A Road to Nowhere?
"All in all, then, the future of mental health treatment looks promising. We are no longer, it seems, and in the words of the great Talking Heads song, on a 'road to nowhere'. We are, most reassuringly, finally on the road to recovery."
From my own blog post, "The Road to Recovery".
In general, I try to keep this blog as upbeat and positive as I can, and the above quote, I think, shows this. I have now done 69 postings since that particular one, this being the 70th, and I now, I am sad to say, sometimes feel that the Pathways Group, our little gathering for those with experience of psychosis, may have reached a point, for me at least, where it has outlived some of its usefulness.
I say "some" because I still greatly enjoy the social aspect of our group, and I still think it is a great resource for those in the process of recovery, and a wonderful way of increasing people's confidence and widening their social network. In the group, we focus on people's strengths and interests, not their shortcomings, and attempt to build on those. It is, then, a most brilliant resource for those who are at a certain stage in their recovery. They meet others in the same predicament, get to go out and mingle in social situations, learn about their own problems and illnesses, and generally have a good time. And for me, it was invaluable in the process of my recovery, involving me in things which, had I not joined the group, I would probably never have had the opportunity to do.
Having said all that, it seems now to me that, having moved on significantly, and feeling better than I perhaps have ever done since the inception of my illness, the group caters mainly to those who are, without wishing to sound patronising, only so far on on their road to a better and more fulfilling life. For those, like myself, who wish to move beyond the boundaries of the group, I think that it may lack in certain areas, not really helping in moving us further forward. Despite this, we have had sessions which have signposted us towards other places which may offer help in, for example, finding a job. But, I think it would be good if the group itself could help us in this regard, perhaps offering referrals to other organisations when we feel the time is right, instead of leaving such things all down to the service user themselves.
Moreover, with the government's current impetus to get those on disability benefits back into work, this might relieve the anxiety of some who may find themselves, having been unwell for a significant amount of time, pushed rudely into a situation in which they feel out of their depth. Ironically, as the government does this, unemployment, even amongst the well majority, continues to rise, with some forecasting an increase which would put the figures near to the 3 million mark. And, further to this, with the cuts being made in the public sector, many mental health staff are themselves facing radical changes in their workplace and a more uncertain future. So, in the end, my own modest ideas may just be beyond what is able to be achieved at present.
So, recovery is great. Recovery, no doubt, is a good thing. But, I think one might ask, and perhaps members of staff might ask themselves, and those in government may well ask themselves, recovery to what end? Do we recover just to remain jobless and economically unproductive? Do we recover only to be in a situation of apparent stasis? I think these are questions which need to be asked for the well being of all of us in this situation, and to ensure that the road to recovery continues, and doesn't end up being a road to nowhere.