    Medication has helped this particular client, who’s unmedicated behavior endangers others, not just themself. Maybe the issue is with the relationship between “illness” and “medication”, of which “mental health” is just one route?

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